"You Don't Know My Story"
Ms. Doneisha lived a life that most young people could only dream of. She had a job, apartment, and 4 children she adorned with all her heart. Suddenly her life was shattered on January 30, 2017, when her baby girl did not wake up. Doneisha was told by the medical team that her baby died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
"Sudden infant death syndrome is another way of saying we just don't know what happened. However, researchers suggest "SIDS is associated with problems in the ability of the baby to arouse from sleep, to detect low levels of oxygen or a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. Also, "about 4,000 sleep-related infant deaths occur each year in the U.S." (American SIDS Institute)."
Doneisha was traumatized, and it seemed no one could reach her. Doneisha was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which "6 out of every 100 people (or 6% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives. PTSD is triggered by a terrifying event either experiencing it or witnessing it." The "symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event" (Mayoclinic.org).
"I just did not understand why this had to happen to me, and the pain just would not stop. So, like many others, I turned to drugs and alcohol, which began a downward spiral in my life."
Doneisha's inability to pull herself out of this nightmare limited her ability to properly care for her 3 sons triggering another traumatic experience. As a result, DCFS removed the 3 children from her custody and took her parental rights. "I still couldn't get it together," Doneisha stated. She later found out she was pregnant again and gave birth to another baby girl on 8/14/2020. However, because of her substance use throughout her pregnancy, that new born baby girl was taken from her and placed into foster care. "My heart was shattered again. I felt alone and felt like no one understood what I was going through," Doneisha stated. As a result, her addiction to drinking and using various substances increased. She found herself partaking in these activities "all day, every day."
"I later got into some trouble because of my drinking and ended up in Cook County Corrections, where I found out I was pregnant again. It was then that my addiction stopped and my medical care started. Life seemed to become meaningful for me again. I decided to fight to get my daughter back and told myself that the child I was carrying will not be taken."
Doneisha said the courts placed her into a recovery home and TEECH, where she started to get the assistance needed to get her through the day without a drink or drug. "That's when my glimpse of hope returned." Now, she's actively engaged with DCFS and working on all required tasks to get her daughter back in her custody in addition to having a healthy baby.
Doneisha is one of the millions of women who share this story. Yet, we tend to overlook what happened, especially when drugs and alcohol become part of the scenario. We as humans live in a world of stigmatization and separation. We never deep dive into finding out what happened to someone who suddenly starts to fall down a negative path. Instead, we begin to push them away, and the issue becomes more significant for those suffering from PTSD, Grief and Loss, Depression, and other misunderstood issues.
Doneisha shared her story in hopes of providing understanding, because “No One Know's Your Story.” That's why it's important for those in recovery to use their voice to educate those who may not know their story.
TEECH Foundation is a non-profit organization geared towards assisting women like Doneisha recover from traumatic issues and substance use disorders. This work can be challenging as well as rewarding and with the support of various charitable givers, we are able to continue our efforts in assisting women and men overcome their traumas and substance use.
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