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The first thing you notice about John is how tall he is, but after spending some time talking to him, he looks even taller because of what he has achieved in his life.
John experiences anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. While these have made life very challenging for him, they have also enabled him to develop a wonderful support network. John’s support network includes his Partners in Recovery Facilitator from Aftercare, medical and health professionals, Getting Real Men’s Group and members from his participation in a Common Ground Men’s group. After John and other participants completed the nine week program, they formed their own closed group in which each participant takes a turn facilitating the group. As John puts it, “there is a very deep trust, support and care that warms my heart.”
The creative and practical arts are another resource that has helped John manage his life better, especially singing and photography. Singing in acapella groups has brought him great joy and a sense of belonging while photography has given him a sense of inner peace and strength. Photography is John’s passion. He loves taking photos of landscapes, nature and objects which he brings to life through his dedication and skill. He also loves taking photos of people. His photos depict their real selves, which he brings out through building a relationship of trust with them. These talents coupled with his incredible support network have given him a sense of dignity and empowerment.
From talking to this gentle giant, I myself have been inspired. While anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome still disrupt his everyday life, it is through these positive relationships and his talents that have given him the strength he needs for himself and to reach out to others.
Written by Duane William Katene
For other Gold Coast events and activities visit the Gold Coast Primary Health Network’s website: HealthyGC.com.au