Lorrie Carlson is organizing the Night of White gala in support of the Mental Health Recovery Partners South Vancouver — taking place on Nov. 22 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Ocean Pointe Resort — after her son, Jordan, struggled for three years with mental illness. (Courtesy of Lorrie Carlson)

Greater Victoria mom organizes gala in support of mental health after son’s struggle with psychosis

A Night of White gala takes place on Nov. 22, symbolizes blank slate and fresh start

When Lorrie Carlson’s son, Jordan, started acting out of character at a family Christmas gathering in 2011 she knew something was very wrong.

The Langford mom took him to the hospital after an volatile argument and remembers how the nurses knew, right away, what was going on with him. Jordan was in psychosis.

The Christmas incident was the beginning of a three-year battle with mental illness that saw Jordan hospitalized multiple times.

“Psychosis is classified as having disorganized thinking, hallucinations and delusions,” says Jordan. “And I felt that in myself.”

READ ALSO: Victoria judge and restaurant owner receive awards during Mental Health Week

Jordan describes his thoughts as being extremely loud and intrusive during this time, adding that he felt like there might have been a chance spies were coming after him.

Doctors in psychiatric emergency were able to diagnose Jordan with marijuana induced psychosis NOS, not otherwise specified, which has similar symptoms to those that exhibit with a diagnoses of schizophrenia.

Over the course of the three years Jordan was in and out of therapy programs along with taking prescribed medication. He began to self medicate with other substances and alcohol.

It was during this time that Lorrie was connected with the Mental Health Recovery Partners South Vancouver Island, an organization that provides services for people struggling with mental health issues and the people who love them.

Lorrie, who struggles with major depressive disorder herself, credits the group for getting her through the whole ordeal. Attending the parent’s support group made her feel less alone while giving her the resources and support she needed to help her son.

READ ALSO: B.C. teen’s death points to gaps in youth mental-health supports: rep

Doctors finally gave Jordan a choice — you can either continue to self medicate and stay on the prescribed medication or you can stop taking your medication but you’ll need to cut out any other substances or alcohol.

Jordan chose the latter and has been living a clean and healthy life ever since. The 27-year-old is now putting himself through school and is in second year engineering at UVic, leading a healthy lifestyle and managing his stress well.

“I look at him and just see what he’s gone through and what we’ve gone through,” says Lorrie. “I just have the deepest respect for him.”

As a way of giving back, Lorrie is organizing the Night of White gala, which will include a three-course dinner, a cocktail reception, silent and live auctions and dancing to a live band. Those in attendance are asked to wear white to symbolize a blank slate, free of stigma for those affected by mental health issues.

Taking place on Nov. 22 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Ocean Pointe Resort, tickets to the gala can be purchased at hibid.ca/events/a-night-of-white-for-mental-health.

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