Audrey Gillies: what recovery means to me

21st August 2018

Audrey Gillies, facilitator of a peer-led Write to Recovery group at the University of Strathclyde, tells us what recovery means to her.

Recovery to me is the ability to see things clearly following years of having a brain clouded by depression fogging my perception of everyday experiences. It is learning how to react in situations that may be stressful, in a way that will help me progress. My recovery is personal and can be done using any helpful method I see fit. Writing creatively helps me process my thoughts and quiets my inner critic. Dancing to loud music releases frustration and anger. Painting distracts me from repetitive thoughts.

My recovery, like many others have found with their own, is not a smooth process; like a cut knee, or a sprained ankle, it takes time to heal. I still experience massive lows and as I recover, my ability to focus on the highs and not dwell on these improves. Write to Recovery has been a tremendous way for me to open up and resurface after waves of depression hit. Participation in the group has given me the ability to reflect upon my experiences and share them in a non-judgemental environment. There were also surprises – I had never written creatively for fun, and now outside of the group I write whenever I can. I love to write, and channelling my recovery experience into something raw and honest is massively empowering, reclaiming my autonomy and personality after feeling so flat for so long.

With my friend Doro, I facilitate a peer-led Write to Recovery group at the University of Strathclyde. Helping people tell their story and having a safe space to do so is rewarding and helps me in the process, as we learn recovery techniques from each other. Recovery for me has been about regaining my voice, and Write to Recovery has helped me on the way to doing so. You’d better believe I am ready to be bold again!

Read other contributions to the ‘what recovery means to me’ series

You might also be interested in writing or reading stories on www.writetorecovery.net