A Story of Hope: Meet Elizabeth
June 09, 2022
The Road to HopeWay
Growing up, I struggled with anxiety and depression, but it never prevented me from living a fulfilling life. I saw a therapist and took medication, and I managed really well. One major outlet for me was physical activity. I played on two tennis teams, and enjoyed exercising and other sports. About two years ago, as I was excitedly preparing to get married, my health started to decline. What should have been a very exciting time as newlyweds was diluted with anxiety and the lowest of lows as my health took a turn for the worse. Due to a very rare spine condition, I am now in a wheelchair unable to do minimal tasks around the house, and I have to rely on my husband for most everything.
I felt lost, and the guilt became too much to bear. In July 2021, I tried to commit suicide. I felt like such a burden, and the only way out seemed to be ending my own life. My husband read about HopeWay in an article and started doing some research.
Due to my spine condition and other complex medical problems, I entered HopeWay’s 5-day-a-week program. HopeWay did a phenomenal job of working with me to meet my medical and clinical needs, highlighting the importance of the integrated care model. Through the on-site Wellness Clinic, I was able to manage my medical conditions so I could successfully participate in therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) were monumental in my recovery; specifically one DBT skill called Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance taught me to accept the things I cannot change in order to not waste unnecessary energy wishing things were different. Group therapy provided a sense of support and belonging I never thought I would find again.
Before a client discharges from HopeWay, their group does an activity called “hopes and fears”. Each group member shares a hope and a fear for the client leaving. When my group members went around the room, they said things that described the “old” me. It was in that moment that I realized there is no old me. I am still the same person, even though I am physically different. I spent so much time grieving my old life that I was not living my current life. The guilt and the anger have dissipated. I still sometimes grieve what could have been, but I know I am worthy and strong despite my illnesses.
As I share my story, I want people to know that it does not have to be one or the other. You are not sick OR strong. You are not okay OR depressed. These things can happen simultaneously, and that is what makes you ‘you’.
Learn More About HopeWay's Programs