Personal Stories of Strength & Hope

"Because ALL of us are unique individuals with great potential for health, well-being and fulfillment." - The Advocates Way


By Betty Jane Troie

Spirit 17

My story starts with me as a young girl suffering from chronic pain and fibromyalgia. My strength started when I was 17 and started to roller skate. I was not good at it and fell knocking myself out several times. I started to take lessons at age 18 and started t o skate competitions despite my physical and emotional problems. I did very well in Figures and Solo Dance and received many trophies and medals. In 1990 I started taking my Gold Medal in dance, which is the highest test you can take, despite having the two physical problems I mentioned before I also had a cartilage problem. I knew I probably would not pass because I could not straighten my knees all the way, but I persisted to take it four times, from 1990 to 1994.

In 1994 I was diagnosed with psychological illness and hospitalized several times in 1995. I went to Westboro State Hospital where I stayed till I was released into a group home in 1997. In 1999 I went back to Middlesex Community College despite the staff telling me I may not be ready. I took three semesters till in the winter of 2000 during school break I went into a major depression. While in my last semester at college staff would help me with my Algebra II.

In 2001 I was transferred to another group home for people who were almost ready to move out on their won. While there I learned how to have a friend the hard way. I had a girl who befriended me but I did not know how to act and caused a rift in the friendship. This was resolved just before I moved out to an apartment. In 2002 I moved in with another women and had problems. After 11 months the lease was broken and I moved into an apartment in Watertown where I still live on my own. I started on the Intentional Care Committee in 2002. In 2007 I took a peer facilitator course. I facilitated a peer support group with a friend but it only lasted seven months. In both of these things I was supported by my outreach clinicians in the East Side Supported Housing program.

In 2008 I took the peer specialist training. I also in 2007 took a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) course and started teaching it to other clients both in Supported Housing and in Group Homes. I have made many friends through teaching this class.

In June of 2009 I began to work as an administrative assistant/ peer specialist. Unfortunately at the end of August I lost my Mass Health and had to stop this job. I am going to see a benefits advisor with my outreach clinician to see if I can get common health and go back to work. I will still teach WRAP till I can go back to work. I am now working as a peer specialist at a group home in Newton.

In September 2008 I went back to school taking two to three courses a semester. I am still at Middlesex Community College and hope to transfer to Bunker Hill Community College. I plan to major in Social Services at Bunker Hill.