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This section is for SpeakUpCIC members and volunteers to share their poetry, stories, artwork and photographs. If you have anything that you would like to share please 

  • Poem By Stephanie Downer
    Sometimes I feel free like the birds flying in the sky Sometimes I just want to run hide and cry But each day does change some good days some bad Wipe away those tears be happy not sad. Hear the birds sing look how the flowers grow Sometimes your journey through life is slow But take small steps which turn to leaps And soon you will be able to keep Going, moving forwards in all you do Keep focused keep safe and just be you.
  • Stardust by Charlotte Connelly
    I’m outside, trying to escape the pain in my heart And as I look up I smile at a star and it’s smiling back at me Oh what it must be like to be a star and not me The light, shimmering piece of silver dust in the sky And as I look up the pain I feel has shifted to another place and I’ve almost forgotten the pain Oh what it must be like to be a star and not me Taking in the sky, breathing in the night’s air, seeing other stars and living by the moon A thousand dollars I’d give to simply be that star At least to feel beautiful and free Oh if only the star could grant me my wishes Throw me a fortune and pass me a piece of its shimmering beautiful light I’d look upon it as something more The little light in the sky is so much more than me Or at least I sometimes feel it is The silence has stopped and I hear a beat The music has started and I take a step away from the silver star Anything else to distract myself from the sadness I still feel inside my soul Their dancing and now so am I I’m dancing to the beat, dancing to the drums Anything else to distract my mind from the sadness within my soul Were all dancing now , dancing below the sky of stars And our feet move like that of a skater on ice With ease and like we just can’t stop And as our eyes look up into the sky it makes the dancing even brighter We all want to reach the sky and we all want to break away Break away and just feel fun Our feet have become one as we’re all dancing to the beat in the same way And as our feet are dancing to the beat and our minds are looking to the sky We are all nothing but happy souls But as the tunes start to stop and as the stars start to fade Oh, but a whisper of sadness is starting to return And so we turn up the music and we dance again It’s all about keeping the sadness at bay and our eyes on the sky And so we keep dancing with our feet
  • Stigma by Kimberley Kitts
    Just something I wrote to describe how I am feeling at the moment. I thought I had left you far behind Your claws are digging into my heart Clawing away bringing the darkness in Like a black fog clouding my mind Sometimes you hide and it seems brighter But then you creep back in like a rolling sea mist Making yourself heard and seen like a black wave It's all so dark and cold here again I cannot see a light at the end just darkness
  • What Mental Health Means To Me by John Underwood
    The mental in the mental health Means taking better care of self It might mean meds or therapy For safety sake, to simply be It takes some time to realise That life within, not seen with eyes To heal that hurt in past and present For mind to ebb and flow, intent Intent on growth and change within For wanting to be better again In some this is a mighty act While others soon to heal, intact But all suffer back to health again Are sometimes left, no support, in vain You see the truth; how people react No physical symptoms to treat, a fact With broken leg or arm to heal With physical health, it’s there, it’s real But mental health which can’t be seen Is overlooked, we slide between the cracks of life and sometimes fall Overlooked, ignored, not real at all So, if you are one of the four With mental health left at the door Your GP might not understand, And no diagnosis comprehend So we are left to fight our corner And out of sight and mind – it’s torture To see society ignore us Not wanting to be made to fuss So we fester like an open wound No crisis team are coming round Left to rely on own resources To fight for every bit, recourses The state does neither know nor care What mental health really is, despair Another day, another failure Whilst people left to fade, no saviour They rWhile abusers, accusers call us losers They think we sometimes make it up You’re not living this, you have some luck If mental health fails you in future, Perhaps then you’ll realise it’s futile To have a bath, a cup of tea, Or mindfulness or therapy Because we’re pigeon holed by diagnosis All individual, not same neurosis So change has to come, and soon But politicians all sing same tune Change is coming, they shout the promise, I wish that they would be more honest. to us as ‘service users’
  • Black Dog by Damian Erbe
    I lay here in the dark In my lonely bed Fighting evil thoughts Running through my head. During the day I can survive, When it’s light outside I feel alive. Then night falls And darkness closes in Then the demons in my mind Their evil games begin. It seems so strange, I am not afraid of the dark But when light flees The black dog begins to bark. Is it the loneliness? Always being alone Or do I have a problem? That throws black dog a bone. But I’m sore and I’m tired. I really need to sleep. Maybe today is the day, I won’t want to weep.
