Having spent time in care after losing my dad at the age of nine, life hasn’t been easy at times.
I’ve found a way to cope, which has helped me take positive steps forwards.
But… I find you can’t completely move forward if you keep slipping back into damaging childhood thoughts and focus on the things you can’t change. When I lost my Dad, there was nothing I could do to change it, and all I have left are memories. I try to think of the positive ones: we had some lovely walks in Cleethorpes, my local seaside town. I remember little things, like him putting me on his shoulders because my legs couldn’t walk that far. These lovely times stay with me: my Dad is my hero and someone I always look up to. These thoughts help me through tough times – I like to think he gives me that push through my dark times.
Growing up in care was a very difficult experience as I didn’t want to be away from my family, but I did adapt in the end. I attended a grammar school, made friends and made the best out a situation that I couldn’t control at the time. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes we experience things in life that we can’t control, or find hard to deal with. To help me continue to grow and stay positive, it really helps to shift my focus from the bad times and onto the good. I know that my Dad would have wanted me to have a positive outlook on life.
I’ve suffered with my mental health on this journey too, but now I find myself helping and listening to other people who really need it. Understanding what it’s like to live with mental health struggles and what it’s like to go through the care system, means you can share these experiences with other people and make a difference in their lives.
If you can find happiness through a dark stage in your life, you should always grasp onto that. Also, find something you like doing, that really brings the best out of you. I love my football and writing: these two passions in my life have helped me through some really tough times. We all have a gift, something that we are good at doing, and finding them is really important. And if you believe in yourself, it will make others believe in you too and you will blossom.
To anyone who reads this: you have the tools inside you to grow and make the best life for you, but first you must let go of what you can’t control. Start moving forwards, one step at a time, because you can shape your destiny. Live for now and let’s make tomorrow brighter than today, and make every day a new chapter from which we can create happy memories. The emotional rides won’t stop going up or down, but let’s make the people we meet smile. Helping brings out the best in everyone because spreading love and happiness can help lift others around you, and builds a network of friends who will grow and love with you.