“The program has helped me a lot. The doctors listen to me. They don’t judge. I trust and feel safe with them.”
As a young boy, Blake’s life was filled with potential. He was on the provincial honour role in Grade 4, came in third in a speech-writing competition and even wrote a book by the time he was 12. And then came the dark thoughts and the paralyzing fears. “It like one half of your mind is always against you,” explains Blake. “You’re never sure if you’re safe.”
Like most kids, Blake developed fears of a monster in his bedroom. However, unlike most kids, his thoughts became all-consuming, causing him to stay up all night in a vicious cycle of checking all the ‘hiding spots’ in his room. Blake’s worried thoughts began to extend beyond his bedroom, and soon they were affecting his everyday life. “Blake used to love to ski. He could do the black diamond (expert) runs no problem,” says Blake’s step-grandfather, Wayne. “Then one day, when Blake was in Grade 9, he froze at the top of the hill. Suddenly, he was terrified. He has never skied again.”
Blake, who is now 15, was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. It was agonizing for Wayne to see the boy he loves disappear into a world of depression and obsessive thoughts; to watch mental illness extinguish the “light in his eyes”.
Wayne and Blake visited many doctors and facilities looking for the help they desperately needed. It was a frustrating journey of misdiagnosis: from attention deficit disorder to a learning disability. And then Wayne and Blake found CAMH and its Child, Youth and Family program. This program helped Blake develop the mechanisms and skills required to lead a happier, more fulfilling life.
Today, Blake is doing much better. He is emerging from the shadow of his illness and the light is coming back to his eyes. Most importantly, he is dreaming of a bright future. “When you have an illness barring you from everything you want in your life it’s terrible,” he says. “But now, I can go long periods of time without having bad thoughts. I hope to live a full life.”
Learn more about care at CAMH.