As part of our Countdown to Recovery year-end campaign, we asked you to submit stories of your experiences to help let others know that there is hope, that recovery is an attainable goal for many. Throughout the upcoming months we will publish new stories in each e-Advocate to help inspire courage in individuals and families impacted by mental illness.
By Chad Wise
To use the word recovery makes more sense than the word "recovered," as the struggle is ongoing...I was diagnosed with ADHD and depression at a later age, 31, although the struggles I had growing up make it clear that symptoms of these illnesses were evident as early as 8 or 9. Keeping jobs and relationships in tact was and continues to be an ongoing battle, but it can be done!
When my wife used to send me to the store to buy milk and bread, it seemed a normal request. However, when I returned from the store with chips, soap and a candy bar, the silliness grew into resentment. "You aren't listening to me" is a powerful phrase in a relationship, and this led to many arguments. Add to that the co-occurring depression and you have a recipe for disaster!
Finally, I met a great psychologist who diagnosed me with ADHD and depression. Medications took a while to work, but I am finally able to live a productive life. I have been the principal of a middle school for 6 years (longest job ever!) and I have learned strategies to help with my inattention. The depression can still be a struggle, especially living in Ohio, one of the least "sunny" weather states in North America! But, when the medications and strategies are working together, each day can finally be productive, even enjoyable.
I would love to share more details of my success story (success is, after all, a relative story!). I created a photo book out of my love for photography and my inability to express my struggles verbally, and it is available through my NAMI Fundraising Page. In any case, the best way to "fight the stigma" is to talk about mental illnesses, to share stories, to encourage one another and to take each day one at a time!
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