Bob F’s recovery journey is an amazing reminder of the fragility of the human mind. Born in Hong Kong, Bob moved with his family to Benicia, and later, as a young man, had begun actualizing the American Dream. He had a wife, three children and a great job as part owner and chef of a Chinese restaurant.
Then, as it does to so many people, life happened. Bob and his wife began having issues and eventually separated. During their separation, his wife got cancer, and though they were not together, Bob suffered feelings of incredible guilt, as well as extreme stress at the potential for having to raise his children by himself.
The breaking point came soon after, when Bob went bankrupt. He began experiencing both auditory and visual hallucinations, as well as delusional thoughts that he was Bruce Lee. This led to a psychiatric hospitalization, and for the first time, a diagnosis of Schizophrenia.
Struggling to manage his symptoms, Bob went in an out of different hospitals, holding and at times losing jobs in between, and working hard to maintain a relationship with his family. The low point came during one particular hospitalization in which a hospital employee told Bob “You might have to stay in the hospital all your life.”
Thankfully, Bob never gave up hope. Years later, he was released from the hospital to a board and care home in Vallejo. Shortly thereafter, in August 2008, he began attending Crestwood Solano’s Neighborhood of Dreams Wellness and Recovery Program. It was there that he found the opportunity to break the pattern of hospitalizations in his life, and to learn the tools to prevent it from happening again.
At Neighborhood of Dreams, Bob began attending groups, volunteering and socializing. A tremendously affable man, he quickly made friends and developed an extended support system that he had long felt he needed. He learned healthy living skills, created his own Wellness and Recovery Action Plan and used the tools he learned to develop a daily routine that he now credits for keeping himself out of the hospital.
Bob has taken his achievements a step further and taken on a leadership role at the program and at his board and care. He regularly assists his peers and offers them encouragement and advice when they are struggling. Very importantly, he has also found a medication regimen that he says completely controls his symptoms. He shares this openly with his peers to help give them the hope that he has always carried. Bob continues to learn and grow and now states simply that participating in the Neighborhood of Dreams has saved his life.
Most meaningful to Bob is that he has strengthened an already strong bond with his children. He is very proud that they are respectful to him and treat him like a dad, not a patient. Among Bob’s current goals, buying a condo near his family, and continuing to be supportive to his kids so that they can complete college and find jobs they enjoy. Bob’s recovery journey is clearly not yet complete, and he beams when talking about the next step- walking his daughter down the aisle at her wedding.