I’m in control of my life again

Monday 9 November 2020

A few years ago, life got pretty overwhelming, and I spiralled out of control.

I was having epileptic seizures most days, and my full-time job was cut back to parttime. I was hit hard when my parents and a few close friends passed away in quick succession. I became homeless, and started couch-surfing. I quit my job altogether and turned to drinking as an escape. I had a pretty bleak outlook, and I needed help to find a way out.

When I heard about Britannia House The Paa, I wandered down there to chat with the staff. I could tell it was the right environment to turn my life around, and I moved in the following day. I was welcomed with open arms. They explained their approach to me, based on Maori principles, and asked what other ideas might speak to me as well. I remember from the first group meeting, I felt comfortable to start talking about my problems for the first time. I took up all the opportunities on offer, from the group activities to Drug and Alcohol support, oneon-one counselling, and budgeting advice. I even volunteered for groundskeeping duties too. There was always someone there to talk to, and all the support made me feel invested in the place, and myself. It was the base that I needed to get back on track.

While I was at The Paa, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. The staff cared for me, supported me with the technical stuff, and took me to and from my appointments when I was going through chemotherapy. Just knowing that I had a group of people I could rely on kept my spirits up. I’m now waiting for the results on my latest scans. All I can do is hope for the best, so I’m taking each day at a time, and looking forward to what’s coming in my next chapter.

I’ve now moved into my own flat, and I love it here. I belong to a church community and feel really connected with the people around me. I’ve been reaching out to family and friends who I haven’t talked to for years as well. This Christmas I’m really looking forward to having some of my family from down south coming to visit me in my home.

My options for work are pretty limited because of my epilepsy, so I’ve been volunteering at the local veggie co-op. I’m also passionate about sharing my own experiences with younger people who are struggling, and The Paa knows that I’m always available for someone who’s in a similar situation to what I was. To me, being there and supporting each other is a cycle. By helping someone when they need it means they can go on to help someone else, and so on. Giving back makes me feel really good about myself, and I know I’m part of something good.

It feels marvelous to be in control of my life again!

Media Contact: Kieran Meredith, 027 879 2336

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