Benjamin grew up in the Winslow area, his family moved around a little bit over the years, but the now 51-year-old ended up back in the Winslow/Waterville area. He graduated from a local high school and was in fact the first person in his family to do so. He had several part-time jobs as a young adult and held a certified welder’s certificate. During most of his adult years, he worked as a landscaper.
A few years ago, Benjamin “came down sick”, and was “hearing and seeing things”. Some of what happened during this time, he doesn’t actually really remember. There were times that people told him he did something, and he wouldn’t remember what happened. He ended up hospitalized and was subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia. He describes this time as a really rough road when he wasn’t himself.
Benjamin began receiving a variety of services from Kennebec Behavioral Health including Community Living Services (CLS) which provides skills development and community rehabilitation services with medication administration and daily living skills training. He spent a lot of time working with his providers to “find out what works, and what doesn’t, and to help me find myself again.”
During this time, it became apparent to the CLS Residential Support Staff that Benjamin was not able to read very well at all. While he was going through school and as an adult, he learned how to cope with his reading challenges by memorizing information and learning by sight. Benjamin began working specifically with the CLS staff on learning to read. At first, he found it very frustrating but now he finds it fun and is doing extremely well. He has found new enjoyment in cooking – now that he can read recipes! One of his major goals is to continue to read more and more.
Benjamin has also discovered that he is a talented artist and musician. He spends time doing woodworking, crafts, stained glass and painting every day as part of this own “self-therapy”. Musically, he plays the guitar, keyboard, harmonica and drums. He finds being creative not only is a great stress reliever, but it is his way of making the world a more beautiful place for himself and for the people who care about him.