A former Spalding schoolboy’s latest book is being published as part of an inspirational series promoting the idea that mental illness should be talked about freely and without fear.
Mark Edwards (54) was abused in care, sectioned to a mental hospital after attempting suicide and was also homeless for a short time.
Labelled a violent boy with no hope and a troubled young man, Mark is now a successful, family man, ordained in the Anglican Church, a prominent figure in his local community and a holder of the MBE and Queens Diamond Jubilee medal.
By sharing his story in ‘Life After Care: A Lost Cause to MBE’ he hopes to show others there is hope in the most despairing of situations.
His latest book – which follows ‘Tears in the Dark; A Journey of Hope’ and ‘Beyond the Collar; Confessions of a Vicar’ – is being published as part of the inspirational Pulling the Trigger range by Trigger Press.
It follows his journey with anxiety, panic attacks and depression and tells of the enduring impact his childhood had on his mental health.
“I was a special needs child and written off by the educational system, by social services, by the NHS and even armed forces when I tried to join.
“I was considered a hopeless cause who would either spend his time in and out of prison, mental institutions or eventually commit suicide,” says Mark, who grew up in care at Ivo Cottage, in Albion Street, Spalding and attended the Gleed Boys’ School.
“My journey to ordination was not easy – I had to fight against prejudice even within the church. I would be first to admit I carried a huge working class chip on my shoulders for many years and was content for a long time to play the victim.
“It’s has been a tough journey but I found faith, hope and love and continue to thrive despite the many disadvantages I suffered as a child and young man. I still wrestle with my mental health issues but through my faith, my marriage, my service to the community I am able to continue to give something back rather than be a victim.”
Mark’s diary entries from the 1980s bring to life the thoughts and feelings of his teenage self, struggling to understand how he came to be placed in care, and how to deal with his adolescent feelings of loss and love.
“Mental health issues are continually being discussed and talked about in the media, which has helped remove the stigma attached to the label,” says Mark, who now lives in Dinnington, near Newcastle upon Tyne.
“I felt it was the right time to try and publish some extracts from a journal I kept as a teenager while sectioned under the mental health act.
“I wanted to show it is possible to move on from being a victim to a victor and give others struggling with mental health issues hope.
“ To show that a difficult past is not a barrier to living a full and productive life and finding peace happiness contentment and fulfillment while giving something back to society.”
• Life After Care is available to pre-order from Amazon now.