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New Year, New Decade

Hi Turningpointct!! 🙂 Happy Holidays to everyone!

As this year and this DECADE comes to an end, I thought I’d give a little update filled with cat pictures 🙂

Before the cat pictures, I must just say that I am really feeling the energy shift of going into a whole new decade. I was reflecting the other day about this past year alone and it was full of bittersweet moments. One thing I’ve realized and finally came to fully believe is that I am worthy of love and respect – and that I am allowed to make better changes for myself, regardless of how it affects others. I am committed to making this next decade be years that I enforce boundaries, advocate for myself, and follow convictions I have in my heart – again, regardless of how it affects others.

 

In 2019, some pretty amazing things happened:

  • I broke free from a religion that was starting to pull me away from God, not closer. I found a church that is safe for me and I feel as if I’m re-learning who God is to me.
  • I moved into an apartment with my best friend. We’ve created a safe place to call home together.
  • Speaking of the apartment, we obviously had to get a critter! Meet Pebbles!
  • Pebbles was sad that Jen and I worked long hours … so then there were two! Meet BamBam!
  • They became best pals after some hissing matches 😉
  • And even partners in crime!


  • This year, I graduated college!! I started with the intention of just simply starting ONE class. Two years later I have a certificate and a degree.
  • I was humbled this year by being recognized for awards, traveling the US for presentations, meeting some of my biggest inspirations, and being included in so many beautiful community events.
  • I started a new job! I’m working for the agency that I received treatment from – Recovery Network of Programs!! I went from client .. to employee !! I can’t explain how much I love working for this agency and how honored I am to be surrounded by such incredible leaders, coworkers, and colleagues. And of course I just had to get involved with anything and everything I can. I joined the book club and the outreach committee!
              
  • This year I had to let go and grieve friendships, relationships, trauma, and much more. I had some deep wounds created and old scars ripped wide open. Although some scars are going to be permanent; I must remember that they are still healed and shift my perception from loss to gain. I gained new friendships, new insight, new healing, and most importantly; I found a new sense of worthiness that I have been yearning for my whole life.
  • On December 2nd 2019 I celebrated FOUR YEARS in recovery!! Four years I haven’t turned to some form of opiate as a solution to whatever I was feeling, thinking, or doing. I don’t have even have the words for the gratitude of my recovery today. Can’t wait to do it another year !
  • I also have been building something special with someone special. Eric, you are such an incredible person and I’m so grateful to be your girlfriend. Every day you teach me something, love a part of me I didn’t expect anyone to, make me laugh, listen to my every word and thought, and allow me to be me unapologetically. You marvel me daily and I’m looking forward to continuing our journey together!

 

So that is my yearly wrap-up! I can’t wait to read about yours and your plans for the next year. Remember to celebrate the small successes – even if that just means waking up today.

Disconnecting for a Connection

What is disconnecting? Is it when you detach with love? Terminating a relationship? Isolating yourself? Unplugging an electrical device? Is it rejection? Not having a bond with something or someone?

Many times, people assume that someone who is disconnected find themselves in a difficult and challenging place to be. This can definitely be true, but what if disconnecting can be healthy and form a different connection?

When I have felt disconnected to the people, places, and things that help me stay sane, I start to get pretty down. I start feeling each of my insecurities creep into my mind and heart to convince me that I either don’t deserve the connection, or that it’s lost because of me.

Being disconnected can be very dangerous for my recovery and overall wellness – mentally and physically – however, it can also be extremely helpful, when used the right way; when I disconnect in order to connect.

One way I do this is by going to the beach and I shut out my thoughts and ground myself by using all of my senses to connect with the beach. I’ll disconnect my phone, my racing thoughts, my rapid heart rate, my loved ones, my responsibilities and allow myself to be vulnerable so I can connect to the calmness that the beach brings me. When I do this often, I’m able to balance the other connections in my life and have the strength to mend the disconnections in my life that I’m unhappy about.

