Jaden Raerhys From Pennsylvania

Together we CAN make a difference.

Persad Center

My story of coming out was one that required me almost ending my life before having the courage to face the truth. Since I was 17 I have been in mental health counseling. While I had some of the more common difficulties anxiety, depression, and codependency, it was not till I looked at my drug and alcohol recreational use that I realized I needed a clearer view.

 

For many years I used drugs and alcohol as a self-medicating process to cope with deeply repressed emotions. When I finally reached my “rock bottom” at 30 years old, I was able to find the help I needed. I entered into rehab and over the course of my recovery many hidden truths were revealed. I woke up and realized I had no identity. I identified with everything on the outside and did not look within. What others labeled me, how my family saw me, what my friends said I was like. In my wholistic healing process I have learned what is my biggest challenge, and how to work on it. Self acceptance, has been at the core of my recovery process. I had many beliefs that I learned over the years that caused me to feel shame and guilt for being who and what I am.

In the first year of my recovery I learned that not only was I a miracle for surviving addiction, I was also a miracle for surviving being a Transgender child. After learning that approximately 43% of Trans youth at the time were committing suicide, I now know I have to make it through. This purpose driven life is determined to make some changes. I attended school for Massage Therapy with the goal of helping myself and those who follow with body dysphoria.

I thank the local Persad Center for helping me make this grade. Their support had a profound impact on my courage to face the challenges of being out in an educational environment. Now I am working on Recovery Specialist Certification so that I can also bring my experience of that to the community. One of the key points for my health was my step into volunteer work with the Washington County Gay Straight Alliance. In this process I have found amazing beings of all types with beautiful stories of coming out. Being able to give back to those who had similar difficulties has meant so much and had an immense impact on me and my well being. Right here, Right now, There is nowhere else I’d rather be.

 
 

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