The experience of having had 20 odd years of severe abuse and dysfunction within my childhood and young adult life left me with little real understanding of the world we inhabit and a very poor reserve of healthy coping skills. It did leave me with a spectrum of scars and issues now commonly know as mental illnesses. (The depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder ruled my life. Lack of trust, co-dependency tendencies, the list could go on)
Through these experiences and what I was taught about myself, I have always limped along mentally and emotionally in life, blundering from one experience to the next. In 2015 I finally hit a wall, my wall, THE WALL. All the things I had employed previously, all that I’d learnt and tried still wasn’t yielding results. I was at my end, prepared to take my life through desperation, desperation to put to rest the pain and struggle I kept on facing
I turned to isolation, almost 3 solid years of agoraphobia, wilting and dying with the distortions in my head. The depression, post traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder ruled my life.
At a crucial turning point, literally live or die, a true friend stepped in and offered me a lifeline I so desperately needed at the time, they had come across a place called Papillon. I did my own research about the centre and soon made contact with Yolande. I flew in from Durban within the week and checked in.
The experience challenged me in every single way, in addition to already being stressed, I felt resentment and fear, here a system, a house full of strangers. Little did I realise at first this would be my new home for a few good months. It took me a good while to settle in, but in seeing others enter, this is a natural experience, everyone longs for the return to their comfort zone. It is a shake up and a wake up, being pulled from your self-created world. Papillon is a microcosm of the world out there. You become a family with those who inhabit the program and house with you. The program is holistic, informative, challenging, stimulating. The program is invaluable, it’s there for your use and what you do with it yourself adds to and has the potential to alter your life in astoundingly positive ways.
This entry into Papillon started out as a hated and distrusted experience, and yet steadily, day by day, I grew to trust the staff, I grew to proactively working the program, realizing the tremendously valuable opportunity I had been gifted with, knowing that as uncomfortable as it made me at times, I knew this was the way to grow and change. I ended up doing a full 6 month program with them – initially the thought 3 months was far too much, I just wanted out and away as soon as possible, but with the trust and realization of the wealth of the programme, for me personally I came to realise 6 months was still a drop in the ocean of my life and I committed to this time, hoping to bring lasting positive changes. To say it is invaluable doesn’t half begin to describe the lifeline I was GIFTED with, the family I started to bond with, the care, the rehabilitation and healing it brought to my life.
Upon my completion and exit of the programme. I chose to live within a short distance of Papillon for the continued support, as I have no remaining family.
The support continues, I am always welcomed back, the staff warm and genuine, the acknowledgement that yes I still face my tough days and experience my challenges. To this day, I know if I need them, they are still there for me. They are people, people, a family, my family, I can rely on and have come to trust. I admire and respect them for the lifeline they give to those who are in need, for what they have given me and continue to do so when I am in that space for a kind word, a refresher of a lesson, even some days, just a smile and a joke, or they listen and reassure me. I often stop by just to sit in the space and work, I don't need to say much, greet staff and those experiencing the program, carry on with my work, there is a peace I feel, this safe home I know, will always be there for me.
I am forever grateful for having had this opportunity and the warmth and support that still remains.