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My Recovery Journey

What does it mean to recover from a mental illness?

Is it even possible? If recovery is possible, who decides how to define it? Is it the person with the diagnosis; the mental health professionals; the family members; perhaps the community or some combination of all of these? A great deal of attention has been given to this topic because the truth for many with mental illness is that it is not like having any other medical disorder.

My journey began in 2011. The first time I got sick was at the age of 29. I knew something was wrong and that I needed help. My first trip to the emergency room was unsuccessful, however my second trip with the support of my mother resulted in me seeing a psychiatrist, having a diagnosis and starting a regime of medications. Being told that I had Schizoaffective Disorder was not what I wanted to hear. Over a period of three years, I would stop my medication, become more symptomatic and inevitably be hospitalized each time because I didn’t want to take the medication.

During my last hospitalization, I had no place left to go, nowhere I could call home. They wanted to send me to a special care home; however I knew this was not the answer. I was not looking for staff to do daily living skills for me. I needed to take charge and get back on my feet. The social worker at the hospital contacted Alternative Residences and my journey to mental well being and stability began. I moved to Transition House on June 12, 2014. After a year of hard work, not only on myself but working part time as well, I moved out of Transition House. On July 1, 2015, I moved into one of ARA’s shared apartments and eventually into a one bedroom apartment on my own.

ARA has supported my journey to mental well-being
for over eight years. I now have a diploma in Human Services, lived experience, and am working in this field to give back to my community. I am grateful that I live in a community that is inclusive, supportive and has organizations like ARA.


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