Alexander the Advocate
Alexander’s long term goal is to help others; however, first, as he says, he needs to help himself. In September, he finally got the chance to in a big way!
When St Vincent de Paul Society NSW’s Ability Links City team made a callout for participants for an RU OK Day Event, Alexander was asked if he’d like to be interviewed on stage about his life experiences with mental illness. He jumped at the chance. One of Alexander’s primary motivations is telling stories; and he does so with aplomb.
Alexander was nervous the entire day before the RU OK Event, but he described the nervous energy as electric rather than terrifying. On stage he opened up about his late wife, his stroke, his depressive episodes, and his unique ways of coping.
After, Alexander gushed about how it made him feel like he was truly contributing to helping others in some small capacity, and he found the experience therapeutic for himself as well. He talked about wanting to be a mental health advocate for the community, either through writing or speaking about his experiences.
Since working with Ability Links, Alexander has downloaded Instagram so he could share his beach photography. Through Instagram he has made a connection with a local cupcake baker, which has ignited his own desire to bake. From there, he has revitalized his friendship with his neighbour by sharing his freshly baked cupcakes.
These changes may seem incremental on the surface; however, coupled with his newfound desire to be a mental health advocate and share his story far and wide they’ve had a profound impact on Alexander’s sense of community, and his sense of self. “The Journey continues…” he states, as he ponders the next steps.