Mental Health Month – Remere’s Story

(Taken from an interview with Remere, a Thresholds client, by a member of the Thresholds Peer Success Team.)

“Basically I was always moving. I never stayed homeless in one spot. I was just trying to find someplace safe to sleep and lay down.”

Until he was nineteen, Remere spent his time traveling through various neighborhoods of Chicago, unable to build connections with others or hold much of a conversation at all. A severe stutter he developed at age four severely inhibited his ability to verbally communicate. When he need to communicate with others, he wrote it down on whatever scrap of paper he had on him.

One night, in the park he called his home for the time being, he lay down and prayed for a person that would understand and welcome him with kindness and acceptance. The next morning, he met a woman who handed him a sandwich and juice. She sat with him, communicating for hours by pen and paper. That woman was a Thresholds staff member, part of the Peer Success Team.

“She basically said, whatever you’re going through, it’s going to get better. I’m just really glad that somebody just showed me some sort of kindness. Most people don’t look at you for who you really are or what you might become.”

Remere has been with Thresholds ever since that day, and says that he feels as though his life changed dramatically. He was linked up to a speech pathologist through Thresholds and said that within a month he found his voice. After a few months of speech therapy, supported by his team at Thresholds, Remere “came out singing like a bird.”

“They helped me, saved me. I now have people around me that want to see me succeed. I started going [to a speech pathologist]. One of the staff members would take me. You don’t have to go alone. You have people who got your back now. That’s what everybody needs – a little hand.”

Thresholds also helped Remere secure housing. Remere became speechless and tearful when talking about his first apartment.

“That day…that day changed my life.”

He said that Thresholds was with him every day throughout the process, which brought him off the streets and out of homelessness for the first time in his life. He gained independence, strength and confidence with encouragement and guidance from Thresholds.

Remere is now 27 years old, and he is still passing on the good energy and kindness that was shown to him at one of the darkest points in his life. He told us about seeing a homeless man on the train and how deeply that man’s situation resonated within himself.

“I took that energy that [Thresholds] gave me and I basically kept going by helping others.”

Remere sat next to the man and gave the man hope by telling of his recovery. Before getting off at his stop, he gave the man his number and the number to Thresholds stating that he might be able to get help from the organization that gave him so much help and hope. The man called Remere months later. He connected with Thresholds and secured his very own apartment.

“I just heard it in his voice. He was crying on the phone and I started crying too…He was happy. I was able to help a very sick man the way I got help.”

Remere shared the confidence that Thresholds helped instill within him to continue moving forward as he became a father, found a job that he loves and continues to progress each and every day.

“Where I am in my life is all because of Thresholds. I’m thinking about inventions, about ways to progress, I’m just basically more thoughtful and advanced than I’ve ever been before. I’m more open to discuss what I’ve been through and I was merely 21 years old then.”

He ends his story with words of hope:

“I’m talking about whatever your past is, I’m talking about whatever you’re going through, you’re thinking this is the end. This is the way it’s going to be. No. It isn’t. Your past doesn’t determine your future. Only you can. If you ask for positive people, if you ask for good people to come, it’s exactly what’s going to happen.”

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