I would not be here today without this program.

I would not be here today without this program.

Hi, my name is Melissa. I want to share a little bit about myself.

I like to learn, try new things, and I love animals. I have a dog and want to get a horse someday. I am shy and have anxiety and depression.

I have also struggled with self-harm since 7th grade, and it was not until I started the Bridle Up Hope program that I stopped self-harming. I will always have the urges to self-harm, but now I have hope to fight these urges. I was at my breaking point when I first started my journey through Bridle Up Hope.  I had been in two hospitals before and this time was different. I knew Bridle Up Hope was my last chance.

Bridle Up Hope saved my life. I would not be here today if it was not for the program, the instructors, the girls, and most importantly the horses. I love all the horses but the one that helped me the most is Montego. Man, I love this horse. He has helped me through so many things. He just listens and gives me hugs and kisses when I am having a bad day. He let me know that I am not alone! And that I always have him.

My favorite Habit has to be #5: “Seek first to understand then to be understood.” This is my favorite because I had to listen to Montego’s feelings and struggles he was going through, then he listened to what was going on in my life. We have a connection that I love and will never forget. He makes me feel like myself and feel loved and wanted.

After my second lesson, I was supposed to write down a mission statement of what I wanted to find in life. I said, “To find hope, to keep living, and to not give up!” Sure enough I found the hope I was looking for. Where I am now is full of hope to stay strong and keep fighting. I don’t know if my anxiety and depression will go away but I have tools and the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens to help me get through it.

I want to share something that stood out to me in the book that I use to do and still catch myself still doing sometimes:

“Paradigms are like glasses. When you have incomplete paradigms about yourself or life in general, it's like wearing glasses with the wrong prescription. The lens affects how you see everything else as a result. What you see is what you get. If you believe you’re dumb, that very belief will make you dumb, or if you believe your little sister is dumb, you'll look for evidence to support your belief. Find it and she’ll remain dumb in your eyes. On the other hand, if you believe you’re smart, that belief will cast a rosy hue on everything you do. If you walk through life wearing glasses that say ‘I can do it’ or ‘I matter,’ that belief will put a positive spin on everything else. Whenever you need to clean the negativity from your glasses, find a person who believes in you—a teacher, a friend, a parent, a guardian, a sibling, or a grandparent. It only takes one person to get nourished by them. Go to them for advice, see yourself the way they see you. Oh, what a difference a new pair of glasses can make.”

When I first started at Bridle Up Hope it was as if I had thick mud clumps on my glasses to where I could barely see out of them. I found that my instructor is one of my people who believes in me. I leaned on her to clean my glasses, and she still has to clean the specs off my glasses once in a while.

I have learned that you never have to go through anything alone, that the horses are always waiting at the barn to cheer us up. I hope this inspires and helps some of you. I want to thank everyone that has supported me through my journey, and I want to thank Bridle Up Hope for saving me and giving me hope!

Names changed to protect privacy

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