Fishponds woman tells her life story to help change attitudes to mental health

May 07 2022
Fishponds woman tells her life story to help change attitudes to mental health

A FISHPONDS woman is sharing the story of how she forged a new life for herself after surviving sexual abuse, addiction and bipolar mood swings.

Eva Roshan changed her name to symbolise her new life and cut ties with the past.

As the UK approaches Mental Health Awareness Week, she wants to share her passion for changing mental health attitudes and reducing the stigma associated with sexual abuse and addiction.

Eva works as a mental health awareness trainer, creative life coach and personal development workshop facilitator.

She has published a book – Wearing Red – One Woman’s Journey to Sanity – and regular online blogs offering advice.

Eva now aims to become a mental health ambassador, working with others to reduce mental health discrimination and help change attitudes towards sexual abuse and addiction.

She said: "As a child I was sexually abused by my father for many years. As an adult I experienced alcohol and debt addiction, living with bi-polar mood swings.

"Most important of all, I found the courage and wisdom to overcome all of this and forge a new, thriving life for myself."

Part of this new life was her new name, both by way of a deed poll and a "ritual naming ceremony".

Eva said: "I renamed myself in an empowering and honouring way, in order to preserve my mental health and well-being. In other words, to help me stay sane.

"I re-invented myself to cut the ties with my past, saying goodbye to ‘Carol Ann Temple-Smith,’ as I’d been named at birth.

"My Chippewa ancestors would have been proud of me, as they had a tradition of re-naming themselves at important transitional life stages. My great great-grandmother was the daughter of a Chippewa chief, who married an English trader who ran salt boats to America.

"I took time choosing my new name, Eva Melissa Roshan.

"Eva has connotations of motherhood, meaning ‘mother of life’ and as I struggled with being a mother, I felt I was reclaiming that part of myself. Melissa has a mythological connection to a Greek goddess who introduced the use of honey, from the bee, bringing sweetness to the world. Roshan is Persian for ‘shining light,’ which I loved.

"Today I have become fully defined by who I am, not by my past experiences, fulfilling a dream of accepting and honouring myself."

Eva says she wrote a book about her life experiences "to show that it is possible to survive tragic circumstances, to come out the other side, and create a successful life of integrity, dignity and self-respect".

She added: "My intention is for ‘Wearing Red’ to become a testimony to the power of speaking out, being heard and releasing secrets.

"If my story of courage, hope, change and transformation helps others find a way through their darkness, then I have achieved a goal."

Eva's book is available from online booksellers, including Blackwells, Amazon and Brown Dog Books.

She shares weekly blogs on her website