As a child, Jakayla was sexually abused by her biological mother’s husband. When the abuse was disclosed during Jakayla’s seventh grade year, her mother turned Jakayla out of their home. The family friends who took Jakayla in and became her adoptive parents brought her to CCFH for trauma treatment.
With her therapist Rebecca in the Urbaniak Clinic, Jakayla re-learned how to feel the emotions she had long pushed down. She practiced coping techniques that empowered her in triggering situations. She re-framed her experience to emphasize her own strength and transformation, and she gained tools that made her resilient for the long term.
The cover story in our 2014 fall newsletter – entitled “Strength at the End” – featured Jakayla. Then a college junior, she reflected both on the difficult road that had brought her to that point and on her dreams for her future, which included going to medical school.
Today, that particular dream has become a reality. She graduated from medical school earlier this year and is now applying to residency programs. Her dream now is to become a pediatric psychiatrist.
“Psychiatry just felt like home,” she says, “My confidence as a clinician was just there from the start.”
As this and other milestones come her way, Jakayla knows that the healing work she began at CCFH must continue, especially as she works with children who may have their own trauma histories.
“It’s using my experience to fuel my passion, but not letting my experience interfere with my purpose on a day-to-day basis.”
Jakayla remembers that when she was younger, she often resisted the difficult work of healing, feeling the unfairness of her circumstances and not wanting to be “weird” or “emotional.” With time, perspective, support, and wisdom, she says she has recognized that her new normal is identifying trauma triggers and choosing how to respond. And she’s made peace with that.
“You’re a survivor now with the ability to maneuver and you’re going to do it again until you stop surviving,” she smiles, “and start thriving. You’ve already survived the worst.”