The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear.

Prasad Mahes

My name is Dan and here’s a brief bit about myself.

I considered myself to be a quiet and reserved child, coming from a strict Christian household, as as I reached my teenage years I found escapes in the form of alcohol and other substances. In my teenage years and early 20’s I found myself searching for more and more things outside of myself to make me happy. Most of my life so far involved being around people but I never felt truly connected to them.

It was following a New Years Eve party in 1997, after many messy years, that my body rejected my lifestyle choices and I was admitted to hospital. Whilst in hospital I had a near death experience, and my stay in there lasted a few months. The following few years was one of an up and down recovery from the disease I had. In this period of time I began to start questioning all parts of my life, relationships, my views of the world, and beliefs I grew up with, I eventually questioned my entire identity. I began to realise how fearful and anxious I was, from my earliest memories, I noticed that guilt and shame were woven in to me and how all these emotions, feelings etc shaped me and played a large part in my experience of the world.

After my stay in hospital I realised I had to take my mental health and lifestyle choices seriously. The words “You can’t pick yourself up by your own shoelaces, at times you need to let someone help you” seemed very relevant. I was brought up in an environment where boys and men don’t share their problems, feelings or emotions. It took many years and a lot of pain but I eventually learnt to change this thinking and open up to others.

The years that followed involved me settling down, having a family and becoming self employed. The weight of these responsibilities became too much for me and I once again struggled with what life demanded from me. Finding again talking about my world helped me to navigate my way out of the mindset I found myself in and move forward once again.

The final catalyst for me to retrain as a counsellor came in 2012 following the suicide of my best friend.

I found talking to a professional helped me work through my emotions, empowered me to become the me I was meant to be, and gain clarity in my existence. I found counselling the most challenging, but life changing experience. It was the best investment I had made in my own journey. These experiences gave me the desire to be able to offer it to others. I would like to encourage anyone reading this to find someone professionally trained to talk to.