"When you've finally been listened to, that's when you become real to the world, that's when you grow."
- James, Brave Faces Portrait Gallery


Cherish Padro - Brave Faces Portrait Gallery

 

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"My name is Cherish Padro. I’ve lived in Shasta County for 10 years. I’m originally from New York City. I thought I’d eventually move back to New York, but I like California. The saying holds true, “You can take the girl out the city but, you can’t take the city out the girl.” 

 

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"I love dancing. It’s liberating and something I’ve loved since I was a little girl. I love traveling. I enjoy volunteering in my community. I think I have a servant’s heart. My world is a better place because of Jesus, my family, trusted friends, music and coffee.  

I work at Shasta College as the Senior Project Coordinator for Learning Support and Pathways. I manage the operations of the Tutoring and Learning Center. I love my job!"

 

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"At 15, I was diagnosed with bipolar depression. Since then, I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety and PTSD.

It’s been a challenging but rewarding journey. I’ve learned with help how to take care of myself and make choices that are best for me.

I grew up being taught to not really express emotions. “Crying is a sign of weakness.” “You have to be strong!” That didn’t help me. In fact it made it worse. I’m a feeler and cry when I’m happy, sad or angry. For a long time, I tried to ignore those emotions. I didn’t communicate the internal pain happening in my life at that time. Eventually, I kind of just broke. In high school, my emotions were a rollercoaster. I’d be on cloud nine one day, and then want to die the next day."

 

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"When I hit my absolute low, it involved a plan of how I wanted to end my life. I thought my death could be my voice, in a sense, to communicate how hard it was to not share what I was experiencing. In that moment, I prayed to God and asked for a way out. 

This one woman from my church came to mind. She actually worked at a community center I volunteered at. I showed up at her office one day and let it all out. I knew she was a mandated reported, so I knew she would need to report this. It was my cry for help. She wasn’t judgmental. It was a safe place. After I shared everything, I got connected to the help I needed with the support of my family."

 

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"My recovery process doesn’t look like a straight line. It’s up and down. It’s a fluid process.

When I first started seeing a psychiatrist I was a little nervous. There were days I wouldn’t talk at all. We would literally just sit in silence. There were also days I would talk about everything, and she would listen. She never told me how to feel and never said how I was feeling was wrong. It was and continues to be a safe place.

My medication plays a big part in my recovery. There are some close people in my life that don’t like me being on medication because of negative experiences or the stigma of being on medication, but they support my choice because it’s helped me greatly. Maybe one day I won’t need medication, but until then, one day at a time.

My family and friends are a huge part of my recovery. I have many friends who’ve heard my story, and can relate. I’m not alone."

 

Listen to Cherish talk about her multi-poo, Bella, and how she is a part of her recovery:

 

 

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"My faith in God is the foundation of my recovery. It has kept me grounded. I can’t thank God enough!

People in my church have helped me through my recovery process and have been really supportive.

Unfortunately, because of doctrine, some people weren’t as supportive and would say, “Don’t speak that diagnosis over your life,” “Don’t say that’s what you have,” “God can heal you. You don’t have to take medicine.”

I know their hearts were in the right place, or that they were trying to help, but I didn’t feel heard.  My experiences, struggles, and feelings were negated. Sometimes depression, anxiety, or PTSD don’t just go away.

I have learned not to hold it against people. Some people won’t understand, and that’s ok. I know God still heals, and my journey of healing looks different."

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