art by: Jerome Lawrence shadow voices: finding hope in mental illness
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Lyn Legere

Lyn Legere
Lyn Legere

I remember the first day I took drugs, and they were actually from my mother’s medicine cabinet, and I took that drug and I went to school and it was like nirvana. ... I felt good about myself. The world changed.

My mental illness really started showing up when I was eight. I tried to kill myself when I was eight. Ironically I think that my early drug use sort of saved me, because I was always depressed but I got enough relief from it that I wasn’t as desperate. By the same token, I took incredible risks in my drug use and I know that was related to a death wish that I had.

I was hospitalized for the first time when I was 16 or 17, and I was sent to Boston State Hospital and this is before so called reforms of the 70s. This place was a pit. Just a hell hole. So that was my introduction to the world of mental hospitals.

In all those years in the system, I had never heard about rehab. The medical system just does not bring in the rehab which is so sad ‘cause they are so complimentary. It’s like the medical can work with symptoms and the medical part of it. And rehab talks about, ‘What do you want to do in your life and how can we help you do that.’ And I had never seen this.

 I still get symptoms. I still have times I go into depressions, but whoa, I’m so much better. And that is the recovery process and what I know is that I train professionals now. I’m going to get my master’s degree with a very high level of achievement in my department. I’ve started a program in disability services.

I’m a person who, if people heard my history, would never be able to put the two together. There’s like this person and there’s that person and never do the two meet, and I guess the biggest thing I want to say to people is that they do meet. That recovery happens and that we need to support recovery. We need to support helping people to have enough hope in themselves and enough faith in themselves to go forward.