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Read about us and our stories...
Nick - Fnic
32 years old
Comic book publisher, writer, artist
I suffer from endogenous depression. I've been depressed as far as I can remember, I just didn't know it until much later. I'm still finding out things I thought were ordinary thoughts everyone has, are not.
I'm not sure where to begin this long story but I've gone through self harm, hospitalisation, living in psych ward, missing my school exams because I was living in psychiatric ward. I've got quite obvious scars due to self-harm method which I've been told by doctors is very unique. I never discuss it by fear of giving anyone the idea to do the same.
I've really struggled with the stigma of it. After my first stay in a psychiatric ward which lasted about a month, I was told to get over it, that it would pass, that I should toughen up, or just forget about it. My lifestyle was blamed, my reading, love of comics, anything you can think of including my parents and brothers. After all that, I lost most of my friends. Only a couple stuck by me. What I ended up learning was that it was something to hide, that made you unreliable, unlikeable, and a useless member of society. Whether I believe it or not, I still feel so many people do, so I still hide it. I run my own comic publishing company and I don't think investors, bankers, or even creators would want to work with someone who might just kill themselves and ruin their hard work or who can be trusted with their money or creations, so I hide it. I still constantly lie and hide it by fear of being set aside and dismissed. I lie and hide it so I don't get called a scrounger, or a drain on society. I don't want to be treated differently either and have people walk on eggshells around me, so I hide because of that too.
The stigma is what I'm most afraid of, so I've decided to create a full length comic, short stories and illustrations trying to explain how things where for me, and maybe also other people with similar conditions. I really hope talking about it to others will help, but I still feel like I'm completely crazy and useless, so I tend to remove myself from society out of fear of having society kick me out. I can't hold down a job a part from my own comic book publishing. I can't work for others outside my freelance work on comics.
I've not been doing well for a long time, and it never seems to stop, but at least here, I can see others are working towards a goal to stop my fears from existing and that gives me hope, which is probably the most important thing to me now. I'm terrified of posting this but here it goes. Thanks for reading and talking about it, because it's not easy, but important things rarely are.
Raven Nevermore (Michelle Valadez)
31 years old
Wife, Ma, Skater
My name is Michelle I am 31 years old and I live with depression, anxiety, ptsd and bipolar disorder, I am also a former self harmer.
I have been living with depression since I was 13 years old; I have attempted Suicide 3 times.
I was a freshman in high school when I first attempted Suicide I attempted to OD on a bottle of pills. I woke up hours later by myself. I cried I just wanted the pain I felt inside to go away; I never told anyone not one friend, no one in my family, I was scared and extremely alone. I felt that no one one would understand. I began self harming to help stop the pain I was fighting mentally. I continued to be alone with my depression for the next 12 years.
As I grew into adulthood, I learned how to paste on a smile and show people want they wanted to see something “normal” but internally my depression was getting worse. I started having anxiety/panic attacks...I started have major mood swings that went really high and really low...I would cry in my works restroom and walk right out like I didn’t just have melt down...I was a tornado storm within myself.
In my mid 20s I attempted Suicide two more times within two weeks of each other. The 3rd time, my darkest night I was found by my sister in law, the ambulance was called and I was rushed to the hospital and I spent the next two weeks in a mental health treatment center. My depression was no longer my secret.
During my stay at the inpatient treatment center and after my discharge my family surrounded me with so much unconditional love and support and I love them so much for all their love and support but I still felt so alone in depression.
After my discharge I knew I could no longer live alone with my depression, I continued individual therapy and with the encouragement of my therapist, physiatrist, the right medications and family I began attending an outpatient program and for several months. This was the beginning of my light in my darkness. I began to share my story during group and individual therapy, the struggles I felt inside, I began to learn how to find healthy coping skills, set healthy boundaries I began fighting back my depression.
It’s been 6 years since my darkest night. I still live with my depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder but I have learned to live with it in a healthy state of mind. I love every piece of myself, I love my high and low moments. My dark night comes and goes but I’ve learned to embrace it.
I am no longer ashamed or embarrassed to talk about my mental health. I never shared my depression with anyone because as a society we don’t talk about it or people say things like your being overly sensitive, your crazy, it’s just in your head or just get over it. I will no longer be silent, I refuse to be silent Depression is REAL, Suicide is REAL, Mental Health is REAL.
