A Story of Hope: Meet Brady, Three Years Later
November 26, 2019
November 30, 2019 marked 3 years since HopeWay welcomed its first client. To celebrate this anniversary, we decided to check in with Brady Smith, who came to HopeWay in that first month in 2016 as a client in our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Here’s what he had to say about that time in his life and how HopeWay impacted his life today:
In spring of 2016, I was really struggling while attending college. I’d lost my job. I was by myself. I was just miserable and in a dark place for a while, so I came home to Charlotte to regroup. I started going to weekly therapy and taking medicine to see if that would help, and it did help a little bit, but not enough. I really didn’t feel any better about myself. At the beginning of December that year, with nothing really helping, I decided I might as well take a leap of faith and come to HopeWay.
HopeWay gave me the space and opportunity to really learn about myself and how I think, while learning how other people think as well. It helps to be around people who have been through similar situations because you see how they react to things and they serve as a reminder that you’re not alone.
The biggest thing I learned through HopeWay’s treatment program was that I can’t change the way that I think. I cannot stop those unhappy, negative thoughts from coming in, those mood swings, that depression, but I can change how I react to them. I can change how I let those minor things affect me. I let those negative thoughts overpower me for such a long time and it crippled me. Now I’m able to know that those feelings are there and I can use what I’ve learned to step over them and get past them.
After HopeWay, I went back to college and graduated from Queens University of Charlotte in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sport Science and a Minor in Psychology. This fall I entered one of the top social work programs in the nation, the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and am working on a Master’s degree in Social Work. After graduating, I want to work in direct practice as a therapist, specifically working with high school and college kids with mental health issues. Speaking of work, I've been working as a part of a research study that provides online CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) training to college students struggling with anxiety, depression, and/or eating disorders in their first or second year of college. The idea is to create a platform for people who don't need immediate counseling and don't want to speak to a therapist in person but need some guidance on how to manage their well-being. It has been fun exploring how to use different therapeutic skills through this style, especially since this method will be much more common as technology continues to advance in developing self-help methods for people.
Grad school has been going well so far, and I'm getting fairly comfortable living in and around St. Louis. Moving away was difficult at first, but meeting lots of new like-minded friends and constantly staying busy with either school, work, or the many festivals around St. Louis has made the transition very rewarding. Incorporating mindfulness into my daily life has helped reduce much of the stress and anxiety that comes with grad school and being surrounded by students from across the globe provides a wider perspective on how to view challenging situations around all of us. Overall, I have continued the positive vibes since leaving HopeWay. I’ll always be grateful for my time there and hope that others will continue to experience that same happiness and joy I felt during my time at HopeWay.
Have a great day,