My story matters because I matter – Brene Brown

After struggling to come up with a good way of introducing interested community partners to the participants at Robin’s Hope while preserving the participant’s privacy, we have arrived at this idea for a monthly blog/newsletter/social media post.  Participants will be invited to share their answers to a set of questions.  They will pair their story with an image that represents them.  This way everyone can share in what we are doing at Robin’s Hope and have a chance to celebrate the amazing folks that hang out with us each week.

My name is Sonja.
I’m so excited I have been asked to tell some of my story. I am passionate about telling it.
Why you ask? I’m not stopping the stigma if I’m not telling my truths. I’ve been dealing with my
traumas since 1981 and yet, they started way before this.
My diagnoses are PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder and Severe Mental Depression.

How did you first hear about Robin’s Hope?  What does Robin’s Hope mean to you now?

I heard of Robin’s Hope back in the summer of 2018. Heather and I were introduced and we
quickly became good friends and cheerleaders for each other. She invited me to the group. I
was reluctant, but then decided to try. I met Jennifer and the members. Robin’s Hope has
become my life line, my home and where I know I will always find support.

What is one memory of Robin’s Hope that stands out or one accomplishment you have made that stands out for you?

When I came to Robin’s Hope back in 2018 I was struggling with my traumas and I was in a
very hopeless state of mind. Misery was my closest friend. However, I kept coming back and I
was listening and learning. I heard over and over that I could overcome traumas and become
resilient, with a life I could be proud of and feel good instead of pain. After a little less than a year of
attending Robin’s Hope trauma group I heard about an organization that had people go to
hospitals, jails, schools, community centers, day programs and CIT (crisis intervention teams) to
tell their mental health stories. I took the training and began going to these places. The more I
did it, the better I felt. I had gained confidence that I had not had in over 30 years. The staff
and members of Robin’s Hope taught me of the possibility, supported, and encouraged me. I
finally believed I could and was worthy.

What is your favorite group (or most impactful)?  Why?

My favorite group will probably always be Monday night Rise group. I learned the most and it
has made the biggest impact on me, but all of our groups are worthwhile. Each one is special in
it’s own right.

What makes Robin’s Hope unique?

We have Heather and Jennifer to teach and lead us, but it’s our members which make the
difference. We are there being honest, open and facing our trauma demons. We have support
that we have never known before Robin’s Hope.

What motivates you to come back to Robin’s Hope every week?

Robin had a dream, but unfortunately she died before she could put this into action. However,
Jennifer Kell and Heather Pate have created a safe and educational space for any and all that
show up. Those who want to be working to overcome obstacles created by traumas. Good, bad or
indifferent I will always be welcomed with open arms. We don’t have all the answers, but we
continue to push forward in search of them.

What does the saying “Take your drama to the trauma llama” mean to you?

When the llama became our mascot and our motto “take your drama to the trauma llama” it was
humorous at first. Members started seeing llamas everywhere. Members started purchasing
them. When we thought we had seen them all or that the phase was ending someone else
would see another one. We have a basket in our group room full of plushy ones. We have
ones that dance, ones that sing and ones that do both. There are all sorts of llamas in the foyer.
Candy, metal, key chains, cups, pens, pencils, stickers, sticky notes, journals,
candles,calendars, cards, games, wall hangings, party decorations, costumes, selfie sticks,
games and we have had 3 different types of t-shirts and we are looking forward to a new logo
and new merchandise.
The robin will always connect us to Robin, but the llama is about our dealing with trauma.