Member Profile with Steve

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1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you led you to the clubhouse

After a stressful home life in my early years where there was lots of yelling, fighting and arguments, I developed anxiety and depression which led me to substance abuse which in turn led me to develop paranoid schizophrenia. I thought my life was over and that I would be living under the shadow of this diagnosis for the rest of my life. After years of believing in this self-stigma about the illness and after looking after my mother in the last years of her life until her death, I decided to start going to Clubhouse which I’d heard about from other friends.

2. What were /have been your biggest challenges on your personal mental health journey

Being around other people, finding and keeping a job, maintaining my own physical health and breaking out of isolating myself from society and just getting-by on my pension.

3. Tell us about your experience at clubhouse and how this may have helped you

Clubhouse has made me feel like I have a purpose in life and that I am a person with a future not just my mental illnesses. They have helped me to learn more about myself, my diagnoses and other people. I have also developed in the area of self-care and grown into a keen camper as part of my recharge routine. I am now improving in my skills of being around other people due to the diversity of people who come to Clubhouse. My physical health has improved and I have somewhere to go where I feel less isolated and feel like I can give-back to the society which has helped me for many years. I have been trying to hold work and although it is a struggle at times I have been doing an above average job of maintaining employment. I now have a car, a kayak and heaps of camping gear as a result of my employment, items which are useful for maintaining my mental health. I have developed great friendships with the members here at Clubhouse and for the first time in over 2 decades I feel like a regular person.

4. What would you say to anyone who is considering joining Clubhouse

Get involved and learn your limits but keep challenging yourself, nobody here will judge you if you make a mistake and without making mistakes we will never learn. It can be as easy or as tough as you want to make it but it is worth it.

5. What positive advice or inspiring words would you give to someone who is struggling

To everyone else I appear as a high functioning, regular member of society. You might be struggling but might think that this place can’t help you and for several years I thought the same thing. It wasn’t until I tried it out that my life began to change, so I would encourage you to give it a go and see if it is for you at least. The worst thing that happens is nothing changes, the best thing that happens is that everything changes and you find yourself in a place you have never been before.