Another way I’ve been disconnecting to connect is by getting to a quiet place, getting on my knees, and closing my eyes to start praying. I’m disconnecting any distraction so that I can build my spiritual connection. When I do this, I’m able to stabilize my emotions and welcome healing.

I’ve also been disconnecting electronics. I have been actually for once turning my phone on complete silence – no vibrate, nothing. When I do this, I’m able to enjoy the moment I’m in and be more in that moment. Sometimes, the moment is simply being alone. Sometimes I disconnect with others because I’m taking time for self-care. I’ve been realizing lately how important self-care really is.

This tool that I’ve learned and put into practice has had amazing benefits:
-the symptoms of my anxiety and ptsd have been more manageable
-I am able to take full advantage of EMDR Therapy
-My self-advocacy skills have increased tremendously
-I feel more empowered
-I feel confident in my ability to say no
-tasks are less pressuring and overwhelming

How will you disconnect to build a connection? What does that look like for you?

Long time, no see!

Hi everyone! It’s been a long, long time since I last wrote in this blog.

What’s kept me away?
• I started school and became a full-time student (I made honors last semester!)
• Willow and I left the shelter and moved into our own apartment.
• Willow turned TWO.
• I’ve been taking on more responsibilities at work and I’ve been working hard in school.

There are a lot of days that I’ve been happy and hopeful and staying afloat with a lot going on.

There have also been a lot of days that I’m busy all day. When I wake up early and stay up late and I’m exhausted and stressed. And that has been hard.

But I’m also staying afloat, in fact I’m doing well, too. Not all the time, of course, but still, I’m not giving up. If this were a few years ago, normally in a time like this, I wouldn’t be ok. I’d run at the slightest feeling of defeat, self-destruct then hide away.
At a time like this, I would be doing the worst I’d ever done, again.

But, I’m not. I’ve been doing better than I remember being for a long time. And I’m so grateful for that. I feel like I have found who I always was underneath the things that glued me to the floor.

Every so often though, I feel scared. Scared because I know I have so much at stake, and because I know I have come so far.
I wonder, sometimes, why am I ok? I wonder not if but when I will fail?
Then I remember the same things that scare me also help me be ok. They motivate me, support me and remind me to keep working. I think about the things that make me want to be ok.

I think about Willow, about being able to do more than just function, about being hopeful for our future, about school and my job, and I think about peer support. I think about the things I went through, the journey of shifting between the fine lines of patient and peer. About getting to speak with people who I understand, people who are struggling through high school with depression or anxiety or while fighting with their family every night. I think about how much peer support and the opportunity to use my story to better empathize with others, which have helped me be ok in times like this.

And I even though sometimes I feel scared, anxious, or doubtful – I feel good about continuing to move forward. I don’t feel tempted to stop, or give up, I feel excited to see what comes next; that fills me and keeps me going forward through fear and doubt.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week!

Today marks the start of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week! From February 25th- March 5th we can try to commit to being happy with ourselves and our bodies the way they are, not the way we think they are supposed to be. Instead of trying to fit into a box, we can appreciate the utility of our bodies, the way they function to keep us living. The amazing strength we have. The unique beauty each of us posses. We are all amazing!

Today, I thank my body. But, I also thank myself. Because for a long time I hated nearly everything about my body. The things I focused on we small details of perceived perfection I wanted so desperately to achieve. Yet, no matter how much I forced my body to change, no matter how unkind I was to myself, using food and weight as my weapon, I did not grow to love my body any more. I grew to hate it more, to see my flaws as being bigger, more unmanageable, more important and glaringly obvious to everyone. How exhausting it was to fight a battle for years against myself and food, a battle I had no idea was impossible to win.
So, I thank my body and myself. Because today I am a person who has recovered from an eating disorder, and it is such an incredible thing to say!

