Mental Illness is Not My Name: Living With Depression, by Joseph : The LifeQuest Blog of Superheroes
The LifeQuest Blog of Superheroes
Superhero:​  su-per-he-ro, noun:  a benevolent fictional character with superhuman powers, such as Superman.

Mental Illness is Not My Name: Living With Depression, by Joseph

by LifeQuest, Inc. on 06/06/16

            My name is Joseph.  I have a mental illness that breaks down into three separate yet integrated diagnosis.  The first is major depressive disorder which is is a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive and persistent low mood that is accompanied by low self-esteem and by a loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities.  Anxiety is a disorder characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry, that is, apprehensive expectation about events or activities.  Then I have schizotypal disorder which is a mental disorder characterized by severe social anxiety, paranoia, and often unconventional beliefs.  I am 31 years old currently living in a group home and attend LifeQuest which is a PSR or Psychosocial Rehabilitation.  PSR programs encourage the process of restoration of community functioning and well-being of an individual diagnosed in mental health or mental or emotional disorder,and who may be considered to have a psychiatric disability.

            My first experience with depression was around the time my parents separated at age 5, and I was introduced to heavy anxiety as I adjusted to new family members.  After I graduated in 2003, I shipped off to basic training as I enlisted in the United States Navy.  I loved the Navy and being in the Navy.  I went through basic training at Great Lakes, and then flew to Groton, Connecticut to attend the submarine academy. I was two weeks away from my first boat, the Virginia class submarine, the USS Washington.  It was at Washington state harbor getting its hull cleaned.  Two weeks before my first adventure on a submarine, I started getting phone calls about a family member’s poor health.  I got depressed about the fact that I couldn’t be there for my family member, and the Navy didn’t give any leave time.  I fell into depression and the thought of my loved one dying scared me.  I started having suicidal thoughts.  My family member is okay today, but the toll it had on me back then was too much for me.  Then the Navy diagnosed me with having manic depression, or bipolar disorder.  They gave me a medical discharge, which was to be a honorable discharge from the Navy.  In February of 2004, I rode the bus back to Washington, North Carolina.  I moved in with my mom for a few months, and joined the Job Corps.  During the mid summer, I went to Kentucky, to attend the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Academy.  While I was in Kentucky I learned about flooring, specifically tile setting alongside forklift training.  They started me on anti-depressants, and the pills made me feel worse.  I felt dead like a zombie.  My depression got worse, and worse.  I completed the Job Corps academy, and was home in November of 2005.

            When I got home, I moved back in with mom and applied for unemployment.  It would take me several months to find employment.  Luckily, I found a job as a dishwasher at a locally owned restaurant.  It also had a sports bar, and I was introduced to the world of alcohol.  I was invited after work to hang with the guys, and that one beer turned into several over the course of a year.  I got fired because I was partying too much, and missed too many shifts.  In a year, I was locked up, and in trouble with the law.

            I won’t give any specifics, but it was bad.  I had mixed beer with my anti-depressants and I wasn’t looking or feeling good.  I started hallucinating and my depression got worse.  My friends bailed me out, and they suggested that I join a group home until I got myself straight.  Over the course of several years, I lived in three group homes and have been hospitalized half a dozen times due to depression.  I lost five family members inside of four years.  The first was the hardest, was seeing my dad pass.  I saw him take his last breath, right in my arms.  My two granddads, my grandmother and one aunt died over the next four years.  I have my mom and my grandmother left.  I have aunts and uncles, but the immediate family was shrinking.

I currently have been dry of alcohol for several years.  I have been attending LifeQuest for 5 years, a PSR located in Washington, North Carolina.  I live in a group home, and I have a job within the PSR. I’ve been recommended to regain my guardianship and to begin the process of merging back into society.  My name is Joseph and I have a mental illness.  I have it, but it is not my name, my title, or label.  I am not mental illness, I have a mental illness. I accept that it does not define me.  

Comments (1)

1. unknown clinets said on 11/1/16 - 04:40PM
proud of Joseph


Leave a comment