In 2010, Ellen introduced Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter at a nonprofit fundraiser dinner. This request was both an incredible honor for Ellen and a tribute to her own amazing recovery story.
Ellen shares that she had a hard time growing up. Her twin sister suffered from a mental illness and commited suicide. In 2005, she was referred to DeKalb CSB’s mental health services and joined a Psychosocial Rehab (PSR) day program.
“I was so low functioning, my family couldn’t help. My doctor said medication helps but I needed somewhere to go five days a week to work on this daily,” explains Ellen. “PSR was like reparenting for me. I learned how to handle my symptoms, stress, and anger. I use to have suicidal thoughts I couldn’t control and now hardly ever have them. I can always talk to staff and feel better.”
To maintain her recovery, Ellen is involved in support groups through the DeKalb CSB and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Now Ellen loves spending time with her family and nephews. She says with a smile, “Now my family can be my family. When I started going to PSR, it took the pressure off them because they didn’t have to be my therapist. Now we just do fun things together.”
As an active member of her community, Ellen serves as treasurer of a garden club, secretary of her apartment’s tenant association and volunteers for her church.
Additionally, she enjoys exercising, jewelry making, baseball and cooking. She is pictured here with her therapist Jean.