Trauma: Psychological trauma is a deep, lasting, negative injury to the brain that is usually the result of experiencing a high-stress event or pattern of events, such as violence, abuse, or neglect. There are varying degrees of trauma and individuals who experience trauma experience it differently.
Corporal Punishment as a Barrier to Intimacy, Letting go of Shame
Corporal punishment is falling out of fashion, thankfully, for Jacques Damhuis writes beautifully about its long-lasting, damaging impact.
Trauma Under the Bridge | Trauma Recovery Short Film Revisited
Short film that shows the Sharon Wise’s journey from trauma, abuse and addiction to hope, healing and connection.
The Plight of the One-Person Mental Health Support System
As the daughter of a victim of sexual abuse, Elizabeth Devine has had to endure her own trauma as well as take on the traumatic experiences of others; today she writes about her own challenges.
Victory Over Suicidal Tendencies: Fostering the Human Connection
This mental health recovery story focuses on Amy’s journey with intergenerational trauma, suicidality and addiction. Amy eventually found support that helped her to heal, read more here!
Following Childhood & Adult Suicide Attempts: A Vow to Get Better
Like so many people who try to take their own lives, Sandra Stevens came from trauma; wishing she had never been born. She took many steps to achieve the desire to stay in this world; this is her story.
“What’s Wrong with You?” — the Question Trauma Asks
For his whole life, Jacques Damhuis was confronted with, “What’s wrong with you?” After decades of self-discovery, and some EMDR, he is learning that the answer is “nothing.”
Was I the Black Sheep? Discovering, Understanding and Healing my Trauma and CPTSD
This mental health recovery story focuses on Ana’s journey with Complex PTSD, and intergenerational trauma. Ana eventually cut ties with family to begin her healing journey. Read to learn more about how Ana learned to ask for help and recover from trauma.
Back on Track: Recovering from Mental Illness and Addiction
After ten years of fighting a wrenching addiction to heroin, Stacey Anne Quin is winning herself back from the brink of mental illness and addiction.
Throw Pillows and Coffee Mugs: Accoutrements of Trauma, Abuse, and Recovery
Alan Caldwell has been collecting stories about his history of abuse and trauma and family for years, but only recently begun writing them down.
Losing Her Saved Me: How I Healed From Trauma
This mental health recovery story focuses on Amanda’s journey with OCD, Anorexia, Complex PTSD, trauma and grooming. Amanda had to cut off her mother in order to heal. Read to learn more about how Amanda learned to ask for help and recover from trauma.
We’ll Leave The Gaslight on For You
This mental health recovery story focuses on Lindsey’s journey through abuse and childhood trauma, gaslighting, and hospitalizations, where Lindsey learned to trust her intuition and find practices around caring for herself. Read more in this mental health essay!
PTSD: The Unlikely Disease that Brought my Father and I Together
Carissa Chesanek’s father experienced undiagnosed PTSD from his experience in Vietnam. His daughter never went to war, but was diagnosed with the same illness.
All The Colors Of Me Only Some Will See: Relearning to Love Your Body After a Trauma
Anne Marie Malloy had trouble loving who she saw in the mirror after facing childhood trauma, so she’s reclaimed control over self-identity with piercings, Doc Martens, and a rebellious attitude to match.
Learning to Prioritize Mental Health and Self-Care through a Traumatic Experience
This mental health recovery story focuses on Andrea’s journey after an incident of unwanted touch in a public place. Andrea felt anger, confused, uncertain how to go on. Through mental health care and re-prioritizing her needs, read how Andrea learned to heal from her trauma.
Walking through Life with Grief
Losing people is always hard; for Amanda Wolf, the grief and loss following the deaths of a close friend and her grandfather threatened to overcome her.
The Hip Hop Therapist
Ronald Crawford calls himself a hip hop therapist, using hip hop lyrics as a way to connect in therapy sessions with young people.
Magical Thinking as Trauma Response: How I Created Safety through Imagination
Faced with traumas before unimagined, Laura turned to the tool of magical thinking to create safety after ongoing experiences of trauma.
Anxiety & Trauma Poems
Faced with trauma and grief, writer Laura Farrell turned to poetry to process her experiences.
Forgiving the Hurt: What Does it Mean to Forgive Our Abusers?
