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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration


Last Updated: 7/7/2008

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)

 

Deanne's Story

Deanne O'BrienI am in recovery from mental illness, and I believe that giving back to my community has helped me tremendously in the recovery process.

I had heard about a program called 9Muses Art Center in Broward County, Florida, where adults with psychiatric diagnoses take art classes and display their work. At that time, I did a lot of isolating; and I was excited and nervous about going.

Being out among my peers was a challenge, but I grew to love it. At first, I attended classes. Then, as I made friends and began to learn other people's stories, I discovered that I was not alone in the difficulties I had experienced.

As I began feeling better, I volunteered to teach an art class. I taught jewelry making, collage, and greeting cards. I really began to grow as a person, taking responsibility for my emotions and symptoms.

Eventually I was offered a position at the new consumer center, called Rebel's Drop-In Center, teaching arts and crafts. Working with my fellow consumers has enriched my life. I am inspired daily by the poignant struggles of people in recovery. I feel more secure in my recovery than I would have imagined possible back when I took my first art class with my peers. I have learned to manage my symptoms. I hold a full-time job at Rebel's Drop-In Center, and last year I was promoted to Project Director. I believe recovery is possible for all mental health consumers.

Deanne




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