I am a Franklin University college student, avid reader and proud employee of Southeast Inc.’s Project Work. I was born in Anchorage Alaska, where my father was stationed in the military. I have lived in Columbus ever since moving when I was six. My life has not always been easy; however everything I have gone through has made me stronger and a better advocate for the mental health community.
In my teenage years I turned to drugs and alcohol to try and manage my mental illness. By the time I had reached my 20s I had become homeless and penniless. After deciding that I needed to turn my life around, I went to ADAMH-funded Amethyst, Inc. for treatment. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. There I finally was correctly diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder.
The single greatest lesson I have learned is that no matter what you go through in life you don’t have to succumb to the temptation of drugs and alcohol. My oldest son drowned in 2005, and even through this very dark time in my life I am proud to say I stayed strong and did not start using again. I find so much strength in my family. I have a son who is 17 and a mother and sister who all care for each other deeply.
I am working on a business degree that requires me to attend class every Thursday. School takes up an enormous amount of time, however when I’m not studying you will find me with a good book. There’s nothing like the feeling of an enticing novel in your hands. If I get in the mood, I will be in the kitchen making magic. Both my grandmother and mother are avid cookers, every recipe I know I learned from them. I love to shop at Easton and I find it rewarding to volunteer at Amethyst where I received treatment.
Sometimes I feel judged when I tell members of the community about my mental illness, which is why I strive to educate others and help end the stigma. Recovery is a day-to-day process. By telling my story, I hope I am giving back, educating others and helping those with mental illness know you are more than your mental illness, you are a friend, you are a family member, you are a neighbor, you are an employee.
And I am Lutrecia!