Yessica's Journey Blog

Welcome to the Yessica's Journey Blog Site, a Journey through Mental Health, Wellbeing and Creativity.

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Chalk Circle Theatre Company

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

I was invited to a really good event at ‘Take Five’ in Norwich with the ‘Chalk Circle Theatre Company’. Concentric Circles hosted an art exhibition and talk based upon the subject matter within a play called 4.48 Psychosis written by playwright Sarah Kane. There was also exhibits of art on display which showed how people can explore their mental health difficulties through art. Suzanna Coppolina, Company Director and Adina Levay Artistic Director organised the event and had a guest speaker from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Robert Black, who talked about Mental Health and Psychosis. I really enjoyed the event and the Theatre Company have also asked me to do a talk on my project ‘Yessica’s Journey’ soon, so I am thrilled.

Robert Black from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind

Quote from Suzanna Coppolina, Company Director of Chalk Circle

‘Chalk Circle is a newly established professional theatre company working in collaboration with local and international theatre practitioners.  Our aim is to create contemporary, innovative, challenging and cutting-edge theatre in Norwich and the surrounding area.

This year we will be producing 4.48 Psychosis written by playwright Sarah Kane. Sarah Kane is one of the most powerful and controversial playwrights of our time and her plays have been widely performed in Europe and South America. 4.48 Psychosis was Sarah Kane’s last play. It is a poetic exploration into the struggles of mental health, dealing with sensitive issues such as depression, anxiety and suicide. Sarah Kane herself suffered of bipolar and sadly, aged 28 took her own life.

We, at The Chalk Circle Theatre Company would like to support and raise awareness of mental health and aim to host panel discussions, rehearsed readings, art exhibits and workshops based around the subject matter within the play. Beyond the traditional means of publicity/marketing such as posters, leaflets, magazines and radio sound bites, Chalk Circle plans to use alternative forms such as street performance, happenings, open forums and events. Chalk Circle would also like to establish ongoing input for this project, offering a professional the chance to help shape this exciting production. This professional would take part in the rehearsal process helping the performers to achieve a higher understanding of the process of mental health, giving the play and the subject matter the integrity it deserves.

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Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind ‘LifeHelp’ launch in Mind Associates Magazine

Norfolk and Central Norfolk Mind Website

Download Mind Associates Magazine

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Screenshots taken From Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind website and Mind Associates Magazine.

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind LifeHelp Logo

Screenshot from the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Associates Magazine taken by Peter Gianfrancesco of LifeHelp Launch

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind have launched a new LifeHelp service to help people who have Mental Health Difficulties. It is also for everyone who would like to improve their wellbeing. Above is a screenshot of a photograph which Peter Gianfrancesco took at the event of the Mind Associates. Trisha Goddard also attended the event and gave a great talk which was really inspirational. For further information please click on the above Mind Link to their website and see my earlier blog link on the launch.

The picture above was taken from the Mind Associates Magazine which is a regular magazine of informative information about Mind, Mental Health, Wellbeing and events which are taking place. Please click on the link at the top of this article to download the latest magazine PDF.

Screenshot of Mind Associates Magazine

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Fruits of the Mind Exhibition 13th-15th September

Fruits of the Mind Exhibition Information

The Well Website

Blog Article on Fruits of the Mind Exhibition Last Year

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshot from poster supplied by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust Fruits of the Mind Exhibition Poster

The fruits of the Mind Exhibition is being held on the 13th-15th September 2012 at the Forum in Norwich. It is an opportunity for local artists who have mental health difficulties to exhibit and sell their work. It is run by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with The Well which is a Norwich based art group for people who have experienced mental health difficulties. Maggie Wheeler the Trusts Chair is opening the Exhibition at 1pm on Thursday 13th September.
For more information and how to apply please click on the above links. On the NHS Fruits of the Mind Exhibition website I noticed a picture of Helen Simpson who works for the NHS and organised the exhibition last year and myself (scroll down). You can see my artwork in the background – green image. I had no idea it was there so it was a nice surprise.
I exhibited 2 pieces of my work last year which was great. I am exhibiting hopefully again this year with two images, ‘Dragon Fly Faery’ and ‘The Joy of Life’. This exhibition gives people a fantastic opportunity to show their creative skills and is well worth a visit.

Helen Simpson from NHS and Anastacia at Fruits of Mind Exhibition Last Year on the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website

Fruits of Mind Website on Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust Website

Fruits of Mind Website on Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust Website

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Take a Wellbeing Walk – Five Ways to Wellbeing


Five Ways to Wellbeing Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

The ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ has been proven through research to benefit everyone’s mental wellbeing (developed by New Economics Foundation, nef). Please click on link above for more information.

By taking a walk we can cover all of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and improve our thinking in a positive way to help ourselves as well as others. It is very beneficial and this is just one way of using the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Oz Osborne on Wellbeing Walk

