If you’ve ever strategized in chess only to find yourself stalemated, you’d know what a mental illness diagnosis feels like. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Feelings of inexplicable sadness, anxiety and obsession haunted me over the years. I relied on friends for support, even happiness. Subsequently I chased them off and was left alone to contemplate my illness.
How does one spell recovery? Friendly and efficient staff at Vincent House, a vocational rehabilitation program for people with disabilities; that’s how. Rather than dwell upon how it feels to be cornered on a chess board, I volunteer to perform tasks that help get me further ahead in the game, verifying attendance, answering phones, handling transactions as well as writing articles such as this one for the daily newsletter and monthly Gazette. It has always been a dream of mine to pursue a career as an author, but reality dictated that I roll my head out of the clouds and become one with the modern workforce.
Vincent House saw this need in me before I saw it in myself. They presented me with T.E.P’s, Transitional Employment Positions. The first was collecting files and envelopes in the mail room at the Public Defender’s Office and delivering them to legal assistants. Months later I was chosen by Vincent House to put together files patients needed to present to their therapists so they could best determine how to treat them.
These temporary positions along with other jobs I’ve held taught me the value of promptness, efficiency, organization and dedication, sharpening my work ethic. It is this same ethic that I bring to my current job as an usher at Cobb12 at Countryside Mall.
Ultimately, the support and encouragement of Vincent House has transformed me. I can’t thank them enough. When I publish my first book, I’ll reserve for them an autographed copy and include a brief but meaningful dedication.