“I am strong no matter what”: one client’s therapy success story

May 29, 2024

Robin

For many people seeking care, it’s not just one life issue or health issue causing them to reach out, but the layers of pressure that build up when multiple issues happen at once. At LifeWorks NW, we believe in wellbeing for all, and that’s why we focus on integrated care, combining mental health support with physical health support.

Robin (not her real name) came to LifeWorks NW facing multiple challenges. Her daughter had recently attempted suicide, her mother had been diagnosed with cancer, her husband had lost his job, and in the course of trying to care for her family, she lost her job as well.

The level of pressure Robin felt created mental health issues for her, and she experienced an episode of suicidal ideation. After a hospital-provided outpatient program, she was connected to LifeWorks NW.

“When I first started, I was not in a good place,” Robin said. “I felt alone and like no one else had any idea what I was going through.”

“One of the first activities we did was a project on ‘what would you do if money didn’t matter,’ what would you be happy doing. I said I want to be a farmer. They said, be a farmer! I said I can’t, I don’t have any money, I can’t buy property, I can’t buy livestock… I see now how many walls I put up before I understood how to talk to myself in a nice way.”

Robin made a decision to invest her energy in the program even though it didn’t feel good.

“At the time I didn’t realize the changes the program was making in me,” Robin said. “I realized I can be a farmer, I just have to find a different way to do it. I may not have land, but that doesn’t stop me from growing veggies or volunteering at a farm.”

Three years later Robin is proud to share that she completed her program, and lives on a farm now. But that doesn’t mean life’s challenges have stopped.

“After moving here I was diagnosed with a rare neuromuscular disorder with no treatment and no cure, and I am now in a wheelchair full time,” Robin said. “So new problems have surfaced for me, but I feel so much better prepared for them.”

“Getting that diagnosis was really frustrating, and there came a day when I had to accept that I couldn’t take care of my cows any more. It made me understand the severity of the disease I have. I can say that I am strong no matter what, and won’t let it get in my way, but I have to accept that I have physical limitations to work with.”

Robin is continuing therapy at LifeWorks NW.

“At LifeWorks NW, my therapist Angela has really helped me in those moments of frustration,” Robin said. “When I feel stuck or like there is something I can’t do, she has helped me use my mind and the resources I do have to find a different path to accomplish what I’m trying to do. Everything that knocks me down, we talk it through and figure out what to do.”

“I learned how to recognize my fight or flight mode, and how long I had been living in it. I know now that I can have emotions, that they are valid and acceptable, and also that I can feel them and then let them go. Now not only can I help myself in stressful situations, but I’m able to help my family and my friends when they’re feeling that way too.”

“My therapists and group sessions at LifeWorks NW gave me the skills I needed to go from the darkest days of my life, to the beautiful and fulfilling life I have today. LifeWorks taught me to not only survive, but thrive, and that I can overcome whatever life throws at me.”

Robin is looking forward to continuing her bright path forward.

“We have chickens and turkeys, and there are eggs hatching in our incubator right now,” Robin said. “Next I am going to build a hydroponics garden that I can tend in my wheelchair.”