Hello to everyone out there. My name is Jessica LaCroix and I am currently a Psychology student. I understandmost of your speakers have finished their degrees and some even have their own companies. I have enjoyed immensely reading through various profiles and seeing how other people in my chosen field have supplemented their knowledge with academia in one form or another.
Let me firststart out by saying I am 31 years old and have worked in psychological and dual-diagnosis settings for the last 2 and-a-half years. I have extensive experience in dealing with those suffering from various addictions as well as combatting variedmental health disorders. I have worked both in a facility setting and a office/practice setting and that,combined withmy own experiences is what has led me here.
One night, about five months ago, I gave a talk to a group in a treatment facility, some of them battling addiction, some battling eatingdisorders,some wrestling with mental health issues. I didn't plan what I would say; with a group containing so many different issues, I felt that speaking directly from the heart was best. I was proud of the job I did, but more than shocked when each person came up to me to thank me and wanting to discuss something I had said that stuck with them. True, I addressed the many issues that each of them were struggling with, but I explained how it's possible to turn those issues into blessings in disguise. I illustrated how these difficulties in each of their lives could make them stronger, more capable.
My father died when I was six years old, and the guilt from being there and not being able to help, the embarrassment at always feeling different from everyone else, nd how I coped with those andmany other emotions later on, led me down a path of self-destruction. I hurt myself, the people who loved me, I stalled my future, and I inadvertanently sought to punish myself for what I did not understand at the time was just life happening in the way that it does sometimes: illogical, unfair, heartwrenching, and painfully complicated.
Getting up in front of a group of people, explaining the realities of this life, the beauty of it, the peace I've made with it and with myself,ismy catharsis. To know that there are other people out there struggling, whether it's from substance abuse, PTSD, low self-esteem, mid-life crisis, general anxiety and discontent, or what have you, I stand here, a young woman who has battled demons and now has a life I am proud of, a healthy system than anyone put into motion, and words that will burn into the minds of all who hear them.