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16 October 2014

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By Meinir Coleman
February 2003, Corris
A digital story from Capture Wales

A place of sanctuary

Meinir Coleman loves Elvis, the history of the slate mines and walking the mountains and forests where she lives. She found her special place of sanctuary deep in the forests of mid Wales

"This is Penybryn - my sanctuary. When the world outside my home is too much to bear, I would creep out of the house and go up to the forest, avoiding all human company.

The carpet of pine needles would silence my footsteps and the pine trees would hide and protect me. On reaching Penybryn my turmoil would lessen. My panics and my sweaty palms would disappear. Peace would come over me. If there is a heaven, then I was very close to it.

Sitting there, I could talk to the house. The old building didn't want or expect anything from me.

When life was hard - and I had to choose between eternal peace and the family that needed me - just sitting there helped me appreciate the love and beauty in front of my eyes. The secrets those old walls hold, they know my whole life. Knowing the families that lived and farmed here, imagining their lives and comparing them to mine now, did they ever suffer? or did they just live their lives - hard as it was.

Were there children here? If you listen very carefully sometimes you can hear the voices whispering in the trees. The old house heard when my mother was ill and the joy when she recovered.

I also told it that I had no faith in myself when I applied for work with the forestry after being ill for a couple of years.

I went up there the day after I was informed that I had the job, full of joy and hope.

I do not go there so often now but I still need to know it's there for me. Just as the families there needed and loved Penybryn.


Meinir Coleman

What's your story about?
How I coped with severe depression. How one building became my friend and my sanctuary away from the world outside. I chose to tell this particular story as I am one of millions of people who suffer from this illness. It is still not treated as an illness - it is a subject that is taboo. If my story can help anyone come to terms with their depression, then it has been well worthwhile. Also, my family have been through hell with me and I wanted to say thank you.

How did it go in the workshop?
The storytelling sessions helped you to get your story started and learning the different ways we tell stories was good. To actually see your film come together is a remarkable experience.

Your comments

"It must be nice to have someplace to get away to so close by. I know I would definitely love to have a place like that to go when life gets to be too overwhelming for me, which happens more than I would like. I hope you are doing better." Jeremy Hewitson, Chatham, Ontario, Canada.

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