I will not attempt to provide any analysis but let the power of the narrative and Yvonne Steward-Williams’s lived experience speak.
In this short video (courtesy of Time To Change – http://www.timetochange.org.uk) Yvonne speaks of her experience of stigma and discrimination upon experiencing mental health distress.
Yvonne is a Lesbian Single mother of a beloved fourteen year old biological heterosexual male child born via artificial insemination. She has a twenty year Mental Health diagnosis of Schizo-Affective Disorder and was diagnosed with Erotomania – ‘Love Addiction’ four years ago. Yvonne has been in full time paid employment with her present employer ; a London based Homelessness Charity with specialism in Mental Health & Well-being for approximately seven years. She works there as a Complex Needs & Mental Health Support Worker. In addition, Yvonne is studying a OU – Open University part-time degree in Combined Social Science with Sociology & Social Policy. Yvonne is also :
· A Schizophrenia Commissioner
· An Aspiring Conservative Councillor-she stood at the 2010 Local Election
· A Stonewall Ambassador
· A Mental Health & Gay Rights Campaigner & Activist
· A Time to Change Ambassador
· A British Quaker
· A Woman Freemason
· A Published author :
Stewart-Williams, Y. (2010). Altered Perceptions: An 18 Month Diary, One Day At A Time, In The Life Of A Mental Health Service User. Butler, London.
Altered Perception is an eighteen month daily journey from an acute psychiatric hospital admission prior to Yvonne’s 2009 acute psychiatric admission via HMP Holloway Women’s Prison. This diary explores her lesbian sexuality; the parenting role of James, her young biological son in looked after foster care, and the support she provided to a loved one battling with prostate cancer. In this diary Yvonne reveals that for her it is not so much whether mental illness can be cured, but what one does in life in between each acute psychiatric episode. A kind of walking between the raindrops, until the getting wet experience
For further information on Yvonne :
Yvonne is on Twitter (@Yvonne_S_W)