“Confession of a Surviving Liar” – Coping This Is Who We Are, Entry 24

Trigger warning: this post discusses suicide.

Below, we have a coping piece written by our friend Icess Fernandez Rojas. This piece is not only powerful and emotional, but a symbol of strength. Thank you, Icess, for  bravely sharing your story with us.

“All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.”

― James Baldwin

“We each survive in our own way.”

― Sarah J. Maas

July 2015

I am a liar.

I know how to react when the question comes. I know what will happen if I answer with the truth. I know what I will do if I think about the truth too long.

“Icess, do you want to hurt yourself or others?”

“No. Of course not,” I say straight-faced, like answering whether I wanted red or white wine with my dinner.

A check mark on the clipboard. Then the next question. Topic dropped. Another fooled.

If I answered yes, I would be immediately admitted somewhere where I couldn’t hurt myself, watched for a day or two, and then something about medicine. I wanted to get to the medicine part, to the part where chemistry was going to fix me.

The real answer to that question was yes. I thought about killing myself like people planned out their vacations. There was a letter crafted. Instructions. Simple. Direct. Perhaps reassuring. Hopefully reassuring.

My death would be just as simple, just as direct. No blood. Nothing to clean up. Neat. Clean. Even in my death I thought of others, of the people behind me who have to clean up the mess literally and figuratively.

Damn it, not even my death was my own.

Coping: This Is Who We Are dear hope

“The Violent Ward” – Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 22

By: Leif Gregersen

He had me firmly by the left arm and was twisting it.  It hurt bad, and he was going to take me back there again, to ‘the room.’

“Wade, you don’t need to force me, I’m not resisting you.”

Wade was a good looking guy with shoulder length brown hair and a neatly shaved face with a well kept moustache.  He twisted my arm more as he walked me to the isolation room and looked down at it.  I looked at his face again, and I could see him smiling, trying not to laugh at the fact that his actions were severely hurting me to the point of injury.  He had to be a closet psychopath.  Me, I was only psychotic.

Wade brought me to the side room, shoved me inside and slammed the door.  I could hear the metallic click of the magnetic lock that only opened from the outside.  I was back, and I hated the feel of the white painted walls, the hard floor with the interrupted pattern of small tiles on it that seemed to put messages in my head.  Most of all I hated that nothing I could do would get me out of there before someone on the other side of that door felt like opening it.

I had so much anger, so much pain inside me that when the staff put me in the side room, I would cut loose.  I screamed a string of profanities as loud as I could, and let go as many hard kicks to the door as humanly possible.  I did this until I was hoarse and my shoeless feet ached.  I don’t know what I was accomplishing, but it helped me calm down, and the staff never seemed to be able to give me trouble for it, so I kept doing it.

The room was small, maybe 12 feet by 12.  There was nothing in it, no TV, no padding, no window.  My only companion was the air conditioning unit in the corner built into the wall.  It hummed out a throaty, low sounding waft of cold air for a few minutes every hour.  Still, the air seemed pretty stale in there.  It was institutional air, a lot of other people had breathed it in an out before me and I would likely breathe the same air in again in the near future.


All I had in that room was a bottle to piss in, a plastic mattress and what they called a strong sheet.  There was no way to hang yourself or injure yourself in any way unless you got creative like I had done, and you kicked at the thick metal door until you felt like your foot would break.  I saw people pick at the linoleum if they were motivated to find a way and take a little piece of the stuff to try and cut their wrists.  It rarely worked.

I had arrived on that ward about five months ago.  I had been living alone, and it seemed like everything was going right for me.  I had credit cards, I took trips, I had a car and led an active life. For some inexplicable reason, I decided that I could lower my medications—not a lot, just a little.  It was a mistake that nearly cost me my life.  At the very least it cost me the next six months of my life that I spent in that horrible place.

My psychiatrist seemed to have no interest in helping me.  I had gotten sick of the doctor’s inaction and the fact that he never talked to me, and I ended up telling the nurses and other staff members that he was incompetent.  They laughed and told me to tell him that.  Little did they know I was just crazy enough to do so.

