My peace I give unto you
In 1990 at age 14 I started exhibiting mental illness symptoms.
Although without reliable medication until age 21, I was able to graduate High School through some home school the last semester of my senior year, and through a week of school in an adolescent psychiatric hospital in Southern California called Mesa Vista.
I was hospitalized two times there within a one-year period in their locked adolescent unit, both in 1994 and 1995 at age 17. This was through Kaiser Permanente Health Care, which my Dad utilized through his work insurance.
During my second concurrent stay in this adolescent hospital, which was only several months after the first, near the end of my stay, one of the counselors finally made the statement that he thought I might have schizophrenia. When I got home and told my Dad, he was upset and overwhelmed, but as time went on, it was a relief to him to understand more of what I was facing.
Almost two years later as an adult, I was hospitalized two more times. The first in 1996 at age 20 in the Mesa Vista Adult Hospital Facility, another locked Unit, even though I had still not been diagnosed. While there, they started testing me for mental illnesses and tried different medications, none of which worked.
The second locked adult unit hospital stay came in January of 1997, when my Dad again used his work benefits, but this time I stayed at the Grossmont Psychiatric Hospital, also in Southern California. While there, I was finally put on Risperdal, a three-week brand-new medication which helped a lot.
Once back home, my Mom and Dad seemed to see that I was a completely different person, all in about 5 weeks.
After 3 months I became medication incompliant, because the emotional turmoil inside me which I began to feel more readily because my brain’s chemistry was more balanced, was too much for me to handle at that time, so I stopped taking the medications.
It was at this time that my Father arranged for me to live in a Board and Care facility, where they provided room, food and medication assistance. I was there for 8 months, until the end of July of 1997.
While there I returned to medication, after having a spiritual experience which I’ll describe here: I was visiting a friend, at which point in the visit I was alone in his room listening to his Latter-Day Saint church music. I was there contemplating taking the medication again. It was then that I had the Holy Spirit say to me in a still small audible whisper, “Shane, you need to take the medication. It will slow you down, but in the long run, it’s what you need.” And so recognizing this for what it was, I did. After stabilizing back on my medication, and after 8 months’ time, I was able to return to my family’s home to live.
In 1998, when I turned 22, my Kaiser Permanente Psychiatrist asked me how I was doing. I told him that I felt the medicine Risperdal was starting to fail and stop working. He said he had heard cases of where this had happened. My belief and understanding is that the body sees the medication as a foreign substance, and begins to build up a resistance to it. I told my Dad about this and he was concerned.
A week later my Dad had me meet with a Doctor who worked directly with his work agency, as my Dad was a Therapist. This Doctor, Doctor Diachic, re-diagnosed me with Schizoaffective and Bipolar Disorders, and knew what medications and doses to put me on.
She had me on Zyprexa and Depakote, and extremely high doses of both, even more than is recommended. I progressed well with these.
Two years later at the age of 24, I had improved enough to be called to serve a Temple Service Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, at the San Diego Temple in La Jolla, California.
My Dad had counseled with many young missionaries through his work as a therapist for the church, who had tried staying in the mission field, most of whom could not for various mental and emotional reasons, so he was excited about this latest development in the church, which had been piloting a program to make church service missions available for young adults, as an alternative to traditional proselytizing missions. I strongly believe that this was in part to the three letters my Dad had personally written to the First Presidency of the church over the years concerning this specific need and matter.
It was finally on the 24th of October 2000 when my mission began. I had gone with my Dad to the Temple three days prior on the 21st to receive my own Temple Covenants, so I could be fully qualified to serve.
After I had served for one year, my family wanted to test my ability to venture out on my own. They helped me move out at age 25, with the help of the Social Security Income I was receiving as a disabled person. I moved into a Senior Living Unit, which I could live at because of my disability. While there, I finished my mission, and continued to be active in church, with friends and activities with other young adults my age.
After my mission, about 1 year later, my family felt they needed a change of scenery, so they moved to Utah. Three months before they moved however, I again met with Doctor Diachic, because my medications were again losing their ability to help. She put me on Abilify, which began to work great.
