“At age 17 I had my first psychotic break. I went ten years being schizophrenic and having psychotic breaks and was only diagnosed at 27. At age 39, they were looking for an institution to put me away for life because I was very disturbed and very sick and there was no way of reaching me. I was involved with a program at the Canadian Mental Health Association in Aurora, and one day people came from LOFT to tell us about their new housing program. I just asked and asked and asked, and I must have driven them crazy! I said ‘I’ve found my place!’ I just knew it was the right place for me.
I was the third person to register. It was a gardener’s home and it was an awesome place. It was like a dream come true. It was my first experience of community because I was very isolated growing up. So instead of sitting there passively every day and looking into space and talking to my voices, and arguing with my voices, I had somebody there who I go to and say, ‘I just heard this, is it real?’
It was such a different world. I had a purpose to get up every morning, and they looked after my meds and I was taking my meds daily and I was getting happier. After four and a half years, I was the first ‘graduate’ of LOFT in York Region. I was able to move back into the community, and I lived in a housing co-op for 18 years. Then I came back to my first home – LOFT. I have lived here in Bradford house for 10 months now. This is where I need to be now.
I needed the support to remain independent and also at my age I needed the geriatric program. So I came home and it is ‘home’; it’s where I will be until I am no longer able.
It is so healthy to be blooming and growing at this late stage of life. I am home. I am safe. This is my home.”