All through my childhood, I struggled with dark and lonely days. My depression left me in a downward spiral, leaving me with nothing but fear. Everything I did, see, and hear constantly scared me. With my PTSD I was stuck in the middle of a nightmare
Locked up in my head, I was completely numb. Everything inside of me was dead with no feelings and no life, with no future, my home (shelter) was a dark echoing cave.
I would hibernate by closing my eyes and curling up in a ball – from crippling flashbacks; this was going on every frightening hour.
In my preteens I was introduced to drugs
Unfortunately I slipped even further and got more stuck in my mental illness.
Later on in the following months, I became caught up in theft and vandalism. I was feeling suicidal even started cutting. I trusted no one. Thinking everyone was out to hurt me.
I was living with Mother at the time but because of my poor choices I could no longer live with her.
I received emergency housing. Although I was grateful for a roof over my head I still struggled to pay bills and buy groceries. I didn’t have the skills to understand or keep a budget so I had to have my mother be my representative payee
Thankfully, soon after getting emergency house I was able to receive housing through HUD. I was able to move into the cozy apartment I have today.
One day in 2007 a nurse at Valley Behavioral Health suggested I check out a place called Alliance House
I went to orientation at Alliance House and that day I was able to open my eyes and ears a bit for the first time.
I finally found hope – the kind of hope I only heard some people say, but never really felt. I came by the next day still a bit in my shell and a nervous wreck, for I hadn’t experienced this aspect of mental health services before. Through working with members and staff even if for short periods of time, I started building confidence, self-esteem and friendships.
Approximately six months later, I started to become comfortable with people and learned how to trust. With the support of members and staff – I have learned many new tools like:
Sobriety and wellness
Social and behavioral skills with the support of my Clubhouse community.
I felt confident enough to try a transitional employment job in the community
I worked with staff to find ways to improve my reading comprehension despite my learning disability and
I have been given peer leadership and mentoring opportunities
And I even got a chance of a lifetime to attend a Clubhouse conference in Hawaii
Alliance House not only can provide actual keys for housing which is the reason why we are here today but for me it has provided the keys I needed for my future.