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My name is Matt. I have been a firefighter for 22 years. The beginning of last year was tremendously difficult for me. I had suffered significant losses in my life. I was also reeling from some devastating losses at work. There was a single incident where we were unable to save the life of a child and it became tremendously difficult for me. Something I hadn’t ever experienced. This event had me recalling so many other significant losses on the job and in my family that I had thought I’d successfully moved on from and dealt with. I was scared. I realized that I hadn’t really ever dealt with anything.
I went the entire month of November where I cried every day. I lost 20 pounds, couldn’t sleep. Some days I was sad, for my family, for losses at work, for friends. Some days I was just confused. Some days I had no idea why, I just felt lost. Really lost. It scared me because I had never been in a position like that before and I had no idea how to extricate myself from it. I hadn’t made it to the point of suicidal but I had absolutely no interest in being alive. It was a bad place to be.
I knew that whatever was wrong was something that I needed guidance for. Laura was recommended to me. I called Laura Farrar and she called back immediately. I couldn’t tell my story without crying. I was glad that she couldn’t see me, I was in a lot of ways embarrassed. She understood right away that I was panicked and needed care. She instantly made time for me.
I was really afraid of taking this step. I am 43 years old and have been a part of the firefighter culture of shouldering your burdens my whole life. I was ashamed but also realized I couldn’t do it anymore. I had not told the thoughts that were innermost to me to anybody, not even my wife of 22 years. I realized soon after that I needn’t be afraid. She was truly perceptive and recognized that along with the grief that I needed to work through and the tragic events at my job, there was more that I needed help with. Some things that were beyond my awareness but not Laura’s. Laura Farrar has introduced me to an experience of self discovery that I couldn’t have found on my own. She showed me how to access all of these things. She showed me how to make sense of everything. Her approach worked physically, spiritually and emotionally.
I realize now that true strength is not in shouldering my burden, but in letting go and asking for help. I was able to open up to her simply because I saw that she truly cared. She has always been available to me in the times when my life was the hardest.
I trust her completely.
Today I understand much better just how much control I have over the way I feel. I realize that I can not control everything that happens to me or to those that I love. That’s life. Laura has taught me that I do have control over how I feel about life. That truly is up to me. While I know that life can and will bring many difficult challenges both personally and professionally, I feel like I have the key to protect myself. Today, for the first time in a long time, I feel safe.
I am no longer dwelling on old memories. I am creating new memories. I have a real understanding of just how important “right now” is. She has helped me get to a place where the past no longer hurts me. I am excited about my future. I am well:)
Words aren’t enough to repay her but they are what I have. There are times in everyone’s life when we meet someone who we are simply better for having met. Laura Farrar is that person for me. I would recommend Laura to anyone knowing that I am offering someone a gift that will change their life.
A great therapist not only has the education and experience necessary to do the job, but they also have a gift for it. Laura Farrar has that gift. She helped me work through a very difficult time in my life, at my own pace and on my own terms. With Laura’s help, I made it through a major challenge in my life and I came out stronger on the other side. Laura is excellent at what she does.
During the past 11 years my family endured one tragedy after another. My parents passed away in 2002, I filed for divorce in 2003, after a long horrible court process my divorce was finalized in 2005 and then in March of 2006 my ex-husband took his own life in front of my son who happened to be 14 years old at the time. My daughter, then 12 1/2 had been showing signs of depression and anxiety prior to her father’s death. We had attended family counseling and individual counseling. During her the early years she was prescribed anti-depressants and I had hope that in time she would be better able to cope with everything she had gone through. Unfortunately, this was not the case. During her high school years, she began to spiral out of control. Her rage, anger and anxiety took control of her life. She began to self -injure use drugs and attempted suicide. All of these incidents took place within a span of 4 years, while she was under the care of a psychiatrist and a psychologist. During her junior/senior year and third stay at Linden Oaks Hospital she was finally diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, anxiety disorder and PTSD. I had resigned myself to a fact that my precious daughter may eventually succeed in completing her suicide. She had tried 4 different psychologists and although they tried, they could not gain her trust and therefore the therapy did not have the positive impact on her that she so desperately needed.
We found the most amazing therapist, Laura Ahrens Farrar, who took the time and extra effort to find out who my daughter is and what form of therapy would best suit her needs. She had a non-intrusive, non-judgmental way of gaining my teenage daughter’s trust that no other psychologist has ever had the ability to do. Her expertise in coping and dealing with bi-polar disorder, along with the everyday life of a teen has not only made a difference in my daughters life, it has made a difference in our family life. Laura has been able to provide me the tools and insight that is necessary to help me understand my daughter’s mental health issues and for that I will forever be thankful. It has not been an easy road, we have had setbacks, however we have gained so much knowledge, strength and support with Laura Ahrens Farrar that I am confident we will succeed.
I am pleased to announce that my lovely daughter has been drug free for over a year, has been motivated enough to lose 60 lbs, works every day and has recently celebrated her 21st Birthday. I know in my heart that if we had not found Laura Ahrens Farrar and Fox Valley Institute when we did, my daughter’s story might have ended badly. Laura is an inspiration and truly gifted in her ability to treat those dealing with mental health issues that they are unable to overcome on their own. I would highly recommend Laura Ahern and Fox Valley Institute to everyone that needs guidance and support while receiving valuable information and tools that will help them through difficult times and be able to live a healthy productive life.
Forever Grateful to Laura Ahrens Farrar!