Over the past 10 years Dayspring has been invaluable to me. Not only have they provided me with a safe and nurturing place to call home but also a caring and affordable way to heal.
The Clearing Anger course I attended showed me so much about myself. Without knowing it I was actually depressed and spending a lot of energy hiding it. My childhood had been full of trauma as I grew up with a mother who was suffering herself and spent several periods being cared for at Kingseat hospital.
Some classes such as psycho-drama helped me to be brave enough to face my past and move forward. This class truly made a difference to me.
This was so empowering, for the first time in 30 odd years I managed to travel by bus on a journey across the North Island, and cope with missing my connection in Hamilton without having a panic attack!!
Classes like the Fitness and Wellbeing I attended helped me to mingle with others and have fun exercising which is something I never did in my youth apart from the obvious benefits to my physical well being the laughter we shared was a wonderful distraction from the daily grind of my depressive thoughts. There is nothing more healing to me than a good chuckle with others who know and appreciate my journey.
All the courses I attended helped me to mingle with others with out fear of having a panic attack and I am proud to say that after 40 years of this burden I now am able to cope with every day situations that in the past would have tipped me over the edge.
I have always felt safe at Dayspring; the only thing I would like to see change is that the Trust get more support and funding. The people who run this Trust work tirelessly and with small budgets. I am convinced that with more funding available to them, they have the experience to make a big difference in the world of mental health.
I am now moving on and yet again there are members of the Dayspring team supporting me in my efforts to find a new home. I have never been more grateful for this support.
Sasha's story (name changed to protect individual)
I first came to Dayspring as a solo mum newly diagnosed with anxiety and post-natal depression. I had no idea what I had signed myself up for or how to deal with the catastrophe of a relationship I had left behind. I had a very unstable childhood as well as rebellious adolescence, I was also a member of a highly regulated cult. Life was frightening and with limited social supports I felt desperate to cling to any source of comfort or whanaungatanga that was available.
When I first came to the realisation that the highlight of my week as a 24 year old was attending a jewellery making group, I initially thought I had hit a new low. Now not only do I respect the skill of jewellery makers, but I realised that with each session I took home more than a necklace.
I got to have space from my child, which was something that was difficult to admit I needed in todays beneficiary-bashing society. During classes, I was provided morning tea and coffee, which I got to enjoy un-interrupted. I was even picked up from my door step and dropped off home afterwards. To those who have never felt isolated, suffered financially, or haven't had children, it would be hard to understand the significance of what I just mentioned. When I first started at Dayspring the morning tea was probably the most exciting meal I would have all week. I had New Zealand's most unroadworthy car, and extremely rationed petrol allowance, and little contact with other people outside of Dayspring.
Those 2 - 3 hours of reprieve also consisted of being in an environment with no judgements. When I first stepped foot into WINZ I had no idea of the brand of shame and humiliation I would carry with me as long as I was a young 'brown dole bludger' from West Auckland. At Dayspring there were other women who like me were stereo typed, depressed, alone and highly under estimated. We sought comfort in knowing we were not alone in our struggles.
Counselling became a healthy outlet, something that I now realise is not acknowledged properly in New Zealand's 'she'll be right' culture. I even got to take my son camping for the first time, at that stage of my life this was something I would have considered as possible as a vacation in France! I attended Mainly Music classes and parenting courses. Through Dayspring I completed both Toolbox and Circle of Security. Both of which were so insightful, I can proudly say I went from 'terrified women who somehow physically conceived another human' to a semi-comfortable mother.
Through out my my time at Dayspring I was consistently encouraged, praised for my successes, comforted and thoroughly supported emotionally. In Circle of Security there is a theory where everyone holds an emotional cup, and it is filled when your emotional needs are met. To operate in the world, everyone needs to have places and people to fill their emotional cups, and for many of us there is no one to do that.
At Dayspring I was able to have my cup filled, and with that I had the courage to step out of my comfort zone and enrol at University. I am now in my final year of a Bachelor or Business, majoring in Human Resources, Employment Relations and Management. Afterwards I aim to complete a Masters, and even aspire to a doctorate.
Apparently University suits me, 4 years ago I had the courageous capacity of a potato, yesterday I got my results from Summer School final exam - an A average.
I dedicate this to Dayspring and all the wonderful ladies who work there - thank you for everything.
PS: By the way I'm going on vacation to France this July.