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.
My interest in NAMI was due to family crisis situations of immediate family and siblings iradic behaviors and mannerisms. Years of struggle trying to change things, situations, take care of the wrongs done, etc. NAMI classes for Family to Family helped me to get a perspective on mental illness I was not clued in about with my family circumstances.The knowledge in the group discussions about specific characteristics, the medications, the manipulations of the illness, the insight helps to be prepared and anticipate what to do or not to do to assist the family member to live the life that is livable....I sincerely recommend NAMI for support and insight in the area of mental illness.
I was 5 years old when my mother was first affected with mental illness. She was hospitalized long term twice during those 50 years of dealing with the illness. Being young, the only explanation I was given was that my mother suffered a nervous break down. It wasn't until one of my younger brothers was stricken with schizoaffective disorder did I find NAMI. He was constantly suicidal and I wanted to help but I just did not know how. Through NAMI's Family to Family Education Class I learned a lot about these illnesses and how to deal with crisis. I acquired communication skills, amongst many other tools for coping and helping my brother. I saw how valuable NAMI was to me and I got involved in "giving back" to help others who were coming up behind me. NAMI has so many different support groups and education classes to help all people affected with a mental illness. Our state office does everything they can do to support the local affiliates, by way of trainings and advocacy work at the state capitol. I appreciate the entire organization.
My husband and spent more than 15 years feeling alone and desperate in our quest to help our adult daughter who suffers from severe and persistent mental illness. On the recommendation of a girlfriend who had attended herself, we enrolled in Family-To-Family in 2009 and it was a life-changing experience for us. We encouraged our daughter to attend Peer-To-Peer, which she did. Although our journey is continues with its twists and turns, we are unquestionably a healthier family because we are empowered with knowledge -- about the disease and how to fight for her when she lacks the voice to fight for herself. After attending the class, I became a teacher of Family-to-Family, and subsequently a Board member of my local Orlando affiliate. It's the only way I know to give back to NAMI who strengthened my marriage and my family.
NAMI saved my son and led me into an understanding of his illness. My first experience with NAMi was at the direction of my son's mental health doctor. WHen I checked out thw web site I was directed to a contact person in my area who turned out to be an angel. I became involved with Nami first as a Mother, attending support meetings, now I am a Family to Family teacher, & a certified Guaridian Advocate. Withthe guidence of NAMI & support I have been able to help my son and get him the services he needed as well as keep him out of the hospital and on the road to recovery. I am also a NAMI Board Member for the local NAMI Chapter. This is a much needed support serivce and teaching provider for our state and done at the community level.
I was suffering from severe depression and looking for support. I attended my first meeting just prior to getting ECT treatments and looking for answers and shoulders. no one was mean, but no one really offered any support either. I felt like an out sider and alone. I didnt go back.
My son had a first episode Psycosis and the Nami Family to Family classes helped my husband and I to come to terms with the illness and help our son recover. The classes were incredible, informative,thought provoking, and empathetic. What more could you ask for, and they were even FREE! A commitment of time was required, but what better way to understand and work on the issues.
I am both a client served by Nami Florida and a volunteer. Nami Family to Family helped a lot with getting an idea of where my son was at with schizophrenia. Also, it helped me a LOT in not feeling alone in this situation, as my son was perfectly unaffected by schizophrenia until he turned 19, and then symptoms would come and go, so it was confusing- I thought/ was hoping, it was just a phase he was going through or would be one of the lucky ones who was just having this happen once or twice and then he'd be back to normal. Nami has helped me slowly kind of accept that this is most likely going to be a lifelong chronic illness- although I still pray Jesus will cure my son if it's His will. Being a volunteer of a new family support group has helped me also to feel more connected with others in similar situation. I also attend several Nami family support groups and it has always helped me realize I am not the only one dealing who was blindsided when my son got a disease I never imagined he would get, and it would change our lives forever. It has made me more aware of the mostly invisible people with this illness and how ignorant most of society is about it. I try to educate people on it when it seems appropriate to do so as there is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding schizophrenia- people assume someone who has it is violent and needs to be locked away or heavily medicated. They never think that maybe the afflicted person would like to have some friends and maybe be included in society and maybe it's their duty as fellow human beings to try and befriend people ambushed in their most productive years by an illness that causes them to act and talk wierd sometimes or get paranoid at times, instead of just dropping them as friends or avoiding them - it's especially bad when the people are your relatives or were your child's lifelong friends. Some people also think someone with sz. is faking it to get the ssi check and constantly badger the ill person to get a job and quit being so lazy! Lots more education in society needs to be done!
For several years I have been a board member for a local NAMI affiliate and it has been my pleasure to work with NAMI Florida in our efforts to improve the professionalism within our affiliate. Although I fully appreciate the "grass roots" efforts for decades, our board was having difficulties recruiting board members, instructors, and folks with special talents to enhance the organization. Out comes the Standards of Excellence and, with NAMI Florida's guidance, we now are moving ahead with confidence, our fundraising efforts have excelled, and the calliber of our board members has brought us to new levels. We have formed great partnerships and are now much more able to provide the signature NAMI programs to our community. From an organizational standpoint, instructor training standpoint, and personal standpoint --they are there to support us. We thank them, NAMI Florida is the wind beneath our wings!
NAMI HAS BEEN VERY EDUCATIONAL AND GIVEN ME A FEELING OF BELONGING.I CO-FACILLITATE TWO CONNECTIONS GROUPS AND DO IN OUR OWN VOICE. I AM ON THE BOARD. iT'S FIVE STARS.
NAMI has been an unbelievable help to me as a care giver for a mentally ill person. I found comfort, expertise, information and fellowship in attending the support meetings and the Family-to-Family 12 week class. NAMI is there for the families and the disabled. The mental health profession and professionals are very impersonal and bound by way too many laws to be really helpful to people in crisis. Sharing a personal trauma, such as mental illness, with others who can understand and relate is extremely valuable. It is vital to be able to speak out on the day to day turmoil that this illness causes to the disabled one as well as those that surround them.