Finding A Life Worth Living
N3- Newaygo County Mental Health has been providing services to the community for the past half century. As part of Mental Health Month we are running a series of articles highlighting the good work that has been done as well as the good work currently being done. The author of this, the 5th in the series, has received services from NCMH and has asked to remain anonymous. Here is their story.
NCMH – 50 years
2014 was a year I will never forget. That year I was in a relationship, and I was emotionally and physically abused. I knew what was happening was not right but I stayed anyway. The day came that I realized I could not live like this. After we ended that relationship I fell into a very deep depression that felt like being in a deep hole and with no way out. I had an apartment and a good job but I didn’t want to go anymore. I was at a point that I didn’t care what happened to me because of my depression. So what did I do? I stayed home. I didn’t go to work. You can figure out what happened next, I lost my place.
Here I am with no place to live, but I was lucky to have a friend that I could stay with for a time. That Time there didn’t last long and I was back to being homeless. The only thing I could do was sleep in my car or sleep in a tent. Now it was October and it was getting cold. I was sitting next to my tent having a fire to stay warm and something happened when staring at the fire. There is a saying some hikers say when watching a fire. The saying is “a fire is nature's tv”. I am looking at this fire thinking this is not what a life worth living looks like. I guess you could say I had my come to Jesus moment. That night I decided I needed to seek out help. The next morning after trying to stay warm all night I got into my car and went to Newaygo County Mental Health. I sat there wondering if I should be here. I wanted to walk out but I stayed. I went into my first appointment where they ask questions about why you are here, are you safe, do you have a place to live, things like that.
I got a call a few days later with an appointment to see a case worker and therapist and that started what I didn’t know at the time to be the best thing that has ever happened to me. My case worker was so helpful and caring. She first wanted me to have a place to live and food to eat. I look back at it now and believe she was the biggest part of my healing journey. We started working with a therapy called CBT which stands for Cognitive behavioral therapy and other therapeutic techniques. After some time she knew that I needed to have some therapy working on my trauma so I was introduced to a therapist that works with people that have trauma.
I was introduced to EMDR which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This therapy deals with trauma. When I was doing EMDR I was asked if I would be interested in doing DBT. DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It involved a contract stating I would come to class once a week. I was motivated to get better. Part of being motivated was being put on medications to help with my depression. I didn't like that part at first but I found out it’s not a bad thing to have to take medication. I participated in therapy for 5 years.
One day after being in therapy for some time I was asked if I would be interested in going back to work. I was told that CMH was looking for a peer support and wanted to know if I would like to apply for the job. I didn’t know at the time what a peer support was but I was ready to work again. I felt like I could move on and have the confidence to succeed.
Peer support refers to a process through which people who share common experiences or face similar challenges come together as equals to give and receive help based on the knowledge that comes through shared experience.
I started out part time and within a year I was offered full time. I love this job so much because I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I can help others see that there is hope and help them find a life worth living.
I now live in my first home and try to live a life worth living, but I still struggle at times. I now know that it’s okay to struggle but I can get through it.
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