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‘Mental Health is a Part of Substance Abuse’

Cindy Polfelt, left, wears a denim jacket and a floral shirt. She stands next to her daughter, Jessica Hosack, left, who wears a dark denim jacket and a striped shirt.
Trevor Hook

Jessica Hosack and her mother, Cindy Polfelt, live in Columbia. Jessica began using opioids at parties when she was a teenager, and this quickly turned to regular opioid use.

Jessica went on to deal with a substance use disorder for a decade, and after seeking treatment several times, she was able to enroll in a month-long rehabilitation program at the McCambridge Women and Children’s Treatment Center. She has been in recovery for more than two years.

Jessica and Cindy spoke about Jessica’s breaking point, and how her mental health played into her substance abuse. 

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org.

Cindy Polfelt: There were times when I thought what... you know, Jessica, what was your breaking point? When was that breaking point going to come? You'd lost everything. So, I, I didn't know what - when was that breaking point going to come for you?

Jessica Hosack: I wouldn't - you would think losing everything would be my breaking point. But it... after I lost everything, it was many months down the line that I finally realized, "what am I doing?" I remember looking in the mirror and just looking at myself and I couldn't believe the life I was living. And I was like something that's got to change. And I was just... I was done.

And had I tried several times to get clean, and... I would run from - something would happen like my grandpa passed away or anything, and I would just run from it. I would run right back to it. And I just couldn't, I didn't have any other tools of coping with it. That was my only tool that I knew. So being in recovery, doing that 30-day treatment really taught me a lot about myself, to be comfortable in my own skin. And my battle with depression did not help.

Cindy: And that's another thing that I've learned, Jessica, and I always thought that you need to be on depression medicine. And I think that a lot of people don't realize that mental health is a part of substance abuse.

I think you had told me at one time that you were you were depressed. And I started thinking about and I thought, you know... I think I might have mentioned to you at the time that you know, maybe you should seek getting some help with depression or anxiety or things like that.

Jessica: But it's so hard when you're in it to see that there's any other way. It really is. I mean, you get so stuck in what you know and what is comfortable to you that... I knew I was depressed. I knew I needed - I knew I didn't like myself. I knew I didn't like the way I was living.

But it was what was comfortable to me at that time. And, and it was all that I knew. So, it's so nice to be in recovery. And every day I learned something new about myself and something new about how to cope with it. I mean, it's hard to change ways that you've -

Cindy: Lived for 10 years.

Jessica: Yeah, I mean... and being depressed. I've been depressed for my whole life; now all the sudden I'm going to completely flop how I've always felt and how I've always dealt with things. I mean, that's... it's not easy, but doing it repetitively and sticking to it in keeping the determination and listening to what other people say that are supporting you. I mean, it just... again, if you have the determination, then it is possible.

Cindy: You know what, I'm glad you're not ashamed of it, too.

Jessica: I'm not. I'm not. It's part of my story, and it's who I am. And I wouldn't be who I am without it.

This piece was reported and produced by Trevor Hook.

Trevor Hook is a reporter, producer and morning anchor for KBIA 91.3 born and raised in New Franklin, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri with both a Master's degree in Audio Journalism in 2020 and a Bachelor's degree in Convergence Journalism in 2018.
Rebecca Smith is an award-winning reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth Desk. Born and raised outside of Rolla, Missouri, she has a passion for diving into often overlooked issues that affect the rural populations of her state – especially stories that broaden people’s perception of “rural” life.
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