I began experiencing symptoms that I knew on some level were depression and mania but fought to hide them.
Now, when I look back at everything that happened, I realized I'm a more empathetic person.
I think I am a lot more mindful of my actions than I was before.
I would put different affirmations into my notebook and other statements that made me feel better.
I had on deception glasses that wouldn’t allow me to operate as a grounded and aware individual.
Cribbage became a go-to distraction from the monotony of the hospital.
Helping others also helped me get through my own self-healing journey.
As I healed the younger version of myself, I discovered I didn’t need to turn to food for love.
I grew accustomed to the abuse, telling myself everything was my fault.
I set out to not only educate and tell my story but was also hopeful I could help others along the way.
The labor was easier than I expected— or perhaps I was stronger than I thought, mentally and physically.
I realized the man of the house can show vulnerability.
It felt comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one clueless about what love was.
Growing into the person that I am hasn't been linear, even though I tried to make it seem that way.
Following the shooting at Virginia Tech, Ann suffered from PTSD that affected her ability to teach.
Everything is bright, fun, and festive and then suddenly, it is dark, dull, and sad.
I made the decision to make sure what I went through was at least worth it.
Slowing down has changed how I view the world.
Pain helped me gain my identity and my purpose.
Sharing my story has given me a purpose in this world.
I'm continuing to learn all the time. It’s a journey of healing and I’m glad I am on it.
It’s important to find the right people to talk to so you don’t suffer in silence.
Here’s why I say anything is possible; I finally decided to ask for help.
I was in the midst of an eating disorder, and no one seemed to be able to see a thing.
I was a Highly Sensitive Child raised in a home where there was no warmth, and this would carry me into my present.
I have accepted my mental illness does not define me.
I can finally say I’m happy to be here.
I’m much stronger than my mind tries to trick me into believing.
I’ve found joy in helping others through trauma.
I’m finally making peace with my father’s death.
I’ve learned to love myself unconditionally.
I didn’t get my life back, but I’ve found purpose again.
I don’t want anyone else to have to process trauma alone.
I think of my diagnosis as a best friend.
I learned to name my boundaries and keep them.
I needed something outside of myself to care about, something that needed me. A dog would need me.
I’ve lost everything and everyone over and over.
I am still on the spiritual journey that I started when the abuses first began.
Everything in my psyche and soul said, “ENOUGH.”
The hospital was real life in the midst of our distorted reality.
All of us have had struggles so we can all feel safe sharing without judgment.
I didn’t have the words I use today to describe my experiences at the time, I knew I was different.
I was afraid to be alone; I didn’t feel strong enough to be alone.
But if my experiences have taught me anything, it's that we're all in a constant state of recovery.
I can’t be depressed while I help someone else.
I feel I am finally able to stand up for myself without being afraid.
Little did I know that this was the painful beginning of becoming a new person.
I’m grateful to finally be calm and grounded in my body and in my mind.
A beautiful, repeatable, healing process.
When you take a pause and reset, you can learn some very powerful lessons.
What does a child have to be depressed about at eight years old?
Everybody saw what was happening, yet nobody said anything.
I knew something was wrong when I started waking up before 6 am full of energy.
I was my own worst enemy before the diagnosis.
I had always despised running, but those 45 minutes of alone time became invaluable.
Life was really good. Until it wasn’t.
My world tilts and spins all day, every single day.
I’m no longer a child, no longer unsafe.
I thought I was on a mission from God.
I felt like my rights were being violated.