I have always worked. I have a degree in English education. I taught English to ninth graders for a short time. Then I moved to an advertising agency, where I stayed for twenty plus years. I then lost that job and was hospitalized, and moved on to temporary work as a receptionist. From there I went to a full-time job at an accounting firm where I did administrative work. I always had my own apartment and for the most part, I lived on the Upper West Side in New York City. When I was last hospitalized, in 2002, I became quite scared. I didn’t know if I would be able to recover as quickly as I had from past hospitalizations. I was at loose ends at the time. Then I was able to get a therapist and make a life for myself. I’ve taken on responsibilities that have helped me in my recovery.
In the past three years, I have not only recovered, I have assumed the role of Secretary of the Residents council. I have sisters who live all over the place, so I travel and go down to the City. I have a part-time volunteer position and I recently completed a twelve week peer advocacy training program.
You have to be really careful not to lose hope and lose your independence. You have to be assertive and take advantage of every opportunity to be independent. When you do, you build confidence in yourself.
From my perspective, adult homes serve a particular need. They are a place where you can recover. We then need to make sure the adult homes are up to some kind of standard. And when you are able and ready to go to more independence, there has to be more available housing. It’s difficult to make the leap to total independence. So you need something in between. We don’t want adult homes to be dumping grounds for anyone and everyone. We are all different–that’s why you need different types of housing. People must have the opportunity to move on.