May is Mental Health Awareness Month

We would like to spotlight Arthur Strickland from the Martin County Mental Health Court Program for the positive changes he has made in his life.

“Hello. My name is Arthur Strickland. I’m in the Martin County Mental Health Court Program that involves me engaging my mental health and addiction treatment. Since choosing to change my life, I now stay at a half-way house called Dove’s Nest. This program has helped me learn to live a better life and have better thinking. I have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder and suffer from addiction. My drug of choice was any mood-altering drugs and alcohol. However, I avoid them now with the work of a 12-step program. I also work with a doctor to regularly treat my mental illness and am engaged in mental health counseling. I have learned to be very open and honest with the doctor and my mental health team, because I have learned that taking medicine and honesty is very important to me.

At Dove’s Nest I eat healthy, avoid mood altering drugs/alcohol, sleep well and exercise. I have learned to relax in the evening hours instead of roaming the streets. I have also learned to be patient and humble with myself and others. This has worked for me to stay safe and sober for 7 months. I attend meetings and go to therapy for my addiction and mental illness regularly. I now choose to be a good listener and I set boundaries for myself and others. I am able to visit with my family now and enjoy my time spent visiting with them. Before when my mental illness was not stabilized and I was actively using substances, I wanted to be around my family less. Now as a positive alternative, I am able to exercise and go for a walk. This is a helpful tool as long as it's used with positive intentions and does not involve substance seeking or bar hopping. I also enjoy simple pleasures such as listening to music, it helps me to be happy. I have recently started a new hobby that involves working on bicycles and small engines. I have done some repairs to a bike and found it's a good use of my talents and times. I really enjoyed restoring the bike to like new condition. I now choose not focus on negative aspects of an experience, but rather focus on the positive. I have found happiness in doing positive or productive activities.

The mental health team that works with me has great compassion that provides me healing and recovery. This includes the individuals from the Martin County Mental Health Court, Dove Nest, and with the aid of my sponsor within a 12-step program. I hope others that suffer with mental health illness and addiction find the treatment they need. Treatment that I now know is important for them and myself to have. Having the understanding of a diagnosis and the stabilization it took for me to choose to work on my behalf. I’ve had to learn constructive behaviors and how to apply them to my emotions and thoughts. With time and effort this has become possible. With the right treatment and medicine, I was able to not have episodes of psychosis that I experienced in the past. Finding myself identifying with my feelings on a daily basis helped me change my life.

I am grateful to be able to share my story. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Have a blessed day.”