From WYFF4, on Oct. 17th, 2013
GREENVILLE, S.C. —A Greenville man who dealt with mental illness for years, and hit lows that included hospitalizations and incarcerations, is now helping the police and is seeking to be an advocate for others with mental health issues.
Many in the Upstate know Paton Blough, who attended Bob Jones University, from Bullmoose Tree Company, the successful tree service he built starting in the late 1990s.
This week, Blough announced that he has left his work as an arborist to work as a mental health advocate. He launched a website, redhype-test.com/rehinge, that he says he hopes will help others with mental health issues find inspiration, education, hope and help without fear of stigma.
Blough says he did not discover that he has type I bipolar disorder until he was 26. He says he experienced severe levels of psychosis that led to suicidal lows, reckless mania and extreme paranoia resulting in altercations with police, arrests and imprisonment. His marriage also ended and his business folded.
Bough says that in 2009, he met and married his current wife, Marie, and with her help got involved with groups such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness and began his recovery.
“I believe my story provides a balanced model of recovery that looks at all vital mental health issues, including self-awareness, psychiatry and pharmaceuticals, counseling and therapy, diet and routine, honesty with loved ones and accountability and most importantly God,” Blough says,
He says despite having had multiple encounters with law enforcement, he now trains some of those same officers on how to de-escalate encounters with those suffering from mental illness. Since 2009, he has helped more than 200 Greenville County officers with Crisis Intervention Training.
Blough also plans to release a book about his experiences with bipolar disorder.