I can remember three years ago about this time: I was walking around campus at the University, trying to understand what was happening to me and who I was. I was taking some drugs called Hydroxycut at the time and exercising excessively. I was alienating myself from my friends and family and spending most of my time on the computer or working out.I don’t know why I did the things I did, nor do I know why I chose to act out angrily toward others that were helping me. But I have learned from this experience that it’s best not to dwell on the past and blame yourself for the mistakes you have done.
But to continue with my story, my mother was concerned I was depressed. She and my father intervened and took me to visit a family friend who was a psychiatrist. At that time I was hearing voices and had delusions in my mind that told me my father was bisexual and I accused him of having an affair with the psychiatrist. I remember my mother crying and telling me “are you confused baby? Are you confusing your father with David?” (David was my mother’s husband before she married my father. He was the one who is gay). These events took place in March of 2002. Within a few weeks, my parents admitted me to the hospital where the Prevention and Early Intervention for Program for Psychoses (PEPP) began assisting me towards the road to recovery.
After being admitted into the hospital and beginning treatment with PEPP as well as beginning treatment on Respiradal, I began to piece the pieces of the puzzle together. I met several interesting people in the hospital including my roommate whom I remain friends with. I began RAP (a program at PEPP) and by the end of June, I had moved into my own place just beside the hospital in the Nurse’s residence for nursing students.
But by August I was homesick and money was slowly running out. I was on Ontario Works so I decided to move back in with my family and stop the payments. But living at home was difficult. The time I spent on my own had been liberating and to come under the roof of my parents again was not easy.
But something else had happened when out on my own. I had developed the idea that “you’re my friend” was a thought that repeated in their heads to stay grounded. I had repeated this thought so often that it stuck there. I began thinking that my parents were lost and everyone I worked with too.
Working began September 2002. I lifeguarded at the community centre where I was employed in high school. My boss asked me at the time of my interview would psychosis ever be a future problem and I assured her it would not. Nevertheless, I was wrong.
In January of 2003 I suffered a second psychotic episode after smoking a marijuana joint at a dance. I was dating an older man who smoked and assured me it was not something to fear. Now, I no longer date him and instead have a wonderful boyfriend who realizes that marijuana is not a choice I can take. I am happy.
My choice to smoke marijuana was not a wise one but it was a choice that opened my mind and I realized that “you’re my friend” was not the thought everyone grounded in reality believed. My road to recovery started once more. I was struggling with school but with the help of academic and disability counseling, I earned a 60% in my class. As the months passed, I began counseling with Dr. Carr as well my case manager Jill who had been helping me from the beginning. It was a hard winter, spring, summer but by winter of 2005 I started being happy with myself once more. With much help from the PEPP program as well my family, my boyfriend Paul, and my friends, I am starting to stand tall on two feet. I have more confidence and self-esteen than before and look forward to college or university come September to be a journalist. I know I am still becoming more comfortable in my skin but I will soon be the woman I wanted to know. This time I am grounded.