poetry anthology

Healing Through Poetry: 'Hiding in the Sea from the Rain

In the realm of trauma recovery, the power of art and words cannot be underestimated. They offer solace, empowerment, and a voice to those who have endured the ‘storms of life’. This was very apparent by the success of our recent art book, ‘Broken Crayons Still Colour,’ which showcased the remarkable resilience and creativity of people affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (C-PTSD). Today, we are excited to embark on a new creative journey, this time through the world of poetry, thanks to the inspiring initiative of one of our PTSD UK supporters, Helen.

Helen’s inspiration stems from her own PTSD journey and her profound belief in the therapeutic power of writing, specifically poetry. Helen, who has transitioned from a career in the prison service to become a freelance graphic designer, reached out to us with an idea and offer that radiates hope and healing for people affected by PTSD or C-PTSD: compile a unique and meaningful poetry anthology. The goal is to create a body of work that not only raises awareness through the voices of those who have experienced PTSD or C-PTSD first-hand but also raises vital funds for PTSD UK.

I began writing after doing resilience training at work when I was encouraged to put my experiences into words by my trainer,” Helen shares, “and I realised just how much I’d been affected by things that happened in the past. Over the years, I’ve come to really love writing and reading poetry to navigate very complex feelings that I usually struggle to express coherently. I think poetry is an accessible way to put what happened onto the page and make sense of how you feel. PTSD UK has been a huge milestone in my journey and it’s thanks to the broad scope of information and support they have available that I was able to start to go through the process of getting long term help from the GP. It made a huge difference understanding what to expect before going through it and for the first time in years I don’t feel like I’m going round in circles.

I hope that this project will empower readers, offer a creative space to those who wish to take part and help raise vital funds for PTSD UK so they can continue to provide the amazing support they do to for many years to come.

Our vision is a poetry book titled ‘Hiding in the Sea from the Rain,’ organised into four chapters:

  1. The View from the Sea; focuses on the earlier moments of recovery, looking at how you feel and react to things, perhaps even while not yet knowing what the underlying reason to them might be. How it feels to be so submerged in water that you can’t feel or see the difference between the sea and the rain.
  2. Facing the Rain; thinks about the start of the recovery journey, looking at the rain and how to move forward, recognising that every step is still progress, even if it’s just to look back at the sea and see how far you’ve come.
  3. Surviving; reflects the part of the recovery journey where coping mechanisms are in place, and while there may still be some distance to travel, we know we’ve come a long way to make it through the rain.
  4. Thriving; is about what it looks like to thrive, or what the poet anticipates thriving to look like in their recovery journey, it is victory, hope, perseverance, and acceptance. Understanding that more rain may come and that’s ok. Celebrating your progress and offering kindness to yourself when you need it most.

Each chapter represents a different stage in the journey of recovery, allowing readers to navigate the similar feelings and experiences of PTSD or C-PTSD, ultimately leading them toward a place of positivity, motivation, and encouragement that recovery is not only possible but worth pursuing.

The beauty of this anthology lies not only in its potential to inspire and offer solace but also in its role as a creative space for individuals to share their experiences of PTSD or C-PTSD and recovery through poetry. It will provide a platform for those who may find it challenging to delve into painful or uncomfortable details but still want to express their feelings and stories.

The poetry anthology project aims to be:

  • A Creative Space: Encouraging therapeutic writing from people willing to share their experiences of PTSD or C-PTSD and recovery through poetry.
  • A Source of Empowerment: By the end of the book, readers should feel validated, motivated, and empowered to continue their own recovery journeys, understanding that every step forward, no matter how small, is a significant milestone.
  • A Reminder of Self-Kindness: The anthology will serve as a gentle reminder to be kind to oneself throughout the healing process.
  • A Fundraiser for PTSD UK: Proceeds from the book’s sales will directly contribute to supporting our charity’s mission.
  • An Awareness Builder: The book will not only raise funds but also raise awareness about the critical work we do and how people can access our support.

