Janell Ryan

‘He tried to kill me. I kept calling for help; someone saw what was happening and kept walking.’: Young woman survives abuse, depression, self harm, finds solace in converting, ‘‘I finally have my confidence back’’

“It was HELL ON EARTH. I push memories out of my mind, like running from dad as he pointed a gun at my mom. I tried to kill myself one night. Luckily, my mother walked in. I will never forget the disappointment I saw on her face as she realized her baby girl wanted to end the life she gave to her.”

‘My manager interrupted. ‘Wait, what? You need to get that checked out.’ I’d lie and say I was ‘gay.’ It was easier to explain.’: Woman shares candid reality of being asexual, ‘I’m not broken’

“It all hit me in high school. ‘Why is everyone obsessed with sex?’ It had never occurred to me sex was a huge part of life. Couples would make out in the stairways. Sexually active friends would re-tell their experiences in detail. I was disgusted. My therapist would ask if I was ‘this way’ because of my parents, who didn’t have a good relationship when I was growing up. People think a person, especially a woman, need to have a partner to be happy.”

‘How will you know you don’t like sex if you don’t try?’ Kissing left me uncomfortable. As a ‘good Catholic girl,’ I was pressured to marry and have kids.’: Asexual woman says she ‘doesn’t need sex to feel happy’

“I grew up in a conservative household. My father had strict rules: Dating was for finding someone to marry, and premarital sex was bad. I had my share of crushes, but I could never imagine myself doing anything sexually charged. When I went to college, a guy friend asked me out on a date. He was aware I wanted to stay a virgin. I quickly realized kissing left me uncomfortable. I was told time and time again, ‘You just haven’t found the right person yet.'”

‘I’m positive you’re depressed, and that’s just from this one conversation.’ I froze inside.’: College student shocked by depression diagnosis, ‘It’s good to know people aren’t supposed to operate like this.’

“My family is very against medicine and doctors. My parents still don’t know I went to the doctor, or that I attend therapy regularly now. I don’t know what they would do, honestly. It’s ridiculous I need to hide going to the doctor, especially when it’s for my brain. My roommate was sharing how she couldn’t get out of bed. ‘It’s like someone placed you into a blank room, with no furniture or door or windows, and they expect you to thrive in it.’ It all clicked.”

‘I’ve been seeing a boy for a year.’ I wasn’t changing. My family was going to be disappointed. We are Catholic.’: Gay twin brothers come out to parents, ’We struggled with the fact we could lose family for being who we are.’

“‘Do you have any crushes on girls in your class?’ It was hard to get away with answering ‘no.’ I thought of sending myself to conversion therapy. We couldn’t understand why we weren’t sexually attracted to women. Having this picture embedded in our heads of a hyper-masculine culture messed us up. We knew sooner or later something, or someone, would have to give.”

‘What if they can’t find me?’ I was pressed into a deep ditch, the toes of my boots barely touching the driver’s seat.’: Woman vows to ‘pay it forward’ after strangers’ acts of kindness during car accident

“‘Which road are you on?’ My voice broke. ‘I don’t know.’ Crying, I couldn’t remember. Then, I heard a voice from the outside. ‘Are you okay?’ I expected him to leave. I didn’t think he’d stick around. He leaned in. ‘Can you get out of the car?’ he asked. I shook my head, still crying. He hugged me tightly and I hugged him back, sobbing against his chest. I hadn’t asked for a hug. It never occured to me how much I needed one.”

‘As our boys stood at the finish line, we saw something ignite inside them. They began jumping up and down!’: Mom finds ‘magical’ hobby for autistic twins after 15 years of searching

“My boys are twins and both severely autistic. They can’t have a job, make friends, or drive a car. But we noticed early on that they had a special gift: running. My husband and I thought, ‘Why are we standing on the sidelines watching them? We want to do this, too!’ Their excitement was contagious.”

‘I got a message on Facebook from our local fire chief. ‘You need to call us immediately.’ My heart stopped.’: Community rallies to help couple after shop destroyed by reckless driver

“‘He was going 90 mph. He hit the trailer, the shed, and drove through the entirety of the 40-foot building, and landed on your desk before fleeing.’ I shivered. If I wasn’t on vacation, I would have been right there, in that spot. ‘How can we survive this catastrophe?’ Soon, a couple stopped us. ‘We’re getting older. We’d like to give you something for free.’ I stopped. My breath hitched. I took a few moments to repeat the words in my head.”

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