Taking on Life’s Challenges in the Tri-Cities
If you met me on the street, you’d experience a warm person who would greet you with a smile. But underneath, I struggle.
I was born addicted to cocaine. At six weeks old, I was put up for adoption and my angel in disguise, Lendah, became my mother. We lived in a small farming community in Washington State, but with my grandparents and parents needing help, we packed up and moved to a small town in Louisiana. That adventure didn’t go well, as I was bullied every day for over two years.
Diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome as a child, these experiences brought on depression and anxiety. When we moved back to Washington, I had to adjust yet again and began experiencing difficulties focusing and managing my impulses.
Life really started unraveling around 17 or 18. I started gambling and stealing. My depression grew and I contemplated suicide.
After I attempted suicide, a counselor referred me to the 3 Rivers Wraparound with Intensive Services (WISe) Program offered through Lutheran Community Services (LCS) Northwest here in the Tri-Cities. I’d never been a fan of counseling, as I don’t like sharing my feelings with strangers. But, I was at rock bottom, and I knew something needed to change.
Coming to LCS was a big turning point for me. I struggled with anger and not feeling accepted by others. I felt like I wasn’t in control and I wanted more opportunities for my life like a job and financial stability.
My team at LCS took the time to earn my trust. They helped me find my strengths and encouraged me to reach my goals. I tapped into my faith to find purpose and meaning. I was open and willing to really work on my challenges and share what tools I needed to find success.
My therapist helped me work through my anger and stop gambling. I worked with a behavioral interventionist to learn and understand how to manage and communicate my emotions without exploding. My relationships started improving and I felt more in control.
I had a youth partner on my team, and he helped me understand the adult world and how to prepare for it. LCS even provided me with a career counselor. I just recently landed a full-time job working at an AutoZone Distribution Center. I feel more confident than ever that my life is headed in the right direction. Lutheran Community Services helped me find that confidence.
My life looks so different now that I’m 20. My relationships with family and friends are strong, especially with my mother. I participate in my church and serve my community as much as I can. I recently bought a car and I’m thinking about college; something I never would have considered a year ago.
Sometimes things cross my path that reminds me of my past, but I feel like there’s hope for my future now. Life seems brighter.
Oliver, I commend you for putting all your challenges out there and how you face the world head on. You are to be commended for the progress you have made and is now helping others who are now facing similar issues. No doubt your mother has played a great role in your growth and with so much love, has taken a back seat and watch you grow into a productive and very confident individual ,now making such a positive impact on society. Keep up the good work . Glad you made the right choice to live the life and now making a difference.