“You’re incompetent, and I want a different doctor,” I said.

“Get out.” He said in reply.

That was it.  ‘get out.’  The next weeks and months went by so slowly I could hardly stand it.  I didn’t get a new doctor or any help from the old one.  Once he came by to tell me that I would be put in jail if I kept making phone calls to people.  I had called a former girlfriend’s dad one time to ask him a couple of questions, and he had gone ballistic.  No one took into account that I made no threats or insults, and I was severely mentally ill at the time.

My doctor had left instructions that at the first sign of any problems they could put me in the side room without hesitation.  There was no judge and jury process, no need to contact a supervisor, they just had to gang up and throw me in, with or without injecting me with something ominous, and they could leave me in there as long as they wanted.  Over the next five months, I must have been in that room more than a hundred full 24-hour stays.  I tried everything to get back at them for this injustice.  They had set things up so even the ward receptionist could have me put in the side room for absolutely no reason.  One time I filled the piss bottle and then tossed it under the door frame.  Another time I took my mattress and tipped it against the wall and hid behind it making them have to come in and take it away from me.  I like to think that my spirit couldn’t be defeated, that I had a will that would outlast those bastards, but it didn’t work out that way.  I turned into a simpering wreck in the long, tedious, painful and arduous months.  I even made a phone call to the Canadian Special Intelligence Service thinking they had been torturing me for information.  What they didn’t sweat out of me they tranquilized out of me with a long list of medications.


Then one day my doctor took a short vacation.  I got a chance to see the Psychiatrist, and he had me immediately taken to a ward that didn’t even have a side room.  After all that waiting, all those ‘side room’ visits, I was put back on the medication that I was taking before my hospital stay—but now at the proper dose.  I got better within a month, good enough to walk right out of that place.

The next months on the outside were rough.  I went to a group home run by a penny pinching, self-serving, uncaring old wretch of a woman.  She did things like serve us one potato with watery gravy for supper and took 90% of our disability benefits each month.  One day her sister came over and caused a leak with her washing machine, and she came to me and screamed in my face.  My roommate convinced me that was assault and that I should call the police.  I did, and the cop went right to her, listened to a small web of lies and then came down to threaten me with being taken back to the hospital.  It makes me so angry to think of not being able to say my side of an issue because an oversized moron who is too lazy to do his job has a gun and a taser and will use them.

My life was a mess when I left that hospital.  I never thought I would work again, never thought I would travel or do the myriad of things my heart longed to do when I was younger.  But I found a home.  I found a group home that gave me regular medications, someone to talk with and a comfortable bed.  A group home where everyone dealt with mental health issues as either sufferers or caregivers, and suddenly the stigma of my mental condition was gone, and I could heal.  That was 15 years ago.  The whole world changed since the time I was in the hospital for six months.  There have been wars and stock market crashes, oil booms and opportunities of every kind.  This Spring I made a lifelong dream come true of traveling to London, England and was in awe of the history and traditions.  Five years ago I published a book about my life with bipolar disorder and two years later a sequel.  Life has become a thousand times more incredible than I ever thought it could, and as I finish writing this short essay I wonder how many of those people in that hospital did care, really did want me to get better.  I know I could have been a much easier patient to deal with and that I was pretty bull-headed.  What would anyone do when someone took their freedom away?  How would a person without an illness react when treated so unfairly?  But I also thank the stars that a place like that mental hospital, for lack of a better term, exists that can take someone in when they are seemingly beyond all help.  It may not be a pleasant thing to be drugged and warehoused, but now that I’ve come out the other side I feel stronger for it, and now have a whole new understanding of my loved ones and friends.  Every opportunity I never thought I could have had has come my way.  I don’t know if there is a way to end all pain, but I do know faith in yourself and hard work towards a worthwhile goal can change bad luck into consistent positive results, and bring meaning to any life.


This incredibly brave and moving piece comes our friend, Leif Gregersen. You can read more of Leif’s work based on his experiences with mental health here, or you can find his mental health memoirs on Amazon: Inching Back to Sane and Through the Withering Storm. Thank you, Leif, for sharing your story with us.

