I have had an interesting journey to get to this point in my life in peer support. Thirty plus years in information technology as desktop & network support. Suffering from depression and anxiety (D&A), I had to leave the field.
During that time, I came out to my family as transgender and that revelation along with my D&A was not a great combination. Within the following year, I made the decision to transition; that was 5 years ago!
Three and a half years ago I was hospitalized and having attended the group therapy classes started to realize that I was tired of suffering all those years. Upon discharge, I immediately started attending group therapy classes at NY PROS (Personal Recovery Oriented Services). It was during this time that Amanda Pierro came to visit and talk about the Apogee Center and its services. She brought up how hobbies are great for our mental health issues. My hobby grabbed her attention, I carve rubber stamps and I happened to have had some with me that day as well as a portfolio of some of what I had carved over the previous 10 years. She immediately asked if I was interested in teaching a clinic, I said YES. That was my start intro into the realm of peer support.
I started my first class in January 2017 in Catskill, NY. I started my second class in October 2017 in Hudson, NY; I didn't know at first but after a few months I discovered that I loved teaching others about a hobby that I am very passionate about. From that, I started doing a little peer support here, then there, then through the Academy of Peer Services received my Provisional Certification.
I feel that since leaving the hospital, I have been able to recognize opportunities when they have come my way. From advocating for myself the medications that I was being prescribed, to going to PROS, to accepting Amanda's invitation to join Water Street Studio and then Apogee Center, to doing peer support.
When I was asked if I was interested in being a Certified Personal Medicine Coach, at first I wasn't sure but reviewed what it was about. Just about every position in my life has been to help others, I am fairly certain that this is the reason this opportunity has been presented to me!!