by Valarie Kinney
Often, people celebrate anniversaries with dinner out, champagne, maybe a dozen roses.
Today I am trudging through a different sort of anniversary, and it’s hard.
Early in the spring three years ago, my sister complained of shoulder pain. It was in her shoulder blade, she said. Kept her up at night. She went to our doctor, who thought it likely my sister had been a waitress too long. “You’re pushing fifty, Charlotte,” she said, “you’ve been doing this over thirty years. You might need to consider a job change.” But the pain continued and the anti-inflammatories didn’t help, so my sister went back a week or so later. The doctor ordered an x-ray. The radiologist noted something, some sort of mass, in her left lung. Suddenly, there was a flurry of appointments, and in a very short time, we knew there was a tumor in her lung, the size of a grapefruit. It had already eaten through three ribs and part of her spine.
Continue reading When Green Day’s on the Radio
In its May issue, Women’s Health Magazine poses the question: Which of these women have a mental illness?
The answer, is, of course, all of them.
There are many women featured, including Women’s Health Editor-in-Chief Amy Keller Laird, who has OCD. CEO of Stigma Fighters and our VP of Marketing Sarah Fader speaks about anxiety; Actress Laura Oceane shines through her Borderline Personality Disorder; Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The OCH Literary Society Allie Burke reminisces about the worst thing ever said to her about her Schizophrenia, “I get trolled pretty hard on social media. People say, ‘Oh my god, you’re schizophrenic, why don’t you go kill yourself?” Allie remembers the comment from someone she didn’t know on Facebook, when someone claimed that psychiatric medication was a government conspiracy and mental illnesses didn’t actually exist.
Continue reading Women’s Health Magazine Celebrates #MHAwarenessMonth with #WhoNotWhat
by Sarah Dubinsky
Across the street, she stands — impatiently — waiting for the light. Her hair catches the sun easily. The not-quite-natural blond and red highlights are becoming. Her smile is also easy enough. How attractive. A smile on her lips and a song in her heart.
— And a candy bar in her hand? Oh my.
What’s the other saying?
A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.
So are we talking songs or cellulite?
I think we need to weigh the lightness of her heart. Scientifically, it would depend on her cholesterol count. I would think HDL (High Density Lipoproteins) weigh more than LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) cholesterol. But which is the bad one? High means more and more is always good. Low means less and less weight is always good. Is the pivotal factor triglycerides? “Tri” stands for three and three chins are always bad. Three candy bars are worse than one.
Maybe she is impatient because her heart is heavy. She shifts her weight to the right side. I hope her heart isn’t loose. If it slips out, there is no one around to clean it up.
Sarah Dubinsky’s stories, songs, and poems glitter like pyrite and have the depth of a puddle. She likes it this way and hopes you do too.
As a writer I’ve been very lucky to meet and come in contact with people from all over the world, most with cultures that differ from American culture on a grand scale. Unfortunately, due to my work, it is usually on the Internet. I consider my Internet friends to be my real friends just as much as the next person, but the Internet tends to cut out key elements of a “real” friendship, such as knowing somebody by how they actually look like day-to-day rather than the avatar they choose from themselves.
Continue reading The Story of an Indian Man and His Refusal to Eat American Food
by Michael Shields
“What is it?” I asked to her voice trembling on the other end of the phone.
“It’s dad,” my mother managed. Little else needed to be said, and I would be damned if I’d make her relive what had just occurred.
“I’m on my way,” I spat with conviction; cloaking deranged terror with reassuring bravado. I would learn moments later on a phone call with my brother that my father had fallen while jogging. His second serious heart attack in nearly as many months. This one would have stole him if not for unfathomable luck in the form of a passerbyer with a defibrillator. What are the odds? But the situation was dire. “Prepare yourself for the worst,” I was told. As if one ever could.
Continue reading ICU