When a person suffers with mental illness, he or she needs a safe haven. Thanks to Miracle Clubhouse, many have just that. Welcome today’s guest-blogger Steve as he shares what this amazing facility means to him. May is Mental Health Awareness Month!
Hello. My name is Steven Tretchler, a 57-year-old male with the mental health diagnosis of Bipolar 2, cPTSD (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), with possible Borderline Personality Disorder.
I became a member of The Miracle Clubhouse in the beginning of September 2020, after having been inpatient at Kettering Health Network’s KBMC Inpatient Mental Health Facility in Moraine, Ohio. I had just been discharged after a 14-day admittance after having the most severe Psychosis that I experienced in my lifetime.
During my treatment there, I was befriended by another member of The Miracle Clubhouse in Dayton, Ohio. She told me general information about the Clubhouse, including the staff, members, the Work Ordered Day, and how everything, and everyone work together. She told me about how the Clubhouse follows 37 Standards, which all 300+ Worldwide Clubhouses operate the same Mental Wellness programming. My friend told me how safe it is, and that everyone is excepted unconditionally to have their needs met individually, and as a group.
I have been hospitalized in a mental health facility a minimum of 12 times over the last 40 years in Michigan and Ohio. I come from a family of abusive parents and dysfunctional family members with a history of abuse and mental health issues which were never treated correctly. Again and again, I would have a breakdown, a relapse, crisis, or episode which required another inpatient stay and treatment, medicine updates and goals. I started with old and new psychologists and psychiatrists. During my last hospitalization 2 ½ years ago, I finally had the breakthrough I needed and have stayed on my medications and with the same doctors treating me.
I had lost everything, had filed for my 2nd divorce, and was in a homeless shelter for the first 14 months after my discharge from KBMC. But day after day I would take RTA to and from Miracle Clubhouse and apply myself however I could. I was with a walker and have minimal mobility after being injured in a fall in 2018. It was right at the peak of COVID-19, so much of the activities were stunted for Clubhouse members, but what an amazing job Clubhouse Staff and GESMV did to engage with members by phone, social media, mail, and limited contact to keep their active members healthy and still successfully fulfilling the needs of the Clubhouse.
During the last 2 ½ years, The Miracle Clubhouse has helped me through my divorce, they have helped me with my mental health treatments with my doctors, and when I was diagnosed and in quarantine with COVID-19 from Dec 07, 2020, thru Christmas Eve at the Gateway Shelter for Men, Clubhouse Staff members went to my pharmacy to pick up my many medications. They also brought me a Christmas gift bag to help me on the mend and thru the holiday, homeless.
I began to write again, as I had from a young age, and enjoyed composing poems, songs, and entries for the Clubhouses weekly and monthly bulletins. Most of my writing was specifically addressing Mental Wellness, and circumstances surrounding my past, and healing from PTSD and other traumatic abuse, addictions to drugs and alcohol, and 24 years of sobriety at the time. I began working the front reception desk, sharing the needs for the position with a couple other members. I’ve cooked in the kitchen and made mostaccioli and a 7-layer salad on another day for everyone. I began speaking for the CIT training with Montgomery County Sheriff’s incoming cadets, and police officers in training with the Dayton Police Academy. It is my opinion and experience that each group of men and women in training to become officers meet and discuss directly with local Mental Health Treatment Providers and the clients they are serving. There are many different facets for Healthy Responses and Interventions between Police Officers and those challenged emotionally and mentally.
It wasn’t long before I found an apartment, was given two Emotional Support Kitten: Sisters Elphaba and Glinda. And finally received the legal support to help me maintain healthy mental wellness.
In 2022, after two years of Clubhouse Membership, I was able to attend the Clubhouse International World Seminar for 5 days in Baltimore, Maryland. I learned from lectures and workshops, speakers, and directors of how successful our Clubhouses serve their communities, and the people in need. I was absolutely amazed during this informative event, and now have my own ideas in writing a play featuring Mental Health Diagnosis, the Stigmas of Mental Illness, and how important it is to squash those Stigmas for everyone for better understanding, safety and treatment. It was an honor to be selected, and a very humbling time in my recovery.
In closing, I want to say that I have a purpose. I’m loving myself. I have people who care; the people and places that matter. Healing is happening. I am safe. I am helped. And Miracle Clubhouse members and I are heard. So, in your daily living, if you, or someone you know may require mental health treatment, or have a history of Mental Health Challenges, please send them our way. We need them. They need us.
Miracle Clubhouse Member