Hello, my name is Jade Clark and I am a member at Gateway House of Greenville. As long as I can remember I have had serious issues with anxiety, panic, and depression. In 1993, at the age of 21, I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Needless to say, having Bipolar made my life very difficult to manage. I was constantly frustrated and I had serious anger issues as a result of my inability to connect and communicate with other human beings. I was not capable of simple things like forming relationships, or socializing, or even holding down a job with any kind of consistency. I always felt alone and scared and there was a long period of time in my life where even my own family did not want to be around me because of the anger and frustration that resulted from these experiences. This absolutely crushed my spirit making me feel helpless in my ability to change my circumstances. The years that followed were filled with constant homelessness and a general inability to take care of myself. There were many times I would just give up trying because I felt like nothing mattered anymore; like I didn’t matter to anyone and “ what good is it going to do to try to strive for anything when I will just remain so miserable and sad.” I had a general disability when it came to making good decisions and would often revert to unhealthy practices to try to numb the extreme pain I was feeling. Finally, one day I had a break down after many years of going through this cycle and ended up at The Carolina Center for Behavioral Health in Greenville. I was having suicidal ideations at the time. Although I was terrified to go there at the beginning, it ended up being a really good experience and I was able to get the help I needed in the form of medication and therapy. While there, I received a referral from the doctor for Gateway. A few days after I left the hospital I received a call from one the Gateway staff members. I shortly became a member and it has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it. Actually, it’s almost like a blind man receiving his sight and seeing the sun for the first time. The staff are amazing and have been very helpful and caring. My fellow members are beautiful people and hold a special place in my heart. A couple of weeks, with the help of my Clubhouse, I received a very nice affordable apartment. I feel truly blessed to have the help and care that this program provides for me. The stability that these new experiences have granted me has helped to re-forge strong positive relationships with my family and with the people that I work with in the community.
One of the most difficult things, I think, for people in positions similar to mine, is the lack of hope a person can experience when they have problems with severe anxiety, panic, or depression. When you are alone, the future can seem very dark and hopeless. Now that I have Gateway in my life, I look forward to living every day. I look forward to seeing the staff and members each week. Most of all, I do not feel alone and scared anymore. I now experience a peace and tranquility; a hope and anticipation; and a purposefulness that I have never had before.