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I Am Not Mental Illness Ashamed (M.I.A.)

Trigger Warning: Strong emotional content and suicide method referenced. If you are in crisis, text “help” to 741-741 or call 988

david snell

by Dave Snell

About five years ago I read a speech Wil Wheaton gave concerning his dealings with Chronic Depression and Generalized Anxiety.  More importantly, it was about how he is not ashamed of admitting that he lives with those diagnoses. What troubled me though was he only focused on a couple of particular types of mental illness.  Like cancer, there are many types of mental illness, but we seem to focus on a few of them.  I have … Read more...

Child abuse, shame, and recovery

by James

Trigger warning: Strong Emotional Content.  

I was born in a beautiful little town in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The first nine years of my life were wonderful. However, in 1967, my childhood was abruptly ruined by my best friend’s older brother. 

Often, when I would go to play at my best friend’s house, his older brother would be home hiding in the shadows waiting for his opportunity to abuse me. I remember being there and hearing the sound of a door locking and knew I was in trouble. I would get this sinking feeling in my gut, knowing … Read more...

Story from a Timeboy1408 fan

Timboy1408 video Cosby Gangsta Rap, 2008. Charles and Jacob

My name is Katherine and my friends and I used to watch your son, Charles on YouTube religiously when we were 13. Like every day, we were watching Timeboy1408 and would laugh until we couldn’t breathe.

A lot of our inside jokes were and still are things your son said in those videos. I’m now 25 years old and something made me think about those laughs we had so I went to see how he was doing. My heart broke when I saw that he had killed himself.

Recently, I’ve been … Read more...

Adam Paul Tilton, 1973 – 1993

Beloved Son and Brother

by Andy Tilton

“You are out of our reach, but not out of our hearts and minds.”

Mental Wellness begins with these words spoken out of necessity for a healthy recovery and mental healing:

Dear and Precious Adam,

As your father, I wish to express my brokenness and bitterness over your departure from our reach.

After searching my mind and heart, I am now ready to forgive you for leaving your sister, mother, and me so soon and without a word or explanation.

I have come to accept the fact that your pain was so severe … Read more...

Re-Educated Podcast: Suicide Prevention through Education

by Goutham Yegappan, Data Scientist, Center on Education and the Workforce, Host of the “Re-Educated” Podcast, and Graduate Student, at Georgetown University

What gives my life meaning and purpose that makes the suffering that I currently and will eventually endure, worthwhile? This is perhaps the most pressing question a person must answer at some point throughout their life. For every time we inevitably struggle, our reasons for trekking forward are shaken and thoroughly questioned.

Similarly, with love (episode 25), our education system fails us when it comes to contending with death and meaning. Western education seemingly over-values that which … Read more...

The importance of suicide awareness. We are all more alike than we think

by Tammy Ozolins

I recently watched the movie Dear Evan Hansen and I want to share how I related so much to this movie with my mental health journey.

One of the movie’s characters named Connor does die by suicide and I felt like he suffered in silence. When I was in high school, I had a good friend Brian Rini with whom I was very close. I absolutely loved him, and he was such a great guy. During our college years, he took his own life and it rocked my world.

I was devastated and always wondered why. I … Read more...

Tips for checking into the psych hospital. Checking yourself in or someone else

by Tammy Ozolins

The Mental Health epidemic is on the rise and I know many people of all age ranges are dealing with mental health issues. I know trying to get help can be quite challenging and this unfortunately is a reason why some people do not seek help. The realization of this came true when I was helping a friend who needed to check into a facility.

I have been hospitalized twice in my life due to bipolar disorder. One was for a suicide watch and the other time because I was having a manic episode and had been … Read more...

It’s been 9 years since the last time I saw you

by Cayla Fendick

Trigger Warning: Strong emotional content and suicide method referenced. If you are in crisis, text “help” to 741-741 or call 988

Cindy Fendick and her daughter Cayla Fendick

You were sitting at the counter at the Park Diner. It was the first and only time you had ever visited me at work, and I couldn’t believe you actually did come. Earlier that morning,

I was at your apartment, like almost every other morning you had off work–drinking coffee. You literally always made the best coffee and I “stole” one of your shirts (I still have it). You … Read more...