Always know that you are not alone.

You are always loved.


Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email us at wemustbebroken@gmail.com.

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Finding Home & Finding Myself: The Climb Back Up From Suicidal Thoughts” – Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 21

By: Stacy Wacks

I know we’ve all had those experiences in our lives where we felt obsolete. I know that for me, the hardest was my freshman year of college.

People always ask me why I would ever leave Florida and come back north for college; I wouldn’t blame them for asking. The weather was amazing and my college at the time was fairly easy: minimal work and lots of play. I was also in an amazing fashion program and got to experience Miami fashion week. I even sang a duet with Billy Joel. I know. Freshman year was a surreal blur, sometimes it’s hard to believe any of that actually happened. I was having an out of body experience. I was dancing on table tops at age 18 in downtown Miami at 2 am. Looking back, I am honestly amazed I even made it back to my dorm room on some nights.

It was my past life, but I wasn’t truly happy.

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“Defining Normal: Finding Myself Through Depression and Hospitalizations” – Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 19

It usually starts in my chest. The weight of the world is pressing down on me as if I were being crushed under a slab of concrete. Giles Corey rolls over in his grave, and I am far from crying out for more weight. My rib cage feels like it could crack at any moment, deflating my lungs as it all tumbles down. I think I’m going to suffocate.

Then it starts to burn. It aches, my chest wall engulfed in conflagration, burning everything within it to a crisp. I can almost taste the ash.

The little monsters in my brain catch on; they start to worry. The rational part of my brain, the part the monsters have yet to grab hold of, tells me to calm down. That I’m okay. That I’ll make it. That I’ve done this before.

The monsters don’t like that at all. They tell me it’s only going to get worse, that I can’t get out of this one. They show me flashbacks of the times I’ve spent crying on the bathroom floor of restaurants and academic buildings, the times I’ve clawed my skin raw just to feel anything but the insanity taking over my mind. They remind me that I’m not strong enough to pull through, not this time anyway.


My hands become clammy, sweat pooling in the chasms of my palms, the “M” shapes I once traced with my fingertips creating rivers for my anxieties to flow through. They start to shake; the trembles trek tumultuously through my hands and into the rest of my body. I am far from cold, but I shiver and twitch like I’ve been trapped in the arctic for days. The convulsions starve my muscles, the aches mimicking the fire in my chest.

I try to swallow, but I can’t. I try to breathe slowly–in through my nose and out through my mouth, like I have been taught to do–but it’s not enough. My breaths come unevenly, my chest rising and falling in jerks and quakes. It hurts to move.

I’ve lost control of the one thing that was supposed to be mine, my mind the master of the extremities I’ve walked with for 19 years now no longer mine at all. The monsters have taken the joystick and learned all the codes: they are the masters now.

The monsters start panicking. They tell me I’m going to die. They convince me that these are my final, unbearable moments before everything I’ve ever known dissipates before my eyes.

Usually, I can stay somewhat composed. I can keep my shallow breaths quiet, and my tears roll silently down my cheeks. My head rests on my knees as the bathroom tiles slowly stop swirling, and I pull myself out of it and suffer without so much as a whimper. I can return to class or the party or the dinner table without anyone knowing that mere moments before, I was losing control.

But sometimes, it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes I start to hyperventilate. Sometimes I throw up. Sometimes–usually–I start to cry. Sometimes I’m convinced I’m dying. And when it seems to be over, sometimes I collapse on my bed, utterly exhausted and desperate for sleep.

When I think that I’ve finally made it through the thick of things, the monsters start up again. They tell me I’m ridiculous, that I’m stupid, that I’m annoying. They tell me that I shouldn’t have overreacted. They tell me to pull myself together and get over it, that I’m worthless and can’t do anything right. They tell me that I faked the whole thing.

They tell me that they wished I had died.

The rational part of my brain starts to believe them. The monsters invade; they conquer the place they once couldn’t reach, busting down walls with their swords held high and their battle cries thunderous. I pull the covers over my head and curl up so tightly that I almost disappear into myself. I wish that I could.

