By Stacey Lehrer
EDITOR’S NOTE: Get caught up here on Unique’s story.
When she was having a hard time and trying to hold it together, Unique would often say, “Give me 5 reasons that you love me.” The first time she asked me, it caught me off guard. I wasn’t used to having conversations like that. I wasn’t used to talking about my emotions in general, and I’d certainly never told her that I loved her. I’d spent years by that point listening to her talk about how she was feeling, and trying to counter the negative thoughts. I resisted at first, and saw how upset it made her. Her life experiences and her depression had told her that she wasn’t worth loving. She needed to hear that she was, and she was trusting that I could tell her that. So I did…that night, and countless other times over the years that followed. And I learned something from each of the qualities I admired in her.
Continue reading Unique, Volume 4
by Neesa Suncheuri
A mere hint of image once, I saw
Color amongst dark spots,
Abstract design ‘until identified by
Common sense, but my Confusion
Reappeared as my sight left me.
Continue reading Blind, But Not Forgotten
by Angela Santistevan
It was close to an hour walk to Sissy’s house. Katie would often do cartwheels, front walkovers, skip and run across the front lawn of her yard to entertain herself. But not today.
Today she would ride her brand-new bike. It was beautiful, a purple ten-speed. It was her maintain-straight-A’s-all-year reward. She had no clue how long the trip would take on the bike, but on the way to her friend’s house there was a really big hill. Katie couldn’t wait to glide down that one.
Continue reading Katie and Siciley V2: The Sherriff’s Daughter
by Cheryl Vollmar
By the time I turned eighteen, I was more than ready to never step foot in my parents’ house again. I had graduated high school and was ready to move on to college, but even then I disregarded my own desire to major in Music Composition and followed in my mother’s footsteps by majoring in Music Education. Despite thirteen years of piano lessons, six National Piano Guild gold medals, over seven years of band and choir classes, and the numerous pieces of music I had already composed, she said I would never make a living writing music. And while I did see the logic behind her argument that it’s difficult to succeed financially as a composer, it felt more like she didn’t believe in me or my talents. As if all the competitions, performances, and accolades I had received weren’t enough to strive for what I was passionate about. Even though she frequently nudged me into experiences like college level symphony and stage performances as a high school student, it rarely felt like she supported me in my musical and theatrical efforts. She even told me I was on my own when I received an invitation to the Miss Missouri Pageant, leaving me alone in a huge dressing room buzzing with excitement as mothers helped their daughters change for the next act of the show. I’m not sure if it was because she was just too busy with her own schooling or if it was just a general lack of interest. Some have even said that there could have been a bit of jealousy behind her words and actions. To this day I haven’t the slightest clue why she was so unsupportive, but it placed another small bit of self doubt in the back of my mind that told me I simply was not good enough.
Continue reading A Stone Skipped V3: Leaving the Nest
by Neesa Suncheuri
Are you around, or have you disappeared?
I wonder, if I’m suitable for you.
My past with men, these memories I’ve since feared,
Now ruminate and putrify what’s true.
Your friendly ways, entirely new to me,
Make me realize that I’m of worth and weight.
I’ve lost so many years, but still I’m free,
And now I’m optimistic of my fate.
I now avoid all nasty, evil men.
I hope you still remain within my view.
At times, your absence causes fret, but then
You reappear, and I’m no longer blue.
The greatest lesson I have ever learned:
Time passes… only then are friendships earned.
Staff Writer – Poetry
Neesa Suncheuri works as a mental health peer specialist at a housing agency in Queens, New York. She is the founder of a Facebook discussion group for peer specialists and other recovery enthusiasts, entitled “What is Wellness? A Mental Health Discussion Group.” Much of her creative inspiration is rooted in her now-tamed schizophrenia. She writes poetry and fiction, and maintains a blog called Unlearning Schizophrenia. She is also a singer/songwriter, and an enthusiast for the German language and culture. Follow her on Twitter at @neesasuncheuri.