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Survivor Stories

Heather's Story

Finding Strength to Live My Potential

Heather came to Mariposa with a clear goal: "To stay clean, to get a job, thrive in life, and meet my potential in life." She stated a strong desire to be clean and sober and believed it would be a part of learning to love herself.

When we first started working with Heather, she had high levels of anxiety and depression. Her symptoms included depressed mood, loss of interest, feelings of worthlessness/guilt that stemmed from her domestic violence relationship, sleep disturbances (insomnia), lack of motivation, low self-esteem, and persistent negative thought patterns.

Heather worried excessively, experienced heart palpitations, and often had flashbacks of past sexual and physical abuse. She felt very isolated from others, often questioned why she was even alive and cried often from the time she arrived at her appointments to when she left.

Heather overcame many significant barriers during her participation in Mariposa programs. Through her hard work in individual therapy and her participation in two groups (Beyond Domestic Abuse group and the Women's Anger Management group), she was able to get sober from alcohol, methamphetamine, and marijuana use and recently celebrated her first year of sobriety! Heather has taken her commitment to her well-being even further and has also recently been able to quit smoking cigarettes completely.

In addition to this, she was also able to find the strength to leave an abusive relationship with her ex-boyfriend whom she had been involved with for the last 7 years. This change came two weeks after choosing sobriety; during this time, Heather felt very alone, due to her abuser having isolated her from others and she questioned her decision many times.

Thankfully, she was able to process negative thoughts and fears surrounding her situation in counseling and was able to repair estranged relationships with family and friends in order to rebuild her support system again. Through one of her rekindled friendships, Heather was invited to church and has found a community that has provided her with additional coping skills and support.

Heather describes the end of her abusive relationship and substance abuse as an end to a pattern of addiction that had manifested itself in various ways throughout her life. With her new outlook on life, she made the decision that after 10 years of unemployment, she was ready to begin working again, with the desire to be self-sufficient and provide for her son.

Natasha's Story

"My Future is Bright"

Natasha came to Mariposa because she was experiencing low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression due to emotional, financial, and physical abuse. She reported that when she would look at herself in the mirror, she would ruminate about the things that were said to her by her perpetrator and believed those things to be true. Natasha was also unemployed when she came to us.

"My goal coming into the program was to learn how to be able to talk about my experience in a domestic violence relationship without allowing my emotions to get in the way. I did not want to feel depressed anymore", said Natasha.

Natasha participated in individual counseling, the Seeking Safety Group, and sought assistance from Employment Specialist for resources in housing and employment. She was very dedicated and worked hard to overcome her inability to talk about her past by utilizing skills learned, such as emotional regulation and mindfulness skills.

Since learning these new skills, she has been able to talk about her past without becoming overly emotional and has learned how to believe in herself again. She has better self-esteem, knows that she matters and has value, and deals with situations more positively and effectively. During the Mariposa program, she obtained a stable place of employment with an opportunity for advancement. Now when she looks in the mirror, she sees a renewed woman with a bright and promising future.