Daddy

dady

BY: ANONYMOUS AUTHOR

It’s play time on the bed. Me and my sister are hiding under the covers, trying not to breathe. To make a single sound. Thinking we can hide from Daddy. Our hearts are racing with excitement.
The smell of mom’s perfume on the sheets is comforting and strong.

We feel SAFE. We feel LOVED.

All of sudden we hear Daddy’s footsteps coming from around the bed. We squeal with laughter. How did he find us?

Daddy is the best.
Playtime is our favorite time before bed. Wrestling, tickle wars. We are gasping for air from laughter. Faces red.

It’s bedtime now. Me and my sister fight over whose in the middle. Who gets to sleep next to Daddy tonight. We hug him tight, finish our bedtime story and sing….

“Now it’s time to go to sleep S-L-E-E-P spells sleep goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite….goodnight.”

It is reflecting on those moments that get me through the dark ones. Right now I’m sitting in a stale, frigid hospital waiting room.
We are nothing but a number.
Mama’s eyebrows are frowned. Eyes look drained. It’s 3 a.m. and they’re telling us there’s “no room” for Daddy here.
We cry to the social worker… “Do you understand us?”
No. They don’t.
We are exhausted, empty. Young children explaining medical terms we barely comprehend. Daddy has been sick lately.
He told us this would happen. 
We look into his eyes and it’s as if we are looking into a strangers. We just want Daddy back. We beg to the nurses to take him in. To fix Daddy.

We miss play time, we miss laughs.

I close my eyes, drained from long nights watching over him. Babysitting. Making sure he didn’t leave the house. We don’t want people starring at Daddy. Thinking he’s crazy…
We need to protect him. Like he protected us.
Mama promises us it will all be over soon. But just for now. She looks us in the eyes and tells us to be STRONG. To not be AFRAID . We look back at her wondering how she ever did this without us.

We are Daddy’s fighters.

I close my eyes after finally getting home. They finally took him in.  I go to lay down in my room. Picture myself back in my Daddy’s arms. Listening to bed time stories. drifting asleep
Daddy has been away now for almost a month now. We visit him, but sometimes it’s scary. He’s NEVER scary. But it’s a frightening place. Honestly, it’s a nice break for Mom. But we miss him home.
Family and friends are starting to wonder.We are good at making up stories, excuses. No matter what…we protect our Daddy.

His ideas are less GRAND. His eyes are becoming more recognizable. Finally he can come home.

We re-set the clock for ‘the next time’ – it’s only a matter of time. Days and years pass. Routine continues.
Check his pills. Look deep into his eyes. Is Daddy still there?

We’re on our toes.

I’m older now, so this time I’m more prepared. I know how this works. This damn system ONCE AGAIN denying him a bed. Is he suicidal? NO. But he is sick. How can you deny care?

Why can’t you help my Dad? I want to SCREAM.

We continue to fight this battle, this routine of life. But whenever we end up in the same damn frigged room, fighting to protect our Daddy…I take myself back to my happy place. Where Daddy is just Daddy. Where life is normal.
And I rest my head on my Mama’s lap, close my eyes and repeat..
“Now it’s time to go to sleep. S-L-E-E-P spells sleep goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite…goodnight.“——

You are not alone. For family support of the mentally ill please visit

REPOSTED: THIS VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL IS DOING A 180 FROM HER DAYS AS AN ANGEL

by: ALISON FELLER via http://www.wellandgood.com

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As a Victoria’s Secret model, Erin Heatherton was one of the wing-adorned “angels” stalking runways in lingerie and flashing her pearly whites on billboards, buses, and beyond in the name of the brand. But now she admits life with Victoria’s Secret wasn’t always as chill and Swarovski-studded as it may have seemed—she faced serious body image struggles during her time with the bra-and-panty brand, Time reports.

“My last two Victoria’s Secret shows, I was told I had to lose weight,” she tells Time. “I look back like, ‘Really?’” Heatherton, who walked in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show from 2008 to 2013, left the brand three years ago when, in spite of working hard, eating healthy, and exercising twice a day, she says her body “just wouldn’t do it.”