My sophomore year of high school I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Growing up, I was always the goofy, fun-loving, smiling kid. I was rambunctious, ambitious, and ready to take the world by storm. I loved life and I swear, at some point, it loved me back.


Baby Sandra

I don’t quite know when I first noticed the little monsters inside my head making their appearance. I thought it was normal to feel the way that I felt.

Apparently, other people didn’t lock themselves in the bathroom when the FedEx guy came to the door, convinced that he was a serial killer looking for his next victim; that they were in their final moments, so unbelievably sure that this was their end; that the safe haven of the bathroom floor was easier to face than the man that was obviously just delivering their Amazon order for Amy Poehler’s critically acclaimed novel, Yes Please!

Apparently, they didn’t lie in bed for hours, or days, unable to find the strength to shower or study or hang out with friends or breathe, all the while criticizing themselves for being lazy, antisocial, and unscholarly.

Apparently, they didn’t blatantly lie about being busy to avoid a particularly stressful situation, like going to school or a party with people they didn’t know–or the grocery store for fear of seeing someone they did know.

I thought it was just how everyone felt. I thought it was normal. It turns out that it was just my normal.

I saw therapist after therapist who only viewed me as another client doling out the cash. I had coping skills thrown at me left and right, none of them working the miracles that these professionals claimed they would. I had grown tired of the empty promises that deep breathing and visualization promised, and was slowly slipping through the cracks. The facade I maintained was almost unbearable, but I was terrified of appearing weak. Few people knew what I was dealing with, and I wanted to keep it that way.

I struggled through the rest of high school. The little monsters inside my head grew teeth and claws. They were bigger now. More ferocious, unrelenting.

All I wanted was to once again be the happy-go-lucky kid who loved to twirl in the kitchen in my ruffled socks and climb the towering trees in the backyard; the wild-child tyke who side-tackled second graders on the town league soccer field and got handed yellow cards by the dozen for whacking lacrosse players in the face with my stick; the exuberant rug rat who made faces at my little sister across the dinner table and snuck books under my pillow when the lights had already been turned off; the wide-eyed hellion who manned sticks like swords in my medieval kingdom of the living room and created galaxies in my bedroom that only I could live in and see. I longed to look in the mirror and like what I saw, to open the refrigerator and not estimate the calories in the items I stared at and wished I could consume without guilt seeping into my bones. I longed to fall asleep at night counting sheep rather than the number of mistakes I had made. I longed to get out of bed each morning excited to take on the day, to have the child-like wonder of the girl I used to be back inside of me.

I longed to be happy.

I went into freshman year of college with a relatively positive outlook: I was desperate for a fresh start. I had just started taking medication for my anxiety and depression, and was hoping that this could help me as I transitioned to the college lifestyle. I had been waiting for this moment for so long and I felt like things could finally start falling into place. After all, everyone said that college was the place you found your lifelong friends and had experiences you’d never forget.


My rare positivity fell short very quickly. I changed my major almost as soon as I arrived, feeling like a failure before I even knew the names of the buildings I walked by each day. I missed home–not surprisingly–and wished I could walk the 93 miles back to the town that shaped me, the same place that I could not wait to escape mere weeks before.

Regardless of my insecurities and the overwhelming waves of homesickness that washed over me more often than not, fall semester came and went. I had gotten so good at pretending that I was okay, that sometimes I even had myself convinced. I aced all of my classes and came out of the year exhausted and slightly concerned for spring.

The following semester seemed to be going better. I made some really great friends, the first time in a long time that I felt like I belonged. I got more involved with campus activities. I joined the newspaper staff and fell in love with editing. These two things kept me busy and surrounded by people I enjoyed spending time with. The monsters died down for a good while. Their claws had been trimmed and their roars had grown hoarse.

Joining clubs and making friends did not, however, negate the utter stress and panic I felt about college and life itself. Regardless of all the great things about spring semester, it was the semester that I started cutting myself.

