Lisa's Story

November 04th 2014

Galway_jigsaw_tag_colourThis email was received from a Lisa on an important day in her life… The coincidence was fortunate. As I drove out of Galway's new coach station on board of the bus to Dublin, the first building in sight was the offices of Jigsaw. It was where my journey began, about nine months ago, in a time when my life was full of doubt and turmoil, in a time I needed help, and found it there. The Jigsaw staff, and my Support Worker in particular, were amazing.  Slowly through silences and tears, anger and relief, we untangled together the knots inside me, rebuilding my self-confidence and self-worth. Through Jigsaw, I learnt to trust myself again. I learnt to see a life worth living and fighting for. I learnt to break negative thought patterns before they become a reality. While I still doubt sometimes, I have never felt this strong, and at peace with myself. I mostly am on this bus today thanks to Jigsaw. And the greatest thing is, if my Support Worker read this, he would probably say I'm on this bus thanks to myself, because I made the decisions and the changes required to move forward. The humbleness and selflessness I encountered at Jigsaw is inspiring and yet I beg to disagree with it: a broken arm doesn't heal right without a cast. Jigsaw was the cast for my broken self, and I feel that without it I would still be struggling with the rumble inside my head today. Friends helped too, of course. My journey from darkness into light has revealed true friends along the way. Friends whom I pushed away at first, then slowly opened up to. I who felt alone like never before, I suddenly realised I was surrounded by wonderful people who loved me and cared for me, for they took on their shoulders a piece of my burden to ease my walk , regardless of their own struggles. Some friends were very present and very hands on with my struggle and literally took my hand and pushed me forward. Some were more peripheral and gravitated around me, sometimes unaware that I wasn't well, but still present for me and inspirational in their own ways. To all of you, I want to say a heartfelt, warm and huge THANK YOU. My boyfriend was also there all along the way, taking the strongest blow of my mental burnout. He dealt with the anger, the tears, the intolerance unfairly aimed at him when the problem was mine. It was not a walk in the park, and we struggled a lot, too. But to illustrate the old saying, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I am grateful and glad we made it through and now stand stronger together. Love is a fickle thing and keeping it around takes work, and I am so proud we are not afraid of getting our hands dirty and fighting for it. Thank you for sticking with me and being the best, most reliable team mate and partner I could ask for. I love you. And as I travel towards my next adventure, a degree in humanitarian aid, I look back at all the people and events that led to this moment. I always was drawn to helping others and always had an interest in Humanitarian aid and development. I never found the courage to try it professionally, though, pursuing safer studies and jobs, related to languages and translation, which, after all, are "my thing". I don't regret the detour. It took me to Ireland and to other jobs, shaped me and got me to meet so many great people. Much like I only learnt to drive recently because I was scared to before, I wasn't ready for a career change before. I was too conditioned and trapped within a mould of conformity and the belief that I should do things by the book and be grateful for what I had, for I had it better than many others.  And I was scared, so scared of failure, that failure I kept seeing in me despite what anyone could say. Why was I here? What good was I? I hadn't hit the breaking point, the wake-up call. My - thankfully short - journey into mental illness has taught me that I am solely responsible for my happiness and destiny, and that no one is going to do the hard work for me. Suddenly, what I had wasn't enough and I could no longer see a valid reason not to try to change my path. Not enough money for college? Sure it'll be hard but it will also be worth it. If others did it, so can I. Not enough knowledge? Sure I am here to learn and grow, and will develop my new skill set as I go along. Being away from home for yet another year? Sure I've done it before and my boyfriend and I are now more united than ever. It will be ok. The only thing that could have stopped me was a lack of drive, but that I have now, thanks to Jigsaw & friends. I gave it a shot, and it paid off. Now the real work begins! To conclude this impromptu piece, I will give you the quote that accompanied me through my transition and that I will carry along for a long time, I think. Dream big, dare, and remember: "Be the change you'd like to see." For more information on Jigsaw Galway click here