All my life, as I struggled with deep sadness, and sometimes-scary elation, I thought there was some way I could get this under control. I always had hope that there was a different way. But it wasn’t until I started reaching out to others who had similar life experiences and asked them how they coped every day, and how they moved forward in their lives, that I began to figure it out for myself.
I remember asking my psychiatrist back in 1987, how people like me coped, how they got well and stayed well. He said he would have that information for me the next time we met. I was looking forward to that appointment with great anticipation. At the appointment, he didn’t mention it so I brought it up (I think he was hoping that I had forgot about it). He said they didn’t have any information like that that. The only information they had was about medications, about electroshock therapy, about hospital and day treatment programs, and about restraint and seclusion. Imagine how that made me feel. I became more and more convinced that the information existed, and others like myself were the key. I will be forever grateful to the vocational rehabilitation counselor who listened to my plan to do a research project to learn from others how they cope, get well and stay well and who said, “Yes, we can get you the grant you need, and you do can this. And I will help and support you.”