'We Want Other Families to Learn From Our Experiences'

Rima tells the story of her son, Shadi

“There’s nothing to fear.”  These are the words I often hear myself saying as I try to share what my experience at Ontario Shores has been like.

Simply put, it changed my life and it changed my son’s life.

Shadi, my son has had a very difficult time, especially during his late teenage years.  Between 19 and 21 he was really in a difficult place.  He seemed devastated and was losing hope quickly.  His story began when he had a severe intracranial hemorrhage caused by an aneurism at age 11.  He went into a deep coma and was declared brain dead.  Watching him living like that for a year was one of the most difficult things that I had to do.

He recovered from the physical injury but now has an acquired brain injury.  He struggled daily dealing with the way his life has changed.   For me it looks like he was trying to find his place in the world but somehow couldn’t seem to find it.

While Shadi struggled to fit in, he had paranoia, delusions and anxiety and at times became violent, often disturbing the neighbourhood and causing distress.

Upon referral from his doctors and with lots of hesitation on our part, Shadi spent a year at Ontario Shores.  We were able to see a change in him after his second month of admission.  The difference we saw in him right away convinced us this was the right way to go. We were also very happy with the way his team cared for him.  They showed real feelings and I trusted them completely with his care.

Our initial hesitation was brought on by feedback from our friends and even medical staff who had misconceptions about a mental health hospital. We were so surprised with the result and what happened was the opposite of our expectations.  We were told that we wouldn’t be able to recognize our son.  We found yes it was true we didn’t recognize our son in a positive way, as we began to see signs of our son as he was prior to his illness. 

Our family now uses this experience as an opportunity to let as many people as possible know that there is nothing to fear when it comes to mental health hospitals.  Often people are so worried about what the place will be like that they miss the chance to get the help they need.  For us getting help from hospitals like Ontario Shores can shorten the pain and suffering that families and patients often go through.  That was what we lived.

We want other families to learn from our experience and to know that they can find the best help they need here. Shadi is now doing very well and has been living out of hospital for a while.  We are looking at getting him settled in a group home very soon. 

Shadi often says that he found love at Ontario Sores and he even has a friend that he talks to daily via skype.  We hope that he will be able to live a full life.  He does his volunteer work and finds that with art he can get out his true feeling.

We truly feel that the worst is over and we are happy with Shadi’s progress.  This is not just something we read about or heard about it, it is something we went through, it is something that we lived and we didn’t disintegrate thanks to the help from the team at Ontario Shores.