A survivor, a poet, and my hero

To be 14 years old again—would you do it? Never ever, I say. But look at this girl below. She’s beautiful and quirky and smart, she does a mean winged eyeliner look, and she has come back from the edge of despair to win a writing award.

My daughter, who has given me the OK to write about this, was depressed and suicidal in late September 2016. We took her to a mental health facility to help her deal with these issues, and she ended up being admitted for five days. In patient. As in, without us, but alongside other teen girls with a variety of issues: eating disorders, psychosis, schizophrenia, multiple suicide attempts, anxiety, self-harm.


She did the hard work of dealing with her issues, her brain chemistry (after all, depression runs in the family), and has emerged much stronger as a result. She’s a 102-lb. bad ass, if you ask me.

She discovered she really likes to read and write poetry, and we have encouraged that side of her. I read some of her stuff, and I initially wondered if it had been plagiarized—it was that good. (I’m her mom and I’m unabashedly bragging.)

She submitted two poems to the Scholastic Writing Awards for Central and Southern Indiana, AND SHE WON!

Her words earned Silver Key recognition. 

My kid, who has never written poetry before, expressed her pain and feelings eloquently enough to win a writing award. I plan to nurture this talent in any way I can. If you have tips, let me know.

Here is one of her award-winning poems:


Anonymous messages    

Nov 17, 2016


the weight of a single text on a screen

those words

those dumb, cold,  heart wrenching words

telling me i can’t and never will be


you used to instill me with false hope

time and time again people told me

unrequited love is a burden upon the lonely hearts club

but here we meet again

a table full of boys and girls and everything in between

fools that’s what we are

taking our feelings and washing them down the drain like water from a long soak that’s now gone cold

i appreciate ur feelings bud thank you


we would talk it felt real

laughter drowned out by my own sorrows

My selfish needs taking our friendship throwing it into the bin

a tumblr anon that ended in devastated broken hearts and painful glances


but we would talk again

we walk to class together again

we have long texting conversations again

we would still be friends

we would still laugh

we were okay


but we were just friends


Which was fine


Which was fine

3 thoughts on “A survivor, a poet, and my hero

  1. I can’t imagine being a teenager today. It was hard enough 20-30 years ago before the age of the internet, social media, cyberbullying, and the like.

    Your kid…she’s a badass like her mom. Surviving depression is hard. (That may be the understatement of the day.) I’m glad she got some help and is finding another outlet. I’m glad she has parents that get it. Most of all, despite never having met her, I’m glad she’s still around because I know all too well what it’s like to feel that way.

    Go, Val, go! Embrace your artistic side. Never forget that you have a family that loves you and that there’s always help when you need it. That goes a long, long way on those days where everything seems overwhelming.

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