“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