A MENTAL health service user has written a book of poems after finding poetry helped her cope with life’s challenges.

Amy Telford started writing poetry at the age of 11 as a way of expressing her feelings. Now 25, she has had a book of 29 poems published.

Amy was 16 when she was diagnosed with autism and was placed in a specialist autism out of area unit. It was a further diagnosis of Crohn’s disease that led her to having a breakdown. She was moved into adult services up and down the country before arriving at Mitford Unit, part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW).

The book named ‘Autistic Female in a Neurotypical World’, covers a range of topics.

“Poetry became an outlet for me when I was being bullied in secondary school,” she said. “I use poetry as a way of processing my thoughts and feelings; like talking without actually having to talk.”

Amy, from North Tyneside, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, said some poems were deeper than others but they all represented things she had learned from her diagnosis.

She is now using CNTW’s community mental health services and is enjoying her new life in her flat.

She said: “It feels great to have my book published. It’s a massive achievement which reflects my journey I have been on. It represents hope for others that are struggling and lets them know there is light at the end of tunnel.

“For me, poetry has been a way for me to express my inner self and process the world around me. It’s given me a way to share my thoughts and emotions especially as I can’t always tell what I’m feeling or what my emotions are.”

Amy’s book is now available from Amazon.