Tag Archives: Stigma Fighters

Waves of Insecurity by guest author J.C. Hannigan

I’m over the moon to have J.C. Hannigan here as guest author. I have much respect for the intelligent, gifted, smart as a whip woman, author, mother, wife, colleague and friend… She is efficient, funny and the first to extend a hand to a fellow writer. That speaks volumes about her persona, her willingness to help while managing a chaotic busy life, various blogs and successful writing career. I bet J.C. makes ridiculously long to-do lists and knocks them off with a big smile. She is a human tornado with sweet-scented rain and wind inviting you into her magical world of words. When I first read Waves of Insecurity, I took pause. I almost forgot she lives with Multiple Hereditary Exostoses, a debilitating chronic pain bone disorder. That is not how I see her, I imagine envious endless locks of chestnut hair, inquisitive blue eyes and a bold red lip. It’s funny and not funny at all the (mis)perceptions we are ‘learned’ about ourselves. Ms. Hannigan is not defined by society or the weight of the disability she carries with such grace. She is beauty-full.

Meet J.C. Hannigan. She’ll tell you in her very own raw, real, heartbreaking, eloquent and inspiring words.

JC Hannigan

Waves of Insecurity by J.C. Hannigan

I have always been an insecure person, uncomfortable in my own skin. When people look at me, I feel on edge and antsy. It’s like their eyes are burning me, making my skin shrink so that everything feels tight. I can’t help but wonder if they are taking in the scars on my body and my oddly shaped limbs and wondering what in the hell happened to me.

I know how harsh and judgemental people can be about appearances. Hell, there are entire shows that are dedicated to ripping individuals down for how they dress. If society judges people so profusely on a silly thing like clothes, I can only imagine how harshly they judge based on scars and physical “imperfections”.

It took me nearly ten years to put a pair of shorts on in public. I used to wear shorts and dresses all the time, back when I was a kid who didn’t know any better…back before the curious stares of strangers made my skin feel tight and unpleasant. In high school, I wore jeans and long-sleeved shirts all the time. I couldn’t imagine showing off the angry raised scars on my arms and my shoulders. I feared that my peers would make fun me the way they made fun of so many others for their differences. I couldn’t stomach that too. I feel naked when I show my limbs, as ironic as that is to admit. I feel stripped bare when my scars are on display. I feel like people can read my struggles and that they will categorize me in some way that I simply don’t want to be categorized. I don’t want the pity; I don’t want to be defined as that girl with the scars and the bone thing. I was defined by that for so long that I started to associate myself as that person. But as desperate as I was to hide those parts of me, they could never truly be hidden. Observant eyes still picked out the misshapen limbs through my layers. Observant eyes still detected the limp and the uneasy way I held myself.

Observant eyes still questioned and probed.

Being sexual when you have a physical disability and an abundance of emotional issues and insecurities is so difficult. I felt naked when I wore short-sleeved shirts – imagine how I felt the first time I presented my body to a boy? Imagine how badly that stung when that same boy decided my bone thing was too gross and freaky? It only added to the abundance of emotional issues and insecurities. It only solidified that the cruel, taunting voice in my own head was right.

Now, ten years later…I know that disabilities and scars do not have any weight in someone’s beauty. I don’t count those things against others when I look at them (and I never did); I see people as people. I define them by their actions and the way they treat others, not whether or not they are marred with scars and carrying the weight of a disability that can feel as if it segregates them from others, from the healthy people.

And for the most part, I have learned to love myself. I wear shorts now, and while I can still feel a lot of discomfort when eyes are upon me – I hold my head high. I know I am beautiful, I know that I am even desirable. Most importantly – I know that physical beauty does not have any weight in my accomplishments or who I am as a person.

But every once in a while, I still feel that suffocating wave of insecurity that crushes my spirit and makes me want to hide within myself…

11287179_10152957784234072_1995729143_n

Author Bio:

J.C. Hannigan’s love of reading was spawned from a very early age. She inhaled novels with an unquenchable thirst. Eventually, that love of reading turned into a love for writing. She started to pen stories at the tender age of nine while sitting at her white desk, pencil posed over lined paper, writing countless stories about a girl, her best friend, their horses and the adventures they’d have going on trial rides together. Born with a chronic pain bone disorder called Multiple Hereditary Exostoses, she didn’t get to play sports or run amuck like her siblings and peers. Writing kept her company amid a world of surgeries, bad pain days, and isolation.