  1. Be Active – Walking is being active, is helps your physical and mental wellbeing and makes you feel good. Walking has been proven to help keep our minds active and improve our physical fitness. It gives us time out of the house and gives precious and much-needed time to ourselves which is extremely important.
  2. Take Notice – Whilst taking a walk you will notice many interesting things along your journey which will be different each time you take a walk, the wonder and excitement of what you will discover – the beauty and amazement of  nature, animals, people, colour, texture, smells and sounds. The warmth of the sunshine on your face, the cool breeze against your face, the rustle of the trees and dancing wisps of grass, the beauty of dewdrops on a spider’s web, the beauty of flowers in bloom. The discovery of new things you have never seen before.
  3. Connect – Whilst walking you may come in contact with other people and have a chat, you may go with a friend, family or take a pet for a walk. Walking can help you connect with others around you. Connect with nature and your environment. Time to connect to your inner self.
  4. Keep Learning – Whilst walking with a friend or meeting others you may learn more about that person, increase your knowledge through discussion, talking and listening. It may give you time to think about things more clearly, feel less stressed and give you a break. You may learn more about nature and see things of interest, discover new things. You take in new sights, new smells, new sounds. You may decide to go for a walk to an interesting place you have never been to before to learn and increase your knowledge, you may take a book and have time to read in a beautiful and relaxing environment. It may even give you creative ideas, time to think, time to discover and develop.
  5. Give– If you invite a friend or family member you are giving your time to help someone else, improve their wellbeing as well as your own. You may give the other person new knowledge and understanding through talking and listening. You can thank someone which is a huge boost to someone’s wellbeing. You can laugh and smile and have fun – a massive help to feeling good about yourself and helping the other person. If you take your dog for a walk for instance you are giving time and enjoyment to your pet as well as yourself. Interaction and connecting with others is giving. It is important to also give to your own wellbeing as well as others. You can take a walk on your own, you are still giving, you are giving time to yourself and helping yourself relax, take a break and enjoy time out from the hectic and stressful lives that many of us now live in an ever-increasing stressful society.Oz Osborne and myself went on a wellbeing walk through my local area. It is a beautiful walk through fields and woods and we really enjoyed the walk.

Anastacia on Wellbeing Walk


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New Bipolar Uk Self Help Group in Norwich

Bipolar Uk Website Self Help Groups

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshots from Bipolar UK Website.

Bipolar Uk Logo

Great News – a new Bipolar Uk self-help group is being set up in Norwich. The first meeting is on Thursday 6th September 2012 and then every first Thursday in the month. It starts at 6.30pm-8.30pm. Venue is the Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, Norwich.
The lady from Bipolar Uk rang me as I could not attend and said it was one of the biggest amount of people she had seen attend the event – over twenty people.  Chris came up with the idea and is running the group with Gemma. I received a letter from Bipolar UK inviting me to the event but could not attend. I sent it out to the NHS and Mind so hopefully lots of people were informed. I wish the group well and hope it will benefit many people.

Map from Bipolar UK website with details of Norwich Group

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Helping others through Time to Change and my Blogsite

Time to Change Website

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I was thrilled to be asked by Time to Change to give some advice to a student who is doing an animation on depression. I really enjoyed helping her and I hope I gave her some useful information about how to get funding for her project and general advice about her script which I was pleased to read. I also gave some advice on managing anxiety so I really hope I helped her as I am certainly no expert. It was great to be put in contact with her through Time to Change and she is such a talented person and I wish her well with her project. That is what it is all about, helping others, and passing on your knowledge, that is what I love doing and that is what is important to me. Time to Change is a great organisation and really understand how to engage with the public and people with mental health difficulties and most importantly try to change attitudes of the public, misconceptions and fight discrimination and stigma.
I have also been contacted by people through my blog site which is great. Mainly to do with advice about animation and armatures. I was also recently able to help someone from the article I posted about the New Bipolar Group which is being set up in Norwich. They are new to Norwich and wanted to know what they could get involved in so I was happy to help. The web is such a powerful tool to reach out to others to help and pass on knowledge and learn.

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The Happy Pill which won’t make you gain weight

Article from the Mirror Newspaper

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Mirror Newspaper

I found this article in the Mirror newspaper and thought it was interesting. It is about how some Bipolar Disorder Antidepressants can make you gain weight. This new pill claims to half the weight gained. It is not available yet through the NHS as they are still researching it. I think it is great that they are doing research into medication which may reduce the side effects of weight gain. Anti-psychotic drugs like Olanzapine can make some people gain weight. I think people with mental health difficulties have enough problems without losing their identity and from many of the other side effects of drugs. I gained over 2 stone and when I looked in the mirror I just did not recognise myself anymore or indeed did anyone else. This can have quite an adverse effect on your wellbeing and confidence, to lose your identity is distressing. I am pleased to say I have now lost around 2 stone since last May and can finally look in the mirror and recognise myself. I am on medication but not on the ones which make you gain weight. Having said that I would not be here if it wasn’t for Olanzapine which got me through my degree and many difficult times. I hope this new drug is effective and also does not have any other bad side effects. I think research is extremely important in improving medication and ways of developing new methods to help people.

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Time to Change Mental Health at Work Article

Time to Change Website Article

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. 

I found this article on the Time to Change website really interesting and encouraging. It is about how having a mental health difficulty does not necessarily have to stop some people from working with support and the right job. I have found volunteer work very important is gaining confidence and getting me back to work in the past. I have always enjoyed working although I now find I can’t do some of the things I used to do due to having Bipolar. It is about pacing yourself, avoiding stress where possible and finding the right job which suits you. Something which gives you confidence, motivation and something which you enjoy doing. Something which helps to build your  self-esteem and taking that first small step which is so hard to do. Knowing your limits and getting support and positive encouragement. Good feedback is essential from employers and an understanding of Mental Health is essential. I have found it hard to work since 2008 and at times have had to give up many jobs due to Bipolar which is so frustrating.  However I am a fighter and a strong person and after recently having a relapse hope to get back to work as soon as I am able. You have to learn to accept you can’t perhaps do the things you used to do and adapt.  Medication also effects you a great deal and your capabilities. Work gives you something to focus on and a chance not only to help yourself lead a more fulfilling life but also to help others and society. Work is good for your wellbeing, whether it is paid or voluntary, as long as it is something you enjoy doing and does not cause you stress. It is important for employers to develop an understanding of Mental Health in the workplace and hopefully through organisations like Time to Change the stigma and discrimination associated with it will help many people with mental health difficulties get back to work if they want to and are capable of doing so.