29 years old
Skater/Volunteer First Responder
Over the years, I have been through so much in my life growing up. When I was a young child, I went through so much testing to be diagnosed with ADD with a processing disorder in the 1st grade. I was medicated and taken off the medication, due to the fact that my mother said I didn't seem like the same child anymore and that I looked sad.
I went through speech therapy from the first grade until about the 7th grade. I didn't officially start talking until I was about 5 years old; granted I knew a few words before that, but I had an extremely LOW vocabulary. In the third grade, was the first time I tried cutting myself because I was really sad and didn't know it at the time.
From the 5th grade through the 8th grade, I would eat lunch with my guidance counselor because I couldn't eat in the cafeteria or in the classroom during lunch time and would spend recess in the library. I couldn't stand to be around other people in my grade, because I was so severely bullied from the 4th grade all the way until young adulthood. Also, in high school, I would eat lunch in the hallway by my auditorium or in the bathroom, because over these years, where I would hide and eat, I would get made fun of, on how I was such a fat ass and a pig.
The first time I was told to kill myself was in 6th grade and my first actual attempt was my sophomore year of high school and no one ever knew about any of my actual attempt. One of my teachers, a few weeks later, noticed that I wasn't my norm and I would talk to a social worker that worked at my school a few times throughout the years, while I was at my high school. I attempted again in high school and spoke out for help and never received the help I needed. I am glad I am alive today!
Over the years to continue, I was up and downs with severe anxiety and depression, but I never knew I had anxiety until I took myself to the ER a few months after I graduated high school. After high school, I went to a technical school and didn't do so well and during the time here, I attempted for the 3rd time on suicide. After failing and realizing that I am happy to be alive, I decided to become a first responder, and help other people out that are in need and I absolutely love it!!!
Throughout the last 10 years, I have attempted to go to college 3 times and failed out two of the times. The 3rd time I decided to go to college, was to do it fully online. When I first went through college, I had no clue I had many things that were written into my IEP with my learning disabilities, that I never received growing up and was in special education classes most my life; since the 5th grade. So, most of my life in school, I was mainly babysat and didn't learn.
With many struggles I have dealt with most of my life with severe bullying/cyberbullying and the struggles with fighting for my life, I finally have a diagnosis within the last few years of therapy. I have major depression, severe anxiety, psychosis (coincides with my anxiety), and avoidant personality disorder. I also don't socialize very well either; which makes it pretty hard for me to make friends. The friends I have, I hold close.to my heart. I might still struggle a lot today with everything I am going through, but I am very happy I found the help I need and slowly coming to terms with learning ways to be a better person for me.
For those that are out there struggling with everything, there are others that are struggling as well and be happy for you. Find yourself and it is okay if it takes a long time, because I still haven't and that is okay!
Amanda a.k.a. Root
27 years old
Skater, bioinformatician, project management
Arnhem, The Netherlands
My name is Amanda (or Root) and I'm a skater with the Arnhem Fallen Angels in the Netherlands. Writing this makes me so nervous, I would want to puke my guts out on the floor. I've always struggled with depression, self harm, suicide ideation, and a psychotic disorder in the schizophrenic spectrum i.e. I hear voices and sometimes see people who aren't real. I've been keeping everything in check until my depression went from mild to severe and treatment resistant.
I attempted suicide twice and was severely hospitalized after the second attempt. Not a single medication helped, so I was committed inpatient to be started on MAO inhibitors, a last resort medication that is rarely prescribed in my country. It started to get better. I still struggle, but sometimes I feel the sun on my skin and I can actually enjoy the day.
My psychotic disorder is difficult to maintain. I went from Seroquel, Risperidone, and Latuda to Haloperidol, which seems to be working. If this keeps working I will have the right combination of meds.
During my breakdown and concurrent suicide attempts, I had to cut back on derby, got demoted to the B-team and had to give up my coaching role as coach for the Dutch Men's Roller Derby Team. I'm slowly getting better and I miss my teammates and the guys from Team NL, so I'm finding a balance between what my mental health can handle and what I really want to do in life. One thing is sure, I won't be returning as a pharmaceutical project manager anytime soon. My recovery needs time, space, and positivity. And that's what I'm looking for right now. So don't keep quiet, but Keep Talking.
