Strength through adversity

By Rise
10 August 2020
Following traumatic events from both childhood and adulthood, Alex was in a bad way. With a marriage breakdown, the children all grown up and leaving the family home, and previous hospital admissions, Alex felt all alone and at risk of homelessness while trying to navigate a world through the eyes of depression and anxiety. Alex was in a world of feeling abandoned, helpless and terrified. Unable to even leave the house without feeling immense fear, Alex didn’t know where to start or where to go.

Introduced to RISE by a friend, Alex was terrified, frightened and did not think of even being able to attend for an interview. With referral to the mental health team, Alex was eventually offered supports then offered a house and was able to begin to have a place to call home. Alex described the support was helpful to assist with helping to link in with stakeholders, someone who could advocate on Alex’s behalf and to even help with furniture  (a washing machine -  Alex described this as helpful beyond belief as the thought of having to get to the laundromat would evoke a feeling of fear and dread).

Alex described both Rise and Uniting WA as very supportive; assisting with putting security on the windows, changing the locks and even helping with paperwork. Alex described the Rise staff as very supportive who ‘go above and beyond’ and each support worker has helped approach recovery from a different angle. Knowing that there was support there helped Alex to get through some of the most challenging days. In a change of circumstances, Alex was required to work with a male support worker. Alex described procrastinating for two weeks and was frightened. Alex described past life events resulted in having no trust in males.

Since working with a male support worker, Alex described feeling safe, supported and considers the gentle approach and professionalism is encouraging and it helps Alex to think and reflect that life is worth living again. Alex explained getting new information and insight helps to feel empowered and gives Alex the courage to approach barriers and challenges in different ways. Alex explained working with a male worker has helped to regain the trust in males again. In the words of Alex – “ I am not a victim.  I will never be the victim ever again. This is the last time in my life I will be the victim. I was the victim of an incident that’s it. But I will not be described as a victim.  I am a survivor, a good friend, a good neighbour, a good parent, a fabulous cook, I care about other people......describe me as those. Not a victim.  When you left I was very positive.  I stayed positive.  I didn't allow the pain or fear to control my life.”

The Rise mental health program can help to make great changes in the people that we support; it helps to draw out the hidden strengths and highlights the importance that human interaction and hope can achieve wonderful things.
(Alex’s name was changed for privacy).

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