Editor, Commonwealth:

When I was diagnosed with a mental disorder called schizoaffective-bipolar disorder, I was 17 years old. I later on, in 2002, moved to Greenwood. I was a little afraid for I did not know what kind of disorder I had. Then I came to Life Help mental health center and was a member of the Friendship Clubhouse, which is now called Friendship P.S.R. Then in 2003, I moved to Terrace View Apartments.

Those two places really helped me on my road to recovery. The Friendship P.S.R. helped me understand how to manage my finances, how to keep myself groomed and to treat people the way I want to be treated.

I have gone through some hard times in my 17 years living here, but I thank God, family, Life Help, New Zion Missionary Baptist Church and the community of Greenwood for giving a man like me love, hope and wisdom to understand that life may not be fair all the time, but when you put it in God’s hands, things will work themselves out.

Now I live at the Kinloch Gill Center and am part of the PACT team of Life Help. I also go to Mississippi Delta Community College, and I’m learning a lot from that school.

When I was at Terrace View Apartments, I ran across a lot of people who became like family to me. To me family is not about who you are kin with but people who love and support you when times get tough and hard. I thank God for the many caseworkers and therapists at Life Help and PACT team for not giving up on me, for I have my moments where we don't always agree on things. But that’s life. In life, you will have trials and tribulations, and a lot of times you have times tougher than others.

As I battle my illness, this is what I have, not who I am. When you’re dealing with anything, you win by the way you live, how you live and the manner in which you live. Dealing with my illness is a challenge, but it’s a challenge I’m willing to win.

Raymon M. Johnson III


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