My name is David I am 33 years old, and I am a recent journalism graduated. I also am the owner of my own freelance journalism business.
Life has not always been good like this. When I was a child I lost my mother at the age of 8.
I grew up with a hole in my heart, she was an amazing woman and her absence was crippling. I pushed through, and my family became very close. I ended up having a pretty good childhood filled with fun and adventure. I remember loving rock music, riding my bike, having good friends, and watching the X Files. To this day I am still a science fiction nut.
I grew up. I went to high school, and then was accepted into university in Peterborough, Ontario.
It was such a great experience to be living in Ontario, and going to university. I made many friends, and my early years of university were remarkable. I travelled around Ontario, and even had a few lovely girlfriends along the way. I enjoyed my studies and discovered a love for political science. To this day I still have a profound interest in politics, and read as much as I can about American foreign and domestic policy, combined with an extreme focus in Latin South American politics.
However, by April 2005 in my fourth year of university I had a complete break from reality and was unknowingly in full blown psychosis. Over the course of May 2005 to December 2005 I was in complete disarray. I wasn’t eating, I had auditory hallucinations, I was delusional, and could not control my emotions. I would have eruptions in lectures, and pushed my friends and family away. I would lose complete track of time, and thought people could read my mind. In my psychosis I was terrified and alone.
I lived in my room for months without venturing outside, and I became so depressed that I thought I was going to die.
I almost did.
On December 5, 2005 after not showing up for a counselling session at the university. I heard my mothers voice deep in my gut scream “You need help! Go now!!” I called a taxi, and rushed to the hospital in Peterborough for help. When the case workers found me I was 145 pounds, and completely disconnected from our world. My family in Calgary was contacted, and they were told that had I not gone to get help when I did, I would have been dead in a mater of weeks.
My uncle from California flew out to transfer me from the hospital in Ontario, to a hospital in Calgary, Alberta (my home town). I was in treatment there for 2 Months, and then was transferred to a long term care facility in Claresholm, Alberta for 5 months. There I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, and placed on medication for treatment.
Between July 2006 and January 2010 I had some positive success initially. I had recovered.
I lived on my own, and worked in a land department for an energy utility company. I was exercising 5 to 6 times a week, lost a ton of weight, and was back on track. However, after having some medication complications I was back in the hospital 3 times in 2009 for 2 week periods at a time. I wasn’t as sick as the first-time, however I still was quite ill.
This is the part of the story where every thing turns around, and my life finally got back on track. In 2010 I was placed on a medication called Clozapine. It was a gamble by my doctor, but it paid out big time. As a result of this medication I have been symptom free for 7 ½ years.
I live on my own, I went to college and graduated as a journalist, and I have just recently started my own freelance business. I even sat on the board of governors at my college.
But that’s not all I have done. In 2013 I became a public speaker, and mental health community educator, and advocate. I go to high schools, universities, and hospitals to promote mental health awareness in order to reduce stigma. I also sit down with families in crisis who have loved ones in the early stages of psychosis. This work isn’t easy, however it’s very important for me to give back to the community. I joined toastmasters in 2013 to help me become a better public speaker, and have presented in front of over 100 people.
Recovery is possible! Not only that it can change your life! I am so happy with where I am today after all the adversity I have had to go through.
I have some tips for recovery that helped me get back on track. First tip is no matter how hard you get knocked down, always get back up! This is important, because life is not reasonable and it’s important to be optimistic. Second, stay on your medication and exercise! It’s good for your brain! Third, stop using substances! This is the most important step I will be sober now for 10 years in January, I can not stress the importance of sobriety enough.
And finally live everyday as the person you want to be in this world. Start working on your dreams today, and help those around you.
If you’re experiencing psychosis today, please reach out to a loved one or medical professional.