Lourdes’ Journey

Lourdes' Journey

Age 40 - Wife and Mother of Two

Breaking her family’s cycle of untreated mental health conditions by getting the right support for herself and her daughter.

FAMILY HISTORY
1. FAMILY HISTORY
Lourdes grew up surrounded by a large, extended family that included several members who struggled with drugs and alcohol. “Looking back there was probably a lot of undiagnosed mental illness and substance use in my family. But in our community, at that time, those things just weren’t discussed. You could pray about it, you could drink about it – but heaven forbid we ever actually talk about it.” As a result, Lourdes saw several generations suffer from the effects of untreated behavioral health conditions.
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BREAKING THE CYCLE
2. BREAKING THE CYCLE
As a teenager, Lourdes found herself falling into similar patterns of substance use. “I drank because I felt anxious and sad whenever I was sober. If I didn’t drink, it would come out in other ways like self-harm. I was hurting inside but didn’t know what was wrong or how to ask for help. Fortunately, one of my older cousins had received mental health care when he was away at college so he recognized my issue and guided me towards getting help.”
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PROGRESS AND HOPE
3. PROGRESS AND HOPE
Lourdes was eventually diagnosed with depression and anxiety. She started treatment and medication, as well as working with a recovery coach to help manage her substance use and build skills to maintain recovery. “It took a lot of work but I had great support from my providers and coaches, and my cousin stayed in touch and cheered me on. Every time I made progress, I felt stronger and more confident so when I did have occasional setbacks, I knew I had the tools to get back on track.”
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LONG-TERM RECOVERY
4. LONG-TERM RECOVERY
Lourdes has been in recovery for 18 years and no longer takes medication. She is happily married with two children, a daughter age 15 and son age 10. “I’m very proud of where I am today because I know it took a lot of work, and that I had to be strong enough to accept help from a lot of people. When I had my kids I was determined to be very proactive in supporting their mental health so they don’t have to go through what I did.”
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SUPPORTING HER DAUGHTER
5. SUPPORTING HER DAUGHTER
When her daughter began to show concerning behavior in middle school, Lourdes was quick to get her the help she needed. After several years of ups and downs, by age 15 her daughter had settled into an effective treatment and medication routine and was doing well at an alternative high school. “She has severe anxiety and also identifies as queer, so the transition to high school was especially difficult. It was a long road but we’d gotten to a good, stable place where she seemed to be thriving. Then the pandemic hit.”
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TAKING ACTION
6. TAKING ACTION
Lourdes’ daughter struggled when stay-at-home orders disrupted her established routine. “I noticed she wasn’t coming out of her room to get meals during the day, and barely ate when we had family dinner in the evenings. Fortunately, we spotted the signs early and my husband and I took immediate action. We got in touch with her pediatrician and ramped up her sessions with the therapist she’s seen for years. It was a tough time but she’s doing much better now because we knew what to do, and did it right away.”
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