June 20, 2017

Chanel: “The cornerstone of a new identity”

One of the things that we get seriously stoked about here at Speak Your Silence is when we hear about how one of our grantees has been able to find new hope and healing through their counseling experience.

I mean, can you imagine anything more cool than that?

We didn’t think so.

That’s why we asked one of our dear friends and grantees, Chanel, to share part of her story! This way, you can feel the same excitement that we do about it!


Imagine having something very confusing and hurtful happen to you and not being able to articulate it to anyone afterwards. Eventually you let your shame and confusion take full control and translate the experience as an unfortunate part of growing up. The counseling and the significant amount of compassion that Speak Your Silence has provided me with has exposed more than a decade of darkness into the light. That kind of impact cannot be easily expressed because the amount of gratitude is immeasurable.

When I applied for a Speak Your Silence grant due to a lack of quality mental health insurance, I had anxiety. Speak Your Silence allowed me the chance to gain control in a moment when I felt powerless. They were incredibly kind and quick to respond. It felt like I had a team of strangers rooting for me at a time I wasn’t sure I could do it alone.

I was scared too. I still am scared to share my story, but our fears should not deter us to find peace within ourselves. The unjust and inexplicable suffering in this world can be the thread that connects us to more people on a deeper level; a connection built on love and empathy. The first step to healing, which is talking to a counselor about your experiences, can also be the most difficult. I wish I had found peace sooner.

If I hadn’t known about Speak Your Silence, I probably would have been too discouraged to find counseling on my own. When you are dealing with trauma, especially an old trauma you’ve worked hard to bury, it can be difficult to take that first step. Finding a mental health professional that accepts your insurance and can see you in the timely manner that is required is a huge factor in getting the help you need. SYS helped me focus on my mental health by taking that stress out of my hands.

For myself, Speak Your Silence’s zigzag stitch is a sign of comfort and a reminder that I am mending myself in a healthy way. The stitch reminds me that there is always an opportunity to heal a heart.

What ultimately makes SYS effective are the people who ensure its mission stays alive. They are both quick in response yet still compassionate. They realize that finding a counselor for you is not enough to start this journey of healing. They sent me a notebook to journal in, along with a letter promising they would follow up with me along the way, which they did. I could never thank them enough.

Speak Your Silence provided me with the cornerstone of a new identity; one not based on shame but of a past victim becoming a survivor. I hope my story will guide others to find healing sooner than I sought it for myself.


To apply for counseling, click here.