31 years old
Mother, skater, cybersecurity specialist
I am 31 years old and at the age of 30, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety. I have always been independent, self sufficient and driven. To admit that I needed help, to ask for help, I felt so weak. It was the day after I was moments away from taking my own life, that I realized, asking for help took an incredible amount of courage and strength. Just over 2 and a half years ago, I went through a divorce. I had incurred other obstacles in my life prior to that (sexual assault (on more than one occasion, especially during my military tour)/harassment, bullying, you name it) but it was my divorce that pushed me into a depression. I sought treatment and was placed on medication. It definitely took some trial and error but finally I was able to find one that worked for me. The downside, weight gain, lots of it! That played so much into my anxiety and insecurity as well. Becoming a single mother with no support was so very difficult, add hating yourself and feeling unworthy and unattractive to the mix and it didn’t make up a great concoction. I learned quickly that I was alone. My friends who I was there for in there times of need, were nowhere to be found in mine. Fair weather friends some may say. I was hours away from family. I doubted myself. I reflected on and obsessed over every encounter I had with anyone in my life (did I say the wrong thing, I should have said this or that, I hope my facial expression was okay, im not good enough, why would anyone appreciate or respect me or anything I have to say, no wonder I don’t have any real friend, why am I not good enough?) My children, however, are what truly kept me alive. I had a boyfriend who lived out of state at the time (we went through some obstacles in our relationship as well, many of them actually, but over time, we developed something very special), so the long distance relationship also took a toll. He encouraged me to seek treatment and once diagnosed he did tons of research to figure out the right and wrong things to say/do and how to best support me from afar. He has since moved in with me and is a wonderful human being and incredible stepfather. He encourages me to get out of bed and on days when physically I just can’t, he doesn’t leave my side. I have become an advocate for Mental Health and spreading the word. Enduring that people know that they are NOT alone. That they are worthy. That they matter.
16 years old
Since elementary school l constantly remember coming home, my lips raw from chewing them all day. At this point I didn’t know what anxiety was. All I knew was that the more I did it the more and more I’d get in trouble at home.
Middle school came and things only got worse. I slowly started “forgetting” to do my homework, and snapping at my family. I didn’t think anything of it. At least not at first. By 7th grade I was constantly “sick”. Eventually my parents caught on. And then I was only “sick” during specific classes. The classes my bullies and I had together. By the end of the 1st quarter I had begun to self harm. No one knew until my 8th grade year. One of my friends saw while we were dressing down for gym. She instantly went to my counselor and told him. Resulting in a call home to my parents. My parents already knew something was wrong. But I was told it was “just a phase every teenager went through”. So for years I went undiagnosed. Just a preteen left to fight for herself. End of the 1st semester of my 8th grade year I was finally diagnosed. Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, and anorexia. I was instantly put on my medication.
Then freshman year came around. Probably the worst year of my life. I turned 15 toward the end of the school year. In April of that year I lost a friend to suicide. By the time I was 15 I had tried to take my own life at least 4 times. 4 days after my freshman year ended I drove across the country to start a new chapter of my life. A chapter that has made me stronger.
By 16 that number increased to 10 seperate times. I had also been diagnosed with PTSD as well as bulimia. After hearing this diagnosis I thought that there was no hope for me. I shouldn’t even be writing this today. The support from my derby community is the only reason that I am here sharing my story with you. Without them in my life you’d never have heard my side of the story.
