Christine Walter is a writer, comedian, and mental health advocate. She also lives with schizoaffective disorder, and knows what it means to triumph over adversity. Although a bright and precocious child, Christine struggled with mental illness from an early age.
“I remember writing in my diary: “’I hope I never feel this awful again in my life,’” Christine says about her early struggles with depression. At one point, she even contemplated suicide, but was dissuaded by someone who noticed that she was checking out books on the subject from her school library.
Throughout her difficult experiences, Christine was always writing — finding it to be the best outlet for the feelings and experiences she couldn’t always express to others. It didn’t matter how much pain Christine experienced or how alone she felt, she always turned to writing as her major outlet.
Christine eventually went to university, and held numerous jobs after high school, but nothing ever stuck. For years, Christine ran from family and friends, turning to drugs and alcohol to deal with her experiences of mental illness. She also dealt with an abusive relationship, and the traumatic experience of being incarcerated.
However, in the last three years Christine has turned everything around. She has completed her Bachelor of Social Work and participates in a number of peer support groups, one of which she co-facilitates. She also has the support of a tight knit group friends and family. In the next few months a collection of her artwork and writing will be published, The Works of A Schizophrenic: Illness or A Gift?
“Self-advocacy I have learned is really important. It’s important not to settle. The most important part is not letting people treat you like you’re sick,” Christine says. As a member of SSO’s Speakers’ Bureau, Christine shares her experiences, hoping she can help others in similar circumstances.
If you’re interested in having Christine speak, please contact Michael Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org