For the first time in years, Ben has spoken to me about goals – and he actually has some, that he is willing to share with me.
When you have a goal, it can be risky to say it out loud. What if you fail? What if your dreams don’t come true?
For so long, Ben has been busy getting his life back to where it might have been had his progress not been interrupted by psychosis, hospitalizations, and regrouping. Step by small step, he has returned to college part-time, and recently celebrated a full year of part-time employment. But we have not dared ask, “where will this all lead?” or “What are your plans when you get your degree?”. We didn’t dare. It has been enough, the reality of these first steps. We tend to stay focused on today.
But Ben must be gaining confidence, as he now talks about wanting to “give back to the world” – as a teacher, perhaps, or an author. Will he get there? He just might. But, not all overwhelming goals, I am encouraging him to take one step toward each one and re-assess as the view gets closer.
But none of this would be possible without the treatment he is receiving for his schizophrenia. None of it. Without treatment, he would most likely be homeless, in jail, in a nursing home, or – let’s just say it – no longer alive. Now, with treatment (medical, and also emotional and structural), we have hope, and have taken one more small step: his life also has promise.
Treatment is too often denied, not funded, not mandated – and that is a shame. Watch this video from the Treatment Advocacy Center about how Treatment Makes a Difference. Because it does. And we must keep fighting for it.