During previous bouts of extreme anxiety I would claw my skin with my nails, scratching away to distract myself from the unbearable panic that I felt. This time, though, it was different. It was deliberate. It was deep.

It left scars.

Spring semester ended and I realized I needed to get help, so I started seeing my new and current therapist. I finally felt like someone was listening to me and validating all of the feelings I once believed to be unbearable. I actually started opening up. For someone with debilitating trust issues, this was huge for me. She helped me deal with the monsters in my brain in a healthy way. I was actually feeling better.

The monsters did not like that at all. They hated her. They hated the way she made me feel. So they came back with a vengeance, like they had taken steroids and grown twice their original size. The monsters got the better of me, and things took a turn for the worse.

The transition back to college in the fall for my sophomore year knocked me off of my feet. I was now involved in five different activities to keep myself distracted from the realities of mental illness. The monsters were fighting back, and I was losing. I was hiding my problems from everyone. I always wanted everyone to see me as the goofy, happy-go-lucky person I truly believed I was underneath all the secret self-hatred and anxiety.

Image-3Suicidal ideation became a part of my crushing reality. It was terrifying. I was exhausted, angry, frustrated, scared, lonely, and just about everything in between. I could barely understand what was happening to me, nevermind how to deal with it. I just wanted it all to stop.

For the first time in my life, I wanted to die. Ultimately, I gave up.

I stopped paying attention in class. I stopped going to class. Most of the time, I physically couldn’t get out of bed, all the while blaming myself for being lazy. I was notorious for being on time and ready to go for all of my activities. Now, I was showing up late, ill-prepared, and unmotivated to work. I began lashing out at the people who meant the most to me, and pushing everyone away.

I was getting increasingly more anxious and depressed; I was spiraling out of control. The monsters in my head had started fighting with each other, battling it out for the upper hand. Essentially, something like this:

Depression Monsters: Nothing matters. You’re worthless and you can’t do anything right. Nothing is ever going to change or get better. You’re lazy. You’re unmotivated. You’re a mess. Nobody cares about you. You’re all alone. Nobody wants you to succeed. You can’t succeed, anyway. Just give up.

Anxiety Monsters: You have to work hard or you’ll never graduate and never get a job and never be happy and you’ll get in so much trouble if you don’t do well you have to be perfect perfect perfect nobody can see what you’re dealing with don’t tell anyone about us work harder be better do better

In October, I left school for a week and was admitted to a psychiatric unit for the first time. To be completely honest, I felt miserable and out of place. Even though the hospitalization got me out of my initial crisis mode and into a safe environment, all I could think about was going back to school and finishing all of the work I was missing. I was on the brink of destruction, confined between the four walls of a mental hospital, and I was worrying about how I was going to catch up on schoolwork. It seems completely irrational, but it was just how I felt.

I struggled through the rest of my fall semester and barely made it out alive. My hospitalization wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; I received therapy, adjusted my medications, and focused only on myself. However, I was so anxious about making up all of my missed work, completing my current work, saving my once-perfect GPA, and keeping up with all of the activities I had thrown myself into, that the monsters in my brain started taking over again. Desperately trying to keep my focus on my slipping grades and various commitments–all the while dealing with self-harm, suicidal ideation, and panic/anxiety attacks–I somehow made it through. I thought that the month-long break before spring semester would be exactly what I needed.

It wasn’t.

I became increasingly more depressed. My suicidal ideation wasn’t just a lingering thought in my head, but a constant presence in everything I did. I was cutting more frequently. I stayed at home, in bed, all day and all night. I stopped taking my medications. I stopped talking to my friends. Some of my friends stopped talking to me.

I didn’t believe I deserved to get better. I was falling deeper into the monsters’ clutches. Their razor-sharp claws and vampiresque teeth had torn me to shreds. They had me completely convinced that I wasn’t worth anything. They had been trying to completely take over for so long that, eventually, I just let them. I didn’t feel like fighting them anymore. I truly didn’t think I was worth the fight. I just couldn’t do it.

