My journey into Clubhouse started around 2004. One of the original purposes of starting a Clubhouse was to end the “revolving door” syndrome of people going in and out of hospital.
During my time with Clubhouse it has helped me with a number of things, including self-esteem. I am now able to negotiate with landlords, sign leases by myself, and I have gained valuable friendships within the Clubhouse. More importantly it is now nearly fourteen months since my last admission into hospital.
Clubhouse membership has many advantages. It is a place where we are treated with respect and dignity. It is a place where, for 365 days a year, one can escape to and learn new things every day and meet new people every day without any judgement on diagnoses or situational circumstances.
The structure of the Clubhouse allows one to gain confidence and valuable skills that are transferable to the work place. When I first joined Clubhouse I stayed for a while then moved home to work in the mental health sector. Life then took a turn for me and I returned to my Clubhouse community. One of the most important rights that we have as members, is a place to return to. Personally, Clubhouse has been a truly life changing experience and still is. I now realize even if I am many miles away I still am considered a member of Clubhouse. I can always contact a person just to chat with. For me that has gone a long way to alleviating loneliness and the stigma of having a mental illness. It has been an amazing journey, it is now 2012 and I am still here.