"My life has always involved loading myself with jobs when I’m feeling down. This, inevitably, leads to me feeling more overwhelmed with life and unable to get to the bottom of my problems.
Problems had always been there to be covered up, and life had thrown up the huge problem of having a still-born baby. This enormous emotional upheaval required serious replacement and I was working part-time as a carer as well as having three children, and looking after a lady with learning difficulties. My husband had gone on a self destruct emotionally, and I felt it was my role to support him, as well as to try and hold the family together. With this plethora of emotional baggage, I met Jill – to apparently care for her. What actually happened was astonishing …
I started attending one of her regular Giving Voice groups. Initially I was terrified. I was also aware that this could be something that could change my life. Although I enjoyed the first evening, it took several sessions before I realised how vital this was to me. It led me to look at myself in a way that I never had before. I started to accept that I was using work as a shield to prevent me from feeling pain and hurt. But what I was actually doing was preventing myself from feeling any better. In accepting all of these things I had to make the decision to change. This was a much harder thing to accomplish. It meant I would have to change the person I had been for so long ... I was not sure how I would do this, or what the consequences would be, but I did know that I had to own myself and take responsibility for how my actions affected those around me. I had always thought that, by doing things for others I was helping them, but Giving Voice made me realise that I was actually disabling them.
I started to sing around the house - songs I'd learned through GV, old pop songs, church songs - singing either for the fun of it, or to really connect. I realised that I had no idea what my taste in music was any more. I had completely lost touch with what made me happy, and what made me me. Singing GV songs made me connect with a part of myself that I had forgotten existed. I allowed myself to grieve for our lost daughter, I allowed myself to grieve for what might have been, but also I was able to be joyful for the small impact she had made on me. My religious faith and beliefs were reinforced and I felt a sweet joy come back into my life.
“It was tough, but enjoyable; heartrending at times, but always a very positive experience. I did it with support from Jill and others in GV, as well as from my family.
Now I’ve learned how to use music (particularly singing) in a positive, uplifting way in my life. I am also much more confident outgoing and prepared to take responsibility for myself, including my actions as well as my emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. I even sang in a trio at church, which is something I’ve never done before."