Getting Back On Your Feet After Anxiety – The Seattle Medium

After completing the Women’s Empowerment program, WillieMae Taylor says she’s ready to get back to work — and live her life. Photo courtesy of Verbal Adam/OBSERVER.

This post was originally published on Sacramento Observer

From Genoa Barrow

WillieMae Taylor recently relocated to Sacramento from Illinois and has been trying to adjust to her new home base.

Taylor came to town a few months ago while battling anxiety she couldn’t control and admits she arrived without a big game plan. She lives with siblings in Elk Grove. Now, after some much-needed rest, Taylor has one eye on getting back on track. One of the first steps in the right direction led her to the Women’s Empowerment program, which helps women through instability.

Taylor completed the eight-week program on September 16. Their experiences may not be as traumatic as some other program participants, but Taylor says they connected nonetheless and grew to recognize commonalities they share.

“I was meant to be here,” she said. “We’re all different and we all have different reasons for being here, but we’re the same. I have never been a drug user. I’ve never been homeless, but now I’m in a place I can still fit in.”

Taylor got help with her anxiety and even something from the classes that didn’t necessarily relate to her specific problems – classes like anger management and support for women who had been physically abused. “I don’t have a domestic violence (history) background, but all the courses they offer are actually kind of related,” she shared.

Instructors help participants go back to their childhood and show them how to let go of things that don’t serve them.

“There are techniques you learn that you don’t even think about,” Taylor said. “It has helped me stay positive. Because of my anxiety I think too much and I’m everywhere so it keeps me focused. It was a good thing,” Taylor said after the program’s halfway point. “I can already feel it, the calm.”

Taylor was the oldest participant in the 88th cohort and said the younger women valued her maturity and saw her as an older sister. They also helped her with computer classes when she needed to go online and apply for jobs. When they saw that she was struggling with a project, they stepped in to help.

“It’s really freaky. They made sure I wasn’t left behind,” shared Taylor.

Women’s empowerment has taught Taylor to look at things from a different perspective, even her use of language. “The word that comes to mind is ‘broken’ but I don’t want to use ‘broken’ because it’s more negative. I want to use ’empowered,'” she said. “They do. If I said I was computer illiterate, they would say ‘No, you’re a beginner’, or you’re this or that and you’re starting to lose those other words. This is my new vocabulary.”

Armed with a new perspective and coping skills, Taylor is ready for her new world. She’s exploring who she is now and where she’s going from here. “I’ve been working since I was 14 years old. I really want a job. We all need some money, right? But I want to go back to school,” she said.

A few years ago, Taylor ran a home day care center. She sees herself as a teacher in the future.

She also maintains the positive vibe that women’s empowerment inspires.

“I’m a 60-year-old woman starting over,” she said. “Not really, I’ll keep going.”

Taylor was divorced three years ago and her four children are all well into adulthood with children of their own. She can still see her and her grandchildren on a daily basis using FaceTime. That keeps her spirits up. While she misses her Illinois family, Taylor is looking forward to putting down roots in Sacramento.

She is open to any opportunity that comes her way. “It’s all a new experience, but it’s just a sequel,” she said. “Most people get their next chapter when they retire. I get my next chapter early.”

The post Bounced Back After Anxiety, Relocation first appeared on The Sacramento Observer.


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