By Evelyn Jervey Willburn | Featured Contributor
Looking back, I would say that the first time I became depressed was when I entered fourth grade. That year, my class was divided into two groups, and I found myself separated from all my previous year’s playmates. I didn’t bounce back: that year started my long, mostly self-imposed exile at school. At recess, I paced the perimeter of the playground, and as I moved up through the grades, I effectively rendered myself invisible. The occasional thoughtless comment that came my way from some popular kid became my excuse for further isolation. Once in seventh grade I went to see the school counselor, and she showed me a poster on her wall. In the poster, a group of cartoon hippos were piling into a small boat, threatening to swamp it. The caption read, “More is not always better.” That message stayed with me, in the background, but it was many years before I really understood it or was able to assimilate it into my worldview.
Continue reading “In Which I Face Down Depression and Gain the Upper Hand”
By Abigail A. | Featured Contributor
Anxiety. One word, four syllables—but carries such a heavy load for millions of people across the globe. Anxiety is defined as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes.” As a young girl, I have always known that something didn’t feel quite right when: a) I felt faint whenever it came to public speaking, b) I hated the thought of confrontation, and c) I always felt nervous when it came to being around a group of people, etc. I never knew what it was until 20 something years later when my doctor diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder, aka GAD & SAD. I finally had a name for what I was feeling all these years as a child/teenager and into adulthood. Numerous factors contributed to me developing anxiety. However, in my early twenties, I battled severe depression, and If I ever lost all hope in life, it was those 5 years because those were my darkest mental days. As the saying goes, I wish that on no one because it was a very scary place to be in.
Continue reading “Battling Anxiety & Depression: Abigail’s Story”
By Yvonne Aoll | Featured Contributor
Last June, I went blind in my left eye from a laser eye surgery gone wrong.
It would take a speedy instinctive quest for a second opinion, three more months, an older more experienced surgeon and another agonizing correction surgery, for my left eye’s vision to be restored. Thanks to the top-notch, wildly skilled, second ophthalmology surgeon I visited, I can see much clearly now with both eyes, with no need for spectacles or contacts. However, the months during which my left eye remained blind, while filled with unspeakable worries, also served as a crash course in mindfulness.
Continue reading “Blackout: How Going Blind for 3 Months Taught Me to Be Mindful”
By Michelle Lande Clark (aka Bipolar Bandit) | Featured Contributor
My name is Michelle Clark and I started suffering from severe depression at the age of 13. I would just cry and cry for no reason, could not concentrate or do simplest tasks like vacuuming. I would miss two weeks of school at a time. I had a severe manic episode at the age of 17 that resulted in a hospitalization. It was during the three-month stay at the hospital that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Continue reading “Fighting the Battle: Michelle’s Story”
By Michele Lee Sefton, M.Ed. | Featured Contributor
“Oh, God,” I pleaded, “Please let me dance with my daughter again.”
That desperate plea flooded my brain during a moment that shattered a picturesque and perfect morning, several years ago, just two days before Christmas. My husband and I had just returned home from a long bicycle ride, when I remembered that our daughter’s preschool teacher had asked for a playpen donation to house a litter of pups. Caught up in the spirit of giving, it seemed like the perfect time to climb into our attic and retrieve our daughter’s playpen. I climbed the pull-down ladder and stepped into the dark and dusty space. My husband was at the bottom of the ladder, waiting for me to lower the playpen down to him. My simple act of generosity did not go according to plan. As I was attempting to lower the playpen, I slipped and in an instant I crashed through drywall, which sent me plummeting to the garage floor below.
Continue reading “Please Let Me Dance Again: Michele’s Story”
By Chris Otcasek (aka Mr. Ohh!) | Featured Contributor
Hello! I have a question for you all. I would like to ask how you grew up? How were you treated? When I grew up, I had asthma, and was not treated well. The thing is…no one was in those times. I would run the 100-meter dash and run out of breath after 25. It wasn’t so bad that the other children told me I ran like a truck, but when the coach did as well it made me feel I wasn’t trying hard enough. Well, I tried harder and got worse.
Some folks find this abuse depressing and are scarred. I grew to fight harder, and when I was laughed at, I learned to laugh at myself as well. It was a sad existence. Bullying is cruel but it must be survived. Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” It’s a lie that which does not kill us gives us one more thing to avoid. For me, that became everything. And it continued throughout my working life.
Continue reading “Why I Choose to Laugh Daily: Chris’ Journey”
Written by an Anonymous Author | Contributed by Madueke Paschal
Being born in any of the underdeveloped countries of the world is so much of a burden to carry, but much worse is if you were unfortunate enough to be born with a congenital disease. As far back as I can remember, I was always being carried from health center to health center looking for a blood type that matched mine. What charge was I guilty of? I was diagnosed with sickle cell disease. Even more unfortunate, my blood type is A-negative; one of the rarer blood types there are (as I have been told).
Continue reading “To You, the Blood Donor: From a Sickle Cell Survivor”