Guest post by Quintina Chukes, peer specialist at the Apalachee Center in Tallahassee.
Acting out, rapid cycling, and extreme highs and lows are what I experienced every day. There were times that I thought I couldn’t achieve anything, go anywhere or even dream big dreams. I hit rock bottom after my mother passed away. I was like a tornado – I wanted to destroy everything in my path.
I checked myself into a safe place at the Apalachee Center. I was afraid and scared. The psychiatrist, mental health professionals and my caseworker made me feel better and helped shaped my road to recovery when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type I Disorder.
After my mental break I decided I wanted more out of life. I wanted to live, so I taught myself out of the GED book. Months later, after taking it only once, I passed the GED test and went off to college. I received an Associate’s degree from Tallahassee Community College then transferred to Florida State University. I finished my Political Science degree at FSU in one year and then went on to major in International Affairs with a minor in Public Administration, which I also finished in one year.
Now I’m a peer specialist at the Apalachee Center. I am where I want to be and I am helping people who are like me. When times get rough, seek help and just remember there are people in this world who suffer with some of the same mental illness as me. They have achieved their goals, gone many places and are still dreaming big dreams.