They were sent from orphanages from the north of Ireland and Britain to Australia with the promise of freedom. Many ended up in the care of the notorious Christian Brothers where they were treated as slave labour and suffered horrific physical and sexual abuse. Between 1947 and 1967 up to 10,000 children were shipped to […]
via The Stolen Children – Hopes and Dreams Deported Down Under — Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland
Recently I had a conversation with a person very close to me who said,
“you have been living in the shadow of your family all your life and it’s about time you stepped out of that shadow”
That statement was to have a profound effect on how I had viewed myself for the best part of, if not all of my life !!
The conversation took place at a recent book launch where I had a small piece included in the book. The book is called “A BITTERSWEET KIND OF BEAUTIFUL”.
This book included a sample of stories and poems written by a number of patients (of which I was one) in St Patricks Hospital for Mental Health in Dublin Ireland.
I come from a family of nine (9) four of whom received local, National and International recognition for the various things they achieved in their lives.
As I was the youngest in the family the age gap between them and me ranged between 15 years and 10 years, but nevertheless I was identified as their brother and was therefore it was expected that I too would also reach their standards, and yes in my mind I was convinced I at least had to try !! but the more I tried the harder it became and the more I tried and failed it became even more harder as I was to accept the ridicule of others, this was a cloud which was to hang over me for most of my life.
During the past number of weeks I have been receiving a therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This therapy helps to make people look at the decisions they made during their lives whether they were good or bad, whether they were right or wrong. I was asked to explain why I made those decisions and what affect those decisions had on my life. I was asked TO LOOK AT MY COMPASSIONATE MIND, i.e. was there any self gain; was it made to help others by way of a job; or to help those in my community who were worse off than me. But no it was neither of those things, it was about me, it was me trying to live up to a standard that I was never going to achieve. My only regret is that I did not do this years ago, as by trying to live up to the standards of others it almost destroyed my own life, as it destroyed my confidence and self esteem and worth, which led to anger with members of my family.
But having said all this I always think I am one of the lucky ones as I had the support and love of my own wife and four children who bestowed unconditional love and support in the most difficult of times .
I no longer live in those shadows but happy to realise my own success and that of my children.
WHO have achieved their aims of life, and are all highly educated, my oldest daughter is a secondary school teacher, my son has his own business, my 2nd son is a secondary school teacher in Vietnam and my daughter no2 is a writer and civil rights advocate
So no matter what people say about you the shape and your life that says everything about the home they come from and the example they follow
So for me the people who would have looked down me, are now looking up to me, because over the years I found a thing called
Compassion for self and others, the most important gift you can offer to others around you
I am re-posting this article in the hope that people will support the Saint Vincent De Paul this Christmas As they reach out to those in need of help
Last Tuesday night I went along to my local Aware mental health support night in Castlebar Co Mayo.
Its a meeting for people who suffer with Mental health problems A place where we can discuss our problem where we can laugh at our problem and where we can support each other with our problems.
Whilst I was waiting on other members and for the meeting to begin I happened to pick up a booklet / magazine issued by the Saint Vincent De Paul Society
(A charitable organisation who lend a helping hand to the less fortunate in our Profit,Greed,and The I am all right Jack Society )
As I glanced through the pages I came across this poem / essay That I would like to share with you
The Highest Degree
For years I lived in the torments of Hell
No one heard when I rang the bell
I felt deprived of love and life
As I cringed in my cell of poverty and strife
Bills sent chills, I lived in fright
No coal in the shed on a long winder’s night
The food running out and the money spent
The week not yet over and I didn’t pay rent
And just when I reached my lowest – the ebb
Angels descended anointing my head
These angels, the saviours, who heard my lost call
They are God’s holy helpers, the Vincent de Paul
Extending their kindness, they offered me help
They clothed my children, put food on the shelf
And when in crept September and schools going back
They helped me buy uniforms and books – I relaxed
My body re-healed, but my heart remained broken
I had travelled dark roads, I was stripped of emotion
My spirit felt buried, a tired run-down feeling
My soul searched release and a spiritual healing
Then one Summer’s night, at a quarter-to-eight
Two of “God’s helpers” appeared at my gate
They guided me gently, to sign on a course
And little-by-little, I regained my life force
I attended more courses, it was a revelation
To re-enter life and receive education
Learning new skills made me feel ten feet tall
All thanks to the members of St. Vincent de Paul.
Contributed by a person who was helped
This was written in the Autumn off 2014 its now 2017 and not much has changed but they have got now 300 times worse
So the next time you see a Saint Vincent De Paul collection please contribute I know I will