My illness began to take its effect on me about 8 or 9 years ago. I managed to get by until around 6 years ago, when I was 43. I had been working an impossible job as a restaurant manager for 23 years and at about the same time my husband asked for a divorce. We had been married 27 years. That was it. I broke. I was hospitalized for a month, two weeks before Christmas and three weeks before my son’s wedding. Fortunately they arranged temporary release for me during Christmas and so I could attend my son’s wedding.
Always being of a dependent personality, upon discharge, I faced a new world – no one to take care of me, no job, no home and no money. I needed to figure out what I was going to do. I moved in with my parents. I stayed there for about a year and a half, with my Mom being my support and encouragement.
The first thing I needed was a job. I applied everywhere and did some part time work substituting for the school system. I did this for several months until one day my therapist handed me a job posting for an assistant case manager position at Northern Lakes CMH. I sent in my resumé, was interviewed, and landed the job. I am now a Certified Peer Support Specialist and a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) facilitator, helping others with mental illness in their own recovery by using my own personal experience.
The next thing I needed was a place to live and some reliable transportation. I rented an apartment and bought a new car. ALL BY MYSELF. I was finally independent.
Then I began to dream bigger and better. I wanted to buy a house. So, I did some research and started contacting people about low-income homeownership. Within a year I became a homeowner. It was a fixer upper, but through my imagination and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, it became MY home. For me, my home symbolizes that a person can achieve anything, if they don’t give up.