  • Blind Sighted World by Courtney
    People on this earth are unique in all different varieties but being unique is what makes this world a learning place. If everyone was the same there wouldn’t be any point having schools, jobs, friends and so on as there wouldn’t be anything to learn or understand from other humans as it would be the same old shit day in and day out. This is where people can be so blind sighted in their own little world because people can be ignorant to what other people are like and the person they are as them. Being open minded can bring on a very long and grateful life and future which also can bring people more happiness by living and learning from each other.
  • Bugs in My Life by Gail Zanre
  • Ditties by Sam Sidebottom
    WRITERS BLOCK I’m off and running. I just can’t stop. This writing has no block. I’m just doing ditties. That relate to me. Oh, how I wish to be free. To express myself in the written WORD. GLAD YOU DIDN’T DIE I heard you scream. I heard you cry. My lord, I think. You’re gonna die. But no, it’s just a noise. You make before you cry. That there’s a spider in the sky. So, thank God you didn’t die. MOOD SWINGS My mood swings here. My mood swings there. I’m having a bloody nightmare. Sleeping the whole day through. God, I feel so blue. Then the next thing you know. I’m flying high as a kite. Laughing, joking, rushing around. You wouldn’t ever know. I’ve been so down. BIPOLAR My life is slow and dull. I want to go to the shopping mall. I wish I was like the others. My life is down and sad. Each and every day is bad. I would have ended it ALL. But the for the love of you all. Things are getting better. My doctor’s had the letter. Telling her I’m bipolar. She’s giving me meds. I hope they sort out my head.
  • Down in Funk by Leon
    When I’m down in a funk. There are certain triggers that gets me flunked. Don’t ask me if I’m okay. Because you know what I’m going to say. And that is where a split occurs. It’s either yes, I’m fine, or other words. But generally it’s a deep hearted sigh. And then the question why oh why. Because you can see I’m not alright. And generally it’s because I’ve had a bad night. Sleepless in Margate, oh what a joy. Life isn’t a pop of the cherry, when you’re a boy.
  • Eli by Suze Erbe
    I have to say goodbye. I have cried so hard. My heart aches so much. All I want to do is hide. Although your time was short. I will miss you every day. Your tiny face watching me. While… I say goodnight. Your little sounds to show you’re near. And remind me I’m not alone. I’m sorry for shouting. For not knowing your pain. I wish I helped you sooner. But I didn’t see your pain. I’m sorry I wasn’t with you, For your final breath. But know I love you. And it was for the best. So now I say my final goodnight. While I lay you down to rest. Thank you for always being there. Thank you for being the best. I love you, Eli. Goodnight.
  • Hospital by Murray
    Hospital: place where life is extended beyond its natural scope. So many mistakes in my life. Is there nothing I have not ruined? Bad decisions? Omissions? Transgressions? Things I did not know I could have done. The options were not even also rans. I could not wish for better companions now, Than in this bay: five ludic old men That make up the six invalidated here, Like sailing ships at anchor after battle. Yet still I shun their company. And seek the quiet of an empty corridor, The stillness of an hour in night light, Out when the traffic on motorways is subdued, And I'm only half a life ago, a half identified, half distant from the world where birds trill might have disturbed The precarious mirror of the precious air. But from this hospital perch I see In all the world set out below and far There is no greener grass than here. My salvaged body retains every dent. Made in answer to the call. And puzzles why I still live. In these translations of body into mind, There were so many codes I did not know, Encrypted in the enzymes as if willing. Bits of the machine to live on Where no self-preserving mind would follow. This reverse transcription reveals all. The real possibilities of the matter in mind: If there's any grass at all on the other side The competition is so intense and wall to wall, My presence is not registered at all. My options are not even also rans. Why not then stay. The flood of displaced aspirations Record the broken nerves reporting. How the absorbent sponge of memory is wrong. In the grip of these gentle hands Cradle a rabbit's wracked and fractured spine. Suspend the ribs and try to lift. From terminal incomprehension The weight of a breath of life, That crushes in and hits against The tender spots in hearts Pulsing with the conviction Infinity is glimpsed in this utopia. Before the Interruption of death.
