A Network of Writing and Community Publishers

April 2010
06 May 2012


I awoke from a hospital bed, dazed and confused from an operation. The doctor reassured me that everything would be fine and wheeled me into the ward. The teacher who saw me sent me some schoolwork to do. I was unable to walk. My left side had been paralysed.

Confused and forgetful I got up and fell on the floor. I needed help to get up. My brain had not adjusted to lose the use of my left leg.

I was reassured with therapy it would return to normal use in time.

The Physio came every day. She forced me to take small steps. Eventually the use came back. I was able to walk to my parents when they returned.

I had physio for a year to improve the use. My Dad encouraged me to exercise regularly.

I was young and would like to be able to achieve the professional skills of a doctor.  

Nick Crump

My Therapy
A blank page, waiting to be filled is my space. My space to write words that flow from my pen. Writing is my therapy, where I am able to unleash my thoughts and feelings in a private world. If I'm feeling sad, depressed, anxious happy, free or if I just want to be free or escape from the inner me, words express and release the bubbles that boil away in my blood, waiting to evaporate onto a sheet of paper.

I escape into a fantasy world where I can choose to be someone else. I'm able to join the sentences like links on a chain, to take away the pain.

I have a special relationship between my thoughts and my pen. Writing is my dream, locked in my own world and time to be me. A time to write and time to be free.
Sue Rabbett


My name is Mandy and I'm happy.
I love to meet different people, to learn things.
I am a very outgoing person and always willing to learn different things in life.

Amanda Seldon

Therapies - A Haiku
Sad today, just pain
After day of therapy
peace of mind again

Cynthia Price
(Stevenage Survivors Poetry)

Into the archives of the brain we go
Consider the truth
Therapeutically words find a way
Hidden, they fester, out on paper they go
Truth can be found, good or bad
For the truth is the personality they try to find
Stress is a worldwide phenomenon
When read, each and everyone of us
Will find a route to help them in life
Look from the window of your mind
See the beauty of the sky, whether dark or light
Hear the sound of your mind tell its story
Is it worth the long journey of depression?
Breathe a sigh, calm to the effect of meditation
Don't know the route, read a book
Reading and writing come together
Sound and sight even if gone find its way
Have a day of relaxation, then start again
Hear the truth, that person whose attitude upset the applecart
Should know better in the profession they perform
But, they too are only human...
But, the truth of the matter is....
They need to learn from their mistakes, not brush it away
And perform a twisted tale as though it didn't happen...

(C)30.4.2010 Josie Lawson
All Rights Reserved
GROW member

My therapy nightmare

We all know about the work of the N.S.P.C.C. Well I think there should be something out there to help parents who are hit by their children. I've seeked professional? help to stop my daughter mistreating all of us in our family. I was refered by my G.P to CAMHS a few years ago. My daughter is clever and came across as ever so sweet. I was told at the end of our session that there is nothing wrong. We, as a family, have done all we can to punish our daughter. I've been to a parenting class and tried all their solutions. My daughter doesn't care what we do. A couple of years ago we had some home sessions with a family health support worker.  It was good to talk about things, but I got no proper useful advice as how best to handle our situation. The lady even talked to my daughter whilst in school, but she didn't want to talk and told the lady she had to get back to class for something important. She was allowed to go. Then we were referred back to CAMHS about another issue. When we eventually got our appointment we saw the same lady as before. After several appointments of talking about the same subject again and again, mostly about my daughter as a baby. WHY? My husband asked what they had discussed last time. We just got fobbed off and were never given a proper answer.

