My name is Terry, and I am a client of Peak Wellness Center. I never really cared much for drinking alcohol, but I started smoking pot regularly as a kid. After something bad happened, I decided that it was time to quit smoking pot for good. I realized that God has a higher purpose for me, which would be difficult to accomplish while on drugs. I discovered that pot keeps you from reality, and makes it so that you don't care about every day life. You miss out on a lot of good things. And pot gives you false thoughts, and impairs your judgment. I have now been drug-free for 10 years, and tobacco free for 11 years. I was very sick before I stopped using, but now I feel much better.
For anyone dealing with mental illness, I would highly recommend getting help. When I was 20 years old, I developed paranoia. I had a nervous breakdown, and I was in a mental ward where they just drugged me up. With paranoia, you need to learn to tell the difference between the good and bad thoughts, and you really have to train your brain not to act on every thought that pops into your head. I once smashed my beautiful Gibson guitar, just because the thought was in my head. After I did it, I regretted it. I realized that I needed to fight the bad thoughts.
My doctors and therapists at Peak Wellness Center, especially Sue Garrett and Leslie Wolfe, have changed my life. They encouraged me to stop smoking pot, and they stood by me until I was ready to quit on my own. I still go there for treatment and medicine, and now my paranoia is almost gone. My life is great - I live on my own in a nice house, and I like to invent things. I run my own business, which is perfect for me because I can do it on my own terms.
Throughout the years, I was in and out of mental hospitals, and Peak Wellness Center has helped me more than any of them. Peak Wellness Center offers clients a family environment. It offers a place to make new friends through the group sessions and social opportunities, which makes you feel good about yourself. I believe in the staff there. They are good people who care about the clients. They will treat you well, and will be honest with you about your treatment. Give it a try for yourself!
I am bipolar wanting to share my experience on recovery. I was admitted to Fort Logan mental hospital in 1987. I was there six months, where I learned about my meds and about my illness. The doctors at Fort Logan said, “you won’t be able to keep a job with your illness.” So, I ventured out and got a job at Cobe Labs doing assembly for a medical facility. I was there seven years. During that time I got married and had a son, and was in and out of the mental hospital. My husband decided he’d had enough of the illness, and we were divorced after 9 years. I managed to move to Cheyenne even though my heart was in Denver, and got on with housing in Cheyenne. I moved to mountainside and resided there for three years. Then I had a setback with my bipolar, and I ended up at Evanston state hospital. I was there for three months, and then went to a group home for eight months, where I learned how to be in society with monitored meds. Then I went to shared living, which wasn’t much different from the group home, but I had the freedom to come and go. Now I live in the supervised apartments. They monitor my meds there, but I am now taking my meds on my own. I also have a good job at King Soopers. I’ve been there for two years with benefits. The secret to recovery is to listen to your doctors and counselors. Take your meds. Believe in yourself. Life isn’t always roses, but along the way don’t be afraid to stumble. We can make success with a smile!
My name is Tracy, and I’m a client of Peak Wellness Center. I have suffered from depression, anxiety and low self-esteem all of my life. Growing up I felt that I was never good enough, and that I never quite measured up. After high school I was accepted to vet school, and didn’t go because I was afraid I wouldn’t do well enough, even though I always did well in school. At the age of seventeen I became the youngest Nurses Aid on staff where I was working after graduation.
As an adult, I found out that my husband was having affairs. He was also physically and emotionally abusive, and I eventually left him. During the divorce, and while trying to make it on my own with two small children to support, I became so depressed that I gave up hope. I didn’t want to get out of bed or eat. My doctor gave me different medications to help me live with the depression and anxiety. It was a good thing; otherwise I would’ve probably committed suicide.
I started working full time, and went to nursing school to become a Registered Nurse. But then I had another setback. I began using narcotics that I got from work. These were not street drugs, and I didn’t use them to party and have fun. They were injectible narcotics that were meant to be used during surgery. I was using them to help me get up for work, get through my day, and take care of the things I needed to. Eventually I realized that I couldn’t keep this up. I voluntarily surrendered my R.N. license, and went through substance abuse treatment in March of 1998.
