When these young guests come to Herren Wellness they are in need of a safe place where they can begin their road to recovery under the unique circumstances of a COVID-19 world.
In this blog we share a former guest’s college essay on her experience during the pandemic, and how she found her safe place at Herren Wellness.
Emily* came to Herren Wellness as a 19 year old freshman in college with the world seemingly at her fingertips. What couldn’t be seen from the outside was a young woman struggling through the pandemic, living in isolation and self medicating with substances. Out of desperation for their daughter’s well-being, Emily’s parents reached out to our founders Chris and Lori to help them intervene. Emily agreed to come under our care and trust us with the fragile state she was in. Over the following months we witnessed Emily thrive- from getting sober, to opening up and showing her true self to the community, excelling in her school work, and developing a special bond with our fitness trainer Nick. Emily went on from Herren Wellness to return to school, maintain her sobriety, and stay connected to her recovery community along with friends and family. As an assignment for school she was asked to write a personal essay on resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are so grateful she has allowed us to share:
When the United States was put into lockdown, for selfish reasons, it was a huge exhale for me. I was excited to take a break from everything and everyone in my life, and take the time to get rid of external distractions and focus on myself. I had initially thought that the pandemic would only last a month or two, but shortly the months flew by and reality had set in that life would not go back to normal for a while, and I would be isolated. The progressive headspace I was hoping to reach flipped into a life with too much time on my hands, losing close contact with my friends and instead only doing things to benefit myself. Instead of working on myself and taking that time for personal improvement as planned, I isolated myself in my small one-window room most hours of the day which caused my experience of the pandemic to go progressively downhill. To make myself feel better during this lonely time staring outside my bedroom window, I watched hours of TV, doodled on my couch, and experimented with substances which led to months of bad habits to follow.
While I had initially wanted the pandemic to be a progressive time for self growth, I instead used the time to find a quick fix that led to addiction. My whole mind and body had changed within the first month that the pandemic erupted, through the nine months until I decided I wanted to return back to my old self; a better self. By the last week of summer before I entered my first year of college, I was unable to recall most of the things I did over the summer, never mind being able to prepare for my upcoming school year. Once school began, the same bad habits I had created at home followed me to school. Although a new chapter in my life had started, I continued to isolate myself in my room constantly, only giving attention to money and the next time I could get high. My academic career had plummeted, my friendships were inconsistent, my mental health was deteriorating, and my bad habits had taken over. I knew I was not doing well, but the time the pandemic gave me had become my best friend. I was so delirious and lost in time that I had convinced myself I was doing better than ever in every area of my life.