About Us

 Welcome to the Teton Valley Mental Health Coalition website!

The Teton Valley Mental Health Coalition was formed in the Fall of 2009 to help identify therapists and counselors in an effort for better collaboration among specific mental health care providers.

Our intention is to be able to provide the information needed in regards to the valley’s mental health community and relaying that information to local officials, advocating for mental health and collaborating community needs. We are composed of clinical providers, attorneys, probation and school personal and others who all share a common interest in Teton Valley’s Mental Health.  We are in the process of receiving our official 501 c3 non-profit status and are 100% volunteer meaning none of our money is allocated for paying the members.  Thanks for visiting the website and feel free to stop by any of our monthly meetings.

 

 Drinking, Depression and DUI, written by a concerned community member 2014

When I finally got pulled over and arrested for a DUI, it wasn’t a surprise. It was years in the making. I like to drink. I always have. I like to let loose and party. I like to drink wine while I cook. I like to socialize and drink cocktails with my friends. So, when I saw the red flashing lights in my rear-view mirror at 1 am in late January on a quiet street in Victor, I knew the jig was up. Except in my alcohol-crazed mind I thought I could certainly pass the field sobriety tests and they’d let me go. Wrong. I failed miserably. And then, without hesitation, I was handcuffed and stuffed into the back of a police cruiser. In retrospect, I’m very lucky no one else was involved and no one was hurt…or worse. I’d be writing a different story had that been the case.

Even when my world started crumbling around me, long before the DUI, I hit the booze as a way to relax and forget. I didn’t realize that it was ruining my life in an agonizingly slow manner. I didn’t care that I was hurting the people who loved me most. When you’re in pain it can come off as selfish because you don’t have the ability to see beyond your own suffering. Everything is magnified and right up in your face. Here are some common phrases I heard from people who don’t get depression: “Just snap out of it.” “You have a lot to be happy about.” “Many people are going through worse things.” “It could be worse.” While those statements are all true, depression sufferers don’t want to hear these clichés.

I continued to drink even after I found myself curled up in the fetal position cradling a bottle of vodka and crying my guts out at noon because my boyfriend had broken up with me for the millionth time. I didn’t stop drinking even when I almost got fired. I couldn’t bring myself to do the things I love anymore, like running, but that didn’t stop me from drinking. I had a million excuses: My mom died. I got a divorce a few months later. I immediately got into another relationship, except this one was tumultuous. People who I thought were my friends turned their backs on me. Other people tried to ostracize me from my cycling team. My dad wrote hateful things to me about my mom’s death. I’m not knocking the problems, they are certainly real to me, as is the pain, but instead of seeking treatment for depression and anxiety, I boozed up, which is the worst possible thing to do to yourself. And it’s a hard lesson to learn that coping through alcohol is futile. The self-hate grew and I was wondering what it would take to hit rock bottom. I sometimes hated myself after a night of drinking, and the frequency of self-hate increased with each hangover. The DUI wasn’t necessarily rock bottom, although it was certainly eye opening to say the least. There are lots of rock bottom moments. And it’s not like something just snaps in your brain and you turn your life around. It’s a process. A slow process.

But when you finally choose to save yourself (because no one else can do it for you), and forgive yourself, it will set you free. And it no longer matters what anyone else says or thinks about you. One day at a time, as they say. And as Maya Angelou would say: “When you know better, do better.” Now that’s a quote I can get behind. To me that means learn from your mistakes but don’t dwell on them for too long. Because when you learn, you grow… and do better!  And all those little things that don’t really matter in the long run seem to disappear when you just love yourself enough to be kind to yourself.

I was given another chance to make better choices because of my DUI. I’m seizing that. I am responsible for my own actions. I made a choice to go on medications to treat depression at the recommendation of two doctors. I made a choice to see a psychiatrist. I made a choice to start running again. I completed my first 50-mile trail race recently in remote mountains in Wyoming. I made a choice to work harder to be a better friend, family member, community member and colleague. I’m proud of who I am despite my shortcomings.

I made a choice to stop drinking. And you’d be amazed how the world opens up around you when you stop doing destructive things. You’d be amazed how you begin to like yourself again. Without the haze of alcohol clouding my brain and judgment, I can see ahead. With clear eyes.