I was really depressed because I was working so hard and I felt like my body was resisting me,” she says. “And I got to a point where one night I got home from a workout and I remember staring at my food and thinking maybe I should just not eat.” After walking away from the runway, Heatherton came to a startling realization: “I realized I couldn’t go out into the world—parading my body and myself in front of all these women who look up to me—and tell them that this is easy and simple and everyone can do this,” she says.

Via Heather’s Instagram:

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The breakdown to breakthrough moment in my life has allowed me to become the truest version of myself. In my moment of “failure,” I stood in the face of adversity. I was struggling with my body image and the pressures to fulfill the demands of perfectionism upon me. I am not perfect. Through this struggle, however, I found the strength to love myself. I stood in my power. I thought of one of my favorite quotes, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a men’s character, give him power” – Abraham Lincoln. I look back on that moment now, and I embrace it. This feeling I once perceived as “failure” was, in truth, a powerful awakening for me to stand behind my purpose in life. I stepped away from hiding behind a fabricated version of myself. I no longer put actions behind my fears and insecurities. I made a choice to redirect my energy to be a catalyst for change. To create a channel for women to become the truest versions of themselves, along with me. (Stay tuned for more…) In the end, if you aren’t being true to yourself, then what the fuck is the point. #rebelwacause #empowerment #womensempowerment#empoweredbyyou

Now, the always-athletic supermodel (she played on her high school’s varsity basketball team, according to the Sun Times), is using her platform to spread awareness in hopes of helping other women. “I’m willing to sacrifice my pride, in a sense, and my privacy because I know that if I don’t speak about it, I could be withholding information that would really help women,” she says. “It hurts too much to keep it in, and that’s why I’m not keeping it in now.”

A Year Without Robin Williams

By: Alicia M. Blanco

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On August 11th, 2014 I was flying home from a weekend in Arizona. When I landed and connected back to social media, the first thing I saw was “RIP Robin Williams”.. “actor commits suicide” all over my Facebook and Instagram feed. My body went numb. I was in total shock and disbelief.

Like many of you, I felt like I lost a close friend. I grew up watching and loving him and all the beloved characters he brought to life. It was devastating news to come home to, to say the least. Equally devastating is how mental health and suicide is treated and talked about in society. It isn’t until a celebrity commits suicide that society gives this topic any real attention. This needs to change.

It was on that day last year as I was driving home from the airport that I knew I wanted (and needed) to start my blog and dedicate it entirely to mental health, research, awareness and advocacy. I wanted all of the Robin Williamses of the world to know that they were not alone. It was my hope that by reading stories and articles from other people who have similar FEELINGS and experiences with depression (either personally or within their families) that people could begin to feel a sense of community and belonging. I want them to feel acknowledged, seen and heard. I desired my blog to be a place of hope where people could relate, with no filters, no stories of perfection – just pure and raw honesty.

I could sit here and list off all of the numerical statistics that show you how much suicide has increased over the years. But let me just cut to the chase. IT’S BAD. And every year it’s getting worse. Suicide has no specific victim- no group is “safe” from the impulse.  What’s worse, is that although many people give subtle “signs” that they are contemplating suicide, many people leave no sign at all.

The death of Robin Williams greatly impacted us because on the outside it would seem like he was a relatively happy person. (With a sense of humor like his, it seemed impossible not to be happy.) He also had a dream career, lots of money, fame and the respect and admiration of his fans around the world. This is the part that scares me the most – the amount of people living today who seem like happy people on the outside, but who are really deeply in serious trouble. Earlier in the year I reposted the story about Madison Holleran, a girl who appeared to have it all, (based on her social media, that is.) She ended up committing suicide, despite the utterly happily filtered Instagram life she portrayed to the world.

Depression is a silent killer. Unlike other illnesses that are physically visible, depression is something that builds up on the inside of a person’s mind and body and takes over control. It’s manipulative and even has the power to give off the illusion that everything is fine on the outside. It can also trick its victim into being insecure about sharing how they are feeling with someone.

It’s so heartbreaking, even one year later on the anniversary of his death, to accept that he was suffering so deeply, and quietly…And that’s what breaks my heart: Suicide is preventable – and the responsibility is entirely ours. Together we can each participate in changing these statistics. Enough is enough. Suicidal thoughts and attempts wreck the lives of millions every single day, and over 40,000 die from suicide every single year! Robin Williams’ death was just one of the hundreds who took their own lives on that day. What have we done since then?

