Minding The Matters of The Mind

A Guide for Anyone Who Has Been Touched by Mental Illness and Wants to Make a Difference

David’s Story (In His Own Words)

Hi! There were a bunch of things that might have led to my mental illness. A lot of my thinking was normal, but I could have been born that way. It could go back to when I was a baby. I remember hearing voices in elementary school, but I blew it off as bad thoughts. I just tried to be good back then. I was in the band from 1st to 8th grade. I also played sports growing up.  When I was about 14, I started drinking and smoking cigarettes. I also tried to date girls back then at dances and at parties. I flunked out of high school and had to go to a boarding school, and I was probably hearing voices back then. I was straight edge at the boarding school pretty much; I had a bunch of friends at that boarding school and had a real good time. It was the, “I don’t like being there, but I was glad I was there” type of thing. It was real neat.  Later on, I went to many colleges, including Baylor. I had fun there. I heard some voices there, too. I managed to handle it pretty well and stayed busy. That’s one of my pointers—stay busy.

After college, I tried to work at a bunch of jobs such as Manpower, Cutco, pizza delivery jobs, and as a truck driver. Finally, I tried the Navy. I thought it was going to be easy, until I got there. It was tough. About a week into it, I started hearing voices. I thought it was because my dog died right when it started to get hard. So, I went to their mental hospital at the VA. They said no smoking, but I might have smoked a couple. I also was a vegetarian there for a couple of months. They diagnosed me with paranoid schizophrenia and gave me meds for it. I lasted a couple of months and then I was out of there. I did well for a year after that. Then I started to hear voices after that and started cutting myself and falling down stairs. I ended up blacking out and they said I jumped off a roof (crazy, huh?) and woke up in a hospital after 5 days in a coma. For the next five years, I was in recovery. I even did some swimming to recover. It was “wet and wild.” Just kidding, it was fun. I was also going to group homes over the past several years. I heard voices there, but I was taking meds for the pain and for the paranoid schizophrenia. I went from hospital bed to wheelchair to crutches to a cane and back to walking normally. It was a traumatic event that led to a speedy recovery. I even had an ilizarov, which is a metal cage around my leg. Cool, huh?

Throughout the process of hearing voices and recovering, I learned a lot. I learned how helpful my parents are. They were with me as soon as it happened.  They were great morally and financially. I also learned how to spend my time. I did a lot of drawing and writing. I drew a lot of nature pictures and stuff like that. I wrote short stories and movie reviews. I also went to a bunch of day programs. Some were good, some were bad. My favorite was the Gathering Place. Some of the things that kept me busy were playing games like pool and stuff. It was also good that I stayed close to my family and friends.  So, that is what I’ve been up to. Just doing as the voices say and staying out of trouble for the most part. I hope I can be an inspiration to kids that have to go through it, but also parents who have to help their children.  One of the big things I had to learn was to “obey” a lot of times. I also learned that there are triggers, something that could make you act out. There are also coping mechanisms that help you get through the day.  I also learned to believe in a higher power. I also learned to pray more, go to church more, and just be a good guy.  Anyway, ciao. Thanks for reading my part, and good luck, guys.