Note: We aren’t able to show Kristin’s photo, but she chose this image to represent her story. This photo of a little girl walking away and not looking back was particularly meaningful to her.
Kristin is a funny and motivated sixteen year old who loves cheerleading, volleyball, and singing. In her short life, she has been through so much that she is currently in protective custody. We are not able to even show her photograph as a part of this story. Her family history includes physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and witnessing substance abuse, yet Kristen refuses to let those parts of her past define her.
A resident of Reynolds Cottage, Kristin came with issues surrounding drugs, running away, and problems relating to authority. At Eliada, Kristin participates in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), a proven method of helping young adults process trauma. Kristin feels that TF-CBT helps her feel better, be more positive, and not blame herself. Guilt is common to many trauma survivors. According to Kristin, “I worried about people judging me and not looking at me the same, and also worried I would feel gross about myself, but I feel so much better after sharing my past.”
Part of TF-CBT includes constructing a trauma narrative. Kristin titled hers “This is Not a Dream, This is My Reality.” Trauma narratives help young people work through difficult past events so that they can move forward to productive lives. In her trauma narrative, Kristin wrote that “I will contribute to the world with love and compassion, and give others what I didn’t have: the knowledge to know that someone is always there.”
When asked what she has learned the most, Kristin says: “This world is a messed up place, but you have to let it go because in the end it is only you. When I start thinking back about my past I just think everything happens for a reason. If I didn’t go through what I went through I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today.”
As her time at Eliada winds to a close, Kristin is looking forward to reuniting with her father, who is in recovery. She wants to be a traveling nurse because she likes helping people and wants to see the world. She thinks travel and experiencing new things will help broaden her horizons and open her mind.
Congratulations, Kristin! We are all so proud of you.