Part four or four.

The storyteller shares their experience of Multiple Disadvantage gathered by a community reporter as part of the Changing Futures Community Reporter Project.

So, Patrick, um, as a kind of last of five questions what have been the greatest advantages to come from what previously were for you? Disadvantages. OK, well, I'm, like, really lucky and really fortunate that I get to do a job where, um a lot of it is based on things that was, like, previously, um, disadvantages in my life. So I live the experience of, um, you know, addiction, mental health, criminal justice system and all these kind of things. And, um, I got to draw on that experience to try and make things better for others

Right. Um, and one of the things that I think come out of going through the experiences that was most meaningful to me was that it gave me and I understand it with people that are going through that kind of stuff. It can be the ability to connect with people that are going through that kind of stuff because, uh, there's some things where you form bonds through shared experiences in there

And, like, uh, when I go into certain environments, I can connect with people that other people might not be able to, because I know what they're going through. Do you know what I mean? Or like, we have, like an understanding of what it's like to be in that situation. So it gives me the ability to connect with certain people

It gives me a measure of empathy for people. Do you know that are so say if their disadvantage with depression, some people might look at a depressed person and think, Well, pull yourself together. Do you know what I mean? So I man up, as they say or whatever, right? But like when you've actually experienced that and you've had the weight of that bearing on your shoulders, right, And you like you wouldn't say something ignorantly, do you know? Or you would certainly be considerate for how you approach the conversation with that person

Because you know what it's like to feel like, you know what? I can't even get out of bed today. Don't want to face the world today. I actually don't even want to go downstairs and see your parents today because I just don't feel like I've got any conversation in there like I am like, I'm actually fearful

They want me to sit down and speak with them because I just feel like I am really morbid and really boring. And, uh, I just want to hide away like and like, if you've had an experience of like what it's like to kind of to what? Asleep all the time? Because you just can't face being awake. And then you actually wake up and you realise you've slept for that long, that there's no way you can possibly get your head back down

And you're just despairing. Then, like you have an understanding of what that's like to pass through that. And when you see somebody else that's passing through that you have nothing but, like like compassion in your heart towards him, Do you know? And if you could do anything to relieve that burden for him, then obviously, you know, it doesn't feel like a chore

It doesn't feel like something which is, like, um, burdensome to yourself. To do it feels like something which you're motivated to do. So I often think that the things that I've been through that was classed as disadvantages such as mental health and things like that

I've given me a motivation. Do you know? I think they've given me, uh, a degree of like, uh, qualification. If you like to talk about some of that stuff because I have an understanding of it, which some experts probably won't even have, uh, people that have gone to school and studied that kind of stuff

Um, you can learn about something inferior, and you can learn about, uh, you know, the scientific aspects of a certain situation. Um, but to then actually live through something and experience something, um, you get a different kind of knowledge. You know, Uh, so I could tell you about driving a car

You could read a book about driving a car, but until you actually get out and drive a car, the understanding that you have found that is like is is is limited. Yeah. Uh, so, yeah, so I would say that, uh, that's one of the really good things that that is, uh, the advantages, I suppose, that have come out of what were one's disadvantages

I mean, I mean an advantage. Now, I suppose even in a practical sense in that my job, uh, I have a position. I have a career that has come out of all the things that are passed through, do you know? And I help people actually help people to turn their what they deemed as disadvantages into advantages

I think sometimes that like what people see, is disadvantages and not disadvantages. You know, it takes like, for example, I used to always say, You know, there could be people that live on the streets, right? And it takes a real resilience to live on the streets. Do you know, like there's something that there's a real toughness that's required? There's like, there's there's an inner strength that's required to pass through some of that stuff that people who haven't passed through it know nothing about, you know? And I think that some of the things that you pick up in what people would deem to be disadvantages are, um, some of the characteristics

Some of the traits, some of the nature, some of the strengths are like totally transferrable. And people don't have to identify that they don't have to identify the potential. That's, uh, that's overlooked in people that may have mental health are people that may have, uh, you know, experiences that have been really traumatic

They've had traumatic challenge. Are people that may have gone through domestic violence or people that may have experienced drug addiction. You know, there's certain things which people that have passed through, you know, um, in terms of addiction that, like that, take a real kind of courage, a real tenacity, a real humility, often times which people are aware of, you know, And, uh so I think that, like, um, I think that characters can be shaped and forged in the fires of life, and I think that we should never like, uh, overlook that, especially in other people

