Monday, November 14, 2011

Nola's Story

 Happiness is an interesting concept and emotion. What does it take for someone to ‘become’ happy? As a person who has suffered with severe depression for 7 years, I have been in some dark places, longing to experience this ‘happiness’.
 Over this past year, at least I began injuring myself to an extent where scars are left, I have cried often, and I frequently looked like I had just rolled out of bed. I felt miserable. I felt my existence was not needed. At home, I was just an extra mouth to feed, at school, I was just another students paper to grade, and to my friends, I was either invincible and could take care of all their problems for I had no emotions, or I was an overload of emotions. The idea of just ending it all was such a beautiful thought for me. For once, I wouldn’t be just baggage, I would be valued by so many, I would be missed, and I would be wanted. Soon I became convinced that happiness was an elusive utopia in the mental mind, it did not actually exist. It was as unattainable as the stars in the night sky. I had a few plans to just end it. I would make it look like an accident so I wouldn’t cause too much guilt (but just enough so people would regret ignoring me or regret taking me for granted). Most likely though a car accident. That seemed random enough right? I don’t know exactly what triggered all my depression and stuff. Maybe it was the death of friends and family members? Or maybe the breaking up with a boyfriend of two years? Or maybe, just the fact of a chemical in balance in my brain. Whatever had started this- was only worsening with time. It was controlling my life. I sat in my room alone for hours upon hours watching TV. Isolating myself from the world. Break off relationships with people. For if you know no one, you will be hurt by no one. In this time, conflict began with my mother and I. Frustration boiled over and a majority of our relationship was demolished. However, if someone gave me the chance to go back and change everything and live a life free of depression, I would kindly refuse.
 Despite the scars, the emotional and mental pain, and the broken relationships, I have become a strong person. And through all of this, I have met the most amazing people. One person who I have become particularly close with is someone who I have known for a majority of my life, we never really talked. And by never really- well- we just never did talk. There is no way getting around that fact. We were from different sides of the track. She was the take control, and do, as I like; I was the quiet and obedient girl. However, 12 years later, we’re practically at the same place. Sharing a common love of ASL, we would go on adventures, we worked a talent show together, and- then she disappeared. 6 months later, she is back in my life- but has changed immensely. She’s become someone I don’t recognize, but I will never forget or regret the memories and fun we had, even if that’s all. I hope that we fix our relationship and can go back to what it was before she disappeared, but- it will be hard. I’m ready however to work at it. The next relationship that I have made is the polar opposite of me. Yet she has become my best friend. She has taught me many things, exposed me to a different life style, and has shown me such strength and determination through her actions. I would never give up my friendship with her, not for a million dollars. We laugh together, cry, scream, and stalk boyfriends together. She is beautiful on the inside and out, I just wish I could show her how lucky I am to have her. Lastly, there is my guardian angel. This person is difficult for me to talk about and explain fully. I can’t really describe the relationship with words- I can’t even do it with painting. I just- can’t. I wrote thank you letters, random letter, ‘whats-up-I’m-bored” letters, but however many letters I write I can’t seem to- or at least don’t feel that I fully communicate the gratitude I have for this person.  Thank you isn’t big enough. I don’t really think there is a word or phrase, which does. But my guardian angel has set an example for me.  She has shown me that you can find happiness in the darkest of nights; she has taught me that I control my life, not my depression.  I guess I could describe her as- Hm, well, I can’t really. She is someone with strength, courage, and insurmountable kindness. She is a lifesaver, someone who will listen, and the one person I trust explicitly. Without her- I’d be lost. Not only in the directional sort of way trying to find my way to TGI Fridays, but the metaphorical way as well. I would be lost in my life, without a goal, with no direction, and the wrong kind of support. These three people are main reasons I would never change my experiences that I have had so far.
The other reason is more of a personal reason. I have developed into a person with understanding, acceptance, and patience. Even if these traits are not always displayed, they’re there somewhere in me. I have faced challenges only a lucky few have. And when I say lucky few-, I’ve experienced life. I have been with the good and the bad, and from that- I know so much more, I understand people and situations so much better. I’d rather be like this than in the dark and thinking everything is fine and perfect. That people suffering was just over dramatic syndrome. That it really isn’t that big of a deal.
Through my depression, I have been stuck in my own personal hell. To me, happiness was something that was a fleeting moment when someone said something funny. Or when I saw a cute picture, or a good TV show. Worthlessness, upset, miserable, sad, angry, those were the constant emotions pulsating through my body. Happiness was a 10-minute high, which would lead you to crash hard.
However, today, the first day in what feels like a long time, I was happy all day. I have not fallen, I stand tall. Now- maybe it was the power of the heels, or the fact my hair was down. But whatever the reason. I experienced happiness today. I have not felt that in a long time. It felt good. I cannot promise that tomorrow will be the same or that in a week I will still be on this high. However, I can promise you- there is a light. Even if it lasts for a day or 5 years. Do not give up. Life is beautiful.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Emily's Story

