November 27, 2020
Recovering from PTSD and Building Confidence: Jason’s Story

Precarious conditions and toxic work environments can certainly affect one’s mental health. That’s what happened to LOFT client Jason. Working for over 10 years at a milk plant, Jason went through several negative experiences that led him to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

After leaving his job, Jason had a hard time finding employment. The trauma from his previous experience would get in the way and prevent him from performing well at his new jobs. He tried moving back in with his parents, but their relationship was not going well. Out of options, Jason ended up homeless, becoming involved with the criminal system.

Jason was introduced to LOFT’s Mental Health and Justice Initiative program after being released from jail. With access to affordable housing and continued support from LOFT’s staff, Jason is now empowered to pursue his life goals. 

The best part of Jason’s experience with LOFT is being able to work again. Referred by his caseworker to a social enterprise program, Jason had the opportunity to face his traumas and work towards recovery. “After joining the program everything got really great in my life,” he says. 

“I was really nervous the first time I had to work as a painter. I was worried about the stressful experience I had in my previous job, what the work demand would be, and how my boss would be.” All these anxieties came to the surface on the first day at work. “I was very nervous and vomited several times,” he explained.

Even though it was challenging, Jason did not give up. He continued to show up every day, even when it was hard. Today he can proudly say that he is not anxious about working anymore. “I’m very relaxed, very confident in my work. I trust my boss. He built up my confidence.”

Having found success in terms of both housing and his professional life, Jason started working toward reaching his relationship goals. Having made an international connection via Facebook, a regular correspondence developed into a close relationship. Eventually, they started dating. His partner came all the way from Taiwan to meet him in Toronto. In time, they decided to get married. 

Jason’s wedding took place in March of this year. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, he was only allowed to have 5 people at the ceremony. He, his partner, and the officiant already counted as three, so Jason invited his LOFT program director and his caseworker to be the other two attendees. “The wedding was the most wonderful thing. It was intimate. I wouldn’t change a thing,” he says.

Besides placing restrictions on his wedding ceremony, the COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted Jason’s work. He is not doing as many painting jobs as he used to. Instead of seeing this as something frustrating, Jason sees it as an opportunity to try something different. He was offered some cleaning jobs and he is happy with the change in routine.

“Having such a wonderful boss was what helped me build my confidence in myself. I didn’t have the confidence to take on a marriage before. I had no self-confidence for relationships. But I was so respected and valued for the work I did with the enterprise. Everyone I meet at LOFT is grateful and appreciative,” he concludes.

LOFT’s Mental Health and Justice Initiative provides supportive housing and intensive one-on-one support services for individuals with serious mental illness and recent or current involvement with the criminal justice system.