We do what we do for people like Yolanda. It is because of our community who supports our work that we are able to be there for those who have nowhere else to turn.
“I grew up believing counseling was a predictable scam. Let me tell someone all my problems and they can tell me how all my problems are someone else’s fault. No thank you, Give me a girl’s night out with my friends and that’s all the therapy I need. I’ve got everything under control. Not so much. Just like there are functioning alcoholics, I was a functioning adult who had put to bed all my childhood demons years before. Who doesn’t go through stuff? I told myself as a young woman, ‘Put on your big girl pants and get over it.’ But trauma attaches itself to you and won’t let go. It gets into your bones and into your bloodstream. It affects your job, your friendships, your marriage, your parenting. It negatively alters every aspect of your life.
I was a great manipulator. I knew how to hide my baggage, this ability is what enabled me to be considered ‘functioning’. Until I didn’t function anymore. There were some red flags that I should have picked up on that I wasn’t managing well on my own and that I needed professional help: when I was angry and depressed at the birth of my children when my marriage was about to fall apart – the first…and then, the second time when I would lose it with my toddler or have meltdowns with my family and accuse my closest friends of being infantile for no good reason. I didn’t ask for help. I thought I was holding it together. This is my one regret.
It was one day, in particular, that was the turning point in my life. My husband was pouring bottles of alcohol down the drain. He had found my stash. I had been fired from my job because I was ‘creating a toxic work environment’ and I reacted with a weeklong drinking spree. I apparently decided I didn’t care anymore. I lost my grip. I had spiraled out of control and now I had an audience. I knew I needed help. Without a job, I had no health insurance. My husband was a private contractor and my kids were on CHiP.
I found Shield Bearer Counseling Centers using a Google search. I connected with my Shield-Bearer therapist immediately. She allowed me to be completely vulnerable. Until that moment, I never truly knew what that word meant. I never took the time to realize how damaged I was and the baggage I carried with me. I had no idea of the anger I felt just beneath the surface or how my choices as an adult were completely self-destructive and I had been spewing all of it on everyone I loved dearly.
Since starting with Shield-Bearer, I have made my time with my therapist part of my own self-care. I have a job and I have insurance. I no longer receive the benefit of Shield-Bearer’s sliding scale, but I am ever so grateful. My therapy over the 20 months I’ve been a client has made me a better mom and spouse. In reality, it has made me a better person. I realize it’s all about effort. I want to put in the effort, but sometimes we just need a little support from outside ourselves.” – Yolanda