Jermaine McCorey is a trauma survivor with a story to tell.
As a young man he became caught up in a life on the streets. A life that offered fast money, but little or no opportunity to think about — or dare dream about — a future.
In 2011 I was shot selling drugs. A guy was trying to mug me, and I didn’t want to give my money and drugs up so he shot me.
I blame myself for what happened because before I even sold drugs my cousin told me what I was getting into and I was hard-headed, and I still decided that even though he told me that my freedom could be taken away, my life could be taken away, my life could be changed forever, I still signed up.
Jermaine was shot three times and required surgery. Afterwards, he began to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.
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“Every night, before I go to sleep, I can look at myself in the mirror and be happy with who I am.” — Tyler Hurst
This simple action sums up a very difficult journey. A journey that is beautifully captured in My Journey Through Addiction into Recovery, a video created by first time filmmakers Tyler Hurst and Brooke Feldman.
Tyler and Brooke are active in YPR (Young People in Recovery), a national advocacy organization that aims to influence public policy, making it easier for youth to find and maintain their recovery from addiction. In fact, Tyler is the chapter lead for YPR – Philly!
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“Things Blur” is a story about a time in my life in which I had a “break from reality.” Due to PTSD (among other things), I had what was later described to me as a manic episode. I was deeply affected by trauma. My mind could not quiet and I stopped sleeping. After hospitalization, I first wrote the piece, in the form of a diary entry, to understand what had happened. Later, with time and space, I developed it into a story.
I submitted the piece to the Brooklyn Non-Fiction Festival and I was selected to read. The experience of reading this deeply personal story was nerve-racking. I was relieved when the reading was over and afterwards felt unsure if I should have shared the work or not.
Recently, I was sitting in a coffee shop when someone came up to me. They told me they had been at the reading and were moved by my words. It made me feel proud of sharing and created a desire to share more often. I think it’s important to talk about trauma and mental health but it’s a difficult conversation to have. I don’t know if I will ever feel comfortable doing it completely, but I know it is important to try.
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More often than not, mental health workers are anonymous players in any story about mental health recovery. Understandably, words like “strength” and “courage” are reserved for people who struggle daily with mental health issues, striving to improve their lived experience.
This post salutes a team of men and women who work at Montgomery County Emergency Service (MCES), a private, not-for-profit, psychiatric hospital in West Norriton, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
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