I grew up witnessing violence in my home. Though the violence was never against me personally, it left a lot of scars emotionally. I knew this was not normal behavior so when I was 18 and on my own, I began to seek help.

“If you grow up with domestic violence, you’re 74% more likely to commit a violent crime against someone else” ~Childhood Domestic Violence Association

Facing Transitions

I started meeting with my therapist at HopeNet after hearing about HopeNet at a resource fair for nursing students. The HopeNet representative was there to give us resources for our patients, but I thought this would be a great resource for myself as well.

“Those who grow up with domestic violence are 6 times more likely to commit suicide and 50% more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.” ~Childhood Domestic Violence Association

I graduated from nursing school and broke up with someone I thought I might marry. This triggered my PTSD from my childhood and made me realize I still had some work to do with my past and with how I handled the future. I felt like the fight had gone out of me. HopeNet was exactly what I needed to get me to the next chapter in my life.

Hope in the Midst of PTSD

HopeNet was different than other places I had been to because it offers a variety of services. I also really appreciated that I could share about my faith in my therapy sessions and my therapist was able to incorporate that into our sessions. They were treating the whole person.

After being at HopeNet for a while, I noticed that I was getting better at recognizing things, either outside of me or inside of me, that were trying to influence me. I was getting better at noticing behavior patterns and stopping them before they started. If I was feeling bad about something, instead of turning to something destructive, I recognized the emotion and let it have a place at the table. I would practice hearing the emotion and acknowledging it. Trying to ignore it or numb it or run from it wasn’t working, and I could see that. My therapist helped me try to just acknowledge the emotion. We could work on why I was feeling it and what to do about it, but the first step—and the hardest step—is to acknowledge it for what it is.

Free and Independent

I am amazed at where I came from and where I am today. I know it would have been so easy for me to go down a different path with drugs and alcohol and trying to mask the issues I was facing. But I know that would be slavery. I feel free and independent now and that feels great.

“Self-awareness of one’s triggers that send a person into a flight or fight response is the first step. But this often means revisiting traumatic memories in order to confront them head-on. This can be difficult for many survivors. But if that hurdle can be crossed through trauma-informed treatments… a survivor can rewire the brain to have a new, non-traumatic response.” ~Domesticshelters.org

I’m glad people donate to places like HopeNet. Mental health issues can be overlooked and often underfunded. But how can we get to real issues behind our behavior? Our mental health is our core and helping someone heal that core will set them up for life.