Even if you have never suffered from an eating disorder or known someone who has, this week is important. We all face stigma, shame and “rules” about our bodies, beauty, and standards. Isn’t it an exhausting ride to be stuck on?
So, instead of trying to fit into some arbitrary ideal of beauty, which doesn’t truly exist, lets love ourselves. Lets love our bodies, even the parts we sometimes hide. Because our bodies love us, they are for us, they do everything in their power to take care of us. Lets thank our bodies with some well deserved love, and reap the benefits!

If you are concerned you or someone you care about might be struggling with eating or with their body image in some way, help them out by suggesting they take a screening and offer your support. Help is out there. Recovery exists. Here is the link to a free and confidential screening that you or someone you know can take online, click here.

For even more resources on Eating disorders, check out our map or go to “resources” and click “support by topic”

If you have ever struggled with an eating disorder, how are you doing these days? If you have found recovery, what helped you?
If you have never struggled with an eating disorder, in what ways do you struggle with your body? In what ways do you love your body?

Random Acts of Kindness Day

February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day! That’s this Sunday!

In celebration of this day I wanted to share a video and ask a question.

The video is on Youtube, here Random Acts Of Kindness random acts of kindness

And this is my question: what was on time that kindness had a profound affect on you? It could have been something kind you did or something kind someone else did for you.

A couple weeks ago when I was surveying for the Youth Count I walked out of Dunkin Donuts to see an adult man sitting outside asking for change. Having been in his shoes not so long ago my heart ached for him, I wanted him to understand that he was understood and cared about. I wanted him to feel as though the weight of the world was not on his shoulders. That he was important, valuable. Anyways, I ended up going back and fourth in my head about what to do for a few minutes while I was inside. When I went to left I sat down next to him. I told him that I didn’t have any change and that I was sorry, but that I had been in his shoes before and I wanted him to know that I cared about him, even though I didn’t know him. We talked for a few minutes, and I felt so, so connected to him. I felt as though he did not frequently have experiences of being treated humanely by others. He looked deeply into my eyes and said thank you before I left, and it just struck me so much. It made me both happy and sad. But I know that we both had an affect on each other that day. That’s what kindness is to me! An exchange, a moment when caring for another person makes you feel just as loved. It’s a special thing.
So, how about you guys?

Random Acts Of Kindness Day

What are you proud of from 2018?

Hey guys! It’s 2019!
Pretty cool, kinda.

Some people seem to really care about New Years, it signifies a time to reflect and commit to change. Other people think it’s BS. And some don’t really care too much!

However you feel about New Years, it’s always good to reflect on time that’s passed and recognize strides that you have made.
My favorite quote when I was in the midst of a lot of struggles was,

“I may not be where I want to be but thank God I’m not where I used to be”

We don’t have to leap from ditches to mountain tops to recognize our power and strength. And sometimes it’s not even steps that deserve recognition, sometimes it’s staying right where you are, because it can be really hard to not fall backward, and good enough is good enough.

This New Years Eve, I laid in bed next to Willow while she slept and realized the changes that occurred over the past year. I thought about the pain, fear, and excitement I felt, and how hopeless I was at times. I realized how far I have come by looking back for a few moments. And it felt good, and it made me feel proud of myself. And I didn’t feel bad saying that.

So, what are you guys proud of from 2018?

I’m proud of myself for starting school, taking the leap to “real” employment and beginning the process of getting off of disability and SSI, moving, admitting to myself and a few friends that I was depressed, sticking with my path even when it was scary and painful and uncertain, trying every day to be a good mom, working hard, getting certified as a SMART recovery facilitator, Recovery Coach, and a Recovery Support Specialist, starting the path to getting my licence, and beginning to throw away things that I don’t need.

Let’s congratulate each other on our success in being here, even when it’s really hard work.

Recovery Month Videos

We want to see your videos for Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month! Check out Eliza’s video of why she fights for recovery and post yours here! We will share them on our facebook and twitter (if you want!)

Stress

Stress.