She started a blog when she was fifteen-years-old, chronicling the challenges of high school, dating, and coping with her chronic pain bone disorder. That blog went on to win a Bloggie for Best Teen Weblog, and J.C.’s ego inflated quite a bit over it (enough to continuously mention it even today).

J.C. currently resides in a small town in Ontario with her husband, their two sons, and two dogs. When she isn’t trying to wrangle kids and dogs, she can be found writing. In addition to writing new adult romance and suspense novels, J.C. writes a blog for the MHE Coalition, discussing the struggles of living with Multiple Hereditary Exostoses. She also contributes to several other websites, including her personal blog, the OCH Literary Society, and she is the content manager for Stigma Fighters Canada. Through her writing, J.C. brings to light awareness of mental health and social challenges. Her writing has been described as edgy, bold, poignant, and raw.

Other hobbies of J.C.’s include hiking, camping, binge-watching shows like Outlander, Game of Thrones, The Vampire Diaries, and The Walking Dead, eating dill pickle chips and daydreaming of travelling around the world. J.C. adores interacting with readers, so don’t hesitate to reach out and say hi! She tries her best to respond to every message. To learn more, visit her on Facebook and follow her personal blog of random ramblings.

Title: Collide (Collide Series Book 1)

Author: J.C. Hannigon

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

Re-Release: May 11th 2015

Purchase Link: COLLIDE

11267329_10152957744899072_976341166_n

Synopsis:

Harlow Jones has a troubled past, and a questionable future. Surrounded by death, tragedy, and intrigue, she is forced to mature long before her time. Plagued by anxiety and depression, she hides her inner turmoil with spite and sarcasm. Her thick skin is impenetrable…or so she thought. Until she becomes involved with her grade twelve English teacher. In this exclusive entry into the new adult genre, with raw style that is as dark as it is poignant, Collide presents the ultimate choice: forbidden love or doing the right thing.

Connect with J.C. Hannigan:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jcahannigan

Twitter: @jcahannigan

Google +: J.C. Hannigan

Advertisements

“I have always believed there is indeed room for us all.” Authors inspiring authors

Unknown-1

Authors supporting authors is groovy!

I have learned so much from some fierce, fabulous authors and continue to be inspired by their talent, words and willingness to share.

Thank you for being cheerleaders, kind motivators, smart and courageous trailblazers.

I have always believed there is indeed room for us all.

To grow, to learn, to get inspired, to dream bigger.

Get ready to meet some pretty spectacular writers, and human beings.

Inspiration is happening right now.

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

CHOSEN ONE is 604 pages of hold your breath Science Fiction and Fantasy sweeping adventure from the gifted imagination of author Steven Sutherland.

UnknownAuthored by Mr. Steven Daniel Sutherland
Edition: First

Click>PB http://bit.ly/1zYS8kw D http://amzn.to/1KMik7S After>You Will Get It So You Can>Arrive

Be amazed and see with your own eyes…

“Sir Stephen along with lifelong friend Sir Brent take off on a dream adventure to find the promise land and to live significant moments… Can their hearts desire lead them to where they want to go, or does it already? Will they discover if they are a Chosen One or not? You will climb the highest mountains and weep with them in their lowest valleys. Prepare yourself today, for The Chosen One.”

“My hope is readers walk away with an appreciation of their significant moments and take a step back if necessary, to avoid regrets and aspire to thrive. I believe Chosen One will become the one novel they go back to time and time again for their life’s ride.” Steven Sutherland

10641218_291425140981489_8647661716077407041_nFollow Steven’s author page on Facebook

Visit Steven Sutherland on Twitter

CHOSEN ONE  Trailer youtube.com

CHOSEN ONE on booklaunch.io

Unknown-1

When Sarah Fader, CEO and Founder of the mental health non-profit organization Stigma Fighters asked me to write “It hurts, Ya’ Know,” an essay for Stigma Fighters I was overjoyed. How often is it that someone is acknowledged for talking about difficult, life-saving topics like mental illness? Sarah Fader does not shy away from challenge. She is a force with the uncanny ability to bring people together while making each person feel individual. An important, collectively part of a group that needs to be seen and heard. Sarah also blogs for The Huffington Post and writes a column called Panic Life for Psychology Today.

Unknown

Sarah Fader’s recently released Stigma Fighters Anthology, “a compilation of personal perspectives, the first volume of the Stigma Fighters Anthology features essays from real people living with mental illness from around the globe.”

