I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizotypal personality disorder, and substance abuse disorder in the year 2005. I experienced my first major psychotic event in the year 2004 while traveling abroad. I believed my son and ex-wife had been murdered by terrorists and I had a complete nervous breakdown. After this emotional breakdown, my previous reality state vanished. I self-medicated in the form of severe alcohol abuse to erase my thought process. I would usually end up in jail for some public drunkenness offense and/or placed involuntarily into psychiatric wards across the country.
I took my first real steps towards mental health recovery in the year 2010 after listening to my mother’s pleas of concern for my life. At this point, all of my family members knew I would be dead soon if I continued on this self-destructive path… So, I agreed to move into a community residence called the Hearth in Philmont, New York. Here, I lived with other people that had various mental illness diagnoses and I began to attend classes on Recovery for people with serious mental health problems. Overtime, I advanced my recovery level through the PROS (Personalized Recovery Oriented Services) program and not only graduated from this mental health program but began teaching classes that I designed and developed as a volunteer. At this point, I am a fully certified peer specialist in the mental health field and can teach on a wide range of mental health topics. I live in a supported housing situation and have been placed on medication only status due to my advanced recovery level.
As well, I put together a team of peers in recovery that possessed artistic talent to form the legal nonprofit corporation, the Mental Health Awareness & Creative Arts Gallery INC. Our artists now have a space in the heart of Hudson, NY to publicly showcase their artwork, share their recovery stories and voice how art and creativity was a major therapeutic tool they used to advance their recovery. Their art/creative work can be seen on the NAMI CC’s artist gallery space that I co-manage as well as our Facebook page. Below are the relevant weblinks.
So, after a series of near fatal setbacks as to my mental health status, I reconciled to move into a community residence for people diagnosed with serious mental health disorders outside Boston, Mass in 2009. It is here where I slowly cleared my head a bit and connected with others that had serious mental health… Read more »