By Adria Nassim, Bloomington Center student
I can’t believe it’s time already for me to start packing up and saying “See ya sooner than later!” Before I came to CIP, life was very different. I was away at college suffering from severe anxiety and depression which eventually lead to sporadic psychogenic seizure due to trauma.
Although I’ve always been known to be academically contentious, I could no longer focus in school and was faced with the idea of having to take a semester off due to illness. That’s when my parents and I discovered CIP.
When I tell people about this program and what it has done for me, I smile from ear to ear. I can’t even begin to tell you how many different methods and times my parents have tried to make me aware of important social skills like appearance, how to make eye contact, and why the sky isn’t going to fall if someone doesn’t know any of the words to “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” [Adria is our resident Beatles expert.]
Let’s not even begin to discuss money management. Due to a severe learning disability, until arriving at CIP, I understood very little about money, including how to count it.
Sometimes, when I’m home on the weekends, I can hear my parents chatting long after I’ve supposedly gone to bed. One incident sticks out in my mind in particular. I could hear my mom whisper, “Ben, look how well she’s doing. I got an e-mail from Jim (my advisor) today. She’s staying within a budget and she understands what she’s doing! God, who knew help was this close all these years?”
“I sure didn’t,” he laughed. “But I’m so glad we found it. She’s doing so much better than last year.” Emotional health has always been a hard fought battle between me, my parents, and various physicians, but this year with the help of Don and Luna [Don’s golden retriever], I’ve made some of the biggest progress in relation to anxiety disorder my parents and I have seen in a long while.
I used to be scared of being alone, used to be afraid of new experiences, used to have nightmares, and would let my fears and my past rule my everyday life, but now thanks to Don and his faithful four legged employee, I can say “LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE!”
My mom said it best one day when I had come home from flying to visit [fellow CIP student] Amy’s step-dad in Chicago for the weekend, she said, “Geez Adria, you’re so happy! Were you scared on the plane?” “Nope, I was just fine why should I be scared? LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE WAITING TO BE LIVED!” In the background, I could hear her whisper, “I think it’s working. I think I’ve got my Adria back!”
To all the staff, regardless of name or position, thank you so much for all of your invaluable love and support. Your program is truly amazing and I am sincerely thankful for what you’ve managed to do for me and my family. If you ever need an endorsement, you know who to call!
Students, it has been a pleasure getting to know you and sharing the fun of this experience with you. I only hope CIP proves to be as valuable in your lives as it has been in mine. I look forward to coming back next year and seeing everyone’s smiling faces again! Good luck with classes this fall, and in the future, when you leave to go on to bigger and better things.
- Adria receives the 2009 Student of the Year award
- Chopping pineapple, yum!
- Teaching adaptive swimming to children