People’s Stories

I am happy in all my life now – Gareth McKenna

Posted 10:47AM on Wednesday 08 January 2014

“Until I was a teenager I lived with my family. Then I got moved away into hospitals, quite a lot of hospitals, to get help. I was put in residential homes too, but all the time I was unhappy. It was noisy and you couldn’t chat to any of them because they weren’t like me. I had to eat in the kitchen and I could never choose what I wanted. It was just handed to me. It was just not nice and I will tell you that I got a bit cross in places and they sometimes moved me.

“I was in Londonderry hospital for a long time until Positive Futures found a house for me.

“I love it here. There couldn’t be a better place. I have my dog, Lucky, and we go for walks and play. I have a rabbit, a guinea pig and a vegetable garden. I can go shopping and cook my own meals and I keep my house clean and tidy. I make decisions for myself. I help in the local bakery and the local shop and answer the phone at the Positive Futures’ office. When I go out with Lucky, my neighbours come out and say hello. I helped at “Bright Eyes” looking after the cats and dogs and play with them to make them happy and that made me happy too.

“I told the staff I would never go back to hospital. I like to see people not in hospital. I like to see them like myself, somewhere where they have a nice house where they can do their own stuff or talk to their friends and see their family more because hospitals make families a bit upset. A hospital is not the place to be. I would like to tell people that. If anyone wants to come and talk to me about it I will tell them as best I can.

“My biggest dream was to go to Spain to take photos of the dolphins and sea lions. It was my first time on a plane and I was a bit nervous but when we landed the people around me clapped and said well done, Gareth. It made me happy. I am happy in all my life now.”