I had the privilege of attending the annual Harry and Shirley Young Drive to Survive Golf Tournament on June 15 at Angus Glen in Markham, Ontario. I was the guest speaker there and did not play, but the weather was great and the tournament was a sell-out. Harry and Shirley have been sponsoring the event for many years; money raised goes to support the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) which, of course, is a very worthy cause.
For those who are unfamiliar with the organization, the SSO is a not-for-profit group that helps families and individuals who are dealing with schizophrenia. There are many more mental health organizations across North America that are all doing a great job at educating and breaking down the stigma of mental illness. I encourage you to find and participate in an organization in your area; I know that many people who are dealing with an illness may have a lot of free time on their hands. I know that was the case in my situation—I basically spent five years on the couch doing nothing. Perhaps if I would have known about different organizations or different opportunities, I would have become a volunteer and it would have given me something to do—and maybe given me some purpose.
Purpose in life is very important. I know that mental illness is a very cruel and devastating illness, but it has given many caregivers and individuals a sense of purpose and a mission and goals to strive for. Throughout the years I have met many people who have dedicated there life to certain causes, and it has given them their identity and a real sense of direction.
In my case I have to be honest: My illness has given me purpose and a career—a much better quality of life than if I had not been diagnosed with a mental illness. If my life was not interrupted by schizophrenia, I would still be working at a printing plant putting bundles of papers onto skids all day long. Instead I own my own business and I help educate people and bring a better quality of life to those with mental illness.
Look into ways for you to fill your time. Who knows? It could be a whole new world where you find purpose, leading to a better quality of life for you.
If you are interested in learning about my public speaking engagements, please click here.