To meet Patricia Taylor today, one would never know that this vibrant and engaging woman once suffered from a deep and debilitating depression. Patricia’s depression began over ten years ago following a traumatic personal event. She describes this dark time in her life as being what she refers to as a classic depression. She no longer wanted contact with friends or family and no longer wanted to participate in the activities that once gave her pleasure. She wanted to spend her days in the safety of her dark bedroom.
Fortunately for Taylor, with the support of family and friends and medication to treat her depression, she began her journey to recovery. Although her life had begun to improve, Taylor knew she needed to continue to move forward in order to fully recover. Her doctor suggested that she consider the recovery education classes provided through Meridian Behavioral Health.
These classes provide a safe environment for students to understand their own symptoms, treatment options, medications, and facilitate self-advocacy to empower individuals to choose options that will work best for their own recovery. Taylor decided to give it a try. It was through this program that she learned how to manage her depressive symptoms.
“I gained a lot of insight through the classes. The peer support specialists and staff helped me find my own path,” commented Taylor. “No one ever told me that I had to do anything. They just supported my choices and let me know that I wasn’t alone.”
This peer support model worked so well for her that after six months when a peer support specialist position came open at Meridian, she applied and was hired. She went through the 40 hour training program and began facilitating the classes that she had attended as a student six months earlier. Taylor, who just celebrated her 5th year of employment as a peer support specialist at Meridian, now works in the community supporting individuals in their recovery.
“My job here is so rewarding. Working with others is important in my continued recovery.” states Taylor. “I get to support and assist others as they experience their own challenges and successes on the recovery journey.”
Taylor’s story of depression to recovery provides inspiration as the nation celebrates the month of September as National Recovery Month. The theme for 2015 is: Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable. Patricia Taylor’s journey exemplifies this theme as she now uses her own experiences to inspire and encourage others.
“It is really hard to put all of this into words. The recovery model is so important to success.” concludes Taylor.