Daniel Keith is quick to tell his Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria clients that he knows about walking the hard road. According to The Greater Dandenong Weekly, Daniel is increasingly open about both his mental illness and substance abuse, termed dual diagnosis. He is now 26 years old and has been clean for two years.
His chief poison was cannabis, but over the years it led to a lot of other drugs and alcohol use. At 17, he was working as an apprentice shoplifter and joiner when diagnosed with bipolar depression. He believes the stigma of mental illness cost him that job. For the next nine months, his binges grew increasingly more serious and he eventually became suicidal.
He was saved by dying by his own hand when the gun misfired. Because of the drugs, his bipolar medication was not working as it should have, and his condition escalated to psychotic episodes. Daniel and his mother now plan to give a compelling speaking on "the hard road," for a mental health forum on dual diagnosis. Ms. Keith said, "I just want people to know there is help about. You just have to ask."
Daniel has been clean for two years. He says that he went to detox three times, but the turning point was the support of his family, friend, and workers of the fellowship. He said, "When I talk to my clients, I tell them I've travelled that road. They know I understand what they're feeling."
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Image courtesy of Daryl Gordon and The Greater Dandenong Weekly.
- Item Tag: dual diagnosis