I have been stressed.
Not every day, and not all the time.
If my stress were a rock, I would be small but very dense and very heavy.
Small, rigid, bumpy, sharp, molten lava.
Bouncing around in my pocket all the time.
Some days it feels so heavy that my hips hurt and my gait is off.
Some days I forget it’s there until I bump my leg against something and the rock digs it’s raged corner into my thigh.
And then I feel like falling over.
But I can’t- and so then I become sad- no, angry.
Hot and heavy, scared and tired. My chest gets tight and my breath becomes hot and thick. So that it weighs down my chest, and constricts my lungs.
I feel suddenly as though I am drowning.

And then I lose it.

Maybe for a moment, because someone needs something from me.
But how dare they need me, don’t they know there is molten lava in my pocket?
Of course, they don’t know, it’s too small to see.
Although, maybe they notice it ripping a hole in my pants, and they ask me if I’m ok, with a certain sincerity that rips my heart from my chest and makes my knees heavy. And then I just want to cry.
And then it becomes an ocean.
An ocean with huge waves and I’m stuck in quicksand being pummeled by huge gusts of cold, salty water.
And my eyes are red and burning, and I cannot see.
My lungs are full of salt and water, so I cannot breathe.
My mouth is full of sand and seaweed, so I have no words to say.
And I’m too scared to figure out how to move.
So like a deer in headlights, I let myself get hit by a car.
And I see it coming but cannot move or speak.

I am alone in a crowd.

A crowd of people who feel the same way as me.
But its all a big secret, and so together we all feel alone.
Then one day I find a word- or all the words. And I find someone to tell.
Maybe they are the right person; they give me goggles, so I can see through the waves. And give me a snorkel, so I can breathe. They show me my feet and tell me how to pull myself from the thick, sticky sand.
And they cannot stay with me the whole time, but maybe they can sit with me on the shore while I catch my breath.
And then the sun can begin to rise, and the mist may clear and life begins to feel ok again.

But it always seems to cycle.

And soon again, I’m drowning.
Or maybe not always, but often enough that my knees are bruised and my elbows are scraped from falling again and again.
But I feel ok for just long enough to catch my breath.
And one day, I hope, I will have my goggles and snorkel with me always- and I won’t need someone to bring it to me. My legs will be strong enough to carry my small, heavy rock. My thigh will be calloused enough so that when my molten lava hits it, I do not fall over.
Until then, I feel happy to know there are lifeguards on the shore, and that some days my rock sits quietly in my pocket and I’m able to forget that it’s there.

And there are other things that make me feel strong and steady and very happy.

Like Willow.
And I’m not always perfect, and sometimes she throws my rock in my face and I melt into the ground and grow into a monster. And when the rock shrinks back into my pocket I feel so sad and guilty.
But I can hug her and say sorry.
She always seems to forgive me for being imperfect. And I’m learning how to forgive myself.
She seems to feed me a steady stream of light and love, which gives me strength and makes me feel safe and happy.

And I tell myself again and again,
“I will be ok, I will be ok”.

Willow Moon, my sun my moon  and my stars.

M.I.A.

Hi everyone!

I’m so sorry I’ve basically been missing in action since April 3rd… ack. Well, I have some good excuses for you all! Just kidding, not excuses.

I have been so incredibly busy so, let me share some of the things that have been going on for the past month for me.

The big thing is that in April I began a 6 week training to become a Recovery Support Specialist. Around the same time that this started, I had to complete my distance training to become a SMART Recovery group facilitator.
(I finished the RSS training last week! This week is my graduation. It was a great training, and I learned a lot and shifted my thinking in many ways about the mental health system and how we are affected by it. )
The first week or so of April I was doing about 15 hours a week of RSS training, and trying desperately to finish the SMART training AND commit 20 hours of work to TurningPointCT.org! And, as I shared Willow started walking and I felt crushed by my commitments and all the time I was spending away from her.

