Throughout May, Genesis Club is amplifying #MemberVoices, to share stories of recovery during Mental Health Awareness Month.
I struggled with depression, anxiety and negative self-esteem ever since I was in middle school. I struggled with self-care, which made making friends difficult. I also had a learning disability. When I graduated from high school it was a big relief knowing that that part of my life was behind me. Little did I know that school work was going to be the least of the challenges that lay ahead.
After high school, I did what many young people do and went to college. But because I didn’t have a strong academic foundation, or a strong belief in myself, much less a career path, I floundered. I went to a very dark place, one that I didn’t escape from for quite some time. Things looked very bleak. But sometimes you have to reach what you think is the end in order to find a new beginning.
I was in a mental health program for a while but seemed to be just treading water. I needed something else. I needed hope, and I found it at a place called Genesis Club. Not only did I find hope, but I found things I didn’t even know I needed: a community of people who had a shared lived experience; opportunities for employment; and people who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. But the best thing I found at Genesis Club was self-confidence. I also came to understand that recovery from mental illness is possible, and that I can set goals and dreams and actually realize them.
Today, I work full-time at a local retail store and have management responsibilities. I have true friends, a social life, and a supportive family. I am part of a training team and serve on the Board of Directors at Genesis Club. One of the things I like doing most is sharing my story and helping others find their way out of that dark place.
If you’re struggling with mental health issues, or know someone who is, please know that there is hope for the future, even if things feel hopeless at the moment. Do not wait to reach out, ask for help. For me, Genesis Club and other accredited clubhouses are an important resource for people with mental health conditions trying to find hope and recovery. Reach out, because I’m not the only one who can have the life they’ve always wanted. You can too.