mental health matters

‘He’d show up at church, or anywhere else I was going. Without warning, I’d feel a hand grabbing my shoulder.’: Woman overcomes years of stalking, PTSD to become health coach

“He surprised me with 21 red roses. It was the beginning of a horror story. He started showing up at my house in the middle of the night. He’d stroke my cheek and tell everyone I was his wife. The police didn’t take it seriously. ‘Didn’t you tell him to leave you alone? Do it again with more force!’”

‘The police said, ‘If she gets caught using drugs, THEN it’s our problem.’ My sister was missing and vulnerable. I just wanted her back.’: Woman searches 20 years for addicted sister, ‘In looking for her, I lost myself’

“I heard my mother shout, ‘Your sister is missing! We have no idea where she is!’ I got on the next plane, determined to find her myself. Because of her mental state and drug addiction, it didn’t seem to matter to others. We were told, ‘Maybe she doesn’t want to be found.’”

‘My aunt said, ‘I hope you grow up and not sideways.’ I was the ‘fat kid’ and my father was disgusted with me.’: Woman learns to embrace plus-size body, ‘Fat is not a dirty word’

“School bullies loved to remind me of how worthless I was. I became the punchline to every joke. The word ‘fat’ was used as a weapon. I quickly learned I needed to find a man to validate me. That if I got married and made babies,  then I could justify my existence. I was so tunnel-visioned I ignored red flags.”

‘I wasn’t the stereotypical addict on the streets with no teeth, begging for money. I had children. I was functioning. I’d get up, eat, go to the gym. Then, I’d go on a bender for days.’

“I’d do whatever I could to distract myself from the fact that I felt alone. I always wanted to stop, but I didn’t know how. People around me knew, but never said anything. It made me feel like it was okay. I didn’t realize I needed to change until I lost my children. I decided if I couldn’t beat this and see my kids again, I’d kill myself.”

‘I asked to borrow his Walkman. ‘Sure, if you let me touch you.’ My brother was breathing heavy in my ear. I froze. He told me not to tell.’: Assault survivor shares emotional journey to peace

“It began out of nowhere. I was frozen, unsure of what was happening. He told me not to tell. I knew something wasn’t right but he was my older brother, so I did what he said. Until one day, we heard my uncle’s car pull into the driveway. As he quickly opened the quickly, my brother rushed to get off of me. ‘What’s going on?!’ My stomach was in knots.”

‘Girl with the dog, girl with the dog!’ I was homeless, suicidal. I walked into hell and found an angel. Her name is Sharon.’: Woman battling mental illness thanks strangers for saving her life

“I take the pills in my hand and go to swallow them, but something stops me. Cindy, my dog. I can’t leave her yet. For thirteen days, Cindy and I are homeless. ‘SOMEONE HELP US!’ I am coming undone. A woman steps forward, waving a flier wildly in my face. I suddenly feel HOPE.”

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