“When I came to the Lake County Haven I was given the support, guidance, and direction needed to focus on my issues and positively redirect my life. If I did not have the courage to ask for help, or if such programs were not available, I despair to think of where I would be today, if at all. There are no words to describe my gratitude or the enormous positive impact the Haven has provided in my life.”
Monica is a full-time employee at a social-service agency dedicated to aiding the mentally ill. For the first time in her life, she enjoys her job. She says that her love for work is due to her personal connection with the issue. She, too, has suffered from emotional instability. It was not long ago when mental illness and depression almost took Monica’s life. A few years ago she attempted suicide. Fortunately, her attempt went unfulfilled, while her need for help became clearly exposed.
As a child, Monica was the victim of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. She lived her adolescent years in constant fear of both her mother and father. She learned to rely on nobody but herself. “I tried to be superhuman. I felt I could get by entirely on my own. Well, in adulthood I learned that everyone needs other people.”
Monica has spent most of her adult life dealing with her traumatic childhood. “It is easier to repress your emotions than to recognize them. Ultimately, though, your pent up emotions become overwhelming and cause a total breakdown.” The worst of Monica’s anxieties were unleashed when she was forced to cope with her past episodes of sexual abuse. “When dealing with the other issues, I was still able to maintain a job. However, the sexual abuse issue peaked my depression and I became even more suicidal. I was an emotional wreck.”
Monica’s post-traumatic stress was so intense it inhibited her from properly functioning. At times it practically paralyzed her. “I couldn’t turn on the vacuum or even wash my face. I could barely get out of bed. I felt like I was living my entire life in a casket.” Monica was also struggling at her place of employment. She no longer was able to handle her daily responsibilities at work. “I was going to therapy but my life was still chaotic. I planned an attempt on my life and even wrote out the suicide note. I was on the brink of death when I realized I needed help. That is when I found the Lake County Haven.”
Monica was never homeless before. She always prided herself on self-sufficiency. Yet, she acknowledged that her life was unraveling and eviction was upon her. She took residence at the Lake County Haven.
The Haven allowed Monica adequate time to deal with her fragile psychological state. “My depression didn’t go away instantly. My days spent at the Haven were in pain. I had to learn how to work through the emotions of grief and anger. Most importantly, I had to find hope.” At the Lake County Haven, Monica continued with therapy, enrolled in a job-training program, and acquired a full-time job. She also registered for a degree program in human services at the local community college. “While living at the Haven, my lifestyle wouldn’t permit me to get overly depressed. I was encouraged to be active and optimistic. I did not have time to dwell on my life, nor beat myself up. My thoughts and feelings slowly became optimistic.”
Monica stayed in shelter for a few months and then requested an opportunity to continue working with the Lake County Haven through the transitional housing program. In her formal request she wrote, “such an opportunity would enable me to establish my independence as well as my confidence.” Monica was chosen for that program and remained in there for sixteen months. “I am grateful for the Haven’s long term support. The Haven made the transition to independent living easier. They had strict guidelines that worked to my benefit. When my tenure in the housing program was over, I was ready to move on.”
Today, Monica is proud of her sense of self. She is not only working at a wonderful job, but also has her own apartment and car. Although she feels healthy and secure again, she will always be weary of the possibility for emotional relapse. Monica’s psychological troubles were what prevented her from living independently. She understands that regardless of her solid work habit and high degree of personal responsibility, that homelessness can strike again. “Homelessness can happen to anyone. We are all susceptible to economics and our own human condition. Luckily, I discovered the Lake County Haven which provided me with a safe living environment while I concentrated on rebuilding my life.” ♥