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Christina’s Story: It’s Okay to not be Okay

Christina’s story below is one of hope and healing. She bravely shared her story and experience with over 300 guests at Neighborhood’s 23rd Annual Fundraising Gala.

“I was in and out of the foster care system as a child” Christina shared, and bravely continued, “With 30 years of abuse and dysfunctional parents, you begin to realize that just because dysfunction is normal for your family, doesn’t mean it’s right.”

35-year-old Christina, afraid to seek treatment, lived in fear that she would be seen as an unfit mother and that her kids would be taken away if she sought help. Having been separated from her biological parents at 13 and placed into the foster care system, Christina explained her younger years as, “strained, unstable, with lots of moving in and out of stranger’s [foster] homes.” And for many years, before arriving at Neighborhood Healthcare, she dealt with her trauma the only way she knew how: alone.

Christina had visited Neighborhood for a routine visit and while in the waiting room, she was given a depression pre-screening. When recollecting this moment, she shared, “Something deep within my spirit told me to tell the truth. I had this epiphany: when I keep quiet, stigma wins – and I cannot continue to let that happen.”

Now, Christina and Dr. Woodworth meet every Tuesday. To Christina, these appointments are a lifeline to sustaining and improving her mental health. She commented, “I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I don’t schedule anything that would interfere with my Tuesday appointments. I refuse to miss it. There was one time when I had joint pain, headaches and migraines, and I almost missed my appointment. I told Dr. Woodworth about it, and my desire for holistic healthcare, and she suggested I visit Neighborhood’s acupuncture and chiropractic services. I didn’t even know those services existed. And, after my acupuncture appointment, she reached out the next day to ask how it went. She told me that she was proud of me for making my medical and mental health a priority…but the fact that she called the next day…I don’t have the right words to describe how nice that was.”

Because of her appointments with Dr. Woodworth, Tuesday is now Christina’s favorite day of the week. Christina admitted that without proper treatment, depression can get worse and last longer – and, because of this fact, she plans to do therapy for the rest of her life.

She shared, “Dr. Woodworth always reminds me that I’m the one doing the work. For the first time, I have felt validated in a healthy way. I don’t know how I got so blessed to have a doctor that truly cares about me.”

Having suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression for as long as she could remember, Christina is relieved to have names for those things that she’s been feeling. She continued, “Recovery is a long, tedious one. It’s gut wrenching. Seeing how far you’ve come, though, makes you grateful for your highest highs and your lowest lows. I feel renewed after receiving therapy at Neighborhood Healthcare, and now I want to use my pain for purpose. I want to show others that your pain does not define you.”

Christina is well on her way to health and happiness, acknowledging the brain is one of the largest organs in a person’s body and that we all need to take good care of it – and that it is ok to not be ok.

Currently, Christina is dreaming of becoming a registered art therapist, using her talents to help foster youth in transition.