By NINA ELLIOTT
I love Tucson. In many ways, the city has represented a second chance at life for me.
Like many people, I have had a hard life. My family life was unstable, my education was incomplete and I did not have supportive social relationships.
I led a very self-destructive lifestyle until I was 27. I used to party pretty hard. I used to drink and do drugs.
I did not have coping skills to communicate my feelings in healthy, intelligent ways. I was depressed.
In the same year, I left an abusive relationship, was kicked out of my house by unsupportive friends and experienced major financial hardship.
On New Year’s Day 2008, I tried to kill myself. When I did not succeed, I jumped off an overpass.
Because of hypothermia, I did not bleed to death. I awoke in a hospital with half my body broken, including my pelvis. I had many surgeries and had to learn how to walk again.
My family reconnected with me, and we went through counseling therapy as well as traditional Native American healing ceremonies. It was a transformative experience.
I have healed in Tucson. Although I have had some setbacks, like a recent experience with racism perpetuated by my ex-boyfriend, nothing really bothers me anymore.
Competent, compassionate, resourceful professionals at San Xavier have provided awe-inspiring health care.
Treatment and services I received from COPE have allowed me to sleep soundly every night for a year, which was not possible for years because of insomnia.
Instructors in the writing program at Pima Community College continue to work with me despite difficulties with my learning disability. Their insistent belief in my writing abilities keeps me studious.
My strong network of female friends and two male friends has helped me reestablish trust in people. Finally, I am in a healthy, loving, relationship with a good person who treats me respectfully.
I have my family and an array of community I depend on. I hike, run, do yoga, meditate, cook and enjoy life again.
When life is overwhelming, all I have to do is look up at the Rincon and Catalina mountains, wait for a beautiful sunset or walk through my neighborhood. It helps me remember that I am home and I have a purpose.