Skip to content

Barbara S

Mental Illness Doesn’t Run in My Family…it Gallops

I was a high functioning person…but I would go into deep, deep depressions.  One time I was not able to get out of bed for 6 months. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I had several episodes like that.  It was a constant, constant fight to be able to keep some sort of routine. It was so tempting, so tempting to just let go. And if you do, then that is it. You would just be gone.  My kids kept me going and have done well for themselves as adults. It would take me a year to get out of the depression.   It was a real struggle.  I always felt that within a very short period of time, everything could be lost.  And I had two children at the time to look after.  I was under constant, constant stress.  Mental illness didn’t run in my family…it galloped.  My mother had mental illness and my uncle had severe psychotic episodes.

And I had two children at the time to look after.

I have been a tenant of AIS housing for the past 17 years.  I have security now, the security of having a home, the security of knowing if you are having a hard time coping with mental illness, there are AIS staff who understand what you are going through.  They are here to support you…and that is just GOLDEN!  That is the difference between being out on the street because you are spiraling and have no place to live.

I am very much part of the community where I live.

Tending the garden in the rear yard of my building and sharing the veggies with fellow tenants and playing with my dog is the joy of my life.  I’m probably the happiest now.

Finally, I decided it was time to ‘give back; so I joined the AIS Board of Directors.  I like to bring the tenant perspective to the Board when we are discussing policies.  There needs to be more supportive housing programs like AIS to solve the homelessness crisis in the city.