Agoraphobia with panic disorder

Agoraphobia with panic disorder

The diagnosis was out: “agoraphobia with panic disorder”. It was the beginning of the rest of my life… Everything changed so quickly… I made my way through the psychiatric hospital, the youth centers and the group homes, after only 4 years, I had moved and changed schools over 7 times … I was now part of what we call the “system”. I was abandoned for others to take care of me. I had lost my identity. For my 18th birthday, I was given a check for 150 dollars and was told good luck with your life!

Fortunately, I managed to finish high school and I was on my way to a great career… But, wait! I was 18 and I now had to earn my living on my own… I managed to find jobs and follow a few classes at Cegep and even University, but as soon as I experienced a relapse with my mental health issues, I lost everything I had built and had to start all over again. Even today, I often wonder where I’ll be tomorrow and if I will ever stop this pattern… Before I knew what a credit record was, it was too late: a bankruptcy and a consumer proposal were already in my file… Finding a place to stay was an impossible mission… I’ve never felt neither security nor stability. I have always lived on a “survival” mode …

About five years ago, I grabbed my suitcase and moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta. I got involved in the community and went through an amazing and rewarding experience, I had found a new meaning to my life and I was finally on the right track… But, I wasn’t at the end of my sufferings because upon my return, I had to go through the ‘paperwork’ of my home province. It took three months for me to receive my first unemployment check, my car did not pass the mandatory inspection and I had to wait three months to get any health insurance. As a result, I had to sleep in my car and other borrowed locations… I knocked on several doors, but was told I was responsible for my fate… It was my choice, my decisions and my lack of stability that got me where I was. I felt really misunderstood…

If I chose to write about all this, it’s not to discourage anyone, it is rather to show you that in spite of all the existing services, our system still has several flaws and that it is essential to continue to act and mobilize ourselves for rapid and lasting changes…

It’s also important for me to add that despite all these difficulties, I would not change lives with anyone else. My life is full of experiences that make me grow and, it’s how I choose to live them that influence my perception of it. To me, recovery is recognizing my limits and using my strengths and my openness to people and experiences that come my way, in order to teach me how to keep going. Always, I let myself be guided, like a feather in the wind…

Julie Tansey

/ Mental Health

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