A Story of Hope: Meet Harrison
February 21, 2022
Following a catastrophic series of hospitalizations, which occurred near the end of my time in school, it is fairly safe to say I was a very broken person. I found myself heavily traumatized by my experience in various psych wards. I would sleep the morning away on the couch, and when morning turned to afternoon, I would go to a couch in another room, sleep there until dusk, and then retire to my bed. This, of course, was no way to live, and I was terrified that this was my new normal for the rest of my days.
During my few waking moments, distressing hallucinations would regularly capture the attention of my mind. Something had to change. Enter my time at HopeWay: walking into the calm atmosphere, my constantly tense body began the slow process of relaxing and letting go. As any transition has a tendency to be, the first few days were rough, but it was nothing compared to what I had previously experienced. The staff genuinely seemed concerned for my well-being - a stark departure from prior experiences.
Three things were paramount in my
recovery process at HopeWay: Cognitive
Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Art Therapy and meditation and mindfulness practices.
HopeWay's Integrative Therapy Programs
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT gave me tools to gain a new internal awareness, allowing me to frame my thoughts in a more positive light.
During Art Therapy, I was afforded license to play in creative ways which I had forgotten how to do when I was actually studying art in school. Though I still take art very seriously, I find there is a fine line between being passionate and taking it so seriously that I question my abilities and overwork myself and my creative process.
I meditated frequently as a child, but had fallen out of the habit. By reintroducing meditative practices at HopeWay, such as yoga, I was able to calm my internal tempest and let my body relax and start to feel comfort, creating a cycle of positive feedback between my mind and my physical self.
HopeWay's Positive Impact
After about two weeks in treatment, I recall tentatively saying to my mother, “I think... I think, I’m going to be ok”. Before that point, I had relegated my prospective future to a constant state of sleepy, drugged confusion, plagued by odd terrifying hallucinations. Fortunately, the programs at HopeWay ignited my optimism in such a way that I could believe in a better future.
It seems to be paying off so far. Today, I continue to improve and maintain my recovery utilizing many of the tools I learned at HopeWay. I continue my artistic practice through painting and Voiceover work and meditate when I have a need for it. I continue to see my psychiatrist and therapist for outpatient appointments. My process of thinking has been augmented by CBT in a myriad of positive ways which I find to be instrumental in cultivating a positive outlook. While the recovery process did not end after leaving HopeWay four years ago, my time in treatment was the catalyst to the healthy and fulfilling life I am living today.
Harrison's artwork, titled Chaos, is featured above.