After all of this, I was angry and I gave up on God. I thought God was mean. I’m not a bad person, and couldn’t understand why this was all happening. Other people didn’t seem to understand either. I had to go to court, and even though I was a first time offender, it was hard to get a job after that. Then to make matters worse, I had medical problems. I had to have a hysterectomy, and afterward I had severe pain. Finally I had to have emergency surgery, and ended up with a staph infection, due to complications from the hysterectomy, which should have been addressed when the pain began. But the doctors didn’t take me seriously because they thought that I was just trying to get pain medication. After the surgeries, they did give me some pain medication, and I was nervous to take it. I know I’m an addict, so I don’t keep it around. I only use the pain medication when I really need it. I remember what the withdrawls were like. But I know I have a choice – I would rather deal with a week or two of withdrawls, than a lifetime of hell. I know that road, and I don’t want to go down it again. With all of the complications and pain, I was so sick that I was unable to work for almost a year. We almost became homeless.
Then Mickey at Peak Wellness Center told me about a job opening. I went for an interview, and in December they hired me. I now work in a community living home for adults with developmental disabilities. I love what I do. I really enjoy helping people, and I feel like I’m finally making a difference. My grown son is now married with two kids, with another on the way. My high school age daughter is doing well, and has forgiven me for what we’ve all been through. I know now that God is forgiving, and He has a plan for all of us. I now take it day by day, and I try not to worry about tomorrow. We have a roof over our heads, and food on the table – we have everything.
I’ve been through a lot – Emotional and physical abuse, severe depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. My advice to anyone going through this is to go get help, don’t keep on suffering. When you are at the bottom, the only way is up. If I can do it, you can too. Recovery is not easy, but it is much easier than going into the gutters. Where it looks like there is no hope, there always is.
My name is Damon, and I have schizoaffective disease, which began at the age of 24. I wanted to share my story so that anyone struggling with mental illness can see that it is possible to overcome it and lead a healthy and productive life.
About a year after the disease surfaced I became homeless, not because of drugs, alcohol, bankruptcy, or any other situation, but strictly because the mental illness was overwhelming. I was living in alleys, under bridges and in abandoned buildings, and eating out of garbage cans. Out of desperation, I stole a car in the dead of winter to have a warm place to sleep and I was arrested. While I was in jail I finally received treatment for my mental illness, six years after it had surfaced. I went to the state mental hospital in Evanston, and afterward relocated to Cheyenne.
I have been going to Peak Wellness Center for treatment for seven years. I lived at the shared living facility for a year, and then moved into an apartment of my own. Through the variety of services at Peak, I learned to manage my finances, obtain SSDI and medicare coverage for my medications, and went go back to school. I earned a degree in computer and office technology at LCCC, and I've been a Collision Adjuster with Lenox Auto Body in Cheyenne for three years. My employer is very and has been very understanding of the challenges that I've dealt with.
Dr. Robinett at Peak Wellness Center is an excellent psychiatrist. I like to stay informed about my illness and understand all of the signs of changes, and she is great about providing me with a lot of information, and researching the answers when needed. Amy, my therapist, is the greatest woman in the world. She has stood by me and knows me better than anyone. The combination of the stability and support that they've provided and the proper medications have helped me to conquer this illness and live my life.
I used to feel isolated, and wore headphones so that I wouldn't have to reveal my true self. Now I am doing the things that I love again. I am into running and martial arts, I'm writing a book, and I like to travel. I'm an artist and musician, and I have rediscovered my faith. My advice to anyone who is struggling with mental illness is to be humble enough to accept help. Be honest and forthright about your situation with family. Expect progress, but be patient, it takes time. Learn about your mental illness, and know the signs so that you can make adjustments when necessary. And visualize leading a normal life. It is possible. I know, because I'm doing it.
When someone asks me about Peak Wellness Center, I shorten a long story by telling one and all that they saved my life.
I was fifty-one when my mom passed away, forty-four when Dad left. They were my world, I knew no other. Alone, I had no reason to go on living. I had nothing the world could use. So, to my sick way of thinking, the best and only right thing to do was to take me out of the picture. I tried twice. The first time, I took a very large hand-full of sleeping pills. At the time, I had a white poodle named Amy. I did not want to die and leave her by herself, I killed her with a shovel. My second try at death worked no better than the first. It was here that God stepped in. He put me in jail and kept me there long enough for the dust to calm down. Once it had, I was led to Peak. This was March 1995. I came, I saw, I stayed.
It is now six years later, and I am still going strong. I went to many of their groups. I enjoyed each one, and was sorry when they went the way of the Do-Do. When I found Peak, I was a sick, sorry mess. People who knew me knew something was very wrong. They were looking at me from the outside in. I saw the world from the inside out, and thought I was normal.
Before Peak, I was part of a black, empty, dead, soulless nothing, the walking dead. After Peak, I am a real live person. I can now face the world and make it blink. Thank you Peak, and God Bless