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The Drive Project

On 4th October 2022, we were fortunate enough to participate in a storytelling workshop from Nerys Pearce, a former combat paramedic who became paralysed after a motorbike accident in 2008. An initial discussion about the power of storytelling and the reasons why people are often hesitant to share their experiences with those around them was followed by a deeply moving monologue from Nerys which recounted her own experience and the emotional challenges she faced in her recovery. After talking so openly and honestly about her journey, a conversation about the importance of resilience and its relevance to working as a medical professional become all the more poignant. 
Nerys' story was deeply moving, she spoke frankly about her injury and how this changed her life. She discussed how her physical injuries limited what she was able to do independently and prevented her from doing the things she cherished most, such as being outdoors. This change altered Nerys' sense of identity and led to feelings of isolation and eventually suicidal ideation and an attempt on her life. The honesty and emotional vulnerability she conveyed demonstrated so much strength –  and the merits of openly discussing feelings. 
We spoke about physical and mental maladaptive and advantageous coping strategies and how we can develop strategies to deal with daily adversities which can build up and impact our mood and self-esteem. Having the opportunity to discuss adversity with someone who has experienced a life-changing injury was deeply inspiring and inevitably lead to reflections about how we cope with everyday life and larger life problems. The candid nature of the workshop meant that it became easier to discuss adversities we face whether academic or related to mental health and emotional wellbeing. 

Moya Thomas

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