We need to take a good hard look at the way we treat people. Our actions and our words matter. When we ask someone “how are you doing?” how many of us are genuinely interested in the response? Do we really care how someone is really, truly doing? Do we really believe someone is as happy as their Facebook or Instagram feed suggests? Are we participating in random acts of kindness for our family, friends and even strangers? Are we ourselves slipping into episodes of depression because of how much we compare ourselves to the “picture perfect” lives of others?

We are so “plugged-in” to our phones and computers these days that we have completely disconnected from community and heartfelt communication.

The way we talk about depression and mental health research & advocacy can re-shape the future. It can be as simple as changing the way we use our words; The words we use to talk about suicide; The words used in media to broadcast it; The words used to build someone up, or tear them down; The amount of time we spend using words of affirmation and encouragement. Bullying. Cyber bullying. Racism. Hate. Addressing depression. Make no mistake about it – the words we use matter.

“Our words are the ground note. Words are the least expensive, most valuable tool we have to educate, to turn the tides of public opinion, to affect real change. Let’s stop conversations that destroy lives, start conversations that save lives, and redirect conversations that distract us from what really matters.” – Dese’Rae Stage

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If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-784-2433 or visit save.org

Acne Helped Me To FEEL

By: Carolina Guzman

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In 2014, my life had an interesting turn of events. My whole life I had clear and smooth skin. I would often get so many compliments by friends and even perfect strangers about the clarity of my skin. But out of nowhere, I started to break out. Not just a pimple or two, but all over my face. Nothing seemed to work to clear it up. My confidence that I had built up over the years started to deteriorate at a rapid speed. I became depressed. I didn’t  want to leave the house. I remember one day walking into the gym, and as I changed in the locker room, I broke down into tears and called my father to pick me up. I felt ugly. I felt like everyone was staring at me.

I spent many nights at home, completely alone, which awarded me with a lot of time to think. And it was in those lonely nights that I actually came to a few conclusions about life. External beauty fades. Have you ever noticed how some books are all torn up from the outside, but the story inside remains the same? Or how about a vehicle that may have some scratches or dents, but the engine still makes it run just as it did when it was brand new? Don’t let those scratches, dents, or blemishes on the outside make you feel like you can’t achieve your dreams or make a difference in the world. If you do, you’re submittng that physical looks are more important than those dreams and goals you have from within.

I pushed myself during those 10 months while I battled with acne. It wasn’t easy! I cried my eyes out one day as I got ready for an event. But when I got there, I forgot all about my acne and blemishes. I had great conversations with so many wonderful people. So many of them called me “beautiful”… and I know they were not just talking about my external beauty. “ You have a heart that will take you far.”  Such a great compliment. This is the kind of stuff that wakes you up and makes you feel human. You feel relatable. You just FEEL. God puts us through trials for a reason. I’ll admit that prior to my battle with acne, I had moments where I was a bit shallow. Momenta of stagnancy and a sense of taking so much for granted.  I’m not perfect and I know this happens to many of us. But because of this chapter in my life, I have learned to appreciate everyone and everything around me. I pay more attention to the inner beauty of a person than the way they look. Every one is beautiful and unique in their own way. Never hate anything about your self. What you dislike about you, someone may be falling in love with. Take the flaws you have with you, while you take on this world and make a difference. God makes no mistakes. If your heart is beautiful, so are you.

The Tragedy That Saved My Life

by: Tiphany Adams

Imagine yourself growing up in the countryside of Northern California with every kind of farm animal possible, engaging in activities that emphasized more on union with family and the outdoors than exterior beauty.  But by the time I was 8 years old, my parents divorced & my father began raising my sister and I outside of our countryside comfort zone. Around the time I hit middle school I started to struggle with self-esteem issues especially because of a birth mark on my neck. I began to get painfully teased & ridiculed based on my appearance.  I begged to have it removed for every birthday & Christmas. I would hide myself in sweats & turtle necks even in 100 degree heat. I even went as far to try to scrap it off. I planned how to hide it on the day I would get asked to prom or the day I would eventually get engaged.

Major trauma had occurred around that time period that stripped me of every ounce of self-esteem I had left. It lead me down a destructive path and eventually I ended up with more emotional pain then I knew what to do with.

