Those We Serve: John

John had searched for over a decade to find a therapist who felt like the right fit for him. He had gone through a string of various counselors over the years, but none of them clicked with John, and some even harmed his mental health more than they helped. When he was encouraged by a friend to try BHN, John assumed his experience at BHN would merely be another failed attempt to find the right therapist. Fortunately, he was wrong.

After receiving counseling at BHN’s Center for Development for over a year, John can confidently say that his lengthy search to find the right therapist has finally come to an end. His experience at BHN has already made more of a difference on his mental health than anything he had tried in the past. With the help of his counselor, John has started to overcome his past traumas and gain a more positive outlook on his life.

From a young age, John faced difficulties in managing his mental health, and several traumatic events later in his life only intensified his struggle. While in high school, John faced persistent bullying, which took a toll on his mental health, so he turned to smoking and drug use as a way to cope. As he grew older, John says he became cold and hostile and was afraid to trust others. When his wife passed away after a battle with cancer, John retreated even further into himself and hid behind hostility while inwardly struggling with depression.

Eventually, John realized he wanted to make a change in his life. He was able to overcome his substance use disorder, but he knew he needed help to improve his mental wellbeing— he just needed the right partner. And at BHN, John was able to find the support he needed to begin to transform his life.

With the help of his counselor, John has started working through his past traumas and learning how to better control his emotions. His counselor has encouraged him to be honest with his emotions instead of bottling them up as he did in the past, which has been immensely helpful for John. Though he has been hurt in the past, John’s counselor has helped him start to trust other people again and not to fear close relationships. His emotional support dog, Stewie, has also been instrumental in helping him regain his ability to be emotionally vulnerable. With the knowledge he has gained in counseling, John now defines himself by who he is today, rather than fixating on his difficult past.

“Today, I choose to be who I want to be in life,” John says. “I don’t care what others think of me.”

Today, John is a much different person than who he was only a year ago. After years of isolating himself and bottling up his emotions, John has developed a much more positive outlook on life and has begun giving back to the community by regularly donating blood. Though his years-long search for a therapist once seemed hopeless, John is extremely grateful that his search ultimately led him to BHN’s counseling services— and he hopes that other people can find the same success that he did.

“I want more people to be able to have better mental health,” John says. “I’m no different from any other person just because of my mental illness, and I want other people to feel that way, too."