“Early in my life, the verbal and emotional abuse shaped my feelings of inferiority and caused depression to set in. You hear the saying, ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’ Well, that is not true. Words are very hurting and devastating. Broken bones and bruises will heal, but words are there forever. Since infancy I have had a hearing problem that has made me feel left out. I did not hear everything, and I did not communicate well. I never felt like I belonged or that I fit into any group at school or in the community. I did not participate in school activities and my social skills were not developing. I did not know how to interact with the other kids. I was a nerd in school and was always helping the teacher. I felt loved and a part of the group at church, but that is the only place I felt comfortable. I wanted to go to Bible College, but my step-father thought I should go to a community college first and get my basic courses,” she continues.
“At nineteen, I was working and started smoking and drinking a little with some of my co-workers. Not married, I got pregnant at twenty-one and had my son. I could not care for him so my mother and step-father took him. I have not been able to hold a job for over a year since I was nineteen. I have suffered lots of guilt and shame over the pregnancy. I also have a self-punishment complex. I pushed my family away at that time,” she ends.
Over the next fourteen years, Michelle moved over twenty-five times. She was in and out of school, but never finished her courses. At times, she was homeless and someone would take her in for a period of time, or she would live in a shelter. She had poor relationships with four men due to her co-dependency and low self-esteem. She did use marijuana for about six months when she was twenty-two but stayed drug free until twenty-seven. Then she found herself pregnant again and had a daughter. She had postpartum depression after the birth and went to street drugs to treat the depression. Her sister came to get the baby and is keeping her as part of her family.
In 2010, she came to Texoma Community Center for help. She was diagnosed with bi polar disorder, a mental illness, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She did not want to follow the program and finally the police caught her with drugs, and she was put on probation. Then she was required to be part of the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI). TCOOMMI has community based interventions such as Service Coordination/Case Management for adults, Continuity of Care, and Jail Diversion. The Texoma Community Center TCOOMMI team works with the adult felony offender population providing case management, rehabilitation/psychological services, psychiatric services, medication and monitoring, individual/group therapy and skills-training, benefit eligibility services, screening and linkage to appropriate medical services, jail screening, court intervention and pre-release referral process for jails and families.
After beginning probation, Michelle was at an all-time low. She knew she had to change. By working the TCOOMMI program, she has found she can be successful. She received the Hardest Worker Award this month for attending all the group sessions and making all her appointments. She really tries hard to get all she can from the group sessions. These sessions help her find solutions and follow through to the overwhelming problems that used to defeat her. She can now handle those problems on her own, or she can ask advice about what she should do. She is working to improve herself and to help others. She has found that she must release the negative thoughts that have plagued her all her life. She knows that her attitude makes her a success or dooms her to failure. She thinks everyone needs hope and having hope can turn a life around.
She also contributes success to finding her spiritual self again. She also credits her grandparents for helping her. They supported her and tried to get her back on a spiritual track. Their prayers and guidance made her realize how much she needed to change her life. She attends Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) on a daily basis and has found much support, encouragement, friends, and love there. She loves being a member of AA. She believes that she had to go through all of her experiences to be where she is today. She learned to set goals in her group sessions and would like to finish her cosmetology course, open her own salon, and begin a group home for people with drug problems who want rehabilitation and job training to begin new productive lives.
If you are experiencing a mental disability, contact Texoma Community Center. TCC has provided services in Grayson, Cooke, and Fannin counties since 1974. The center provides a variety of services for people of all ages with mental illness, mental retardation, and developmental delays. Those who would like more information about obtaining services can contact:
Grayson Mental Health Center---903-957-4701, 315 West McLain, Sherman
Cooke Mental Health Center---940-665-3962, 301 West Broadway, Gainesville
Fannin Mental Health Center---903-583-8583, 1221 East 6th Street, Bonham
Child & Adolescent Mental Health---903-957-4820, 315 West McLain, Sherman
Mental Retardation Authority Services—903-957-4796, 800 South Mirick Ave., Denison
Early Childhood Intervention---903-957-4810, 315 West McLain, Sherman
Central Administration—903-957-4700, 315 West McLain, Sherman
Toll-free 24 Hour Mental Health Crisis Hotline-1-877-277-2226