Four of the most important things I have done with my life over the last few years have been:
- walking away from my job
- asking my GP for help
- accepting the help that was offered and working with it
- finding Diamond House
With fighting the demons from the black hole, it took 3 attempts for me to walk through the front doors. On entering I have found a place that opened their heart to me with help, friendship and hope. This is given to all that attend Diamond House.
I’m happy, feeling better with myself and enjoy my times at Diamond House due to all the support given. Without all who are involved at Diamond House and with all the support given, I do not know where I would be today as to falling into that black hole of hell, a place I do not wish to be in again.
I was always a hyperactive child and in hindsight I more than likely suffered from ADHD. As a result, I struggled through school and education in general but I eventually found music which ultimately provided me some joy and peace in my “full on” existence. Fortunately, it still does.
I grew up in Greenacres with my parents, brother and sister and stumbled through both primary and secondary school in the same area. Eventually I left school and started a welding apprenticeship with my father and worked alongside him for four years. Even then I couldn’t slow down going flat out with all tasks but as a result of a racing mind, I needed to take notes to make sure I remembered all the work directions I was given. At times every day was so fast paced that I felt totally out of control and then I would have periods where nothing of any significance mattered.
My father passed away at the early age of 58 and it is only recently that I had realised that cramming my days full of expending energy allowed me to avoid the grieving process. After ill health and herself battling anxiety and depression, I took on the responsibility of nursing my mother. Eventually she was placed in a nursing home. At this point I enrolled to do a 12-week course to nurse the aged. I went on to work in this sector but found the challenge of working in an environment where I felt undervalued took its toll.
I eventually descended into state where I was unable to function as I had done before. Even my beloved guitar held no joy for me. Seven year ago I had a breakdown and after 6 months was finally diagnosed with anxiety issues and depression. I have been coming to Diamond House and have found that the social interaction with staff and Members has had a positive effect on my recovery.
Some of my family also suffer from anxiety and I feel that what I have learnt about my illness plus the positive outcomes provided by the support from Diamond House has allowed me to ably support those effected family members.
In my early years I performed well at high school and Adelaide University. I went to a yoga ashram and explored my spirituality. This coincided with my initial breakdown. I got really high and lost contact with the foundation in my life. Mental illness turned my life upside-down – things I depended on before I couldn’t depend on anymore. This was the beginning of a long path in the way of my mental illness.
The first few years of my illness I suffered depression, which seemed to lift for a while thanks to listening to a tune on the radio. Then my illness evolved into a ‘storm’. Actions and thoughts were disordered and disturbed. I felt like I was in a war zone – being attacked left, right and centre by major delusions and hallucinations.
These days I have disturbing feelings to do with thought. But I have better coping strategies now. For example, I have Clubhouse; I have GROW; I have my work and I have my family. They all contribute to my well-being. The good things I have gained from my illness are better friendships than I had before as well as stronger family bonds.
Diamond Clubhouse offers me the chance to participate in a Work Ordered Day, good sharing with Clubhouse members who are my friends and good food. I am sleeping better; I have more weekly routine; my appetite has returned; and I have more interest in my life.
Before Clubhouse I was lost and confused. I had been in hospital many, many times. I spent the early to mid-90’s growing up in a psychiatric hospital. However something was missing. I knew I needed more.
I visited my psychiatrist with my mother one special day in 1996. He told me there was a new place called ‘Diamond Clubhouse’ which was showing promise. Mum and I were excited. We dropped into the Clubhouse on our way back home. This place had promise – I knew it would ‘work’.
All these years later I still attend Diamond House Clubhouse. I learn something new here every day and get stronger and stronger as the years go by.
Diamond Clubhouse has made me into a better person: a person who is mature with his feelings, self confident and who has found some inner peace. I see my friends at Clubhouse as an extended family. Life would not be the same without the Diamond Clubhouse.