Part 3 – My Story…The Tale of a Good Samaritan

August 17, 2016 / Danei Edelen  / 
project semicolon, good samaritan

My Dance with Death…

If you would see me today, you would never imagine me as a person who had tried to take her own life. That’s the point. According to the National Mental Health Association, a 2000 study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that approximately 25 to 50 percent of patients with bipolar attempt suicide at least once  (1).

I will always regret that my family was not educated about my mental illness sooner. Now that I am in recovery, I can rationally understand how life gets busy. But just like my psychologist explained, I was sitting in that pit with my entire psychological house broken into a thousand pieces during that time. I was confused, having difficulty focusing; I felt overwhelmed, vulnerable and afraid. As I watched them seemingly walk blithely away saying, “I’ll be praying for you! Call me if you need anything!” I reached up my arm to stop them but my wrist was missing pieces. I cried for help, but hadn’t put my mouth together yet. I remember endless days of feeling so lonely that it ached in my bones – my foundation crumbling from beneath me. Luckily, a Good Samaritan came along. (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

(more…)

Finding Peace of Mind: Is Your Depression Your Identity?

May 19, 2016 / Alex Hanna  / 
peace of mind

Firstly, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. People will take stances on both sides. I, too, have my stance on this matter. Which you’ll hear more about in a second. It is important to understand that each person will find his or her peace of mind in different ways.

Your Peace of Mind…Does your depression define who you are?

Have you let it control all aspects of your life? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, or even paused to think about it, you aren’t alone. So many of us have felt that sense of dread, just from thinking of walking out your front door. You know that you shouldn’t, but you do. And you resent yourself for it. 

When posed with this question, most people will instinctively (and often defensively) answer with a resounding “NO”. But then they spend the next 12 hours really thinking about it, ruminating over the notion that maybe it could be true. And that, alone, perpetuates the cycle…again. The internet is littered with articles about you are not defined by your illness, whether it be anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or cancer. You are you, you are not your illness. 

But…do you believe that?

(more…)

Need Your Advice

April 23, 2016 / Alex Hanna  / 
Need your advice

Can you help?

I could really use your advice on something. In fact, I need your advice. Over the past 8 months, we’ve seen our organization grow, change, and struggle to find our true identity. Well, we’re beginning to settle in on who we are, and how we want to make our impact. But we need your help…

With mental illness becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society, it is critical that we all continue to learn more about its impacts on individuals, and on our community. Only then, can we begin to fight back.

We appreciate your honesty:

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Where Do I Go?

January 4, 2016 / Alex Hanna  / 
surrounded by fog, where do i go

Have you been there? Completely surrounded by fog, while still in your human body? The first question that always pops into my mind is “where do I go?”. All logic, all reasoning, any hope of action eludes me. But then, there is a beam of light that shines ever so gently onto your brow, and with that warmth, brings ecstasy. 


Where do I go when surrounded by fog

so dense I can hardly breathe?  

Repulsively palpable – my lungs filled with smog,  

so lost – nobody will grieve.  

  

Impossible to tell  

whether it’s day or its night.  

Fear washes over  

that I’ve seen my last light.  

(more…)

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