Five years ago, I walked into Erica Bruce’s outpatient program. I was 17 years old and only allowed in the adult program because it was decided the teen program just wasn’t enough for my circumstances. Frustration and angry caused me to be closed off. I had visited a countless amount of therapist before, and felt each one was an absolute waste. Although a majority of the therapeutic process is to openly share and journey together towards breaking down falsities, my process also included these therapists showing themselves worthy of that journey. I needed to feel safe in sharing, and had to be certain it was more than an occupation for each. Needless to say, after so many failed attempts, I was exhausted at the thought of ever finding someone.
Life seemed to quickly fade. Suicidal thoughts began to overwhelmed mind. My mother felt she had no choice but to force me to join Erica’s program. Weeks passed; my heart and mind remained shut. More weeks passed and still I remained still. I waited to be kicked out for lack of participation. There was only a certain amount of patients allowed and was sure they’d choose to give my spot to someone that was more open to it all. To my shock, I remained mute and never overheard the thought of my removal; that alone said a lot.
After being silent for so long, Erica took a chance and poked at me. She tried to get something, anything, out of me. She’d ask tough questions with no room for avoidance. My only way out was to answer, so I did. I tried so hard not to be involved. I’d avoid eye contact, I’d sit closer to the door for easy exit, I’d try to act cold, and yet she saw through it all. She’d poke and poke until I’d pop. I hated it. I felt so exposed. There was nothing I could hide anymore. In that sense of uneasiness and exposure, healing began.
A couple months after entering the program, I was free to go. I had just been diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder, put on meds, and confused at the next steps in life. Even then, Erica continued to meet with me. She went out of her way to continue the journey with me. She would never let me give her any excuse. As I grew further in the healing process, she began to challenge me even more. No longer was it just about my emotional state, but also my mentality in all aspects of life. Sessions with Erica were the hardest part of my life, but they were also the most rewarding. I began realizing I was no longer paralyzed. I began to conquer life rather than have life be the conqueror.
If it weren’t for Erica’s relentless fight for my life, I don’t know if I would of made it. In honest thought, I definitely wouldn’t have. She showed me the importance of caring for the people that depend on you, and what it means to truly walk alongside someone.
Five years later, I find myself focused and driven. I am no longer afraid of the limitless possibilities, but rather empowered by it. Even now, Erica remains in my corner. That support and the work done together is now evident in all aspects of my life. I could not be more grateful. The name has been changed for confidentiality purposes.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2001 at the age of 21. I am now 35 years old. I have seen many different doctors and have been on numerous medications over the past 14 years. I have struggled with both manic and depressive episodes until five years ago when I became a patient. He and his therapist, Erica Bruce, have helped me live a normal and healthy life. With the help of Ms. Bruce, I haven’t had a single episode in the past five years. From the first meeting, I immediately felt very comfortable to share my previous history.
Ms. Bruce listened to my current problems of my manic state and helped me regain my confidence by helping me understand my existing condition through conversation, role playing, worksheets, and plain old common sense. I am entirely grateful to her for her ability to recognize my triggers and how to stop a manic attack, a depressive episode, or the social anxiety that I would feel at times. If it weren’t for Ms. Bruce, I am not sure where I would be today. They have kept me out of the hospital, have stopped any episodes of mania, depression, or anxiety, and have helped me keep the confidence to beat this disease and live a healthy, stress free, independent, and successful life.
My son has been experiencing bipolar mania with a few depressive episodes for about 15 years. My husband and I could never understand what was happening to our son. We took him to see numerous doctors and visited with numerous hospitals to try and help our son. James would seem okay for months at a time or sometimes a year at a time, and then he would experience an attack that seemed to come out of nowhere. They happened quite frequently and they happened to him very quickly. Five years ago, we were introduced to Erica Bruce. From the onset of our first meeting, my husband and I knew we had finally met the best professionals to help James overcome his struggle. James immediately seemed very comfortable. My husband and I have never seen James respond so well to treatment. We owe our son’s new found healthy and successful life to Erica Bruce, and to our son himself for following their advice and participating in their programs. To date, James has not had a single attack. Her help has been a true miracle in helping our son succeed in life and beat his condition.
The name has been changed for confidentiality purposes