My Success Story
I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 7 years old. The medication I was put on made me feel like I was in a daze. When I was taken off the medication, my body looked for a replacement. At the age of 14, I started drinking more heavily and using marijuana to try to medicate myself. I also went through a pill stage. I knew it was a problem, costing me not only financially but also with friendships and family. Although my family and friends expressed their concerns at that time, I felt very alone and pushed away everyone who cared.
I have struggled with mental health my whole life; addiction was part of it. I was drinking and driving and doing hazardous activities to myself and others. This interfered with my jobs and other areas of my life, causing me many struggles. When I quit drinking and smoking on the same day, I went into a 3-month depression and it felt like I’d lost my best friend as I had to leave the people I was hanging around with, and find new friends. My doctors were helpful in supporting my depression and mental health in general. I found my friends, my family, and Alcoholics Anonymous helpful in supporting me with these positive changes I was making in my life. I rode my bike to AA meetings in 30 below weather which showed my dedication to my wellness, even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time.
At the beginning of my recovery, I was self-medicating by taking my medication now and then only, and not following the doctor’s instructions. What I wished I would have known at the beginning of my recovery, that I think would be helpful to share with others, is that self-medicating can be dangerous. My advice is to take medication regularly, as directed by your doctor. Seek help even when you feel some days, you’re okay. Listen to what your doctor and others have to say instead of ignoring them. Seek help from appropriate people and ask for help because sometimes you don’t know where to go. Be honest with yourself and others; it doesn’t do any good to hide behind a veil. Also, keep in mind that change doesn’t happen overnight.
5 years ago, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression, and I was put on a Community Treatment Order. Although it didn’t seem so at the time, I believe this is when hope came into my life. Becoming spiritual also gave me hope. My medication protocol has really helped me.
I cope by surrounding myself with positive people. At CMHA, I find similar-minded people who understand me. Talking to supportive people helps.
I enjoy nature, the company of others, cooking and helping others by sharing kindness. Smiling back when someone smiles at me, shows respect. Even though sometimes it’s hard to smile, I don’t want to be the one that doesn’t smile back. It’s important people know others care.
The most important lessons I’ve learned in life so far are to Be Kind, Be Careful, Learn to Love Yourself, and Learn to Love Others. Think about others when you are conducting your daily business. Be respectful of all people in all their shapes and sizes. Try not to judge. And appreciate nature.
I continue to have day-to-day struggles, but I have to keep moving forward so I don’t go back to where I was. As they say, “One Day at a Time.” I don’t put too much on my plate at once and I have supports in place to help me through both the good and the challenging times, and I remind myself that I’m not alone.