  • Hurt by Suzanne
    I am filled with anger I am filled with hate I'm filled with pain How much more can I take Every minute so painful Every hour so long Every day gets harder The more I'm filled with hate What have I done To deserve all this pain To suffer by day To cry by night To dream of the bad Too scared to trust To dread getting up To never wanting to sleep To feel so alone When will this end When will I win When will the pain Just leave and let go
  • Life by Daphne
    What did I do today? What will I do tomorrow? A muddled voice. A happy dream. Where will I go to find myself? I guess there’s no one there, And so, I search for a happy place. Where peace will give me time. To think about a future To let go of the things I can’t change. Be happy as I am, In my place to live in peace. But still, I crave for love.
  • No Future Living in the Past by Paul Hammerton
    Sometimes I wish I could revisit my past. I’ve made so many mistakes or so it seems. I’d like to go back to unravel so much, But these are impossible dreams. Days of laughter, tearful times, Mixed emotions surface from the past, Lost opportunities, words spoken in vain, Friendship that didn’t last. Loved ones lost along the way, faces come back to haunt you. So many things you should have done. It looks so easy now from different view. All those various pathways, That I shouldn’t have travelled along. Hasty words said in anger, Good relationships gone wrong. Sometimes the past weighs heavy on your mind, And the innermost hurts don’t always show. When the past threatens to spoil your future, Sometimes you’ve just got to let go. If you made no mistakes, You wouldn’t have the maturity you need. You’ll never reap a harvest, If you don’t sow any seed. The events of past days, Have moulded my being. I’ve got rid of the scales, That stopped me from seeing. Yes, I’ve made mistakes, yes I’ve failed. I was as guilty as those who had Jesus nailed. But I’ve been forgiven, my sins taken away. And I’m a new creation today. My feet march to the beat, Of a very different drum. I’m letting go of the past, living for today. With my eyes on the future to come.
  • World Mental Health Day by Damian Erbe
    So here we are to celebrate World Mental Health Day Where everything gets better Hooray, Hooray, Hooray The great and good will eulogise With a serious and grave fare How we must help so many people And bring them into our care And then the day is over You go on with your lives But what about us Who have to live with it 365 While we support your gesture Its true we really do There is so much more needed Systems need making anew So don't blame us we're Broken Completely broken down We just need some help Don't treat us like a clown We need a fresh start Not just one little day Because we are here forever We are not going away
  • Janet Reynalds - Member (B.Ed Hon. Fine Art Education)
    I was born in Margate in 1954. At school I had a talent for drawing and was encouraged to go to Art school. I studied at Medway College Art Design, New lands Park College of Ed .And studied fine Art with Reading University. Fortunately, I past my exams and was able to teach Art to Infants. Due to stress, incurring a mental health problem, I retired, and have not worked for several years. My last job was a voluntary artist at the Q.E.Q.M. Xray Dept. Myself and my friend painted several seascape murals and signposts to aid patients on their way to therapy. I am interested in how colour effects mood and mind. For example green creates a feeling of peace and tranquillity, while orange, yellow & red, brightens countenance, and mind. My favourite colour is turquoise, but then I love the sea, being at the sea-side the towns in Thanet are busy places, lots of people, amusements, beaches, lovely sunsets, cliff walks & sea-air. All good for people needing a healthy environment... I like to draw boats, people, and seascapes as pastimes. I love swimming, photography. Exhibitions include Broadstairs library, Margate library. I love to paint as it helps to express how I feel and this is therapeutic. My ambition is to involve myself, and for my mental health to improve. Developing art projects is an aim I have in mind, with many works yet to sell. I hope you have enjoyed the pictures I have showcased here.
