Jessica is articulate, intelligent, thoughtful, and owns a smile that could light up a room.
This is the Jessica her mother remembers. This is the Jessica she is happy to have back.
“We had grown apart, but we are back together,” says Trudy of her relationship with her daughter. “I talk to her every day. I support everything she is doing.”
There was a time when a relationship with her mother or anyone in her family seemed rather impossible.
Diagnosed with depression and anxiety at age 14 and with Bipolar Disorder at 23, Jessica spent most of her adolescent and early adult years struggling with mental illness. Over the years she has spent time in hospitals and consulted with psychiatrists and mental health professionals. Sometimes things got better, but never for too long.
“It was chaotic, confusing and lonely,” admits Jessica, now 29. “Being so young and not knowing what was going on and being ashamed. I just wanted it to end.”
As mental illness took hold of her life, Jessica found herself making poor decisions.
“I was in an abusive relationship, detached from family, in debt and had addictions issues,” she notes.
Jessica’s fortunes began to change when she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at age 27 and was admitted to Ontario Shores’ Borderline Personality and Stress Regulation Clinic (BPSRC), which serves those who are experiencing difficulties managing their symptoms.
“It was the right place at the right time and she was ready for it,” says Trudy who says she noticed a significant difference in her daughter within three months of her first appointment.
Through the BPSRC Jessica participated in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), which is a treatment specifically designed for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. She credits medication management and individual therapy for aiding her recovery, but also found group therapy to be an impactful experience.
“You walk into a room and these people understand you like no one else I know,” she recalls of her first group therapy experience. “Before then, I felt like nobody took me seriously.”
Two years later Jessica feels like she is taking control of her life again. She has learned to manage her illness and is now focused on the future.
“I now feel like I can be successful in life,” she says.
Meanwhile, her mother now has a better understanding of the challenges facing her daughter. While the two have experienced more valleys than peaks in recent years, both are thankful for the opportunity to rebuild their relationship.
“It’s like when someone you love has been on vacation for a long time,” says Trudy. “They return and you are so happy to see them again.”
This is one of several recovery stories featured in our 2015-16 Annual Report.