In the past, Windhorse seemed extravagant and excessive to me. It was hard for me to imagine trying to live a normal life while being under the scrutiny of a team of experts. As a sixteen-year client of mental health services, no other help I have found was comparable to the help I found at Windhorse. I know that many people have told themselves, or have been told by others, that they shouldn’t expect to recover from their miserable situations, but Windhorse is proving them wrong. My fellow clients and I are recovering, and more people need to have this opportunity.
I think that one of the most difficult problems that Windhorse clients face is the loneliness we face in moving to a new town where we don’t really know anybody. I am amazed at how compatible my former housemate and I are, despite the 18-year difference in our ages.
My two peer counselors are similarly important, inspiring role models for me. Simply their presence in the Windhorse community is even more important and inspiring to me. I know a lot about their histories of personal struggles, and I see what they can do now. They are the best challenge to hopelessness. They are living proof of recovery at Windhorse.
It may seem so obvious that it doesn’t need to be said, but I think it really is important for Windhorse clients to think of themselves as members of their own teams.
I suspect that the clients who get the most out of Windhorse are the clients who are able to express what they want and are willing to “lean in” on their other team members the way that Windhorse staff members “lean in” on clients.
Ten months after coming to Windhorse, I am now much more content and stable, and I am continuing to try to find satisfying work. I volunteered tutoring English to adult speakers of other languages (ESOL), and 2. I also volunteered helping small groups of students in a local public elementary school. These activities also helped me get to know some people in the community outside of Windhorse. As my mood improved and I started doing more and more activities outside of Windhorse, I felt less of a need to spend so many hours each week with the other people on my team. I reduced my team gradually at first, and then decided to stop having a full large team during my ninth month at Windhorse.
Read My Windhorse Experience by Scott. W.