My letter to Wil Wheaton in response to his blog post on his Depression.
I have been battling mental illness for 20 years, hospitalized repeatedly, and I am currently unable to work trying to live on $737 a month of Social Security Disability. I get really down on where my life has been and currently where it is at. I feel like why does God have me here for? I have a BA in Business from Alverno College but have yet to use it and have a real career. I aspire to be a writer and I am a big fan of Julia Cameron and her Artist’s Way Trilogy of books. I must admit I envy your creative life cause you always seem to be doing great things despite your depression whereas my mental illness I am often incapacitated by mental illness. I am single at 42 living in transitional housing at Salvation Army and I go to an adult day treatment program during the week. I sit here thinking when will my life begin? I am nervous about starting Peer Specialist training in Omaha, Nebraska starting March 31st. A Peer Specialist is a mental health consumer who uses their experience with mental illness and training to help another mental health consumer with their recovery. I was trained as a Peer Specialist in Wisconsin in 2006. I then worked 10 hours a week on a warmline for the Waukesha Mental Health Association for a year. Then in 2007 I worked for a recovery center for adults with mental illness 10 hours a week for 6 years as a Peer Specialist facilitating Artist’s Way Circles Women’s Circles, and Prayer Circles. In 2011, I passed the state exam becoming a Wisconsin State Certified Peer Specialist. 2013 I relapsed with a combination of mental and physical illnesses and lost my job due to my illnesses. I fell in love with an Omaha guy and moved to Nebraska to be with him, but the relationship fell apart as I was hospitalized due to mental breakdowns 3 in one year. Also I found out my Wisconsin State Certification for Peer Specialist does not transfer to Nebraska. Meaning I have to start my training over again March 31 through April 15 then take the Nebraska State Peer Specialist Certification. Hopefully I can do this successfully so at least I can attempt to work again as a Peer Specialist. I am hoping to take all those 20 years of mental health recovery and be some help to someone like you. Have you ever heard of a Peer Specialist where you live? Reason I ask is because talking to a Peer Specialist can help you because they have been there and know from personal experience which some mental health providers lack. I strongly encourage you to try talking with a Peer Specialist. My big dream though I’d love to write a book that is why I admire you so much because you have written your blog and books already.
Sharing your story I realize that I idealized your life but through your depression you are more like me than I realized.