This project embodies the spirit of resilience and the healing power of creativity. It will be a testament to the fact that people can turn their pain into poetry, their trauma into triumph, and their experiences into a beacon of hope for others.

As we embark on this creative journey, we invite you to be a part of this transformative project. Whether you are someone who has found solace in poetry during your own healing journey or simply want to have a go, together, we can create something beautiful, meaningful, and impactful, echoing the sentiment that even in the darkest storms, there is a refuge in creativity, and recovery is within reach.

How to be part of the book

Are you ready to turn your words into a beacon of hope and understanding? We are calling upon people affected by PTSD or C-PTSD, which also includes friends, family, loved ones, and healthcare workers who support others. Together, we aim to craft a book that inspires, uplifts, and empowers in a unique and powerful way.

Your Creative Expression Matters

Your poetry can take any form that resonates with you – whether it’s a haiku, sonnet, limerick, free verse, ode, ballad, lyric poem, or blank verse. What’s essential is that it authentically communicates your experience, emotions, or reflections related to PTSD/C-PTSD. Your poetry should fit into one of the following categories, but for a unique and deeply personal touch, we encourage entrants to submit four poems, one for each category. This will allow readers to follow your journey and connect with your experiences on a profound emotional level:

  • The View from the Sea
  • Facing the Rain
  • Surviving
  • Thriving

Remember, you don’t need to have PTSD or C-PTSD to participate. Your entry could be a creative poem in the form of a letter to PTSD or C-PTSD, an exploration of how you see someone you care about versus how they might see themselves, or a powerful piece highlighting the positive changes you’ve witnessed in a loved one after PTSD treatment.

We suggest that your poem be a maximum of 40 lines, including stanzas, but we also welcome shorter poems to add variety and depth to the anthology.

Let Your Creativity Flow

Your poetry entry could be something you’ve already created, or you may choose to craft something entirely new. If you’re seeking inspiration, consider our motto: “Tomorrow CAN be a new day.” Create poetry that embodies the attributes this motto signifies: Hope, Strength, Courage, or anything else that resonates with you.

Worried about sharing your thoughts?

You can choose to use your real name (if you want to be credited) or a pseudonym (if you prefer anonymity).

A Chance to Shine Bright

While we’d love to include as many winning pieces as possible in our anthology, please note that not all entries will be selected.

However, we’re thrilled to announce that there will be three top prize winners, which will be chosen by a panel of judges at PTSD UK based on their originality, interpretation and impact:

  • 1st Prize: £100 Amazon Voucher and a PTSD UK goodie bag
  • 2nd Prize: £75 Amazon Voucher and a PTSD UK goodie bag
  • 3rd Prize: £50 Amazon Voucher and a PTSD UK goodie bag

How to Enter

The competition is open until 30th November 2023, and to enter, you simply need to fill in the form here (which can also be found here) :

By sharing your words, you contribute to a collective voice of resilience and healing. Your poetry will not only inspire others but also raise awareness about PTSD and C-PTSD while supporting the critical work of PTSD UK.

Be Part of Something Beautiful

Join us on this journey of healing and hope. Your poetry has the power to transform lives, offering solace, encouragement, and a shared understanding of the path to recovery. Together, we can create a masterpiece that speaks to the hearts of many and reminds everyone that, even in the midst of life’s storms, there’s beauty in creativity, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

Your voice matters. Your story matters. Share it with us and be a beacon of hope for others.

By participating in this competition, you acknowledge and agree to abide by the following rules and terms and conditions:

Eligibility and Entries:

  • Open to All: This competition is open to individuals of all skill levels, both amateur and professional, except those directly involved in PTSD UK and the judging process.
  • Multiple Entries: You are welcome to submit as many pieces of poetry as you desire.
  • UK Residents: The competition is exclusively open to residents of the United Kingdom, including those residing in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
  • Age Requirement: Entrants under the age of 18 years must have parental or guardian consent to participate. Parents/guardians are required to agree to the competition rules and terms and conditions on behalf of the entrant.
  • Free Entry: There is no cost associated with entering this competition.
  • Submission Format: Entries must be submitted via the entry form.