29 years old
Skater, social worker, teacher
"Hi :) As long as I can remember, I have had anxiety. Obviously, as a kid, I had no clue why I always had a stomachache. But thinking about it now, I can see that I was anxious about school, friends, family. Trauma and abuse in my childhood make it difficult to remember the details, but I do remember making the decision to kill myself when I was 12. I felt like I would feel horrible (read: anxious) forever, and that never ending cycle of constantly worrying, doubting myself, and perfectionism couldn't continue. I didn't have supportive parents or friends, and I truly felt alone. Luckily, my plan fell through and I have continued to live with the ups and downs of anxiety and depression. It wasn't until I was in college that I even considered going to therapy. A relative discussed their mental health issues (and other relatives' mental health) at a family dinner, and they encouraged me to seek out the free therapeutic services available on my college campus. I HATED the first, second, and third therapists that I saw but I am very fortunate to have found support in my extended family. I eventually found a therapist who helped me begin to face my overwhelming anxiety, depression and trauma. This therapist was a social worker and inspired me to apply to a social work program. My anxiety continued to get worse, and a therapist convinced me to see a psychiatrist. I started taking medication to manage me anxiety and depression, and I now have more emotional space to make the most out of therapy. Fortunately, my teammates are incredibly open and supportive when discussing mental health. In conversation with them, and conversations with other social workers, I have realized the importance of speaking about my mental health, my experiences, and listening to others. I am very lucky to have a friend/teammate that wanted to have these types of conversations on a public forum (Frau Pow Podcast), so we can offer a space for people to learn and listen about mental health (and other issues). I am still coming to terms with the fact I will ALWAYS have anxiety and depression- they are things that will never go away but I can use the tools that I have learned from therapy and lean on my support system (my partner, friends, teammates) when I need help. I will still have bad days (or weeks!), but I have the support that I need to make it through. "
Miss Tea Maven // Jennifer Dean
29 years old
Skater, Coach, Founder of Stop Stigma
New York City
My mental health has impacted my life for as long as I can remember. I've attempted suicide twice, I self-harm and have been living with anorexia and hypergymnasia for the past 4 years. At first, I was ashamed and embarrassed, and I felt that I was different from everyone else. I was extremely lonely, with no support system. There was no one that I felt comfortable to turn to for help. I couldn't understand why I was so different from everyone else, and why I just couldn't be "normal". Little did I know that nearly one in five people experience different levels of mental health issues. I am nowhere near alone in my mental health struggle. I felt desperate to find support if only there was some way to visually see others having the same problems with their mental health, the same struggles. If I could see who else might understand what I went through and have moral support from people going through the tough times as well, we all wouldn’t feel so alone.
27 years old
Skater, competitive weightlifter
When I was 16, I developed chronic migraines disease which turned my world upside down, with it came depression, anxiety, OCD, and permanent nerve damage to parts of my body (right side). In college, I experience my first major depressive episode and some of the worst migraines of my life, during which I ruined a great friendship because I didn't understand what was happening to me; the only thing that seemed to snap me out of it was when my aunt passed away from ALS. After snapping out my stupor and getting through the rest of college and track and field, I realized how connected my migraines and mental health were, but I built mental walls and hid behind them. 2 1/2 years ago, my Nonna and Nonno passed away, during this time I went through a complete mental breakdown, developing non-epileptic seizures and spiraling into an eating disorder in which I lost about 30 pounds in just over a year. It was only through ending a terrible long-term relationship, starting a new romantic one with my best friend and now fiancé, was I able to start getting myself the help I need. I started to go to therapy to work through the non-epileptic seizures and everything that was connected with it, along with breaking down my walls and work through the barrier I put into place that I thought would protect me. Now, while I still live with chronic migraines every day, my seizures have been steadily decreasing in intensity and quantity, and working on recovering from the ED. It's hard, it's almost always a fight, but I am better equipped for it now.
Throughout my upbringing, I was always pushed by my family to perform academically. Many times, I was successful. Other times I was not. When I wasn't, I felt as if I had failed everyone. I felt as though my family was judging me negatively. I'm not saying that they WERE...just that I FELT that way. A lot of pressure was put on me as high school graduation neared (and college loomed on the horizon). I had work, school, a girlfriend, a social life, etc. Somehow, though, it felt as though I couldn't handle it. I felt that I wasn't giving my all to everyone...I felt as though I was letting people down...it got to the point that my thinking circled around the ""maybe they're just better off without me"" realm...suicide was contemplated...it culminated in a dream where I watched myself, in a mirror, commit the deed. I woke up screaming. My mother heard me from across the house and came to find & comfort me. I told her what had happened. She stayed with me for a while until I was able to calm down and get back to sleep...but I never forgot that night...30 years later and it is as vivid now as it was back then...
I wound up moving on & trying to do the best I could with college, life, job-hunting--i.e. becoming an "adult"--but the feelings of inadequacy and failure loomed at every turn. Looking back, I realize that it took more out of me than I cared to admit. It took me 9 more years before I finally broke down, admitted to myself that I needed help, and began seeing a psychologist & psychiatrist. At a while, I finally began to feel as if I wasn't actually spiraling down a never-ending whirlpool of despair. I could feel myself leveling off...