The first think you need to know is, in general I have a very good life. A loving family, a wonderful best friend, and a life full of privileges I'm thankful for because of my hard working parents. That being said though, no one has a perfect life and everyone has their cross to bare. Mine came along in full force when I was 18, I just didn't know it.

Now flash forward to two years ago. A bright young thing (myself) starts her first year in college. Having hated high school, I was very excited to begin this new chapter in my life. I was rooming with a friend from high school, Kally, and I was going to school in a gorgeous city that I have been in love with since I was young, just a few hours away from home. Sure I cried when I left home, but once I got up to school I started to enjoy myself.

A few weeks into school though, I hit the wall, hard. I don't know what happened, but I became a wreck. I spent all of my time in my dorm room basically. And since my roommate had a new boyfriend that she spent all of her time with, I was alone a lot. I was out of contact with my best friend who was dealing with her own issues at her new school, out of state, and I didn't have a boyfriend. So I was lonely.

Then came my one and a half month relationship with Sean. We spent a ton of time together when I was home over winter break, he texted me all the time when I went back to school, called me, I loved it. But soon his life became chaotic with a new job, a new school, moving back home and the calls and text messages stopped. I felt hurt and when I tried to talk to him about it a few times, he said he couldn't change things. So I ended things, and for the first time in my life was heart broken. I spent the rest of the semester hating boys with my roommate (who was recently single as well) and feeling like I wasn't good enough.

I thought when I was home for the summer I would be happier, but I was wrong. Everything seemed too hard, I had times when I literally freaked out about small things. I wouldn't be able to breathe and I didn't understand what was wrong with me. It was at this point that my mom suggested I go see the doctor. She believed I was having problems with anxiety. Sure enough after visiting the doctor, she diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. She put me on a medication and gave me a list of counselors in the area. I started seeing a counselor I really liked and by the end of the summer I felt better.

I moved into an apartment in the fall with Kally and two new roommates, Ellie and Sarah. I thought everything was going to be great. But things in my apartment got really stressful and tense really fast. We all started hiding out in our rooms all the time just to avoid each other. It became clear, quite quickly that we weren't exactly compatible as roommates. I spent as much time as a could (which really wasn't that much) hiding out at my boyfriend Jeff's apartment. I fell into a hole that fall semester farther than I ever have before. One that included me ending up in tears at our family Thanksgiving dinner for no reason. My therapist diagnosed me with both severe anxiety and almost severe depression. I had trouble getting to classes, I didn't get all of my work done, and things were really bad. I could barely get out of bed some days. 

At Thanksgiving, my doctor switched my medication and during the 3 weeks I was back at school, it definitely helped. I saw my therapist during winter break, and off and on during the spring when it was really important. I began to crawl out of my hole.

