UCEN Manchester student shares powerful lockdown poem

Angela Whiteley poem UCEN Manchester

‘Five Elements of Hope’ explores trauma recovery

A UCEN Manchester student has written a moving poem about recovering from personal trauma and using her healing journey to help others.

In 2016, Angela Whiteley disclosed to police that she had been sexually abused as a child. A year later, after having counselling, she decided she wanted to help others and started counselling course.

Now a Level 4 Therapeutic Counselling student, Angela also creates handmade jewellery, inspired through emotions she channels during mediation healing. She told us about her inspiration behind the poem, titled 'Five Elements of Hope' which you can read at the bottom of the article. 

Angela said:

“My healing journey began in 2016 when I had disclosed to the police that I was sexual abused as a child. A year later I decided I wanted to help others, so I started a Level 2 counselling course after having counselling myself.

“I began my poem while I was relaxing in bath, surrounded by candles. I closed my eyes and all I could see was darkness. But as I allow my mind to wonder I began to see my future, and so the darkness became light. I then began to think what it would be like if all I could see was darkness, as this what some people experience if they are depressed, something I have also previously experienced.

“I sat back looking at the flames of the candles and thoughts started popping into my head about what fire represents. It can cause pain and it can burn you; all the things that trauma can do to a person. 

“Unconsciously I began to think about how my healing began after I disclosed. That was by grounding myself, slowing down my mind so I could think clearly, unpicking things that had happened and why they had happened until I reached the bottom. This was about finding my inner-self, my inner-strength and my inner-child, reaching out to her where she had been hiding for almost 30 years. 

“My next step was to bring her up from the bottom slowly, caring for her, protecting her and loving her as she deserved. This was the awareness of my new self.”

“The water element was about being reborn - as water is where we all start from - using meditation to calm the mind, which I found useful through my hard times of healing. 

“Then, back to the flames, which I now use as my tool. I use the flames in which I had as form of guiding myself, being aware of where I am going, and using my experience to help others.

I am now using my time during lockdown to unpick more feelings, and hopefully more poems. I have become more creative, using it to focus my emotions through jewellery, creating paint pours, resin necklaces, and cement crafts, and now I have developed an interest in making wired jewellery.

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Five Elements of Healing by Angela Whiteley

Pain: Darkness. No future. 
Can't see anything in front of you 
Beyond the present moment 
But darkness. 
Fire: I see that fire inside of you. I too feel that flame burning inside. 
Causing you nothing but hurt 
Nothing but suffering 
Nothing but pain 
Wanting to extinguish the flame and made it stop 
once and for all. 
Finding a quick solution so you don’t have to keep being in pain. 
Earth: Push your feet into the solid ground
And there you will stop 
Moving around, but you will 
be one with the earth. 
Stop yourself from moving 
So you can dig the ground.
Steady yourself, pace yourself, 
Take your time to connect yourself. 
Find your first fossil, brush off the dirt or dust gently and slowly as you would a bandage or plaster. 
Look at it, observe it and 
inspect it for what it is. 
Keep finding your fossils, bricks and stones until 
you find no more.
There you will find your real self 
The person you was born to be, looking up at you. 
Air: Take the hand of yourself, 
float back up to the surface, 
holding yourself, comforting yourself, 
loving and caring for yourself, 
feeding yourself, water yourself with goodness, 
but don’t judge yourself.
Keep yourself safe and warm, by tell yourself everything will be ok now. 
Water: Step into to the water in which you started. 
Breathing deeply, 
inhaling and exhaling, 
forgetting all that you have known, 
quiet down your mind 
from the outside world, 
where it is free of sound and chatter. 
Close your eyes and see a light, 
as you did when you were born.
That light, that once shined so bright, as never been seen before. 
See yourself in the light, 
as you did years before. 
Ether: That light, which is bright 
As a star, in which you have always been and are.