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Recovery is Within Reach

By Todd

When I first came to WMCMH I was in desperate need of help. My life was plagued with turbulent ups and downs. I was lost and had no ability to see any light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

When I arrived I had a counselor that introduced me to cognitive behavioral therapy. When I started therapy I could not believe that there was hope for me.  But, as I sat there week after week sometimes unable to do nothing more than cry, this is where I began the first steps of my recovery! My therapist urged me to take small steps.  He was incredibly patient with me and he gave me a starting point to anchor me in my fragile mental state.  I proceeded to slowly develop an understanding of my condition, and of my Mental Illness. After a time, I learned that I experience Schizoaffective Disorder.

Over time, and slowly, I started to see tiny points of light in what I thought was utter darkness and despair. I began to feel stronger and better able to control my illness. What was once a bleak pit filled with despair and loss became a tunnel that connected me with a stronger and better version of myself!

After this, I transitioned into the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team.  From there I learned how to be around people again.  I learned that I perhaps had something worthwhile in me that I could offer the rest of the world.  Slowly, I learned from the ACT team that I had a purpose and I had a place in life.  And yes, even though I had an illness, it did not define me.  I indeed had something positive to offer this world.

After some time working with the ACT team, I started Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).  I began to learn and successfully use the skills I learned at WMCMH in ACT and DBT to pursue different aspects of my life.  But alas, my recovery faltered temporarily.  I reverted back to my early struggles, to a time before I learned my new skills.

This was temporary.  I returned to WMCMH once again and restarted my journey towards recovery. One thing I learned was that medication, when properly used, enables people to live successful lives. I went back to working with the ACT team, where I was reminded again that I am worthy to have the things in life that I thought were not for me.  I continued participating in medication reviews, and continued to slowly improve.  Although I sometimes got stuck and even slid backwards, I worked with my WMCMH team to use the skills I had learned and the appropriate medications to continue to make progress.

Now, on the other side of that dark and dismal tunnel, I am happy and better adjusted to life. I eventually became a member of the Consumer Advisory Panel (CAP), and now I’m on the Board of Directors for WMCMH!!! WOW!!

My life and struggles are proof that recovery is possible, but also that there is so much more available to those that have Illness and disorders then can be imagine from the darkness of depression and despair!! I learned that if you reach out, people at WMCMH can help you to better control your disorder, but also better control your life!! Please never stop trying.  Recovery is within reach.  The darkness and clouds will fade!!