The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Cry to be HeardNorfolk Christian author's book on hope

Suicide survivor Steve Foyster has written a book on his road to recovery, with the local launch in Norwich coinciding with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.

On May 16, 1986, Steven jumped off the top of St Andrew’s Car Park in Norwich, aiming to kill himself. Incredibly, he survived. This is the story of the long and hard road to recovery for his battered body and his fragile mental health. Steven’s humour and resilience shines through his narrative, as he battles through enormous physical challenges and faces up to the demons that drove him off the car park roof. 

A focus of the book is on hope and despair. Steve said, "Clockwise was one of my favourite films of the 1980s. The plot revolves around an obsessively punctual headmaster, Brian Stimpson, played by John Cleese, desperately trying to get to a headteacher’s conference in Norwich. The plot becomes excessively convoluted. The scene that sticks in my mind is Cleese sitting on the verge of a roadway dressed as a monk with the car that is his only means of transport disappearing over the horizon. He turns to Laura the pupil he has coerced into driving him to the conference and says, ‘It’s not the despair, I can stand the despair, it’s the hope’.

"Having suffered from severe depression in the mid 1980s and more recently a high level of anxiety, I can resonate with the idea of hope seeming so allusive, that thinking it’s within reach is almost unbearable. Surely it’s better to concentrate on dealing with the despair, unless the level takes us to a life threatening void? Recently I read from Paul’s Second Letter to Corinthians, chapter 4 : ‘ We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed’. Sometimes it might not seem that way, but in my darkest times I cling on to the fact that the Son of God and Man suffered in every way that we do, within His intertwined divine/mortal nature. 

Since 2016 Steve has co-facilitated courses on mindfulness and understanding and managing anxiety as a peer tutor for the Recovery College based within Hellesdon Hospital, Norwich. He brings his lived experience of mental health issues alongside a clinician and promotes the concept of hope as one of the key ways to move forward. He said, "Hope can sometimes seem as beyond reach as car keys dropped deep into a drain or the England football team triumphing on penalties. I try to treasure a sense of humour, having lost it completely for nearly two years."

Talking about mental health is less taboo these days, with celebrities and even royalty speaking openly, finding new ways such as podcasts to reach tens of  thousands,  many of whom might be suffering from mental distress or caring for those who do. 

Steve said, "Saint John reassures us the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. Furthermore Jesus Christ offers the greatest of hope that surely He is with us always, even to the very end of the age. Amen to that!

If you would like to attend the book launch at Revelation on Friday September 10 from 4.30 - 6pm please email enquiry@revelation-norwich.co.uk or telephone 01603 619731. Entry is free. Publisher Paul Dickson will speak about his involvement and Steve Foyster will read extracts and sign copies. £1 from each sold will go to Norfolk & Waveney Mind.

You can also order Cry to be Heard! at Paul Dickson's shop at www.allthingsnorfolk.com, or see www.pauldicksonbooks.co.uk/cry-to-be-heard-my-road-to-recovery

To submit a story or to publicise an event please email: web@networknorwich.co.uk