Deidre is a 22-year-old African American and Latina female who was raised as an only child near New York City. At age 19, Deidre moved to Kansas to attend college. She is currently a senior majoring in sociology and works part-time to pay for school and living expenses. Deidre was referred by her medical doctor who noted that she was anxious and tense, and suggested she see a counselor. Deidre says that although she does not identify with a religion, she has “dabbled in Buddhism” as a way to relax and find comfort.
Deidre’s parents divorced when she was 9 and she lived primarily with her mom after the divorce. Deidre had a contentious relationship with her Latina mother, who was “moody” and emotionally unpredictable and tended to hoard things. Deidre reported that her mother “drove her father away” with her negative moods and that Deidre is concerned about her own moods and is worried about becoming like her mother. Deidre spent most of her childhood in her room, where she felt protected from her mother. Deidre was quiet and withdrawn during high school and had only a few close friends.
Deidre’s African American father died suddenly from a heart attack when she was 17. She described her father as being very quiet and calm. When her parents were married, Deidre remembers her father sitting in a chair reading and not reacting to her mother’s moods. When Deidre spent summers with her father, she reported feeling close to him even though they did not talk much, but she appreciated how “calm” his house was.
After her dad’s passing, Deidre started using drugs and alcohol. She stated that she preferred marijuana, and that she was afraid of meth even though many of her friends were using it. She became pregnant at 18 after a party at a friend’s house, but she didn’t know who the baby’s father was. She had an abortion, and reports that she dreams about who her child might have been and how “different—in a good way” her life might be if she had carried the child full term.
While in her first year at college, she joined an environmental group, where she met her boyfriend, Tom. Currently, Deirdre is living with Tom in a small apartment just off campus in the downtown area of Hays, Kansas. Deidre has been with Tom for nearly 4 years, and they are considering getting married. She reported feeling guilty that she has never shared with Tom that she had an abortion. She stated that Tom is very pro-life, and she is afraid he will leave her if she tells him. She expresses that she would like help sorting out her many issues and wonders if there is any hope for her to have a good life.