My father, whom I loved so much, was an alcoholic

From Anne Moss: Leslie wanted to post this with her full name but some family members were not in sync with that decision so she posted anonymously. She is a regular part of the Emotionally Naked tribe.

By Leslie

I’ve been silent for so long, I’m struggling with the words, but finding it healing.

Without treatment, addiction to alcohol is progressive and fatal, whether from liver, kidney, stomach and brain diseases, cancer, heart disease, accidents, falls or suicide. My Dad’s addiction, which grew to include the abuse of various prescription medications, took about 40 years to finally kill him at … Read more...

April 17–When my Girlfriend Killed Herself

by Aidan O’Connell, Ireland. The love of his life, Laura, was also Irish

laura
Laura

I am not sure how to start this, how to write this.

In 2007, I was in the middle of my ten-year career as a VIP in Copper Face Jacks, a popular night club in Ireland, and had become separated from my friends (easy to do in a club with 2000 drunk people). To anyone who’s ever been there, you cannot move an inch.

I was sitting on the speakers and downing the drink in my hand when this gorgeous dark haired girl with a crazy … Read more...

You have Bipolar Disorder-Rapid Cycling

tammy ozolins and her dad after bipolar disorder diagnosis
Tammy Ozolins and her Dad

by Tammy Ozolins

This is what the doctor told me during my first hospitalization. I thought it was like a cut and all I had to do was put a band aid on it and I would be good to go.

I told the doctor I have things to do, so let’s just get this fixed.

I truly did not accept my mental illness at this point. I took my medicine. But once I started to feel better, I stopped. Why? Because I thought I knew what was best for me.

Boy, was I wrong!… Read more...

Telling my story after 19 years. In memory of Brett Marshall Hunter

Brett Marshall Hunter
Brett Marshall Hunter

by Leah Osgood

I have been asked several times to share my story and to be honest, I always hesitate. To me, my story is getting pregnant at 19, going through a divorce in my mid 20s, remarried at 28, surprise twins at 30, spontaneously opening a boutique in my late 30s and the list goes on.

It has chapters dealing with decisions, growth and sleepless nights. It is filled with both sadness and joy.

And, although it mentions suicide, that is a chapter I tend to skim. It is the only chapter that I protected and … Read more...

My First Tattoo. Covers my Scars, but Not my Journey

By Tammy Ozolins

Late one night I came home depressed. Living with Bipolar is difficult enough, but the depression was getting the best of me. So, I decided I had enough and I took a handful of my mom’s sleeping pills and was excited to be ending my life.

I then went to my bedroom and I remember the room spinning and I just laid down and the room went black. I woke up the next day and the first thing I said to myself, was “I am so stupid I cannot even kill myself right.” I went for several more weeks, still in … Read more...

Putting my life back together after my best friend’s suicide

Hannah Flanery and Emily Barnhardt

by Emily Barnhardt

If had to choose a phrase that encapsulates my story and the pain and suffering I’ve experienced, it would be: “collateral beauty.”

Several years ago, I lost my best friend and roommate to suicide. It turned my world upside down.

There are no words to explain the devastating grief that washes over you after a complex loss like suicide; it’s as unpredictable and as relentless as waves crashing over the seashore. I wrestled with the never-ending questions and the monstrous-of-all questions, “why?” my best friend killed herself. Time and time again, … Read more...

Billy Derr’s Story

Jenny Derr and Billy Derr

By Jenny Derr, his mother

In April of 2016, our 24-year-old son, Billy was visiting us in Richmond. We had a good weekend–he was engaged, laughing, and spending a lot of time with us, which is not the typical behavior of someone in active addiction.

He had relapsed in October 2015, after a year and a half of sobriety, and seemed to be back on the right track. He was enrolled at Boston University taking two classes and he loved living in Beacon Hill. He flew back to Boston on a Tuesday morning, I took … Read more...

Kelly’s story about her son, Aubrey

Aubrey at wilderness camp

by Kelly

Back in 2016 my 19-year-old son Aubrey who has struggled and started having seizures due to Xanax abuse stopped taking his anti seizure medication because he didn’t like what he had read about it!

Yet, smoking pot, dabs, molly, etc. is OK?

Shortly after that, he convinced us he would take the medication. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t – who knows. But right after that we found him badly impaired and he attacked my husband who had to defend himself and hit him back (not characteristic of my husband at all but Aubrey pushed him … Read more...

Dawson Pettit’s Story

by Laurie Pettit

My son Dawson, my first child, was born February 13, 1988. He was such a happy baby and he grew up in the Wyndham area of Short Pump. He loved school, his friends, his pets and his family–especially his cousin Grayson.

Dawson played little league baseball, YMCA basketball, travel soccer with Richmond Strikers, and he was a brown belt in Karate. He later played Lacrosse, and tennis and golf through High school. Dawson did well in school and was accepted into Deep Run’s Center for Information Technology, his home school and where his friends were.

When the … Read more...