“My name is Joseph A. Peragine and I am a paranoid schizophrenic. On October 22, 2000, I tried to kill myself in a severely hallucinogenic state due to undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia. I was suffering from this illness for many years leading up to that day. Every October since I started my recovery in 2000, I reflect on my life and am extremely thankful that I was fortunate enough to have been given a second chance. Every October, I especially make it a priority to tell my family and loved ones, how much I love them. Every October, I take the time aside to appreciate the smallest of things, such as breathing, eating a home cooked meal, being able to brush my teeth without a security guard supervising me, being able to carry a two minute conversation (that was a huge goal of mine at one time), being able to pick up the phone or drive somewhere to connect with the people I care about.
These are the tiny things that all of us take for granted, as we get lost in the rat race of life. Every October I especially appreciate these little things. And most importantly, every October, I promise myself that I WILL make a difference in the world through my living example of beating the odds and conquering this severe mental illness. I was not given this time to neglect my life again. Every second counts! So I make it a point to make it count!”