Jackie grew up in a self-described “dysfunctional” family. Her mother was in denial of her own mental health problems and ignored the serious warning signs that deeply affected Jackie throughout her entire childhood. With unpredictable care and little nurturing, she learned far too quickly she couldn’t rely on anyone. She struggled with crippling anxiety that was so severe she skipped the entire sixth grade because she was afraid to go to school. She explains, “My anxiety attacks were so bad, I would pass out.” Jackie moved across the country to Naples “to get as far away from her family as possible”. But she too was in denial and had shame and fear about her mental state. After suffering in silence for many years, she finally sought help from David Lawrence Centers eight years ago. She began seeing a psychiatrist, but was resistant to any other therapies convincing herself that she didn’t need it and she “wasn’t crazy”. After a divorce, failed attempts at employment and bouncing from place to place, she shared, “I finally gave in and said I needed help.” At that time, Jackie dug deep and opened up about what was really going on inside her head.

She was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a mental health disorder that generates significant emotional instability and affects how you feel about yourself, how you relate to others and how you behave, in addition to the depression and severe anxiety she had struggled with for many years. She began seeing a therapist weekly who helped her cope with the blows that life can deal.

But Jackie still struggled financially to keep a home of her own due to her difficulty keeping a job. When she was arrested for driving with a suspended license she was pushed to the brink. Without a car, she had to face crippling fear when she was forced to travel by bus and isolated rather than venture out. She was nearly homeless, forced into an unhealthy living situation and felt helpless.

Given her arrest, she qualified for assistance from the Forensic Reintegration Support Team which provides select inmates with services to achieve rehabilitation and reintegration in the community. Through that program she was able to access a variety of resources to help her get back on her feet.

Jackie’s new case manager immediately got to work helping secure her stability which included everything from providing her with a Thanksgiving Dinner and rental assistance to securing permanent housing through David Lawrence Center’s affordable housing program and getting her donated furniture and clothes from our Encore Resale Shop.

With shaking hands and a timid voice she adds, “I needed everything. All I had were clothes and I didn’t know how I was going to make it to the store to pick out the donated items. It is hard for me to get out and do things for myself. I was extremely indecisive and scared, but the manager was so helpful and patient. I never would have been able to do this on my own.” Together, they picked out a bed, dresser, mirror, bedding and several items of clothes from Encore’s new women’s boutique.

With increased self-confidence and security, she’s ready to start a new life. Her case manager is now linking her with vocational rehabilitation to help her get a job and dialectical behavior therapy, a new cutting edge experiential psychotherapy proven affective for her disorder.

Jackie is still in disbelief adding, “It doesn’t seem real. No one has ever helped me the way that I am being helped. I’ve struggled for so long. It is hard to believe that there is help out there for people who need it.”

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