Over the years, I still sit (when I'm alone) and become consumed with somewhat paranoid thoughts: "Are they just pretending to like me?", "Did I do something wrong and they're just waiting to pounce on me?", "Do they really like me or are they just being polite because we're in public?"...self-doubt is ever-present in my life...I am CONSTANTLY in an over-thinking/over-evaluating state of mind. If this was 30 years ago, I might be having that dream again...but I don't...the mental anguish I put myself through is never-ending...I've just gotten better at coping with it...some might say I'm just better at self-denial. Maybe they're right. I don't know...but what I DO know is that I'm still here. Alive & kicking...and I'm not looking into that dream-mirror anytime soon! :-)"
49 years old
Mathematician, photographer, poor but enthusiastic guitarist
I've struggled with depression and suicidal ideation since at least age eight. I've dealt with years of bullying, body image issues, fear of underachieving and letting everyone down... if there is a negative way to look at anything, I have a knack for finding it. I've wound up in psych wards twice, and probably should have at least two other times years earlier. This has hurt a lot of people, but I hope they know that was never what was on my mind. The view is all inwards at those times, I promise you. I am truly grateful now to have an incredibly supportive partner and friends who look out for me. I have cats who love me, and I'd do anything to make them happy. I have a good job, and I have hobbies that command my time and my passion. But... it's a daily battle. And it always will be.
34 years old
I've struggled with depression since my early teens. Major episodes can last up to two years, and I've had a number of major episodes in my life that have significantly impacted my work, my friends, my family and my relationships. That's roughly 7 years of my adult life spent staving off persistent intrusive negative thoughts. And that's only counting the major episodes. I've taken steps to protect myself, including ending toxic relationships, quitting school and work programs that were making me feel worse, learning to say no and reminding myself constantly that saying no also means not feeling guilty for saying no. I've gone through counselling where I could, and taken medications where I could. A few years ago I fell into another major depressive episode, but this time I wasn't in school and therefore didn't have access to the medical services I'd had in the past. It got really bad, and I acted in ways I didn't think possible.
I also 'reached out' for help. I put that in quotes because I did everything right to get help, and there really isn't much help out there for people like me (people with less money who have mental health issues). I live in Canada where health care is free, but prescription drugs are not, counselling is not, therapy is not and if you don't have a family doctor, seeing a doctor can take up to 8 hours waiting. If you don't get a doctor you feel comfortable talking with after that wait, it becomes difficult to explain the gravity of your situation. When I 'reached out', I had a suicide prevention hotline receptionist hang up on me. She thought I was a previous caller. I'd never called a suicide prevention line before and she yelled at me for clogging up the line, being abusive to her and then she hung up on me. I was stunned. Going through the official channels, I waited 6 months for counselling that was covered by the province. When I finally got it, we were about 7 sessions in when my counsellor told me that I was going to need more care than we would be able to accomplish in the allotted 10 sessions I got for free. I didn't know I only got 10 sessions. Not only that, I couldn't continue with the same counsellor after that bc he only worked for the free service that the province provided, so I was going to have to start over with someone new. If you've ever been in therapy, you know it's not easy to start all your progress over. You have to rehash everything. Anyways, I didn't end up going back for my last three sessions. As with many of the feelings that come with depression, in this moment I felt 'what's was the point, it's hopeless anyways'.
For those of you reading that don't know what it feels like, this is the best way I can describe my experience. When I am in a major episode, it is impossible for me to be happy with what I have. I am lonely when I am with friends. I'm homesick when I am home. I want to be left alone when I am alone. Everyone (well, most people) has a little self doubt voice in their heads. It speaks up now and then and makes you question things, but you overcome it and move on. Well, my 'self doubt voice' doesn't feel like it's coming from within my head. I don't know where it's coming from. It doesn't seem like it's mine. It terrorizes me constantly with negativity. If I get a compliment, it's growling at me that that person is just being nice. That it's not true and that I don't deserve real compliments, only ones out of pity. If I mess something up, it laughs at me. If I want to try something new, it berates me with one million reasons why I will fail, and why others will be better at it than me. If I'm doing well at something, it's just luck, or others taking pity on me and letting me succeed by not challenging me as much. It isn't just sometimes. It's constant. It. Never. Stops. When I'm in public, or with friends, if I seem distracted, or I'm not focusing or listening, it's because it feels like there is someone else shouting negativity in my ears while I'm trying to have a conversation with you. It's interrupting every interaction making it impossible to stay present.
