Stephan Iaboni: My Meaning & Purpose

Mstephan-iaboniy entire life I felt like I never quite “fit in.” I always felt like I was drifting because I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to do when I grew up. Nothing I did in life related to life, school, or work satisfied me. In 2003, both my parents died, and I began my fall into depression. The fall lasted 12 years, I told no one, and culminated with 6.5 years of isolation. I finally sought help in 2015 and spent 27 days in the psychiatric ward (not ashamed) and was diagnosed with major depressive disorder with a side order of anxiety.

From the moment I went into the hospital, I was treated with compassion and cared for as if I were family. As part of my recovery, I completed PET training with RI International in August 2016. During PET, I found my meaning and purpose in life. I simply want to try to help those with mental illness live a productive life, achieving whatever their goals are in life. I also want help others overcome the stigma associated with mental illness and realize they are valuable people who deserve good things in life. Once I found my purpose in life, I became a calmer person and life slowed down for me to start enjoying it. I simply want that sense of calm and peace for everyone.

I began working at the Wellness City in Wilmington, NC in November 2016 and I am now the Team Lead. I feel driven each day to make the people who come into our facility feel comfortable in a safe place where they belong. I understand the hesitancy to come here for the first time because there was a time in my life I would not have come in either. I am also driven by the need to be compassionate to everyone who comes in the building each day as a way of returning the compassion I was shown in 2015. I am blessed that my job allows me to do that each day.