I began praying and asking for guidance and even chose to get myself baptized at the age of 15. But by the time I entered into my senior year of high school I had already attended 5 different schools while dealing with so many issues. I felt lost without anyone to turn to. My mother had gotten herself wrapped up into her own addictions during this time as well. It was a mess.

And then there was the moment that changed my life forever.

I was in the backseat of a car with a sober driver that was struck head on by a drunk driver causing a collision of 130 mph–all were pronounced dead on the scene. I remember asking God to please let me live through this… and He did. They air lifted me to the hospital with a 5% chance of survival & I was induced into a coma for 3 weeks. When I awoke I knew I was alive for a purpose & had a divine mission to fulfill. The tragedy left 3 lives taken because of one persons decision to drink & drive, but the blessing is that I am here to relay a message of truth.

The first day I got into my wheelchair was emotional- words could not begin to depict what I felt. When I looked in the mirror for the first time seeing the big medal wheels, I cried in disbelief as I felt tingling throughout my legs as if they were asleep…and would never wake up. And that’s when clarity came…I remembered back to the time when I wouldn’t wear my hair up in a ponytail because of a birth mark…and here I was now. How would I get over the reflection I see staring back at me? How will society treat me? Then I came to the realization that it all begins with self acceptance & self-love & I began a beautiful journey of self discovery.

From that day forward I continued to embrace myself with love, support,  & prayer.

Had this tragedy never happened, it is likely that I would’ve remained dead inside. So in a way, this tragedy saved my life and made me see the world differently.

What it comes down to is we all have obstacles & tragedies that can change our situations but when we remove the superficial and connect to every living being on a soul to soul level we know we are all here on this earthly place for a divine reason… to give love & receive love. I share my story with you in hopes to gift you with love & acceptance for where you are right in this very moment.

Embrace your life! Focus on your inner beauty now and always.

[REPOSTED] Split Image

by Kate Fagan
ESPN

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In the amazingly written original article by Kate Fagan, we are introduced to Madison Holleran, a girl who appeared to have it all, (based on her social media, that is.) The article is so compelling that I had to repost it below.

Click here to read the full story about a girl who took her own life despite the happily filtered instagram life she portrayed to the world.

It really resonates with why I started The Wave in the first place. When Robin Williams committed suicide last year, I knew it was time for me to enter the blogsphere. There are so many beauty blogs out there, but not enough blogs talking about the tough stuff, like suicide.

How many people out there are silently suffering with issues of mental health, depression, contemplations of suicide…and yet are hiding behind the filters of social media pressures and image comparisons, completely pretending that they are fine and happy? Are you living your life unfiltered?

Thank you Kate Fagan for writing such a phenomenal piece that I hope reaches the masses and brings awareness to this issue.

Please [REPOST] this blog on your social media accounts. You never know who it can save!

Share with espnW:

How much do you filter your real self on social? Join the conversation by tagging @espnW and using #LifeUnfiltered when you post your photo and story on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Madison Holleran’s friends share their unfiltered life stories
Five of Madison Holleran’s friends remove the filter — literally and metaphorically — from their social media accounts to disclose their true feelings during the shared moments in their lives.

Original post and content by Kate Fagan of ESPNw.

Finding Beauty in the Pain

by: Cierra Jackson

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“Consider it PURE JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James1:2-4

“Really Jesus?! You demand me to deviate from anything other than joy as I sit in the emergency room screaming at the top of my lungs in excruciating pain?   You require me to ‘rejoice in your name ALWAYS?’ Even in the midst of my torment?”

There is no doubt that I have had an extraordinary life full of God’s favor;  this thought has crossed my mind on a weekly basis since I was an adolescent.  As I reflect on my life, I am overwhelmed with the amount of challenges I have faced; anguish, hopelessness, worry, fear, depression, loneliness.  Although there are a multitude of experiences that left me feeling forsaken by God, the center of every problem has always been illness/sickness.

I was born with Sickle Cell Disease, a blood disorder in which red blood cells are crescent shaped.  Due to the lack of oxygenation and the ‘sickle’ shape of my cells; they get caught in my veins and organs which causes ‘crisis’ (agonizing pain.)  These pain crisis’ are usually very erratic and can sneak up at any moment.  My entire life has been surrounded and interrupted by these pain episodes.  My eyes would often times be extremely jaundice and while in elementary school the kids called me ‘green-eyed gremlin’ Not only did I have to endure teasing for the way I looked on the outside at times; but I was constantly missing school due to frequent hospitalizations.  Life with Sickle Cell was burdensome and there was nothing more I wanted in life except to be rid of this horrible awful disease.

