Recovery is Possible

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Recovery is Possible

I haven’t always struggled with seasonal change, it wasn’t until the age of 35 in late autumn that I had my first struggle with seasonal change and I attributed much of this to my loss of work during winter months.  I was self-employed as a home remodeling contractor and my workload peaked during spring, summer and early fall climates.  Eventually, I learned that I suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder, but wasn’t surprised when I was clinically diagnosed and began seeking professional help. After a few years of struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder my life was completely taken over by major depression and severe anxiety. I suffered two insurmountable losses in my life, my father died by suicide and then my teenage son passed away after a car accident. This led me to an even darker state of depression and deep despair. I didn’t want to do anything and felt that life had no meaning.  It was a struggle for me to get up and go to work every day. I no longer enjoyed the activities that I once felt brought meaning to my life. I was not only having a difficult time processing the multiple losses that I had to live through and my cumulative grief, but I became isolated and regressed with my pre-existing symptoms of unbearable anxiety and deep depression.  This state of major depression went on for approximately two years and progressed to a place where I felt that I was no longer able to function and take care of myself and my family. In the fall of 2016, I entered an Intense Outpatient Program.  At that time, I didn’t welcome or embrace treatment, but was encouraged by my loved ones, family and friends as they had witnessed a major decline in who I was. My personality shifted from a witty, fun-loving guy to a shell of the father, husband, brother and son who I had always been.

I was soon diagnosed with Major Depression.  Looking back, I’m thankful and attribute the help of group, peers and professionals in helping me to clearly define what I was going through and that there was also treatment that could help.  Prior to entering Partial, I thought that I was alone, which only made my self-prognosis even more hopeless.  Once I began to connect with therapy, my therapist and all of the other people who supported me and believed in me, I started to regain some belief in myself.  I made it my mission to fight to recover. I dedicated myself to Intensive Outpatient Therapy and put everything my therapist taught me to use and faithfully took my medication as prescribed by my psychiatrist. Before I knew it I was attending the Certified Peer Specialist Training with a letter of recommendation and support from my team at Wesley Family Services. Today, those very same team members are still on my team, not only as a continuous team helping in my own personal recovery but also as coworkers and peer professionals.  I know I am supported in the work that I do, and it is priceless for me to be able to use my own story to help others in their recovery.

I am presently employed in the role of a Certified Peer Specialist at Wesley Family Services, the very same location where my personal recovery goals were met. I work as a peer professional and have been assisting adults in the program who have a severe and persistent mental health diagnosis (SPMI: Major Depression, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, BiPolar Disorder) in regaining control of their lives.  

have also worked with adults as a peer on a Mobile Medication Team (OTC pharmacy). I take a strong interest in assisting young adults and adolescents who are experiencing their first episodes of psychosis by helping them to recover from what can often be life-altering and debilitating symptoms to “build resilience” through empowering them and helping them to focus not on their diagnosis, but on their aspirations, dreams and ambitions.  I was hired in this position in the spring of 2017 and have been with the organization for over 3 years. I have surpassed my own professional goals.  My clients say that they love working with me as does the team of professionals that I encounter in my daily routine.  I do my best to go above and beyond my expectations and I walk beside my peer clients with encouragement and kindness.  I truly believe in them which is a key ingredient to hopefulness, thus paying forward a priceless gift that was once given to me! Recovery is possible.

#mentalhealth #OK2Talk #ImNotAshamed #EndStigma

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By | 2021-05-14T15:15:50+00:00 June 25th, 2020|NAMI Blog, Personal Stories|2 Comments

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  1. Helpful Resources June 26, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this excellent blog!

    I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!

  2. Susan Caban September 1, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Thank you Dennis! You are always out and about learning, growing, and helping others.

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