Then we were told there was nothing they could do.This time we felt the full effect of CHOCOLATE TEAPOT SYNDROME. These people are about as useful as one. Then last year I went to the school nurse to see what she could recommend. My daughter is turning into an 11 year old teenager. The nurse referred ME to see a counsellor. In the meantime i contacted parentline who I had 12 telephone conversations with. They were very good and I used their advice which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. Then my appointment came through for me to see the counsellor. I wish I never bothered.  I had 12 sessions of talking air. Everytime I talked about things she made me feel stupid, so at my next session I made out that things were much better. At the last one she had me putting little farm figures in sand to describe my family life. I think my 6 year old would have enjoyed this. I thought it was pathetic. In the meantime I will have to live with a moody teenager for a lot longer. As long as we do what my daughter wants we should all be alive. Unfortunately life isn't like that and that's why we have our problems. We've been referred to CAMHS again about my daughters weight. If I get the same woman again (on our last appointment she turned up 45 mins late.) I'm not going to go. All these people are all known now as CHOCOLATE TEAPOTS because chocolate teapots are useless!

Debbie Feltz


Walking in the woods again
Catching sunbeams
Sometimes rain
Smiling through the primrose pathway
A delicate beauty calming me

There's a touch of blue above the green
Where an indigo ocean will soon be seen
And the birds are so busy, singing, calling.
Soft squirrels hide, making me laugh each morning.

And this walk is my therapy
Links me to eternity.
Touching the wind, the seasons, the earth.
Feeling the oneness
Feeling worth.

Lucia Birch - April 2010
Stevenage Survivors


I am doing counselling. I tell them all my worries and problems and anxiety. I tell them about my past and problems of not being married and depression and anxiety and relationships and having hobbies and being independent and the right job for me. I was in the wrong job. I would like to do care work. Living in care homes, rules and discipline, smoking and eating a lot having friends, music therapy. It stirs the emotions and makes you in the mood for love and to calm down. It lifts your mood and you can let yourself go. Relax, it stirs the emotions and makes you feel happy swimming therapy is good; it releases all the tensions and is for the whole body. Stretch and you lose weight. It releases all the tensions.

Sue Horncastle


[This actually happened to me, about 9 years ago]

I woke up, feeling woozy and slightly strange. A nurse asked me, "How's the pain? Is it mild moderate or severe?" She had a soft Irish accent, which was a change from the Welsh accents of the night before when I was admitted.

I was still dopey from the anaesthetic, and I did not answer. The nurse went away, but she returned a few moments later.

"How's the pain? Is it mild, moderate or severe?"

I did not know what she was talking about. A hernia is about the most painful condition a guy can suffer from, and the operation had clearly cured it. Any discomfort from the surgery and suturing was so insignificant as to be of no consequence. I looked at her and gave what was probably a rather weak smile. At least she smiled back, which produced dimples in her cheeks. She gave me an injection and walked away, but she kept coming back to ask how I was feeling.

Eventually I was taken to a ward, where several nurses came and went. I was feeling bright and cheerful, and not really in any sort of pain, but they kept asking me about it anyway.

I was brought some lunch. It consisted of a piece of rubber coated in brown sludge, two small ice cream scoops of what purported to be mashed potato, and thirteen peas.

Used to institutionalised food from years of boarding school, I ate it. It was followed by something called plum cobbler, which was more like a piece of sweet concrete on top of pinkish juice. I ate this too, since it was over twentyfour hours since Mum and Dad gave me anything to eat, and at the time I was in too much agony to care about food.

A friendly middle-aged woman came up to me and asked how I was.

She obviously knew me, but I did not recognise her; perhaps she was a friend of Mum and Dad's. After a few moments she frowned and her face took on an anxious look and she went away, only to return with the ward sister. The ward sister asked me some odd questions, and then said she would fetch a doctor. The friendly woman stayed with me.
I asked,

"Are you a friend of Mum and Dad's?" She gave a non-committal answer.
Two doctors came and asked to speak to the friendly woman, so they all went away. A few minutes later they all came back. One doctor produced a pad and pen and prepared to take notes. The other asked questions.

"What's your name?"

"No," I said. "Wat's my father's name."

"I don't know," he said, rather stupidly I thought. "What's your name?"

"No it's not," I told him again. "Wat's my father's name."

