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A Moment in Time: George Petterson Jr. shares how Monarch helped him to manage his anger, a mental illness and find purpose

George PettersenSeven years ago, I felt my life was coming to an end. I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and couldn’t hold down a job because of my behavior. I sought services for several years before finding Monarch.

I slowly began my journey of recovery. I saw a therapist, graduated from Monarch’s anger management group, and became involved with Monarch’s employment support program.

Since October 2011, I have accomplished many things. I am in better control of my anger because I have learned how to cope with it. I am more goal-oriented, and have achieved several goals to improve my life. I am more organized and have more structure in my life thanks to time management. I meet all of my scheduled appointments with my support team.

I realize how beneficial this is for me. I am employed, having recently celebrated nine months doing a job I enjoy. I am more independent and can problem solve. I weigh the pros and cons of each option I have, and make better decisions. I can obtain my medications at little to no cost, so I’m healthier, too.

I am married to a wonderful woman, and I’m helping her in the beginning of her recovery journey, by using some of the things that I have learned from my support team.

Because I’m working, I can support my children. I love them dearly, and I’ve always wanted to be part of their lives. I’m doing field service work in the community with my religious organization, and I’ve begun sharing my recovery story in the community in hopes of helping someone else begin their recovery journey, so that they, too, may improve their life.

Even with my successes, I know that I am still a work in progress. As I continue my recovery journey and become even stronger, I want to show others that with faith, hope and learning from my support team from Monarch, anyone who is willing to be determined to work hard can indeed turn their lives around. I am a living example that anything is possible if you believe that you can do it, work hard and never give up when you face challenges and roadblocks along the way.

Pettersen learned about Monarch’s Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program in Albemarle, and received support from Stephen Brannan, an employment peer mentor at Monarch. Monarch’s IPS program, which is offered in multiple counties statewide, is an evidence-based practice of supported employment that helps people with mental illness identify and work regular jobs they choose.

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