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Our Stories

Reese’s Recovery From Depression and Alcoholism

Therapy (and eventually AA), have helped me get to this point. The people I have met in recovery have also been a great source of support as is my family.

How did it all start? When did you first start experiencing symptoms or using?

My earliest memory of depression occurred in preschool. I can remember bursting into tears for no reason. I had no idea what was wrong, I just wanted to cry. I did not enjoy interacting with other kids like most children do and so I had very few friends. This continued throughout elementary school. Things worsened when puberty struck me at a very early age. I would sit in the dark in my room for hours, sometimes crying, sometimes angry. I wanted to be left alone. My family gave me my space most of the time and I learned how to hide my emotions from the world. I got so good at it that by the time I went off to college, I was an expert at putting on a good front. Even though I was an academically accomplished student, college was not the good time I had heard it would be. I was lonely, homesick, tired, and depressed all the time. I know now that it was because I was laboring under a heavy burden of depression. The dark cloud that followed me turned into a hurricane. In my final semester of college, it became too much for me to bear and the long-standing thoughts of suicide turned into a definitive plan. In a last ditch effort, I reached out to a school counselor who insisted I check myself into the hospital. I did not want to but I was too tired to argue. I spent two weeks in a psychiatric wing. It gave me a chance to rest but not much else. My school sent me home for a little while where I attempted suicide two times. I eventually started seeing a therapist who put me on medication.

What kind of help did you get at first? Did it work?

Therapy (and eventually AA), have helped me get to this point. The people I have met in recovery have also been a great source of support as is my family. I am blessed to have them all in my life. While there was a time that I did not have them, I understand my part in that and I take responsibility for it.

Were there any turning points where things really started to change for the better?

After eight years(!) with a therapist and little progress, I decided I needed someone else to help me. I found someone who specialized in dual diagnosis and the work I did with her led to my sobriety and finally managing my depression. I completed three rounds of DBT therapy which also changed my whole life.

What’s your life like now? What have you been able to accomplish, and what are you working towards?

Although I might not be where I thought I would be at this age, I am happy with the way my life is going. I have a great job, better relationships with family members, and I am stable in my recovery from alcoholism and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). I have wonderful friends who help me when I am down and I have learned the importance of being happy with who I am. The future looks brighter than ever!

What would you say to people who are having a tough time? What’s helped you that you wish you had known earlier

One big piece of advice I would give is to not be afraid to reach out for help. Find someone you trust and you know has your best interest at heart. It may feel like an invasion of your privacy but it will be worth it in the end. It may take a while and more than one person, but remember that your life is precious and you deserve happiness!