Imagine there's this dog that's snapping at you, and nipping at you, and growling at you constantly but no one can see it but you. You're quietly shushing it, and pushing it away, trying not to seem crazy, but you can't get rid of it. And then when it's at it's worst, someone real, a friend, says or does something mildly unsavoury towards you (something that might not even be their fault). And suddenly you're trying to yell at the dog, but somehow it's all been confused and you snap at your friend. You didn't mean it, and it's not right and your friend didn't deserve that. But that's what it feels like for me to have to have real life problems intersect with my depression. How am I supposed to be a reliable friend, employee, daughter, lover?
My depression also likes to run through worst case scenarios with me, wherein the outcomes are quite gruesome and graphic and I have to literally shake it off. I'll be envisioning my bike route to work and I'll get these visions of how the decisions I've made are causing terrible accidents. Once, I started rolling up the window in my car and had a panic attack because I envisioned too late that my dogs head was out the window. He wasn't even in the car with me. I cried for an hour. I don't know why this happens.
Right now, I'm ok. I'm out of my last major episode and that means that while I still get a few days here and there of the intense negativity, I get lots of good days too, where I'm not exhausted from fighting of those thoughts. Where I'm motivated and excited to work on my paintings or whatever project I've got going on. Where I can just enjoy life in peace for a bit.
I also 'self medicate' via some positive things like diet, sleep, exercise, vitamin D, roller derby, being with friends when I can, and some not so positive things, like isolating myself completely when I need to, drinking to stop the constant stream of negative attacks, smoking cigarettes, oversleeping. Unfortunately, self destructive behaviour is all a part of the mental health package. My dog is great source of comfort for me. Painting helps a lot too. And travelling. I feel like I get to be a different person when I'm travelling. Someone who isn't clouded with negativity and self doubt. Sometimes when it feels like I'll never truly be happy, or able to accept love, I take comfort in knowing that I could just end it whenever I want. It's a weirdly cathartic thought, as dark as it seems. It's like an insurance plan or something to keep myself going. Like just push through this thing now because you can always kill yourself later.
53 years old
Let me start off by telling you I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this because sharing these kinds of things are often quite scary and it causes one to look introspectively at one's self and that in itself is scary... however, the more i thought about it the more I knew that this really isn’t about me or really even therapeutic for me because I live with me every day... but maybe it’s important to you and that’s more important to me...
I’m a musician... I play many different instruments... I’ve been in numerous bands over many years... I’m no one famous... I haven’t been on one of your favorite songs and that’s ok... but I still perform and I write... I used to be the life of the party... the guy people wanted to know... at first it was fun and now it’s downright terrifying... I’ve gone from an extrovert to an introvert... the guy that’s uncomfortable at parties and has an excuse to leave early or races for the exit when I see my reflection in a mirror... it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped caring about people or have stopped performing... nor have I lost that ability to “flip the switch” as I like to say... but on a break, you’ll most likely find me in the parking lot if you can find me at all... I’m scared, anxious, and filled with crippling self-doubt... despite how many times people will tell me how talented I am I just can’t believe them... but then again I check my front door 3 times to make sure it’s locked and then lie awake in bed wondering if it’s locked...
Not only do i have overwhelming anxiety I also suffer from bipolar disorder and depression... it makes me feel like a fragile Faberge egg that is in constant need of reassurances but at the same time can’t handle them... kind of like a kid that keeps bugging you for a candy bar only to tell you he hates candy... but I digress... the reason I have briefly shared this aspect of my life is to let the reader know that they aren’t alone... that despite these feelings and emotions — which I remind you are valid for myself and you as well — I carry on... i don’t always isolate from people but I’m far more selective now with whom I share things with and that’s ok too... I do not believe one needs a large group of friends or even family to talk with... sometimes it can be a complete stranger... just know that it’s ok to share with someone what you’re going through and one should do it often but in a manner in which they see fit and will be productive to them...
Postscript: I am also an NSO in the roller derby community... this has been very important as well as therapeutic for me on so many levels... I have met a lot of people that don’t need to nor will see me in an elevated way... we are equals bundled together by the sport... I love the near anonymity it provides and I know who I can talk to about things when I need to... if you need to, I'm here for you too...