A Journey to Independence: Marie’s Inspiring Transformation

As we observe Mental Health Awareness Month this May, Marie’s story is a powerful reminder of resilience and recovery. Throughout her life, Marie has faced numerous challenges, including repeated hospitalizations due to bipolar disorder, PTSD, substance use issues, and a range of serious medical problems. Her life took a further downturn ten years ago when her father passed away, the family home was sold, and she became homeless.

“I was suicidal, living in a shelter and estranged from my family,” Marie recalls.

In 2015, during a particularly difficult time, Marie connected with Humanim’s residential behavioral health program. This was a turning point for her as she moved out of the shelter and into an apartment. With hands-on support from the Humanim team, including individual and group counseling sessions, Marie began to rebuild her life. She stopped using drugs and took her medications regularly.

“What changed? The support network, the caring, the structure. Humanim gave me accountability and responsibility for my mental health,” Marie says. “They support you, but you have to do the work. It was different because I wasn’t able to cop out. I knew what it was like to be homeless in a shelter and didn’t want to go back to that. I wanted to change my life. I wanted my family back, and this is the road it takes.”

Marie has been working with an Employment Consultant from Humanim to find a new job.

Marie remains a resident in Humanim’s supportive living program. Through the program, she was able to rent a high-rise apartment all to herself in Columbia. A counselor and therapy coordinator provide ongoing support, and she attends Humanim group activities where she has formed friendships with other individuals. She is extremely grateful for the help Humanim has provided over the past decade.

“If you want to change your life, they’ll give you the support and guidance and a caring manner that makes it all possible.”

Marie credits one Humanim staffer in particular. “I want to single out Sandy Corbin. She has been a lightning rod for me; she’s kept me honest. She’s accepted me for who I am and encouraged me every step of the way. I couldn’t do it without her.”

Now, at the age of 62, Marie has achieved independence and focuses on staying strong.

“I just want to stay healthy, mentally and physically. I take a lot of meds and I have a lot of ailments, but I have a positive attitude because God wakes me up every day.”

Marie’s journey underscores the importance of Mental Health Awareness Month and highlights the transformative power of support and determination. Her story is a testament to the impact that comprehensive mental health care and community support can have on an individual’s life.