What is this young woman’s story?

As a child I survived years of sexual abuse. In adolescence I battled bullying, clinical depression and suicidal tendencies. I refused to drop out of high school when my guidance counselor told me to because I didn’t want to be “yet another mentally ill person dependent on public welfare programs to survive.” What kept me going was my dream of being a mental health therapist so I could use my experience to help others. In college I defeated my binge-eating disorder. In graduate school, I left my abusive fiancé with nothing but what I could shove in my car because I knew I would die if I stayed with him. I still managed to graduate with my Master’s in Applied Clinical Psychology with a 3.97 GPA.

No one in NY State will hire me because I am unlicensed, but I cannot obtain a license without 3600 hours of documented supervised work experience. Even the VA hospital rejected my offer to provide therapy services for free so I could obtain hours because it is a “liability issue.” All of the things life threw at me couldn’t shatter my resolve to overcome and better myself… but the economy did. Tomorrow I have an appointment to fill out paperwork for food stamps and Medicaid. I am an unemployed unlicensed mental health therapist dependent on public welfare programs to survive.

I am the 99%…

For more photos and stories of the 99 percent, visit the “We Are the 99 Percent” Tumblr.