August 3, 2023

St. Vincent de Paul – Collection this weekend!

An Update: 

Our neighbor that we have been sharing about for the last two months is now 4 months sober! She is living in a Catholic Community Services housing where she receives counseling and is now looking for employment. 


Our Own: 

One of our Vincentians wrote an article that appeared in the July 25, 2023, edition of The Seattle Times that we wanted to share with you. Joey has a loving spirit and helps people in our St Anne community whenever asked. 

By  Joey Wilson 

Mental Health Perspectives guest columnist 

Having all odds against me is something I have dealt with since birth.  

I was born three months prematurely and weighed 1 pound, spending the first five months of my life in an incubator. I was raised with five siblings by a single mother. I was 12 when a doctor told my mom I would have early onset schizophrenia by age 18.  

At 19, my schizophrenia kicked in, and I could not function. I spent two months in Harborview Medical Center’s psychiatry ward and later went to an inpatient group at a mental health agency called Transitional Resources. The next three years were very tough: I had multiple stays in Harborview’s psych ward to keep myself safe. In fact, I spent my 21st and 22nd birthdays there. 

I felt like the cycle was never going to stop and I was missing out on life at that age. 

I felt very lost already as a high school dropout, but the voices I heard in my head were overwhelming, and I was afraid there was no future for me. I would have never guessed that being diagnosed with schizophrenia and going to Transitional Resources would give me a future and save my life. Getting a diagnosis felt like a restart. 

During those stays in Harborview and while living in a Transitional Resources group home facility, I got the chance to reflect on my life. Pacing the group home hallways, I began to think: “I’m here for a reason.” 

Around my 22nd birthday, I found the right medication, which I have been taking for more than 9 years. The medication is lifesaving, and I could not function without it. It can take years to find the right combination of drugs — one-size-fits-all does not work for a lot of people. I’ve found each pill works differently, and their effectiveness is  a case-by-case situation. 

I’m thankful for a good life today. I have a community, the right medication, and a great support system — including my mom, three mentors and my case manager.  

I began a part-time job at my neighborhood Safeway supermarket at 22. I got my first apartment just before my 23rd birthday. At 25, I enrolled in Bellevue College’s Occupational Life Skills Program, which serves people with learning disabilities. I worked extremely hard, taking three buses to my college classes and three buses back home every day, 5 days a week while also working my Safeway job on the weekends.  

During my second and third year, I helped pass House Bill 1199, also known as Healthcare for Workers with Disabilities, while keeping up my studies. The bill makes it possible for individuals with disabilities to work as much as they like, allowing them to stay on Medicaid without age or income limits. Many clients at Transitional Resource mental health agency use this program, and so it really hit home for me to be able to give back. I was with Gov. Inslee when he signed it into law.