“He really could have killed me, it got to that point.” Recalls a former client who prefers to remain anonymous. This is the case for thousands of Calgarians involved in the downward spiral of domestic abuse. When is enough, enough?
For this client, it was when her husband returned home to their house that currently held no furniture due to financial constraints. Emblazoned by the copious amounts of alcohol he had consumed he physically accosted the young mother, and she knew she had to escape. Her child was 5 months old, and she had a concussion from this particular encounter. This was not the first time. But it would be the last.
The Calgary Police and Child Services helped with the legal aspects of the situation, but who would help with the psychological? She didn’t have a support system, there was no one to turn to, and she was low on funds.
The single mother took her emotional well-being into her own hands and made the call to Calgary Counselling Centre. Depression, anxiety and stress were all taking their toll.
“I needed a non-judgemental source to listen to me, and to learn from,” she recalls. “And I found it.”
The response was instant and the Centre’s sliding fee scale ensured there would be no financial barriers between her and mental well-being.
“People can access The Centre from all walks of life,” she notes “There is absolutely no financial discrimination.”
Our client’s counsellors would go through very specific things in order to help her on the path to recovery. Education was at the forefront of treatment. By receiving knowledge about domestic abuse one is able to see that it is not their fault, they are not alone, and they did the right thing by seeking help. One counsellor even called all of the possible supports for this client, in order to ensure she was well looked after from all angles.
“It was out of her way and she did not need to do it,” she recalls, “but it was very much appreciated.
After some individual sessions she entered into a group entitled “You Are Not Alone” where she met with others in similar situations. Although she was admittedly nervous before the group sessions, the outcomes far outweighed any discomfort caused by her fears.
“I’m not saying it was easy,” she reflects. “It was a lot of hard work; I understand how people are complacent in their situations as it’s really painful to work through.”
“However I came out of it so much stronger, I had the courage to leave my relationship, I received clarity and focus in regards to my situation, and I had the tools necessary to cope with depression and anxiety in the future.”
The counsellor never suggested she leave or stay within the relationship. She simply provided her with the tools she needed in order to look inside herself and discover the answers. The potential for a happy and fulfilling mental health was there, counselling helped it become known.
“Before I entered counselling it was as though everything was blurry,” our client recalls, “ and now… now everything’s in focus, everything is clear.”
Adjusting the “emotional lens” is a process that can be daunting; however, in the end it’s rewarding, fulfilling, and life changing.
– Anonymous, age 32