I was holding on by a thread. Christmas came and went, and the thread finally snapped. For the second time in less than three months, I was back in the hospital.

I spent another week inside another psych unit, constantly monitored and watched like some sort of sick tourist attraction. I laid in my hospital bed and watched Dec. 31, 2015 become Jan. 1, 2016 alone, the cries of “Happy New Year!” from the staff echoing throughout the hallways of Med Six. While my friends were out drinking, partying, and laughing 2015 into oblivion, I was watching the shadows dance on my ceiling and wishing I could feel something good again.Image-11

I never really understood what people meant when they said you needed to be “ready” to recover. I didn’t think anything could help me, so I didn’t see a point in trying. I thought that I had tried everything–failed–and was therefore hopeless. I believed I was destined for a life of darkness, misery, and despair. I realized during this hospitalization that I didn’t want or have to be miserable for the rest of my life. I needed to advocate for myself and choose to recover, not just let recovery find me.

The biggest discovery I made during this hospitalization, however, was that rather than working towards making my mental illnesses go away, I needed to work toward making them more manageable instead. I didn’t want the monsters in control. I wanted to be in control. I felt hopeful for the first time in a long time.

I was never someone who “looked” like I was struggling. I was conscious of the way I presented myself so as to not let anyone know what was really going on with me. I now know that there are so many other people like me who secretly struggle with mental illness and never show an inkling of distress.

For a long time, I didn’t like telling anyone about my struggle with mental health because I felt like it was just one more thing to prove to myself and others that I was “weak” and “unable to deal with real life.” It wasn’t even until mid-2015 that I used the words “mentally ill” in reference to myself. It used to sound so weird to me. I felt like there was so much shame attached to it, and I worried people would think less of me. I felt like people wouldn’t want to be friends with me because of it. I felt like people would judge me. A lot of the time, I still feel that way. In reality, though, I’m only judging myself.


We can’t change mental illness, and we can’t make it go away. What we can change, however, is how we talk about mental illness, how we treat mental illness, and how we support ourselves and our loved ones with mental illness.

And that’s why I’m writing this. Because for the longest time, I was afraid to talk about what was really going on with me; I was afraid of appearing weak. Even as I am writing this, I fear the backlash and judgement I may receive; however, by telling my story and speaking candidly about my own personal struggles with mental illness, I hope someone out there finds the courage to talk about their struggles. I hope someone out there can say “mentally ill” in reference to themselves with pride and strength instead of with a fearful heart. I hope someone out there can find the courage to seek help, guidance, or comfort in their troubles.

These are the stories I swore I’d never tell, the thoughts I swore I’d never write down, and the parts of myself I swore I’d never show. But here I am. This is my heart on my sleeve.


Sandra with her friend Nick

Although my mindset toward my mental health has shifted, that doesn’t mean the monsters have gone away. They still live in my brain, nested comfortably in their bed of self-doubt, self-hatred, and self-destruction. Though they sleep a little more these days, occasionally filing down their claws, they still speak to me every day. They still tell me to stop eating, stop talking, stop trying, stop caring. And they won’t ever leave.

There won’t ever be a day where I don’t have mental illness.

There are days when I pick up the razor to punish myself instead of the phone to get support. There are days when I lie in bed for hours waiting for my mattress to absorb me into the folds of my sheets instead of packing up my bag and going to class. There are days where I’m so anxious that I throw up in the shower; where I lock myself in the bathroom unable to breathe, the pain in my chest unbearable and my heart beating faster than a hummingbird’s wings; where I look in the mirror and want to smash it to pieces, disgusted with the reflection staring back at me; where my hands shake so badly that I can barely fold them in my lap or hold a pencil or lift a cup to my lips. There are still days where I don’t want live.

What keeps me going, though, is that there are days where I do.

There are days where getting out of bed doesn’t seem like a chore, and looking in the mirror doesn’t feel so unsettling. There are days where I laugh so hard that my stomach aches and I feel on top of the world. There are days that I wish I could bottle up and keep next to me, waiting to be opened up and experienced all over again. There are nights I fall asleep in complete bliss, reveling in the wonders of life and forgetting my worries entirely.