Alicia McClendon has been parsing out the word “forgiveness” for some time now. Can you forgive your own mother for causing you childhood trauma? And what does it mean to forgive while still holding on to your truth?
Melancholy & Cinnamon; A Journey through Mental Hell, and How Poetry Saved my Life
Gabrielle Guillon has come a long way from growing up with depression and abuse as her constant companions; poetry has helped her heal.
A Goodbye Call in a Summer Afternoon: Noticing Suicide Warning Signs May Be the Difference Between Life and Death
When her uncle called trying to give a cryptic goodbye, Thaís Freita noticed suicide warning signs and saved a life.
Hell or High Seas: Suicide Attempt Survivor on the Big Screen
Tackling PTSD on the High Seas presents U.S Navy Taylor Greiger’s transformation from suicide attempt survivor into suicide prevention awareness activist.
Sincerely, Madness: A Marine Confronts Rape and Self-Harm to find Strength and Hope
Being a Marine is supposed to put you through Hell and test your will, but not by subjecting you to rape by two different superior officers. Years later, Joyce Villeta is recovering and living through her trauma.
Good Thoughts for a Better Mind: How Psychoanalysis Transformed My Life
Years of traditional therapy didn’t do much to quell Daniela Silva’s existential dread and fear of smiling. It took a dose Freud to spur her journey forward.
Wired Differently: How Brain Surgery Quelled My OCD
After experiencing mountains of trauma at the hands of her therapist, Harper Hanson found that treating her OCD might actually be better solved in the operating room.
Afraid of Being Seen: Recovering from Trauma & Learning to Show up Authentically
Lisa Greene’s trauma recovery journey is hopeful, inspiring, and beautifully crafted, like the intentional life she leads.
A New Book Returns Us to Our Town
A new book about many different productions of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town features a production by mental health workers.
Gunshot Survivor Mental Health: Jalil Frazier’s Story
Jalil Frazier was shot trying to prevent a robbery. He is a member of a support group for gunshot violence survivors who speaks about his journey.
A Fractured Journey: Feeling the Throes of Bipolar Disorder Before Diagnosis
Jason Schreurs zig-zags through different moments in his life, finding both clarity and confusion throughout. It all coalesces with one surprise diagnosis.
Kiss My Scars: Learning to Love the Whole Self, Trauma Included
by Listen to Editor in Chief Gabriel Nathan read this story: When I walk into a room, my presence, stature, and big ass afro commands attention! It wasn’t always that way—I didn’t...
Connected Through Trauma: A Police Officer’s Story of PTSD, Suicidality, and Hope
As a police officer, trauma, PTSD, and thoughts of suicide threatened to end Constable James Jefferson’s career, and his life, but he wouldn’t allow it.
Gunshot Survivor Depression & Trauma Recovery: B’s Story (Steven Smith)
Steven Smith is an anti-gun violence advocate and member of a support group for gunshot violence survivors who speaks about his journey.
He Did the Laundry: A Sister Becomes a Suicide Loss Survivor
Lisa’s journey into the world of sibling suicide loss is painful and, ultimately, hopeful and inspiring.
My Story of PTSD: Fighting the World Against All Odds
Through a difficult childhood, Kate developed PTSD, slowly as Kate began to understand the effects of her father’s absence and mother’s discipline on her mental health she began to heal.
Gun Violence Survivor’s Mental Health Recovery: Jaleel King’s Story
Jaleel King is a photographer and member of a support group for gunshot violence survivors who speaks about his journey.
My Bipolar, BPD, OCD, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobic Life’s Journey; Thus Far
As a child, Brianna attempted to find ways to control the emotions and experiences that she did not feel in control of, how Brianna’s diagnosis and treatment helped her to understand her moods.
Mental Health and Gunshot Violence: Charles Horton’s Story
Charles Horton is a disability rights activist and member of a support group for gunshot violence survivors who speaks about his journey.
Winning My Ongoing Battle with Depression and Alcohol Abuse
During childhood, Joao had trouble finding friends he could trust, how Joao moved through experiences of bullying and self-doubt.
Finding the Way Out of Trauma and Substance Abuse
James Howard’s younger life was dominated by trauma and substance abuse, but today he lives stronger with faith and music as his guides.