The first volume suggests there will be others. I sure hope so, and cannot wait to continued to be inspired by the light Ms. Fader shares and shines on others.

Authors inspiring authors and I have a feeling Ms. Fader has much to say and joyfully shares her talent and tales.

“Once upon a time Sarah Fader wrote a blog post called 3-Year-Olds Are Assholes. It went viral on HuffPost Parents with over 400,000 shares on Facebook.”

THREE-YEAR OLDS ARE A**HOLES, is the funny and touching little gem that can be enjoyed by mommys’ and non-moms’ alike.

FullSizeRender

Follow Sarah Fader on Twitter

Sarah is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters

Find her books here Stigma Fighters Anthology

Three-Year-Olds Are A**holes

Sarah Fader on Facebook

Sarah’s website Old School New School Mom

Unknown-1

I cannot wait to discover the witty, gifted world of J.C. Hannigan

COLLIDE by J.C. Hannigan (KILLER cover)

IMG_6034

Harlow Jones has a troubled past, and a questionable future.” –collide

Visit J.C. Hannigan’s Facebook Page

Follow her on Twitter 

Visit her on her personal blog

Follow her on Google Plus

Check out the Bumpy Bones Blog

Unknown-1

FullSizeRender 2

This week, we have the very groovy, sensitive, gifted and kind Rachel Thompson. Blogger, Media Consultant (guru), founder and creator of #SexAbuseChat, Director of Social Media at Stigma Fighters, creator of the wildly popular hashtag #MondayBlogs, Director of GRAVITY IMPRINT for Booktrope Publishing, passionate, empathetic sexual abuse advocate and eloquent, gifted author. Rachel truly epitomizes the phrase “authors inspiring authors.” She was the first person I met in the daunting world of self-publishing, and first to extend a hand with a smile. Thank you, fiercely inspiring fellow red.

I’ve written about Rachel Thompson’s and “Broken Pieces” in a previous post Actual Extraordinary Women. She is an actual extraordinary woman and pretty awe-inspiring.

The sequel to “Broken Pieces” by Rachel Thompson “Broken Places” is available, and happening now.

IMG_6033

Visit Rachel Thompson’s Facebook Pages

Follow her on Twitter

Director of GRAVITY IMPRINT for Booktrope

Visit her on her personal blog and Social Media Consulting BadRedhead Media

Check out the link to Rachel’s poignant, raw award winning books

“Because you, more than anyone I have ever known loved being alive.” L.B.H.

IMG_5892IMG_5891

Lupe and I must have walked the loop at Hoopes Park a thousand times, or more.

In ten-degree freezing black ice, navigating lethal dangerous walkways (and fallen more than once), on grey-cloud, weepy wet gloomy days.

You name it. We’ve dredged through it.

It helps, ya’ know. The walk.

To free the brain from the pressure, dark and dangerous thinking.

Easing up, releasing the unrelenting anxiety.

When we walk past the white pristine house with the red door, I have to fight the urge not to run up and knock.

Or barge in.

She’s not there.

I know this to be true in my head, but my heart searches for her.

Missing every puzzle piece and all her silly ways. Her sage advice, too.

The water fountain, Buddha and Zen room she created, so proud to show me the space.

Her home with the red door is just a dwelling now, somebody else’s house we pass on the walk.

Suicide was never her choice, she just couldn’t stay.

I don’t believe there are coincidences, I choose to believe there are signs along the way.

L.B.H., I believe you threw me one today.

It’s the perfect sixty-degree, pretty blue sky day with sunshine peek-a-booing through the clouds.

Like a child playing hide and seek, giggly and covering their mouth to contain the excitement.

Just like a happy child, exactly like you.

FullSizeRender

http://standagainstsuicide.org

Thanks for the Buddha, water fountain, precious memories and luminescent magic that was your life.

The Zen room has a new home, with me.

I’ll do my best to keep them safe.

I’ll do my best to keep you safe, using my voice.

I stand against suicide, because your life matters.

Because you, more than anyone I have ever known loved being alive.

You, and your gypsy-free spirit, brilliant, bold, courageous, compassionate, goofy, non-judgmental, all-encompassing, curious, big beautiful love would be walking right beside me.

You are.

I can’t see you, but I feel your presence in mine.

I did not forget.

2 days and eight years gone is too long.

You were, and continue to be forever loved.

