I would play this exact game with my grandmother for hours whenever my family would visit. Some of the most vivid memories I have of her I was maybe 9 or 10 and those moments had a great effect on me and my identity.

The smell of the house is still strong and familiar, immediately I feel an overwhelming feeling of comfort and love. I can hear the fresh ground coffee dripping into the pot sitting on the burner keeping it always hot, kind of a powerful symbol of the constant encouragement and support given to me by my grandmother…


His main form of control was what my mom referred to as ‘terrorism.’ Using his words, tone, and facial expressions to keep us in a perpetual state of fear of what he may do next. Even if he had nothing planned, we were always ready, and at the same time never prepared.

Because my parents fostered children, I am one of seven. I am happy they were a part of my life though I am not sure they would say the same. The girls shared a room and we all had our own shelf in the book case for our…


You shove a large safety pin into the middle of your tongue and roll your eyes into the back of your head as it goes in. You put the stove on high and lick the coils feeling it get stuck slightly from the searing. You walk up to a tow truck and slam your teeth into the metal while in the middle of the street. You cut off your bottom lip exposing your gums. You pull your molars out with a wrench watching in the mirror as blood squirts from the nerve. For years you have been calling these “visuals”…


Lost relationships and even the allusion of loss, based purely on paranoia, along with an intense fear of failure as an academic, contributed to my suicidal thoughts and attempts. Additionally, Emory University reports:

“Graduate and professional students are a high-risk group for mental health problems, including depression and suicidal behavior. Some research has shown that graduate students have the highest rates of suicide and that more than half of graduate students have had thoughts of suicide at some point during their lives. …


All the months of jumping on chairs and running around the class room, screaming, culminated to one simple conclusion: you are gifted. It’s not that you are smarter than the other students, just different, with needs not able to be met by the school you are currently attending. Unfortunately, you didn’t understand what gifted meant, so you stared forward, silent, during the test, resulting in an ‘inconclusive’ score, leaving your inconclusive needs by the wayside.

*****

Our culture is invested in finding a cure for mental illness, the National Alliance on Mental Health’s budget for mental illness research is currently…


Bulimia

Age: 5

Standing straight up on our knees, our backs to the television, was how my 5 siblings and I were required to sit at the black coffee table to eat dinner. Occasionally one or two of us had to stand on our feet depending on the trouble my step father perceived us to have gotten into that day. Our bottoms falling onto our heels from the pain of the weight of our young bodies on our knees resulted in a smack on the back of the head that sometimes propelled our heads forward to ram into the metal…


Labeling and Identity

Carbaugh’s research asks if it is our genetics, human biology, psychology, or social interaction that determines our identity stating that most people believe themselves to be a specific “kind” of person where their core self is independent from their “psychological thoughts” (Carbaugh, 1996, p.19, 20). He concludes, however, that identity is a mixture of psychological thought processes and biological makeup, adding that we are always being “made and remade” through environmental factors known as “symbolic interactionism, or “a conceptualization of the self as emerging out of one’s social interactions as well as the perceptions of others” (Carbaugh…


The Power of Stories

Autoethnography gives the reader opportunities for new ways of looking at social issues, self-examination and self-transformation. Taking from Ellis and Bochner the reader is “thrust into scenes that invite them to feel, care, and desire” though Berry would add it can sometimes feel like “reliving a loud car crash.” However, calling from Cissna, this connection to the reader can offer “novel ways to meet the call of applied research to not just understand communicative worlds but also change them for the better” (265). In this view, a connection with the reader is essential to make positive…


I had an imaginary friend at the age of three, around the time my new baby brother entered the world, as is natural and healthy for a young child losing some of the attention from their parent(s). What’s remarkable about my old friend lie in two characteristics: her height, she was 3 inches tall, and her name, Amber. She looked exactly like me, though, of course, always wore different clothes. I berated Amber. I got to her level, waved my finger in her face, and scolded her every action. I stomped on her, imagining her flat, though knew she would…


“There’s something wrong with that child! She’s just not normal.” I hear my parents talking, just outside my door. The man speaking, my step-father, had my door sawed in half to see inside whenever he wanted, which allowed the yellow light of the living room to permeate as I tried to sleep. I can hear every utterance clearly, and breathe in the emotion in his face as I am lying there, falling asleep…

“She’s a devil child.”

*****

You are young and sitting in your white room, the sun shining through the white window blinds and a girl walks in…

Amber Klee

Nourishing Reflexivity: A Memoir of Mental Health and Healing Through Daily Struggle

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