Personal Stories: Marissa’s Recovery Journey
“For as long as I could remember, I’ve had lots of system involvement. By the age of 9, I was removed from my parent’s custody with only the clothes on my back and the hope that maybe life could be better. When I was first diagnosed at the age 17 with Depression and PTSD, it was a very lonely and scary time for me, due to my childhood experiences I had difficulty trusting adults in my life.
For the first time, at age 20 I went inpatient and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t scared. I was overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions. While I was there we had to attend group therapy with everyone on the unit. A woman shared a story similar to mine and still struggled with her recovery as an adult. It was at that very moment, I promised myself that I would do everything I could to begin my recovery.
Afterwards, I went from inpatient to a crisis residential program. While in this part of my journey, the people I met taught me new coping strategies and more importantly encouraged me to educate myself about my mental health. I was then fortunately introduced to the TIP program (Transition to Independence Program).
For the first time my TIP Facilitator kept the conversations very light, strength based and future focused. Though she acknowledged I was really struggling emotionally at the time, she didn’t for a split second doubt my potential, by asking me what I wanted for my future, it was the first time anyone had ever asked me what I wanted for my life. Although it was extremely overwhelming it was hopeful all at the same time. My TIP Facilitator was very kind and nonjudgmental, therefore she felt real to me, like someone I could relate to as a fellow person. She was really enthusiastic and seemed to be excited about working with me, which again gave me that much more hope. She never made me feel like I was defined by my past and that I had the power to refine who I wanted to be. More importantly, she reassured me that I wasn’t different, my feelings were common and that I wasn’t alone.
Most importantly, she taught me to advocate for myself. She provided me with a unique and friendly approach in supporting my decisions and teaching me that nothing is impossible. The words themselves are saying “I’m Possible”. I shared with my TIP facilitator numerous times that I had a passion to give back in some way and help others, so she sat down with me and together we explored the process of becoming a Peer Support Specialist. After working on the process of applying, I successfully took the Peer Specialist course in Bucks County in 2013.”
Thank you for sharing your story, Marissa! Your recovery journey is truly inspiring!
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