I have always loved reading and writing and if you had met me as a child, I would have been scribbling in a notebook, typing stories on my typewriter or creating mini-books.
As a doctor, who specialised in the care of working age adults with complex disabilities (Rehabilitation Medicine), I am no stranger to illness, loss and grief, both as a witness to the experiences of others, but from my own personal experiences too.
Six weeks before my Medical School final exams, my younger brother died as a result of advanced colon cancer he had been bravely dealing with since the age of 19. It was a truly bewildering time for us as a family, but many important decisions needed to be made, like, "do I or don't I sit Finals exams?" after five enjoyable but arduous years at medical school.
Three months later, I entered into the whirlwind of life as a trainee doctor, which gave me little time to think and process my brother’s death.
It was a year or so later, when Grief took charge, and like a well-meaning but firm,wise advisor, signalled to me that I really did have to stop, and process things.
During that year, I started writing stories again, as well as reading and writing poetry for the first time since secondary school. I found that by giving myself space and time to express my creativity once more, that I was once more accessing the familiarity of my self, and the essence of who I am, and who I have always been - a writer.
This powerful reflection was instrumental in my early grief process, and I went on to formally learn about the principles and different methods of therapeutic writing (another term for Writing for Wellbeing). It was through the growing knowledge of these fields, as well as via the personal benefits I derived from writing during this period, that I realised that I wanted to help others not only as a doctor, but also to help others discover the potentially healing aspects of creative writing too.
Immersing myself into the wonderful world of literature and writing groups for the past 25 years, as well as facilitating my own writing groups in Mental Health settings and in Medical Education, has helped me to develop invaluable new skills which I have used use in my caring and education roles, as well as to hone the craft of writing.
Writing continues to be one of the main ways I express myself, for enjoyment as well as for reflection and healing.
It is this love of and this potential of writing, which I would very much like to share with you, in my workshops.