Taking a Stand for Himself

At 20 years old, the world and all its opportunities lie ahead. Unlimited possibilities await – unless that is, you are shackled by deteriorating mental health. Even when you can see interests, the debilitating effects of a mental illness overshadows everything else.

That’s how it felt for Cody de Sully. Feeling depressed compounded his decreasing lack of enthusiasm for activities and complete sense of apathy toward life. Although he had a vision of education and job goals, those were hard to reach as he began experiencing psychotic symptoms including occasional audio and visual hallucinations. Understandably, he became ever more anxious.

For Cody, the turnaround began to happen when he found his way to LifeWorks NW and its Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA)/Supported Employment program. Adamant that he did not want to take medication, Cody committed to taking an active role in his journey back to good mental health. He worked closely with his service coordinator, supported employment specialist and occupational therapist, and regularly attended multi-family group meetings. In every instance, Cody’s LifeWorks NW EASA/Supported Employment team helped him cope with his symptoms through natural means.

And the outcome is that through EASA, Cody has improved relationships with his family and friends and has balanced work and full time school while maintaining excellent grades. Most important, Cody learned to advocate for himself – taking a healthy approach to symptom management — so he could get back to doing the things he enjoys.

Those things he enjoys include attending school at Portland Community College and working as its new director of legislative affairs. In addition to his new role, he has another part time job teaching children ceramics. Through his involvement in politics he plans to do his part to raise awareness and reduce the stigma to ensure that others can find their way back to good mental health, just like he has.

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