The boring facts are, I was literally born in Providence Rhode Island. Though my name suggests otherwise, my family lived in a housing project in Woonsocket the first six years of my life. Dynomite! Google it. Dynamites are a delicious Woonsocket tradition. We moved into a partially condemned apartment building to get out and things just kept getting better from there, meaning life has offered many colorful lessons. Thirteen years of those lessons took place on Martha’s Vineyard, though it’s generally not associated with children of a lesser god. Rich people need their houses cleaned, kids watched, lawns mowed and trash picked up. My family was happy to oblige and the view didn’t suck. Society tries to polarize us as all good or all bad. Real life recipies are made up of everything; sweet, salty, fancy and sometimes old boxes of Jello collecting dust behind the food coloring in the empty baking cabinet.

I’m a white woman who grew up and through real, often invalidated American poverty and complex trauma that includes roughly a decade of sexual abuse, intermittent homelessness, parental substance use, physical abuse, passive neglect, sexual assault, bullying, exposure to community violence, witnessing a fatality before I could read, an ongoing waltz with anorexia, OCD, PTSD and body image dysmorphia.

I like the F word, smokes, kale juice, yoga, meditation, hiking, writing, dreaming, music, YouTube and don’t subscribe to television. Aside from being darkly introspective and socially awkward, I use humor to cope and refuse to take myself too seriously unless confronted by a pan of frosted brownies. I am permanently, radically, intentionally, politically and peacefully child-free. This is my blog which helped me write my first book. Stay tuned.

Deeper Dive

Finding common threads of growing from adversity in fairy tales, creation stories and scripture left me assuming the blown-down houses, hysterical rulers and predatory demons were somehow part of the plan. Everywhere I went looking for answers revealed hardships were part and parcel to having a heartbeat and, if we persevered, a gift, lesson or ability would reveal itself.

I liked reading in closets, where it was safe, treating stories like life-class; Tragic beginning. Check. Child on a solo, uncharted mission. Check. Talking animal to ensure my safety through the haunted forest to a happy ending…Since Bigfoot never showed up, I became a therapist.

I practiced for nearly 10 years in community mental health and hospitals, which is one of the reasons I initially chose to write anonymously. I then moved into an administrative position after learning about The Sanctuary Model of trauma-informed care ten years ago while working on a psych unit. Destroying Sanctuary, the first book in a trilogy, validated every painful frustration I’d witnessed for clients and staff the first seven years of my career. The system was broken so I thought I’d try to help fix it. I mentioned Sanctuary in an interview, calling it a blueprint for world peace. Sadly, the old guard wasn’t ready to leave his fiercely defended position so I saved him the trouble of tolerating my light by leaving.

I’d remained on the fence about full transparency with my story for a very long time. The lack of clarity associated with people in the helping profession having and talking about their own experiences remained murky at best. Partly because it’s rare. Some have been harshly criticized, ridiculed and laughed out of the profession. Others have been stripped of integrity, labeled unstable, selfish or accused of having poor boundaries. Marsha Linehan, founder of Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT, talked about her hesitation in speaking publicly about her mental health issues in an interview with the New York Times in 2011. She waited half a lifetime to essentially come out as human.

Anna Freud suggested many join the profession to retain an illusion of power, using the title of ‘expert’ to distance ourselves from any lingering or unattended personal wounds. The letters after our name and certifications we earn act as a kind of shield. I’ve never seen myself as an expert. I became a therapist by default; being a parentified child gave me an over-functioning edge. Thank god for codependent recovery. Fear of getting fired for being poor was my greatest barrier to freedom, not maintaining some title. I ran from myself for years. Surrender and opportunity collided in 2018 when I spilled my guts to a journalist. Surreal, humbling, liberating thing having a total stranger call and ask you to tell them your life story. Despite feeling tokenized and frustrated by the media’s ignorance, learning to be with and embrace my reality, however ugly or beautiful it might be, continues to offer the peace, freedom and substance I’d previously looked for in all the wrong places.

News flash: I’m not 100% perfectly healed. Who is? I don’t think we get perfect here. Instead, life offers us opportunities to practice patience, forgiveness, persistence, compassion, listening, taking the high road, eating enough fiber, drinking water and other hard, grown-up stuff. The human experience is, quite simply, our path to rediscovering and returning to Love.

What I notice about western culture is we have no formal system for learning how to do life, deal with each other, deal with our thoughts, feelings and unmet needs as spiritual beings attempting to enjoy this plane. I know how to take care of my teeth without being a dentist, but depression and oppression get treated like hot potatoes. What do I do with this? Ooo! Oww! Ahh! It’s all your fault! Drop it! If someone gets sick we show up with a casserole and a get well card. Tell someone you have P.T.S.D or were sexually abused for a decade; crickets.

