Though I’ve been in mental health treatment over 40 years, off and on. I was able to at least work until 2009. I struggled for a year before my workman’s comp ran out, my savings and 401K were gone, I lost my apartment and, finally, sold my car. I was in homeless shelters, on welfare and then in supportive housing before I was approved for Disability 3 years later.
I was never on the streets, which I’m grateful for every day.
Since then, I struggled to get well. Medicare paid for therapy and my medications or I don’t know where I would be today.
I attended support groups and participated in my faith community as best I could. But the economic struggle was ongoing to maintain housing that I could afford. I finally moved back to my family home several states away.
Economically, the move made since, but I was isolated, without independent transportation, in a city with lousy public transit. The next few years were rough. I was able to save enough to start a secured credit card and begin to build back my credit. With a credit card I could rent a car, to occasionally escape the conservative, homophobic community I was again living in.
I saved and in 3 years I was able to put down half on a used car and get a loan from my credit union. The car was the key. I had independence again. I had freedom. I was able to work part-time here and there until I was able to get a job at a non-profit organization.
I took on an, unpaid, leadership role in my faith community too.
Then Covid hit. My family member that I live with has a chronic and progressive health challenge. While physically unaffected by Covid, their mental health has become significant, despite numerous medications and mental health professionals.
Many days challenge me beyond what I think I can stand and still maintain my own mental health. I deteriorated.
Yet still I took on the challenge of recent full-time work, despite I risks and eventual loss of many support systems. Every day I doubted I would make it through the day in my new job, but today I’m more hopeful. It’s still early days, but I can’t wait for my first paid holiday on Thanksgiving in over 12 years.
Without a great therapist, effective medications, my faith community and ALL of the tools in my toolbox I wouldn’t be here, let alone able to take on my many challenges.
I’m going here because I can’t attend local support groups, or they don’t fit my needs.
Thank you for reading.