Lifeskills Mental Health Blog

A Journey to Renewed Confidence: Logan’s Lifeskills Journey

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A Journey to Renewed Confidence: Logan’s Lifeskills Journey

 

Lifeskills alumnus Logan courageously shares his story of self-discovery, healing, and a renewed sense of purpose after treatment. 

Before Lifeskills: A Turbulent Road

Logan Headshot - Lifeskills Testimonial

Before Lifeskills, I was not mentally right. I was aggressive, angry, and resentful. I would blame others for things not going right in my life and not assume the blame for my actions. I was uncooperative with those in authority, especially my parents.

I got to the point where I was delusional and psychotic, largely due to my untreated mental illness along with my habitual usage of marijuana which made my psychosis worse. I was using drugs to numb the pain. I was self-destructive and had to leave school because of my unstable mental state. I had suicidal thoughts which put me in the hospital.

Choosing Lifeskills: Finding the Courage to Keep Trying

During that hospital stay, my mom decided to send me to a treatment center to continue my recovery on a long-term basis. She selected Lifeskills South Florida as my next step.

At first, the treatment process was hard. Within the four walls of the treatment facility, I hated my parents and thought the world was against me. I owned that “false thinking” and could not surrender to the process of recovery. 

Because I wasn’t on medication for my issues, I caused problems during my treatment—with the staff, my treatment team, and even other patients. I had a poor sense of self and little direction; I decided that I would go against my parents’ wishes and not return to college. If someone gave me advice (even great advice), I was determined to do the exact opposite.  

It wasn’t until I found the right medication that I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Things weren’t easy by any means; it was a struggle every day. But Lifeskills showed me how to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. 

Uncovering the Bigger Picture

Rabbi Brandon Gaines was instrumental in helping me uncover a possible direction for my life. I still felt shrouded in darkness, but I found a sliver of hope through spiritual and inspirational conversations with the Rabbi. 

Our talks led me to think about my own purpose, and how helping others might fit into that. I began to realize that there is a bigger picture. Before these interventions by the Rabbi and other Lifeskills staff, I rejected everything, especially the visions my parents had for me.

A Journey to Renewed Confidence

During treatment, I realized that I had to accept my diagnoses. These are the cards I was dealt, and I have to play the hand.

I had to accept responsibility for my behaviors and the harm I caused others when my mental illness was untreated and out of control. I could not blame my damaging, disruptive behaviors on others. And although I didn’t cause my diagnosis, I did make the situation worse by doing drugs. 

It took a while for me to fully realize this. But when I did, I began to understand and forgive myself for my unruly, belligerent, and unkind behaviors.

Eventually, life started to slow down. I was enjoying pastimes and friends again and learning how to ride the waves of my mood (the ups and downs). I learned DBT and CBT skills in group and individual therapy. I learned more about how my upbringing was a part of my story but not the full picture. 

I did yoga almost daily to help relieve my stress. My yoga instructor, Buffy Rouse, helped show me the restorative and calming benefits of this exercise. The meditation activities helped to calm my mind. I found a renewed motivation for eating healthy from the nutritional coaching by Karen Gauci. I learned about medication management from Dr. Daniel Bober. Basketball became an interest again. I was introduced to 12-step programs, specifically AA and NA. Group therapy became a tool to connect with others and help me feel like I’m not alone. All these skills and activities I’ve listed, I still use today. I was finally feeling more like my old self again, slowly but surely.

A Message of Hope

It’s normal to feel hesitant, resistant, distrusting, and even resentful when entering treatment; I was when I first arrived at Lifeskills. Allow yourself to feel all of your feelings, even the uncomfortable ones. Try to express them in a journal, in creative outlets, and—most importantly— to your treatment team. 

At first, I saw treatment as a destination, but, in reality, it was just the beginning of the journey. My experience motivated me to be more empathetic to others and to try to help those who need it.

Be open to trying new things, even activities you’ve never tried or even had an interest in. Utilize all resources available to you.

There is power in finding your community. Healing and growth are not linear, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Everyone has a purpose in life. Finding it will bring substance and value to your life where you can learn to love and better understand yourself as well as others. 

You are worth more than you can even imagine. Dream big and follow it with action. 

Know that you are not alone. Share your experience with others to help them feel connected and seen. 

Making and fulfilling small goals will lead to longer-term growth and progress; life is a marathon, not a sprint, so treat it like one. 

Realize that you can only control your actions, no one else’s. Try not to let the noise of the outside world influence you. Cultivate your own inner guide, but recognize the value of leaning on those more experienced than you. 

If I helped and inspired at least one person reading this, I’ve accomplished my goal.

Embracing New Beginnings

After I left Lifeskills, the real work began.

I joined a 12-step program and entered a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). After that, I got a clinical psychologist for talk therapy and a psychiatrist for medication management. I started going to a local yoga studio and rejoined the taekwondo dojang I was a part of when I was younger.

I went back to school, taking classes at local colleges. I applied for jobs and got a few. I was very scared but began to try to function in society again.

After the summer of 2023, I returned to college full-time. Although it was a tough adjustment, I fell back in love with education and learning. As I look back now, it was astonishing how just a few months before, I thought I was never going back to school again. 

I am a neuroscience major with hopes of running a non-profit to help college students like me who struggle with finding out they have mental health issues. I envision going to pharmacy school to get my doctorate. In the long term, I would like to do research to create new and better medications for mental disorders. None of this would’ve been possible without Lifeskills helping me at such a critical time in my life.

I want to recognize certain members of the Lifeskills team who helped me:

  • Rabbi Gaines, thank you for opening my mind to positivity and growth.
  • Dr. Robert, as my primary therapist, I want to thank you for all the help you gave me. Although I did not always treat you right and often took you for granted, I appreciate the patience you had with me. You are honestly the best therapist I have ever had. And I don’t say this lightly. Not only are you knowledgeable and professional, but you also truly care about your patients. I have had multiple therapists, and it is rare to find all those qualities.
  • Esther, thank you for accepting me and my problems. As my family therapist, you helped me realize how important my family is, and how much they are in my corner.
  • Gus, thank you for keeping me on the straight and narrow. You made sure I went to meetings and was on schedule. You are a good guy, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  • Dani, you are awesome. As the Alumni Relations Coordinator, you inspire me to be more involved with Lifeskills. I am so glad that you have this role at Lifeskills.

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