Hello, my name is Raymond George Thomas. I was born March, 31st, 1949 in a little town in North Carolina called Wilson. I was raised by a mother who was schizophrenic and alcohol dependent, although in the 1950s, no one was aware of this condition. I recall playing with some old newspapers around what was then called a pot belly stove. Just in case you’re wondering, yes, I did burn the house down. I was all of 18 months old, but that’s when I started experiencing sounds that no one else could hear. Many times in my life I acted on what I heard in my thoughts. By the age of 10, I was incarcerated in the New Jersey State Home for Boys. My mother said that I had the devil in me, and she set out to beat him out of me. By today’s standard that sort of beating of a child of 10 would be regarded as abuse. Back then it was “that’s just what he needs, a good whipping”. Of course in didn’t work then and some fifty odd years later it still does not work.
I went on to become a drug addict, alcoholic, robber and sociopath who spent practically my entire life in some form of institution, jail, or prison. When I used to go before those who sat in judgment of me, I was continuously diagnosed as, let me see if I can remember all my titles: incorrigible, border line psychopath, and criminally insane are some of what they said I was. At the age of 57, I was housed in a shelter for homeless men, and I was still having those thoughts and silencing them with crack cocaine, heroin, alcohol, prescription drugs and good old self-pity. That same year I was introduced to an outreach worker. She said that she was from Project Live, and asked if I was interested in having my own place to live in. I scoffed at that because I had never had anything of worth, let alone my own place to live.
The exact date of my new life is April 17th, 2007. I stopped all self-destructive behavior on that day. I’ve progressed through shame, low self-worth and no self-esteem. I returned to school and trained to become a certified recovery support specialist. Today I am a full time employee with Project Live. I have my own apartment, and I have my own office space, but most importantly I have the respect and encouragement of my fellow employees.
So, to answer the question, does medication and a compassionate philosophy work. I am evidence that it does.
Sincerely yours, Raymond G Thomas. CRSP