Isabel had a self-described “normal upbringing”; she was a good student who maintained her grades and was a competitive swimmer. Yet her mental health struggles were evident even as a child. “I had a good upbringing but I just inherently wasn’t happy as a kid, I always felt like something was amiss. I never felt comfortable in my own skin.”
When Isabel was 14 years old her mental health came to surface as a bad relationship ended. Due to the circumstances around her relationship she became depressed and entered her first psychiatric treatment center.
In the coming years, Isabel started self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. “It didn’t become an everyday thing until I was 18,” Isabel recalled, “but I started drinking at 15 and I wasn’t a social drinker. The first time I drank, I was home alone by myself and stole alcohol from my parents just so I didn’t feel depressed anymore. I was really setting myself up for alcoholism. “
Isabel had a great support system in her parents at that time. “There’s no handbook for parenting a child with mental health issues, but my parents tried their best and I’m lucky to have parents that are really understanding,” said Isabel. “They would go to workshops and seminars in order to work on themselves so they could be better parents for me and learn how to help me.”
Isabel started her journey in and out of different treatment centers. She had looked at Turnbridge as an extended care option while in primary treatment, but left primary treatment, relapsed, and ended up living in Portland, Maine for a period of time. Her substance use began to spiral out of control. At that point, Isabel’s parents cut her off financially. They decided to offer her the opportunity to get help or be entirely on her own. Isabel chose treatment.
“I knew people who had gone through Turnbridge and were doing really well,” said Isabel. “I looked at Turnbridge online and read the statistics. I knew it was a longer-term program but I didn’t care. I was ready to get help. I was ready to get better”
Isabel entered Turnbridge hopeful. She made a lot of friends and put in a lot of hard work to reach her goal of sustained recovery. Isabel’s journey was not without its ups and downs, but she credits the care and compassion of the staff at Turnbridge for helping her get where she is today. “The staff worked with me so much. I never felt like I was just a number at Turnbridge. My case managers cared about me personally and even still reach out to me to this day and have an active role in my life.”
Isabel currently works as Support Staff member at Turnbridge alongside many of the “lifelong friends” she made while she was a client. In response to being asked about future plans, Isabel replied, “I’m finally in a place where I can figure out what I want to do when I grow up. Through my experiences at Turnbridge, and as a staff member at Turnbridge mentoring girls, I finally know I want to pursue a degree in social work.”
“I really do wholeheartedly believe that if you are willing to do the work, Turnbridge is the program that’s going to set you up for success.”