Re-parenting My Inner Child: My Journey of Healing from Childhood Neglect
In childhood, Amanda the constant fear of neglect and need, how Amanda moved through her upbringing and re-parented herself.
Are We Destined to Repeat the Family Cycle?
Growing up, Natalie struggled with her father’s alcoholism and manipulation, how Natalie worked through her relationship through therapy and writing.
Colours Went Flat: Losing My Brother to Suicide
Suicide loss is different than any other kind of loss, which Indian writer Raashi Thakran beautifully describes in her essay about her brother.
The Vital Mission of a Therapist Working with Marginalized and Disenfranchised Populations
Angelica Pinna-Perez, an intersectionally-oriented therapist, works with marginalized and disenfranchised folx to access culturally-competent, affordable treatment.
Bulimia: Look into Her Greedy Eyes and Destroy Her!
Sonia’s intrusive thoughts about her body controlled her behavior; how Sonia regained control of her life through identifying her disorder and finding help.
Gaslighting is Not Just a Movie: Recovering from the Effects of PTSD, Depression and Anxiety
After leaving an abusive relationship, Felicia Darlington’s anxiety and hopelessness felt out of control. Her strong essay details how she found support and learned to be comfortable in motherhood.
And Then I Got Cancer: My Recovery from Depression Became a Battle for My Life
AnnMarie Otis is a fighter; doing battle with cancer and depression every day of her life, and every moment of every day. Join her fight and cheer her on.
Paramedic Mental Health: Empathy in the Eye of the Storm
Ian Stoddart, a paramedic for 32 years, advocates practicing empathy for positive mental health.
Manic MFA: How My Degree Almost Cost Me My Sanity
Trying to manage bipolar disorder and a MFA program, she was influenced by mania, anxiety dictated the pace of her life, and her marriage was in danger.
First Responder Mental Health: A Paramedic’s Tale
Ashley Neubauer is a paramedic who loves helping people. The stresses of her job, however, affect her mental health, which she must monitor carefully.
What Comes After a Brother’s Death? PTSD, Depression, Anxiety; and Hope
After her young brother’s death, Lauren Fraser takes us on her journey of recovery from mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and ptsd in this moving personal essay.
My Fight Against Rape and PTSD in College
I fight for myself and those recovery from rape and PTSD. I still struggle, but I am not a victim. I am a survivor. I am not defined by what happened to me.
First Responder Mental Health: When the Helpers Need Help, Who You Gonna Call?
Michelle Monzo is a hero’s hero. Her work is her passion, and her passion is her work. She is trains police and other criminal justice and public safety personnel in mental health crisis intervention techniques. in addition to her crisis intervention education efforts, she creates safe spaces for first responders to be vulnerable when they are feeling they need mental health support.
Compound Trauma: The 911 on 911 Dispatcher Craig Tinneny
Craig Tinneny is a 911 dispatcher whose lifetime work of fielding calls from people in crisis made him feel hollow, helpless, and hopeless. He sought help from a group of peers and has since become a crusader for better mental health for first responders.
Sailing for Life and Surviving PTSD
Hell or High Seas follows veteran Navy rescue swimmer Taylor Greiger and friend Stephen O’Shea on the sailing adventure of a lifetime to prove that Taylor is stronger than his PTSD diagnosis.
How Can Trauma, Depression, and Panic Help you Hold On and Let Go?
Jenna Kohler’s life has been impacted by her boyfriend’s suicide, the Boston Marathon bombing, and other events that have shaped her exposure to depression and trauma.
How Do You Recover from Mental Illness and Hurricane Harvey?
Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Houston, and on Sue Ann Perna, who writes with bravery about how this hurricane impacted her mental illness and changed her life.
Combating OCD with Narrative Poetry
An OCD story from a young woman who writes about how narrative poetry is helping redirect her obsessive compulsive brain in a beautiful, inspiring way.
A Police Officer’s Tango with PTSD and Complex Trauma – Beneath the Vest with Ed Pila
“Many police departments are good at continually preparing their officers for the daily physical and report battles they face. But, most of these same departments are inadequate in knowledge, and even unaware, of what is going on beneath the vest – in the heart, mind, and soul of the police officer.” – Ed Pila
A Story of Multiple Mental Illness Diagnoses in a Marriage
We have a strong marriage but with our multiple diagnoses there are challenges that most would not understand—like going to the grocery store or out to eat.
