I have always been an outgoing and vivacious person. While in orientation for college, I was making the decision to pursue journalism or tourism and one of my teachers recommended tourism mainly, he said, because of my positive energy and contagious happiness.
Sarah talks about her positive experience at Ontario Shores.
During my last year in college, I realized I was ill. Sure, I had times of extreme happiness and boundless energy but there were other behaviours taking up a lot of my time and affecting my life: an inability to focus; I was talking too loud and too fast all the time; I would spend too much money on compulsive shopping sprees; and I felt like I was in control of the class, the school, everything. I thought I was Queen of the world at times.
I went to the doctor and eventually was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It was so hard to adjust to my new medication while back at school but I went on to successfully complete my degree. I was even filmed by my college as the model of a successful graduate. I was working at a prestigious hotel and then in tourism sales.
I worked in tourism for fifteen years. However, I lost jobs several times due to incidents while in a manic phase, because my medications were not right, and then being in the hospital for long periods. Eventually I moved back to my hometown and I enjoyed a mix of new jobs: model, theatre arts instructor, cosmetician and personal support worker.
Unfortunately, in 2001, I was in an accident and sustained a brain injury which complicated my bipolar symptoms and brought me to Ontario Shores. Coming to this hospital has given me a new lease on life. I have been in a lot of hospitals over 34 years and Ontario Shores is the cream of the crop. At this point, I am better than I have ever been and on less medication, which has helped immensely. When I came here, I was on too much medication and my doctors here helped me get back on track. I credit the staff at Ontario Shores with my recovery and current health. I love how the doctors, nurses and support workers are patient, approachable and most importantly, take the time to help me understand my medication.
You have to work with the medical staff. The key is to learn how your medication is affecting you, because everyone is different, and then work with your doctors and nurses to find the ideal treatment for you. Because of my treatment at Ontario Shores, I am now living independently and I am able to travel—I recently took a cruise with my Mom. She wouldn’t have taken me if she didn’t think I was in a healthy, stable condition.
I am also proud to be a part of Ontario Shores’ Metabolic Clinic. I work hard to learn about diet and exercise and to lose the weight I have gained from my medications. What I like about the Metabolic Clinic is that the dietitian and clinic staff work together with me to help me achieve my weight loss goals. And they practice what they preach! They are very healthy and it is inspiring.