“When I walked through the door 13 years ago, I had no idea that Directions for Living would literally save my life.”

When my parents brought me to Directions, I was 32 years old and had already been to private psychiatrists, had been hospitalized twice, and had been paranoid, delusional, and terrified for over 10 years. I had a history of listening to my voices and delusions and running away out of state and on the streets. I would wander the streets at any hour, following signs that my delusions would tell me to follow. I never once doubted that they were real. I had almost given up hope. Once I came to Directions for Living, my ARNP explained that I had Schizoaffective Disorder and that the medications she was prescribing me, along with cognitive education, would help me remain stable. She recommended I attend the STEP (now known as Enhanced Outpatient) program groups to become educated about my illness and learn coping techniques on how to handle the symptoms that the medication didn’t dismiss. I met people struggling with similar issues and gained supports. My therapist helped me get an apartment and encouraged me to pursue a position as a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist at Directions for Living. Through these experiences, Directions showed me I am a person who has a mental illness but that I am not defined by my illness. They helped me see that the stereotypes and stigma about mental illness are not true. Without Directions I know that I would still be wandering the streets, if I was alive at all; with Directions for Living in my life, I am currently stable, working, and thriving in all aspects of my life. I am so grateful that my journey led me here.”