The Day My Life Changed Forever


My name is Paul Lynch and this the brief version of what led me here.

My family have been on the Kapiti Coast since the late 1800s when Captain Henry Lynch was gifted land to farm by the crown for his services in the Maori wars.

That farm was Emerald Glen which is situated halfway between Paraparaumu and Paekakariki and the homestead is still there, now  Function/conference venue.

Lynch’s are, and have always been Kapiti Coast originals in terms of settlers.

On September 1st 2013 my life changed forever.

That was the day my wife Wendy and I found my younger brother Brett in the garage of his Paraparaumu Beach home.


He had taken his own life, aged 47. Just three weeks shy of his 48th birthday.

He left behind a 12 year old son and a 22 year old step son whom he raised as his own.

That event and the events which followed in the coming days, weeks and months actually altered the very structure of who I am, or more to the point, I believe it forced me to look at the real me instead of the façade that I had been pretending was the real me for my entire life.

I was struggling with flashbacks and replays of the video in my head of finding Brett. Some days I couldn’t stop the video, so I drank alcohol until it stopped.

PTSD apparently. Never diagnosed but from all my own research it fitted. It made sense.

I had some very scary panic attacks and eventually sought medical advice because I actually felt like I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my lungs and I was going to die.

That one visit to the doctor opened my eyes.

It opened my eyes to a little thing called ANXIETY.

What I was experiencing was anxiety and panic attacks, probably brought on by what I had experienced in finding Brett after he had ended his own life.

But wait, there’s more.

I started to apply this anxiety thing to situations in my past where I couldn’t explain the way I had felt at those times.

Irrational fears of people and the inability to do simple things like go to the movies with a girlfriend because there would be too many people there.

An overwhelming need to take the ‘flight’ option and run like fuck as far away from a simple situation as I could get.

Inability to hold a decent conversation with anyone because I was scared I’d say something stupid.

I began to realise throughout my life I had developed a ‘system’ to avoid situations I was ‘afraid’ to be in.

I would start an argument.

An argument about nothing, but whether it was with a friend, a girlfriend or a wife, I would create an argument to give me an excuse to not to have to do things I was uncomfortable with.

What an asshole!

So, it began to make a lot of sense as to why certain relationships and periods in my life may not have been terribly successful.

During this journey through the aftermath of my brothers suicide, somewhere along the line I completely lost my connection to my spiritual home of Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast and my wife and I now live in rural North Canterbury.

Some call it running away, I see it as moving on. I needed to do it, we both did.

Sadly, at the moment I cannot see my spiritual connection to the Kapiti Coast ever being repaired, and I’m OK with that.

My journey became a book which I wrote and self published at the end of 2015.

Anyway, these days I still experience anxiety, but now I know what it is.

All I need is a bit of therapy administered by myself to see it off.

I get that by spending time out in the paddock of the property we bought in North Canterbury.

Simple, fresh air, alone with my thoughts, a quad bike and a few chainsaws.

I’m now very active in the suicide awareness, prevention and aftermath arena and I spend a lot of time connecting with like minded people who share my desire to make a difference.