From there to here: A journey of recovery full circle

March 29, 2017 / Amy Krolak  / 
full circle, recovery

Today, I enjoy relaxing in my reclining leather loveseat next to my ten-month-old black lab puppy, Lulu. She rests her warm head on my leg.  I am excited about the impending birth of my first grandchild who is expected later this month. It is now spring and my moods have lifted. On a day like this, with the sun shining and a slight breeze coming in, you would never guess that I am in recovery. On a day like this, it seems impossible that a bit more than 2629 days ago, this day wasn’t going to happen. I thought January 8, 2010, was to be my last day.

My “last” day

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Remembrance of A Valiant Warrior Fallen in Battle

November 10, 2016 / Danei Edelen  / 
valiant warrior fallen suicide nami
* Names have been changed to protect anonymity.

Charles wasn’t the first person to speak up when entering a room, but often times he was the last to leave ensuring everyone had a listening ear. One of the things, I love about being a NAMI presenter, is that you get to hear the other presenters’ stories. When Charles and I presented together, I learned he had struggled with suicidal thoughts since his teens. It wasn’t until he was married with two children that his mental illness first brought him to his knees. For even a warrior like Charles, it took homelessness to get him to admit he needed help.

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Part 2 – The Signs…Recognizing a Friend in Need

August 3, 2016 / Danei Edelen  / 
suicide, tools, signs

Challenge the Storm is not certified to provide professional medical advice, and does not attempt to diagnose any mental health condition. This article presents various warning signs, that should be used to identify possible risks. An evaluation should be sought from a mental health professional in order to receive a proper diagnosis.


Understanding mental illness and learning how to identify those in need, including those who may be fighting thoughts of suicide, is becoming increasingly important. As the number who suffer from mental illness, and as the rate of suicide increases, we must continue to become more educated about the issues so many of us face. This education is a vital asset; it allows you to recognize a friend in need, and to spring into action if, and when, the need arises. Are you prepared?

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Part 1 – Suicide: The Taboo That is Killing Us

July 17, 2016 / Danei Edelen  / 
Suicide taboo

Suicide – the topic no one wants to talk about. However, the silence is actually killing us. Here are the facts:

  1. The suicide rate jumped 24% from 1999 to 2014, according to an April 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1
  2. Suicide is increasing against the backdrop of generally declining mortality, and is currently one of the leading causes of death overall and within each age group. “It is a leading cause of death and we just don’t have a handle on it,” says Matthew K. Nock, a psychology professor at Harvard and one of the country’s leading suicide researchers.2
  3. The nation’s suicide rate is the highest it’s been in 30 years.3
  4. Twenty-two (22) veterans and one service member take their lives each day.4
  5. “According to the CDC, each year more than 41,000 individuals take their own life. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and the 3rd leading cause of death among people aged 10-24”, the National Alliance on Mental Illness website states.5

The problem: benign apathy

I believe that most people have “benign apathy”. In other words, “What does this have to do with my life?” We all have this benign apathy on one topic or another. This is not to say that we don’t care. It simply means that we have not chosen to invest the time and effort to develop the necessary understanding, and the personal connection, to engage in a meaningful way. I have benign apathy about Type 2 Diabetes. I’m not proud of it. I worked with a man who had it. He pricked his finger several times throughout the day. That’s all I know. Only people who have or have someone in their life with a mental illness seem to truly understand. Most people without personal experience use the negative, societal stereotypes as a reference.

There is one major difference with benign apathy towards Type 2 Diabetes and a benign apathy towards mental illness. I never question if Type 2 Diabetes is truly a medical condition.
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