Anna, 40 years old
beneficiary of the psychological counselling and
psychotherapy service at the Athens Solidarity Center
She speaks softly; however, the most are expressed through her eyes –her pretty, brown, wet eyes, part of a white face that is composed of elegant female features. What Anna does not say with her voice or eyes, she does it unconsciously with her rich, brown, long hair – she touched it when she was feeling shy; when she didn’t want to answer a question; when she took a while to think.
One year ago, she faced an emotional and professional impasse. She didn’t have a job and she didn’t have someone to turn to for support – “I needed to talk and know that I would not be judged, but at the same time I needed guidance and advice to see the future clearly; a future that only frightened me in those moments.”
A series of random however fortunate events led Anna to the Athens Solidarity Center operating by SolidarityNow and in her first meeting with the head of the psychologists’ team. At first, she was reluctant and cautious, but quickly as she says, “I felt intimate with my psychologist, who encouraged me and made me trust myself as to move on relying on my own strength.”
Anna is not her real name. However, she chose this name to introduce herself to the readers of her story. The 40-year-old woman narrates unpleasant family memories; these memories led her to abandon her home when she was 16 years-old. Since then, Anna has lived a life of good and bad moments, many difficulties and always hard work and great effort. At some point in the past, a man, later her husband, appeared in her life. Although there are no longer a couple, she has kept good memories of this marriage.
Anna didn’t finish school because after she left her home she was forced to work for a living. She has changed a lot of occupations, some of them more some less interesting, whereas she has spent two years working in Britain. Last year, in addition to unemployment, she faced a temporary, but serious health problem. Her health was restored, as opposed to employment, resulting in a huge emotional gap.
It was that moment when Anna felt she needed help and looked for it. In the last year, she visits the Athens Solidarity Center once a week, receiving free support through psychological counselling and psychotherapy service. “My psychologist ‘builts’ me from scratch; he helps me to believe there is a share of hope for me too. He helps me to think positively and remain composed apart from rational.”
The outcome; Direct!
Anna is now a student at her neighbourhood’s night high school and in June she will graduate. Her next goal is to improve her English and get a relevant certification which will help her find a full-time job. In the meantime, she works as a private part-time employee.
But Anna’s most important achievement is that she gradually gains confidence both in herself and in others. She still needs to win the fear that other people will not respond to her expectations. Thus, Anna tries to be more lenient towards herself as well as the others.
And she seems to be doing really well.
*Anna is one of the beneficiaries receiving pro bono services provided to vulnerable population groups (Greeks, refugees and migrants) in the SolidarityNow Athens Solidarity Center. Find more about the Athens Solidarity Center: https://www.solidaritynow.org/en/kentro-allileggiis-athinas/.