Sarah Bowden moved to Stoke in 2018. She tells me that at age sixty, ‘she felt that life was over.’ Sarah has had to confront many issues in her life and has spent a lot of time in therapy as a result of this. However, the last four years has seen a huge amount of growth, due to Sarah’s hard work and willingness to change, to learn and to find a new perspective. One of the great things to come out of this is that Sarah has found a passion for poetry and
a love of sharing it with others. You can see some of it on the wall in the garden of The Village Hub here in Stoke. A lot has happened in the last four years and, ‘the right things fell into place for me when I was ready’, says Sarah.

Sarah recalls sitting in her bay window in September 2018, observing the life and happenings going on in Stoke Village. Around this time, she began Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). This form of therapy aims to help people understand and accept their difficult feelings and learn new ways to manage them. Attending sessions at Mount Gould and the Cumberland Centre, Sarah has done just this. Life hasn’t been without problems during this time. During lockdown her DBT group stopped. Sarah’s therapist also became unavailable due to ill health. Sarah tried her best to remain positive and lockdown gave her the opportunity to observe, to use what she had learnt from DBT, to incorporate mindfulness into her daily life and to create. Writing poetry was for enjoyment but it also doubled up as a therapeutic experience. Another important part of the puzzle that has helped Sarah to connect with her creativity has been coming along to the Village Hub. She has been here helping since the beginning in August 2020 when the building was having its old interior ripped out and has been in and out ever since. The sense of community, friendly faces and acceptance have been a positive experience and Sarah says she will keep coming along as she feels supported. The love and laughter help as well. She likes to give back to life and to people. She now has a mentoring role in a DBT group and shares her poetry and takes time to listen to everyone she meets.

The future looks bright for Sarah and she sees all that has happened as, ‘the gateway to a new life’.

Greg Paulley
Greg is a community journalist who has also been rebuilding his life in new and interesting ways.