Some might say she had an ideal life; with a Bachelor’s in Psychology from C.W. Post and a full-time position as a Teacher’s Assistant (TA) in the Plainedge School District’s Special Education Program - Janice was off to a fantastic start. When Janice’s grandmother died, however, Janice noticed a decline in her mental health. After being terminated from her TA job, a tale too upsetting for her to recount due to the connection she felt towards the children she mentored, Janice began to ricochet from in-patient stay to residential program.
Janice, who was subsequently diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder (Bi-polar Type) and Borderline Personality Disorder, entered United Way of Long Island partner agency Transitional Services of New York for Long Island Inc (TSLI) Supervised Living Program at Building 70 in the Spring of 2014. After becoming acclimated, she wasted no time working to develop her skills. Once depressed and prone to emotional episodes, Janice transformed into a more self-assured, spirited woman who now utilizes her “WRAP Toolbox” (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) provided by her clinicians when feeling stressed or upset. Someone who once had difficulty managing her medication regimen, now holds and manages a 30 day supply. Someone who was unsure if employment would ever be possible again, now holds a position in TSLI’s Maintenance Opportunity Program (MOP) – a position she relays, “…gives [her] a sense of accomplishment.”
While she is appreciative of the clinical guidance she has received at her day program, Western Suffolk Center, Janice credits much of her success to the dedicated and caring staff at TSLI’s Building 70. From transporting her and assisting her at sensitive medical appointments, to teaching her how to budget her money, Janice is extremely grateful for the time and patience staff have showed her.
Janice wholeheartly agrees that her future looks bright. She intends to continue to hone her skills so that she can graduate to TSLI’s Apartment Program and looks forward to increasing her days at MOP. She also hopes to become involved in NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness) so that she can share her story with others. Janice will also continue to do what she loves: coloring, jewelry making and writing. Janice summed up her experience in an inspiring piece she wrote about her life struggles, “Mental illness is something many suffer from each day. Although we face obstacles, it is not hard to work through these challenges we face. Each and every individual has the ability to come and sing a new song each day.” Janice so poignantly reminds us that with determination and a strong support system, triumph over one’s disability is possible.
Since its inception in 1977, TSLI, a Community Residence Program, has been helping the mentally ill gain their independence, enjoy caring guidance, and most importantly, achieve and maintain a sense of usefulness and personal dignity.