One can never predict the future. Or change the past.

by Liza Sierra

Trigger Warning: Strong emotional content and suicide method referenced. If you are in crisis, text “help” to 741-741 or call 988

John Michael Carrington, 12/27/1984 – 05/07/2018

At 17, I enjoyed loud music, hanging with friends, and like any other teenager, online chatrooms. One day I got a message from a guy who was 19, single, and from the U.K! I was completely fascinated by him, being that I’m from Texas.

We exchanged pictures, and phone numbers and we both got into so much trouble for running up our parent’s phone bills back then. (Sorry Mom). It … Read more...

Addiction and substance misuse pose a safety risk at work. A personal story.

by Leslie Hanson

“Your mom isn’t answering the phone.  I’m worried about her.  Can you check on her?”  Immediately following this text, my cell phone rang with a familiar phone number. It was my mother’s cousin, Laurie. I knew why she was calling.  Cousin Laurie spoke with my mother daily and routinely called me when she could not be reached.  

Over the years, I came to address these calls with diminished urgency as experience taught me my mother was either ignoring the calls or incapacitated by her addiction to opioids. Cousin Laurie had designated herself as my mother’s keeper … Read more...

Dear mother. You cannot reduce me.

by Jeannette, daughter of a narcissist and a psychologically abusive mother

You may see the title of this and think that it’s an attack…it’s not. It’s an opportunity for us to grow together and teach future generations to break the cycle-the cycle of narcissism. Restore empathy and unconditional love.

I am the child that so desperately wanted and needed your love. I needed you to show me my self-worth, and teach me how to maintain boundaries in order to survive this sometimes cruel and bitter world. You didn’t…

I am able to extend the empathy and unconditional love that … Read more...

THC warning labels where marijuana is legalized can help curb a homeless crisis

by Heidi Anderson-Swan

California’s SB 1097, warns about the mental health risks of high potency THC

Denver on the unofficial stoner holiday April 20, 2021

California’s SB 1097 seeks to mandate warning labels on all marijuana products, with special warnings on high THC content.

The warnings would include the increased risk for mental illness. Recently, Colorado led the nation to become the first state to mandate stronger warnings on the high potency marijuana concentrates to its consumers.

It is a matter of public health, and human decency, that California consumers as well as other citizens of states where marijuana has … Read more...

Reflections of losing my twin brother to overdose

By Jill Cichowicz

When my mom asked me to read the reflection at Scott’s funeral, I thought to myself, “How can I sum up a relationship and a bond that I shared with him for 38 years in 3-5 minutes?”

Reflections from Scott’s Memorial Service

Luckily, you all had the pleasure of knowing Scott as well, he was obnoxiously obsessed with the Chicago Bears, could sell anything to anyone, argue about anything to anyone that would debate him, and had a charming way about him as well as dashing good looks.

They say you get in the biggest fights with … Read more...

Confessions of a stressed-out teacher and what I’m doing about it

4 Tips for Managing Teacher Burnout and Stress

by Tammy Ozolins

Ms. Oz, middle school health and PE teacher

I know other educators can agree with me when I say I surely did not learn how to manage my own mental health as a teacher when I was going to college to prepare myself for education (as far as teaching virtually, and hybrid and in the pandemic). I teach Middle School and I have now been teaching for about 17 years. Last year and this year by far has been the toughest yet.

We always have had duties, but this … Read more...

THC, young minds, and suicide

by Bart Bright

Bart, his wife, his now-deceased son, Kevin

My son, Kevin, died by suicide on August 14, 2018. He was 29.

The last articulate words I heard him speak were, “Cannabis has ruined my life.” He suffered many episodes of Cannabis Induced Psychosis, a diagnosis in the DSM-5. Over the last two years, I have communicated with hundreds of parents whose children have suffered from Cannabis Induced Psychosis.

In Colorado in 2017, marijuana was present in the blood of 32% of suicides, ages 15 to 19 according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. My friend … Read more...