Wellness Center Client Spotlight - David

Wellness Client Spotlight – David C.

David is a great example of why one should never judge a book by its cover.   “I am not my tattoos,” he says.  “They reflect a life that I’ve left behind – who I once was.  I am not that person anymore.”

Admittedly intimidating in appearance, after speaking with him, it’s also apparent that David is smart and kind.  Tattoos of occult symbols and skinhead insignia cover his head and arms, most of them acquired while serving time in prison. “They’re good conversation starters,” smiles Brian Crowe, a member of David’s care management team.

Born in Middletown, David remembers growing up in a trailer where he and his two siblings regularly witnessed domestic violence, drug abuse and alcoholism.   His mother and grandmother also both experienced severe mental illness, and their behavior was often poorly understood.  David turned to drugs at a very young age, which fueled a lifetime consumed with violence and crime. 

“I’ve forgotten so much, but I have a clear memory at the age of five,” he says.  “My cousin, who went on to do very well for himself, would come over and read bible stories to us.“  Decades later, that memory would become significant. 

Diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder many years ago, David didn’t start getting the intense help he really needed until he connected with our organization a year after getting out of prison in 2014.  “I was on medication, but I still wasn’t right,” he says.  Recognizing his need for holistic services, David’s parole officer referred him to GCB.

Dr. Skale identified a new medication approach that seemed to be effective, and David started sleeping better and attending the Wellness Center daily.  “This is my community,” he says.  “They care about me here.”

Today, David is more than nine months clean, including two months abstinence from cigarettes.  “I lost all my urges when I began to pray,” he says. “This is the best I’ve felt in 30 years.”

“When I first met David,” says Brian, “he was angry, psychotic and on drugs.  Now, I love working with him.  It’s like night and day.” 

Donna is an activities coordinator at the Wellness Center.  “Our stories are very similar,” she says.  “I’m very proud of him for stepping over his hurdles.  Nothing is easier than going back to old ways, cause that’s what you know.  But he is setting goals and accomplishing them.”

“I don’t get mad anymore,” he says.  “I have a whole new perspective now – I’m stable.”  In addition to his daily Bible reading, David has started working out regularly again for the first time in years.   He is also working with his team at GCB to help him with securing a part-time job, and hopefully, eventually, a nicer apartment and possibly a vehicle.

“I used to blame everybody else for my problems,” he says.  “But everything I experienced, I did to myself.  Once I got that, my life turned around.”