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Member Spotlight: Jacquelyn’s Story

Member Spotlight: Jacquelyn’s Story

For Jacquelyn, a post on social media is what kick-started her mental health journey. For years, she felt as though she was going through the motions, but lacked an internal spark. After seeing a post on social media, she realized her perception of depression was incorrect, and she embarked on her journey to mental wellness. This is Jacquelyn’s depression treatment experience using Brightside.


Jacquelyn H.

31 years old • Community Development Manager • Austin, TX • Brightside member

I can’t pinpoint when my depression started. I remember seeing a post online where someone remarked that adulthood is feeling apathetic about everything. The comment below said, “That’s not adulthood, buddy—that’s depression.” Suddenly, it hit me for the first time: am I depressed? I don’t feel sad, I’m not crying in my bed all day—I can’t be depressed. Or can I? That realization is what kick-started my journey; I realized my perception of depression was incorrect.

“Suddenly, it hit me for the first time: am I depressed? I don’t feel sad, I’m not crying in my bed all day—I can’t be depressed. Or can I?”

Seeking depression treatment

I decided to seek help because I noticed how much life I had slowly let pass by. I felt like a shell of the person I used to be, and I didn’t want to let another day pass by feeling nothing inside. I did some research about ways to get treatment online and found Brightside through my search. Due to COVID-19, it was nearly impossible to get into an office, and Brightside offered me a place to start right away. That decided it, and I signed up.

Signing up for Brightside was my first time seeking treatment for depression. Thankfully, I clicked right away with an excellent therapist. Dr. Gruenebaum is fantastic. From our first FaceTime session, I felt that he was super relatable. I am usually reserved, and he worked with me to make sure I felt comfortable sharing my journey. It was such a safe space with zero judgment on what I shared during our sessions.

“Dr. Gruenebaum is fantastic. From our first FaceTime session, I felt that he was super relatable. I am usually reserved, and he worked with me to make sure I felt comfortable sharing my journey.”

Dr. Gruenebaum has helped me get back to doing the things I enjoy! He has also helped keep things in perspective for me. In the past, I have struggled with wanting to feel better “faster,” and every time he brings me back to reality and explains it in a way that I understand. He helps me recognize that this is a recovery journey. Much like a broken bone, I must trust in the healing process and give the medication time to work.

Brightside helped me feel again

The thing I like most about working with my Brightside therapist is his ability to relate to my life. With previous doctor visits, I always left feeling rushed and not heard. I knew that I was missing critical information and questions when I tried to give them eight weeks of information in a one-minute synopsis. Then, when I left the doctor’s office, my brain decided to remember an important question, and I would be forced to wait another eight weeks to get an answer. This pattern was frustrating to me because it felt like my doctor should take my health more seriously. With Brightside, I feel like my health is my therapist’s top priority. He never makes me feel rushed like I often feel while in a doctor’s office. I don’t feel the pressure of another patient waiting for their session after mine—he is focused on me and takes the time to be thorough.

I also love the option to check-in regularly. I don’t have to remember eight weeks of feelings, questions, and information with this option. Instead, my therapist checks in with me frequently, and if I have a question, I can message him right away. 

Seeking treatment has helped me feel again! I find joy in the little things, and I have also learned that it’s okay to celebrate the small victories of treatment. So many things are enjoyable to me now. I could go on and on, but I’ll try to keep them to a quick list. I now enjoy playing guitar and singing, working out, finding new trails and hikes, going out with my friends, feeling comfortable in my own skin.

“Seeking treatment has helped me feel again! I find joy in the little things, and I have also learned that it’s okay to celebrate the small victories of treatment.”

I also love every aspect of Brightside. I like that my prescription comes automatically to my mailbox. I don’t have to think about refills or go to the pharmacy to pick it up. I also like that I can message my therapist any time, and he always responds quickly. No question is too small, and he always responds with a simple answer. I don’t have to research what he means because he makes it so clear to me.

I know I still have a long way to go

Currently, my biggest challenge is being hard on myself for not improving “quickly enough.” I feel like I should work harder or do more, and it’s so nice to have my therapist there to talk to and remind me to be kind to myself. I am doing enough, and each day we get a few steps closer to feeling great.

Before Brightside, I felt like a shell of a human being. On the outside, I felt like my body was going through the motions, but I felt numb inside. Externally, everything in my life appeared to be perfect, and the best it had ever been, but internally, I had no spark. 

My fiancé commented on my singing while cooking dinner the other night, and that was the moment I knew I was on the right track. Not only was I cooking a fresh meal, but I was also absentmindedly singing again. I am so happy with myself for starting this journey and recognizing that I needed help. Since starting my journey, I can see the improvements, and the regular check-ins give me a clear vision of my progress so far. I know that I still have a way to go, but I love seeing how far I’ve come.

“I am so happy with myself for starting this journey and recognizing that I needed help.”

I have chosen to share my story because treatment is a long journey, and I like being able to have someone by my side as I navigate. It’s nice to know that I have someone there who can help me when I stumble and remind me that my depression is not my fault.

Personal essay by Jacquelyn H.


Thank you, Jacquelyn, for sharing your journey with us. For more member stories, check out Marnie’s story, Kyle’s story, and Bridgett’s story. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, you are not alone. Talking about these illnesses is the first step towards destigmatizing the topic of mental health. Get connected with one of our doctors today to figure out if Brightside is right for you.

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