I’m the expert in all this – Dean’s story

Mental health survivor Dean worked with his Second Step support worker, Rachel, to discover as much as he could about his mental health problems.

As a former athlete who reached national standard as a teenager, Dean fell into a life of drink and drugs when as a young adult his mental health problems took over. His symptoms for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), personality disorder and bipolar overwhelmed him and he turned to alcohol and drugs as a way to escape.

Survivor not victim

Time with Rachel more than 15 years later has helped him find a more positive attitude and connect back into a more meaningful life. He has learnt how to spot his triggers and what to do to avoid them. He now eats a healthier diet and doesn’t smoke or drink so he has the best chance possible to keep mentally well. “Rachel sees I am the expert in all of this and that I live with my symptoms all day, every day. She has empathy for me.”

Rachel encourages Dean to think about being a survivor rather than a victim and describes it as giving him ‘fire in his belly’. She says: “My job is about listening not judging and helping Dean find mechanisms to cope.” Dean says: “Rachel helps me remain hopeful even on tough days and my life feels more manageable and I feel more in control.”

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