Technical Considerations:

  • Technical Issues: PTSD UK bears no responsibility for any technical failures, malfunctions, or other issues that may result in the loss, corruption, or improper recording of any entry.
  • Lost or Corrupted Entries: PTSD UK will not be held accountable for entries lost or corrupted during the upload process.

Usage Rights and Privacy:

  • Copyright Ownership: Full copyright title for each entry shall be retained by the author. However, by submitting an entry to PTSD UK, you grant PTSD UK a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub-licensable right and worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, display, and exercise all publicity rights with respect to your entry.
  • Usage Purposes: PTSD UK may use your material for various purposes, including marketing, publicity, advertising, and presentations.
  • Originality: Your contribution must be your original work and must not infringe upon the rights of third parties, including copyright, trademark, trade secrets, privacy, publicity, personal, or proprietary rights.
  • Permission for Recognisable Elements: If your contribution includes elements that may make other people recognisable (e.g., their name, your name etc.), you are responsible for obtaining their permission for the contribution to be used as described above. Additionally, we may request pseudonyms are used for others where we feel appropriate.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Winners’ Inclusion: Winning artwork will be included in the final book (title to be confirmed), and winners will be notified by email within 30 days of the competition closing date.
  • Prizes: The top three winners will receive prizes as follows, depending on their ranking: 1st Prize: £100 Amazon Voucher and a PTSD UK goodie bag; 2nd Prize: £75 Amazon Voucher and a PTSD UK goodie bag; 3rd Prize: £50 Amazon Voucher and a PTSD UK goodie bag.
  • Responsiveness: All winners, including the top three, must respond to PTSD UK’s notification within 14 days, providing any requested information. Failure to do so within the specified timeframe will result in forfeiture of the prize, and another winner will be selected from other entrants.
  • Publication: Results, winners’ first names, provided text, and their artwork may be published on the PTSD UK website and social media channels.
  • Non-Exchangeable Prize: Prizes are non-exchangeable, non-transferable, and no cash alternative is offered.
  • Substitution: PTSD UK reserves the right to replace the prize with an alternative of equal or higher value if necessary.
  • Disqualification: PTSD UK reserves the right to refuse entry or award the prize to anyone in breach of the rules, terms and conditions, or the spirit thereof.
  • Display and Alteration: PTSD UK may choose to display your entry on its website and in other media, and it reserves the right to edit, adapt, move, or delete any accepted contributions. While efforts will be made to credit authors, this may not always be possible.
  • Liability: PTSD UK, its staff, and Trustees shall not be liable for any loss, damage, or claims arising directly or indirectly from the use of your contribution.
  • Personal Injury: PTSD UK will not be responsible or liable for personal injury or death resulting from the use of the prize.
  • Indemnification: You agree to indemnify PTSD UK against any claim from any third party for any breach of the rules or terms and conditions.
  • Privacy: Your personal information will be used in accordance with PTSD UK’s Privacy Policy.
  • Governing Law: This competition is governed by Scottish law, and Scottish Courts have exclusive jurisdiction.
  • Publicity: Winners may be required to participate in publicity related to the competition, which may include the publication of their name in various media.
  • Consent for Use: By submitting your entry, you confirm that all persons featured in your entry have given you their express consent for their image, name, voice, or other details to be used. In the case of vulnerable adults, you warrant that you have obtained express consent from their parent(s) or legal guardian(s).


Please note that these rules and terms and conditions constitute the entire agreement between you and PTSD UK concerning your participation in the “PTSD UK Poetry Anthology Competition.” PTSD UK reserves the right to update these terms and conditions, and any changes will be effective upon publication on the website. Your privacy will be respected in accordance with our Privacy Policy, and any personal data submitted will be handled securely and in compliance with applicable data protection laws.

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