Ashley Lindsey

Ashley Lindsay is a junior at the University of Toledo (UT). She is studying to become a Recreational Therapist. Living with anxiety, she often feels overwhelmed and unable to focus.

Therapy has transformed her mindset, allowing her to focus on her education. Ashley believes that furthering her education will be beneficial to her life and others she works with. She is currently a Recreational Therapy Assistant at Orchard Villa. Working in this field allows Ashley to explore a potential future career path while supporting those with disabilities.

  • Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society member
  • UT Honors Award scholarship
  • Deans list I Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018

--- Essay
"One day, I want to wake up and matter; not to you, or the world, but to myself."

My name is Ashley Lindsay and I have an invisible disability. Anxiety is difficult to overcome and sometimes I feel like I'm powerless against my own mind. It is not easy to describe how my anxiety feels, especially since it can be different for everyone. Personally, I would say it is like having a million or more sticky notes in my brain; some recall past events, some remind me of future events, and many remind me of what has gone wrong, what could go wrong, and how some catastrophe is going to happen.

Last year my anxiety reached unprecedented highs and without therapy, I had no way to cope. In 2018, I checked myself into the hospital because I felt I had nothing left to live for. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made and was provided with resources to help with my illness.

At the peak of my disability, I missed school, failed homework, performed poorly at work, and distanced myself from everyone I had cared about. Some people around me said I was lazy, distracted, clingy, oversensitive, immature, and many more I refuse to recall. It was hard to be motivated when people were consistently bringing me down. Once I started cognitive behavioral therapy at Unison Health, my life began to change. It is a slow process, but it will be worth it. One of the first things my therapist wanted to do was identify my life goals. I needed direction and something concrete to focus on instead of my million sticky note thoughts. I identified my college education as a goal, the most important goal I believe finishing my education will provide me with the means to change my situation and improve my life. Although I am a senior by credit hours, I discovered a major that meant a lot to me. Since I switched into the program late, it tacked on one extra year of college. I discovered this career path in high school when I found a nursing home to volunteer with. Eventually, Orchard Villa hired me. Each time I head to work, I have the opportunity to make people feel important and that they mattered. I slowly fell in love with my job and decided to align my education with what I loved.

Now, I am a junior in honors in the Recreational Therapy Program at the University of Toledo. I am so close to graduation and on to my profession of helping people become better versions of themselves.