Stories of Support
Family Peer Mentoring Story
When Krystle was 14 she found herself at Hillside after a suicide attempt. It was at that point that she was diagnosed with depression. It is a diagnosis that did not fit. Over the next four years, her mother, Lucinda, struggled with Krystle. Krystle would have black outs and not remember what she did to others during these times. She was constantly fighting with her siblings. Everyone told Lucinda that she was just a bad kid, but she knew that wasn’t true. Finally, when Krystle was 18 she was given an accurate diagnosis – bipolar disorder.
Both Krystle and Lucinda describe the relief they felt at finally being able to have an accurate diagnosis and that there was a name for what Krystle was experiencing. Even still, Krystle struggled. While she knew why she had black outs, she did not know what to do about it. Fortunately, the family was connected to Compeer and our Family Peer Mentoring Program.
Through her work with Maggie Burgos, our Senior Family Peer Menor, Krystle has begun being able to identify her triggers. Maggie has helped her create a list of them and points new ones out as they arise. They have also worked on techniques that Krystle can employ when she feels like she is about to be triggered. They have introduced the concept of “taking breaks”. Krystle will take walks by herself or put headphones in so she can get lost in her music.
The good news – it’s working! Krystle said that recently she felt things beginning to bubble up inside of her. Rather than give in to it, she told herself, “No. Not today. Today does not have to be a bad day. Today can be a good day.” This is something that she was never been able to do before working with Maggie. Lucinda has noticed the changes in her as well saying that now she does not feel like she needs to worry every time Krystle is out of her sight.
Maggie’s work doesn’t end with Krystle; it extends to the entire family. She has helped Lucinda acquire resources that she and her family can use to help Krystle. With Maggie’s support, she has become a Family Facilitator. This work has brought a sense of peace to her family. Both Krystle and Lucinda credit Maggie for much of their growth and progress. They say that the reason she is so impactful is because she has lived experience. It is important to them that her assistance comes from her own life and not a text book. Maggie is the true representation of the “peer” in “Compeer”.