Then, there was the infrequent, but very

important commitment I have to the Youth Advisory Board (about 10 or so hours a month for a group geared towards ending youth homelessness).
And, I was asked to speak at a Gala for Child Guidance in Stamford, where I received services as a teenager. Which was exciting and poignant considering the person who helped me there passed away unexpectedly about 2 years ago. (I wrote about it here). But it was also overwhelming, and stressful, and a time commitment considering I had to write and edit my speech and do every other little and big thing involved in a large speaking engagement (buy clothes, practice, scope out venue, freak out). It was my first really big speaking event, where I had to really write out my speech, and not just ‘wing it’.

Then, my brother told me he was leaving his job and apartment in D.C. much faster than we all thought, and that he had about 2 weeks to pack up and find somewhere to go with his dog! This was in the middle of April. So, unexpectedly, Willow and I got on a six hour train ride to Washington D.C. and spent 3 days with him! It was amazing and so much fun.

The end of April was filled with Fresh Check and Wellness Days, a few exciting things having to do with grants, and prep for Mental Health Month! Which, in case you don’t know is May! This past week was my last crazy week, for a while I hope.

On Wednesday I went to UCONN in Stamford to speak in front of a philanthropy group called IMPACT Fairfield County to help Supportive Housing Works (who I do the Youth Advisory Board through) with the final step of a huge grant process, then I went to New Canaan to thank The New Canaan Young Philanthropists, which are an awesome group of young people, for awarding us with a grant! Then, Thursday I took and passed my RSS final exam! Then the rest of the week was committed to prepping for the mental health walk on Saturday and the Gala speech Saturday evening!

And guess what everyone! I made it! I survived this ridiculous marathon of a month and feel so strong and confident and am so proud of myself and Willow for coming through.

I feel so happy and confident, and yesterday, I had the best lazy day ever with Willow. And I am happy to be back at work, with my ‘normal’ commitments, and feel excited for my graduation Wednesday and everything else that is to come in the near future.

Willow and Harry in D.C.

Me, Willow, and our friend Kelley at the Mental Health Walk!

Me at the Gala before giving my speech!

Anxiety Chart

Hey everyone!

I came across this blog post about how someone living with anxiety who struggles to explain her anxiety to her peers/family/loved ones. She talks about how frustrating it is and how people don’t seem to understand the actual condition. So she decided to make an “anxiety chart” to help explain her anxiety. I looked at it and thought it was AMAZING and described it PERFECTLY. Here’s the article in case you want to read it: https://themighty.com/2018/03/anxiety-chart-help-other-understand-anxiety/

And here is the anxiety chart (let me know what you think and if you think it can be or is helpful!):
anxietychart

A Healthy Body

Well guys I’m adding another thing to balance and work on in my life; having a healthy body.

Notice I didn’t put losing weight? So losing weight is definitely my mission, but I’m trying to re-word it so
it doesn’t sound hurtful for me. So instead of “weight loss goal” I’m saying “a healthy body goal”.

I have struggled with my body, my health, and my body image in many different ways.

I once had a healthy body, but ya know what I definitely didn’t have? A healthy mind and a healthy
heart.

I used to make the outside look all put together because I didn’t want anyone to know what was going
on on the inside. I didn’t want people to know that I had self esteem issues, was self loathing all of the
time, thought I wasn’t good enough for anyone or anything, had mental health disorders.

So, I would fix up the outside in hopes that it could just cover up the insides. And it worked, until I
completely broke down and continued to hurt so deep inside.

Then I added drugs to the mix of things. As if getting attention from the wrong people, places, and
things weren’t already super high, now I had to be high with hopes that the insides would be fixed and
benefit the outside.

It didn’t; it made everything, inside and out, WAY WORSE.

I became severely underweight and my insides? forget it, they were completely shattered.

So once I got sober, I fixed up my insides and for once in my life, these past two years in recovery have
blessed me with the insides finally being at a point of true healthiness. But because I needed to care for
my inside as my top priority, my outside got neglected. So now I have the inside good and the outside not
so great. I was hating my weight gain.

