Learning to Trust
Annie's favorite song is Michael Jackson’s Beat It. She especially likes the chorus, "Showin'how funky and strong is your fight, it doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right, just beat It.”
The 66-year-old has lived with mental illness and homelessness throughout her adult life. She experienced her first serious mental health symptoms at the age of 21 and was hospitalized five or six times before successfully maintaining outpatient treatment. She has survived abuse and traumatic family and interpersonal relationships. At times, Annie also resorted to substance use to manage her symptoms, which she realized has not been helpful. She first enrolled in Mirci services in 2003.
“I got into Mirci, and I messed up and let someone else affect my treatment," she said. "I am never doing that again. I can’t afford to mess up again.”
Fortunately, Annie re-entered the Mirci program a second time in recent years after her mother passed away.
“I was living with her, taking care of her, and when she died, I was homeless again," she said. "I went to Transitions, because it’s not safe out there in those streets, especially for a woman.”
Annie is now in a place of her own, and she says she is grateful for Mirci's benefits specialists and representative payee, who have worked with her to sustain balance in her life and reduce financial distress. She attributes her current stability to Mirci’s team approach, including the individual therapy she receives in her home. Annie also attends group therapy at Mirci and says it has really helped.
“I want to trust people and not live in fear,” she said.
Annie said she still struggles with guilt and shame with regard to substance use, past and present relationships, and feelings about herself. But she's working through those feeling with the help of Mirci staff and group therapy, and she has learned that working helps keep her mind occupied, as racing thoughts can be intrusive and destructive for her.
“I like my job, and they treat me nice," Annie said. "I can walk there and feel safe because it’s close to home.”
She also said relapse is something she works hard to avoid.
“I have to keep busy, and money is a trigger," she said. "That’s why I get my payee to make out checks directly to the store. It helps.”
Annie has done so well managing her sobriety and finances that she recently saved enough money for a new television to replace her old one that broke.
"I think I’m doing good right now, and the things I can’t change, I put in the Lord’s hands,” she said.
With Mirci's support, Annie, like many others, is beating the odds.