From mental patient to caregiver. How Roseanne (24 years old) overcame her fears

On her arms are the scars of her soul. Baby horse trainer Roseanne Zwart (24) from Felserbruck can now look at her without shame. For years she struggled with her dark thoughts. Now she helps other young people with mental problems.

In the herd, each horse has a unique role. – private group

Her blue eyes sparkle, her dog Matty jumps happily on her lap. Anyone who looks at her will never suspect that Roseanne locked the house at the age of fifteen. For six months she did not go out. Everything outside the door scared her. “Nobody understood me. Not my parents, nor my classmates, nor the teachers. The misunderstanding was so great that I isolated myself.”

Mental problems among young people have risen sharply in the past four years. This is why Roseanne believes it is so important to tell her story. I wish everyone a life of being themselves. To learn what their strengths are and what they are good at.”

Roseanne’s childhood was not easy. Right after her parents divorced, she was hospitalized at the age of seven. There she was diagnosed with diabetes. “My parents were forced to discuss me, when they really didn’t want to. I felt that stress.” She was a sweet, quiet child who lived very much in her own world. “I swallowed the stress and the emotions.”

Anxiety attacks

By the age of fourteen, her physical and mental health had deteriorated. “I was a lot in the hospital, but mentally it wasn’t going well either.” She felt a constant pressure on her chest, she had dark thoughts, anxiety and panic attacks and she began to breathe. I went to therapy once a week. Then I had to use public transportation. Halfway through I didn’t dare go any further, because I thought I was being chased. Then I completely panicked. So that is no longer possible.”

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Roseanne is now helping others with mental health issues – NH News / Elizabeth Stilma

The outside world had become so hostile in her eyes that she no longer dared to leave the house. In the end, Roseanne herself realized that she could not go on like this anymore. “No matter how bad things got with me, I also knew that I wasn’t on this earth for nothing. Then I took the step to voluntarily admit me to a psychiatric clinic.”

Roseanne spent nine months in the clinic. But even there she felt misunderstood. “We were in the woods with the group. Suddenly I panicked. Then the steerage shouted loudly at me that I had to control myself or I was going to destroy it for the whole group.” Comments like this made her crawl into her shell.

She did as she was told. She learned to manage her panic attacks by distracting her or having a conversation. They taught me the techniques, but got the root of the problem wrong. What caused these anxiety attacks? “

“I felt like a tiger raised in a zoo and being released into the wild”


When she got back home, she decided to get a MAVO diploma from VAVO, Adult Education. But yeah, of course it wasn’t easy. I always describe him as a tiger in a zoo and then released into the wild. That’s how I felt. Three months later, I had a relapse.”

You’ve never felt this miserable before. Now she wanted to die. She started to cut herself. Physical pain is always worse than mental pain. It gives you a distraction, but then you have double the pain. I also had suicidal thoughts.”

She overdosed on pills, was hospitalized and barely survived. “Suddenly there was an interest in me. All the emergency services were ready, but there was no way to contact me. I was given a medication that completely flattened me.” A sharp acceptance seemed inevitable. “Everything inside me screamed, No. And I still thank my mother for listening to me and not checking me in. Although she didn’t always understand me, she was always there for me.”

Emotions explode

It was a turning point in her life. You have suddenly stopped taking a medication that you do not recommend to anyone. “All the feelings come like an explosion. The darkness, the panic, the fear and the cut-offs returned. However, I always had tremendous strength in me. I wanted to be happy.”

Her aunt introduced her to horses. It doesn’t matter who or what she was. Horses do not rule. There I can just be who I am.” She pursued EMDR, which is therapy for people with traumatic experiences. She earned a high school diploma and then studied Animal Welfare and Social Work at Clusius College.

herd of horses

It didn’t go away on its own and it cost her a lot of energy. “Going to school was difficult, but I was first seen during my apprenticeship at De Badhoeve’s foster farm in Badhoevedorp.” That she now works there as an assistant is just about right. She also works in Heemstead as a baby horse trainer.

“Every horse has a unique role in the herd, they don’t need to be able to do everything. Too many kids and young adults are so labeled these days. They have autism, ADD, adhd. They are very busy or easily distracted. It’s good for them to be there.” A place they can go and see what they’re good at.”

She rubs the scars on her forearm. Since last year, there has been a tattoo of a graceful butterfly all over him. You can turn every negative thing into something positive. The butterfly symbolizes it. I can show myself. And I hope that with my experience I can help others.”

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