Niall has no family here in the US and has always felt very alone. Two years ago, he began attending counseling sessions with IIIC’s trained counselor, Danielle Owen, because he was having frequent mood swings that he feared would affect his relationship with his US girlfriend and two other close friends. He came to the IIIC after his friend found out about the IIIC’s counseling program via a pro-bono attorney at one of the legal clinics, and his girlfriend gave him a copy of one of Danielle’s Matters of Substance columns on anger and depression.
Niall reluctantly picked up the phone and called saying that he really wasn’t sure anything would help him, but he just wanted to stop his friends from worrying and “get off his back” about it. Niall’s reluctance came from a disillusionment with the US mental health system after he was misdiagnosed and received incorrect medication for his needs a few years back.
Danielle has been helping Niall now for two years. He has learned how to recognize and manage his depression symptoms. He is now able to pick up on the physical and emotional clues that tell him when he is heading for “trouble” and is able to use the self-care tools he has learned – like eating & sleeping well, reducing alcohol use and creating space on his own until he can feel calmer again.
With these new skills, Niall’s relationships have improved greatly. Recently, he became engaged to his loving girlfriend. As well as being a wonderful life event, this will help him with his immigration status, making him feel safe, secure and more empowered in his life.