Helen: My Story


I moved up north with my mom two years ago for a fresh start, not knowing how difficult it would be. I had no friends up here, no way of meeting anyone without going to a bar. The first year wasn’t so bad. I had a lot to occupy my time with: projects around the house, a part-time job as a cashier for the summer. But come that winter my moods and depression were up and down. It seemed my days were filled with constant thoughts on everything. I would try to think of things to do to stop the constant thoughts going through my head. I thought that self-medicating would work, but that only led to deeper mood swings and depression.

I found when I was doing jewelry my focus was intent on creating this one-of-a-kind piece; that it would be so different and beautiful. Some pieces would occupy 6 to 10 hours of my time and then the reward would be the finished product. Then there are days when I feel I’m a mess: scattered thoughts, I can’t focus on one thing, doing all types of things just to stay busy. And nothing seems to work. I look at my fish tank and wish I had friends to call, people to see again and do things with. But for now I just have the companionship of my two dogs and my mother, not necessarily in that order. I did meet one person – the daughter of my mom’s Avon lady. We took a class for nursing assistants together. But when we completed the course and got our certificate she was hired. Due to my past, I was not. Back came my felony of drinking and driving. I’m scheduled to take my state test. Sometimes I think to myself, why should I? I’ve put applications in at nursing homes, had my fingerprints taken. I call every week and get the same answer, “We’re still waiting on your background check.” I’ll pay the $175.00 to take the test, add another certificate to the many in my life, know that I’m smart, qualified, and am more than up to any task they give me.

As for the future, right now all I have is today and the next class of stigma as my relief and recovery.