Besides others making hurtful comments, and I mean VERY HURTFUL COMMENTS, I made the most
hurtful comments to myself. The self-loathing began and it started to get dangerous.

I do anything and everything to protect my recovery and mental wellness. If I sense anything to be a danger, I handle it immediately so I don’t jeopardize my recovery that I worked so hard to have. My body was becoming a danger to my recovery.

So here I am, starting my wellness journey. It’s a little overwhelming and sometimes discouraging because I feel like I’m balancing and maintaining so much already. But, I’m determined. I’m determined to take care of body, improve my wellness, and most importantly; protect my recovery.

I have started my healthy changes and within one week, I’m starting to feel so much better, both physically and mentally!

Guilt, Anxiety, and Fear: Motherhood

When I wake up it starts.

I probably didn’t sleep very well- or maybe I did and I wanted to sleep longer.
I probably got woken up a few times last night to nurse you back to sleep. There were probably a few times you were restless and tossed and turned while you tried to get comfortable.

Guilt;
I remember being woken up over and over again, exhaustion, panic because I know I’m tired and need so much more sleep than I will get. Frustrated because I so desperately want to sleep as peacefully as I imagine you do. Anger because I cannot and anticipation of how exhausted I will feel in the morning.

Fear of never being able to sleep again.

Dread;
I dread waking up in this place, putting you in daycare, being alive and monotonously going through the day.

Collapsing into a puddle, I break, I lose my patience. I’m not fully awake and not fully human. Maybe I harshly say,
“stop.”
Or angrily beg you to go back to sleep. Or worse, maybe I just lay there, don’t look at you or talk to you, just sit in a heaping puddle of uncomfortable emotions.

When I wake up, probably a little while before you did, a realization comes to me as I see how beautiful and peaceful you are. I realize the impatience that took over me hours earlier.

I’m a terrible mother- a terrible person, in fact.

I lost my patience. I scared you, upset you, and damaged you. An intense wave of sadness covers me and I feel desperate to go backward in time. A pit grows in my stomach as I know I cannot do that and must only go forwards. I want to hold you, I want to cry, I want to be perfect for you and I want to be happy with you always.

Regret, fear, dread, anger, exhaustion, guilt, sadness.
Over and over again, every day.

I wonder what I am doing wrong. There are many, many things I know; many mistakes. I wonder how much they are damaging you, and in what ways.
I want to fix them all- be perfect and wonderful and exactly what you need and want. But when I try to think of my wrong-doings I cannot pinpoint them all.
It’s looking for hay in a haystack- it’s all there and it’s all the same, and it’s all wrong. I can hardly do anything right for you. Maybe I do what I believe is good, but soon I will find it is, in fact, wrong. I have hurt or damaged you in some unknown, and therefore gigantic, way. Worst of all, I cannot take any of it back.

Paralyzed with fear but continuously pushed forward by the current of life.
I’m stuck in a riptide.

But my love for you grows each day. It’s a painful love that fills me simultaneously with joy, and a deep despair and fear.
I wonder about all the things I must prevent. All the possibilities. So much can go wrong. So many scary, seemingly unpreventable things swirling around us in this world. I want to protect you but fear I cannot.

I feel out of control.

But then a beautiful day happens.
You grab my checks with two soft, warm hands and look into my eyes.
Or you crawl to me, laugh, kiss me.
You let me hold you and hug you and you hold me back.
And for a moment, my fears melt away, so that I’m standing in a deep puddle, soaking wet but dripping dry. We stand alone in the dark for a moment, and my brain gives me time to love you in peace.

I realize that these moments can grow. That if I make myself a farmer and equip myself with fertilizer and pesticides and gain the knowledge to grow a garden that we can be happy. I can rake out sadness and anxiety to make room for big, bright, beautiful happiness.

I will call myself a farmer and you will be my seeds, my water, and my sun.

