Askew, Shelda

I was a child that lived in a traumatic home and just wanted to have a place to do well, be appreciated and loved… the pain in that search, lead me to suppress my depression and turn to drugs then started to looked-for love in all the wrong places. I had incredible emotional distress at a very young age. I began using drugs at the age of 17 as a way of coping with my dysfunctional family environment, came into my adult hood with the belief that I was no good and would never be any good. I was so screwed up with my depression and so many challenges with drugs that message was reinforced constantly throughout my life. I had no belief in myself and no belief in my future, now I live a very different life today.

For me, the most important experience I had was that I was incarcerated for bad choices, I was making while battling my challenges with substance abuse and depression. That's where I heard about this ideal of recovery. I tried different paths of recovery, were I still struggled with drugs and just couldn’t find a way to exist on this earth.  Later, I found out that it was because I just did not have any hope for my future and when I did not believe in hope, I just knew that whatever shortcoming I had was just going to be. I thought I was dooming to be a statistic of a person coming from a dysfunctional home of drugs and mental illness with no meaning for life.

Lucky enough I had the opportunity to see people in recovery at church who was living a recovery life that started saying to me "People live a recovery life every day Shelda why not you?" This started to open a light in side of me. I started saying maybe its worth while trying recovery because I might just have a future and become a productive member of society. My community of support saw something inside of me that I did not see in myself. I did not believe it was possible, I took in and internalized all the negative messages that came along with being on drugs, depressed and being the daughter of a mother who had co-occurrences with mental illness, so I really believed that I was broken, and I will be broken forever.

When I found out that there was a part of me that have been long forgotten, I started reclaiming myself & refining myself to those other parts of me. Today, it is 21 years after that moment of learning about recovery and in those 21 years, I have been able to work as an administrator of two facilities with mental health issues. Today, I have opened my own wellness company and reestablish connections with my family.  I go and do peer support specialist training and peer work to let other people know that recovery happens every day. If you have ever taking in any of those messages that say you are broken and can’t be fixed you have no future. I just want to be one voice that tells you that recovery does happen, every day to each of us.

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