From an outsider’s perspective, Debra T.* appeared successful and thriving in her career as a corporate executive. Like many people who struggle with mental health, she was not diagnosed until later in life, learning she had been living with bipolar disorder. This greatly affected her both personally and professionally.
Unfortunately, Debra waited to receive treatment until her disorder became completely unmanageable. She tried different medications and met with a private therapist, but nothing seemed to make a significant difference. She couldn’t return to work and felt unable to manage her daily life. Debra was stuck. A family tragedy caused Debra to lose her private healthcare benefits. She switched to Medicaid, and that is when she was referred to Jefferson Center.
“I want people to know that it is critical to not give up, even if that means letting someone else hold onto hope for you until you can do it yourself.”
– Debra T., a client of Jefferson Center
With the resources offered by Jefferson Center, Debra was able to meet with a new therapist, and a peer specialist, and engage in support groups. Crisis support was also available to Debra, which she had never before had access to, and she felt comforted knowing it was there if she needed it. This team helped return Debra to solid ground. For the first time in a long time, Debra experienced hope, and that was a very big deal.
“I want people to know that it is critical to not give up,” says Debra, “even if that means letting someone else hold onto hope for you until you can do it yourself.” Debra had faith in the process and learned from people who had walked the road to recovery before she embarked on her own journey. “Things can get better, but you have to reach out.”
“Since starting at Jefferson Center, I feel like I’m always moving forward.”
Debra is now a big supporter of community health centers. “It has been a long process,” she says, “but since starting at Jefferson Center, I feel like I’m always moving forward.” Debra recognizes that many others don’t often feel comfortable talking about mental health recovery, but her results speak volumes, and people do get better with time.
*Names have been changed.
Has your life improved because of mental health treatment? Do you wish to use your experience to help others?
Sharing your experiences with mental health treatment can help others who are struggling, and it can help fight the stigma of seeking mental health care.
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For more information, please email VoicesOfHope@jcmh.org.