But who takes care of you?

June 22, 2016 / Claire Kopko  / 
who takes care of you

“…But who takes care of you?”

Driving on I-10 in the middle of the Coachella Valley can be tricky at times. Combine the iffy driving skills of hundreds of snowbirds with intermittent sand storms, and it’s a recipe for a lot of near misses. After nearly being sideswiped by a Cadillac just before my intended exit, I thought, “If that car would have hit me, I wouldn’t have to go to work.”

The Life I Chose…

It wasn’t until months later that I realized how disturbing that thought was. I was on my way to work at a busy physical therapy clinic, already dreading the stress of the impending day, and counting down until quitting time before I even parked my car. I knew that once I stepped into the clinic, I would be on the go for the next ten hours, seeing anywhere from 15-25 patients during that time. Then I would head home to complete the day’s documentation, which would be an additional two to five hours of work from my couch. Faxes would be sent to doctors’ offices at 11:00 PM, just before I got ready for bed and prepared to do it all again the next day. (more…)

Challenge the Storm - Where it all Started

June 21, 2016 / Alex Hanna  / 
challenge the storm

The Story Behind Challenge the Storm 

In May, 2015, the idea for Challenge the Storm was born. Poetry had been an outlet I used to channel my anxiety for just under six months. On a stormy evening, flying up the east coast, it dawned on me that I was not the only person struggling - something that we all know, but often fail to truly acknowledge. Each person on that airplane had their own unique struggles. Pain is not relative. Pain is just pain. We must support one another throughout our own unique struggles. Together, we will fight. Together we will battle on.

Ash Beckham articulates this with such clarity, in her 2013 talk at TEDxBoulder1

Hard is not relative. Hard is hard. Who can tell me that explaining to someone you’ve just declared bankruptcy is harder than telling someone you just cheated on them? Who can tell me that his coming out story is harder than telling your five-year-old you’re getting a divorce? There is no harder, there is just hard.

Source:   Ash Beckham: We’re all hiding something. Let’s find the courage to open up

The decision to change yourself

When we look around at a world so full of jealousy and resentment, each moment is an opportunity to make a difference. A kind word, a helping hand, the smallest gesture can make the biggest difference. We so often refuse to acknowledge the challenges faced by those who we view with envy. We see the new car, a bigger house, a tailored suit - but do we see the stress, the issues at home, the failing health? No. We plead ignorance to the existence of anything less-than-perfect, in our imperfect world. So I ask you this: what will you do when you are faced with your next challenge? What will you do when you recognize someone else is struggling?

We make important decisions each time we encounter such situations. We can choose to ignore them, pretend as if all the pain and hardship will go away if we shut our eyes tight enough. Or we can choose to face our storms head on: to battle the very thing that frightens you, taking away the power it once held over your head. Your resilience in the face of adversity screams like thunder for all to hear. You roar from the mountaintops: you will not be defeated, you are not afraid.

The decision to influence others


Letter to My Colleagues about My Mental Illness

June 12, 2016 / Danei Edelen  / 
Letter to my colleagues about my mental illness

I still remember driving to work for my first day at the first job after my psychotic break. I was so scared. The night before I had laid out all my clothes and taken my shower to be as ready as possible. I got up extra early to have time to “just be ready”. My mental illness caused the psychotic break two years earlier. Since then, I have been rebuilding myself, overcoming a gauntlet of “first” fears.

My mental illness and my psychotic break

My psychologist explained to me that having a psychotic break is like having a psychological house with a cracked foundation. In addition, there’s a pit underneath your house. So, when the foundation breaks, your entire psychological house falls down into the pit and breaks into a thousand pieces.

Picking up the pieces

Well, my house fell into that pit, and it fell far, shattering my whole world. As if you are experiencing a fit of Vertigo, eyes dilated, attempting to pick up the pieces of this abstract puzzle. Among the pieces, you find a few which look ominously familiar: the corner pieces of your puzzle.

  1. Grieving the loss of your own identity
  2. Acting as an experimental guinea pig for doctors, who seem to be playing Russian Roulette to find the right cocktail of medications for you
  3. Opinionated friends telling you, “Now that you are home, why don’t you clean out those closets you never had time for!”
  4. Family unsure of how to act around you, not knowing how to best support you

It’s my job to put myself back together again. After my break, working full-time again was my goal. I was so afraid that my whole brain would turn to “French blue cheese” filled with striated blue mold, rendering it useless. I was afraid that I had lost my intellect, my creativity, my ability to write, and the power to communicate with others. But my puzzle is nowhere near being complete.

My “First” fears


Find a Friend in Solitude

June 1, 2016 / Alex Hanna  / 
friend in solitude, solitude, sun, morning

When you find yourself in that space - when you find a friend in solitude

I often find myself sitting alone, begging for solitude - and its ok. I have a friend in solitude. We all do. But I find myself waiting for the lost days  the sun shines, but not in deep anticipation. Just waiting, alone.

She lay no foundation for expectation;
Only faith that whatever may be
Is ok

Curated:   Solitude — Poets Unlimited — Medium

When you find yourself in this space, know that solitude is not the beast that we envision lingering in the night. It is not the dark coffin that you are buried in. It is a quiet and sacred space: for you, and for yourself, and for your sanity.

But when you open your eyes and are surrounded by solitude, never forget that there is a guiding light which will illuminate your path. You must be willing to see that light: follow it back into the warm glow of the daytime sun. The light is there, it always is. So next time you find yourself dwelling in solitude, just remember that the light is waiting for you. Take that first step.



View More Results…
Skip to toolbar