Rita’s struggles with her mental health began nearly four decades ago. “It started when I had a baby,” she says. Her suffering from postpartum depression eventually led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder—and a long and difficult path of dealing with a serious mental illness. It is with pain that Rita recalls being hospitalized and strapped to a bed due to the condition she’s dealt with for so long. Continue reading
Rita, Viola and Sharon always sit together. Viola is Sharon’s mother, and Rita is Sharon’s best friend. The Well Community is their meeting place. “Rita was my neighbor at the apartment building I lived in and invited me to come to The Well with her one day. She has been coming for years, but I joined about six years ago. We come here most days and talk to everybody,” Sharon says. Continue reading
Seven years ago, Lydia was introduced to The Well Community by the man who would become her husband. She met Bill on the bus, and he shared with her about Jesus and invited her to join him at The Well. Two years later, he presented her with a ring, and the couple was married there, Lydia in a royal blue dress and Bill in a navy suit.
To Lydia, The Well is far more than the place where she got to know her husband. It’s a place of support in a world that often views those dealing with mental illness through the lens of stigma, treating them with prejudice or even cruelty. Continue reading
About a decade ago, Anthony was a young man working for FedEx, loading and unloading boxes from trucks in North Dallas. But when he suddenly lost his job, something inside of him fell apart, he says.
“I just couldn’t deal,” says Anthony. “I just fell into nothing.” Continue reading
For 20 years, Akintunde worked as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor in Dallas, Arlington and Grapevine, helping men and women who struggled with drug addictions receive appropriate treatment. When he retired several years ago, Akintunde quickly realized the copious amount of downtime wasn’t for him. He wanted to be active and productive, and despite a diagnosis of glaucoma that left him with peripheral vision so limited he qualified for medical disability, he decided to go back to school. Akintunde is now a graduate student working toward a master’s degree in social work with a concentration in mental health and substance abuse at the University of Texas at Arlington. As part of his graduate degree requirements, Akintunde interned at The Well for eight months. Continue reading
What’s more comforting than a cat curled up with you after a tiresome day? Or an energetic puppy bounding around the house, its little tail wagging and its pink tongue hanging out its mouth? Not much, many pet owners will say. Pets can bring joy and comfort into any home, and this is especially true for men and women who struggle with severe mental illnesses. Continue reading
“Mental illness … is like being caught up in a tornado, a tornado you don’t really see,” says Well member PT. “You see the debris that is floating in the air … but you don’t really see the tornado.”
PT has lived with the storm of mental illness for over 35 years. He experienced his first episode related to bipolar schizoaffective disorder in 1980, while in Israel with a discipleship group. “I didn’t sleep for three days straight,” he recalls. “My thoughts were racing.” Continue reading
Well member PT knows the challenges of both mental illness and homelessness well. Although he could afford to pay rent, when the symptoms of his bipolar schizoaffective disorder became more acute, it was hard for him to find a place to stay. “I didn’t have the sense to try to figure out a place to live,” he says. Continue reading
On just about any day of the week, you can find The Well Community member Burl Skipwith sitting on the front porch of Jacob’s House, chatting with other residents and calling out greetings to passing neighbors. “Skip” is 57 and battles schizoaffective disorder, a mental illness that has features of both schizophrenia and a mood irregularity like major depression or bipolar disorder. Continue reading