Behind the Hoodie

by Jackie Utley

A poem inspired by a mother who lost her daughter to suicide. One of the contributing factors to her suicide was bullying.

behind the hoodie
Photo by Brandon Mathis on Unsplash

Stepping on the doormat
Doesn’t feel like my home
The familiar smells from the kitchen
Don’t excite my tastebuds anymore.
Dreading the welcoming voices
Whose pitch pearce my ears

I don’t want to know they are happy
My low life has no highs to share
I’ve nothing nice to say anyway
They’ve no idea my world is fractured.

I don’t belong here now I know
Pulling my sleeves over … Read more...

What is ‘gray area’ drinking?

by Kari Schwear

As a former gray area drinker, I found myself living a double life appearing to have it all together, but wrestling with my wine addiction in secrecy. In this story, I explain how I ended up in that place. 

The Beginning

When I was just seven years old, I asked–“Is this all there is to life?” I wondered if life was really so lonely and empty–a profound thought for a 7-year-old.

As time went on, I never seemed to feel any excitement for life. Some special moments stood out, but for the most part, I dreaded school … Read more...

A suicide attempt survivor speaks out

by Jeff Watts

Jeff and his kids

My name is Jeff Watts. I am a husband, dad, teacher, co-founder of an orphan ministry, diagnosed with a mental illness, a four-time psych hospital patient, and a suicide attempt survivor.

I’ll start the part of my story having left home with an associate of arts degree in psychology from a community college. I wanted to be a counselor. I went to an out of state university and lived in an apartment on my own away from the support of my parents for the first time.

I also left the support I had … Read more...

I feel guilty for passing my mental illness to my son

by Gor Rivenshield

I’m 58 and I’ve attempted eight times, nine if you count the train incident, over a period from 1978 to 2011. So, yeah, I’ve struggled with depression and lost at times. Three of those attempts, and the train incident, occurred while taking prescribed psychiatric meds.

I’ve been on just about every anti-depressant, plus meds to counteract (unsuccessfully) the negative effects of the anti-depressants. I’m talking about two to four months of waiting for any, ANY, positive effects. The last psychiatrist just looked at me after we went through the list of meds I’d been on and sighed. … Read more...

Holiday Survival Tactics

by Jenny Derr

This will be our third Christmas without Billy.  Sadly, I know too many people who are in the same boat, or are about to go through their first season without a loved one. 

It has made me reflect back on how we got through, how we coped and came back up for air on the other side.  I thought maybe some of the things I did (and still do) to get through might help someone else. 

We lost Billy in April of 2016 at age 24.  Billy loved Christmas, our whole family does!  I used to … Read more...

No words to describe the grief

by Kerri Jenkins Rhodes

William “Taylor” Rhodes

There really are no words to describe the pain of losing a child.

To wake up each day and find a way to get through it, to find a purpose for the pain, a way to give all the love you want to give to your loved one and to others that need it.

To find a way to make a life for yourself with a huge part of your heart missing.

Unfortunately too many of us are in this awful club. We will all survive this because one day we will meet … Read more...

I need your end of the year stories

I want to present a lot of stories from the tribe at the end of 2019. I’m hoping to get all stories by December 18. You in?

Studies show that telling your story helps move you through your grief. It’s a lot like exposure therapy for PTSD. But those aren’t the only stories I’m looking for.

Are you now in a place where things are going well and you remember a time when it wasn’t? Are you struggling with a child’s addiction? Are you struggling to communicate with a family member who suffers from a mental illness? Is there some … Read more...

Rams in Recovery needs your help

by Michelle Omowaiye
Rams in Recovery, started by my friend Tom Bannard, is a collegiate group of students in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) located at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Just recently, Governor Ralph Northam announced that $675,000 in federal grant money will go towards expanding collegiate recovery programs at eight universities in Virginia.

Rams in Recovery offers space for recovery meetings, organize events and trips, offer recovery housing and scholarships and this group is doing a service project with the goal of creating care bags for the men at The Healing Place.

The … Read more...

Purdue Pharm Victims, we need you

by Jill Cichowicz

The opioid crisis in this country is alarming. Every single day I read about another person dying from an overdose.

I used to believe drug overdoses happened to “those people” and definitely not anyone in my family. We grew up in a strict Catholic household, attending mass weekly and had dinner together every night as a family. My parents were tough, but loving and I remember my childhood as a happy one filled with long days playing outside with my twin brother, Scott.

And then life changed

Those happy days turned dark quickly when I lost my … Read more...

My mom lost her battle with addiction and my world fell apart

by Miranda Booher

Every single day in the United States, 130 lives are lost to opioid overdoses. Children will never see their mommy or daddy again and go into foster care, parents will bury their adult children. Families will pick up the pieces. Partners will left behind to face the brutal realities of this world alone.

The dark day my mom overdosed on morphine

I was 12 years old when my mom started taking pain pills for her chronic back pain that was caused by an extra vertebra in her spine. It didn’t take long for her medication to become … Read more...