In 1970 I was under a lot of stress and started experiencing delusions of grandeur and paranoia. I thought the TV and radio were talking about me. I thought my phone was tapped and the FBI was after me. I was having a psychotic break. I was hospitalized and had electroshock treatments. I was told I had a nervous breakdown. It was recommended I go to the state hospital for long term care however I chose to go home.
Since 1970 I have been hospitalized seven times for schizophrenia and I am diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. However, I have been able to maintain full time employment during this time and raise two children.
In 1984 I was diagnosed as recovered but had to be very careful. I wanted to help the less fortunate mentally ill. I have a younger brother who has been institutionalized in the State Hospital for the last twelve years.
I started doing volunteer work for the Mental Health Association. They asked me to work on the issue of stigma. In 1985 I went public and appeared on TV and radio to help erase the stigma. Since then, I have been speaking at mental health conferences, universities, schools, clubs, etc., to help educate the public about schizophrenia. In July of 1985 I wanted to start a self-help group for schizophrenics and founded Schizophrenics Anonymous in Michigan. This has been the most significant thing I have done in my life and the most rewarding.
I have made a commitment to devote the rest of my life to helping other mentally ill and believe this is God’s plan for my life. I receive so much support from the members of SA and have met the most caring, compassionate people. It is my goal to make SA a national group and I will continue the endeavor as long as I live.