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In this digital story Damian talks about growing up and dealing with depression.

Audio and Text Transcript Download mp3 Download HQ mp3Plain Text (for Gen AI)


This story is available on the Rainbow Touchstones DVD. Please get in contact for more information.

This project was funded by a NZ Mental Health Media Grant and proudly supported by the Ministry of Health's Like Minds, Like Mine Programme and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.


This abstract summarizes a recording titled "Violet - Rainbow Touchstones," which provides a personal account of someone's experiences with mental health, identity, and self-acceptance. The narrative details growing up in the 1970s, encountering societal and familial attitudes toward homosexuality, facing depression, and eventually finding a pathway to self-acceptance and mental health stabilization.

The story begins with the narrator's father hinting at potential family discord caused by differing attitudes towards homosexuality. The narrator's confusion about their identity starts to form around this family discussion, catalyzed by the revelation that the parents disagreed on the matter. This early life moment marked the beginning of a personal struggle to understand and accept one’s sexuality.

Bullying at school compounded the narrator's challenges. The clear articulation of the narrator's speech led to aggressive questioning of their nationality and sexual orientation, indicating that the narrator did not fit within societal expectations or norms. This external pressure led to a feeling of otherness, which manifested in, and perhaps contributed to, a growing depression.

As the narrator entered adolescence, the experience of same-gender sexual dreams led to further internal conflict. Initially feeling relieved by the dismissal of such dreams as a normal part of growing up, the recurrence of those dreams intensified internal homophobic feelings and a desire to repress homosexual thoughts. This inner turmoil began to affect other aspects of life, with increasing anxiety making school attendance difficult.

To cope with the stress and anxiety, the narrator began to abuse substances, namely cannabis, entering a self-destructive period while concurrently maintaining a second life as a responsible and well-regarded individual within their church community. This dichotomy of existence marked by external responsibility and internal chaos led to a reliance on government benefits due to an inability to sustain employment due to mental health issues.

A turning point arose when the narrator agreed to start medication on their doctor's suggestion. With medication stabilizing mood swings, the narrator began to manage emotions more healthily. This change was further enhanced through counseling, which allowed the narrator to express and acknowledge their experiences openly, ultimately fostering a sense of self-acceptance.

The narrative concludes with an expression of self-realization, as the narrator recognizes that the repression of personal identity was a significant factor in their mental health issues. Although relapses occurred, the narrator learned to take control and prevent deep descents into depression. Embracing a true self and overcoming fears have become central to the narrator's approach to life.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:26th June 2010
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004556).