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Therapy Helped Me Become a Stronger Person

FEBRUARY 4, 2019 | 3-minute read

Pauline remembers when her first marriage — and then the second — fell apart. Both relationships were abusive and left her feeling anxious, depressed, and worthless. “I just felt I wasn’t good enough,” she says. “I was accepting the men who would try to control me in my life.”

At the same time, Pauline was dealing with severe hearing loss. She worked near loud generators while serving in the U.S. Army, and they took a toll on her hearing. She found it increasingly difficult and embarrassing to communicate with people. She began avoiding others, which led to depression.

That’s when Pauline decided to take control of her life. She contacted VA mental health services and started seeing a counselor. The experience helped her to not only accept her hearing loss, but also to find ways to cope with it — and continue enjoying life.

“They really helped me look inside at who Pauline was and what it is I wanted in life. … I’m allowed to cry. … It really helps,” she says.

Pauline saw benefits in both one-on-one and group therapy, which helped her become more self-confident. “Before I went to counseling, I was an isolated person,” she says. “I became a stronger, [more] empowered person. There’s a big change in me. I’m an advocate for myself.”

During one session, Pauline’s therapist asked two questions: Who do you identify with? And what do you want to do? She thought about the causes close to her heart — the deaf community and people with hearing loss — and decided to go back to school, earning her master’s degree in mental health counseling.

There’s a big change in me. I’m an advocate for myself. Pauline

Now, Pauline is an advocate — for the deaf community, for survivors of domestic violence, and for herself. “I love to help other people,” she says.

“There’s people out there who will listen to you, support you, and give you a better understanding of who you are.”


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