“SEAS” Stories

This is your safe space where you can share your SEAS Story by sharing your favorite song, poem, story or all of the above of how you cope with grief, loss or simply just a bad day. Through the SEAS Stories you share, you never know who it will impact. You have the option of sharing your story anonymously. Thank you for sharing, and together we can overcome anything. SEAS the Day!

Stigma and Living with Depression

November 3, 2015 1:53 pm : SEAS Stories

Looking back on my life, I consider myself very fortunate. I married an amazing woman; and we have been married 25 years. We have raised two sons of whom we are very proud. I was raised in a loving, supportive home. Both of my parents were active in my childhood. I served honorably as Marine. Work in a job I enjoy and will be able to work the same job in to retirement. Have a nice home in a safe neighborhood. Have lots of friends and many of my family live nearby.

You hear this and may be thinking “What does he have to complain about?” And you may be right. But I also have a dark side that I don’t let many people see. A side I spent my life ignoring and many times waking hoping it doesn’t surface. It’s a side me I spent a lot of time embarrassed by it. That side of me has a name. Depression.

Those who know me usually never know I suffer depression. I have two sides. The outer self. That is the one most people see. Most of the time, I am able to show that I’m content, joyful, and entertaining; but it takes a lot of energy to maintain it.

The other is my inner self. It is stealthy and lurks in the shadows of my mind as an undercurrent that I seldom talked about, rarely show, or can really even explain.

Before I got a proper diagnosis, and really learned about depression, I misunderstood really what it was – and why I fought so hard to deny it. I misunderstood and thought depression meant being sad, mopey, withdrawn, and moody. Of course, I’ve been all of those things at various times, but I didn’t live like that so I can’t be depressed. However, I was completely off course. It is nothing like I thought it was.

Instead, I refused to face, and wouldn’t share the feelings and thoughts with anyone. I feared that no one would understand and would think I was attention seeking—or worse—lying. I felt I was the only one who was like this. That there was something wrong with me. I had no idea what it was, how to combat it, or what to do about it. So I ignored it.

I’ve had mental illness my whole life. There isn’t a time I can remember where it wasn’t present. It sits there like a fog. Sometimes it is merely a mist, tingling my thoughts. Other times it’s a pervasive thick, dark shroud. It’s the times when the thoughts are darkest that are most debilitating. These are the times that scare me.

It is my hope that my story will help others. Before I started writing this, I asked friends to help me on an experiment. I asked: 1) when they first met me, what was their impression; 2) And over time what do they think of me now.

The responses were overwhelming and positive:
“A stand-up gentleman who was true to his word. Enjoys being with people.”
“Resilient and sarcastic.”
“A man of integrity, a loyal friend to many, very thoughtful.”
“Great guy with a super sense of humor.”
“A great friend and excellent teacher.”
“Kind, honest, and considerate.”
“Principled yet funny.”
“Caring and loyal friend.”
“I learn and enjoy seeing the world through your eyes.”

Hearing these wonderful words, while cathartic and moving, only frustrates Depression and stokes the fires of self-doubt. The inner self is always chittering away at me. It wants to be surreptitious. It tells me everyone will see me as I really am: an emotional wreck; a procrastinator; a fraud who has managed to fool everyone.

So, instead I “tough it out” and “put on the brave face.” If I pretend it isn’t there, hopefully no one will notice. However, putting on this public persona is emotionally taxing and draining. Eventually it takes its toll. I progressively become numb; and eventually have to completely withdrawal. I stay in that state until it passes – whether a day, several days or sometimes a week.

Although, sometimes it won’t pass. It’s a feeling as though I can’t recharge my drained mental energy. It’s those times when that inner self takes completely over; and I’m filled with unceasing anxiety and utter despair. All I want to do is sleep or cry or hide. I try to fight the feelings, but I sink into depths where I can’t manage them any longer. They become relentless wave that batters me until I have nothing more to fight against it. A fear that I can never get back to being “normal” again.

Sadly, that has happened a few times, and twice with terrible consequences. Those two times I attempted suicide. Looking back, I can remember those nights vividly, and even remember what dark thoughts I had. That utterly scares me.

Yet, through all of this, a life changing event occurred that forced me to face this inner self. I started going to therapy and finally admitted I needed medical help. I explained to my doctor about my depression and anxiety and was referred to a psychiatrist. It took different medicines and adjustments until the right ones worked. When it did, it was life altering. I could finally see through the fog.

Today, that inner self pushes his way in less and less. I don’t think he’ll ever really go away. But when he does come back, I feel empowered to keep him weak with less influence. The journey has been long. But I remain hopeful and look forward to each day.

