Her smile exuded as much warmth as the sun on a bright Thursday afternoon in the Don Allen Garden at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, a place she frequented for six years for treatment.
Cindy, a mom of two adult boys, described how she once called herself a “frequent flyer” as she was in and out of the behavioral health hospital after feeling her life spiral into major depression, the result of abuse and other traumatic experiences in her life.
The depression led her to withdraw, become submissive in high-conflict relationships and engage in self-harm. Additionally, Cindy made five suicide attempts.
Finally, she decided to make a radical change in her life.
“I got tired of going in and out of the hospital, so one afternoon as I was taking a walk, I had my aha moment,” says Cindy. “I wanted to be the old me again.”
Cindy was introduced to the Dialectical Behavior Informed Skills Therapy Program (DBT) at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. The eight-week outpatient program helps patients learn coping skills to better manage severe emotional reactions, intense anxiety, impulsivity, self-harm and high-conflict relationships.
“The program helps people believe in themselves and have hope that they can make changes to empower themselves, building a life that’s worth living,” says Dr. Suhair Erikat, a DBT Informed Skills therapist.
The program’s formally trained therapists taught Cindy how to work through her anxiety, demonstrate healthy assertiveness, communicate more openly with people, and practice self-care and mindfulness.
After attending the DBT program, Cindy continued her treatment with the cognitive behavior therapy. This outpatient program teaches patients healthier responses to life situations and stressors, and helped Cindy to further address the trauma and conflicts in her life.
“What’s neat is that with these tools and skills, I’ve learned that how I perceive things and respond to them is everything,” says Cindy. “I was responding in a negative way.”
Since attending the programs, Cindy has seen and felt the positive impact in her life and family relationships.
“My mom says her ‘old Cindy’ is back. I feel that way too,” she says.
Recently, Cindy decided to continue her journey of self-discovery by moving to Nevada on her own, something she talked about doing for years. She plans on attending Nevada State College to pursue a psychology degree and someday help others with dialectical or cognitive behavior therapy.
Learn more about mental health programs at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital.