Treatment Works! Client Success Story
This Train is Back on Its Track!
By Tim Stewart, Peer Support Specialist for Mental Health America of South Carolina
Before symptoms for schizophrenia started I was in love with life, in college, working (an English major and creative writing minor) and headed somewhere. Then before I knew it, like my brother so eloquently said, “it was like a totally different person came back” when I came to work over the summer. The illness derailed my journey. I was suddenly in a life of isolation, just existing, going from job to job, and it culminated in days on the streets of Denver, Colorado having episodes. I can’t explain all that time but by writing down my feelings afterward you can get a glimpse of how I felt:
I have seen you with me next to a quiet river in winter when all seemed lifeless
I have seen you in the countless hours of writing when all seemed hopeless
Yet somehow what is left standing is a man
When all that is left is my faith in God to help
It’s a lesson I had to wait to learn, when all I can imagine is adversity calling me to something better
Life seems so challenging, so joyless, when nothing is left but to struggle and all that is left is to hope.
excerpt from God’s Love Left Standing (In The Waiting 90 Day Devotional)
These were my dark days. It was accepting the change people saw in me that spurred me on early in my recovery. I am not any less of a person for having this illness. I didn’t do anything to get this. Life has certainly been different but I have accepted that different is okay. Life, like all hard work (and recovery has been that) has not been without its setbacks. For instance, when I started Bridges Clubhouse several years back, I couldn’t handle it and stopped. But courage was left and I started back just one day a week. When I got a handle on that I went more. As my confidence grew, and knowing I was not alone, a change started to happen inside. I wanted more. Being passive was no longer an option. I started new things and, the rest you can say is history. I became involved in groups, used my voice and goals were reached, like learning to drive again. The rewards have far outweighed the work. I went to some training at SC Share and started teaching recovery and poetry classes at Bridges. I also met a long term goal and became a Peer Support Specialist.
I kept my creative focus alive. In 2008 I published my first book “Creations Symphony, My Writings to God.” In 2011 my second “Loving Waters” was published. My third, “In The Waiting 90 Day Devotional” was just released in early June 2014.
I have had lots of help in my recovery, from peers who probably do not know how much they have helped me, my wonderful family and the opportunities that MHASC Bridges Clubhouse has poured out on me.
Well, now you know how my journey was derailed but this train is back on the tracks. I have reclaimed my joy, my smile, and the independence I so longed for. Just for a moment I want to be blunt. I am not letting this illness kick my butt, but am kicking its butt. Guess what? I have worked over a year at Bridges as a Peer Support Specialist at the place that gave me my start.
Please contact me for speaking engagements or books at firstname.lastname@example.org.