No matter the great things and accomplishments we have in life, none of those diminish the depression. It’s a pervasive illness that can strike anyone. Just remember we’re never alone. It’s not a weakness to ask for help. There are many out there who love you.

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Mental Psych Ward

December 30, 2013 10:01 pm : SEAS Stories

I recently got out of the mental psych ward. it was like a hospital version of jail. I hated it. But at the same time it was interesting because there was always something crazy going on. ALWAYS!! Lockdowns, suicide attempts, actual suicides happening, people getting in fights, people getting in fights, people sneaking in heroin and/or other drugs. I hated it. but there was this game that helped a lot of us in a positive way. It’s actually a great tool for therapists to use to help their patients. it’s too long to explain on here. But if you are interested in me telling you guys let me know. I’d be happy to explain it. It helped me when I was in the mental place.

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February 24, 2004

June 15, 2013 12:05 am : SEAS Stories

On this horrible Monday morning, I was on my way to work with my 2.5 year old son in tow. I look over onto my passenger seat of my minivan and I see a zip lock bag with a note in it. I didnt think anything of it, and kept driving to the day care to drop off my son. I drove past the house that my father was living in with his new wife of 45 days.
I decided to look and see what this was about 1/2 way to the daycare. It was from my Dad. As I read the letter, he admits to a gambling problem and owing family members close to 60,000 dollars. – Forgive him he says. I think nothing of it and tried to call him. The phone just rang.
By time I got to the daycare, his body had been found, in the driveway of the house he was living.
It never dawned on me that his letter was a suicide letter.
It never dawned on me that the phone call he made to me the night before was a call to say “good bye”.
I DROVE RIGHT PAST his house the morning of his suicide.- Could I have stopped him?
Why didn’t he love us enough to stay?
These are all questions that I battle with every day.
My father was a 60 year old father, grandfather, well known Santa Clause in our community and a successful Engineer with a heart of gold.
But he was selfish to take his own life.
I have gotten stronger in the last 9 years. I have come to grips with the fact that I will never know the answers to my questions.
But I do know this….. I will never sit idly by as a loved one struggles. …. I will never allow another “sign” sneak past my eyes again….. I will always cringe when I hear people joking about putting a gun to their head……. and I will do my best to help others that have gone through what I have.
My father was my best friend, my hero, my rock. I love him and miss him more every day.

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The horrific Highschool Incident

May 2, 2013 5:56 pm : SEAS Stories

I went to a very small private high school. I have no idea if I was the cool girl, dork, or what category you would put me in during that time. All I know is that highschool was awful. I had all of these intense emotions and had no idea what to do with them! During the summer of my junior year and senior year, I was date raped by someone I considered a friend. Matter of fact, this guy was best friends with my first boyfriend. He was a popular Senior boy who all of the ladies liked. I blamed myself for this incident for about an entire decade. Maybe I wasn’t loud enough when I said NO! It all happened so fast and it’s like I couldn’t handle what was happening to me so I kind of just “checked out”. I don’t remember a lot of detials but I do remember saying NO and I do remember knowing that what was happening was wrong. That night, I told my girlfriends what had happened. They kept asking me what was wrong because I was silent and I had torn clothing, and grass in my hair. They immediately told an adult and I was on my way to the ER. I was so humiliated!! I just wanted to go home and I was afraid to tell my family but I know I had to tell them. I just wanted to go home. They wanted to preform a rape kit on me but I was already so violated that I wanted nothing to do with this. My whole family ended up showing at the ER. They were furious and really wanted me to press charges. I refused to do this because my biggest concern was people finding out at school. I didn’t want a big fuss….I didn’t want to make a big deal…I just wanted it to go away. I wanted to go away. Well, people surely found out at school. People didn’t believe me and told me I was making it up for attention. I felt that the whole school was against me, even some of my good friends. My boyfriend blamed me and called me a slut. Every day was the worst day of my life to go to school and see my rapist, who used to be my friend. I lost a lot of friends. Every day was the worst day of my life. One night, all of the senior guys (including my ex boyfriend and my rapist) came to my house and vandalized the house. Things got out of control and people were just downright mean. I became depressed…very depressed. I went to counselors, doctors, and experimented with alcohol and some drugs. I seriously just wanted to disappear from the earth. There were my friends from that horrific night that I’m still friends with to this day. I think they were the only reason why I didn’t kill myself along with my family. What got me through to survival?? COLLEGE!! I met new friends and started to study psychology to help me make sense of myself and help others going through the same thing. Now I know why I went through all of that crap…to help others and to develop a tough skin in order to help those in pain. My mother always said to me “you know that one day, people will know the truth of what happened to you and they will feel remorse. I cannot tell you how many times someone from high school has seen me out to this day and apologized for not believing me and ridiculing me. They felt guilty about it for years. They then told me the reasons for siding with my rapist….only because he was popular and to go along with the crowd. To this day, I don’t know what has become of my rapist. I just pray that he hasn’t hurt anyone else and that he got help for himself. I regret not taking the rape kit and pressing charges but I have learned to let go and help people deal with similar regrets. THANK GOD I did not kill myself because I would have never experienced the BEAUTY that awaited me past high school. For students, hang on through highschool….it gets WAAAAAYYYY better. Turn your tragedies into something beautiful. Your pain is only truly temporary. People will know the truth one day and people only are mean because they have their own insecurities.

