Homelessness, drugs and despair: The bleak view from inside

Paul despairs of sorting his life out. Picture: CHRISTIANE BARRO

By CHRISTIANE BARRO

Paul Morgan says he doesn’t know how to smile.

“I’m teetering on a cliff (and)… I’m always one step away from falling over,” he says.

He is desperate for help but it isn’t the material kind that he’s after. “I need somebody to have confidence in me, to praise me, to have faith in me.”

Over the past three years he has been mostly homeless; he has lived in his car, a tent, a backpackers’ hostel, a rental property, a jail cell, a boarding house and on the street.

He has always moved around but never felt like he was moving forward. Suffering from memory loss, Paul keeps two diaries, each detailing his deepest thoughts. 

One note reads: “I’m not afraid to die but I am afraid of my future.”

Paul, 45, writes that he battles constant suicidal thoughts, feeling “unsuccessful, unsatisfied, unloved, unappreciated, insignificant and undervalued”.

Inside one of his diaries are nine pages where he details illnesses, physical limitations, mental barriers and social anxieties – all things, he says, that have prevented  him from “living a normal life”.

He reads his diary every morning. “It puts me at ease that my thoughts are real, my thoughts are validated.” Unless he writes everything down, “it doesn’t exist. It’s the business plan for my life.”

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His ties with his family have broken down completely, and he says everyone he loved or cared about has abandoned him.

Paul says he is not the violent “junkie” his family thinks he is, though he admits using crystal meth, which he says is for his ADHD. 

“It’s a disgusting drug that’s destroying communities and families. It’s toxic and evil but psychiatrists won’t medicate me for my ADHD. They just think I’m trying to get drugs.”

Paul says he is not asking for any favours.

“I want to achieve this myself,” he says, but he needs someone’s support and encouragement. 

“If you just said to me ‘I know you’ll get that done, I know you’ll achieve that, I know you’ll go to the job on Tuesday’ I will not fail and I will not let you down.”

“I won’t do it for me because who am I? I am nobody.”