"This world is evolving at a pace quicker than our own, which makes it hard to keep stride and to not fall behind. And when we do, fall behind, it is even harder to survive. Getting help is a terrible feat, and receiving the right help seems like navigating a complex cave system in complete darkness. As a Peer Support Worker with Neami, I am an individual who has endured some rather unfortunate events of my own. And that is what I bring to my role – both the successes and misfortunes I have had to experience, the challenges and internal barriers. I feel like I get to meet consumers at their level and work from there; like there is mutual ground we have covered.
Everybody’s experience of mental ill-health will differ from one to the next, but that I get to share and embrace people’s stories is a real benefit, and I imagine not just for me but also the people I work with.
I found that admitting to myself I wasn’t happy was only the first of many subsequent steps, with the real challenge being to overcome the barriers and resistances that the change cycle produces. I don’t see myself as a role model, but rather a beacon of hope; that if I can get through it, then so too can anyone, and I don’t just believe this, I live it!
I have been with Neami for nearly three years now, and in this time I have received both an immense amount of support from staff and insightful learnings from the consumers I work with. If I alone feel this, then I can only imagine what our consumers must experience."