FullSizeRender 9  FullSizeRender 10FullSizeRender 11FullSizeRender 6

cool like that

IMG_5753

I love this. Because inside these words says a whole lot about me.

And because I did not make it. Someone I respect and admire did.

#werk

Because she’s cool like that, I’m cool like that.

“We are left with the prisons of our own minds and that is heavy enough.” J Cioffa #MentalIllness #Treatment 

FullSizeRender 4

One in Four. No, not Really. 

The very real, gut-wrenching mental illness statistics remain not far off from fifty years ago when pyschiatric institutions were the solution, lock them away.

As long as my beautiful chaotic mind and the words don’t betray me, I use my voice.

I am Three in Four even Four in Four, hit the mentally ill genetic jackpot. The reality is I could snap at any moment, I pray won’t.

Please, don’t judge. Don’t judge the ‘crazy,’ the insane, the unfit, the unwell, the lunatic that is me. Help us instead.

We are left with the prisons of our own minds and that is heavy enough.

From the Washington Post, “A shocking number of mentally ill Americans end up in prison instead of treatment.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/30/a-shocking-number-of-mentally-ill-americans-end-up-in-prisons-instead-of-psychiatric-hospitals/

I Am Adam Lanza

By Jacqueline Cioffa

A decade ago I lived a frivolous, spoiled, privileged life. An International fashion model, I worked in more countries than I can count. Freedom was something I took for granted, until the earth fell from under me and my whole world shattered. My first psychotic breakdown took away everything I knew to be true and buried me whole.

The paranoia, delusions of grandeur, mania, the irrational and out of control behavior. I wanted to die, too exhausted by the fragile, broken mind. I wanted to let go of the rage, the fear, the despair, I wanted to end my life. The slicing of the wrists, my escape and a way out. Dancing in the streets, in stores, I was too out of my mind to be ashamed, by my behavior. The shame and isolation would come later, as thick and heavy as a steel beam, freight train crushing my soul. I lived with my brother, exasperated, helpless, not knowing what more he could do, he put me on a bus back home to my mother. My Irish, stubborn, loyal, family first, capable mother. She had experience dealing with Mental Illness; my family had been plagued by the unlucky 1 in 4 gene pool.

My sick, wracked mind betrayed me, no longer mine to control. The whole and intact me, I used to know now gone forever. The carefree, compassionate, strong, independent person is living her worst nightmare. Even on the hard, horrific days, the dark evil thoughts dominating my brain, I fight desperately to regain control. If you have not been exposed to Mental Illness, please do not talk to me about it. You are out of your league, cannot begin to comprehend the exhausting toll it takes. On a family, friends, that is if you are lucky enough to have any left. Mostly, you are left with isolation and shame, your own.

My second breakdown brought black days, numbness, and a shell of a person. The depression and anxiety, so crippling I was forced to leave the big city, retreat back home to the safety of familiar surroundings. The pain so deep, so heavy, the fear immense, death seemed my only option. A welcome release from the demons, the evil lurking in the corners of a tortured mind. I work hard to beat the beast daily, as soon as my feet hit the floor, shaking. I take the psych drugs, Lithium, Xanax, Valium, the shock treatments and practice alternative medicine. I do yoga, eat healthy, exercise and live simple. I try to avoid the triggers, terrified of the next episode.

I never know when the outbursts will come, when paranoia will convince me the man in the park wants to kill me. In my heart and my soul, I know this is completely irrational. But, the mind plays tricks. I have to fight, every minute, every second to control the grappling Illness I must live with. Day after day, in constant fear of what I might do next. I don’t own a gun, I would be afraid to have one in close proximity. I hate violence, I find it abhorrent, but I do not trust the beast.

There is no concrete help for the Mentally Disabled; there is half hour, once a month consults with the overworked, underpaid psychiatrist, who spends your time glancing at a clock. There are no solutions, into the mysteries of a broken mind, they throw pills at you. Pills that may very well be your undoing, send you deeper into depression, trigger manic episodes or worse an acute psychotic episode, and the killing of innocent souls. Those are the worst breaks, the psychosis, and the hardest to come back from. I have visited them firsthand.