Now I could tell story after story about the many times I have pleaded with God to take this pain away.  Everyday for four years I have ingested a chemotherapy drug that has slowed down the hospitalizations and damaging effects of the SCD, however January 2014 I hit a wall and began experiencing life threatening side effects from the drug.  After many conferences with my medical team we decided that Bone Marrow Transplantation would be the best option for me.  Between January and April the psychological preparation began for me to enter the hospital for 3-4 months to undergo 17 rounds of chemotherapy to kill my marrow and to give me a new marrow that would produce healthy cells.  The doctors explained that during this process I would develop mouth sores, various forms of GVH (the body rejecting the marrow), infertility, skin discoloration, and many other problems that could occur.   It was finally April 8, the day of check in; and my mom and I held our breath as I signed the admission papers to my new temporary home.  I was terrified of what the outcome would be but I was also elated.  This was the game changer, THE pivotal moment of my life. “Yes Lord, I am finally going to be FREE from pain, I will get this transplant and receive that clean bill of health in 5 years.”  (One isn’t declared healed until 5 years post transplant)

On this day, I went into surgery, the doctors placed the Hickman catheter in my chest and then I went to receive an exchange transfusion (when 80% of my own blood is taken out and replaced with new blood.)  As I was having blood pumped out of my body, the team of doctors, nurses, and social workers walked in and said, “Cierra, we are so sorry, but there seems to be some problems with the insurance company and you will not be receiving the transplant at this time.” I WAS DEVASTATED.  Here I was with no home because I moved out of my apartment, no job because I took an extended leave of absence, and now NO TRANSPLANT after 4 months of emotional/physical/spiritual preparation.  How was I going to explain this to all my family and friends?  My family in Texas and Illinois was preparing to come to LA to help my mom, individuals from every corner of my life had gathered to wish me well and I felt like a fool.

“JESUS ARE YOU KIDDING?  Did I really just spend 4 months of my life preparing for a period of hell to get rid of my existing hell? Is this really happening to me?  God, these doctors have already cut me open, and taken me through the emotional roller coaster of this transplant.  This is definitely some sort of sick twisted disgusting joke.”

I could go on and on and on about the 26 years of pain that I have endured because of this Sickle Cell. I could tell you how I took Benadryl everyday to sleep the days away after this happened.   It was horrible, it was embarrassing, and it was a hopeless situation. My heart physically hurt; it felt like someone ripped it out and squeezed it to death.  My body was alive yet lifeless…I couldn’t breathe…I couldn’t think…all I could do was cry…literally.  I sobbed day and night.  This hurt…this was the ultimate rejection…the grand scheme the enemy planted in my mind to further propel my insecurities, inadequacy, and unworthiness.  I felt like I was back at square one, back to worrying about the quality of my life.

After a month or two of self-sabotage I decided it was time to get help.  I had allowed over a decade of problems accumulate in my life and the transplant situation exacerbated everything else.  Working with a therapist significantly helped, however, it wasn’t until I began to go back to my roots with Jesus is when I began to truly heal.  One of my favorite singers, Vicki Yohe, has a song entitled “In the Waiting.”  The very first line of that song is “Pain, the gift nobody longs for still it comes.”  I have been listening to that song since I was fourteen years old but one day as I was in my room listening to that song I broke down weeping.  I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and suddenly I understood.

 “Cierra, PAIN IS YOUR GIFT.  Sickness is not of me, but I have allowed you to go through these things because this is how you will touch others.  As you continue to live your life, individuals will see the ‘handicaps’ and the ‘roadblocks’ and they will wonder how in the world you do what you do with what you have.  And the answer won’t have anything to do with you but EVERYTHING to do with me.”

The only way that that I get through life now is to know that pain is a gift from the Lord.  It absolutely sucks when we are being beaten down by the hardships of this world but the only way to surpass it is to know that Christ is using these things to strengthen you.  It is way too easy to love Him when things are going great.  It is simple to walk around joyfully serving others when you have complete health, dependable family members, loyal friends, success, popularity, and money in the bank.

