We came to Canada from Ghana when I was 9 years old. And I was just a regular Canadian kid until I hit my teens. At 16, I began staying up for days on end.
My mum took me to the doctor, who said I was bi-polar and prescribed medication.
When the meds made me feel like a zombie, I rebelled. I didn’t take the meds regularly, and instead of stabilizing, I got worse. Fought with my family, and dropped out of school.
And even worse: I was hospitalized a number of times.
So, here’s what I discovered about mental health – it takes something powerful to shift us off the path of self-destruction.
For me, that powerful thing was LOFT.
Antonia, my worker, has a way of explaining things that make sense to me. She made sure I got the right medication – and a place to live in a LOFT building where I was safe and cared for.
She also encouraged me to think about what I wanted to do with my life. I’d always been fascinated by videos and had taught myself to produce them. I knew I wanted to start a video production company, but how?
As I talked with Antonia, I realized that I needed a portfolio. What if I approached a local business and offered to produce a video for them – for free? I did, they said yes, and were blown away by the result. They even offered to pay me!
Everything seemed to be going my way. But there are bumps on every journey toward mental health.
Two years ago, I had a manic episode – a bad one. So bad that Antonia urged me to check into hospital.
But, instead of taking her advice, I decided I should go on the CBC program, The Dragon’s Den – to talk about my video production company.
When I arrived at the CBC building, a protest was going on. As I stood in the lobby, I was more interested in the big screen and how it worked than I was in the protestors. But CBC security thought I was part of the demonstration and asked me to leave.
My response was vulgar and violent. The police were called and as I struggled with them, I hurt one of the officers.
What happened next? I went to jail. Then back into hospital. And this time, my doctor recommended something different – electroconvulsive therapy. I had twelve treatments.
And it worked!
For the first time in years, I felt like myself again.
And since then I’ve been doing much, much better.
With Antonia’s help, I’ve taken ownership of my mental health.
Now, I’m living a normal life. Reconnecting with my family. And building my business. In fact, I’m producing some videos for LOFT – so that they can share the real-life stories of people like me – with people like you.
My life story is just beginning. And the first chapter was about me transitioning from a miserable, confused teen to a young man with a bright future.
And I couldn’t have done it without Antonia and LOFT. And people like you who support LOFT’s life-changing services.
In closing, I hope you’ll forgive me for one small advertisement for my services: yes, I am taking new clients.