“You may go through the storms of tragedy but there is always a rainbow…”
My childhood was great! Up until I was five we lived in the country on Oneida Settlement, Ontario. Life was great because we used our imaginations to the fullest. We would pack our own lunches and go on adventures into the nearby woods and trails.
At 6 years of age my siblings and I moved into foster homes in London. I enjoyed it there because the family I was staying with were very nice people who took us camping and did lots of fun things.
But from the age of 8 we went back to live with our mom and step-dad. I hated it there and grew to be angry. I dropped out of school by the time I was 16 and spent mydays partying.
One day, I decided to take control of my life and go back to school. I enrolled at Fanshawe College, where I upgraded to grade 12.
I completed the one year Cabinet Making program and had employment for the next 3 years, bouncing around from one job to the next. I wasn’t able to find a job in furniture building, so I ended up working in a factory for the next 4 years, and eventually I moved to British Columbia. This is when I started to experience hallucinations.
After that it was hard finding a full time job. I lived on Ontario Works for a few years. Then one day, after 6 years of struggling, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I was in my late 40’s by then and it changed my life.
With the support of Roman and Ofsaunee (CMHA), my brother Robin and Pamela (SOHAC), I eventually got the help I needed. My meds were increased gradually and with that I improved miraculously. Now it’s like I was never sick.
Employment was a goal for years during my illness, and I never gave up on myself.
In 2018 I enrolled at Pathways for the Property Maintenance Program. A week after graduation I got a job. I am now working in a job I love. It’s provided me with knowledge and skills to persevere.
What does life look like today?
Pathways has given me self-confidence again and I look forward to the future.
I am 55 years old now and plan to go to school to work with people in the future. I feel that with my life experience and some education I can help others. That is my dream.
I have told many people to never give up on your dreams or goals because if I succeeded they will too. Employment was a goal for years during my illness, but I never gave up on myself. You have to want to try and get well again.
It is possible to accomplish anything you want to do. You just have to vision it happening and do it.
I always say, you never know where life will lead you. You may go through the storms of tragedy but there is always a rainbow at the other end. Life can only teach and reveal what we already have. Take courage.