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STORIES FOR GOOD | HIAWATHA Valley Mental Health Center

Stories for Good: A journey to well-being through human connection

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Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center

Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center 

From a young age, Mikaela was faced with adversity and explains her childhood as difficult for many reasons.

She remembers having to deal with challenging situations, a mother diagnosed with cancer, family struggles, along with the tragic loss of someone close. School didn’t always feel like safe place as peers often could not understand what she was going through and turned to bullying, driving Mikaela to have more feelings of isolation. Her mind would circulate on the negative, she felt as if she kept falling, had no one to blame or any idea on where to go. She explains that portion of her life as feeling “stuck in the mud.” Nothing she did, no matter how successful she was, was giving her a sense of value or allowing her to move in a positive direction. She just added more to her plate, leading to burnout.

Mikaela began receiving mental health services at Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center during middle school. The journey was never linear, as healing never truly is. Initially, she found it challenging to align with a coping mechanism, nonetheless find one that worked for me. For a brief time in her life, she was put on medication. While it was a temporary fix, she knew that long term, she was going to need to find something else, herself. Hearing an initial diagnosis of PTSD elicited regular feelings of being scared, but opportunity to begin working on recovery.

Even though the path was difficult, Mikaela stuck with it. She knew she needed to cope, thus finding the inner determination to do so. It took time, but having someone staying with her, supporting her, and helping look at the world differently sparked the beginning of her healing journey. Mikaela started to challenge how she thought about her circumstances. She was able to find value in a therapeutic connection. Having that person, she was able to begin finding ways to cope and heal through music and a perceptual change in her mindset. Mikaela was able to see the power of human connection, while still respecting her independence.

Mikaela reminisced to how she when she was able to “fire her therapist.” This was a positive and monumental choice in her life, as she was ready to step up her therapy approach and explore developing her skills in other services. She has been able to focus in on the skill sets she learned thus far, to adapt and work towards reaching another layer of self-identification. Because of her several year relationship and decision to show up for herself through therapy, she can look at her value differently and can pick herself up during difficult times. She reframed her world view in a culture surrounded by negativity, finding the good or often making the good happen. Mikaela values more the time to care for herself in meaningful ways. She finds pride in being a cycle breaker and taking a stand and advocating to help people understand the impact of their trauma.

Today, she is truly an inspiration for many in our community. She prides herself in showing up for her community in everything she does. She focuses now on the power of human connection and supporting those in supportive roles. She speaks about how lucky she is to bring people together and to begin their healing process. Mikaela recognizes the challenges faced by many going through stress and the impact on mental health. She brings the good into difficult situation through her perspective, attitude and talents. She continues to be positive and is excited as her self-journey continues, and college graduation is on the horizon.


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