Well in May my boyfriend (who I know now really wasn't very good to me) broke up with me. But I came home for the summer and instead of letting it get me down this time, I decided it was time for a make-over. I cut and colored my hair, got a new ear piercing and got a tattoo (to symbolize the struggle I'd been through.) I started dressing in a way that's more outgoing. I'm seeing a guy friend until the end of the summer who makes me feel really good about myself. I've worked with my therapist all summer. I have an incredible apartment that I only have to share with Kally at school. And I'm actually excited for school to start.

I'm now 20 years old, and can say, I don't think I've ever felt happier in my life. I know the anxiety is always going to be there. But now I know how to deal with it. And I've never felt better.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Everything's New!!

...well, not everything. Hello to everyone reading this, my name is Camille and I volunteered to be the co-host of this blog. So that is definitely new. Also, we have a new email - That way we aren't clogging anyone's personal email. I look forward to getting to read all of your stories anonymously and can't wait for the new submissions!

In conclusion - Email The Pages Between the Covers at Thanks all!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just an Update

Hey everyone!
I don't know who actually follows this little thing, or who is just humoring me and clicking the link that I attacked you with. Never the less, thank you for viewing! I appreciate it and truly do believe that sharing these stories is beneficial for those writing and reading. I know in my last direct post I mentioned sending this, or showing to a select few, but from encouragement and requests from some people, I've decided to make this a more open thing. I would love it if you sent it to your friends or whatever. Everyone who has posted a story have all said that it was therapeutic for them to let it all out, (ok, maybe no those exact words, but that's the point). The stories on this blog range from being very descripitve, personal, and long, to being short and sweet. Every story is important. I am thinking about setting up a new email specifically only for this site, but I don't want to do so unless I have enough interest. Also, I'd love to have someone, (or some people) kinda co-lead this thing. I'm not really sure what to call it. Project works I guess.

Also, I won't be using every single one of the stories in the movie, (assuming the movie happens) but I still would love any stories. If you're interested in working more with this project email me at or facebook me =]

