First, things you need to know about me.

I have a terrible tendency to speak my mind these days and it doesn’t always make me very popular with my peers, in fact, a lot of the time my opinion is controversial or too much of a challenge to consider for some. The point is often missed or dismissed because I am not readily agreeable with everyone all the time on every subject and I do not tend to stay silent about matters I feel particularly strongly about. I can’t stand racism, sexism, homophobia, trans-phobia, bi-phobia or all the other pointless and harmful phobias out there that are tied to messages of hate and hate crimes simply because people can’t accept that not everyone has the same mindset, sexual orientation or life experiences that they do. I can’t stand violence, I hate war and I didn’t vote for Brexit and I don’t consider immigrants to be unwelcome to the UK as them taking all the jobs or committing all the crimes as so many believe. I believe all people are flawed and no-one is perfect. I believe bad people and attitudes come in all colours, shapes, and sizes and from all backgrounds and religions.

I believe in human is human and no matter who we are essentially we are all made of the same stuff we all bleed red we all cry clear tears and we all feel emotion. I’m not religious and have some strong views on why I don’t follow any but in the same breath, I am willing to respect that others do not feel as I do and they have a right to believe in what they do and follow any religion they wish and I know for many this is a deeply held belief and a source of comfort and community to them too. It’s not up to me to dictate the feelings or beliefs of anyone but I will throw in (quite often) an invitation to look at things from a different perspective than may have been considered especially on matters that end in the letters ‘ism or ‘phobia. Which people can take or leave.

I have long been a supporter of Crisis and Shelter Charities as I believe everyone should have the right to the comfort of a roof over their heads and a meal on their table. Homelessness as it is, even now, suggests to me we have a lot further to go to achieve these simple basic human needs for all concerned.

I believe we have a great NHS in this country that is not being taken care of as well as it should be, but we are so lucky and so fortunate to have this in place currently for our health needs. I believe the mental health section (for one example) of the NHS is under a lot of strain regarding a lack of funding, resources, equipment, beds and staff and I’ve felt that squeeze on this very desperately needed services first hand myself as it’s become more and more stretched and unable to cope with the increased caseloads. People need support and often that support means a waiting list, pills or no support at all.

We live in a high-stress world, and a lot more people are being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and all manner of other mental illnesses than ever before. It’s more talked about but I still find that once you have a label for a mental illness a lot of people look at you like you are stupid or blame your deepest emotions on your illness rather than accepting them as part of who you are. This is something else that needs to stop. People need to be educated or educate themselves on this stuff because there is still a stigma attached.

I have Bipolar affective disorder, social anxiety, borderline personality disorder and a whole lot of post-traumatic stress to cope with. I have been through a lot in my time that I will not list here in detail but I feel it makes me strong-minded and vocal on several matters sexual, mental and emotional abuse, domestic abuse, self-harm, suicidal ideas, substance abuse, alcohol and smoking. I guess you could say I’ve tried most poisons of choice to try to cope with some of these listed but I am fortunate to have lived and learned and to be able to form a constructive opinion from a first-hand perspective on most of it. Again though, people will listen to the voice of experience, or they will not.

So that is a bit about me, I know some of you out there will echo my feelings and many of my experiences, while many others may not agree at all. I’m not here for a popularity contest and I’m not here to start a big massive debate, I’m just inviting you to get to know me and just some of the perspectives from which I write my poems and thoughts.

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