Kathleen grew up with an abusive parent. Eventually she left her hometown behind, but tough times were still ahead for her.
About five years ago, Kathleen started to see things that weren’t there, mostly what she calls “signs of death”.
She was hospitalized and diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her ex-husband left her while she spent four months in hospital.
Once she came out, it was hard to find a place to live. Kathleen tried living with her sister, then a friend. Neither situation worked.
Then her therapist told her about SSA’s Iris Court. Kathleen applied for a space and she was accepted, one of the first people to move into the newly renovated Iris Court.
“It felt good to move here, I was so excited. It was a brand new building, it was a nice place, (and the) workers are friendly and nice,” she said.
But Kathleen found more than the supportive environment she needs when she moved to Iris Court. She found Rick.
“We were friends at first – then it turned into a love story,” said Kathleen. “(We) go for walks, go to the mall, (play) checkers and chess in the evenings. If one of us gets stressed out we put a CD in and cuddle each other and (that) puts us both to sleep.”
Now stable and happy, Kathleen is currently looking for a part time job. She knows that whatever happens from here on, she isn’t alone.
“Mental illness isn’t something to be afraid of; we’re living with it daily. I’m living a normal life, I have a special boyfriend in my life right now – my life is really good.”