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“Before I Felt So Broken. Now, I Feel More Alive.”

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Before coming to the Bert Nash Center, Sonya was housebound, in poor physical health, depressed, and had few connections with the outside world other than her children.

And they were worried about her and insisted she get help.

“That’s how I ended up at Bert Nash,” Sonya said.

Sonya had been aware of the Bert Nash Center.

“I automatically knew to go to Bert Nash,” Sonya said. “It was the first place that I thought of. They have a reputation of being helpful.”

Sonya started coming to the Bert Nash Center for services in 2015.

“I started at ground zero. I was just praying that somebody could help,” she said.

One of those people who has helped is Sonya’s current therapist, Aaron Pendergrass. Because of the pandemic, they have therapy sessions virtually.

“Working with Aaron has been great. The way he talks to you is calming. He has been an excellent therapist,” Sonya said. “He is very supportive. He digs into the really important parts of what’s going on, but he does it in a gentle way. That’s allowed me to talk about a lot of things I needed to talk about, a lot of past traumas.”

Aaron has helped Sonya with her self-confidence. Together, they come up with goals that she works on. When she achieves her goals, they set new ones. One of those goals was going out in public, something Sonya had done very little of except for quick trips to the grocery store. The pandemic only intensified her feelings to stay away from people.

“I hadn’t been out and around people for years. I had been working up the courage to go out in public,” Sonya said. “My daughters decided to take me out and about. It was a lot of fun. I had my girls there to support me. They had to remind me to smile. That was something I wasn’t used to doing. It did me good.”

“To use her own words, Sonya has rediscovered herself and is reconnecting with who she is. what brings her joy and what she finds valuable in the world around her and what she finds valuable within herself, and what she has to offer other people,” her therapist Aaron said.

“She has continued to build on her sense of her own value. She’s reconnected with the experience of enjoying life.”

This past year was an important one for Sonya. She turned 50. She’s getting around much better physically thanks to two knee replacements and surgeries on her spine. She also discovered she had another family she is now in contact with.

“I was an only child growing up; it was just me and my mom,” Sonya said. “I just found my father at the beginning of last year. He had passed away already. My daughter actually found him. She got a match through a DNA search."

“Now I have the older brother I always wanted, and I have a ton of sisters,” Sonya said. “They had a family reunion in Kansas City. It was overwhelming, to have all of them say I love you and I’m so glad you’re here, you have family now. It’s nice to belong.”

So, while she continues to work on her physical and mental health, Sonya is also reconnecting with her new life and her new family.

“Before I felt so old and so broken,” Sonya said. “Now, I feel more alive.”


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