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a place

March 9, 2013 4:16 pm : SEAS Stories

She called me crying, and told me to come. So while I was on my way to her house, I saw her sitting on top of her car which was pulled on the side of the street, in her neighborhood. I pulled over, and asked her what was wrong. When I got out of my car, she was terrified. The first thing she said was, “I need some help, I dont want to do this anymore. I’m ready to do whatever it takes to get better.” I knew what she did, and asked “Where? and when?” She lifted her shirt and showed me her scar on her stomach, and it was from 5 nights ago. That wasn’t the worse part, her dad saw it last night, and kicked her out of the house. I knew I had to do something, to help her. I called up some friends, and we met up. We all went on a road trip and just went south. I dont know where we ended up, but we slept in her car. Today, we came back to my house and she said, “I’ll be heading out, thanks for last night.” I replied, “Where you going? Where you going to stay?”
“I dont know, and probably my car again. I can’t afford a place to stay at, and I’m not staying with anyone. I wont be able to pay them back for rent or anything. I don’t want to take advantage of anyone, becausae they would be doing all the payment. I literally don’t have enough for any of the expenses. Watever happens, happens.” So I told her that she can stay with me, and not worry about the payment. I just want her to have a safe place to stay, and not hurt herself again. That’s all I care about.

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ill move on

March 6, 2013 6:06 pm : SEAS Stories

here is a song i wrote

I’ll move on
Here I live by, knowing I don’t like whats on the table
Looking at my life, doing whats right because I’m able
Learning lessons, more protected, feeling greatful
I’ll move on
Here I live by, knowing I don’t like whats on the table
Looking at my life, doing whats right because I’m able
There’s no turning back, see yesterday’s gone (yeah,yeah,
yeah yeah yeah) I’ll move on

[Verse 1] Life goes on, as I roll on
I could only be a child for so long
yeah I wanna see my child hood prolon
but this time bow wow say so long
and I step to a new day,
new age, and a new page
in a book of life but it’s looking like
ya’ll ain’t ready for the new phase
then I’ma get more mature
make mistakes, but hey
everybody did that before
ever feel like you’ve been traped before
wish you can open up a magic door
step throught it, just do it
the way that you feel it but cha’ll confuse it
ya’ll wanna show me, keep me secluded
but this is life I’m bound to go throught it
it’s a process ya’ll gotta dijest
let the boy grow up, wanna go out
have a little fun, if it get a lil’ wild,
then so what
‘Cause an ounce of experience
just more than a pint of advice
I hope ya’ll hearing this, cuz I’m serious
an it’s like, I’m so curious about life
I’m movin’ on
[Chorus]

[Verse 2] I bet you think you know what you think you know
but I’m different than any one you’ve seen before
so don’t compare me to other thirteen year olds
you seen lookin’ cut comin’ on the scene to blow
first impression of a young adolescent
a grown up mind that flow so impressive
grew up so fast in this profession
a flash of concerts and late night sessions
so much dough, he don’t know it’s a blessin’
the way he brag, he gon’ last one second
but oh contrea don’t stop and stare
if i sell my jewelry and cut my hair
still be here after ya’ll
standin’ tall, I ain’t had a chance to ball
so when you doubt me I’ll just laugh at cha’ll
Shad Moss fallin off, it ain’t a plans at all
but ain’t no tellin’
when there’s no more sellin’ other record end up
wit a pen label ends up a record nah
but I still got act in basketball
so if you ain’t checkin’ for me
I ain’t checkin’ for ya’ll
so
let this be a lesson to ya’ll
when a rap acteace
play professional ball
no matter who you get a rights
or who you listening to
you get one life ain’t nobody livin’ but you

