'I Want to Share My Story to Help Others'
I am one of eight children - with six sisters and one brother. I like being a part of a large family and anyone who knows me will agree that my family is a big part of who I am. I am particularly close with my mom who practically raised us all as a single parent while my dad dealt with addiction.
My mom was the one who instilled in me the importance of education and pushed me to pursue that as a goal.
I attended university but drugs and alcohol were a big part of my life then. I managed to graduate despite all the odds against me at the time and struggled to figure out my next steps.
The oil fields of Alberta and British Columbia called me and I headed west. It was there that I began having auditory and visual hallucinations, though I didn’t realize it at the time. It was tough being away from my family and I continued using drugs as a way of coping.
I was soon diagnosed with Schizophrenia and living with mental illness often meant that I believed things that were not true and often acted accordingly.
The hardest part of my recovery is forgiving myself. As a result of my illness, I did something that greatly affected my family and I became involved in the mental health system.
Coming to Ontario Shores was my second chance at life. I believe that I owe it to my family, my community and myself to be the best that I can be.
I am now making use of the opportunity to continue pursuing my educational goals. I have learned through perseverance, that with education I can reach any goal I put my mind to. I am now taking steps to get accepted into an Engineering program.
As I move ahead, I want to share my story to help others and fight stigma about those living with a mental health diagnosis. I strongly believe that education is a great way to move forward and become a productive member of society.
Balance is important and I work hard to keep my life in balance by reading but by also being active - playing basketball, hockey and swimming, I even play guitar sometimes.
With a new found sobriety my eyes are open and I feel more responsible and friendlier.
I am thankful that my mom has stood by me throughout this journey, visiting often and even bringing me home cooked meals while I am in hospital. Seeing my mom smile is one of the greatest gifts I can receive and I call her every night to check in. She tells me she looks forward to my calls.
Her support reminds me to stay resilient like an oak tree.
I will continue to grow to new heights and casting a shadow on my past as I reach for a brighter horizon.