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Stories of Recovery

Angela's Story

How Angela made changes in her life and reached her goals.

When I was 14 years old, I started harming myself in different ways: cutting myself, drinking, doing drugs. I felt very alone — I wanted to die — and didn’t think anyone could help me because I couldn’t trust anyone. My parents thought it was a phase, but I was looking for anything to get away from how I felt. Every day, little things like failing a test would lead to thoughts like, “This was the end of my life… I’m so stupid… I can’t think straight… What’s wrong with me?”

I eventually went to a mental hospital because I tried to kill myself. They told me I needed someone I could see weekly and provide me with the tools to cope with my depression, anxiety, and anger. That’s when they referred me to The Jewish Board. And I thought it was bullshit.

My depression made it feel like it was impossible for anyone to help me, and I was so against therapy, but I still decided to give it a try. That’s when I met Rivka and things just started to click. She sincerely cared about me. She’d call just to see if I was okay. Even if I didn’t have a session but still needed to talk to someone on the phone, she was there. I didn’t feel like I was just another client to her. I used to feel that therapists were there just for a check, but this was different. People actually spoke to me, wanted to know about me, and listened to my concerns. You can tell that they really care here, and you can’t find that everywhere.

Over time, and with a lot of work, the way I saw life started changing and my life started to improve. I now saw all these opportunities: getting a job, going back to school, getting my GED. I didn’t have goals like those a few years ago. My relationship with my family started to get better and I was able to grow a network of people in my life I could trust to support me.

I still have those times in my life where I don’t feel good, but now I know I have people in my life who will support me. We recognize the signs of my depression and understand how to address it. And when you learn about yourself and you know the things that set you off, it’s easier to not get set off and to change.

It’s terrible to feel depressed, but there is a way to feel better. People can be there to help you, to push you, but you need to put in your head that you can do it, that you want to change. There is hope, even when you feel that there is none. Ask yourself, “Is this what you want to feel for the rest of your life?” because that one question is what made me change my whole perspective and made me want to do something about it. I wouldn’t have been able to learn that without the help of Rivka and The Jewish Board. I got Rivka on my shoulder every day telling me every day, “You got this Ang, come on!”

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Meet some of the New Yorkers The Jewish Board has been serving across the five boroughs of New York City for nearly 150 years.

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