Pulling out my black suit from the closet for a funeral, I realized how long it had been since I had worn something so formal. The suit feels awkward, like it doesn't fit anymore. COVID has brought us all to death’s door. Suddenly, we are asking those big life questions. Who am I? Why am … Continue reading We are all mental health warriors
Thank you for being a community that listens even if my experiences are different than your own. I want to just express my gratitude for people in my life willing to "start the conversation" about what is a divisive issue in our culture today.
My name is Danei Edelen and I am President of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Brown County affiliate. I am also a person living with a mental illness. As many of you know, I have been drawing daily as a coping skill for COVID-19 and as a part of my recovery for three … Continue reading Using Creativity to Express Empathy and Support
By Danei Edelen Nothing says spring like the feeling of fresh air blowing through our house on a warm spring day like the afternoon after the Georgetown Community Day at Georgetown Elementary. After two years of isolation, I think everyone was looking for an excuse to get out of the house and be around people … Continue reading Celebrating Life
Like everyone, Russia's invasion of the Ukraine horrified me. Heartbreaking pictures of families fleeing for their lives, shattered my perception of our fragile façade of civility. Suddenly, I felt shells going off inside my weary soul. “Not again,” my heart cried. As the tanks roll across the landscape of the Ukraine, our fragile emotional worlds … Continue reading Finding your tribe
The first-time suicide impacted me directly was when a friend of mine took his life. As a kid, he always cracked jokes and pulled pranks, and I got to watch him grow into a wonderful, dedicated man. I can still remember standing at work, wearing my green suit, when I heard the news. I was … Continue reading Why stigma is lethal
“I was told, ‘If you are depressed, you have no excuse’” my friend, who battles depression, said to me recently. “That is just mental illness stigma,” I replied. What is mental health stigma? Mental health stigma refers to societal disapproval, or when society places shame on people who live with a mental illness or seek … Continue reading Unpacking depression
My psychiatrist once said to me, "The most important issue for anyone with a mental health condition is sleep."
Losing the battle with my morning headache I awoke late one morning to see this email from a complete stranger, “My 26 year old daughter Mary* is back in the hospital… As a parent I feel so helpless. Thank-you for helping to bring it out of the shadows. My daughter would rather die than to … Continue reading Why did he have to ask a stranger?
"Thank you for sharing your story; you are so courageous," a woman said to me at one of my “In Our Own Voice” presentations. As usual, I smiled and thanked her. It always surprises me when people thank me for speaking out—that the “speaking out” aspect is what they believe is most courageous. Yes, speaking … Continue reading What Courage Really Looks Like
I still remember driving to work for my first day at the first job after my psychotic break. I was so scared. The night before I had laid out all my clothes and taken my shower to be as ready as possible. I got up extra early to have time to "just be ready". My … Continue reading Letter to My Colleagues
Due to COVID, we are on the verge of a mental health epidemic. According to Hartford Health, “Experts call it the underlying crisis. While COVID-19 cases spike around the country, more than a third of Americans report related depression and anxiety”. Every 12 minutes someone dies by suicide according to the CDC. According to the … Continue reading Accepting our new reality
Like everyone, Russia's invasion of the Ukraine horrified me. Heartbreaking pictures of families fleeing for their lives, shattered my perception of our fragile façade of civility. Suddenly, I felt shells going off inside my weary soul. “Not again,” my heart cried. As the tanks roll across the landscape of the Ukraine, our fragile emotional worlds … Continue reading Finding Your Tribe