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Liz

Liz

When I first arrived at Hopewell in August 2021, I was a hot mess. I had been in and out of the hospital for months and doing electroconvulsive therapy which was harming my memory. My family thought I would never be able to live independently again, and I had run out of hope. A Michigan hospital recommended a residential program and we discovered Hopewell.

In the first month, Hopewell was hard but then I started to slowly make progress. During Christmas break, I discovered my desire to go back to Michigan and live a successful, independent life. After returning to Hopewell, I was determined to get the most I could out of the program.

I wrote my own goals and focused on which Hopewell groups would be the most beneficial to me. I started co-leading the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group and organizing weekend game nights. Jennifer Miller, Food Service Manager and Wellness Educator, helped me discover that exercise was my best coping skill.

By the end of February 2022, I was thriving and ready to go home, finally feeling good again. Though after returning home, I became medication resistant, and sometimes my coping skills were just not enough. I ended up in the hospital a few times, discovering that in southeast Michigan, the more money you have the better treatment you get, which seemed unfair. I am determined to make change in the mental health system, so that everyone can get excellent care no matter their financial capacity.

Currently, I am writing a simplified DBT Curriculum for people with serious mental illness, with pictures, lesson plans for activities, and personal experiences, which hopefully will be published next year. I am also working on a DBT book for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) written in symbols. I have a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University and I was a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. As a passionate, powerful speaker, I hope all my gifts will allow me to make a difference in the world. I am thankful to Hopewell and the incredible staff for getting me on a path to success and helping me realize my full potential. I have never felt better, and I am so grateful.

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