The Town I Grew Up From

What a now-defunct Walgreens taught me about living (originally posted on Medium.com) The town I grew up in has 28,625 people. It's a town my sister left, flying all the way across the country to find herself. (While I chose the more expensive route of hospital stays and therapy.) It's a town full of memories and pain, nostalgia and heartbreak. But mostly, it's full of family. Family...

Sunday marks eleven years since I was raped

Dear 13-year-old, One day, you'll wake up, and you'll be sad. Not about what happened about your past, really. Sadness about that is inevitable. You'll be sad about what's happening in your present, in your current moments. You'll be sad, but you'll be afraid to be sad. You'll sit in his office one day, ok, many days actually, his diplomas hanging on the wall, next to the bookcase on your left....

It’s not yours to carry

As I write this, I’m sitting in front of the altar in the sanctuary of my church—the church I attend and the church where I work. Twenty-four hours ago, I told a pastor and close friend that there are some days when I walk into this building I call home and feel like I can’t be here—shouldn’t be here. I’m too broken, too bruised, too shattered. But this is a sanctuary—a literal...

How to stop relying on the approval of others.

I'll admit that this is something I'm still working on so this might be more for me than for you. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash I sent her a text the other day, freaking out because I was spiraling. I accidentally texted someone on their day off, and I was convinced they now hated me. She simply replied: "Why does his approval matter so much to you?" The fact of the matter is, it's not just...

This changes everything

Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.JK Rowling I didn’t realize the power of prayer until I was sobbing at the altar, through the prayer, through the closing song, through the benediction. I didn’t realize the power of prayer until I had an army of people surrounding me, and for the first time in my life, I felt the Holy Spirit truly move. It was the Sunday...

Tell me about the rabbits

a letter to my mental health Photo by Jackson Jorvan from Pexels I don't really spiral as much as I go down a rabbit hole and can't find my way back, I explained to the psychiatrist who saw me the morning after I went to the ER. I go down a rabbit hole, and I can't find my way back, and lately, there's too many rabbits and too many holes for me to even sleep soundly at night, and they're long...

Practical tips for living on your own for the first time

Don't check yourself into the psych ward if you still have dirty dishes in the sink. You'll come back 48 hours later with a crusty layer of dried chicken on your hand-me-down plate. But by then, it won't be your mess to deal with; your sister has volunteered to do the dishes.Do your dishes every night. Or, at the very least, rinse them off after use. Don't let more than two days worth sit in the...

living life palms up

finding the will to live amidst the trauma Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels The first thing I learned in therapy was to validate myself--validate the past versions of me that were hurt, validate the parts of myself that are hurting now; another thing I learned while completing the 'Emotional Regulation' section of DBT theory, designed to help manage the effects of Borderline...

This is what healing looks like

“But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.” ― Albert Camus I always thought I'd end up killing myself one day; that's the way I'd go out--swallowing a bottle of pills, driving into a tree, or jumping out a window. So many ways to die; not enough time to execute them all. (See what I did there?) But then healing has this way of sneaking up on you, of...

How to survive a panic attack in three acts

Prologue:  On the bulletin board next to my desk is a handwritten checklist from my therapist: is it truthful? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If no, let it go. .  .  . Act 1:  Hold an ice cube in your hand, squeeze it until all you can focus on is the pain shooting up your arm. Nobody found me there, sitting in the workroom, rocking back and forth. I was paralyzed by some unidentifiable fear, a...