Before I came to PLAN I felt quite lonely and isolated. I lacked assertiveness in my life, my sister and brother lived out of town, and I had fears and phobias that felt like they were taking me over. I felt unable to ride the skytrain or elevators, was paralysed at the thought of being alone at night or away from my parents. This made it difficult for me to experience deep friendships. My life definitely didn’t look anything like what PLAN talks about as the ‘Good Life’.
In 2001, my parents heard about PLAN and I thought I would give it a try. PLAN built a network for me. I was able to make friends before this, but just had trouble staying connected with them. I now have real, deep relationships with people who count on me, and I count on them.
I have had some big successes since I started at PLAN. The first is that I now ride the skytrain often and elevators, sometimes, even alone. Prior to my connections at PLAN, I couldn’t do that. The reason I can now is that I have ongoing counselling through PLAN, and people like my friend Steve, who says that I can call him anytime I need to while I’m on the train. I don’t have to take him up on it too often, but I do once in a while if the train stops unexpectedly. I also have people on my network, like my longtime friend Cathy, who have offered to be available for late night calls if I’m alone at night and not feeling comfortable with it. I have never called any of them but knowing I can makes a huge difference to me. I think they count on me for things too.
Just this weekend, my network supported me in doing a PATH (goal setting and dreaming about my future). The main picture that I created of my future was me with a peaceful smile on my face, sitting at a big table with my closest friends and family around it. This is what happiness means to me and I know this is the direction my life is going. As a matter of fact, it’s mostly there!