Three years ago, I started the group “Skills for Safer Living.” Prior to starting this 20 week group, I was in the psychiatric ward of the hospital more than I was out of it. I didn’t even finish the 20 weeks the first time. I was very unstable and continuously suicidal. When I was asked if I wanted to do the group again, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to. I did however decide to do it again. I can honestly say that this program saved my life! I learned many new skills to take forward in my life, many of them I still use as a means of coping in my daily life today, especially when I am having a difficult time. What stands out in my mind the most, that I learned from the group was, “I have choices.” We can’t always control what happens to us and around us, yet we can choose what we do with our emotions around any situation. I am also more aware of my own “inner dialogue,” and just how that plays a large part of what I was choosing to do.
When I finished the program I began volunteering at Self Help Alliance in Kitchener. I was still struggling and still in and out of the psychiatric hospital, yet my time in hospital was becoming less and less. I have not spent a night in the hospital now for about a year. I am still volunteering at Self Help Alliance and I work some weeks up to 40 hours a week. I have taken many training sessions offered through the Self Help Alliance, including my ASIST training. I just enrolled into the Social Services Worker Program at Conestoga College. I started this September.
Without The Skills for Safer Living program, I would not be here today. I still struggle at times and have my moment of dread, however, that is what they are now, just moments. Prior to the program my moments were stretched and measured by months and years. Now they are measured in a day or even just a few hours. I now see a future for myself, and it looks quite amazing! I have the Skills for Safer Living group to thank for that.