HOPE IS CRITICAL - by Craig Willers

My name is Craig and I'm 53 years old. I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at 18 and later other illnesses. So, 35 years down the road, and miraculously, I'm still here.

My journey's unique and starts in my early years. I worked from the age of 17 and haven't stopped yet. I rarely call in sick for my mental illnesses except for my hospitalization at 23 (a month and a half). My hospitalization was a critical turning point in my life as I discovered (slowly) that I did feel a difference on my meds and counseling was breaking through my psychotic shell. I learned the voices aren't real and that the medications can bring my psychosis way down. I'm still sick but hope to go into remission someday.

I'm married and we'll celebrate our 25th year next August. My wife's been crucial in my support system and just happens to be a nurse (Hospice). I plan to retire from my grocery store job in early 2018 (32 years) and go into Peer Counseling if possible. I want to reach back and show others there is hope out there.

Meds and counseling definitely help but my spiritual path (Christianity) has also been a huge motivator in my life. I believe hope is critical as my life has lead me through some truly dark places and I'm still here. If you're reading this, there is hope! I don't believe I'm a special case, just unorthodox in my approach to living with mental illness.

Wishing you all the best and Aloha.

Photo Credit: Craig Willers Craig as DJ at his most recent gig.

Photo Credit: Craig Willers
Craig as DJ at his most recent gig.

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