I don’t want to be defined by my mental illness, but I don’t want it to be a part of myself that I have to hide either. I’m made up of so many other things that making just one of them the focal point would really be a disservice to myself. I am worth more than that. I am not perfect, I am not better, but I am getting there. And that’s okay.


This Coping entry comes from the wonderful Sandra Mercer, who actually recently wrote a wonder feature on Dear Hope for the newspaper The Westfield Voice.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.


Want to submit to this site and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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“An Empty Home & An Empty Stomach: My Lifelong Struggle With Eating Disorders” – Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 17

Next up this week is Celeste’s candid self reflection on her struggles with an eating disorder, and how she’s been able to grow and flourish.

My earliest memory of clear dissatisfaction with my body was when I was six years old, pressing my body against the horizontal wood slabs of my bed frame, examining the skin of my stomach poking between the gaps.

By 10 years old, I was methodically tightening my family’s belt collection over my entire torso, desperately wishing the leather would squish my body smaller.

“You are fat, disgusting, weird, ugly, worthless, less than.”

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So on a rainy day this past summer, I woke up with depression at its finest, where it was one of those days where I felt so drained of energy that I definitely was not going to be able to go to work. I called out, slept for most of the day, and managed to write this. I hope it can be relatable to those of you having a bad day, or those of you who may have felt similarly. Here’s “Monday”-

I’m not taken aback by the beauty of the sun or moon.

But that’s okay, at least I’ve learned in time that there are very little differences between objects labeled mine and days considered wasted time. Entitlement is a false concept paralleling a religious purgatory.

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“Finding Worth: A Story of Losing Something I Never Lost” – Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 12

So basically, this story might bore you. To be blunt, I’ve never felt suicidal, I’ve never messed with drugs or alcohol, I’ve never even thought about writing out my story until I realized that all pain is pain. Everyone struggles with it differently and everyone has different ways of coping with it. This story is for the people who feel like they have no story to share.

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“Speak Up, Speak Loud: You Are Not Alone In Your Abuse” – Coping This Is Who We Are: Entry 8

I have spent my entire life being ashamed of who I am and what happened to me. I spent my life feeling constantly ashamed and at fault. I spent my life not being able to trust anyone around me. I hid what happened to me to protect other people, even the person who hurt me. I would never wish my life on anyone, or want anyone to have to deal with what I have gone through and continue to on a day to day basis.

So here is my story. Hopefully it can help someone else to not feel the same way I do.


When I was five and six years old, I was abused. Mentally and sexually. The abuser? The person who was supposed to be my “father”. I was told constantly to never say a word to anyone about anything that he did. Being as young as I was I did what I was brought up to do: listen to adults and do what they say. At the time I didn’t understand what exactly was going on, but as I got older, I understood more and more about what was actually going on.

I realized how badly I was actually abused.

Coping: This Is Who We Are dear hope

Coping: This is Who We Are – Entry 5: “We Are All Continuous and Beautiful Works In Progress”

This submission comes from Rebecca, the creator of this wonderful piece of art that was published last week on the website. Her story details the intensity of anxiety and the panic that can accompany it. As with most Coping entries, it’s lengthy, but I promise you it’s worth the read.

Here’s Rebecca’s story.

How do you explain to your daughter in fourth grade that you can’t continue to pick her up  early from school day after day, even when she is sobbing on the phone in the nurse’s office? How do you come home to see that same girl two years later, white as a ghost, talking to herself in between hyperventilation gasps?

I couldn’t really tell you because I was that girl.


I don’t know where my anxiety stemmed from then, but I guess that is why I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It’s an odd experience to be twelve years old, having already seen three different therapists and now taking medicine every day because of something called “anxiety and depression”. It is also an odd experience to be in high school and to begin to realize that the same medicine that has been “fixing” you for four years is now not working as well and that the anxiety and depression can come back way worse than it had ever been. And now they have a new friend.

Suicidal thoughts.

Coping: This Is Who We Are dear hope