  • Lorna Vince - Deal
    I'm 58, born in Broadstairs, spent 25 years as a legal secretary in London, until moving to Deal 6 years ago. I have OCD. I began painting a few months ago. It all started with a miniature. I'd been going to a local art class for people with mental health problems, for about a year, but could only ever be bothered to draw. I've dabbled with painting in the past, but had forgotten the techniques, and couldn't motivate myself to start again, with all the trial and error that would be involved. Then our teacher's subject for one week (should we choose to try it), was painting a miniature. Because it was so small it felt possible, so I had a go I chose one of my photos to paint from (I'm also a keen photographer). I started it in class and then made myself have a go at home. I finished it - what's more, it was good! Inspired by my tiny success I decided to try to paint another of my photos, on a small canvas block that had come with my paint set. It was a real turning point for me - I had to do battle with myself, and it was a struggle, to correct mistakes, and persevere. It took a long time but I finished it - taking it to class one week for some guidance - and now it's signed and on my wall, and I've been painting ever since. Those first 2 were in acrylics. Then I tried a simple watercolour - the seagulls - I couldn't get the sea right - and I still struggle with sea and sky - but I was really excited when my seagulls seem to come to life in front of me. I still do acrylics but I prefer watercolour, although it is difficult, because of its light quality. I'm still learning and gaining skills, and sometimes when I achieve a painting, I can't believe I've done it! I find painting therapeutic - the focus, and the satisfaction, and on a personal level, this is the first time I've had the will to start again from scratch when my first attempt hasn't worked - that's a biggy for me. Exhibitions include Broadstairs library, Margate library. I love to paint as it helps to express how I feel and this is therapeutic. My ambition is to involve myself, and for my mental health to improve. Developing art projects is an aim I have in mind, with many works yet to sell. I hope you have enjoyed the pictures I have showcased here.
  • Lorna Vince - Personal (2012 Exhibition)
    Well, not my own personal Exhibition, but I will be exhibiting 3 of my latest paintings in an Open Exhibition in a local Studio - how exciting is that? I started painting about 3 years ago. I attended an art class held locally for people with mental health problems. At first I only did drawing - I'd painted a bit in the past but it seemed too much of an effort now to try to revive the skills I'd developed then. One week the teacher suggested we have a go at painting a 'miniature'. Being so small I thought that would not be too taxing, so I had a go. I was surprised and delighted at what I produced. So then I dug out a small canvas that had come with an acrylic starter kit which I'd bought but never used, and I set to and painted some flowers from one of my photographs. This was the first time I can remember having the motivation and perseverance, when my first attempt didn't work, to start again from scratch (I've never been good at viewing mistakes as natural and learning from them). So.... progress. This painting took a while to complete, but was another success, and so I kept going. I was already into photography as a hobby, so this was my source of subjects. Each one was a struggle and still took a long time, but it has got easier and I can actually see my progress now. I put my paintings up at the old Resource House and sold some to the members there, for a small amount to cover my materials. It was quite a boost that people liked what I'd done and I find in very gratifying that others get pleasure from my work. Last year I joined an Adult Education class in Watercolour, and took a block of lessons with Penny Bearman (a local artist) doing acrylics, with the particular aim of freeing up my style (I have OCD so tend to be over precise and detailed). I applied for and was awarded funding for this from the Personal Development Fund. I think now I can dare to call myself, at least a budding, artist. I am looking forward to seeing my paintings on the walls of the Burning Bush Gallery (I will of course be taking photos for my album).
