Stories: Suffering from deep depression and family issues, Joanna struggled to care for her three-month-old child

Joanna worried her battle with depression would hinder her ability to care for her three-month-old child, but your support has her family on a positive path with a brighter future.

Note: This story comes from Janet Whaley, Executive Director of Comprehensive Counseling Network. Names and images are changed to protect privacy.

Joanna was suffering from constant sadness and could barely keep up with all the demands of caring for her three-month-old baby. She knew she needed help, both for her own sake, and more importantly, for the sake of her child.

After contacting one of United Way’s network agency partners, Joanna engaged in counseling sessions with a therapist. She was diagnosed with clinical depression which stemmed from a childhood filled with abuse and neglect.

“She shared her deepest pain of witnessing her father’s abuse of her mother when she was a child,” an agency counselor said. “Her own relationship with her baby’s father was not good and she feared he was seeing someone else.”

Joanna’s fears were sparked when her boyfriend had become violent one night and hit her. She was blaming herself and thinking she had done something to cause the violence.

“She wondered if she would end up like her mother – abused and broken,” the counselor said. “Over time and with counseling, Joanna found strengths within herself and new ways of handling her situation.”

Joanna and her boyfriend worked together to make a tighter commitment to each other, avoid hurtful behaviors and improve their relationship. At her last session with the agency, Joanna laughed and said, “I feel strong now. I know there will be other things I need to work on, but I can do it.”

Joanna has learned to stand up for herself and take responsibility for her life thanks to the help of agency counselors. Your support of United Way helps families end generational cycles of abuse and find ways to live more positive lives.

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