A Place of Connection & Care

My diagnosis of bipolar II has chronically affected my life.

Growing up I had a supportive family, I graduated from university, and worked in a variety of jobs. But over time, I realised that the pressures most people can deal with on a day-to-day basis were overwhelmingly stressful for me. Even on my medication, Bipolar II requires me to constantly cope with extreme ups and downs, and I was unable to continue working. Paying for my bills, particularly my rent, has been a relentless grind. Nearly 70% of my income goes straight to rent, leaving barely enough to pay my bills and buy food and there’s never anything left.

Coming to The Mission’s Community Lounge/Tā Te Manawa has made a positive impact on my life. It’s the simple things that are actually really meaningful. I know I have a meal I can count on during the day, which helps stretch my tight budget. That’s even more valuable in winter when it’s cold and the bills increase. The addition of having barista coffee is amazing as well. Being able to enjoy a proper cup of coffee sounds so small, but it’s one thing that’s simply out of reach when you have a budget like mine. It lets you feel like a normal person.

The unexpected opportunities that come from the wraparound support you get here are fantastic as well. When I had a flurry of bills I asked for help with food, and I was shopping in the Social Supermarket the same afternoon. It felt really special having The Mission accept my word that I needed help, without putting up a bunch of barriers. I actually found shopping there quite emotional, because going into a regular supermarket with a limited income has always caused immense stress and anxiety. I came away with three shopping bags full of food and household items I hadn’t been able to afford for a very long time. Ray even offered me a gym membership, which has been an amazing way for me to feel better about my physical health.

Tā Te Manawa has also added a new level of community connection in my life, and fulfilled a social and emotional need for me. You can strike up a conversation with anyone, learn about other people’s lives, and share a laugh. Mission staff and volunteers genuinely care about the manuhiri who come here. That’s really beneficial for your well-being, because everyone needs to feel cared for and loved. Here, you never see someone who is upset sitting by themselves. There will always be a Mission team member, or other manuhiri sitting and talking with them. Even people who do like to be by themselves are welcome to come here to sit quietly and enjoy a warm meal, a hot drink, and soak up the vibration around them.

I look forward to coming here each day, and it’s an important part of my routine. I always walk out feeling better, and the difference it makes for other manuhiri is palpable. You can see the weight off people’s shoulders as they head out the doors and face the world again. The Mission truly is a place of giving, empathy, and social responsibility, which is so rare nowadays. I believe you can truly save a life by offering people that kind of care!

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