Ann Marie T. Sullivan, M.D., Commissioner
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Our Recovery Stories

Dedicated to partnerships in hope and recovery...

Recovery has given me a whole new life! Out of a wheelchair and off oxygen! A trainer taught me exercises and a whole new way to eat, instead of portions I use to eat! I do hobbies like puzzles and crafts! I thought I’d never walk again at the weight I was at, but I bowl and can swim again! Friends also lend an ear if troubled, but it also takes medicine and my insulin and still doctors, nurses, and others to help me yet! --Annette

I was sick as a child. Very withdrawn and depressed. The family I came from was very dysfunctional. I functioned like this until I started to see a psychiatrist when I was 22. I lost two sons by suicide when they were in their mid-twenties. I had to change and develop a new me. Today I am in reality. I am sane and have lots of friends. Now I love myself and others. It’s a miracle! --Anonymous
The addition of a traumatic brain injury worsened the condition of my bi-polar illness. Instrumental in my psychiatric rehabilitation have been the Buffalo Psychiatric Center’s inpatient services, outpatient residential programs and the skill building programs of the GOALS' program. These services have been key not only to my regaining higher functioning but also in building my character as a person. My resilience has intensified, and I look forward to the future. --David

Del-Nor Recovery and Treatment Center has helped me greatly with my recovery. I find the counselors are very nice and accommodating. I’ve shared my story in Women’s Group, and this has helped others. I’ve also taken a computer class at the GOALS Center and now go to the Elmwood Wellness Center once a week, which I enjoy. --B.H

My road to recovery started out a long journey. I was hospitalized many, many times, always in restraints and heavily medicated. I thought I was useless and no good. Others thought there was no hope for me. I was in this. The doctors tried several medications and the comfort wrap. Gradually, I got better with the right medicine and the support of the people at BPC. My mom never gave up on me, and that means a lot to me now. When I started getting better at BPC, I started going to the North Tonawanda Recovery and Treatment Center. They give me a lot of support now, too. I have now been out of the hospital for more than two years. I am not just taking care of myself right now; I am also taking care of a healthy nine-year-old cat, Sabrina.I take my medicine regularly; I go to GED classes; I take care of my own appointments; and I handle my own bills. Today, I feel very proud of myself because I’ve come such a long way from where I was. I am independent and seek out help when needed. I never thought I would ever feel this happy. --Heather S.

I have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. I have been able to cope with conditions out in the community for approximately three years now. I grow a little every day.Although I was afraid to try Clozaril, my doctor suggested a small amount. I feel very well, and I like it so much. After being in assisted living successfully, I am now considering getting my own apartment. I am affiliated with the Del Nor Recovery and Treatment Center. My doctor encouraged me to work at the GOALS Center downtown that is located at the Erie Community College City Campus. I am presently going to the GOALS Center twice a week, Del Nor RTC one day a week, and swimming at the Elmwood Wellness Center on the main campus of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center one day a week. While living at a group home, I am brushing up on my cooking skills and involved in recreational activities in and outside of the residence. I have also been able to quit smoking since October 2009. I am exercising at Del Nor on Mondays, and I have a little stretching routine I do daily. I visit with friends monthly. My Christian faith is what sustains me. --Dolores N.

My name is Jennifer. I was sickened with mental health issues when I was 18 years old. At that time, I was diagnosed with post partum psychosis, which affects mothers of newborn children; their nervous systems and hormones become unbalanced. I am now 57 years old, and I have the diagnosis of schizophrenia with bi-polar manic depressive and affective disorder. Although it sounds complicated, it is not. I manage to do everything in a normal fashion. I am on a medication regimen, which allows me to enjoy life and love myself and others. My doctor has helped me overcome all adverse reactions to psychiatric medications that I now take.
I attend the Del Nor Recovery and Treatment Center, and it’s helped me get over the hurdles of life. --Jennifer

The Del Nor Recovery and Treatment Center has helped me a lot. The counselors help me watch my symptoms and control my problems. The groups have been very good. I have enjoyed them very much. I especially like the Women’s Group, the Smoking Cessation Group, and the Healthy Lifestyles group. It is very nice to participate and look forward to something. I thank the counselors very much for their hard work and determination to help me recover. Del Nor has helped me greatly with my recovery. I find the counselors very nice and accommodating. I was really mentally ill, but I went to GOALS Center for a month and a half at Erie Community College. I took a class on Basic Computers. I now go to the Elmwood Wellness Center every Tuesday, which I have enjoyed. I was a victim of substance abuse, and I have shared my story in Women’s Group. It has helped other patients. --Joan

In the mental health world recovery is always an ongoing process. You are always working on your mental wellness. A mental health diagnosis is a disorder or a condition of your body. My “recovery” is a journey to keep my mental wellness as well as I can. It is a plan I have that my doctor, family, and friends are involved in.