C.S Lewis, a great author said, “We can ignore even pleasure.  But pain insists upon being attended to.  God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Growing up I always heard my mom and elders in the church reiterate that our problems are not for ourselves; that they are for someone else’s benefit.  That always sounded religious and kind of dumb to me.  It irritated me that others would validate my suffering for someone else.  In the last ten months I have finally stopped praying “Why God?” “Please take this away God.”  Instead my prayer is “How do you want me to use this to benefit you Lord” “What do you need me to do Jesus?”  When I ‘face trials of many kinds’ I truly have JOY, because I know that God is working.  I know that He will NEVER give me more than I can bear and I appreciate that He trusts ME to do the work. So I stopped praying for the pain to go away.

Perhaps you’re depressed, perhaps your mom and dad have abandoned you, perhaps you have cancer, or maybe you keep facing rejection in your career…all of these things cause pain.  BUT how will you use your turmoil to help someone else?  Your pain and your heartache will be the leverage God gives you to help someone.  Sometimes He even allows you to go through things just to prove to you how much He loves you and how much others value you.  I have not arrived, but I am so excited for the doors God has been opening and I know that the ‘seemingly grievous times’ are BLESSINGS.  I take PURE JOY in the struggles because I know those overlooked gifts will bring the most value to God’s kingdom.

I compete for the title of Miss California USA this upcoming weekend. I cannot wait to stand  on that stage and showcase inner beauty and resiliance. i feel so beautiful on the inside after overcoming so much with my health, and that’s what I hope people see in me.

How To Have Happy Holidays When You’re Sad

by: Alicia M. Blanco

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I’ve been receiving several messages lately from people who want to know how I stay so happy during this time of year. It’s supposed to be a season of celebration and joy but in reality, it’s a season of heightened depression for many.

At first I was confused how anyone could RESIST happiness during this time of year because Christmas (and this entire season in general) is when I’m in total bliss. I’m like a big kid; I’ve had my Michael Buble Christmas CD playing in my car since October (I know…), I get giddy when the mall starts to decorate and set up for Santa, and even though I don’t drink coffee, I get excited knowing Starbucks is in the season of their famous red cups and holiday themed drinks. I can go on and on but I think you get it- I am obsessed with this time of year. The only thing I find depressing is that I have to wait a whole year for it again as soon as it’s all over.

But as more and more messages came in asking me for advice on how to “endure” the season, I started to really think about why people might feel so anxious or unhappy when the holidays come around.

First off, the media bombardment of smiling family and friends can be overwhelming and annoying.  I get it! Nonstop commercials on TV are showcasing these perfect happy model looking families and groups of good looking friends going shopping and spending money without a care in the world.

While we all know these are entirely staged productions intended to attract consumer spending, some people may start to compare their lives to the lives of others- even more so on social media. They begin to question the relationships in their lives as well as their financial situation. It’s a huge stressor! They also might reflect on another year coming to an end and think about what they DON’T have.

One individual who wrote me said the reason she struggles with staying happy during the holidays is because she never had a father figure in her life and her mother struggled immensely to afford the basic necessities.  She grew up really resenting the process of exchanging gifts and even associates the holidays with guilt for receiving anything.

Its even been said that suicide rates and mood disorders increase in this season due to triggers of loneliness, financial stress, inadequacy, and lack of belonging.  How can we fix this?

If you’re feeling down about the holidays, here are 8 ways I stay happy through them:

1. DON’T COMPARE: I am as guilty as anybody for comparing what I have to what others have, but the less I do this, the happier I am. Keep in mind what you see on TV is not real and what you see on social media is just the same. I came across a great quote the other day – “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steven Furtick – Super true.

2. I CATER TO THE 5 SENSES- I decorate my home beautifully so what I SEE is visually appealing and stimulating. I eat want I want – it’s not bikini season, it’s cookies and milk season! Treat yourself to eating what you know TASTES amazing. You earned it! Also, my home SMELLS like vanilla cookies, cake and pumpkin spice – anything that’s reverent of the season. Next, I almost always have music on that makes me feel good to HEAR. It doesn’t have to be Christmas music, (mine is) but I’m such a lover of music year-round and even fall asleep to a playlist.

3. BE A KID AGAIN- I embrace an intense sense of childlike wonder and dive into the season as if I were a little girl again. In fact, I need to get myself to Disneyland ASAP. Rafael if you’re reading this, let’s go.

