“Nothing is ever lost, all is given.” These are the words MHASF’s SOLVE Senior Peer Facilitator, Nicollette Maristela, carries with her every day. Spoken by her father since she was a child, Nicollette didn’t comprehend the full meaning of the words until she was on her road to recovery from a mental health challenge that included an eating disorder, depression, and two suicide attempts.
Nicollette ‘s trauma began at a young age; she was bullied in school and had very few friends. Her parents divorced when she was 15, leaving her and the family in financial distress and alone with an unsupportive mother. Her father died shortly after, and at the age of 17, Nicollette was sexually assaulted.
After graduating high school, Nicollette moved to San Francisco to go to college and leave behind the trauma she had experienced, telling no one about the assault. But the culmination of events soon took their toll on her, and she found herself becoming more involved with drugs and alcohol, her depression spiraling out of control until suicide seemed like her only option.
It was after her first suicide attempt that Nicollette’s friends back in Los Angeles confronted her about her bulimia and her overall mental and physical state. After returning to San Francisco from her visit, she began using the journals her dad left her. One night after taking a bunch of pills, she was reading through her journals when she saw the quote, “Nothing is ever lost, all is given.” She decided that if she were given a second chance, she would get her life back on track.
Now on the road to recovery, Nicollette was diagnosed with PTSD and meets with a therapist and psychiatrist one on one as well group therapy, and volunteers as a counselor at a rape crisis warm-line. As part of her recovery, Nicollette lives each day practicing the following four rules: 1. Do something productive 2. Help someone 3. Ask for help 4. Do something fun. Nicollette is also a SOLVE speaker for MHASF.
Recovery is possible, just ask Nicollette.