After a giant meltdown in 2005, I had to relocate from RI to FL. Nothing was really helping me move forward; I was relatively stable, but that was it. I had gone through decades of therapy, individual and group, with psychiatrists and psychologists while in New England. However, it was the Peer to Peer course that really changed my life. I gained insight that had been lacking. I was given back the power to control my illness. I am MORE than my illness. NAMI Florida has trained me to be a Peer to Peer educator less than one year ago and I am currently teaching my THIRD course. I do this because I love helping others as it helps ME. NAMI Florida has also trained me to be a Provider Educator. NAMI has made me feel valued and given me back my confidence. Florida is a giant state and finally, I'm starting to feel connected to my "new" home, instead of wishing I were back North. I thank NAMI Florida (and NAMI Lee County) for making me part of their community and in turn, part of the communities all over Florida, as well as the towns and cities in my county.
To us has been given that which has been denied the most learned of our fellows. Not to scientists or statesmen, not even to our priests or ministers have this gift of healing been entrusted. This gift is used unselfishly and carries grave responsibilities.
Talk is the easiest used of all talents with which was endowed to mankind. Yes, the world is filled with better qualified, but we were selected because we are the outcasts and our long experience as such has made us humbly alert to the cries of distress. Therefore, We keep in mind the admission of our powerlessness.
My capicity with NAMI FLORIDA has now become stagnant because society at large fears me, even tho i have not harmed myself or others in over 30yrs. NAMI HAS HELPED ME DO THIS. TAKE IT FOR WHAT ITS WORTH. Iain Ocasio who was once a volunteer; Board Member; Connections Facilitator; P2P mentor and Provider Education Specailist. Thank you to all who had a part in my Recovery.
I gave NAMI FL at least 20 to 25 hours a week if not more as a volunteer. At first things were fine but then they began to deteriorate. I was yelled at, belitted, put down, harrassed and was told they could not deal with my mood. I was told to leave and never come back. I was blamed for things I did not do by the person who actually made the mistakes. This agencies only deal with people they want to and do not really care about people with mental illness.
I was a professional, a grad student and a PSYCHOTIC. I still am a psychotic- meaning suffering from psychosis, suffering from massive depressions in which I yearn to end my life, suffering from isolation. Suffering in pain. Forever I fought this illness, determined not to let it take my life and everything I have worked so hard for. I lost. I am disabled. After repeated hospitalizations during grad school I was dismissed. After crying at work and even hallucinating I was fired. How could I explain Skitzophrenia to the Dean without being judged. How would he let me continue on? How could I show documentation from a mental hospital to my job and not be fired? Does the word psychotic scare you? Exactly my point. When I was diagnosed with Skitzophrenia and then Bipolar Disorder the NAMI corporate office sent me a huge envelope of information and materials to learn about my condition. Nami promoted the NIMH where a team of Doctors doing research helped me immensley. NAMI has reccomended books and movies for me to read to help with coping and hope such as The Quiet Room and A brilliant mind. NAMI offers support groups and classes. Many members of NAMI fight for legislation changes advocating for us. For everyone out there who is mentally ill NAMI helps us fight back. One day with adequate health care perhaps mental illness will not be such a disabling sickness. One day discrimination and stigmatism may not exist. NAMI is working towards that day, everyday, all over the US.
Several years ago my friend and I attended a Family-to-Family class at the Senior Center on Marks Street. We learned a lot about mental illness which has helped us deal with my bipolar daughter. I read the newsletters faithfully and occationally attend a seminar. Please keep the funding for NAMI coming. It's a great community service organization.
I found NAMI while living in Florida when I was repeatedly exposed to my sister's severe bouts of mania and depression. NAMI helped me and my husband learn about mental illness through the Family-to-Family support groups. This program was a lifesaver for us because we really didn't know that much about mental illness. Our group was run by two amazing women who provided a great deal of their time as well as their emotional support. The classes were excellent as they helped shed some light on this devastating disease. The group leaders (as well as other group participants) shared information and resources we use to this day. We definitely wouldn't be where we are today without NAMI. Once we had the proper tools in place we we were able to make sound decisions for our family members. I cannot recommend NAMI highly enough. Everyone was professional, knowledgeable and caring. All I can say is "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!"
I moved down to Florida in 1996 and needed a connection to help keep my strength with fighting the stigma against my diagnoses of "schizophrenia". I was welcomed into my local NAMI affiliate. I used my passion and energy to be involved in the organization with my mission set to "give back". I founded our "Consumer Council" (which is now deemed the"Peer Council"), I sit on the Board, various committees, mentor Peer-to-Peer classes and never say, "No" to helping someone out in need. The latter, is what NAMI has taught me, what the organization is really all about...
My daughter became ill with bipolar disorder when she was 12 yrs old. On the recommendation of an out-of-state friend, I took the NAMI Family-to-Family course in Orlando, FL. The leaders were very well prepared and supportive. The Family-to-Family program helped me understand my daughter's illness, and ease the tremendous stress in our family. I have since attended NAMI Family Support groups, and again, I appreciate having group leaders who are prepared for their role. The meetings run smoothly, on time, and addresses the needs of the group. Because I benefitted so much from these programs, my husband and I have become volunteers at the annual NAMI Walk in our area. Fortunately, our daughter is doing better now after years of being very unstable. NAMI does great work in our area. I recently referred a friend to the Family-to-Family course. She is prepared to take the course immediately, and has an urgent need. unfortunately, she is on a "waiting list" for a future course offering, due to the great demand I our area.
My son had a mental breakdown 8 years ago. It was so devastating and my son's doctor told me to contact NAMI. I waited 1 year to take the Family to Family Class. I remember driving to the class for 12 weeks and feeling a sigh of relief each and every time I attended the class and when i left the class.It was the only place I felt understood and the only place I felt like I was given accurate information regarding my son's diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. I believe that the Family to Family class was my therapy, my life-saving device, and at the time, almost my God. It was the only thing that got me thru the terrible time of adjusting to my son's illness. Since that time, NAMI is a large part of my life and my son's. We attend support groups and events. Please continue to support the educational classes that this life changing event for many, many families that would otherwise be lost in the mental illness of their loved ones. I have taught these classes for 7 years, this is the way I am the vloice for my son- who has really lost his.
Initially, my daughter was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. After searching the internet, I located NAMI and enrolled in their Family-to-Family 12-week course. There, I not only learned how to cope with the uncertainty of her illness but learned of other mental health issues as well. I brought this information home to the rest of my family members who were then able to understand my daughter better. After the course I became my daughter's advocate; keeping records, talking to doctor's (even if they didn't want to talk to me) and communicating with my daughter in a healthy and productive way. I learned all of this through NAMI and its wonderful volunteers. Since then, my daughter's diagnosis has changed (now it's ADHD) but regardless of the diagnosis NAMI has equipped me with knowledge and courage to be an advocate for mental illness. Now I volunteer as a support group facilitator and 12-week course teacher. I can't thank NAMI enough for giving me the tools I needed to fight against the ugly word--STIGMA.