Diann Has Her “Life Back”

In 1998, Diann underwent treatment which included a strong pharmaceutical that affected her brain. “I never really recovered,” she says. “I found myself dealing with depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue.”

Diann found it hard to find help to learn job skills. Seeing that she could not support herself in Canada, she moved to Mexico. She found a part-time teaching job, working a few hours a day. In 2015, she fell ill and returned to Canada.

As Diann was on the path to recovery, she started going to school. However, she fell down a flight of stairs and suffered a major brain trauma (new window). She learned to walk and talk again on her own, but she felt lost and found herself homeless and poor.

Fortunately, Diann ended up finding housing in North Vancouver (new window). Although she was grateful, she had to leave her support system, including her son who was helping her. “I was alone. I had zero self-esteem. I was just barely surviving,” she says.

A woman on a laptopAt that time, a friend told her about the Neil Squire Society and strongly advised her to reach out. “From the very minute I walked into Neil Squire, my life began to evolve. For the first time, I felt I was not treated like I was ‘different’,” she remembers.

Alongside meetings with her case manager, Diann started attending Computer Comfort classes once a week, where she worked on developing basic computer skills. “I looked so forward to Fridays,” she says. “It was everything to me. One day a week was bringing my life back.”

Slowly, Diann was able to start conversations with her classmates and the volunteer teachers. She found the environment very encouraging, with everyone laughing together and sharing personal challenges with each other. “I felt safe and eventually smart,” says Diann. “I found myself surrounded by other students and volunteers who also had major traumas and recovered.”

With the help of the Neil Squire Society, Diann secured a job as a Medical Office Assistant. She used to do this job 20 years ago, but realized it had considerably changed since then. Her Computer Comfort lessons were pivotal in being able to learn the computer system used in the doctor’s office.

The future looks promising for Diann, in terms of both her health and her career. She recently visited her doctor who remarked that this is the best she has been in 20 years. As for her career, she says, “Neil Squire literally changed my life. I have my life back! I am working now, something I was afraid I could never do. I have confidence and I feel worthwhile.”