A Day at the Courthouse

As my morning alarm went off and I slowly got out of bed, my anxiety started to kick in. I was getting dressed and heading to Bridgeport Superior Court and all I could think about was the last time I was there, three years ago.

On April 1, 2014, I was sentenced to prison because of the consequences of my heroin addiction. Part of my sentencing included 3 years of probation. I had already completed two and was now eligible for “early termination”, which meant that I had a chance to be let off one year early. Aka, no longer being property of CT’s judicial system.

As much as I would like to say that I had outstanding performance, unfortunately I didn’t. In fact, in my personal life, I completely failed. I had relapsed after a year of sobriety which led me into a four month long relapse. During that relapse, I had experienced the deepest amount of sorrow I had ever been in, and I’ve been in some deep ones. According to probation standards, I was to remain sober, not have possession of any firearms, complete community service, and to not get arrested again. I had done everything but remain sober. Probation had record of a positive urine toxicology test and had told me to “come back in 30 days with a clean test and this test will not cause any violation”. I had already been off of all substances, but the reason my test came out positive was because I still had marijuana in my system after I had left my detox treatment facility. So, staying sober, I came back in 30 days and gave a negative test.

I should have known better that probation keeps record of everything and that every record will affect me, some way or another. Although I did not get an official probation violation, that positive test resulted in probation making a recommendation to the court to continue my probation and NOT grant me early termination.

That’s fine, I understand, I technically didn’t keep the requirements of probation.

However, what I did after I sought treatment for my relapse, was substantial. I became an advocate for recovery, maintained continuous recovery for almost two years, started working in the addiction recovery field, started school full time, and received recognition and awards for the advocacy I was doing. I even had an offer to work with the CT Department of Corrections, but I could only accept the position if I was granted the early termination. Probation was holding me back and becoming a barrier in many aspects of my life.

So, I decided to attend my probation hearing with letters of recommendation and proof of my progress since that last test, in hopes that the judge may decide to cut me a break.

I was dreading going to that courthouse. My last memory of that place was me leaving in handcuffs and being sent away to a correctional institution. I was addicted to heroin, extremely underweight, and had no hope or purpose for my life.

I walked up the steps of the courthouse and waited in the line as people went through the metal detectors. Hearing the buzzing of the detector started sending me back to the year that I was in and out of that courthouse fighting this case. At every court date I was either high or in withdrawal.
I went through the routine of coming to court as if it was second nature, which was a bit disappointing for me. It was pathetic to me that I knew how to navigate the court house and system so well because I was a defendant so many times. I bee-lined around people looking lost and went to a bulletin board that hung all of the docket numbers of that day and which court room they were going to be in. I found my name and proceeded into the court room. Of course it was the exact court room that I had gotten sentenced in and hauled away in handcuffs.

I sat on the wooden bench and then the waiting began. Court is full of waiting, no matter what court house you are in or what you are in court for. As I waited, people began to fill the court room and defense attorneys were pulling their clients aside to speak with them.

Instantly every single dreadful memory came back to me at once. I then heard a door located on the side of the court room open and I knew exactly why it was being opened; a prisoner was being transported to a different section of the courthouse. Then, a panic attack started coming on in full force. At first it started off with general anxiety, but the second I heard the chains of the handcuffs, full panic mode set in.

“Breathe, Ally, breathe. This is totally normal. This isn’t you. You are walking out of here today no matter what. Everything. Is. Going. To. Be. Just. Fine.” I said to myself.

Knowing that the judge was going to be approaching the bench at any moment I couldn’t get up and leave. So I dropped my head and began to pray; my go-to for extreme panic situations that I literally cannot get out of.

After finally bringing myself to a sustainable level of anxiety, the judge approached the bench.

My name was called and I approached, with each step remembering all of the times I had done this.