Someone once told me I’m too self-protective which I wish to distinguish from being fragile. I have fought mercilessly for my life. Trust and timing about sharing our story is an intuitive process. Early in my career I wrote an anonymous advocacy piece. When a colleague was told I’d written it, they laughed. She’s not that smart. Trauma has a way of stealing our voice and masking our identity in a fog of apologies. When you’re constantly censoring yourself for fear that what you might say will be too much for people to handle or will get you thrown out into the street (cause it did once) you don’t make any sense. You stare at the floor whispering movie quotes to a carpet instead of washing your face and doing a Tedtalk about what a strong woman you are. #strongwoman #bebrave #ugh

I was afraid of troubling people or embarrassing myself; as if I’d been the one who abused me. Hiding gives power away to shame. Keeping secrets is like feeding an impenetrable fence of electric anxiety, behind which we remain a prisoner. Codependence, ego or moral crisis? Probably all of the above. The final piece about hiding was how much the hypocrisy was bothering me. Part of our work as helpers, healers and humans is learning from each other how to compassionately own all the parts of our experiences; that’s how we grow. The truth is ultimately safer, lighter and more reliable.

I’ve studied all kinds of religions, noticing the majority of faith practices help us explain the mystery of the infinite universe while connecting us to a moral compass and source of unconditional love. Each creation story is dressed up in different languages, customs, rituals, songs, food and clothes. Since I’m not omnipotent, I can’t say which prophet is the real Slim Shady of the universe. Maybe there’s more than one right answer. All those holy wars; seems silly to fight about love but it’s the epic, eternal battle. Prophets are life guides who love us; although I’ve started to question everything again. Without getting into the weeds, just know I don’t use Jesus as a weapon. He seemed like a nice guy. The Bible is an interesting book. I’m also a fan of Buddha and witches. I can’t do life without God and… this blog has been the place where I explore all these big ideas until one day, maybe soon, I get to bring my book to life.

Until then, xo

This site and its contents are the thoughts, experiences and opinions of Elizabeth Bouvier and in no way represent the thoughts, experiences or opinions of any of her employers.

If you’re in need of professional help you are sincerely encouraged to seek it.

Please note some names have been changed, some words will occasionally be misspelled, some metaphors will crumble into run-on sentences that make zero sense, all photos and artwork are my own unless otherwise stated and I never put myself to bed on time.

Born in Providence and the contents of this site are protected under copyright through the Library of Congress. I paid $55. I have an official paper and everything. 

70 thoughts on “About

      • You story resonates with the life experience of my DIL who is truly suffering right now. I have forwarded your page to her in hopes it will give her hope and a sense that someone out there understands her pain and confusion. Wish we could meet.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks so much Jan. I’m sorry to hear your DIL is struggling but that’s exactly why I share my story, to help and offer hope. Many thanks again. We’re not alone.


      • Hi Jan, I received your recent response and am feeling protective of your privacy as well as the well being of your DIL so I’ll keep the response private. I’m out of town at the moment but don’t hesitate to call the mobile crisis line 800-875-7364 if you need support or have questions. There are many resources and reasons to be hopeful.


    • Yes! It’s a shame to see it within the profession. But Anna Freud said it is a function of ego-protection for many survivors of mental illness, addiction and abuse to become therapists and use their professional identity as a protective shield. Other things I’ve seen are simply well-intended ‘nice’ people with no lived experience of trauma become healthcare professionals and cast shame, blame and other forms of judgement onto survivors of trauma. I hope to be a voice of advocacy and change.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you so much for your “like” on my blog about poverty. I was a little afraid to post that one being that it wasn’t sugar coated. I love your opening introduction. I’m honored to have you on my site.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have so much to say and simultaneously have no idea what to say after reading your about page. I’m a writer, so I should be able to organize this all into words. First, I would like to say that I honor what you are doing. It is both brave, really brave for you, but also so important for others. I don’t often see people do something so death-defyingly brave with their writing. I even less frequently see people dealing with such large things who are able to be so considerate of others and other ways of thinking and be open and…I don’t even know. You seem WISE and STRONG and I’m sure you are still stumbling through parts of this life thing but I consider that part of the previous mentioned capitalized adjectives. I really look forward to reading more of your blog and I will follow it, for sure, even though I am pretty darn sure some of what I read will be scary and uncomfortable. I don’t think it’s worth it to read, or for me write, something that doesn’t cause growth and yet it takes a lot to make that happen. Thank you for writing this and I hope you have a good support system for yourself as you write this. Writing it all out can be quite a shock to the system. <3!!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I agree that the stigma around mental illness needs to be removed and slowly it is beginning to happen but there is a long way to go. Thanks for sharing and thank you for your like on my post. Peace and blessings! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Your profile is so interesting. I don’t know if you have seen my blog but it took me 50 years before I was able to get therapy. It didn’t go so well, but writing my memoir cleansed me and God healed me through it. It is nice to meet you. I will be checking out more of your blog as time permits. God bless, Nancy