A Mom with PTSD: Getting Closer to Realizing My Dreams
I was trying to manage my PTSD (unsuccessfully), which was magnified by my newly received diagnoses of bipolar with treatment resistant depression and borderline traits.
Horror, Oppression, Perfectionism, Epiphanies; My Story of Comorbid Resilience
I am what clinicians may refer to as “comorbid,” meaning I experience simultaneous disorders at once. With my history of diagnoses of major depressive, post-traumatic stress, panic, generalized anxiety, illness anxiety, body dysmorphic, and social anxiety disorders, I have had an overwhelming journey.
Tackling PTSD: Hell or High Seas
Taylor Grieger was diagnosed with complex PTSD several months after his release from the Navy with little-to-no guidance on how to cope with his condition.
Now What?: Suicidality and Planning for an Uncertain Present
When I exhibited symptoms of C-PTSD and OCD, I was afraid and lost. I survived multiple major depressive episodes, all of them including suicidality.
A Clinician’s Journey from Complex Trauma to Thriving: Reflections on Abuse, C-PTSD and Reclamation
Sheri Heller’s new book, A Clinician’s Journey from Complex Trauma to Thriving, is a guide to healing with a keen awareness that no two paths are the same.
Acceptance: How One Friend Helped Me Get Help for Depression and Anxiety on my Own Terms
As I battle with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, it has always been far easier for me to support others with mental health struggles than to admit my own.
Lilah James: Complex PTSD Recovery on the Runway
A complex PTSD diagnosis became inspiration for a fashion designer’s runway line. In Glenn Holsten’s short film, Lilah James shares recovery and creativity.
More Mental Health Accounts to Follow on Instagram
This installment of our mental health resources column highlights Instagram mental health from authors who have appeared on OC87 Recovery Diaries.
The Danger of Getting Stuck in the Identity and Drama of Childhood Trauma
Experiencing childhood trauma, I knew that something was wrong or different about me, but for a long time I dismissed that notion.
Bipolar Disorder and PTSD – How I Accepted My Mental Illness Before it had a Name
Before I had a name for my mental illness — bipolar disorder and ptsd — this is what it felt like: playing diagnosis dress-up, trying on labels, seeing how they fit, and feeling lost — like there was nothing left in my closet to wear.
Hunting for Ninjas: When Trauma and Addiction are Hiding in the Dark
They say when you experience a traumatic experience as a child, you block out the details. My memory jumps.
Addiction and Anxiety – My Poetic Recovery
Trapped between fear and anxiety, I would drink and use drugs to cover up my feelings. After years of living this way with several bad trips, blackouts and hospitalizations, I went into treatment.
Cumulative PTSD for a Police Officer After 9/11
This video features Officer Ron Griffith, formerly of the NYPD. After 9/11, Ron’s personality shifted. He became a controlling, angry person. He says he wasn’t aware of this change until his family left him, and all he was left with cumulative PTSD.
Growing Pains with a PTSD Diagnosis
A memory, a word, a smell, an instance can take one back to the exact moment the trauma first spoke to them.
Beneath the Vest: Police Officer Alcoholism, Mental Health & Recovery
Joe has wrestled with alcoholism and the stresses of life as a police officer, a sometimes combustible combination.
Police Officer PTSD & Mental Health
In this short film, Rob Davis shares his journey as a police officer who lives with trauma and PTSD.
Episode 16 – Comedian and TV Personality Paul Gilmartin on Podcasting, PTSD, and Coping with Trauma
Host of The Mental Illness Happy Hour, Paul Gilmartin has come a long way since doing stand-up comedy and hosting the TV show, Dinner and a Movie.
One Step Away: A Film about PTSD, Homelessness, and Redemption
Tammy is one of about 60 people who sell One Step Away, Philadelphia’s first newspaper produced by those without homes for those with homes.
Episode 14 – “The Hunting Ground”: Recovering from Sexual Assault – an Interview with Documentary Film Subject, Kamilah Willingham
Interview with Kamilah Willingham, a subject of the documentary film, “The Hunting Ground.”
Therapist Winden Rowe Talks About Trauma and Mental Health in the Armed Forces
Winden Rowe’s approach to sustained recovery for clients centers around the biological, psychological, and social implications of traumatic stress.
