“I know that my recovery has been definitely up and down. I’ve learnt more each time I’ve come here. So it’s good.”
Drew has been a resident at Neami's Joondalup Mental Health Step Up Step Down service.
I am at Neami Joondalup, it’s sort of like a communal hub, surrounded with self-contained units. It’s a much more relaxed place to be. The facilities are good. You’ve got that freedom. Everything’s fairly easy going and calm. It’s got that fluidity about it that makes it so much better than being in the hospital.
People at the Joondalup mental health service suggested that as a way of learning more about what was happening that I come here. I had hit about as rock bottom as a person could possibly hit. I had thought about suicide and even attempted suicide. I ended up in the Joondalup mental health ward and I was given a diagnosis of PTSD and severe depression and anxiety and aversion disorder.
This is my second time at Neami Joondalup. Recently I started hearing voices and that was something new that I’d never been through before. That’s the reason I’m back here, to learn how to cope with hearing voices.
It’s been a slow process, it’s day to day. Each day has its own sort of mini battles. Some days I wake up and I’m really good, other days I wake up I’m not so good. But I have coping mechanisms now that I can use and put into place when those days are really bad. I know that I can get through the day because of what I’ve learned.
Which is probably one of the reasons I why I’m here as well, because I’m learning something new. Not just about the world but about myself. Recovery is different for everybody. I know that my recovery has been definitely up and down. I’ve learnt more each time I’ve come here. So it’s good.
"The people here make everything easy to understand. Just easy to talk to. When you when you talk to the staff here you feel as if they’re invested in your recovery, they want you to get better."
I do a lot of reading. I do a lot of drawing, colouring in. They’ve got bikes that you can use and go for a ride. Morning walks, you can go down to lake Joondalup and that’s really good, the walk down there is fantastic. I do a fair bit of walking.
I draw everything from dragons to little cartoons depending on my mood and what it is I’m thinking about at the time. I think a lot of people here, when they do their drawings and their paintings, they’re expressing themselves and making their feelings animated. For me, it’s a distraction. Sometimes I use it just simply to doodle, other times I use it to express what I’m feeling, what I’m thinking at the time. It’s also a good way of clearing your head as well.
Not everything works straight away. Sometimes you have to practice some of the things that you learn. Some things work and some things don’t, so you have to find a balance between those things and that can be fairly taxing. But with the different tactics that we learn, eventually you sort of figure out what works.
I feel better now because I’ve got strategies in place that I can use when I get too anxious or too stressed or I have a hard day. I know that through what I’ve learned here, I can put those things into place and they work. Then I feel better for it. I have a better understanding of what’s going on now.
I know what to do when these things start to happen so when I start to feel a little bit anxious or when I start to feel a little bit tight. I can put these grounding techniques into place and I can get myself back on the straight and narrow and keep myself in the moment rather than lose myself and become a dribbling wreck.
I’ve learnt how to cook and talk to people and interact. The group sessions are really cool, cooking is fun. I’m not a cook but yeah it’s good fun.
I’m curious about why I am the way I am. Which is probably one of the reasons why I why I’m here as well, because I’m learning something new. Not just about the world but about myself.
I’ve learnt a lot and I’ve gained a lot. I think I’ve got a better appreciation now of the mental health system and mental health itself. I would never have known or probably even cared about mental health until I came here, and having gone through it myself and going through it myself, I have a clearer and better understanding of what mental health really is. Other than that, I would be in the dark. Now I have a light and I can see.
Some days I wake up and I’m really good, other days I wake up I’m not so good but I have coping mechanisms now that I can use and put into place.