With this, my family all moved, except for one sister who had just married and was living in the newly remodeled old family home.
After successfully living on my own for 4 and a half years with no roommates at all, two of which I only had this sister living nearby, and having acquired a job in 2005 in a sheltered work environment through my church, at a Deseret Industries in Chulu Vista California, I received a call from my Mom. She said that they decided to buy a house in Utah, and that they would let me come live in the condo they had originally purchased when they moved there.
They moved out December 31, 2005, and I moved in January 1, 2006, after the biggest young single adult Church New Year’s Southern California Bash in history. I loved it!
Once in Utah, I immediately got a job with the help of my Dad, through this same Deseret Industries, a thrift store outreach program to help people get back on their feet through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Other jobs soon followed, each one an improvement from the last.
While living in Orem, Utah and working at this Deseret Industries in Provo, and 2 months after moving to Utah, I met my future wife Katherine, while performing my Church calling of Young Single Adult Ward Representative for the Stake Institute (Ward meaning congregation and Institute meaning religious instruction Institution). We dated for five months, were engaged for five months, and married by the end of the year in the Saint George House of the Lord Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was 8 days before the 2007 New Year, and I was 30 years old.
Three months later, I received a letter that my medical and financial benefits had been stopped, because I had married someone who is not disabled. This made it impossible for me to purchase medication at this time. This lasted for three months.
At this time of trial and alarm, I received a priesthood blessing from a friend visiting from California, which made it so I would not completely crash and lose all my progress, but rather that the digression would be slowed, and I would be able to get back up on my feet, once medication was restored to my mental health maintenance.
After three months’ time of no medication, I slowly regressed, yet still fought to maintain my mental health. I then finally received my Medicaid (medical) Health Benefits back, and received a Medicaid Card in the mail, which allowed me to once again receive medication. My SSI income was still denied, of which I’m glad, because I don’t want to live that way.
From there I again fought my way forward, even becoming healthier than I had ever been, and on less medication than before. This is so because as I had previously been on medication, which dulled my emotional response, making it impossible for me to deal with the deeper inner emotional baggage and turmoil I had, I was suddenly without the medication.
With the priesthood blessing I was given and having the Holy Spirit with me, I was held up enough to be able to deal with these emotional problems as I slowly digressed. When I again got back on medication, and no longer had that deeper layer of inner emotional turmoil, I not only improved again, but was also able to function even higher and better, and continue in my progress. This was something that had stopped for me previous to this experience, for I had plateaued in my progress. I had been fighting and fighting through the pain but only getting worse, as it had begun to drag me down.
Then, once back on medication, and the baggage gone, I continued to move up and forward, which I understand from others is very difficult to do after not taking medications for an extended period of time. I was able to do so because of the truths and atonement of Jesus Christ living in me, making this possible through Him. Building on the foundation of Jesus Christ and his restored gospel is a defense against relapse. It works!
I continued on Abilify and Depakote from July of 2007 to July 2011, when I then felt I needed something extra to help me with anxiety. I found a Psychiatrist who recommended a drug called Cilexa, which is commonly used for anxiety. This gradually began to help, until I felt my symptoms were manageable, but not perfect.
In 2009, I started a one-year Technical school course in Medical Office Administration at M-Tech College. I graduated in 2010, also fulfilling a successful externship provided by the school at the Utah State Mental Hospital in Provo, Utah, which place I chose to gain office experience, but I did not then get a job in the office administration field.
In November of 2014, I again felt the main psychiatric medicine stop working. First it was Risperdal, then Zyprexa, and now Abilify!
I tried to find the same Doctor I had previously used who had prescribed the Celixa, but he had retired a year before. There was another psychiatrist I went to, who asked me about Zyprexa. I told him I had been on it once before, but it had not lasted. He asked if I would be willing to consider trying it again. I asked him if I could pray about it there in his office. He said yes, so I took one minute. 30 seconds to pray, and 30 to listen. I then told the Doctor, “Yes, let’s do it!” I was then on Zyprexa, Depakote and Cilexa. They worked very effectively for me.
