Client who viewed himself on a path of self-destruction is now headed in the right direction after seeking therapy from Day One

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Corey’s life began to change about 5 years ago when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a long-lasting disease that can affect your brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves in your eyes. Things he took for granted, like walking, became a challenge.

The diagnosis was tough for Corey to accept. He started pushing himself beyond his limits by doing such things as heavy lifting during a 13-hour work shift in 90-degree heat without air conditioning.

“I became reckless and foolish,” he said. “I was trying to fight against it, thinking, ‘I won’t let this define me.’”

A job opportunity became available in North Dakota, so Corey packed up his belongings and left for Fargo, where he lived with his girlfriend for about a year. He proposed to her, but thoughts of a long-lasting relationship were crushed after the two of them broke up. After the relationship ended, Corey was homeless for nearly three weeks, sleeping in his car or on the couches of different friends.

The breakup, coupled with the multiple sclerosis, led to depression and anxiety for Corey.

“I felt like I was out in the middle of the sea without a raft and trying to fight off sharks,” he explained. “I didn’t have any more stamina, I could barely walk, I was depressed. I thought about suicide, but I couldn’t commit it. I was on a path of self-destruction.”

The 30-year-old man decided to return to Michigan a year ago. He spent his first 13 days in the hospital being treated for conditions related to his MS. Afterward, he started physical therapy and has gone from not being able to walk into the hospital, to using a walker, and then a cane.

But Corey realized he also needed to do something to improve his mental health. His anxiety made him worry about everything, and his depression caused him to have little motivation to do anything. All of the excessive worrying also made it difficult for him to concentrate.

Corey decided to reach out to Day One.

“Day One helped me find myself,” he said. “Day One helped me pull myself from probably one of the darkest periods of my life and set me straight, readjusted my sails and repaired the ship so I can push forward and continue my journey. These things are important, and I forgot the things that I thought were the most important at the top of the list – family, love, caring, friends – and being honest. You have to be honest with yourself first and foremost. Day One gave me the courage to turn around and face the darkness and tell it that it won’t define me.”

Corey, who is on disability and lives with and helps his grandmother, said having weekly therapy appointments gives him a sense of relief. If he is having a bad day, he knows he just needs to make it until his next appointment, and he will feel better. Corey said he has learned to not let things that are bothersome bottle up inside of him.

“My fear makes it tough, but I learned you don’t wait to say something later, you should say something now in the moment when you are going through it so people can know how you feel,” he explained. “Before I didn’t want people to feel uncomfortable. I was scared people would abandon me if I was upfront. I was terrified of the abandonment. I would keep everything inside of me.”

Day One Behavioral Health Clinician Lisa Zubal-Falinski said she is impressed with Corey’s progress.

“Corey is very insightful and a deep thinker,” she said. “He is energized by his thoughts and being around people. This has helped him to find himself again and has motivated him to move forward in his life. “

If Corey hadn’t sought treatment at Day One, he believes he would be angry and filled with hate.

“Day One has such a welcoming vibe,” he said. “I feel safe and when I get done pouring everything out of myself, I take the lessons I learned and add them to my repertoire. I want to be kind, and this helps me be kind.”

Day One, a program of Oakland Family Services, provides mental health and substance abuse treatment for more than 2,300 people every year. You can help provide hope and healing to our clients by making a donation.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, contact Day One.