Um, I don't just like to think about that myself and like, talk about myself, you know, um, in a proud way. And, you know, I can be really arrogant and be thankful for what I've passed through, and I believe that it's got me to the point where I am. I believe that God's God's used everything in my life to be shaping me and farming my character and forging my character and making me into a better man, and everything about it has made me want to become a better man

Everything that I've passed through, uh, but I believe it's much more about other people than myself on that, um, as a thread, um, alongside it, Um, you are, um, an active, born and Christian. You're a man that does what it says on the 10th, you believe in Jesus, and you live him out in a daily process. How do you find that balances with in your work life balance in respect of, um, the way the world is right now towards faith and towards in particular Christianity

How do you find that you can, um how do you manage to share your faith in opportunities where, um maybe you come under fire for what you believe in? Because it's so integral as part of your person, of who you are as a man of God. OK, um, so I think that people that know me know that I'm a Christian. Uh, I make no secret of that

You know, it's it's something that I really, uh, I'm more than proud of if you like it like there's a There's a word in God's word and it says if you're gonna boast in anything, I'm gonna boast in God, you know, and I they're grateful for my salvation. I'm grateful for my faith. I make No

Although all the other things, um, helped me along the way, especially in my recovery, were very significant. And I take nothing away from that. I believe that the, uh the biggest factor, you know, like me get into this part now has absolutely nothing to do with me or any world of things

I believe that it was, uh I believe that it was God, I believe that it was my faith. I believe that it was, uh it was a It was It was my love, that type they delivered me and, you know, took me off a slippery path and put me back up on a rock and steady ground. Right

Um, and I have no kind of, uh so I have. No, um I have no reservation about letting people know about that, right. And I think that most people that know me do know about that

I believe that, um, that I have to be considerate to other people. I suppose what? I mean, my workplace, Um, I know that not everybody shares the beliefs that I have. I know that I'm employed to do a certain role, and I know that, um, and I know that, um, when I approached the subject of faith in a workplace has to do it sensitively

I have to do it far away. I have to do it. Considerately

Um I don't always have the freedom of expression that I would like in that respect, I suppose in terms of, uh, what I like to be, you know, thanking God and glorifying God more in my workplace. Would I like to be, you know, expressing my faith in a more, uh, open manner? Sure. Yeah, I suppose

But, um, I also have an appreciation, um, for the people and where they're at. And I believe that, uh, one of the best ways that a witness it's through like it's through character and integrity. It's through, like, I suppose, um, I suppose he's not being hypocritical

I think one thing that the world has seen too much of I'm honest and one thing that I hear about a lot and it's a shame, you know, it, like breaks my heart is that, like people talk about, they've seen so much hypocrisy in the church. You know, they've seen people that speak religiously, you know, and they talk. They talk, and they have high expectations on people

But they don't want to work themselves. And I just always committed in my heart that I wouldn't be since in this walk of faith do you know, I would be like, uh, I would give everything to try and live as my love live, you know, and try and, uh, try and do things from, like from the heart because righteousness is born in the heart, you know, And true righteousness. It's not

It's not how people think I am. It's not how I present myself. It's about what I think in my heart

Do you know? Because if I have, like, if I act like I'm your best friend But in my heart, I'm thinking evil towards you, you know? Then ultimately, regardless of what you think and you know I'm working at that point, you know, and I'm having evil intentions and I never want to be a person that has evil intentions, I understand that people might misunderstand me. I understand that people will misinterpret me. I understand that people will accuse me gossip about me and slammer me because that's part of my work

That's part of that's part of life. And I think that happens to all of us. But my protection in times like that, the thing that guards my heart, the thing that keeps me is that I can look within myself and examine myself, and I will make mistakes

But what was my intention at the time? What was I thinking in my heart? You know, And if I can with all you know, honest to say that I was thinking the best, you know, for the people involved if that I was trying my hardest to do the right thing if I was, uh, loyal to God in that situation, and I can have a measure of peace regardless of what comes, you know, um, so I I always just want to be sincere in my heart and what I do. And, um and I believe that if you are, it takes a lot longer to witness to people. It's not something I can just go and talk about

It's something that people will have to seek over consistency over time. But I believe that that witness is much greater in breaking down people's perspectives than me telling you something. And like and so that's what I try and carry, and that's what I try and do

And I don't say I'm successful. It's a you know, it's a it's a process and God's been working on me, but I know I've got a long way to go.

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