David came to Australia from France when he was 4 years old. As a young boy, he didn’t feel accepted at school and had difficulty understanding the teachers and the work.
After leaving school, David spent time in hospital. Following a Tribunal Hearing, he was discharged and went to live in a group home run by New Horizons.
“Coping with this illness has meant I have to accept this path of my life and move on. I cannot allow myself to get down-hearted. Life goes on. There are more important things in life, like hobbies, family and friends,” says David.
David is now busy working for the House with No Steps three days a week. He helps with gardening, weeding, mowing, watering and tidying up. He enjoys gardening, and volunteers as an Easy Care Gardener on Tuesdays.
“My life started to improve when I was employed,” explains David.
“I was able to perform my duties and in turn, show my boss how capable I am. My boss doesn’t treat me as a schizophrenic. All he asks of me is to do my best.
“People are very appreciative of my efforts. They know that they can rely on me to give 100 percent.”
He also plays tennis and attends Wesley Mission Church. For David, going to Church is about meeting people and he finds the community accepting and welcome.
When he has time to kill, David likes to go to Chatswood shopping centre and have a coffee. He listens to music to relax and loves having a laugh with his workmates.
David has worked hard to recognise his strengths and weaknesses.
“I've had moments of doubt in my life but have had the ability to bounce back and show some resilience.
“To get through this doubt, I've had to consider what my strengths are, for example: self-confidence and belief in myself.
“I've got both strengths and weaknesses the same as everybody else. Regardless of my illness, I've learnt not to dwell on my weaknesses, but I still need to recognise and understand them to overcome them. This doesn't mean they won't be there, but at least I've learn to address them - and have become a better person for it.”
David also finds it important to share his experiences with mental health issues to reduce stigma and give hope to other people.
“Looking back, it sometimes feels like other people are getting on with their lives (promotion, family, holidays etc) and my life can’t aspire to theirs. But then I turn another page and keep striving forward.
“Everybody has setbacks – it’s part of the human condition. Why should mental illness be any different? I accept it and move on.
“Mental illness is just one part of me and I know I can still live a rewarding life. Maybe it might take a little longer to get there, but I know I will get there in the end,” says Dave.