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