Voices for Recovery
I have been living with a mental illness for 30 years. For 25 of those years, I was stubborn and living in delusion and psychosis. I am a living testimony that you can make it through if you have faith and, in my case, family.
I was 20 years old when I had my first psychotic episode, and not long after I became catatonic – a psychiatric state where I stopped almost all movement. There weren’t very many good drugs on the market in the early 80s. I was given shock treatments and an antipsychotic and sent on my way. While adjusting to treatment, I had to change my chemical engineering major, and it took eight years for me to get a B.A. in journalism.
I worked on and off after I completed school. My family moved a lot, so I got the benefit of new psychiatrists. They found the combination of drugs that worked for me through a research project. In about a year, I was psychosis-free, and I have been managing my mental illness for more than six years. I give thanks to God and family who have always helped me along the way.
I am now in my fifth year of a workable level of recovery and wellness. I enjoy living independently. I volunteer with a mental health organization and do everything I can to combat misconceptions, including participating in a documentary, delivering inspirational speeches, and publishing articles. I am also working to publish a memoir. I hope these projects will inspire, educate, and stimulate conversation about mental health issues on a personal level. All of these activities help me to feel that my experience was not in vain. When everyone begins to understand, I am confident that the misconceptions will fade.