“I came to the SOS program at a real low point in my life. I was struggling badly with my mental health, I had lost my job of 3 years. Everything had fallen apart and I was feeling very adrift and lost with very little sense of direction or purpose.
In just the few short weeks that we were in class before the stay at home order, I’ve been told repeatedly that I’ve almost become a whole new person. When class began, I was very depressed and defeated, kept my head down, very nervous about speaking, didn’t like eye contact (even with myself, I wouldn’t look in mirrors).
Just being in community with a group of women who were like me – not exactly as we’re a pretty diverse group and every woman has her own story, but we’re all the same in needing a hand up and someone to help us find our feet and discover our paths. Just seeing that I truly wasn’t alone made a difference. Add to that the wonderful women on staff who were there to support us and teach us the skills and tools we need to succeed each in our own way and I truly became a different woman almost immediately. I started walking taller and looking people in the eye. Didn’t cry nearly as often. Even started looking in the mirror again and trying to pay attention to my appearance.
I had already, before the program, started trying to distance myself from some of the toxic people in my life but on my own all I’d accomplished was isolating myself further. But with my brand new support network, I’ve begun to limit toxic people and set boundaries in a healthier way that feels empowering instead of damaging.
Before SOS I was desperately trying to help anyone and everyone to the point of exhaustion and depletion because my depression and anxiety insisted that if I wasn’t useful I wasn’t valuable. With the SOS ladies and my Team 22 I’ve learned that I’m valuable regardless and that while being of service to others is still important to me, I’m taking care to acknowledge my limitations and take good care of myself because I have to put on my own mask before helping others with theirs as Kathy likes to put it. If I’m not okay first I can’t help anyone else either.”