My name is Patty Schaeffer, and I was born in Jackson, Mississippi. I have lived in North Carolina for the past 25 years. The last 27 years have been spent with my wonderful husband Ron, who walks in recovery beside me. We have three grown children and three cats. When I am not busy traveling across the state training Peer Support Specialists, I enjoy jewelry making, bowling, stain glass projects, camping, meeting new people and music. Life for me has autonomy and hope this day!
My story has had many twisted turns associated with schizoaffective disorder, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries, substance use disorder and other mental health “different-abilities.” I have had many moments of hopelessness and low points of desperation on this personal path of perseverance. The desire of my heart from a young age was for my life to have more peace, contentment and order to my chaos. Finding the keys to unlock my recovery and wellness lifestyle had been difficult. More will be revealed concerning my discovery of “authentic self” as I continue to embrace this life completely.
This is my BRAVE speaks to a movement of persons with lived experience full of hope and self-determination. This opportunity to stand up, will educate the world about stigma surrounding everyday challenges of mental illness, substance use disorder, and other symptoms associated with our journeys. We are shining light on the darkness of prejudice and discrimination that surrounds many still suffering. Societies ignorance and misunderstandings of lived truths behind behavioral health, keeps beautiful people from achieving progressive changes filled with freedom, preference and resiliency.
I have enhanced the life I have today with a simple truth. My mental wellness and recovery is like putting beads on a string with no knot. I can be very selective about the beads of self-discovery I put on this string and to whom I show them too. I now have freedom from shame and guilt. This makes we aware of the privilege, pleasure, possibility, duty and honor to walk beside others on their path to living a full life.
After hearing and seeing “real people” with real overcoming attitudes and action, may open other minds. Compassion and a better understanding will alleviate the myths associated with mental illness. Empowerment, hope and changed lives will validate we are all part of a collective soul. When the “I” is removed from illness and replaced with “We” it becomes wellness. Recovery is real, and possible.