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You took Ariel Seriously

Lidia Harding
Success Stories Youth and Family Counseliing
Ariel discovers validation through counseling at YES

In middle school, Ariel began experiencing debilitating headaches, leading her to miss many school days. The initial response from medical professionals was less than supportive, diagnosing Ariel with depression, causing her to feel unheard and misunderstood.

“No one believed I was having these constant, painful headaches. Everyone thought I was making it up so I didn’t have to go to school.”

A once extroverted and talkative child, she withdrew into herself, shutting out the world as her pleas for help fell on deaf ears.

Feeling alone and unsupported, Ariel entered an emotionally abusive relationship, where her illness and fragility were further exploited to dehumanize and isolate her.

In her junior year of high school, Ariel was referred to a neurologist who diagnosed her with chronic migraines. The neurologist also recommended Ariel to a counselor at Youth Eastside Services, marking the beginning of a profound transformation.

Finally, someone took Ariel seriously. In counseling, she found validation, a listening ear, and the belief that her struggles were real. The weight of unspoken trauma lifted as she courageously shared her challenges.

Opening up in therapy became the key to unlocking hope. Ariel ended her abusive relationship, learned to listen to herself, accept hard truths, and advocate for her well-being. What once seemed impossible—attending a whole week of school—became a reality. Last spring, Ariel graduated, not just with a diploma but with a newfound strength and resilience.

“I learned that I can have a future. I can do things. I’m able to have a life beyond all this.”

Ariel’s story is a beacon of hope, a reminder that with the right support and belief, individuals can navigate the darkest corners of their lives and emerge into the light of recovery.

*At YES, we respect everyone who comes to us for support, and many are working on improving their lives. So, while their stories are true, client names and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.


Recovery stories like Liv’s are made possible through the generosity of many YES donors. Supporters provide ALL children, youth, and families in East King County with a chance of recovery.

You, too, can be a lifeline in a young person’s life today by making a gift to provide families with hope for a brighter tomorrow! Whether you donate $5 or $500, every gift will make a difference in the life of a child or youth seeking hope and recovery.

Thanks to donations like yours, no youth is turned away because they can’t afford to pay for services.

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