I was born in Newmarket and raised in Holland Landing. I am the youngest of three children. My sister and her husband and three children reside in Peterborough, Ontario. My Dad and I witnessed my brother’s death in a tragic motor vehicle accident involving a drunk driver 24 years ago. I was 10 years of age at that time.
I attended grade school and graduated from high school in Newmarket. I enrolled in a Forestry Program in Lindsay, Ontario and graduated 2 years later with a Diploma in Forestry and a Diploma in Forest Management.
It was during my years in college that I realized that there was something very wrong…I began the party life drinking and smoking pot thinking this was what college life was all about. This behaviour made completing college extremely difficult and I feel I was very fortunate to have secured my diplomas.
I returned home and secured a full time position in the forestry industry immediately in York Region. It was a great job and I was making a very good salary even though I knew something was still very wrong.
I moved out of my parents’ home as the relationship with my parents was deteriorating and I was unable and unwilling to follow the house rules. I met a girl and moved in with her and her infant daughter. Shortly after I moved in with my girlfriend, I began to lose interest in my job and became very depressed and withdrawn and still did not understand what was wrong. I lost my job and at the same time was told that a new baby was on the way.
I continued to try to work but was unable to maintain tenure on the jobs I secured. My parents opened their home to us and provided a roof over our heads until we were able to find suitable housing. Our relationship ended a year and a half later and after 2 admissions to the hospital.
My parents again took me home and made every effort to help me. I was uncooperative, very manipulative and very disrespectful to my parents and it was at that time I was asked to leave the family home as they stated they did not know me at all anymore. I was not the same person and they did not feel they could trust me.
I left my parents’ home and applied for Ontario Works and rented a room in the community. Within a couple weeks I was readmitted to the hospital. This admission provided me with a confirmed diagnosis of Bi-Polar. I lived in my car for a week and then sought shelter at Porter Place in York Region.
At this time, I was physically ill as well as mentally ill and it was at this time I realized I had hit rock bottom.
The shelter staff shared information with me about Crosslinks Housing and Support Services. I made application for services and was accepted and that is when I met my Case Manager, AKA Coach, Joanna. At our first meeting it was apparent to Joanna that I was very ill and required ongoing medical attention. She was very supportive and assured me that she would take me to the follow up appointments that were scheduled for me. My last surgery was successful and I made a full recovery. Joanna assisted me with reconnecting with my psychiatrist. My medications were adjusted and it was at this time I realized I was going to be okay.
I wanted to become involved with my family again and asked Joanna if she would meet with them to explain my illness as they were having a very hard time understanding that I had a serious mental illness. With my permission Joanna met with my parents and explained my illness to them and also the support that was being provided to me by Crosslinks. Joanna also provided additional support to my parents to help them better understand the illness I was struggling with.
From that point on, my relationship with my family and my 2 children kept getting better and better. I now have support from my family and I am also able to provide them with love and support in return which is a great support in my recovery. I became more active in the community and my case manager assisted me in getting a volunteer position with the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority that has now become a permanent part-time position.
As time went on, I began to feel I could live on my own and Crosslinks provided me with the opportunity to move into a one bedroom apartment in a building in Newmarket. It was at this time I met my Residential Support Worker, AKA Coach number 2, Cathy and things just kept getting better and better.
I was invited to speak on behalf of Crosslinks to the staff at Ontario Works and also to sit on the York Region Mental Health Committee. I was then invited to join a sub-committee to address Coordinated Access for Mental Health Clients in York Region and this sub-committee evolved into the Current Streamlined Access Program. This means that one telephone call to the Streamlined Access Program will open ONE door to all Case Management Mental Health Services Across York Region.
Today, my recovery journey is a result of that ONE door opening at Crosslinks Housing and Support Services and being assured by Joanna and Cathy that I have been successful on my road to recovery.
Today, my recovery journey is still very positive and I look forward to the future. I have a great relationship with my family and my children and feel I am part of the community that I live in. I have been asked on several occasions where I thought I would be today if I had not become involved with Crosslinks Housing and Support Services. I can honestly say I would either be in jail or dead.
I know that I can never repay all of the people who have helped me on my journey of recovery but I also know that continuing on this journey with the support of my Mom and Dad, my sister and her family and my children and the ongoing invaluable support from Joanna and Cathy, I will be successful…