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Stories from Backstage

Breaking Down Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

Patty Lynn is a singer-songwriter who performs as one half of The Wind and the Wave, and the latest addition to the SIMS Board of Directors. 

My name is Patty Lynn. I’ve been a singer-songwriter in the Austin community for over 10 years, and a SIMS client for almost six now. Thanks to the encouragement of some very emotionally intelligent friends years ago, I turned to the aid of Google to start therapy for the first time, believing that talking about what I was going through would help me sort through my trauma, and ultimately feel better. What I didn’t know was anything else. I didn’t know how to find a good therapist. I didn’t know how much it would cost, or if insurance would assist financially. And I certainly didn’t know there was an organization that could help me with all of that. I struggled to pay for therapy on my own, on and off for about four years. As you might expect, on a typical musician’s income, paying for mental health services is a real task, as it is for many.

I was introduced to SIMS in late 2014. It seemed too good to be true, but I applied anyway and to my surprise, I was accepted into the program. With the help of a friendly voice over the phone, we settled on a price per appointment that was manageable for me, and I was quickly connected with a therapist in my area. It wasn’t until that relationship began that I realized there was even such a thing as a “good fit” in a therapist. They’ve been there for me through so much. I’ve met with them over Facetime while on tour with my band, The Wind and The Wave, in person while I’m home, and now over phone calls while walking through my neighborhood on Thursday mornings. Yes, I’m happy to say that I’m still in contact with the same therapist to this day. I want to share everything with them, but I feel it important to mention that wasn’t always the case. It took me years to figure out “how to do therapy.” For a long time, I’d go looking all put together, afraid to let them see the not so pretty side of me, with an agenda of what I wanted to address, to try to ensure I wouldn’t be “wasting” my time or my money.

As it turns out, for me, doing therapy right meant letting go of my image and my agenda, and eventually falling apart. It meant showing up disheveled, in sweats, no bra and no clue what I was going to talk about. I was, how do I put this, an absolute mess, but all I remember is leaving that session feeling like I had broken through a brick wall, in a good way. I see now that breaking down can be just the thing one needs to break through, but that takes time, and effort and care. It took me five years of developing a solid relationship with my therapist. I finally got there and breaking down was the best thing that ever happened to me, aside from my loving partner of course, who I might add has also benefited from SIMS with their own individual therapy. We have also seen a couples counselor, and I am in group therapy now, which has been such an eye-opening experience. Needless to say, my family and my future owe so much to SIMS.

That is why I am deeply honored to have joined the SIMS Foundation Board of Directors this year. 2020 has been rough for so many people, especially the growing community in desperate need of mental health services. With funding seemingly hanging on by a thread, it’s amazing how an organization like SIMS persists through these difficult times. It just goes to show how passionately dedicated the people behind the organization are. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of them for a short time now, and I can honestly say it’s only a little intimidating. I just want so badly to be able to meet this opportunity to give back with half as much moxie as they have.

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