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Carpenter hand or hand of worker marking on wood plate with carpenter pencil marker in work shop.

The Faces of Mental Health: Mr M’s Story

This story was shared anonymously by a member of our parish. We are publishing it here as part of our Faith in Action education series on mental health.

I think I have always been a depressed person!

When I was in grade school, I thought other kids had better features than me, better hair, stronger athletic abilities and academically smarter.  I was not a good student, nor was I good in sports. I did not have many friends. Since I was not a good student, my parents were always being called because I was disruptive or did not have my homework. I was even told I was a “sinner” because of my disruptive nature.

In High School, I found I was good in SHOP class. I began making wooden objects. People saw I had talents there and began asking me to make things.  Eventually, this skill influenced my decision to work as a carpenter.

I began my business with no knowledge of how to run a business. I earned money and bought tools and equipment. I needed other workers to help me on jobs, but was always behind with money management. I turned to alcohol and tried to earn money to buy more tools and drink. These addictions lead to more depression.

When I was 26, I met and married a wonderful girl. “I sinned every night for years and until I met her, I felt redeemed in a way.”

Twelve years and 2 children later, I had a major Paranoid event and my whole world changed. I spent many months on multiple medication changes before finding ones that worked. I knew I had always been depressed and had poor self esteem, but was not prepared for the diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia.  Finally I understood that I “needed” a psychiatrist, and have had the same person caring for me. I feel this condition is under control at the present time.

Meanwhile, I was less and less able to conduct any business. I also developed several other medical conditions over the years, making it impossible to work.  I actually went thru bankruptcy.

The strength I currently have comes from my wife and children. I could be on the streets if not for them. They are what keep me going day by day.

I did not go to church for many years, but returned a few years ago. “I have friends in Church I did not have before. I like that. I’m at peace in Church. It doesn’t follow me home. I still struggle with my daily routine.”

The St. Justin Martyr Faith in Action ministry thanks you Mr M for sharing your story. There is so much hope in what you have shered. You have come a long way working with your mental health issues, you have a wonderful family that has been your love, and it is our hope that the community of St. Justin will continue to be another avenue for strenght, enjoyment, and inner peace.

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