Donna’s Story
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.
- Donna

Michael's Story
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".
- Michael