He thought for a moment, then he asked, "Is your name John?"

"Yes. Wat's my father's name."

"I don't know," he said again. Then he asked, "Do you know what year it is?"

"Nineteen sixty one. Tenth of December. It's Sunday."

"Do you know who this is?" He indicated the friendly woman.

"No. Is she a friend of Mum and Dad's?"  He did not answer. Instead he asked,

"Do you know where you are?"

"In hospital of course."

"Do you know why you're in hospital?"

"I've had a hernia operation."

"How old are you?"


"Are you married?"

"Of course not. I'm much too young."

"Do you have any children?"

"I just told you I'm not married."

"Where do you live?"

"With Mum and Dad, but I'm away at college during the week."

The doctors and the friendly woman went away. After a bit the doctor who asked the questions came back.

"Have you got a headache?"

"No. It's my groin where I had the operation."

"Do you know which consultant you're under?"

"Hugh Davies." The doctor frowned, so I added, "He did the operation. He's a friend of Mum and Dad's. Will Mum or Dad be coming to visit me today?"

"I don't know." He went away.

I was kept in hospital for several days. Doctors came to talk to me and ask me more questions. The friendly woman came to visit, but she did not stay very long. Mum and Dad did not come. A psychiatrist came and asked me lots of questions: about me; my family; where I lived; what I did. I told him I was a bit confused about things. I had some spectacles that were not mine, and neither was the wristwatch. The hospital seemed to be different from the way I remembered it.

"What's happening?" I asked. "Why are so many people asking me all sorts of questions? When will Mum and Dad come to visit? I'm sure these aren't my pyjamas."

"We're a bit concerned about you," he told me.  "You can get out of bed if you feel up to it. Why don't you go down to the day room and watch some television?"

I put on the dressing gown, presumably supplied by the hospital, but I did not understand why Mum and Dad had not brought mine. I walked down to the day room. It had this enormous television; the screen must have been at least twenty inches, and I was amazed to see the picture was in colour.

A couple of days after this the morning nurse asked if I wanted to shave. I could not find my electric shaver, so she produced a safety razor. She also handed me a mirror. At first I thought I was not holding it properly, as the only reflection I saw was of a man in his fifties.

Later that day my wife came to see how I was.

John Malcomson
Heeley Writers


In my garden
are the memories
I keep within my heart.

Each plant
I cherish and water
as the seasons change.

The Kerria,
my husband planted and grew
to cover the brick on the back wall.

The yellow Rose
lifts its thorny branch
yeilds the fruits of Summer.

The Lillies
planted in rememberance
fills the garden with scent.

I water and watch
and wallow in the past.


Hi, this is the piece Anna wrote for inclusion in my poetry collection - On Calico Wings.
I have posted it on the gallery for the April challenge of 'Therapies' as I strongly believe connecting with the 'earth' is a wonderful therapy!

Jan Hedger

Gardening Leave

(November 2009)

Gardening Leave is a registered charity which Anna Baker Cresswell set up in 2007 to provide Horticultural Therapy for ex-Service personnel with combat-related mental health troubles, in walled gardens.

The veterans who come to Gardening Leave mostly live alone, due to the mental health troubles which blight their lives; flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts and hyper vigilance. Being at Gardening Leave means they can spend time with other veterans who ‘speak the same language,’ be outside, and have something semi-structured to do, in safe, peaceful surroundings where our staff and volunteers will treat them with respect and understanding.

The Horticultural Therapy the veterans receive helps to reduce their social isolation by giving them back confidence, self-esteem, improved concentration and physical condition. It helps to divert them from the flashbacks and intrusive thoughts and encourages social interaction.

In our first year, 125 veterans received 703 half day sessions of Horticultural Therapy and in our 2nd year, these figures increased to 342 veterans receiving 1,249 half day sessions. Over 70% chose to return to Gardening Leave and the structure, routine and exercise we offer.

