I haven’t had too many legal problems, which isn’t bad considering I’m going on 50!
About three years ago though I started having real problems with my brain. I know now that the HIV had crossed from my blood into my brain, and that my behaviour was becoming erratic at times.
At the time I had no insight into what was happening in my brain which was terrifying and isolating. My health was in a terrible state. I ended up having a number of altercations with police over that period. The HIV support services weren’t of much use – I was banned from attending a variety of them on the basis of my behaviour being too aggressive. I had the same problems with Centrelink.
HALC was the one service that kept their doors open to me throughout.
When I’m on my own two feet, I am very good at dealing with things. I represented myself at court for most of the criminal matters and had them all dismissed. HALC helped me out when I needed help, acted for me when I couldn’t do it myself, and also represented me in a variety of other matters, including in relation to concerns I had about the way a lot of organisations were treating people with mental health issues. Most important of all, they never treated me like I was crazy or dangerous which a lot of other people did. They engaged with me as an individual with rights, and helped me to assert them.
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Photo: Author= * File:Brain stem normal human.svg Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator