1 in 4: How I Learned To Be A Survivor (And Learned To Live Again)

This piece comes from an extremely talented writer and close friend and I urge everyone to check out her piece about tragedy, despair, and overcoming mental anguish.

Trigger Warning: Rape, Suicide.

I still think about the day that I was taking a walk with my dad in early spring, and we were talking about rape. I remember saying, “I would definitely kill myself if I was ever raped. I don’t think I would want to live through that. It’s probably the only reason I would ever actually commit suicide.


It was a heavy topic for a nice leisurely stroll, but we were talking about a recent story in the media and had veered off into personal examples of people we knew that were rape survivors. I knew people survived all kinds of sad, traumatic experiences – cancer, loss of loved ones, car crashes, physical violence, child abuse – and I’ve gone through a lot myself. I lost my mom unexpectedly when I was eleven, and I lost one of my best friends to a car accident when I was eighteen. I came out as bisexual in middle school and went through a long period of intense bullying. But for some reason, I couldn’t shake the idea of rape as being the most horrible thing for a person to have to live with.

This was a couple years before the night that changed my life. I attended a college party at UMass Dartmouth with a friend, where others drank but I didn’t, and where I knew a couple people but not everyone. It was my first experience spending significant time at the school. When I woke up the next day, I realized I had been drugged during the night. I woke up in the afternoon, groggy and confused, and I knew then that I had to make a decision.

I had been raped. But I didn’t know if I wanted to make good on that promise to myself: to end my life if I became a survivor. I only knew one thing. I didn’t want to survive.

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Coping: This Is Who We Are – Entry 4: “Sleep On It”

When you look back on your teenage years, you usually have the memories of parties, being social with friends, planning future career ideas, finding your way through puberty…

I remember illness.


I was forced to grow up quickly, at a young age.

While my friends were having their birthday parties, I was at home on the floor; crouched in a ball with my mum trying to feed me Parachoc through my wails.

While everyone began working their first jobs, I was in an Adolescent Clinic for sufferers of Eating Disorders.

During Graduation, I had Glandular Fever and was bedridden.

My first year of university had many absences, as I was diagnosed with Grade II Reflux Oesophagitis.
Depression was, inevitable.

Coping: This Is Who We Are dear hope

Sleepless Nights

I lie awake in bed staring at the ceiling tiles that seem to float above me. First at each individually, and then back as a whole. Noticing every dot and curve in the cheap design used in this college dorm. But as cheap as it appears, I can still find some uniqueness in each.

My eyes signal out some pieces of one section, crafting each small fragment into a picture. I let my imagination work, seeing ancient civilizations at war, groups of Christmas trees, and machinery transforming into wildlife before my eyes.

The gears turn into vines that breathe life into the sky and for a moment I can sense a feeling of tranquility spread through my body. In my head I feel alive. But even the bed that grasps me from beneath is questionable in my reality.

But in the darkness as I try to fall asleep as the only living thing is this room I feel a sense of dread. A pressing sense creeps upon me, a sense that tells me that these pictures on the ceiling won’t always stay here. I fear that in the morning, after an hour of sleep. I won’t remember this.


I fear I won’t remember me.

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Overbooked: Help Put On Hold

Trigger Warning For Suicide Discussion:

This is it.

It would be this easy to end it.

It would be this easy to take a life. 


He stood against the cold metal looking straight ahead into the scarce clouds that dotted the city skyline. The sounds of engines combusting gasoline and turning pistons filled in the gaps behind him that reflected the back of his eyes with imagery. But this what just background noise.



Just like his mind on a constant basis.

He slowly looked down to the waters below. It was so far down. Is this what I truly want? He fought back to look in his mind for any reason not to step forward the six inches between life and death. But he found none. He heard footsteps of people walking down the sidewalk on the side of the bridge. But no one stopped. No one asked.

No one cared.

His eyes began to water as the breeze from the river brushed into his reaming emotions. How did it come to this? How did it come to the point where he wanted to die? Where each day he went to sleep hoping he wouldn’t wake up?

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A Phone Call To Connecticut, A Phone Call From Idaho

Last fall, I called a friend who I hadn’t spoken to in a long time and got the following response:

“Paul if I don’t change something, I’m not going to survive winter. 

I’m going to kill myself.”

Struck by the suddenness of his words that pierced my ear that the phone was pressed against, I responded the only way I could. With empathy and full attention.


I knew this friend had been struggling for a long time, we had been friends for years. Our struggles united us, and we had many talks through our friendship of existentialist questions filled with identity and purpose. But it had never been had real as this.

It had never been as scary as this. 

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Coping: Entry Two – Depression and Faith, Finding Yourself Through Struggle

How do you cope?


A few weeks ago I posted an article entitled “Coping” that detailed my own personal experience with mental illness and depression and received a lot of good feedback from it. Not only did people seem to understand what my depression was more, but people who also fought began to come forward and share with me their own stories. It affirmed my idea that these things need to be heard, and have gone ahead to decide to start a series of posts under the name “Coping”. In this series that’ll be published every few weeks, guest writers will share their struggles, coping mechanisms, their lowest point and more, allowing us into the eyes of those with mental illness. Reminding people who fight that they’re never alone, and those who don’t fight with a better understanding than they might of had before.

So here’s the first guest post from my great friend Haley, enjoy.


There is no cure for depression. It will always be a part of who you are. But it’s how you accept its presence that determines the impact it has on your life.

It took me an extremely long time to accept my depression. As I was growing up, I was always the happy member of the family. I provided the laughs and made sure everybody was always having a good time. As I grew older, members of my family were gradually diagnosed with depression until I was the only one without this disease. And what did that mean to me? I was the only one that could always provide joy. I didn’t know what depression was: I took on the burden of making sure my sister and parents were in good spirits because I thought that they were unable to obtain it on their own. When I reached the point where I was unable to do this, I felt like a failure. I had let my family down.

Coping: This Is Who We Are dear hope