Weathering the storm: Man in control of his volcanic anger after seeking therapy at Day One

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Before Joseph began therapy at Day One, he was like a pole in a wind storm that would crack under pressure. His anger would bottle up inside of him and he would just snap.

The 54-year-old Pontiac man didn’t get along with his family.

“I would constantly hear from my mom that I would not be successful,” he said. “I just wanted my mom to tell me she loved me.”

Joseph found himself getting angry more often and over small things that shouldn’t have been a big deal. He also was experiencing depression. He rarely went out with friends like he used to and stayed home to avoid dealing with his family.

About two years ago, Joseph decided he was tired of living this way and came to Day One, where he continues to receive therapy and medication management.

“I had two other therapists before and didn’t feel the vibe,” he said. “Then I met [my Day One therapist] Michelle and she is different. She gets down to the nitty gritty. We have such a good connection.”

Through therapy, Joseph’s depression improved but he experienced a setback after a serious car accident on Nov. 30, 2017. He suffered a torn rotator cuff on his right shoulder, a concussion, and neck and spine injuries. He also has to have a complete replacement of his right knee and can’t be left alone at home because he could black out.

Joseph’s life now is filled with doctor appointments and physical therapy. He walks with the assistance of a cane and spends four hours, three days a week doing physical therapy and two hours, two days a week with a neurologist.

Despite these daunting health challenges, with the help of Day One, Joseph’s depression and anger issues have gotten better.

“When he first started services, Joseph would get frustrated easily and did not respond appropriately at all,” said Day One Behavioral Health Clinician Michelle Harris. “He would yell and swear at others and then isolate himself from them, regardless of who they were to him. He felt angry all the time, like a volcano in constant eruption. Over time, he has been able to incorporate some valuable coping skills to help with calming himself before he responds to situations. He no longer isolates himself and is able to talk about problems with others instead of walking away. He now understands his own boundaries and those of others and how these were negatively impacting him and uses this now to protect himself from negative influences.”

Joseph said he no longer views himself as a pole in a wind storm, but more like a flexible tree that can bend in the wind.

“Now when I feel hurt, I think of the tree analogy,” he said. “I may feel hurt, but I don’t let it shut me down. Before I would go in an isolation stage and stay in the house and now, I don’t do that.”

Joseph’s relationship with his family has improved somewhat but he still experiences disappointment, like last year for Thanksgiving, when he cooked the entire traditional holiday meal and no one showed.

“I got so mad I cried and put the food in the freezer,” he said. “If this happened before I had therapy, I would have gone ballistic. I would have cussed them out and told them to go to hell.”

Joseph said if he hadn’t come to Day One, his life likely would have taken a turn for the worse.

“I’d probably be in jail from my attitude and my temper,” he said.

You can help provide hope and healing to our clients by making a donation. Day One, a program of Oakland Family Services, provides mental health and substance abuse treatment for more than 2,300 people every year.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, contact Day One.