At OC87 Recovery Diaries, our mission is to bust stigma around mental illness. We share stories of hope, empowerment, and change across a range of life experiences and diagnoses. In addition to publishing new stories on our website weekly, we’re always looking to social media for other empowering stories around mental health.
Leah Alexandra Goldstein
Leah is the designer and website manager for OC87RecoveryDiaries.com. She has worked on documentary films that have screened on Ovation TV, at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and on Netflix. She is a graduate of Smith College with a dual degree in the Study of Women and Gender and Studio Art with a concentration in Electronic Media. Leah is also trained as a Reiki master. You can see her work and sign up for her mailing list at healwithleah.com.
What to say . . . what to say? This is my story. Part of it, anyhow . . . because how can I tell it all? It’s just revealing itself to me. Slowly. Like an iceberg melting. Like the barriers around my heart, melting.
Time has passed, and now I’m ready to write another chapter of my story. I write it with compassion, knowing that my perspective on life will change as time adds new relationships and emotions and tools to my unfolding life. I hope you find a nucleus of recovery somewhere in my story that ignites a sense of familiarity to your own journey — the desire to survive, to connect, to live.
This is part two in a series by Leah Alexandra Goldstein. Follow this link to read part one, “A Choice.”
On April Fools Day in 2008 I got a phone call from my dermatologist in Baltimore who told me that the ugly freckle she’d removed from my left thigh two weeks earlier was a melanoma tumor. I was 20 years old.
I don’t really want to share any of this. I feel uncomfortable, weak, vulnerable, and afraid. My mind is like a pendulum swinging from, “I don’t have any problems and it’s a sham to pretend that I’ve struggled with mental health issues,” to, “I’m too crazy and now people are going to know and they won’t like or respect me anymore.” So uncomfortable, so rooted in stigma and fear.
In the most wonderful TED talk, Brené Brown discusses the concept of vulnerability and how the act of being vulnerable is the cornerstone of human connection and the source of true peace and belonging in this human existence. She explains that in order to experience anything good, we must allow ourselves to experience the challenges too — that we can not selectively anesthetize ourselves to what we classify as the negative — sadness, shame, discomfort — without blocking what we deem to be positive as well, which includes joy, pleasure, and genuine connection with other people.
Coming May 21, 2014 to NYC is a musical theater event that uses real people’s journeys with mental health as inspiration. Featuring Broadway talent Nick Cearley, Brian Charles Rooney, Becca Ayers, and more, Sing Away The Stigma is sure to entertain, start conversation, and surprise audiences.
Performing under the name Geppetta, Adelaide Windsome describes her recovery as a verb rather than a noun. Adelaide would like to thank The Sent(a)Mental Project: Memorial to LGBTQ Suicides and The Trevor Project.