Ten years ago, I was living in a shelter and struggling with substance use.
Only one thing hasn’t changed in my life – I still have hope. I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in my mid-twenties and for many years would not accept the reality of my situation. I would hear voices and experience vivid delusions from day to day and not wonder if this was even real. The death of my mother changed all that.
She was diagnosed with stomach cancer and had passed within a month. She was my only support.
I knew this would be a turning point in my life. I could either give up and go back to living in shelters or I could keep hope alive and move forward.
It took many years, but I managed to get my own stable place to live, have a wonderful relationship, a job as a peer support worker at CMHA, and even a part-time business working as a regulatory specialist in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods industry. Last year I even got to see the Grand Canyon covered in snow. It is such a magical place.There is a funny thing I have noticed about hope. It is infectious. Once I had just a tiny piece of it, hope grew.
Now I have more than ever. I might get sick again someday, but I am not scared. I have wonderful relationships and a caring health care team. Hope spreads father than trauma ever could. Now I get to share hope every day.
All I have is today. Today I choose to be free from the limited mindset that tells me my dreams can’t come true because I have a disability. Dreams can come true.
Today I choose to walk away from the agony of my past and move toward the community that saved my life. Today I choose hope.