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Andrew s Story

Vancouver, Canada


"At 17, I spent four days in the psychiatric ward after uttering threats of suicide. It was the first of nearly twenty hospitalizations over the span of a decade.


I was diagnosed shortly before my 18th birthday. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). I was put on an antidepressant and told it would take six-to-eight weeks to notice an improvement in my symptoms. That would be too long a wait as a new preoccupation took hold. Paranoia.


By the time my second year at my university came around, psychosis was in full swing. Believing other students were gossiping about me and spreading rumors behind my back, I isolated myself. I experienced hallucinations, both auditory and visual. I couldn't sleep. I paced back and forth across my small dorm room, caught up in suspicious thought and troubled by the nagging obsessions that cluttered my mind.


It wasn’t long before I developed delusions of grandiosity. This is when the voices intensified to a deafening roar and suicidal ideation became a dangerous burden. Schizoaffective disorder, the doctors called it.


I am where I am today because of my support network. They saved my life. Family, friends and my treatment team helped get me to a place of wellness. I've worked hard at my recovery. Recovery isn't easy, but it's possible. In fact, it's expected.


Today, I look forward to what lies ahead. As Jack Kerouac wrote, 'Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.' And as I walk down this road, I think, how grateful I am to have stepped out of the shadows and into the wide open world before me."

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