4. I strive to make new MEMORIES – this one would be especially helpful for those of you who associate the season with a bad memory. Clean those up and replace them with new and uplifting ones starting today!

5. BUILD TRADITIONS – make those memories you created truly last by establishing them as rock solid TRADITIONS. This should be something you know you’ll eagerly anticipate year round whether it’s shopping for a Christmas tree with your nephew or decorating the house with your boyfriend with your favorite movie on – set something up in stone as “yours” and “ours.” Ever since I was a little girl, all the women in my family get together a week or so before Christmas and make dozens (and dozens) of tamales. We laugh, cry, joke around with each other, have deep conversations, and have mariachi music playing in the background while we work because that’s what my Nana likes – It’s something we all look forward to every year. It’s messy and hilarious. It’s tradition.

6. I’M AROUND THE ONES I LOVE- you really should do this all year round but during this season it’s all the more imperative. My boyfriend and I will be spending two weeks in Arizona in a couple weeks with my family and I couldn’t be more thrilled about that. Being around the ones I love and who love us means the world to me…

7. On that same note, pay attention to people. FOCUS ON OTHERS more than yourself. By now you know I’m a huge advocate of random acts of kindness in hopes that it will impact someone who might be struggling with depression or just having a bad day – so I really step it up even more during this time of year and in return, I’m happier for it.

I find that the less I focus on myself, like what I have or don’t have, and instead use all of that time and energy for others, the happier I am. I have no time to get sad about my circumstances if I’m more focused on improving the circumstances of others. I’m distracted in the best way possible.  I strive to demolish statistics in depression and suicide by being kinder – especially during this time of year when people might need it the most. Try it!

I encourage you to keep in mind that although the year is coming to an end, it’s your opportunity for a new beginning. If you really struggle to embrace the season, ask yourself why. Recognize the root of any issues you are having with this time of year and completely release it all. Give the negativity zero power.

If all else fails, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear!” Elf is on TV right now as I’m writing this, so I had to do that. Cheesy me!

And I’m taking my puppy Romeo to go visit Santa at the mall this week too… yes I am.

Happy Holidays!

The Suicide Letter From My Past

by: Dominique Garrett

DC

Dear Dominique, 16, a mess,

Its been a while now…since you sat on that kitchen floor wanting to end your life.

Its been a while since you thought there was no way out. I wish I could’ve held you tight on those nights when at just 16 years old you believed life couldn’t get any better. I wish I could’ve put my hand on your chest and stopped the pain and depression that you carried.

I know that a history of mistreatment, both physically and emotionally, has left you scared, but…please hold on. Right now you don’t understand. Right now you’re looking for answers, but if told you it will take some time…would you hold on?

I promise that I will be waiting for you…and you will smile again!

I know right now in this very moment you can’t comprehend certain things – like why your brother gets more love and attention than you, or why everyone in the world tells you that you’re so strong, but they really have no idea…I promise you I get it.

You wish that for once someone would wrap their arms around you and say it’ll be ok, cause right now you’re 16 and you don’t know all the answers.  You’ve had to grow up so fast because being a kid just wasn’t in your cards.  You raised yourself emotionally…and yet you did it wrong, but its ok.

I am here to tell you that you will be ok one day soon…and that even though you feel like ending it right now, it will get better, so please don’t let go right now!

Life never moves forward without leaving behind a lesson.

When doubt fills your mind remember that you are going through this to build you UP, not to break you down. One day you won’t need anyone’s validation. One day the past will only be that…the past.

So just close your eyes and trust in your future… you will be a light for others.

I promise to always keep that light on for you…even now in this moment I am trying to be a light in a dark place.

You’re stronger than you think.

With love,

Dominique, 27 years old, a message

Incurable Means Curable From Within // In 5 Steps

by: Alicia M. Blanco

incurablewithin

Sunday’s message at church was so compelling that I had to share it with you.

Hopefully by now you can tell that I’m extremely passionate about words and thoughts of affirmation. (This is probably my 3rd entry on this very topic.) So when guest speaker Jordan Rubin began talking about how it literally saved his life and brought him back to health, I was hooked.

