North Shields poet hopes her new book will help others

Gail Curry, founder of Happy Planet in Whitley Bay, with her new book Lines from an Unfinished Love Song. Picture by Ian McClelland.
Gail Curry, founder of Happy Planet in Whitley Bay, with her new book Lines from an Unfinished Love Song. Picture by Ian McClelland.

A woman is turning her personal battle with mental health into a literary tool to help others.

Gail Curry, 53, from North Shields, has published Lines from an Unfinished Love Song to chart her journey back to health from the depths of post traumatic stress disorder following a series of events that began with the tragic death of her wife Yelena in December 2013.

The collection of poems is to be launched at a public event at Whitley Bay library on October 24, at 7pm, to mark World Mental Health Day.

Gail is donating all proceeds from the sale of her book to Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland.

Gail said: “I didn’t set out to write a book however, in one of the regular poetry workshops I hold at Happy Planet Creative Arts, a friend suggested the collection of poems I had amassed conveying my struggles since Yelena’s death could indeed be helpful to others suffering with similar mental health issues to myself.

“My wife Yelena lived in Siberia and we had known each other for about 13 years before deciding to move abroad to be with one another full-time.

“We had decided to emigrate together to New Zealand. Unfortunately, just two months before we were due to move, tragedy struck and Yelena was killed in a landslide.

“Only weeks after her death I was burgled and woke up to find two men in my bedroom. This event triggered the re-emergence of a rape I suffered as a teenager.

“In the months following, my mental health was deteriorating rapidly.”

“I finally began treatment for what was diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in October 2016. In the previous two years I had lost hope of ever recovering and it was a deeply difficult time.

“The poems chosen for my book chart my journey from when I loved my life starting 17 years ago and continue through to this year.”

Happy Planet Creative Arts is a social enterprise in Whitley Bay showcasing the works of artists from all over the region in a retail space dedicated to providing a platform for smaller creative businesses and individuals seeking to connect with customers.

North Tyneside Business Factory and TEDCO Business Support have assisted Gail in every step of her start-up journey.

Gail said: “Having the support of Janice Ross, my business advisor has been absolutely essential in keeping the business on an even keel.

“I consider Janice to be a friend as well as mentor and she has worked on all aspects of Happy Planet with me, from the intricacies of running a retail business to reassuring me the business was on the right track at times when I really needed it.

“Her input has been invaluable.

“I take small steps everyday, each one of them taking me closer to my goal of loving my life again.

“I hope that by reading the book other people who identify with the issues and struggles contained within it can come out the other side with the hope that a positive future and recovery can lie ahead.”

To book tickets for the launch at Whitley Bay Library contact (0191) 643 5390.

For further information on Happy Planet Creative Arts visit www.happyplanetcreativearts.org.uk