During the past three years, Maggie* has been somewhat of a nomad, living in shelters, with friends, in hotel rooms, and other places most of us would never call home. But for Maggie, where she lands on a particular night is her home. She has faced much adversity in her life, losing one of her best friends in the past year, as well as losing family members. She has been hospitalized countless times for a variety of reasons, almost always stemming from past trauma and depression. And yet, she perseveres. She has built a strong support network around her, as her personality is one that cannot be ignored.
At CMHA, our mission is “Partners in Recovery,” and it is an apt motto for Maggie's story, which is one of heartbreak, redemption, fortitude and hope. We could delve into her symptoms, look into her diagnosis, and examine her history to present you a clear picture of who she is. But ultimately, this would do her a disservice, because, quite simply, she is a human being—like you and me.
Maggie adapts to situations, sometimes in good ways, and sometimes in not so good ways. Sometimes she is her own worst enemy, sometimes she alone is the source for personal victories. She has been a client with many of CMHA’s programs, including case management, Intensive Assertive Community Treatment Team (I-ACTT) residential program, and our Team Time Social Club. She can be impatient, angry, frustrating, and yet those traits somehow work for her, as she uses them not as a wall, but as a way for us to earn her trust. Maggie can also be funny, engaging, and warm, and that's what endears her to us.
Today, that support has helped her to land in a stable environment. With the help of staff from CMHA’s Housing Program and the Modified Assertive Community Treatment homeless outreach team, Maggie is living in a new apartment.
The other day, her case managers paid her a visit. As we climbed the stairs, we could hear disco music emerging from the top floor. Of course, it was coming from Maggie’s apartment, as she finds solace and energy in music. We knocked, and waited, until she opened the door, with Donna Summer blasting in the background. Maggie welcomed us into her sparsely furnished apartment, where she has nothing but a folding chair to sit on and a blow up mattress to sleep on—she is awaiting a donation from Bob’s Discount Furniture. As she loosens up, she jokes and smiles, her smile speaking volumes.
Today is a good day. Today she has invited us into her new apartment and into her world. Today Maggie is okay. She is a survivor.