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s so wonderful to meet you! After reading this, I feel like I have been blessed to connect with someone else in this amazing world of blogging who I can relate to in many ways. I am so happy you found and followed my blog. It is relieving to have a place where introverts, as ourselves, can communicate and express our thoughts!❤~Anne

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is a beautiful sharing. Thank you – I love what you wrote about your love of your own prophet and how you respect others’ beliefs. Your loving comes through your words, and I appreciate that! Thanks also for following my blog. Your presence is so welcome. Rumi’s quote (do you know it?) on meeting beyond the ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing is a key for what I practice with forgiveness, best I can. ❤

    Sending you blessings 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for this thought thoughtful comment Debbie. I’m not familiar with that particular Rumi quote but I’m a fan of his sayings. Respect, forgiveness, love; that’s what it’s all about. 🙏🏼


  7. Elizabeth, you’re right that it’s easier to say, I broke my leg than saying I have depression or PTSD. I do volunteer counseling after I retired. I had a degree in counseling but the teaching job came by so I grabbed the job and catching up with credentials. Please continue to write and do what you believe is right for you. Miriam

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Such a deeply honest and thoughtful about. That is the way to reach out and touch others, those of us who need it most. And who doesn’t. I so relate to your introversion. I definitely express myself better in writing than speaking but have been using my latter years to move more to the middle of the I-E scale. I look forward to reading you more often and gleaning wisdom from your posts. God bless you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment Victoria. Always nice to hear our writing offered something helpful or good. Fellow introverts unite, alone, together haha. I recently watched a YouTube interview with Joan Didion who I’m just now starting to read. She had a very difficult time speaking and remarked on it, saying she’s always found writing easier than speaking. I was so happy! I thought, oh there’s hope after all, haha. The middle sounds like a healthy place to discover. Thanks again for visiting!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This first paragraph hooked deep into my heart. You said exactly how I feel with words I hadn’t yet found: ” I didn’t want to talk about it till I’d found love, forgiveness and more than a little safety. Once we have all that it’s hard to go on lying. Your life starts to feel like one long excuse, a string of apologies under which is all this joy. Hiding took more energy than I’d previously realized. So, hello world.” Hello. Well met. I love your writing. ♥.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I am truly honored to have found you, Elizabeth. Your wisdom and experience shine in this article. You made me realize that I also waited far too long to come out as part of the human species. I didn’t feel worthy so I kept it secret. The last 15 years I’ve talked too much, but the last 3 years, I’ve been fortunate to get mental health care/advice and it’s helped. Someone gave me a button. It read, “I’m not as dumb as you look.” They’d pegged me before I’d pegged myself. I keep falling down but I keep getting up. And I’m going to look up the Sanctuary Model – thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading and sharing these thoughts Sharon. Like you I feel I waited too long to be myself too but since taking the leap I feel so much more peace. I’m glad to hear you’re finding people and resources to support your healing. That button 😂 Humor is a sure sign of your strength and resilience. Glad to have met you and I look forward to reading more of your work. The WordPress community is such a gift!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I have completely fallen for you, my Dear!! “BigFoot didn’t show up….” made me laugh out loud! I thought I was already following you so this read was indeed a treat.

    I am proud of you…all of You!! ♥️ Keep #Becoming; you’re so worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. When I improved well I thought it was total healing I had large swaths of time available

    All the wrestling with intrusive thoughts and living hyper vigilance and dissociation stopped.

    Having idle time scared the hell out of trauma people

    So an idea a blog supporting others through the voids I encountered materialized

    Lots of unintended consequences happen on a healing journey

    You are brave and have the ability to take action

    The two qualities I see sufferers I help are needed to heal

    If you do not give up the tools needed will arrive

    Liked by 1 person

  13. So powerful these ripples are. Our souls, the depths, what we can give – responsibility to do so.

    Like a butterfly in the corner of my eye, evening leaned forward..

    Grateful to meet you, looking forward to reading more of your words.

    Liked by 1 person

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