In November 2012, I started working for a company called Chrysalis, which is a company that provides group home assisted living for mentally, developmentally, emotionally and or physically challenged individuals. I was a Direct Support Professional (DSP) and enjoyed it very much. While employed there, I cared directly for the individual’s needs, providing outings, talk time, daily care and giving them medications.
Then in November of 2015, another miracle happened. I had never asked my Dad for a priesthood blessing of healing, because I felt it was not God’s will for me, believing that there was an inspired purpose for my struggle. However, during a visit with him, I felt inspired and constrained by the Holy Spirit to ask him for one. We set up a time, and my family gathered for the occasion. Although this blessing did not heal the mental illnesses as I had originally thought it would, it did heal the brain damage I had received, when I had originally been given the illnesses.
Suffice it to say, my mental and emotional challenges never came from my family per se. I was not born with these mental illnesses, nor did I get them from overwhelmed stress, although there was plenty of that my entire life. I also never messed around with drugs, alcohol, sex outside of marriage or anything else unhealthy. Howbeit I was too unpopular in high school for anyone to even approach me on these topics, so I was protected in that regard.
My abuse came from a Satanic cultist “family,” who had kids my age and lived around the corner on a cross street. They tied me in emotionally to them, in a way in which I will explain.
I could not remember the satanic ritualistic abuse I had suffered at their hands, after which they had given me the earliest and only anti-psychotic medicine at the time, Haldol, which helped cause me to forget the event.
These memories were also blocked out as a means of survival, a coping mechanism, yet I was still able to feel somehow that something was wrong. As a child, I believed that if I could fix them, I could also somehow fix myself. This is one of the reasons these cults do ritualistic abuse in the first place. They know that children will attempt to resolve any lost part of themselves by making “friends” with the enemy, and always return to them to try to do so. I would always find ways to “hang out” with them rather than my own family if I could. It wasn’t until years later, when I was stabilized on medication, that I even had these Satanic ritualistic abuses come to my remembrance, and in great detail.
After the blessing my Dad gave me, I did something very dangerous. I went off all my medications cold turkey, thinking that this was what I needed to do, without even consulting my wife or parents. This is dangerous because of the heavy withdrawals one goes through immediately after cutting out these controlled substance medications. Because of this, and after struggling at work, they found an indiscreet way to fire me.
This time off my medications was once again a 3 month period. I again spiritually realized through God in great conviction, that this was not to be, and I got back on all my Medicines.
During this time however, the same type of emotional transformation which took place the first time I went off my medicines, happened again, only this time on a different level, and in a different way.
It was because of this second emotionally healing experience, that I was able to have a greater capacity to grasp and understand concepts in life, which put me in a better position to succeed, which beforehand I was unaware of.
I thank my God for providing these miracles and insights, for because of a His every day miracles my whole life through, it has made my life so much better suited for growth, in a manner in which I can be more successful, and maintain better employment, school, church and all other endeavors in my life.
This second miracle of my emotional healing from my time off medications is indeed in need of explanation. Because a person needs to be clear headed enough to talk through their problems to heal emotionally, a person needing medication to be clear headed doesn’t have the option to do so, because the same medicine making them clear headed, also blocks their emotions. My miracle came as I was off medicines.
The Lord then took the portions of me which were ailing and hurting, and through molecular means, applied the atonement to each one. For example, for the emotional pain of a certain kind stored in the cells in my belly, the Lord applied His atonement specifically to these cells in my belly, according to the certain needs required to heal them.
After getting back on my medications, I met with my doctor and we did a medication adjustment. I then needed more of the dosage of Zyprexa, because my brain had healed from the brain damage by means of the blessing I received, thus having more room in my brain for the medications to perform their proper functions. I needed less Cilexa however, because I was more whole, and with this new state to my brain map and chemistry, my anxiety was less. With this miracle I continued to progress.
In 2016, I met with my Doctor about a medication change, because I was having too many stressor symptoms. He recommended adding Abilify to the already prescribed doses of my other medications, saying that Zyprexa and Abilify are for the same ailment, but work very differently in the brain. He said that it would be good to try and see if they could help “cover all the bases.” It has been a great help, and the difference has been miraculous. I also found that I could do even better a month later when I increased the Abilify.
