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#SAITSTORY

In celebration of 100 years, we're sharing stories about the people who have shaped SAIT throughout our first century.
 What’s your #SAITstory? If you have a special memory or connection to SAIT, we want to hear about it. Tell us your story.
04 Oct
Mental illness doesn't define me

Mental illness doesn't define me

“I’m lucky in regards to this disease. I am in the top 1%, so I don’t have any symptoms ― it’s been six years without symptoms. I’ll probably be on medication for the rest of my life but it’s minimal. It’s not that big of a deal. 

Twelve years ago I was at university in Ontario. The first few years were really good … But then there was this transition period I don’t totally remember now. I started to become really delusional and I had a break with reality. One of the scariest symptoms was that I thought people could hear me think. Sometimes it took me two hours to get out the door to even go to the grocery store, so I wasn’t eating properly and I was very sick. I was close to death and I didn’t know it. 

I had never heard of schizophrenia before this, ever in my life. 

Something in my gut just told me one day that I needed help, it was like an alarm went off. I hopped in a cab and went to the hospital, and they really encouraged me to admit myself. So I did and I was placed into treatment for seven or eight months. It was needed, but it was also very intense. 

Even after I got out of treatment, I still didn’t know where I was going. I wasn’t happy. I thought after treatment things would get better, but it didn’t and it took me a while to figure out that I needed to change things in my life to get better. I needed to stop drinking — that was a big one and it helped a lot because I could start seeing things a little bit clearer. And exercise also helped a lot.

I am 33 and I’ve never been this close to graduating before. Life is really good right now ― it’s the best it’s ever been. 

I was working at Apple before this, and I thought that was a pretty good job and life was good. And then I came to SAIT. I am not the same person going out the door that I was when I came in ― I’ve grown. SAIT has been such a platform for success. It’s fun to be here, you meet good people and the instructors are so supportive. 

That gives you the ability to be brave.” 

David Morales, Journalism student | Student representative, SAIT Board of Governors | Mental health advocate and speaker

 

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