by Dean in North Carolina
I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia for five years now. For two years, prior to going to my local clubhouse, I spent most of my time at home, isolated from everyone and wasn't very active. Through my attendance in the program, I have been afforded numerous opportunities that I would not have had if I had stayed on the road I was on prior to attending the program.
What I have learned at the clubhouse has helped me stretch myself much farther than I thought I could since being diagnosed with schizophrenia. I have learned valuable vocational skills such as preparing and serving food, operating a cash register, bar coding and inventorying merchandise, packing and moving as well as various other housekeeping duties I didn't know how to do very well before I started the program. As a result I am now working on a regular basis and volunteering two times per week in a ministry program.
I have also made numerous friends who have been through similar situations as me because of their battles with mental illness. I feel these are life-long friendships, which I cherish because of how we've been able to support and encourage each other as we have grown and changed during our time here.
I have had two relapses since starting at the clubhouse. With the support and encouragement of my friends and the staff, I was able to recover and get back on track. I feel my recovery was able to be measured in weeks instead of months due, in part, to their help. The two most important things I've learned have been increased self-confidence and not to run away from my problems, but to face them.