Michael Byrne: what recovery means to me

19th February 2019

Michael Byrne, author of Poems From A Mod: My Journey Through Trauma, Recovery And Survival’, tells us what recovery means to him.

Firstly can I say it is a privilege to be asked to contribute my article of what recovery means to me, it is testimony to the fantastic work that the Scottish Recovery Network carry out.

My illness is Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a bit of a mouthful, but it is a diagnosis based on many traumatic events in my life including abuse as a child, my father was murdered when I was 26 and in 2013 I became a survivor of The Clutha Disaster. I had a devastating breakdown which began in April 2017 and was complete in late January 2018. Since this date I have been in recovery.

So enough of my past, let’s get to what recovery means to me….it’s simple, recovery to me means hope. It means I have hope for the future rather than despair and pain as a result of my past.

As a result of the help from the Write to Recovery group at the Mental Health Network Greater Glasgow, I began to be able to articulate my pain and emotions through poetry. This became very cathartic for me, and still is to this day.

My ability to articulate my pain through poetry culminated in me writing a book of poetry called ‘Poems From A Mod: My Journey Through Trauma, Recovery And Survival.’ This free book about my breakdown was released on the 5th Anniversary of The Clutha Disaster on the 29th November 2018.

This book of poems would not have been possible without the help of Write to Recovery and Stigma Free Lanarkshire. Stigma Free Lanarkshire developed the artwork and facilitated the release. To have the help, support and encouragement of both these organisations has been overwhelming and in part has been responsible for giving me hope for the future.

I now belief I have a value, a future and I’m worth something but most of all I have hope. Below is a poem I wrote last year, appropriately named ‘Hope.’ I hope you enjoy it and can perhaps relate to it.

Hope

What is life without hope?

It’s like a shower without soap

Without hope there is nothing

We all need to want something

 

What is life without hope?

It’s like the sea without boats

Without hope there is nothing

We all need to love something

 

What is life without hope?

It’s like freezing in winter without a coat

Without hope there is nothing

We all need to need something

 

What is life without hope?

It’s like elections without a vote

Without hope there is nothing

We all need to stand for something

 

What is life without hope?

It’s like swimming and not staying afloat

Without hope there is nothing

We all need to believe in something

 

What is life without hope?

It’s like hanging without a rope

Without hope there is nothing

We all need to love something

 

What is life without hope?

It’s like having CPTSD and not being able to cope

Without hope there is nothing

We all need to wake up for something

 

Is there hope without life?

Is there life without hope?

 

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