It wasn’t hunger or homelessness that landed Malik Butts, 26, in a room at Central Union Mission. Instead, it was an untreated bipolar disorder that resulted in a manic episode outside of a nightclub in DC.
Malik was no stranger to psychiatric wards, he had been a resident at least once a year from 2018-2020. His parents, who cared for him deeply, thought he needed a wake-up call and a glimpse of his future if he didn’t start taking care of his mind and body.
Malik, a Bowie State graduate with a degree in Business Marketing and a minor in Broadcast Journalism, completely disagreed with that decision, but obliged to make his parents happy.
“I really didn’t think I needed to be here. I felt like I had things under control even when I really didn’t. I had a job and things were okay as far as I was concerned.”
After coming to the shelter, Malik joined the Mental Behavior Institute and had a moment to reflect on his life. After finally getting the rest that his manic state wouldn’t allow, he realized he was always drawn to toxic people and toxic relationships; both would often trigger his episodes. As soon as he began to journal, he recognized that writing down his thoughts and feelings served as a powerful tool on his road to recovery.
“I began writing poetry. I wrote down how I felt, and it helped me to open up in my therapy sessions. Being able to go back and read what I was feeling at certain moments helped me to put things into perspective and make better choices.”
Since leaving the Mission, Malik is putting his Broadcast Journalism degree to use and has found true success as a videographer. He’s currently editing his first documentary and he’s also expecting a baby boy in June.
“Overall, I have to say, if nothing else, the Mission humbled me. Being uncomfortable caused me to change, so I guess that’s a good thing. I appreciated the program and the care, but I knew I never wanted to put myself in a position where I would have to come back. I’m grateful for the relationships I made here and having people to talk to when I need to. I talk to Dr. Cook at least twice a week, so Central Union Mission is still a major part of my life.”