[Chorus]
movin on yeah
I’m movin on, I’m movin on ready, I’m…
I’m movin on, got to move on
Bow Wow move on, Mario move on yeah,
Got to go now, hit the road now,
Let me know now, here we go now

just playin around ya’ll
gotta go now ya’ll

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The Loss of BOTH Parents

February 21, 2013 11:09 am : SEAS Stories

My Mother (Arlene Reardon) and my Father (Jerry Reardon Sr) have been married for 48 years and have always been the picture perfect couple when it comes to what everyone wants their marriage to be like… They always held hands, kissed and anytime either would go somewhere there was always a kiss, I Love You and Be Careful given before the other left… they never went to bed angry at each other.
Many years ago my mother suffered from back pains and had been to  many different doctors to try to figure out what was wrong over the years, each of them giving her a different kind of medicine, at one point a new doctor told her its all in her head and all she had to do was stop all the medications and just keep thinking back to a time before her back was hurting. She did this and a mixture of quitting the medications cold turkey and the constant thinking of back before the pain she completely lost her mind and actually thought she was back 20 years ago, not remembering her newer friends, not knowing who I was because at this point I was about 35 so she only knew she had a 10 year old son not a grown son, she wanted cigarettes again even though she had stopped smoking about 18 years prior. I had to call the doctors and have her taken to the hospital where she was admitted for about 2 weeks to get her back onto the medications and then slowly taken off.. after all this she just kept going down hill with her health and at one point had fallen and hit her head which created all new problems. She had gotten fluid in her brain yet they couldn’t do anything because of the deterioration of her bone mass and doctors didn’t think she would survive a surgery to remove the fluid. As more time went her health still getting worse and worse all the while my dad was right by her side taking care of her every step of the way refusing to let her go into a retirement home or hospice as pre- agreed by them both.
Around the beginning of September 2011 my mother almost passed away but somehow survived, at that time her and my father decided they wanted to go together and not either one having to live with out the other. On September 20th 2011 they decided to take their lives together however my mother was too weak to actually pull the trigger so my father shot her himself. He wanted to go with her so badly that the 1st shot to himself did not kill him so somehow he managed the strength to put the gun back to his head and fire a second shot….

I completely respect their decision and have NO ILL feelings towards either one for this, I just wish I could have had the chance to say Good-Bye before they left. I know they are both in a better place now and am grateful for that.

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My Story

January 6, 2013 11:23 pm : SEAS Stories

So, growing up I have always been kind of weird. I never fit in with the so called “Popular Crowd”, but I also wasn’t alone with no friends or a so called “loser.” I grew up in elementary school with some great friends and played some sports that kept me in shape. Then I reached middle school and everything changed. I lost some friends, stopped playing sports, and became extremely depressed. I also started to see a counselor. I felt like a loser. I felt like nobody truly liked me and that I didn’t fit in with anyone. I eventually started gaining weight and turned to food to comfort me. Bullying started in my grade. The girls in my grade were very mean to each other. I was harassed and many people were racist. It was hard being practically the only African American in a white school. We eventually had a school counselor for our grade mainly. I cried at home and my parents were thinking about sending me to different schools. I stuck it out though. This is when suicidal thoughts crept into my mind. Things went downhill from there.
When I graduated 8th grade, almost every person went to NCC or Highlands High School. I was almost going to Holy Cross. My parents did not want me to go to the school where most of the girls and boys in my grade were going. I eventually convinced them to let me go to NCC. I had a great freshmen year, and the rest of my years in high school were depressing and horrible. I hated high school. I never would go back. Bullying and racism and harassment were everywhere. I developed eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, cutting, and did things that were not healthy for me at all. I put on a fake smile and personality so nobody would see the hurt I was going through.
In October of 2012, in college I decided I had enough. Nobody listened to me, I was told I was fat and I felt worthless. I hated myself and everything about me. I felt like I wasn’t meant to be in my family and felt like the outcast because I was adopted. I felt fat, unattractive, horrible, depressed, and overall I hated myself. I took a lot of pills at my college campus and tried overdosing. A girl took me to the nurse and I told her what I did. I was then taken away into an ambulance and rushed to the hospital. Tests and IVs were going in and out of me and I had to talk to so many people. I had no privacy and was constantly watched. I was then sent to a REHAB place where I stayed for about three days. I was watched ALL THE TIME and it was like jail. I couldn’t have certain things and I hated it. In the end it really helped me. I hated myself like no other and I wanted to be dead and left alone. I still get extremely low sometimes, but I have ways of coping with it now. I see a counselor, go to church, pray, go to support groups, attend family counseling, and help out with bullying prevention stuff. I hope people never get as low as I was. I still struggle with loving myself and accepting myself as I am, but I have a God who loves me and made me in his image and likeness. I hope I can speak some day to others about my struggles. Thanks for the time. God Bless everyone.

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SUNSHINE!

December 13, 2012 1:41 pm : SEAS Stories

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
You make me happy, when skies are gray,
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you,
So please don’t ever take my sunshine away.

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Laughter

December 5, 2012 1:22 pm : SEAS Stories

Sometimes laughter is the only thing that got me through the dark days. Laughter can serve as those little beams of sunlight on the grayest of days.

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