One of our newest One Good* Day Recovery Coaches, Nick Bowditch, is a proud Aboriginal man and mental health advocate. With lived experience of PTSD, anxiety and depression due to childhood trauma, he brings his whole self to his work and an infectious energy to every conversation around mental health.
Nick embodies our mission and is a great example of someone who is proactive in his own recovery, as well as a positive force for vulnerable conversations around difficult topics, like healing and what it means to navigate intergenerational trauma.
You’re not broken – you don’t need ‘fixing’
Nick is an NDIS Recovery Coach with us and as well as supporting clients with their psychosocial disability, he also is our Team Lead for NSW Recovery Coaches. Due to his experience, he intimately understands the variety of ways people’s mental health can shift over time.
“I just want to be better tomorrow than I was today – that’s my goal,” he explains. “For a long time I self medicated with drugs and alcohol, but not now. I’ve been in recovery since 2016 and have been through inpatient psych and rehab, outpatient rehab. Nowadays, I’m working less on addiction recovery and more on my mental health by embracing positive psychology as much as I can.”
Nick is big on fighting mental health stigma and regularly speaks at conferences and events around Australia, sharing his lived experience and starting difficult conversations.
“A big part of my focus is if I had diabetes, then I would be more than happy to tell people how my treatment is going. Just because my chronic illness happens to be invisible – it’s the same thing – a big part of what I want to do is remove mental health stigma and just make it all about ‘health’,” he offers.
NAIDOC Week 2021
This year’s NAIDOC week, from July 4 to 11, offers a different approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait awareness. The theme, ‘Heal Country’, asks everyone to respect and embrace Country as part of Australia’s heritage and values, because for First Nation peoples, Country is part of the very fabric of identity and life itself.
Nick’s grandfather was part of the Stolen Generation, which has required a lot of healing (and still does).
“My addiction was related to his dispossession – and [my] generation is the first to properly address the trauma cycle. [Even] working with clients, I just call it out – we talk about mental health, we don’t tiptoe around it,” he says.
When it comes to indigenous mental health, Nick believes that geography shouldn’t determine anyone’s level of wellness. There’s a lot of services that can be delivered remotely and infrastructure being built for local communities.
“In 10 years, we have come SO far,” he explains, “but we still have a long way to go.”
3 tips for how to approach recovery
There are a million or more different experiences of mental health, so it can make recovery incredibly difficult, but not impossible. Nick focuses on healing and reframing mental health not as something to be fixed, but a different way of experiencing the world.
“I tell people that my brain works differently than other people, it’s just how I’m wired,” Nick says. “Healing means gradual growth and acceptance of difference – think about what’s different about you, not what’s wrong with you,” he counters.
To support you on your journey, here are a few tips from Nick so you can continue to find your way through recovery and beyond.
1. Build self awareness
“It’s not a competition, you don’t have to be like anyone else,” Nick offers, “and be aware that it’s okay to think differently and to need some support. You don’t have to be the sickest person in the room, you just have to live with something you’d rather not have.”
2. Put your hand up
Around 50% of people on an NDIS plan have never used a service – and they’re the people who have sought support. How many people are living without putting their hands up? If you’re struggling, know that you can ask for assistance by putting your hand up.
3. Get to know the scope of your NDIS plan
At One Good* Day, we speak NDIS – so if you’re unsure of what you plan will cover, contact us. Many people think the support they need will be expensive and not covered, but chances are it might be. Psychosocial Recovery Coaching could be a line item for you and you may not even realise it!
Start your recovery journey with One Good* Day
To work with a Recovery Coach like Nick who can assist you to unpack your plan and connect you with what services you need, reach out to us today.