Episode 12 – From Nigeria to the U.S. — A Journey with Anxiety and Depression
Adesola Ogunleye, a Nigerian American immigrant who lives with depression and anxiety, is interviewed on this episode of OC87 Recovery Diaries on the Radio.
Make Connections on These PTSD Facebook Pages
These PTSD Facebook pages speak to the specific challenges and lived experiences of this diagnosis to #buststigma, foster community, and create change.
Episode 3 – An Interview with Documentary Filmmaker Glenn Holsten
Glenn Holsten discusses the making of his mental health documentary film, Hollywood Beauty Salon.
22 Mental Health Podcasts
In celebration of our new podcast, we’ve rounded up 22 mental health podcasts that are doing their part to #buststigma around mental illness.
Episode 2 – Art and Mental Health: Can They Co-Exist, or Must They Compete?
Bud and Laura interview Philadelphia artists Abby Squire and Rosie Carlson about how art and mental health affect one another.
Listening: My Time in a Psych Ward
Perhaps it is important to talk about how I ended up in a psych ward and how I ended up having an earache. I can explain pieces of the first thing.
Beginning Therapy; Being Vulnerable
People say the first step in therapy is acceptance. I can’t speak for others, but I’ve started taking my steps. It’s okay if you want to take yours.
Disclosure is about feeling safe enough to find a kinder voice for ourselves. Every time I share my experiences in safe spaces I feel truer to myself.
Mental Health at the Mic: A Veteran’s Story
A veteran of the United States Army, Russell lives with PTSD, something that affects his daily life. Watch these videos about veteran’s mental health.
Hospitalized for a “Break From Reality”
Being hospitalized for a “break from reality” is a part of my history, and it does not define me. I can understand this with distance from the experience.
A Certified Peer Specialist Living With PTSD
Brenda Lewis is now a Certified Peer Specialist who helps other people find resources along this journey so they won’t have such a difficult time.
The Letter To Mother: PTSD, Anxiety & Major Depression
I am still in the process of healing from PTSD, anxiety, and major depression with the help of a psychiatrist, a therapist, and the love of my life.
Once Upon A Time: PTSD, Anxiety & Major Depression
Recently, I underwent a slight psychological break. Determined to claw my way out of the darkness, I began to write about my journey and experiences.
Recovering From Trauma With EMDR Therapy
The trauma that has affected me the most happened when I was nineteen years old. After that experience, EMDR therapy taught me to trust myself and my body.
“Crazy Cozmo” Veteran Marine With PTSD & Bipolar Disorder
“Crazy Cozmo” is a Marine Corps. veteran who lives with PTSD and bipolar disorder. He also wrestles with the abuse he experienced as a child.
Climbing Out of the Rabbit Hole with ECT, DBT & Art Therapy
I finally I agreed to ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). I was both intrigued and terrified. After my ECT treatments I started to feel like a human again.
Radical Acceptance & Mental Health Recovery
Radical acceptance helps me with PTSD and bipolar disorder with borderline traits. Radical acceptance dictates that change is just another part of life.
A Mom With PTSD: Journey Down The Rabbit Hole
I look “normal” though I’m a mom with PTSD and bipolar disorder with borderline traits. This is part 1 of 3 of my recovery story from an abusive childhood.
A Spiritual Solution to a Mental Health Crisis
Confronted with debilitating depression, anxiety, and a life filled with chaos, I was led to a spiritual solution to manage my mental health meltdown.
Friendship and Recovery: Laura & Catherine
Over the 15+ years we’ve know each other, friendship and recovery have been intertwined. Being a person, being a friend, is constant work.
Rachel’s Recovery On Film
Rachel has been on her own since high school. She has fought to overcome depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.
PTSD & Healing Hurt People
Healing Hurt People works with young people in Philadelphia who are seen in the emergency room for violent injuries (gunshot, stab, or assault wounds).
“Things Blur” is a story about a break from reality. Due to PTSD (among other things), I had what was later described to me as a manic episode.
Mental Health > Art
Is art more important than mental health? Laura Farrell shares her own mental health art and says that mental wellness is more important than creating art.
Rachel “Hollywood” Carr
“I would not want to change my life, even all the negative and bad stuff, because it actually made me who I am.” —Rachel “Hollywood” Carr