  • The Melancholy Spirit by Lynn Jackson
    He sneaks in through the back door of your mind this melancholy spirit. He turns a bright sunny day into a black and white sombre day. He turns friends into strangers. He locks you into your cage of isolation. You are in the world but not a part of it. You don the mask of jollity. You hear yourself laughing and joking but it is not you. You seem to be standing outside yourself looking on watching this stranger that is you or a part of you. You want to be alone with your grief, yes grief because you have this overwhelming feeling that someone close to you has died but you don't know who it is. You have a total feeling of abandonment and loss. You are alone. The urge to sit in the corner and weep engulfs you. You want to wallow in your isolation. Why is the world so awful, negativity invades your being. Is it only you that worries about everything when you see children playing in the park laughing and shouting, you only see potential accidents and tears, you shudder and move on knowing that it is only you that sees it. Why do you see broken bones before they break, hurt before it happens and sorrow before it's dreamt of. Why are parents so blasé? Don't they know the small child beside them could run into the road and be killed while they are happily chatting to a neighbour. When relatives ask you why you don't have children to stay with you, don't you care? they ask, of course you care, you care to much you cant be responsible for that small being it is more than you can bear. It was bad enough looking after your own when they were young, the worry almost outweighing the joy. You try to beat it by playing your favourite music but it sounds strange and discordant so you turn it off to go back to your silence. It seems to be all you can do to get from one end of the day to the other. Deep inside you know you are sliding down the pit of despair and you are aware that you wont come up again until you have reached rock bottom. If you tell a close family member that you are down they think it's their fault and try to cheer you up so you tend to keep it to yourself. You avoid making contact with people and go out less and less imprisoning yourself in four walls. Outsiders tell you to pull yourself together and it's all in the mind, of course it's in the mind, what you want is to get it out. One day you wake up from your usual fitful nightly sleep with your negative dreams and it's raining but you don't care, today the rain is lovely. You open the back door and feel the warmth of the summer rain and the scent of wet roses. You notice the birds and a little sunlight enters your heart. The melancholy spirit has stepped out and you are elated. Everything is beautiful and worthwhile. The world is both terrible and wonderful in the same instant. Life is worth living after all and you sing along with the radio. Next time the melancholy spirit comes you will be ready for him. You will not let him in. Everything is in Technicolor now. You appreciate everything. He will not bring you down again but deep in your heart you know he may come back sneaking through the back door of your mind but for now everything is wonderful.
  • Thoughts On Bullying by Anonymous
    Working for a bully is a terrible situation to be in, as I know from experience. A bully will never be satisfied with your standard of work. A bully will act like a perfectionist and insist that you do a task over and over again, even though you have probably performed the task quite satisfactorily. This serves only to undermine your own confidence and if you are of a gentle or nervous disposition can be disastrous. A bully's motivation may be that he dislikes you because you are a better, kinder, more honest and just person. Or, he may be homophobic, racist, a bigot etc,... and suspect that you are gay. Basically there are a thousand reasons why someone can hate another person and most of them are trivial. You may also be bullied because of political differences and class warfare, or because you have a learning disability or a mental illness. Some bullies are subtle and act like your friend. They will be nice to your face but ultimately will be treacherous. They may even manipulate you into acting a certain way or into divulging information that is damaging to your reputation. It's a minefield and an ocean of shit that you have to swim through. Some of the worst bullying occurs when a gang of bullies join forces to attack an individual. This may be subtle or underhand and you may be oblivious to it at first. Bullying doesn't just include physical and verbal abuse but may also include: Being sent to Coventry (Ostracism) Incorrect or inadequate training Disinformation Constructive dismissal The spreading of lies, gossip and hearsay Psychological torment and torture Sophisticated mind games Expecting people to learn things quickly Pressure to conform to unreasonable or dangerous work practices, long hours or particular belief systems and prejudices. Downright rudeness and belittling or humiliation of a person or a person's reputation. The 'honey trap' i.e. exploiting naïve, gullible or vulnerable people into believing someone has a sexual or romantic interest in them, and then accusing them of being a predator. Patronising behaviour and attitudes
  • Rational & Irrational Control by Peter H Donnelly
    People who hear voices, sometimes experience rational control from the voices - meaning that the voices try to impose controlling reason, onto the voice hearer - telling the voice hearer what to think or do, or imposing questions. This can be caused or influenced, by the way that some psychiatrists, social workers, and mental health workers, have treated and related towards us. Sometimes the voice hearer will talk, or think, irrational and/or meaningless nonsense, to avoid the voices having this rational control, because as a coping-strategy, this often works, and is very effective. This is also why some psychiatric diagnosed people, sometimes mumble, talk, or shout out, irrational or meaningless nonsense. Rational control, by others socially, can have the same affect, and also be a way of controlling or repressing the emotions, or more creative, artistic, scientific, or abstract thinking, and it is something that bad teachers and bad politicians try to do to us. There is also such a thing as irrational control, when madness or unreason dominates reason and logical free thinking, and rational and irrational control, can both be connected and related, or used separately or simultaneously against people socially. Rational and irrational control can both be used emotionally and intellectually against people too. First of all, I want to look into whether the emotions are experienced first, before rational or intellectual thinking, as a lot of modern alternative psychological theories, tend to simply state that this is the case. It is also a view more widely held by some women than men, maybe because some men and women experience, or are told that they experience things very differently. It's possible that neither the emotions, nor the rational mind or intellect, are experienced first, as what is experienced first, is fragmented, random, chaos. This is a bit too simple an explanation for me though, although I do believe there is some truth in it, but that the crux of the matter, is how raw experience is processed, which makes it primarily emotional or rational, or both. I believe that experience comes first, before emotions and thought, as experience is a separate thing in itself, something encompassing the whole mind and being, and something spiritual and sensory. Experience comes first, then perceptions - the transforming or filtering of experience into emotions or thoughts - comes after. I do not believe that most normal emotions and thoughts overwhelm people, as there are many subtle kinds of emotions and thoughts, and on the whole we can choose in what way, or to what degree, emotions and thoughts influence or affect us. The times where this is not the case, is if we are being threatened with violence, terrorised, and oppressed, abused or mistreated in some way, and then that choice becomes somewhat problematic or limited, especially if mutual hatred or anger is involved, as anger is a powerful emotion which can annihilate, limit, obscure, or distort feeling and especially thinking. Irrational control, seeks to diminish all emotion and thought, to control people in a purely behaviourist way, by their instinctual reactions, and which is why I am opposed to pure behaviourism. In my opinion, pure behaviourism, is just another form of abuse, and it has no place in society or the modern mental health system.
