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.

“I Never Said Goodbye” – When Depression Kills

by: Lauren Streich

lauren

I was in my freshman home room class and during the usual morning announcements I decided to go to my locker to retrieve a textbook. Before I could pass the threshold, Sister Lynn came on the loud speaker and said: “Seton Catholic Preparatory has called and asked is to keep in our prayers the family of Eric Francese, Eric passed away late Monday night”.

The first thing that came to my mind was “she said his name wrong” and then with realization of her words, I collapsed to the floor. “This is a joke” I thought to myself, saying “oh my god, this isn’t real” repeatedly while my home room teacher and classmates sat staring at me. I was numb, it wasn’t real, he wasn’t gone.

Crying hysterically I went to my first class and asked to see the guidance counselor. I had explained to her that I had been talking to Eric Monday night and all of a sudden he stopped responding, I didn’t think anything of it. To know that I talked to him moments before he took his own life crushed me. I will always wonder if I could have said something to make him feel loved but the truth is I had no idea he was depressed.

Our friendship had faded when we went to different schools. Eric had texted me for the first time in months the Thursday before he died. But, in the moment I felt guilt, and then I began feeling useless.

I starting thinking of what he had done and began to understand and relate to it. I quickly became suicidal and with no desire to talk to anyone about anything, it’s a miracle I made it through this very dark time in my life. I thought no one cared if I was alive or not.

I think part of this belief was because, once I became depressed, my friends distanced themselves. They saw that I wasn’t talking or being my bubbly self and didn’t know how to talk to me. But since I was in a depressive state I saw it as them not caring that I was sad and them not trying to help me.

That was definitely at the core of my depression and that is what I want people to realize; depression can’t be ignored. Depression doesn’t simply go away and the mentality that just letting the depressed deal with it alone is completely counter-productive.

Together, supporting one-another and truly caring that the person next to you is alive and telling them that is one of the biggest steps the human race could make. Whether it is directed to a stranger or loved-one, random acts of kindness can not only change a person’s day, but their life.

Acts can be as simple as giving a compliment or something as grand as paying for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant. No matter what random act of kindness you perform the message should remain the same, we are all loved and we all here for one another.

As for myself, when I can’t fall asleep, I lay in bed and talk to Eric because I know he is listening in heaven. There are moments when I start to lose faith and fear that I will go back to my dark times; but then I think of all the amazing people, places and opportunities I would have missed out on if I had succumb to the disease and I can’t help but smile.

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light” –Albus Dumbledore