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Pain medication leads to an endless cycle of family pain

by Cathy Jo Harper

Jason Brooks Harper

When Jason was 16 years old, he had a car wreck. Six weeks of physical therapy was followed with a new wonder drug for pain, Vicodin…..and a lifetime addiction to opioids.

Through relapses, college, rehab, counseling, the Marines, my life was filled with anxiety over how to help, anger at the situation, and fear; I was losing my son, my firstborn. How would I survive? How would his siblings survive without their big brother, their confidante, and at times their enemy?

Addiction and/or mental illness soon becomes a game the whole family gets … Read more...

Young Adults, I have been in your shoes

By Tammy Ozolins, Middle School Teacher

It is such a cliché I know; your world feels like it is crashing down, you have no energy. You even feel like your world is getting darker and darker and all you want is to see a little glimmer of hope. Your days are long, and you are tired of it all. The walls are closing in on you and you cannot breathe.

Does this sound familiar at all?

That is exactly how I felt when I was at my lowest point of depression (I manage and cope with Bipolar Disorder-which was not … Read more...

We didn’t know…a poem about surviving the suicide of a sibling

by Tammy New Hallstein

Tammy New Hallstein and her brother, Ryland New Jr.

We didn’t know that you were drowning in emotional distress

We didn’t know that you decided that the way to save yourself was to end your life

We didn’t know that we could cry in our sleep; that we could cry so many tears for so long

We didn’t know that the last time we saw you, heard your voice, or shared a conversation, a phone call, or text with you, that it would be the final time

We didn’t know that it was possible to feel … Read more...

Lost and found journal entry from after my daughter’s suicide

Maggie Moyler

by Charlotte Moyler

November 16, 2021 

While straightening up my office, I ran across a ratty-looking notebook. It had no real meaning and I almost tossed it. I am quick to get rid of things. A quick glance through it, made me sit down and read. Unusual entries gave greater meaning as I look back over the years since losing Maggie to suicide

Here is my long-forgotten journal entry… 

April 7, 2014 

I have a story to tell but I don’t want to tell it. It is a very sad story full of great pain and suffering. … Read more...

Taking Back My Life, Bipolar Won’t Win!

by Ashlee Fleming

Ashlee Fleming- I have a daily routine that I stick to even when I’m down, I make sure I show up.”

I remember ever so vividly in middle school, I didn’t feel like myself anymore. 

Something was wrong and I had no clue what it was. I was extremely sad for no reason whatsoever, and it wasn’t the sadness that I was used to. I was having crying spells, I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I had no one to turn to because no one understood and couldn’t possibly know what I was going … Read more...

What does Mania look like for me?

by Tammy Ozolins

In case you were not aware of what Bipolar was, the medical terminology is called manic depressive disorder. This means the person can experience mania (extreme highs) and depression (extreme lows). Now, everyone varies on the extreme, and keep in mind some may also only have manias or depressive episodes.

What do I experience? I experience mixed episodes

So, for me what happens is sometimes I will experience mania symptoms then later that same day I will experience symptoms of depression. Other times it will be one or the other.

I have mentioned before after accepting the … Read more...

A friend I met teaching online lost her son to suicide

by Julie

I can’t even imagine the heartbreak. The helplessness those left behind are feeling. The hopelessness her son felt in the final days when everything went so dark there was no turning back to find the light.

Suicide isn’t a desire to die; it’s a desire to end the pain. Too many beautiful young people have ended their lives trying to end the pain because they can’t see the light at the end of the darkness. We often wonder how they could do this with so much going for them. If only they could see themselves through our lens … Read more...

I’m the mother of a transgender child

by Patti Hornstra

Other than that, my life is now and has always been, wonderful yet largely unremarkable. My story, my journey, started four years ago. My ‘normal’ life was suddenly a whirlwind of tension, research, confusion, and therapy; none of which proved productive for me.

About two years ago I realized that I had things bottled up inside that needed to be said. So, I started to write down my thoughts, my memories, my feelings. And then, one day—voila!—I had written a book.

My book, When He Was Anna: A Mom’s Journey Into the Transgender World, is a … Read more...

A Dance with the Devil. My son’s decades-long battle with addiction and recovery.

by Connie

Connie

New Year’s Day 2020…my cell phone rings, I recognize the number. It is our son, who has been in an addiction spiral for the past eight months. 

Mom, if I don’t get out of Richmond I am going to die.”

Another New Year starting with the same message for the past 15 years. With each request, rehab, and relapse my husband and I had grown weary from the emotional, financial, and spiritual drain this disease had inflicted upon our family. We had learned detachment, setting boundaries, quit enabling, and threw out tough love methods.

We … Read more...

What is 710 day?

by Laura Stack, Founder Johnny’s Ambassadors

710 day dabs

Make sure you know where your teenagers are at 7:10 PM on July 10.

Why? Because 710 is Dab Day. Turned upside down, the digits 710 spell “OIL.”

Why? Because participants are high on cannabis oil, which is one type of high-potency marijuana. While 420 Day celebrates marijuana in general, 710 Day celebrates the high-potency extracts called “dabs.” At 7:10 PM, users will celebrate the holiday with a dab.

What is a dab? Dabbing involves extracting the THC (the part that gets you high) from the cannabis plant (see photo). Users place a small … Read more...

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