Sixty three year old artist, Betty had spent most of her adult life teaching. She loved her job and when she wasn’t teaching, she was creating art. All was well with Betty until a combination of a personal fallout and a major surgery in 2000 took pieces of Betty away that she would spend years searching for.

Betty left work to heal from her surgery while also dealing emotionally with personal issues. When Betty returned to work, she no longer felt like the Betty she had always known. She was suddenly unable to perform at work and needed help coping with these new feelings. She just didn’t feel like herself.

Betty stopped teaching to seek help and was diagnosed with depression.

“I believe a lot of it started when I was younger. I was a child of alcoholism, but it didn’t really become a problem until about 1997 when I started struggling to sleep and that turned into the depression around 2000. It left me feeling like I’d lost some of my identity”.

Often times, depression can affect ones emotions and numb them in a way, leaving a person to feel unlike themselves. Many people that suffer from depression will stop participating in activities that they had previously enjoyed due to lack of passion or energy.

“I was a nervous wreck by the time I started counseling, my anxiety was awful. I didn’t want to start taking medication, though. My psychiatrist at the time suggested that medication would help take the edge off and help me to take in the information better”.

Betty was prescribed a small dose of Zoloft and it helped her to an extent, but Betty wanted more out of recovery. After quitting her job, she could no longer afford to keep seeing her psychiatrist and had to search for other options. For a couple years, Betty was being helped by supervised interns at Akron General, who helped maintain her health, but when the program was discontinued, Betty was sent to us.

Akron General referred Betty to Portage Path Behavioral Health. And so in 2011, Betty began seeing one of our counselors. While attending counseling, Betty was struggling with her identity and to see her worth. Knowing that Betty had been struggling with this, her counselor suggested Betty try Pathways.

Pathways is a partial hospitalization program where individuals can build essential life and problem-solving skills, improve treatment readiness, and regain a sense of hopefulness about the future. Pathways offered Betty the kind of encouragement she needed to regain her sense of self.

“Going to a program like Pathways – it gives you a new point of reference. It gets you to review your life and take on that new perspective and that’s important, because what doesn’t work has to change. They make sure you leave believing that you are safe, worthy and good enough”.

Betty says a lot of her recovery journey would not be possible if it wasn’t for her faith. Having something to believe in and give her hope reminds her in dark moments that she is supposed to be here.

Betty is now feeling healthy and confident as she puts together a new resume and looks for a new job. She sees her counselor regularly, attends group, and practices her faith. After having her art appear in Portage Path’s art show, Betty feels like an artist again – a piece of her that had been lost for so long.