The plan includes things I do daily, weekly and monthly. It includes routines, exercise, proper eating and drinking, proper sleep, taking medication, taking care of my physical conditions, regular doctor visits, keeping my stress under control, socializing and not isolating, support groups, family and friends' support, knowing my triggers, prayer and relaxation.

My plan also includes things for when I go into what I call an “episode.” It may be because I am not following my basic plan or it may be from a trigger or situation that has gotten out of control. I see my doctor, tighten up the basic plan, and get extra help and support from family, friends, and support groups. If the hospital seems to be a consideration, I also have a plan for that. With my doctor’s care, possible medication changes and someone (or many people) being with me 24/7, I may be able to avoid the hospital. We believe I would benefit most from being in familiar surroundings, with my own things, my bed, my food, and pets. I’m lucky to have enough support that I can have this plan. So “recovery” to me is all these things I do to keep mentally healthy. --Kathy

My landlord sold his house a few years ago, and I had no place to live. The resulting stress caused my symptoms to act up. Consequently, I got into trouble with the law. I was at a supermarket, and I thought they were stealing money out of my food stamps. So I got into a fight with the manager. The police arrested me, and I was summoned to Mental Health Court. The court helped me with my recovery. They got me housing at DePaul and counseling at the Butler Recovery and Treatment Center. The staff at DePaul, Butler RTC, and the GOALS Center have helped me get my symptoms under control. Today, I am well on the road to recovery. --John W.

Recovery has been an important part of my life. The time I spent in the hospital was very productive in treating my illness. The treatment I receive at the Del-Nor RTC with my doctor and therapist has helped me to get along better in the world. I have enrolled at the GOALS program at Erie Community College, and I am doing very well. My symptoms have decreased significantly, and I am also on the right medicine. I am thankful for my recovery. --Mark B.

I found my life again after moving to Perkins Hall and going to the Zoar Valley Recovery and Treatment Center in Gowanda. I help out a lot at my home. I take my medicine. I see my counselor weekly. I go out with the Alliance House Social Club. I am happy; I am living again. --Robert

In late April 2005, I was a complete mess. My life was in shambles, and I was harming myself constantly. This was because I was a truck driver who had lost his livelihood to a DWI, a well-deserved DWI, however.

You see, I’m a musician. I made this stupid decision of getting drunk at an “open-mic” night and driving home. This endeavor was so costly that I had to sell off my music equipment to eat and pay the bills. With no income and no hobby, I was angry, depressed and frustrated. I began to drink heavily, use drugs and cut myself. 

With nowhere else to turn, I met a counselor who listened to my pleas for help. I met a doctor, who suggested to me that I spend some observation time in the hospital. I hesitated at first, but decided to go with the doctor’s advice. By doing so, I began to progress in my recovery.

Unfortunately, in late 2007, my sister committed suicide. The BPC Community Services staff has supported me in my recovery from this traumatic life event. Since then, I have had several counselors, all of whom have given me excellent advice…..most of which I actually take! They have always reminded me that I am a part of my recovery team that includes everyone at Miller-Broadway RTC, including the security guard and the receptionist. Everyone there is friendly and professional and extremely proactive in my recovery as well!

I have made significant progress. I was Water Baptized a Born Again Christian at Resurrection Life Christian Fellowship, and I enrolled in college classes at Bryant and Stratton College. With the help of both church and Miller-Broadway RTC, I attained an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average (99.45 percent to be exact), Summa Cum Laude, and was invited to membership in the National Technical Honor Society. 

I thank Miller-Broadway RTC for sustaining me through those trying times, and I thank Jesus for placing Miller-Broadway RTC in my life! I will never forget the rigorous efforts of the entire staff.--Vinnie

I’m new to Buffalo, having been here for just two years. My honey and I were separated as we tried to cross the Peace Bridge into Canada. With this happening, I was left to take care of myself. I developed a deep depression and anxiety from being separated from my honey and not being from Buffalo. As I was able to start receiving treatment for my mental illness, I was introduced to the GOALS Center at Erie Community College. The GOALS Center has played an integral part in my recovery. I started at the GOALS Center in early 2012, taking classes just one day a week. I am developing the skills I need to function and have confidence in myself again. --S.S