"What if it could prevent someone else’s journey from taking the destructive twists and turns mine had? What if it could help caregivers and medical providers anticipate the road ahead and help the survivor navigate? What if MY journey could have been a little smoother because I had read or heard about someone else’s journey? Before I knew it, I was on a path to publishing."
"For years, I had suppressed my emotions, thinking it was the "manly" thing to do. But once I started playing the guitar, I realized the importance of expressing myself. Music became my outlet, and through it, I was able to process my grief and anxiety."
"In the past, I didn’t understand my behavior or intense mood swings, but now I understand much of it is rooted in past trauma. Nearly everything in regard to close personal relationships can trigger or set me off. I often describe it as living life with no skin. Everything hurts and my brain interprets every single interaction as a threat or rejection."
"Just because I’m mourning, doesn’t mean that I’m not happy in life. Being happy to me means accepting all of the emotions as they come without judgment. I still experience anxiety and depression but I no longer beat myself up about feeling those things."
"Leaving my home country and studying abroad presented its own set of challenges. I experienced months of intense loneliness, barely leaving my student hall. I slept during the day, avoiding people for weeks. I felt emotionally numb, happy for others' successes but powerless in my own life."
"I couldn’t perform simple tasks like cleaning the bathroom or planning the weekly menu. Thinking of what to cook for the next meal was overwhelming. Little things like the water pump conking out, the dogs missing a feeding, or my household helper going on her weekend off seemed like the end of the world. I had to stop driving because I would have a panic attack at the most unexpected moments."
"I lost three family members in a short period of time and I felt like I was going to lose everyone (my father and grandfather also have serious illnesses) before I could go back to Japan to visit them. I couldn't stop crying when I thought about what I had lost, so I just kept busy, working, and going out with my husband and his family."
"One thing I did was to force myself to get back into the water, something I loved instead of staying in the house crying. Getting back to surfing began my journey to a new “me”. The ocean has a way of washing away whatever feels wrong. This was my best therapy. I strongly advise others to find something they love to do and rekindle their spirit to make good things happen."
"In the span of 6 months, I lost my dad, was forced to move out of his house by family, and also ended a years-long relationship with my partner at the time. The pain that I felt was so deep that I spiraled into the deepest depression yet."
"I discovered that grieving, healing, and living aren't linear processes, but intertwined strands of our existence. Healing isn't about forgetting; it's about learning to live with loss, about embracing love and pain simultaneously."