A mental health service user has written a book of poems after finding poetry helped her cope with life’s challenges.
Amy Telford started writing poetry at the age of 11 as a way of expressing her feelings. Now 25, she has had a book of 29 poems published.
The book, named ‘Autistic Female in a Neurotypical World’, covers a range of topics each one evoking a different thought or feeling Amy has experienced.
“Poetry became an outlet for me when I was being bullied in secondary school,” she says. “I use poetry as a way of processing my thoughts and feelings; like talking without actually having to talk.”
Amy, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, says some poems are deeper than others but they all represent things she has learned from her diagnosis.
Amy was 16 when she was diagnosed with autism and was placed in a specialist autism out of area unit. It was a further diagnosis of Crohn’s disease that led her to having a breakdown. She was moved into adult services up and down the country before arriving at Mitford Unit, part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW).
Mitford Unit is an autism inpatient service for adults. The state-of-the-art unit has been designed to allow for highly individual environmental adaptations to reduce anxiety and positively impact on behaviours.
It wasn’t long before staff discovered Amy’s talent for poetry and encouraged her to write more. She added: “Poems became a great way for people to understand what I was going through.”
Amy was discharged from Mitford Unit in February this year. She is now using CNTW’s community mental health services and is enjoying her new life in her flat.
She said: “It feels great to have my book published. It’s a massive achievement which reflects my journey I have been on. It represents hope for others that are struggling and lets them know there is light at the end of tunnel.
“For me, poetry has been a way for me to express my inner self and process the world around me. It’s given me a way to share my thoughts and emotions especially as I can’t always tell what I’m feeling or what my emotions are.”
Amy’s book is now available from Amazon here.