This service is intended for information and resource purposes only. It is not meant to be used to diagnose, treat, or access a crisis support line. The information received is to help you make informed decisions on services and/or personal wellness goals. If you are a person in crisis, please contact Re:Solve Crisis Network at 1-888-7-YOU-CAN.
A Peer Mentor is a person who currently receives services through TSI. They are a person with lived experience of mental illness who is successfully working on their own recovery.
A Peer Mentor is skilled at communicating positive regard, sharing their knowledge, and giving hope to other service users to enable them to move further in their own recovery journey.
I was asked to write an article for the upcoming T.S.I. Newsletter about recovery and what it means to me. It just so happens that today is my 38th birthday. Birthdays are always a day for reflection for me. Today, I recognize how fortunate I am to have recovered from mental illness. I had a great childhood. I was a promising student with lots of hopes and dreams. I was first diagnosed with a mental illness around age twenty and it seemed as if all those hopes and dreams, all that promise was lost. Throughout my twenty’s I struggled. I’ve never been quite able to explain what living with a mental illness is like and the best words I can find are; a living hell. From approximately age twenty to age thirty, there were lots of lows along the way: lots of inpatient hospitalizations, lots of embarrassing incidents, lots of lost friends and family members. It was not until two months before my thirtieth birthday that things changed for me. I found a medication which worked and stopped drinking alcohol. It was during that year that my relationship with T.S.I. began. I had nowhere to live and T.S.I. took me in when no one else wanted me. They gave me a very nice place to live and encouraged me to be an active participant in my own recovery. They suggested that I follow a program of community involvement and integration. I found places to volunteer my time and met many great friends. T.S.I. gave me hope that I could enjoy life again.
At first my new life was a bit scary. I was living in a strange place. I didn’t know if the new medications would keep working. I thought that others would judge me. I thought that if anyone knew the struggles I went through, living with a mental illness, they would not want to have anything to do with me. However, I was certain that I didn’t want to go back to the living hell I’d experienced before. I was desperate. I was willing to try a new way of life. I listened to the advice of others. I stayed on my medications and didn’t drink alcohol.
During these last seven plus years, T.S.I. has helped me to be able to live on my own, to manage my own finances and be an active member of the community. I have self-esteem again. I participate in both T.S.I.’s Peer Mentor program as well as an Advisory Board member for those the agency serves. There have been many people who have helped me on this journey of recovery. I have moved from an assisted living program to my own apartment. T.S.I. even went so far as to help me move into my new apartment and gave me money to purchase necessary household items. I am very thankful. The living hell has been replaced with peace of mind and contentment. I have repaired my relationship with my family. I have many great friends. I am active in many activities and dare say am a respected member of the community. My journey from living hell to peace of mind did not happen overnight. It was a process. I can say that I am as happy now as I can recall being in a very long time. T.S.I. helped me get here. I do not know where I would be without T.S.I.’s help.