The judge looked over my letters, looked at me and said, “Wow. Miss Kernan I never see this. Unfortunately, many people that come in here with a case like yours, do not make it. You not only changed your life completely, but you now help others. Based on the substantial amount of information that I am seeing, I have no issue with terminating your probation.”

She then turned to the prosecutor and asked if he had any objections.

The prosecutor said, “I absolutely have an objection. She is a FELON. It shows she has a dirty urine on her record. I cannot agree to this, AT ALL.”
My heart stung as he emphasized “felon” and “dirty urine”. Even the language of that term alone is unprofessional.

The judge then looked at me and said, “What do you have to say about the urine result?”

I replied, “Your honor, I had a relapse which probation has record of. I take full responsibility of it and that’s why I came here today, despite probations’ recommendation to continue my probation because of that test result. I’m here to advocate for myself in hopes that the court can reconsider and grant the early termination so I can further my career in the addiction recovery services.”

The judge said, “Well I see your progress and I don’t think this one test should hinder you. I want to grant early termination,” she then looked at the prosecutor and said, “Again, I think you should reconsider and you should take my recommendation. This woman has no purpose of staying on probation.”
The prosecutor would not come to an agreement and the judge had to continue my probation because of it.

Aka… I was to continue probation for another year.

The judge apologized to me and even expressed her embarrassment for the state’s inability to agree with her recommendation. That alone was humbling to hear.

So although I was disappointed that I had to continue my case, there was so much to be grateful for that day:
I was still in recovery.
I was walking out of the courthouse with no hand-cuffs.
I was sober in the court room!
I was healthy.
I was even mistaken for an attorney!
I had shown a judge that recovery is possible.

But most importantly, God is still in control and was the entire time. That fact alone kept me in so much peace. Instead of complaining, I changed my perspective.

Recovery teaches me to change my perspective on situations and people. Being a Christian teaches me to have thankfulness in every situation.
I am so thankful that I am still in recovery. I am so thankful that I will continue to never allow probation be a barrier to maintain my recovery and help support someone else’s.

This experience also taught me more about the judicial system and made me think of new things that I can advocate for.

I’ve been blessed in my road of recovery and if I made it this far on probation, I can absolutely continue!

And one last thing I was thankful for: I faced a place that I thought would forever haunt me; sober.

National Bipolar Day: March 31st

Help us raise awareness about Bipolar Disorder on March 31st. This day is celebrated nationally to increase awareness and to promote early detection and accurate diagnosis, reduce stigma, and minimize the devastating impact on the 2.3 million Americans presently affected by the disorder.

Read our stories, learn about the facts and Follow this link to get more about National Bipolar Day: https://turningpointct.org/media/latest/national-bipolar-awareness-day-march-31st/

MICANEL JOACHIM ON STAYING POSITIVE!

New Story Guys!

Get to know Micanel Joachhin. This is the newest story on the site. Please read his story here: https://turningpointct.org/story/micaneljoachim-not-enough-details/. And feel free to welcome him to the community.

Overcoming Anxiety

Hey everyone,
Get to know Hayley!

Read her amazing story here about dealing with anxiety. She also offers some great advice on living a better life.

“…There is going to be a tomorrow that is better than today. It won’t happen in a day, a month, or even a year. But just know that one day it WILL happen. Don’t give up!”

Click the here to read about her amazing perspective:

Hayley M. on Overcoming Anxiety, Fear and Panic

Introducing Our Newest Blogger: Kelly!

Introducing Our Newest Blogger: Kelly! – Learn more about Kelly and join her in discussion as she talks about life in college and dealing with anxiety, depression and OCD in her blog, “Daily Life as a College Student.”

She recently shared her inspiring story, which you can find HERE or at https://turningpointct.org/story/kelly-r/. In her story, Kelly tells us about her past and some of her future plans as she sets out to complete college and help other young adults who are struggling with mental illness.

“From getting through a panic attack to resisting the urge to do more than she really should, Kelly has been forthright about her everyday college experience and all the challenges that comes with being a passionate and dedicated student.”