I started going to CMH when I was 30 years old, which will be 20 years ago soon. I was very depressed and did not understand my depression. I stopped functioning, which was one of the signs of major depression. I am a single parent, and a grandmother. I have one daughter, which I raised on my own. I go to Pathways Clubhouse, which I have found to be a great source of support. They have taught me to believe in both my higher power and myself. Back when I was 35 years old they said I could never work again, but Pathways showed me that I could work and that I have been successful at that ever since.
I do believe that there is recovery from depression and I have attended several groups. I also used to have severe problems with anxiety and I have attended anxiety management training. I hope to someday attend DBT therapy when my physical health issues are resolved. I see that as the next step on my recovery journey. I used to go to the hospital every time there was a problem or a crisis, but I don’t do that anymore or see a need for that. Instead I have learned coping skills that have kept me out of the hospital.
Hi. My name is Michael Humphrey. Everyone has a life story to tell and this one is my road to recovery.
I have to go back to my childhood where it all seems to have begun. When I was four years old, my siblings and I were physically and mentally abused by a relative and after that I had an extremely mentally abusive stepfather. As I got older, I developed a few coping skills such as the ability to repair just about anything. This kept me quite busy enough to keep my mind focussed and off my much deeper problems. I always wondered what was wrong with me. I would ask myself, "Is this all life has to offer?".
I met a lady in Chicago who asked me to marry her so I got married. We had a little boy. Eventually the wife divorced me and moved to Michigan. I travelled back and forth to Michigan visiting my son. The stress level was mounting higher and higher. I moved to Michigan, re-married my ex, and we had another son. I thought this would stop my inner sadness but it did not. I felt as if the bottom of the world had fallen out. I had no more things to work on, no more lifelong contacts, no more family, and in my mind no reason to live! So I tried to end it.
I was committed for 30 days in a hospital and did 45 days in a day treatment program. But after about two weeks I was having tendencies to hurt myself again. So, back to the hospital for two more weeks and another 45 days in day treatment. While I was in the hospitals they were trying to find the right antidepressants and mood stabilizers for me. Things were really hard to do. I mean things like cleaning, eating, sleeping, and personal grooming. I got tired of the wife calling me crazy and I just got tired of myself. I went back to the hospital and I told them that this was the last time I am going to reach out for help. And I meant it.
I stayed at another hospital for an additional 30 days. They tweaked my meds enough to get me mentally stable. After I was discharged from this psych ward, I attended CMH day treatment for about 30 days. I signed up with PSR (Psychosocial Rehabilitation). My mental state was too much for the wife so she put me out. I stayed homeless for about three months. CMH Community Housing in the meantime helped me get an apartment. I continued attending PSR and ended up getting a temp job at Goodwill Industries. The job and people were wonderful.
I got another temp job as a greeter. Everyone that I meet and greet is like a fresh breath of air. As a matter of fact, every day that I am around people is like a breath of fresh air. The best time of the day is when I get to work and start my "Good Mornings". According to the staff, the best response is the one that I say at the end of the week and that is, "Thank goodness it's Friday".
I still have my lows at times but I have a good support group and if the gravy gets too thick, there is the crisis center. At the time of writing this real life recovery story, I am working as a greeter. And, if asked how I am taking life, my response will be, "I AM TAKING LIFE ONE SMILE AT A TIME".