Jessica's Story: I Found Hope And A Purpose
When most teenagers are thinking about school and friends Jessica was struggling with an anxiety disorder and depression, and was hurting herself as a result. At the age of 15, a year after her depression diagnosis, Jessica landed at SickKids in Toronto due to complications from anorexia and bulimia.
"At that point, I decided I wanted to become somebody," says Jessica on how she overcame her eating disorder, "In order to achieve goals you gotta get better...I decided I wanted to live." Homewood Health Centre helped Jessica understand the all encompassing aspects of her eating disorder and the struggles associated with recovery. "I did really well there," she says.
However, Jessica’s struggles weren’t over, however. At the age of 19 she turned to alcohol. "I replaced one addiction with another," she says. Jessica says she now understands she has a borderline personality disorder, which is the culprit behind her addictions. "I’m sorting life out. I'm trying to get into why I did these things, what’s the underlying issue," she says.
Once Jessica completed treatment for her alcohol addiction she knew she needed to make drastic changes and eliminate the triggers for her drinking. "I needed a fresh new start and I had to change my people, places and things," she says. The Hope House was the new start Jessica needed. "It’s a good place. It’s a safe place," she said. More than that, it was the foundation for a new life. Jessica explains that making the choice to come to The Hope House was the first step in building life skills and growing her self-esteem and confidence. "I have learned to help myself."
Jessica took part in life skills programming at The Hope Centre which helped her build her self-esteem and define her goals. Just being able to talk with the staff at The Hope House and the life coach at The Hope Centre helped a lot, she adds. "They got me when I was fresh in recovery and they really helped me," she says. "They are there if you need it. It’s nice to know I can still call and talk." Jessica, now 26, spent about three months at The Hope House. Now living in transitional housing and working on future plans, Jessica volunteers at The Hope Centre. She has participated in volunteer opportunities including Toys for Kids, making Christmas wreaths for the City of Welland, and volunteering weekly in The Hope Centre Soup Kitchen and Food Bank. "I just love coming to The Hope Centre to volunteer," Jessica says.
"All of my life experiences have taught me that we are so fortunate to have shelter, help with food, and a safe place to go," she says,"The Hope Centre has taught me that it requires footwork but if you are willing to help yourself, people will help you. I continue to stay as a volunteer because not only does it help the agency and help others, but it gives me such a great sense of purpose and belonging." Jessica’s success in her sobriety, her confidence and in her continued desire to volunteer and help others is a result of continued support from The Hope Centre.
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