Hello my name is Silvia. I am from Barcelona, Spain. As you can hear I have a big accent so please stop me if you don’t understand and I will be happy to repeat it.

I am taking a class to be Family and Peer Support Specialist from NAMI California. NAMI stands for National Alliance in Mental illness.

I am here today because I want to help you. Also, I can give you some information and services that you or your family can use.

I have a life experience living with a mental heath diagnoses.

I was diagnosed 10 years ago. I felt confused, scared and lonely.

I used to be so ashamed of being mentally ill that I try to hard to hide it until I realize that I am who I am with my ups and downs, happy or sad.

Also, I can relate with you and your experience of being hospitalized because I was too. I thought that I will never be able to come back to be a productive person to society and work again.

Being in a mental Hospital change me.

First, I didn’t understand why people around me behave different when they find out. Some of them look at me with pity, others were scare and a few were curios. The hospital gave me some mental sanity back but took a piece of me and my soul. I felt lost, isolated, and miss understood.

No one who has never experience this knows what is like. I felt that my soul was homeless but I was still there and it was still me. Living through that confusion and mental chaos was a very challenging until I find hope and a reason to live.

Now, I think that my time in the Hospital was a tune up. It is like a car when it needs to be repaired.

What help met though that difficulty time was: following the directions of my psychiatrist, a lot of acceptance and self care.

I started to take my medications daily and as prescribed. Also, I see my psychiatrist and therapist in a regular basis. I go to my support group every week.

I truly believe that everyone has a purpose in life.

Mine is to help people. That is what I like to do and what study for.

When I able to help another person who struggle and suffer I am able to transform my sadness into courage.

My sadness goes away when I share my experience of hope and recovery to others.

My courage comes from doing what I have to do the best I can without blame or judgment.

I would never though that I will be able to it but people in NAMI California believe in me and help me to have hope again.

Recovery is not my goal is the journey to get it what is important to me.

Transforming myself was my journey.

My recovery means transforming suffering into hope. It is like transforming poison into medicine.

When I am able to see my challenges as an opportunity to learn they became my victories.