She was gentle, patient, kind, validating, understanding, and what seemed to be like the only lifeline I had to sanity. My first session at Project Family Services went something like, “Why don’t you start by telling me what brings you here, Diane? When you are ready.” I was desperate. I couldn’t breathe, speak or just be. So when I was ready…
I proceeded to share account after account of my personal experiences where I had suffered many different types of sexual assaults, traumas, betrayals, and abuses.
She listened… as I tried to breathe, speak and just be.
I had tried to heal my heart on my own over the years. After suffering yet another assault, I will never forget the day I was standing outside my home on the sidewalk in the front yard, crying, on a little square of concrete, I thought to myself, there has to be enough room in this world for me. For me to be safe on this little piece of concrete somehow… I knew I needed help. I came in to my kitchen and called my husband and sons to the table and cried. I told them, “I need realprofessional help guys, and I am at the end of my abilities alone to withstand any more trauma”. I was afraid of being abandoned. I thought they would leave me if they knew just how messed up my mind and heart was. I wanted to live and get a sound mind so bad that I was willing to lose them. They were happy to support me though. They didn’t abandon me.
I made a call to Project Sister Family Services and over the next couple of years, I met with amazing therapists, each unique in her own way. I had private and group sessions. It was a beautiful success story. I had been given the tools and means to identify the strength already within myself to be able to live in the moment. To live where my feet are. For years, I have gotten to practice these tools. Situations seem to always come up, don’t they? I even survived cancer last year and with these tools I had learned, I was able to keep calm. I was able to go through the treatments and still maintain my peace, on my piece of concrete. I was able to breath, speak and be.
This year a friend and I wanted to give somehow to a volunteer program for her birthday, and as I was searching for options for us, like feeding the homeless or cleaning up the streets, I came upon the Project Sister Family Services volunteer program! It came full circle. I am so grateful to give back. I had never known they had a program. I had hoped I could give back to the very community from where I had learned to be a survivor with tenacity. I applied and took the classes.
Now, as a volunteer, I keep pretty busy, (which is perfect for the empty nest syndrome) with 26 covered cities. I answer the 24 hours Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline. I provide them with resources. I accompany survivors during their forensic exams, and am with them during their law enforcement interviews, or their court proceedings. I help keep them engaged to best provide evidence to for prosecution. I provide that hand to hold, that person to trust, the voice to communicate and the courage to proceed to breathe, speak and just be.
Volunteer Advocate/Counselor for Project Sister Family Services
Review from #MyGivingStory