GL relies entirely on voluntary contributions and we are extremely grateful to Jan for her generosity in including us in her book.


Sun Factor

Sunshine is my therapy
Long winters make me sad
For every day it's cold and grey
I feel a little mad

But when the clocks go forward
And the days are warm and light
Spring comes back into my step
I'm even more polite

I seem to have more energy
I garden in the sun
I walk a little faster
Though I'm much too old to run

Everyone is happier
Until October comes
And then we put our clocks back
And become a land of glums

So why don't we experiment
Keep summer time all year
We may find that it helps
To keep the Country in good cheer

And if the Scots prefer to
Leave things as they are today
Let them have their independence
And go on their "Scots Wha hae!"

Andrew Diamond
Newham Writers (Monday Group)


When I write
the words spill out
like blood from a wound.

So natural to cry
into the blackness
to draw the light.

My pen like a scalpel
digs deeper and further
looking for a way out.

Is this Therapy?
this probing and searching
this wanting? so much more.



Radioactive mud on rheumatic knees
for three weeks.
It doesn't take arthritis away,
but it helps.
Sipping water while strolling
colonnade from the mugs
with thin spouts.
Three weeks at the sea shore.
Just relax, swim,take suntan.
Eat and dance in the evenings
and listen to the cicadas.
Eat ice cream
and flirt with your eyes.
Do not touch.

Hop on the treadmill.
Move your limb
to the left fifteen times,
again to the right,
and in the circles.
Listen to the music.
Ride the bicycle
lying on your back
and watch the shadows
on stain glass.
Keep your thinking positive.

Watch bumblebees mating
high above
white bouquets
of blooming pear trees.
You are right
I do not know anything
about pain.
Marie Neumann


I feel better already with my prescription
for too much choice; inhibitions are beyond me;
acupuncture needles in the bum,
a 12 stone weakling at my spine,
and a visualisation of the pummeled body,
far below, with its bird's eye cry of
"This hurts me more than it hurts you"
Bruce Barnes


As Part of his therapy he had to come up with a way, a method, to help others. It was group therapy. He did not want to take it. It was part of his anger management. You had to share your idea with the group. It would be helpful to others. To help them improve themselves.

Dan had a hard time grasping all the self help, self improvement myth-cult stuff. 'Man you get in a little jam and this is what you get these days.' A brain washing at least that's what it felt like.'  "Now how can you improve yourself?" Dan Brown often asked himself. It was a rhetorical question. "I mean you are what you are. Who do you want to be right? Am I right?" He asked one of the other members of the group one Wednesday night. "Who else can you possibly be than you?" The member looked at him a cow over an electric fence. Dan left it go. Most of the people in the group weren't crazy, or dangerous or destructive, self or otherwise. They simply seemed haunted by a vague dissatisfaction. A yearning not clearly defined.  Personally he thought what made people so unhappy with who they were was all the focus on being happy with who you were. "Is it possible to be happy all the time?" He didn't really believe it was so. People thought they could trade in aspects of, or even their whole personality, as if they were exchanging bad gifts. Where would you even get an idea like that? Self help gurus? Did most of these people realize they just trying to part them from their money? I mean who cared if the method actually worked? Dan Brown had always believed that knowing who and how you were and accepting and allowing for your talents and your short comings was the key, if not to happiness, at least, confidence. He decided it was time for his own method. He would call it Dan Brown's Self Help Method. It would be basically nothing more than a greeting card. On the cover would be the aforementioned title. When you opened it on the inside it would simply say, "You're an **** get over it.!"  -  Yeah, that was good. He sat down at his kitchen table and made it up. When he was finished he sat back sated and satisfied a small pleased smile on his face. He didn't know if it would help anyone else. But it sure made him feel better.

Thomas Ritchie


When I write
 the words spill out
   like blood from a wound.

So natural to cry
 into the blackness
   to draw the light.

My pen like a scalpel
 digs deeper and further
   looking for a way out.

