My story of recovery doesn’t start until adulthood, but looking back now, all of the problems started as a teenager. I had trouble dealing with a lot of things and relating to people. I wasn’t very energetic or involved with things – I held back a lot. Back then, nobody talked about this stuff. It wasn’t until my 40’s that I started hearing people talk about mental health. That’s why I am sharing my story – to let others know they aren’t the only ones struggling and you can get better.
Before things really got bad for me, I was an adult. I was married with a daughter and didn’t recognize how I was feeling. I was starting to realize I was depressed more and more when I couldn’t handle certain situations. I knew I had to do something about it because of my daughter. Even though I felt I was doing the best I could, I am sure she could recognize at times that I wasn’t myself.
When my marriage fell apart after 20 years, my daughter and I lost everything – including our home. We went to live with my parents and I just kept pushing on because I had to be there for my daughter and the hardships she was facing personally with her mental health. I also had to care for my mother and I was spreading myself too thin worrying about everyone else that I forgot about me.
As women, we are used to being the fixer for everybody else. It may sound selfish in your mind, but when you’re there for that one hour of counseling, all you need to talk about and focus on is yourself. It really builds strength. Hearing your words back at you changes your perspective.
As I got older, I started getting worse. I started seeing a psychiatrist but wasn’t talking to a psychologist or therapist. I now know they go hand in hand, and it’s often best to utilize both resources if you can.
At one point, I tried to take my own life. It’s like this dark, ugly thing inside of you that you have no control of. I was taken to the hospital and placed in an outpatient program. That program helped but I eventually stopped going. After seeing my family doctor for medication, I was advised to come to Portage Path. I could tell things were going downhill for me again by not talking to somebody regularly so I made an appointment at the Barberton office.
We are like fine-tuned machines, sometimes you need to make adjustments. That’s one of the biggest things counseling taught me – you have to take responsibility for your self-care. In times of darkness, it’s so much easier to pull the covers over your head and deny that things are bad – but in order to make any changes, you need to do something about it.
Since I started coming to Portage Path, I feel better than I have in a very long time. I haven’t felt this strong in a long time, either. I laugh more, my sense of humor is back, and it’s just good all the way around. The care, the help, even the warm welcome from the receptionist – they don’t know how much even that small interaction means to us.
I have now been at Portage Path for over a year and it has been the greatest experience. I hope to help others in the future by mentoring people through their recovery journeys. I want others to know they aren’t alone. That’s why I am sharing my story – to let others know that they aren’t alone, weird or different.
You can get better.