Since the age of five, it was clear that there was something different about the way Kallie interacted with the world around her. At school, Kallie was extremely particular, needing special attention to ensure things were done in a way that she agreed with, but otherwise generally well behaved. At home, her mother remembers her behavior as anything but good mannered with Kallie spitting on the floor, throwing furniture and demonstrating other aggressive, angry behaviors that were shocking to see from such a young child. Kallie’s mom struggled with how to react and sought help from a therapist. Continue reading
I lost my good friend, Craig McAuliff, on Friday. He was an incredibly joyful person, who enriched the lives of all those who knew him. Family and friends came first in Craig’s life and he made sure we knew how much he cared about each of us. As full of life as Craig was, he also suffered from depression. His battle against the disease was a battle that I share with him and have written about here before. That shared struggle only amplified my already deep appreciation of our friendship. While I hope that he knew how much I, and so many others, cared about him, I regret never looking him in the eye and thanking him for not only being the best friend I could ask for, but also being so open and honest with me about that facet of his life.
Today, October 10th, marks two years that I’ve been sober. A milestone, to be sure, but I don’t always view my sobriety as a source of pride. Although it grows smaller by the day, there is still a part of me that’s ashamed by the fact that I decided to quit drinking; a voice that tells me it’s a character flaw or an indication that I cannot successfully manage a life in which I drink. As time has passed and I’ve become more accepting of my own struggles, I’ve grown to recognize that my own relationship with alcohol is not isolated to a story of addiction but part of a larger battle with anxiety and depression. And while I’ve fought these battles for most of my life, I’ve felt alone in those attempts until only recently. The associated shame and guilt that I carried on a daily basis could feel impossible to overcome at times, and it’s not hard for me to understand the thoughts of those who become hopeless in a state of desperation. I have lost friends and family to suicide, some very recently. There is frequently a stigma associated with mental illness, addiction and suicide and we can too often project a moral judgment on those who are suffering. The hardest thing for me has always been the desire to be truly seen by others; to find people who can relate to what I have been through and continue to go through on a daily basis; to understand that I am not alone. It has been difficult for me to overcome both the stigma that surrounds these struggles and my own fear of what those that I care about most will think of me as a result of them. However, I have found comfort and gained a deeper understanding of my own journey through the experiences of others, and want to share my story of why I quit drinking in the hopes that it may provide similar comfort and understanding to others.