Steven, a 37 year old soft-spoken man with a quick wit and kind, gentle demeanor, had a “rough” childhood riddled with abuse, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and isolation.
Steven shares, “My mother was very intense. She was psychotic and abused alcohol and prescription drugs. This made her physically and mentally abusive. All she ever did was wound me.” Every memory he had of her was traumatic. This deeply affected him as a young child and continued into adulthood until her untimely accidental drowning after they had an argument.
When he began to feel the stress of junior high, he started hearing random voices that would pop into his head the he couldn’t escape. Knowing his mother was not a source of strength and support with whom he could talk to about his problems, he simply suppressed the voices pushing them deep down inside. This turned into pent up anger and aggression. Steven adds, “The negative voices running in my mind were a constant battle that prevented me from ever feeling happiness. I never had any friends or girlfriends and I was alone a lot.”
After high school, he quickly left home to get out of the control of his mother and began working in construction as a carpenter. Without medication and an official diagnosis, he struggled for many years. He was taken advantage of by his employer whom he thought was a friend and couldn’t make ends meet. Unfortunately, he had to move back in with his mother and allow the tumultuous affect she had on his sanity and wellbeing to happen once again.
Things were finally bad enough that Steven came to the David Lawrence Centers for help five years ago. He stated, “I thought I was losing my mind. I couldn’t concentrate or control my rage issues. I had no physical control over myself. My head just wasn’t right.”
Steven was referred to a David Lawrence Centers psychiatrist. He was diagnosed him with schizophrenia it was also determined that he experiences depression and anxiety. He was prescribed medication to help “calm the storm in his brain”. He also began working with a therapist who helped him understand that his symptoms were partially the result of a chemical imbalance in his brain. She taught him critical coping skills to calm the voices and that it was okay to ask for help.
Slowly but surely, Steven began building his self-esteem and confidence. He put in the work, learned and gladly accessed the support and assistance he now knew was available to him. When Steven needed the extra help, he leaned on the Crisis Unit and Emergency Services rather than suffer in silence. He was assigned a case manager who helped him get on disability and began attending the David Lawrence Centers Wellness Group specially designed for people with severe and persistent mental illnesses to help them adapt a skill set to increase mental health stability.
When his mother died tragically followed by the accidental and sudden death of his sister, thankfully he was already engaged with treatment and had the support in place to help him cope with these devastating blows.
Today, Steven knows how well he is doing. He shares with a proud smile, “My past is no longer the ruler of my direction. David Lawrence Centers helped me find my personal strengths. They gave me the skills I needed to take care of myself and offered the kind of support they knew I needed.”
Steven is taking his life in a new direction. He is anxious to find a girlfriend and make new friends and continually seeks positive sources of happiness. He concludes, “David Lawrence Centers has been a constant source of help and stability. They never abandoned me, became frustrated or gave up on me. For that persistence, I am the most appreciative.”