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Eugenia’s Story

  • People's Stories
Eugenia 01

Eugenia is a Connect and Do Peer Facilitator for Connected Words creative writing workshops.

Back in 2018 I’d been feeling unwell and was getting some support. Somebody recommended that I go to these creative community sessions called Connect and Do.

Creativity has always been a big part of my life. I’d previously been to art college but found that all the focus on technique, rather than passion, was stifling me.

“In my recovery, creativity helped me to work through how I was feeling. It was good for my mental health, so I went along.” Eugenia

I met Jake and Jade who were running the sessions and it was good to be amongst creative people in a more relaxed atmosphere. I felt that I immediately wanted to volunteer my time there and after a while, Jake asked me to become a peer facilitator. It gave me purpose and confidence, which was unexpected for me. After about a year I was feeling more and more confident, and I saw a job for a Peer Support Worker at Certitude, working with people to support their mental health. I don’t know what made me do it, but I applied.

I loved the job, even though sometimes it was triggering to hear some of the difficulties that people were experiencing. I worked hard, even though it meant I was masking my own mental health challenges. My confidence was growing, and I was enjoying the challenge so much. Then came the pandemic. Suddenly London didn’t feel like the right place to be and so I got another support role in Norwich.

However, I didn’t realise how isolated I’d feel during lockdowns. My mental health started to suffer and eventually I had an episode which meant I needed to come back to London to be nearer to my support. I spent several months waiting for accommodation before I was offered housing. I was homeless and sofa surfing, but I was getting the help I needed for my mental health.

After lockdown, I went back to the Connect and Do sessions and became a facilitator again. Initially I’d worked on the creative arts sessions, but that no longer felt the right way to express myself. Instead, I worked on the Connected Words sessions. I love the power of language for creative expression. It’s all about connecting people to their feelings and each other. It’s so powerful and it still gives me purpose.