Western | Manukau, Auckland

**This story talks about suicide and child sexual abuse. If you, or someone you know, needs help you can text or free call 1737 at anytime to talk to, or text with, a trained counsellor. For specialised help, with any issues relating to sexual harm, contact Safe to talk: 0800 044 334 or text 4334****

“My experience would be to do with mental health. So, I don’t struggle, but I tend to challenge myself with my mental health issues, and I don’t allow it to control me. Seeing how society treats everyone, actually helps me to deal with my issues in a way where I can be comfortable with speaking about my issues, and I guess my family, as well. Just having the sense of freedom to do what I feel is best for myself, that I’m a lot more capable of achieving things that I thought.

I grew up in Ōtara. I started working from a very young age. I was adopted out of my family. So, I have an extended family, besides my own family. My life, gee it’s been up and down, but I have no complaints of my experiences because that’s taught me a lot about who I am, and where I want to go in life. I’m just quite happy, quite content where I’m at in my life, because I accept things for what they are. I live in the moment, and I don’t go out of my way to be someone that I’m not. Just be honest with myself, and with other people. 

I’ve been single all my life. I came to the decision that in order to have a family I had to be responsible, and then I realised I wasn’t responsible enough. So, I’ve lived my life as a single person, and it’s okay. I’m willing to accept that being single is good, but then not having a family is something I’ve thought of, but it just doesn’t rattle me. I won’t have a family, because I’m just not willing to give up my independence because that’s been a big part of my life.

So I experienced racism at the age of seven. I didn’t understand it then. I do understand it now, but I also understand that people who are like that, I wouldn’t say are ignorant but they have a limited amount of knowledge of other people’s ethnicity and their culture. Suicide was another one. That was a life-changing experience for me, because I understood I needed help. The people that I wanted help from weren’t able to help me, because they didn’t understand what suicide was. So, I decided that I needed help, and I went out there and asked, because the hardest thing for a person like myself, being brought up in a very proud family is asking for help. I was taught to stand on my own two feet, and to never ask for anyone’s help. Big boys don’t cry. So, that was part of my life, and I’ve learned to change those things, I’m able to express myself better now than what I did when I was going through my suicidal thoughts. 

How did I get through it? I didn’t actually go to counselling. I had an issue with drinking. I’ve had issues with sexual abuse when I was younger, so I haven’t quite dealt with that, but I’ve learned to accept and to never blame myself for the things that have happened in the past, and to look forward to the future. Just learning to understand people who are going through these mental issues. So, I never judge anyone. I’ve never judged, because I’m currently homeless. I’ve been homeless for a while and it’s been a choice for me, and I’ve learned a lot and I’ve given back to the community. But I’ve never judged those people who have issues because you can lead a horse to water, but whether the horse drinks is another issue. You can offer people help, and whether they’re willing to accept that help is up to them, but never to judge them, because it’s a life issue and when people are ready, they will seek the help they’re looking for. Unfortunately, some go through the law system, and it’s unfortunate, but I also see that it’s good for them, because that gives them a chance to receive the services they need, in order to help themselves.

I’ve never been to prison, and I wouldn’t like to go prison, but I’ve been told that there’s a lot of good things in the prison system that are there to help people to deal with their issues, and I hope they take it with both hands, open and with a willing heart.”

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