Mental Illness Awareness Week: Christine’s Story

Christine has been with Thresholds’s Peer Success program for the last 7 years. She values hard work, acceptance of others, unconditional kindness and the ability to be who she truly is without judgment.

Growing up, Christine struggled to find acceptance for who she truly is from friends and family and others she encountered on a day-to-day basis. When she began to grow into the understanding that she identified with a gender she was not assigned at birth, she received backlash from family, friends and caseworkers at other agencies. This judgment and feelings of isolation added to the depression she was grappling with. Since walking through Thresholds’s doors over forty years ago as a young adult, Christine has found a home.

 “I love the staff here, as they are all in recovery like myself and they treat me as an equal. These people here are like another family to me. No matter what people are going through, nobody has to put them down, talk about them because we all go through things in life…If you give them a good uplifting — that lets them know that there is somebody out there that loves them, cares for them and wants them to get better and want them to have a better way of life.”

The strong community within Thresholds and at the Empowerment Center helps Christine to express how she truly feels about herself and her growth as a transgender woman. She says that she enjoys the community that Thresholds provides her, one in which she feels comfortable with who she is and accepted by everyone around her.

“I have never been treated different of my gender. A lot of people here have given me encouragement here. A lot of people would put me down about the way I dress, but coming here they respect me and treat me as a human being. That’s why I like coming here.”

Thresholds has helped Christine in many ways including finding apartments that she loves, feel safe in and can call a home.

“Thresholds is a good agency because they look at what the individual needs and they try to accommodate those need especially when getting an apartment for that individual. They make sure you’re in a safe environment.”

She also likes how she continually learns from staff, her peers and the groups she attends within Thresholds. As a Peer Success team member, Christine gives back to her Thresholds peers by imparting what she’s learned from her experiences and various other programs that helped her when she was battling addiction.

For those struggling and looking for acceptance in the same way she was before finding Thresholds, Christine offers this insight:

“The way I’m treated here is like, everybody understands me and they feel like they’re not better than me. We all have our struggles. We all have different avenues to get through. Don’t let nothing stop you from what you want to accomplish.”

elliot besmann
Author: elliot besmann

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