By: Grace Jager, Transformations Alumna

I moved to the United States when I was 19 years old, as a last resort to seek safety from a tumultuous home. I Grace J spotlight desperately wanted to live despite feeling unworthy and crushed from my abusive childhood. I yearned to feel safe in my body and flourish in life. I wanted to create a better version of myself and be someone who would succeed in my personal and professional life. I could no longer stand being intentionally belittled and berated every waking moment. I did not want to abandon my siblings and leave them behind, but I knew it was time to put myself and my needs first.I had no choice but to leave if I ever wanted to be there for them in the future. After moving to New York, I attended therapy and was committed to the healing process both in and outside of sessions. I constantly explored complementary forms of therapy to support the talk therapy I was doing, such as yoga, meditation, art, dance, and connecting with other survivors of abuse. Unfortunately, I still felt damaged, worthless, and isolated.

This only got worse with the pandemic, when I was no longer able to access a lot of my outlets as we all went into lockdown. This included acupuncture, one of the only forms of medicine that helped my chronic pain. Not being able to get treatment, both for my physical wellbeing as well as my mental health increased my chronic pain, to the point where it became debilitating. This became yet another reminder of the abuse I had endured, and the fact that my childhood experiences were causing me such excruciating psychosomatic pain. I once again felt discouraged despite the hard work I was doing to process the trauma and create a new reality for myself. I succumbed to a rabbit hole of depression and anxiety, and my life became unmanageable. I felt as though I was destined to suffer due to the increasing bouts of pain and complexities with my mental and physical health, which was interconnected with my childhood trauma and the fact that my body was still holding onto the memories in order to protect me from getting hurt again. I felt controlled by my past. I felt as though my move to America was an utter failure since I still actively struggled to find peace and safety. Memories from the past became unbearable, and I felt as though I had no desire to live if I was destined to suffer and keep reliving the trauma. 

At the same time, I knew I had to make a change. I did not want to perpetuate the melancholy cycle. I solidified my decision to admit myself into Transformations Treatment Center to address my PTSD and find ways to develop my identity and create a sense of self. The staff at Transformations empowered me and gave me the tools to change my life. I felt wholeheartedly supported by the professionals there. They encouraged me to believe in myself, change the way I relate to myself and others, find my passions, and to integrate my past experiences into a meaningful present that reflects my authentic values. I learned that I can change the way I think and view the world, be more assertive, maintain healthy boundaries, not feel guilty for taking care of myself, and have a positive influence on others, even if the wisdom was acquired from unpleasant experiences. 

I am grateful to the incredibly dedicated, compassionate, and attentive staff at Transformations for supporting me in my healing journey and helping me create a life that is worth living. I am proud to say that I now have a strong local support network. Moreover, I am currently studying Exercise Science and Kinesiology, completing a Yoga Teacher Training, working at a Human Performance Lab, attending local women’s meetings, etc. I feel whole as I live life in an atmosphere of tranquility. I am eternally appreciative to all those who support me in my growth and cheer me on every day to keep doing what brings me joy and encourages me to maintain my health. I now feel as though my life is worth fighting for.  I have a deep appreciation for the treatment received here and cannot thank you enough for all that you do for me. 

I urge those who struggle with mental health and/or chemical dependence to seek support or attend a treatment facility. Know that you are deserving of the support and are a valuable asset to society. It is possible for you to gain the tools to live a fulfilling and healthy life. You are worthy of change. You deserve to live in tranquility, the best version of yourself.