Is this Therapy?
 this probing and searching
   this wanting? so much more.



In hearts and minds
we try to define a
way of living to
rest our lives

In commuting days and
traffic jams that sway
with frustration and despair
we swear

While politicians compromise
to increase the strain on our
hectic, stress ridden lives

In queues we wait to
contemplate. The drugs we
need to ease our minds

Of Depression, Anxiety and addiction
the therapies we need to escape
these thoughts of ours.

And find that Spiritual path
that tames those running thoughts
and take that strain
which makes us complain

So assert those goals in
a positive show of force
to win that day
while the bugles play

Victory over our minds and foe
because today is our special
Therapy day

Paul Evans
Stevenage Survivors


My purple pen skips across the blank pages
Releasing old hurts and venting new rages
Healing is written in spiralling stages
I weave my poems, reaching through time

I reveal myself, a flower unfurling
Acceptance is here, fulfilling my yearning
Lifting me up, my confidence twirling
You read my poems, reaching through time

Ashley Jordan


Parental Guidance

Of right and wrong
Of strength and unity
Of values and truth
Of pride and humility
Of trust and love
Of saying goodbye.


Of loyalty and support
Of boozing and brotherhood
Of cunning and guile
Of discipline and stoicism
Of killing and maiming
Of being prepared.


Of screaming and entrapment
Of detachment and inaction
Of abject terror and disorientation
Of annihilation and tyranny
Of horror and revulsion
Of bloody mutilation.


Of flashbacks and agitation
Of night sweats and tremors
Of helplessness and fear
Of abandonment and futility
Of destitution and despair
Of final oblivion

There is an alternative!


Of flashbacks and agitation
Of night sweats and tremors
Of helplessness and fear
Of abandonment and futility
Of destitution and despair
Of crying out.


Jan Hedger


May 01, 10) Jan Hedger said:
Hi just caught up with the latest submisions as I have been on Hols! Well done the late runners - great and diverse pieces, showing the talent of FED members!

(Apr 23, 10) Ashley Jordan said:
John - great story, thanks for sharing it :-)
Jan - what a great way to promote a very worth-while organisation!
Sally - lovely that you picked up on the gardening as therapy suggested by Jan - and a beautiful piece of writing...

(Apr 19, 10) Marie Neumann said:
Hi Sally, writing is definitely therapy.

(Apr 16, 10) TheFED said:
Three of the submissions have been re-posted as they were not visible to everyone.
(Andrew Diamond - 'Sun Factor', Sally Flood - 'Therapy?' and Marie Neumann ' 'Therapies')

(Apr 14, 10) Jan Hedger said:
I agree Ashley, Marie has 'married' the two nicely in her poem - and where we escape too....!
Thomas - I love this wry look into therapy!

(Apr 13, 10) Ashley Jordan said:
Marie - I'm glad that you have highlighted the mind-body connection. Looking forward to spending the summer on the beach myself!
Andrew - I agree the longer days are very uplifting - but I think I'd miss the dramatic increase when the clocks change :-)
Paul - Wise words - seeking healing within and transcending depression is so much better than popping pills!
Sally - love both your poems, which both emphasise the healing power of words and heart-felt communication, the catharsis of sharing our thoughts and memories with others - and giving others the opportunity to do the same!

(Apr 09, 10) Jan Hedger said:
Two moving and different poems form Sally - yet are they so different in their message?
I think not - they are both poems to make one think and say hey - I know where you are coming from!
Andrew - topical and so true!

(Apr 07, 10) Jan Hedger said:
Refreshed after Easter we see 2 new poems added! Different angles, both worthy of a place in the challenge!Well done both!

(Apr 01, 10) janhedger7@googlemail.com said:
Great little poem Ash - powerful in a wee package!

(Apr 01, 10) Ashley Jordan said:
Jan Hedger - A brilliant start to the April Writing Challenge - it will be really interesting to see how this one develops!


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