John's story

John Chapman

Before discovering Emmaus Colchester, I was experiencing depressive episodes. I ended up having what I suppose was a breakdown, actually, and I tried to take my own life before being admitted to a mental health unit at a hospital.

I can’t blame what happened on a bad childhood or upbringing, despite the fact I have a strained relationship with my mother - who I haven’t seen for 28 years - I just felt exhausted with life. I’ve always worked ever since I left school; I’ve managed two supermarkets, a recycling company and I regularly worked 18 hour days in a local pub, seven days a week, plus I was a home-owner. But one day, I finished a shift working for my friend’s removal company and I sat down and thought ‘I’ve had enough of all this now’, and that was that. It felt like everything I was doing would go wrong and everything I touched, I ruined; I couldn’t hold down a relationship, I didn’t feel normal and I wasn’t sure whether I was handling things well or really badly. I had reached my breaking point; every day just rolled into the next and life was a constant battle. To make things better for me and to strengthen the relationship with my 15-year-old son, I knew I had to make a change and Emmaus gave me that. 

I’ve been at Emmaus Colchester for 14 weeks and I’m really enjoying myself. I’m originally from the North of Cambridge, not far from the Waterbeach community, but I decided to relocate to Colchester because I needed a fresh start, away from my previous life. The minute I got off the train, I took a big deep breath in and thought ‘this is it, this the fresh start I need’. I hit the ground running and I’ve not looked back since.

I’ll turn my hand to anything, but I’ve become something of a celebrity in the kitchen, and I really enjoy cooking for everyone.

Emmaus is really helping me. I honestly believe there are limited resources in our society for broken men, other than Emmaus, and if it wasn’t for the support of the staff and the companions, I wouldn’t be here. With some counselling, I’ve managed to overcome the feeling that I was losing a grip on my life and I am so thankful to Emmaus. As I look to the future, I would like to give back and help others, so I’m starting a counselling course. For now, though, I’m just so happy to be back on track.