I then found work a third time at Deseret Industries, in which I worked with some of the many programs and services offered. They paid for technical schooling, where I again attended M-Tech in April of 2017, to become certified in the pursuit of becoming an IT Technical Support Specialist. I did not finish this but learned all that I desired to in that field at that time, which has helped me with some of my many other pursuits.
Every turn I take, I have found a new treasure of pain and sorrow in me, which I uncover and need to face in my pathway of growth and journey home. I use the word treasure, because I find that all pain, suffering and sorrow, ministers to who we are as a person, and helps us become greater than we could ever be without it. I use the word home, because the way I handle these trials determines how I bless and secure my heavenly home.
As I have duly progressed, I have found more and more success, and I see and acknowledge the hand of the Lord in my life more and more.
As my early life had been one big ball of pain, misery and destruction over and over, year after year, with no real respite; a desperate, angry and indolent fight, with persecution, agony, abuse and turmoil throughout all of it, I had a lot of work to do and go through.
I am still working through my recovery today, and although my childhood was horrendous, I have found my emotional and mental healing, as well as brain damage healing. God has given me a new soul, and I am cleansed. He has said that as I give service to others, He will take from me, any remaining emotional, mental and even social challenges and burdens I may face.
In the beginning of 2019, I met with my doctor again, and after dialogue and discussion, he recommended that I switch out the medication of Cilexa for Prozac, noting that I could switch them without having to taper the medicines off or on. Since this has taken place, I don’t struggle as much with my anxiety, and I am less depressed. I am even able to have more, better and higher thoughts, which help me act in a way which greatly improves my life.
All these miracles, with my whole life growing with God, He reaching out to me, helping and bringing me in, allowing me to taste of home, giving me peace and joy throughout all the turmoil, although hell to experience, Heavenly Father has indeed brought me little by little, piece by piece, into the sun. I have been so blessed and rewarded, as I now have a beautiful family, and infinite blessings to come.
My wife and I have been happily married for over 12 years, and we have two sons and a baby daughter, who are the joy of our lives. My pathway to recovery is very well on its way, and I see myself as having no limitations for the future. At this point, as I put my trust in God, and have Him as my guiding light, each day I strive to do something more, even difficult things I didn’t know I could do. It is in the use of Christ’s atonement, that we can stretch ourselves, grow, and even accomplish higher things. I now have a wonderful job, again working in a group home, caring for and serving individuals with emotional, mental, developmental and physical challenges, yet with a different company.
I just recently met with my doctor again about my sleeping 10 hours a night, and being tired throughout the day. We adjusted my morning “activating” medicine up to 20 mg, and lowered my evening “sedating” meds down to 10 mg. Since these two medicines work in the same part of the brain, with my Schizoaffective disorder, yet work differently in this area to help with this condition, I know I will see some good outcomes.
My belief is that any time a person experiences side effects to medicines, it’s because it’s either the wrong dose, or the wrong medicine. So far this change is proving to be very good. I have indeed been blessed to wake up earlier, no longer needing 10 hrs of sleep each night, and am no longer tired during the day. Because of this, I am again venturing out with school, through a program called BYU Pathway Worldwide Connect. This is a college preparatory course, through my church, which helps people get back into higher education, and then transition into a college degree program of their choice.
To succeed at staying in my recovery, I am seeing my doctor at Wasatch Mental Health, taking all my medications, working at Danville Services in Provo, again as a direct support professional, spending quality time with my family, nurturing them as husband and father, and feeding myself spiritually with the words of God, attending the Temple and educating myself through academic and spiritual means.
I am active in my church and faith, love to read, write, play drums and piano, sing and dance. I love my children, wife and life, and feel like it’s a whole new beginning! Thank you.
To see the full story and more details, look for my forthcoming book coming out entitled, The Price Of Life: Fighting Mental Illness Stigma and Winning! A True Journey Via Poetry and Life Events + Other Significant Recovery Truths.