Helping Others to Heal the Soul: The Story of My Struggle with Depression and PTSD, Part II


This two-part article was written exclusively for by Jaye. In this article she discusses her struggle with depression, complex PTSD, her suicide attempt, and what she eventually found helpful.

Click here to read Part I.

I went back to school and earned an AA in Human Services, with a focus in Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. Previous to that, I had earned an associate degree in liberal arts, with a focus in early childhood development.

Becoming Part of a Team

Last November, I learned of a three day workshop called, Focus For Life, and I signed up for it. Just the week prior to the workshop I had been in the hospital, in the mental health unit, and I was feeling suicidal.

Half way through the first day of the workshop I approached Janet Paleo, who runs the program, and told her I was interested in becoming a part of the program. I asked her how I could come to terms with something I had “heard” as a child.

When I was growing up, I was often told that I was defective and this has stuck with me ever since. Janet looked at me and said, “Jaye, you are uniquely qualified to do what I do.” I was 42 years old at the time. The next morning I woke up with a smile on my face for the first time!

Helping and Healing the Soul

Later on, I was given the opportunity to fly down to San Antonio, Texas for six weeks to shadow Janet Paleo and Anna Gray, who are the trainers for the program. There I learned how to operate and facilitate pro-summer programs for Focus for Life.

Being able to work as a peer counselor and help others realize that recovery is possible, has been an amazing opportunity for me. This is what has helped me to heal the most.


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