Casey Leigh might never have made an appointment to see a counselor if she hadn’t heard two women talking about their mental health journeys on a true crime podcast. The 27-year-old Fargo woman had convinced herself she didn’t need therapy. That it was something other people needed more than she did.
Hearing the podcast hosts be so open about their mental health inspired Casey to contact The Village Family Service Center to address the anxiety and depression she’s struggled with since the age of 12. “I have childhood trauma that stems from neglectful parents,” she says. “I’m very negative toward myself to a point where it gets to be self-destructive.”
Panic attacks would cripple her. The pressure placed on her while growing up was suffocating.
Casey started regular sessions with Village therapist Chris Bietz. Chris’ words became the voice in the back of Casey’s heads that drowned out the negative messages.
You’re not being irrational.
Your feelings are valid.
You are trying.
It’s OK to take time for yourself.
What you’re doing is good enough.
“Chris is amazing and super helpful. I have never felt judged. I’ve always felt incredibly comfortable,” Casey says.
Casey says she handles anxiety much better now. When a panic attack starts, she can calm down so it doesn’t interfere with her work as much.
Chris also encouraged Casey to journal. Casey has shared some of her writing on social media to positive response, including a poem she recorded as a TikTok video on her cake decorating account.
“It is an amazing thing to have a person that is on the outside looking in,” Casey says about therapy. “They see all the things you do not. I’m a very strong believer that everybody should see a therapist at some point.”
And Casey might never have made her first appointment, if not for an honest conversation on a true crime podcast.