House of Hope Rhode Island

Have you ever hoped not only for a friend who understands your pain, but can also show you the way to be set free once and for all? Read this story!

Someone to Understand

by Elizabeth Mary Filipe


In the teenage ringlet of a perfume-scented, cologne drenched group session, a girl breaks that first daunting silence at the beginning of all things. She has chronic migraines, she shares. She gets them so terribly badly that she burns and cuts herself in a desperate attempt to distract her mind, awakening one form of pain for a single second in order to shut out another. “I feel alone,” she says, her milky blue eyes trailing the faces around her. “Am I crazy?”


Yet, around the circle, one by one, the teenagers reveal that they too inflict a different kind of pain upon themselves to distract, to diversify the unutterable agony they feel elsewhere.


Going a step further, they offer tidbits of advice. Guys, whose voices are just changing into baritone and whose long, hairy limbs hang awkwardly, illegally over arm rests, say,  “Yeah, I do that…But I actually also do this when I’m mad.”


Girls, thirteen year-old girls, with Alex and Ani bracelet swaying from their gesturing hands, matter-of-factly describe the elephant in the mirror, the razor beneath the dresser, the one-night-stand and the coming baby.


Relentlessly, the conversations marches onward, step by step, story by story, heart cries spoken as facts because perhaps, in reality, facts are the only way to convey agony which fiction can not fabricate.


Again, around the circle, guys and girls soak up the information which knocks on the doors of eyes and ears whose vulnerable hunger for information outweighs their wishful desire to heal.


Overseeing, thoughtful, the psychiatrist listens and the clients talk. Secrets emerge with an eerie twinge of the commonplace. Teenagers in their fragmenting, pleading world, sit with the gashes of many lifetimes wedged half inside and half outside of themselves, wishing upon a fellow patient that someone, somewhere might crawl in through a crevice and rescue them there.


They think, if I can just release my nightmare into this session in a muted way, perhaps they others can bare it and maybe someone will comprehend what I feel.



Such discrepancy between the burns, between the rippled, red gashes, and those nonchalant voices. Then something about the tones of peers overcame their sense of normalcy and they accepted the grotesquely wrong. The circle of kids finally absorbed the bitterest kinds of living as a part of living well.


“Oh, yes. I do that a lot, too. I cut, do you? No…I used to…Now I burn myself. Really? Hmm. That totally makes sense…I understand…that’s why I became lesbian. It helps. Yeah, it really does. For me, I find that the time I stopped eating for a week helped a LOT….those people, people just judge us. They don’t understand us. But we understand, we understand us.”


Relentlessly, the feeling of receiving life vests from capsizing ships whispers around the group.


The session ends, the long limbs slip onto the floor, the sweet-smelling girls file out of the room. The lights switch off. The door closes upon the ring of empty chairs.


Has anyone understood?  Has anyone found soothing peace from a comprehending patient?



In another Kingdom, a tiny band of young women lean against a little library table. The week’s books share the surface with Oreos, brownies, and a plastic tray of chocolates. Expectantly, the young women bend their heads together towards a House of Hope counselor seated near them.


The counselors’s blue eyes pool with tears of compassion, her hands trace her miraculous story in the air. Rescue, she says, I was broken and I found rescue. Her eyes shine, reflected in the damp eyes of the girls who gaze, fixedly into her face.


“Jesus found me. He understood and rescued me. And, girls,” the women looked with utter love into their faces. “He has marvelous plans for each one of you. You are each His masterpiece and there are beautiful things in store for each one of you as you seek Him. I love you all so much…and I yearn for you to understand His love better.”
Are you a teen hoping for someone who not only understands you, but can also lead you to freedom? Learn more about House of Hope Rhode Island’s Group Counseling services for teens.

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