October 19 at 5:57pm

Interfaith helps spark creativity for housing resident

img_2090An east coast native, Tammy moved out to San Diego nearly ten years ago. With a history of mental illness in her family, Tammy says she had always experienced periodic breakdowns throughout her life, but she hit a low point eight years ago. Within the same year, Tammy’s children moved out of her home, her father passed away and she went through a divorce – leading her to spiral out of control.

“It was a domino effect: I lost my job, lost my home, started living in my car, and became homeless,” said Tammy. “I had a total psychotic breakdown. I was so out of it, I don’t even know who admitted me to the hospital or connected me to Interfaith.”

After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar schizophrenia, Tammy moved into one of Interfaith’s permanent housing programs for adults with mental illness.  The stable environment and getting on a regular medication schedule proved to be life changing.

“Today, I really am healing,” said Tammy. “I couldn’t have said that a few years ago.”

Earlier this year, a unique donation was given to Interfaith: an art easel.  When her program’s housing manager heard of the donation, she immediately thought of Tammy.  “She knew I was a creative person and thought I may enjoy painting,” said Tammy. “I’ve always been creative, but had never painted before.

img_2081Today, Tammy sees painting as a form of art therapy and enjoys using her easel while sitting on the porch of her apartment; her favorite things to paint are birds and water scenes.  In addition to writing poetry and gardening, Tammy hopes to further her skills by starting art classes at Palomar College in the spring.

“Interfaith swooped me up and saved my life,” said Tammy. “Now I have a sense of accomplishment, which has also given me a sense of self and direction. I am very, very grateful.”