  • Understanding The Media by David Craddock
    Sometimes the media find it difficult to take an understanding view on mental illness. There are many stories which take an uninformed perspective, and that can be damaging. To unnecessarily add to the misunderstanding and doubt surrounding the subject of mental health is all too easy. However, there are several examples that seem to do it right. To offer a real picture of the difficulties involved in mental health, and to offer one which is both realistic and positive - that is rare, and should be celebrated. I want to talk about some stories; shown in films and on TV, that can offer a positive view at the problems many of us suffer, and the strength of those who tackle them and move on with their lives. The first thing I saw which really challenged my perspective and made me view mental illness differently, was the film "A Beautiful Mind". Many have seen it, but if you haven't, it is really worth watching. Russell Crowe plays troubled genius of John Nash, who suffered significantly from paranoid schizophrenia during his real life. Although certainly not alone, John Nash is perhaps one of the better known examples of famous people that suffer from schizophrenia. He went on to win the most prestigious intellectual achievement possible - a Nobel Prize. Although there are actually many films that address mental illness, another which I'd like to mention is 'The Soloist'. It is a compassionate film, in which Robert Downey Jr. stars as a workaholic journalist who discovers a strange but gifted musician living homeless in Los Angeles. Based on a true story, the journalist comes to know and understand Nathaniel Ayers, a cello prodigy who, affected by schizophrenia early in his life, came to live on the streets with just a violin for company. Nathaniel himself remains mostly unchanged through the film, he is as much a talented musician as he was from when he first took up the violin, to the time he plays before a prestigious audience in a Los Angeles concert hall. It is really a journey in which Robert, and through Robert many other people, come to understand him. The final story I'd like to talk about, is the story of Neil in the 'Up Series'. The Up Series is a real-life documentary filmed over the lifetime of a group of people. Every seven years, from the age of 7 to the age of 49, every person in the group is filmed, along with an update of their life and what they have been doing for the past 7 years. The documentary is quite personal, and every person filmed is asked a series of often difficult questions about their life, hopes and disappointments. One person in the group is Neil. About half way through the series, at the age of 28, Neil starts to suffer badly from mental illness, and becomes homeless. He is filmed living in the highlands of Scotland, where he seems very isolated, friendless, and in a bad state. Later on in the series though, we find him working in London for the Liberal Democrats as an elected councilor who has been voted in by the public. It shows such an amazing strength of character that he has pushed himself past the difficulties he found in being around and accepting people, to actively participating and speaking confidently in politics, and changing things for a cause he believes in. What I found inspiring about these films is that those three people have suffered greatly in the same way as many of us have. But each have achieved so much more than many who have never faced the difficulties we face. Each had very different talents, and yet they have made remarkable achievements that shattered preconceptions, and shown that mental illness need not be a major limitation, at all. If you wish to watch them, DVDs of The Soloist and A Beautiful Mind can be hired from the public libraries in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. You may have to ask for them specifically, but the librarians are helpful. The "Up Series" can be purchased on DVD from the internet, on
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