George Say Talks To Young People At Articulate Cultural Trust - Breathe

George Say Talks To Young People At Articulate Cultural Trust

Tue 26 Apr 2022

Breathe Arts Health Research was recently invited to talk to professionals and young people at Articulate Cultural Trust in Glasgow. George co-presented with Yvonne and spoke about the barriers he faced growing up and how he overcame certain challenges. This is his blog!

A quick introduction to myself, my name is George, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and mental health difficulties from a young age, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of the Breathe family for over 10 years!

Over the last 10 years, I’ve risen through the ranks at Breathe Arts Health Research. My first experience was as a Breathe Magic Participant and then Young Magician, Mentor and now I am a Breathe Magic Ambassador. It has been an amazing journey.

I was fortunate enough to be on one of the first-ever Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Programmes (10 years ago!).  But before this, my education and social life were suffering and I had a lack of confidence, anxiety, and depression. I refused to engage with strangers, and I was absolutely terrified of getting public transport. I had very little interest in extracurricular activities, I simply found them boring. But when I was introduced to the Breathe Magic concept it instantly sparked my interest. At that point, I had no idea the immense opportunity that was waiting for me and how it would positively impact my life over the following years.

After just two weeks on the Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Programme, I felt like a new person. I’d built my own social circle with peers of a similar age, experiences and outlook on life. My character really started to develop, and I found out who I was. I was shown many skills not only for performance but for later in life. I actually learned more from failure than I did from being perfect. It taught me to never give up. I stopped trying to conform and fit in, I was now happy in my own skin through the confidence I gained, however still humble enough to realise there is nothing wrong with asking for help.

Shortly after Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Programme I experienced a great deal of loss, losing a number of close family members. I really struggled to cope, and my mental health deteriorated. But I found comfort in learning and performing magic, it helped me to keep focused during this awful time. Breathe has always offered me opportunities and support, this has helped me feel grounded whenever I felt lonely and isolated.

The most recent opportunity of many was a chance to share my Breathe Magic experience with Articulate Cultural Trust in Glasgow. It is an amazing feeling to be asked to represent a truly life-changing organisation such as Breathe. It was a huge responsibility but also an opportunity, I was more than happy to share my story!

It is an amazing feeling to be asked to represent a truly life-changing organisation such as Breathe. It was a huge responsibility but also an opportunity, I was more than happy to share my story!

I was a little nervous about the whole prospect. I’m now a father and didn’t know how it would feel being so far away from my son, the pressure of being on time for trains and collecting tickets etc was anxiety-inducing. However, the amazing Breathe team gave me all the information I needed and were there if I needed them at any point. I travelled up to Glasgow with Yvonne, and as soon as I saw her, it felt like old times. Although we talk often, I hadn’t seen Yvonne in person for a long time due to Covid.  It was so nice to have that interaction again with someone who has been such an influence in my life.

The morning of the talk I was slightly nervous. I was going to lay my heart and soul on the table for people to see. It felt like I was pitching my life on ‘Dragons Den’ but how far from the truth could I be?

Upon arrival, I instantly felt welcome and at ease in the presence of the  Articulate Cultural Trust staff and individuals. I couldn’t have asked for a more accepting and creative group to share my story with. I felt privileged to be able to share my experience with professionals and individuals alike, everyone was so kind and compassionate. Through sharing my story and discussing certain issues, I felt as if I could end those chapters in my life.

I have to mention, that spending time with Yvonne was a true highlight. Without Yvonne, there would be no Breathe and I wouldn’t have gained the opportunities and experiences that I have.

During the trip, Yvonne and I reminisced about the old days of the Breathe Magic and we talked about life and future prospects. It’s very empowering being seen and treated as an equal by someone who’s known you since you were 12. Yvonne is very much like my fairy godmother and has always been there when I need her. She gives the best advice and best of all, she really listens. Whist in Glasgow I was introduced to the world of modern art and opera, something I’m not usually exposed to, but since returning I have a newfound appreciation. It was my true pleasure to attend and talk at Articulate Cultural Trust.  I’d like to say thank you once again to Articulate Cultural Trust and Breathe for the amazing opportunity!