When Sunny Jansma arrived at Menninger, she was in distress and unable to find relief. Prescribed 10 different medications by her longtime psychiatrist, she had spiraled into crisis. Sunny couldn’t bear taking the medications but recognized it was too risky for her to cut back or discontinue on her own. She was relieved to find The Clinic’s expertise with medication management and affirmation that the numerous prescriptions she was taking were inappropriate for her.
“It’s distressing to become conscious again on a functional level, realizing where you’ve been,” Sunny said. “I was traumatized, but Menninger’s doctors, nurses and staff were empathetic to the bind I was in.”
As she progressed at The Clinic, Sunny was intrigued by the therapeutic process on the unit, the powerful role of the milieu and the inclusion of patients as active members of the treatment team.
“Part of me was curious about the dynamics of the milieu,” Sunny said. “I was astonished by the power of the group.”
Before she discharged from Menninger, Sunny received two suggestions that were crucial to her way forward. The first came from The Clinic’s chaplain who encouraged Sunny to become active in a church near her home in San Antonio, Texas. The second was from her social worker who encouraged Sunny to try different paths and see how they worked. If she didn’t like how things turned out, then she had learned something. If she did like what she was doing, then she could move ahead with confidence.
After Sunny returned home, she slowly became involved with her local church. She began volunteering with different groups and was challenged to open herself up to new relationships and experiences.
Working with women and girls facing adversity became a passion for Sunny. She taught classes and served as a mentor at a transitional home for women who were coming out of incarceration with issues of addiction. She also volunteered with a court program for girls who were aging out of the foster care system and who desperately needed the support of role models as they set out on their own. Finally, she participated in and co-taught a trauma workshop at her church.
Inspired by the satisfaction she felt using her experiences to help others who were struggling to heal, Sunny decided to pursue her master’s degree in counseling. Sunny said her healing is a work in progress, but she continues to stay focused on following a path of engagement and connection with others.
“I hope to become a wounded healer, to be a living witness of what the journey can look like and to show that our beauty and strength is in the brokenness that remains,” she said.