October 2011 I sought out a therapist to be my guide as I worked through my mental health issues. The issues ranged from feelings of worthlessness, addictive behavior and childhood trauma to suicidal ideation. I knew from day one that I was in for a serious process - a difficult road but one I was willing to travel.
I met with my therapist in her home early in October. I discussed where I was at and presented her an outline of the things I wanted to discuss and where I wanted to be in one year. She agreed to be my guide in this process and I agreed to see her weekly. It worked, there was an instant connection and I knew I had found the right person to guide me through this process. I learned to trust her and in return, she trusted me.
A little about me and some of the things I dealt with in therapy:
1998 I moved to Utah to attend college - graduated in 2001 with a BS in Health Promotion & Education with my eye on medical school. In 2002 I joined the U.S. Military, I really wanted to go to medical school and had no money to get there… this was my best option. While I was at basic training with one week left before graduation, I was brutally raped and contracted HIV. The military 180-day clause discharged me with an honorable medical discharge and sent me home with no medical coverage. Nice. So, over the years while my attacker spent time in a prison paid for with my tax dollars, eating food, getting medical care, prescriptions, etc., I struggled to make ends meet paying for medications that cost me $800-$1,300.00 a month. In 2005 I attended grad school where I obtained my Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering… all goals achieved. I was living the life of a 30 year old single woman and then…
2012 two MAJOR events changed my life forever. Thank science… god, whomever that I was in therapy at this point and that I was in a much different place, capable of handling what would come next - January, a child, a beautiful little girl was dropped off on my doorstep… quite literally. I was asked to adopt her… she moved in with me on January 20th. The adoption process was long and hard. Individuals within our community showed up at the courthouse… “we don’t want an HIV positive whore, lesbian pedophile adopting children.” (Yes, I’m a lesbian, the only truth in those statements). It was a tough battle, numerous court appearances, restraining orders, media interviews, etc.
April 2012 I decided to confront my parents about the ongoing physical and sexual abuse I had endured as a child. I attached a document from my journal at the time. (I kept a journal through my entire process of therapy and am in the process of writing a book - hoping to co-write with my ex-therapist, we are working out the business and ethics of this). The result of this confrontation was a pregnancy… the struggle that ensued after that was almost debilitating. Imagine being morally against abortion, smack in the middle of a very public adoption process… pregnant with your fathers child. Abortion was out - publicly carry a child only to put that child up for adoption while fighting for an adoption wasn’t an option. My son was born premature on December 14, 2012
Wow… life. May 2013 both my therapist and I agreed that I was healthy - in every aspect of the word. I’ve never been better and in June 2013 my daughter’s adoption was finalized! I share my story with people because it is possible to be happy no matter what you’ve faced in your life. I truly believe with all my heart in the Carl Jung quote, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” I chose happiness and each day I am an example to my friends, family and others of that happiness and an advocate for their ability to achieve that same happiness.