I watched, helpless as my beautiful, brilliant, Yale educated, compassionate cousin ended her own life. She was a Dr., the smartest person I know and she could not find a way out of the Mental Illness that plagued her. My own father, who endured 17 years of Mental Illness, endless pills that made him worse, psychiatric hospital visits, a dementia ridden mind at the end. My mother, who fought every battle with him, and for him when he couldn’t. His daughter who would always be in my memory, his adored, precocious, funny face, happy and intact child. He died not knowing my name. Although, in my heart and my spirit, I know exactly what I meant to him. His last breath I was beside him, holding his hand and on his heart. I felt the unbearable pain and destroyed mind, set free as he floated up to heaven. He was a good man, the kindest, most selfless I know.

I am a good person, who doesn’t deserve this fate. I am not a violent person, but I am Adam Lanza. He may have committed a horrific, unspeakable EVIL, act. Did he start out evil? He must have been an innocent, child himself at some point. When did his broken mind take over, when did he lose all rational, self-control? It’s too hard to grasp, too big to think about without immeasurable faith.

When are we, as an empathetic society, going to care about the Mentally Ill? Fight for them; stick up for them, as eagerly as we fight against gun control. When will we do something about the fact that there is no place for ‘us’, when the evil, mind disease takes hold? They send you to the ER, push a pill, perhaps a 72 hour hold to the Psych Ward. There is nowhere a parent with a disturbed, sick child can turn. We are in trouble, as a society. Take the guns off the streets, a mentally disturbed individual will find another way to kill. Help us fix them, with more research, better facilities, more culpability from the Government and its people, for the Mentally Ill.

I weep for those children, the families, the unimaginable depths of pain and sorrow. I rejoice in my youth, safe, happy and healthy. I’m grateful for that. I expose myself, sharing my story. Perhaps it can help bring insight and perspective. I don’t believe human beings are evil, I believe they are defective and commit violent, unspeakable acts.

Mental Illness has afflicted me, but it could’ve been you or a loved one. One in four is not great odds. I am alone, completely and utterly alone with my Illness, even while surrounded by an empathic family. I am not a child; I am an adult, who’s better equipped to manage this bastard disease.

Please, don’t judge me. Don’t judge the Adam Lanza’s. Don’t judge the ‘crazy,’ the insane, the unfit, the unwell, the lunatic that is me.

Help us instead.

imrs.php

Support #theloveeffect film – #SuicideAwareness

10314520_10202389963403169_4857163351190042283_n
One Love.

As an Advocate, Buddha Collector, Spiritual Seeker,  Author, Being, and Human how could I not stand up in support of #theloveeffect film ?

Living with mental illness, suicide and the dark are the all too familiar and unwelcome visitors, close companions.

Experiencing the personal devastating loss of someone precious, brilliant and beautiful to suicide is unbearable, impossible to comprehend. And, yet somehow we manage to go on.

Not without help, none of us can do life alone.

I use my voice. Everyday. Every single day I make a promise to write the hard unspeakable truths, insurmountable pains and blinding bliss. To choose hope, not fear.

To always seek out the light.

I support #theloveeffect because the film shares the uncomfortable truths, the ones that matter today.

Every life matters. Suicide and depression are real, they aren’t going away.

The time to #StartTheConversation is right now without shame, only courage and joy.

The sea, sun, and the elements make soothing, stunning backdrops in #theloveeffect trailer.

The perfect setting to vital, important topics.

One love.

Please visit my author site at http://jacquelinecioffa.com/ for an updated post and fantastic news about #theloveeffect film’s progress! #TheLoveEffect link: http://bit.ly/1NyBc8t

8009ba4a291fcb37e57a69918591cd36_original

“SUICIDE AWARENESS – A CALL TO ACTION

• Over 1,000,000 people die by suicide every year.

• There is one death by suicide in the world every 40 seconds.

• Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

• Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15 – 24 year olds.

Why aren’t we discussing this? As filmmakers, we have an opportunity to be fearless, vulnerable and open by sharing a story that’s both universal, dramatic and ever so poignant.

THEME

A film dealing with suicide and pain is never easy. Especially when it hits so close to home for so many of us. With the support of many celebrities, organization groups and people around the world, we have decided to take this head on – connecting our own struggles and pain with suicide, loss and depression to make a film that poetically expresses the importance of LOVE and its EFFECT. Short films are a difficult thing to create, however with suicide being such a relevant topic, we feel this story is a voice that needs to be heard.”

USE YOUR WORDS

I use my words. Use your voice. Tolerance. One love.
‪#‎endthestigma‬ Stigma Fighters

IMG_4503

http://stigmafighters.com/stigma-fighters-jacqueline-cioffa/

slide_408318_5119774_free