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Melody's Story

Bullying leads family to seek help

In 7th grade, Melody’s parents received a phone call from her school.

Melody had written “I want to die” on the back of one of her papers. School officials were obligated to contact her parents.
To a point, her feelings weren’t surprising. “I was bullied a lot,” Melody said. “Kids would say I should kill myself. I reported it, but nothing was really done.”

After the call there was a big meeting. The school counselor and other officials sat down with Melody and her parents. “They gave my mom a list of resources, and Catholic Charities was one.”

Melody started coming to Catholic Charities Caritas Mental Health Clinic and meeting once a week with Emily, one of the therapists. Melody remembers wearing pajamas to their sessions and always having a blanket with her. She didn’t really want to talk to Emily.

Over time, though, Emily gained Melody’s trust, and their sessions became productive.

From Emily, Melody learned about dealing with conflict, managing her emotions and reactions, and breathing when she needed to. After a year or so of sessions, Emily and Melody were in agreement: they would stop seeing each other because Melody had made significant progress toward her goals.

A year or so later though, a physical illness plunged Melody back into depression, and she returned for more sessions with Emily. Melody once again met her goals, and then another issue brought the two back together. It was during Melody’s junior year of high school,in their third group of sessions, that Emily suggested the new “No More Drama” group to Melody.

“No More Drama” is a therapy group. Instead of one-on-one therapy, a therapist meets with a group of young women, who learn while interacting with one another. The objective is to replace unhealthy behaviors such as interpersonal chaos (drama), impulsivity and poor judgment with healthier behaviors.

Melody doesn’t like change, so after many sessions with just Emily, going to chat with a group of girls her own age
didn’t thrill her.

“I was like, ‘Why am I here?’” Melody initially spent a lot of time in the 12-week group listening. Eventually, she warmed up to the other girls. Each young woman uses only her first name, and follows a very important rule: What happens in group, stays in group.

While Emily had helped her, group was different. “It gave me the perspective of people my own age,” said Melody.

Melody has now completed the group, and is finished with sessions with Emily. She knows where to find more
help, if she needs it.

And what if all those years ago there was no Emily, no group? Melody is confident her family would have reached out to the other resources on the list her school provided her parents.

Or, she admits, looking at the floor “I might not be here.”