Union Station Weekly; Volume 5, Issue 7

How do I Make New Friends or Supports?

Many of the members and staff wouldn’t believe it if they saw me over 15 years ago at
the old Clubhouse. Even as close as five years ago. Because of my principal diagnosis
making friends and supports is a struggle for many that have my condition. When I first
attended Clubhouse as a 19-year old man, I would often keep to myself and not express
what I would want to say truthfully as I do now. One part that changed that as far as the
Clubhouse goes is having a TE at the Goodwill Office and later a change of staff over time.
Over years with the help of therapy and other settings such as being at the Clubhouse
and learning from the staff and members alike by picking up cues and so forth from
them led me into learning more.

Also, when I started what is now my SE ten years ago, the job requires a lot of interpersonal skills. At first I hated to have to work, ow almost eleven years ago I would have so much anxiety when going to work, now it is a breeze. Within the last five of six years, something changed here at the Clubhouse. We had a great deal of members with like interests that I have. I worked more with my therapist and Clubhouse staff on honing in what needed fine tuning. Some of those members that I am close with still today said I was a complete jerk back then, but if you can integrate the skills into the work order day and the job I had it got better.

I am still connected to some of those members, although they no longer attend the
program. Lastly, a little over a year and a half ago, I was connected to my MPR worker who
is working to integrated the skills I learned into the community so I can be a true citizen
and have a future outside of the Clubhouse and a more productive member of society.

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