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Patient Voices: Stories of recovery from La Trobe University


Stories of recovery from La Trobe University

Shaping a recovery-orientated culture and empowering people to effectively self manage their care, in the face of enduring mental illness, is a complex undertaking. The Pilgrim Projects/Patient Voices reflective digital storytelling workshop in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia in 2010 enabled mental health consumers and health professionals to share their stories of recovery. The project was funded from the Australian Better Health Initiative: A joint Australian, State and Territory government initiative.

The magic faraway tree
In the trauma of the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009 the large tree in Mandy’s garden has become a symbol of stability, history, friendship and recovery.

The girl in the garden
Brendan describes what it is like to be debilitated by mental illness and how being a consumer consultant has been integral in his recovery journey.

Carol gives a heartfelt account of being lost. She talks about what it is like when the ‘door is down’, and her confidence and happiness when the ‘door is up’.

It’s not cool to take drugs
Although Carolynne knew that taking drugs could lead to schizophrenia, she did not think it could happen to her. Now she takes drugs every day to stay well.

In Colleen’s story, a traumatic event triggers ongoing issues with her mental health and photos have come to symbolise both remembering her past and moving on.

Life is but a meta-4-letter word
Dave describes how his ride through life has been made challenging by the onset of mental illness at an early age. By telling his story, Dave hopes that others on similar journeys feel less alone.

Playing in unfamiliar territory
Sue is surprised to find that she had become caught up in the ‘bossy world of psychiatry’ and learns that ‘play’ is a very important part of recovery.

The rules of grief
The loss of Tracy ‘s premature baby is made so much harder by people who impose their own expectations and rules on how she should grieve.

Healing waters, people and places
Mental illness and other chronic conditions disturb the tranquillity of Wayne ‘s life, yet many years later and after much difficulty, the sound of water still anchors him securely to life.

The old ogre
Liz’s ‘Pop’ was once a vibrant, active and driven man. As a health professional, Liz feels helpless watching someone she loves battle through mental illness.

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