Sean Awen Wass
Sean Awen Wass
My name is Sean and I am a founding member of the group. When I sustained a workplace injury back in 2006 I realised that there was very little support for people like myself in the compensation system. Dealing with self regulators, self insurers and insurance agents can be a living hell and has a direct detrimental impact on ones mental health. So thus began the journey of the injured workers support network.
In 2011 I sustained my 2nd spinal injury at work and my life was plunged into darkness, despair and complete hopelessness. A small group of us got together to try and help support each other; for nobody knows the system better than those who have had to endure it. As a result of my injuries and rapid decline in my own mental health I spent the next 8 yrs in and out of psych hospitals and was suicidal. I was prescribed huge amounts of medications and was not coping. As a result I lost my family home, my partner and my children; a direct result of systemic failures and abuse.
My life had been reduced to ashes and I had lost the will to live. My days would consist of seeing Drs, treaters, assessors and trying to navigate a very broken system. I would often get up in the morning and sit in my lounge chair with a handful of pills wondering if today was going to be the day I end my own life. When I would drop my youngest Son back at his mothers I would pause for a minute watching him walk to the front day door and wait for him to turn around so I could wave goodbye, believing this would be the last time I would see him. I was sure I was going to take my life. This went on for years.
But in this darkness I found the smallest glimmer of hope. It was the only friends I felt I had at the time, the friends I had made through the injured workers support network. In the early days of our meetings I would cry uncontrollably grieving a life that had been stolen from me. It is in this safe space I found compassion, understanding and support without judgement.
This is holding space for others : Holding space for another person is incredibly profound. When you hold space for someone, you bring your entire presence to them. You walk along with them without judgment, sharing their journey to an unknown destination. Yet you're completely willing to end up wherever they need to go. You give your heart, let go of control, and offer unconditional support.
I developed my self advocacy skills and decided to fight like never before. My life literally was in the balance, there is nothing more dangerous than someone who has nothing to lose, with no way out and constant pressure there were only two options for me now, suicide or to fight. After a 10 year battle In 2017 I got out of the compensation system, got off all the medications and got my approval for Medicinal Cannabis. My life is once again finding purpose and direction. Here are some of my achievements and the new direction in continuing the fight advocating for others.
In 2018 I graduated RMIT University with distinction in Dip Screen Media.