For most of his life, Jim, who is in his late 60s, has struggled with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. “I’ve always been sad, always something missing. When I was a kid, I didn’t know… I take medication, stay sober. Alcohol and drugs don’t work. Been there, done that, it doesn’t work.”
Several years ago, Jim hit a low point. “I didn’t want to live but I didn’t want to do anything bad. My mental health was not good. Now that I was older, I just wanted to surrender.” Jim was getting help, but anxiety and stomach troubles made it hard for him to go to his doctor’s appointments. “If I’m not in a good mood, I can’t go outside. I’m not really a people person. I was just thinking ‘Forget this. Why bother.’” He also lost interest in the things he enjoyed, like painting. “I’ve always been interested in the arts, but wasn’t doing anything, not doing much in general. Sometimes I just didn’t care, I didn’t want to deal with anything.”
It was around this time that Jim was referred to Commonwealth Care Alliance. After his first visit with a CCA nurse and caseworker, Jim knew things would be different. “If it wasn’t for CCA, I don’t know where I’d be. I’d seen so many different psychiatrists, did group therapy, and took at least 15 different medications. I’ve had other coverage but had to keep up with everything. CCA follows up with me and keeps in touch. It’s more inclusive. They pretty much cover what I need and they come to me.”
“If it wasn’t for CCA, I don’t know where I’d be.”
For Jim, being able to get care in his home was important. “I liked that CCA comes to me. Now I can also get care right up the street.” Jim’s care partner has helped Jim get the services he needs to improve his health, including food delivery and transportation to doctor’s appointments. “My care partner has gotten me to take walks. We even went to breakfast once…[my care partner] gets me to go outside.”
At some point after joining CCA, Jim was able to start painting again. “I just started doing it again. It was almost a last outpost—I had to try something.” Jim finds inspiration in the colorful beadwork of the Crow Indians in Montana. He still struggles to get started, but painting helps him. “For me to put anything on canvas is a step forward. Sometimes I work on my art for hours and hours. When something comes out to my liking, it’s a good feeling.” It also gives Jim a sense of purpose.
“I’m proud that I’m doing something with my time, that I’m showing my real self, the real me.”
Today, Jim is feeling better. “I have a little light in my life now. Not the life I hoped for, but it’s there and I have to go with it and follow it. I don’t want to give up.” Jim wants to work on his physical health and to eat better.
“I have a certain satisfaction that at least I’m trying,” Jim says. “I’m doing more than just staying sober. It gives me hope. I’m never going to be what I could have or should have but this is what I have and I have help.”