When Rubin was 19, he had suffered from a severe case of Crohn’s Disease, diabetes, arthritis, anemia, rapid weight loss, hair loss, and chronic fatigue, just to name a few. At six feet tall he had gone from 185 pounds down to 106 and was confined to a wheelchair for an extended period of time.

“I traveled the world trying every treatment you could think of, conventional medicine, alternative medicine. It all failed.” – Jordan Rubin

In desperate search of a drastic change, Rubin turned to God through prayer, declaration, and a radical change in diet. In record time, Rubin miraculously regained full health without the help of any medicine at all. He felt compelled to write a book about his journey (The Makers Diet Revolution), the changes he made, and even started preaching around the world about his all-natural and miraculous recovery.

But then, something unexpected happened.

He was diagnosed with cancer.

He was told that he had 0% chance of survival without immediate surgery, chemotherapy and radiation…not 1%, 0%…!!!

Rubin was confused. How could HE have cancer? Rubin had already survived life-threatening illnesses. He was eating what God wanted him to eat, preaching and helping others around the world do the same, and was becoming the face of a healthy lifestyle amongst his community. After asking himself these questions, Rubin became more determined than ever. He would not be defeated.

Here’s how Jordan Rubin claimed victory over his health in 5 steps:

1. “WHEN TRAGEDY STRIKES, GO TO GOD FIRST.” – On the day of his diagnosis, doctors told him his ‘numbers’ were at 280. (0 is normal.) They also told him that if he didn’t go into surgery immediately, it would be like committing suicide, giving him 3 months to live. You would think that after already experiencing such a rough chapter in life in his earlier years, that hearing “you have cancer” and a death sentence would trigger a frantic and discouraged response. Instead, his response was racing towards his faith. Sometimes bad things happen, and it’s awful. But we need to remember God doesn’t allow bad things to happen without a purpose. There is a reason and purpose for everything so when something bad happens, take it to God and leave it with Him to work out.

2. DON’T CLAIM THE ILLNESS. – Some people wear their ailments like a badge of honor. They accept their condition and misfortune as fact. “As a man thinks in his heart so is he…” In other words. YOUR WORDS AND THOUGHTS MATTER because thoughts put things in motion. “I have cancer” is a statement Rubin never once uttered or believed. He emphasized how you need to block out all negativity and cut it off immediately. Rubin had one doctor who spoke such negativity into his condition that he fled from his office at once. In times of crisis, there is no room for any negative energy whatsoever.

3. Take ACTION. – Faith without action is dead. You need to actively participate in your healing and clarity. Rubin committed to 40 days of cleansing his mind and spirit, which meant he had to actively remove any toxic people from his life for his cleanse. He turned off his phone, never checked social media, didn’t research cancer, and wouldn’t even correspond with doctors on a regular basis. The only time he spoke with his doctor was every two weeks when blood test results arrived (which were steadily improving without ANY medicine, by the way…) In addition, he also committed to a drastically new diet that consisted of a ‘back to the basics’ approach inspired by The Bible. Learn more about this diet here.

4. WALK IN HEALING .– Act as though you are already healed. No matter the odds that were against him, Rubin walked and talked as if he was healthy. He spoke words of abundance, prosperity, health and wellness over his life. As stated before, the word ‘cancer’ never left his lips.

5. SHARE YOUR STORY WITH SOMEONE. – On the day of his final test results, Rubin and his wife drove to the hospital to pick up the manila envelope that would contain his fate inside. The results were stunning. His numbers were ZERO. CANCER FREE. TUMOR FREE. GONE. From 280 to 0. He was a healed man! He knew then and there the last step to claiming victory was to share his story and encourage the world. He continued preaching his message on the importance of a proper diet and mindset, but this time, with way more ammunition. His message became that much more powerful due to the cancer he experienced.

These steps worked for Jordan Rubin to defeat cancer, so imagine what it can do for you and whatever it is you are facing! I believe it can work in all areas of your life, not just physical health, but also, mental health, emotional well-being, relationships, career… whatever YOU want and NEED.

(Replace the word cancer with whatever is threatening your well-being. It can be depression, addiction, loneliness, stress, insecurity, mental illness…)

Then, apply these 5 steps and watch your world transform. I pray it does.

I hope you are starting to see just how powerful you really are. The mind is a powerful thing, so start using yours with intention, affirmation and above all else, unwavering faith.

You are healed.