Much love,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tori's Story

I know that in many ways I am a very lucky person. I have a family that loves me, I am doing well in school, and I have everything that I need to live comfortably. But even the luckiest people have skeletons in the closet, and for me, it is the abusive relationships that I have lived through.
Abuse comes in many forms. If he doesn’t hit you, it doesn’t mean it isn’t abusive, which is a point I failed to realize until much later. But I’ll start at the beginning.
 I met Cody the very first time I stepped foot onto my brand new campus, a thousand miles away from anything I had ever known. Bowling Green State was my first choice school because it had really good programs and it was fairly close to Cleveland, without being directly in the city. It was far away from friends and family, though, which meant that for the first time ever I was completely without a support system. That is, until I started dating Cody.
He was so different from anything I had ever known, and more importantly different from the boy who had just recently become my ex. He and I decided that a long distance relationship would not work with the two of us, so despite the strong feelings we had for each other, we ended it. I knew going into college that I was not ready to date anyone who remotely reminded me of him.
Our relationship started off sweetly enough – we stayed up until four in the morning talking about ourselves and about where we were from. He was from Cleveland – a big city like me. That was quite a relief because I knew that I would have a home there if I ever wanted to go visit. Then we stopped at Walmart and grabbed come cookies to eat, and that was when we had sex for the first time. He was a virgin, I was just barely not a virgin, and so it was awkward and sweaty and amazing in the backseat of his pickup. We decided then that we should start dating.
Looking back on the beginning of the relationship, I think I started dating him because I was alone and scared. I was in love with the idea of having someone there for me, and excited about the amount of time I would get to spend now that I didn’t have parents waiting up for me to get home from dates. It was exciting, it was new, and it fit perfectly into my new life as a college student.
I remember when I stayed over the first night in his dorm. Or rather, I remember waking up in his dorm room the next morning and realizing I had spent the night. My new roommate texted me once and Cody had texted her back while I was asleep, telling her not to worry and that I had fallen asleep. I felt so happy that he made sure she didn’t worry and that he woke me up in time for my 8 am class. I had to wear the same clothes that I had worn the day before, but it was all right because no one had seen me in them.
The first time I realized that there was a problem with my relationship was when I got sick. I got a disease that causes necrotic tissue on any part of the body, and mine just happened to be near my vaginal opening. After determining that it was not a symptom of a larger underlying problem, the doctor assigned some heavy medications to treat the disease and told me that I was to refrain from having sex for the next month in order to have the necrotic ulcers fully heal so they would not get infected. It made a lot of sense to me and I agreed. Unfortunately, Cody didn’t take the doctor’s orders as seriously as I did, and that night was the first time we had sex after I told him no. For anyone reading this, THIS IS RAPE. It doesn’t matter that you are in a relationship – what matters is that you need to give your consent each and every time you have sex with someone. I said no, and it happened anyway. And it kept happening: from the time we started dating in the first week of September until winter break the third week of December, we had sex at least once a day, and most days twice. I remember days when I was so sore I could hardly walk.
I was staying over at his dorm almost every night by the time October rolled around. I would go back to my dorm to shower and change and then head back to his. We didn’t really do anything; I remember playing a lot of Viva Piñata, eating lots of junk food, and having lots of sex.  I also stopped texting friends back or returning calls, simply because I spent all my time with Cody and he was impatient while I was on the phone or texting. He also limited who I could talk to. I had one friend in particular, Dan, who Cody refused to let me talk to. Cody said that if I really loved him, I wouldn’t be talking to other men. I wanted to keep Cody in my life so badly that soon the texts to Dan stopped all together.
I can’t remember when the first fight was, but I do remember the scariest ones. The first one I remember was in October. A girl in my dorm had a birthday coming up, and she invited me to go out to dinner with the rest of the girls on my floor. I was so pleased and excited, and agreed to meet up with her on October 29th so we could carpool. That day, at a little after four, I told Cody I was meeting up with the girls in a couple hours, and he got really upset. He started asking if I was cheating on him and why I hadn’t mentioned the party before, and was also upset that he was not invited (as this was a girls only get together). Then he started yelling and saying that I wasn’t allowed to go, at which point I felt truly unsafe and tried to leave. I got up and opened the door, intending to leave, but Cody slammed the door shut and pinned me in between his arms and the door, yelling in my face. I was crying and screaming, begging him to let me leave. I remember screaming “Please Cody just let me go!” I have no idea how I got out of that situation, but I do remember running out of the dorm and taking the stairs to the next floor down, in case he came out of his room while I was waiting for the elevator. I didn’t go back that night to his dorm, and my roommate was really sweet about it. She sat up talking to me about what happened, and helped me sort it out even though she barely knew me. She asked if I was always happy, and I had to answer no. I tried defending him, but I felt like she saw right through my lies.
Then there were roses. A dozen white roses waiting for me when I got out of Marching band practice. He really did love me.
He was also not afraid to get in a fight with other people around, a fact he made perfectly clear at a football game against our biggest rival, the Toledo Rockets. Our band was sitting in the student section, so the Rocket band could sit in our usual spot away from the drunken Falcon fans who may try to hurt them. Cody came up the bleachers to where I was sitting, complaining that band was taking up too much of my time. Then the yelling started. Thankfully it was loud in the stadium, so not a whole lot of people knew what was going on, but the band sure did. Cody started insulting me, and one of the boys in my section stood up for me. I think he offered to switch spots with me so I wasn’t sitting near Cody, and Cody screamed “shut up you fag!!” I remember having a sinking feeling, because I knew that Cody now thought I was cheating on him with the boy from the band, despite the fact that I was spending every waking minute with him; I’d even been skipping classes to be with him.
When winter break rolled around, I was so happy to get away from all the stress. But Cody stressed me out more than anything academic, and I couldn’t relax completely. My grandparents’ house has very little cell service, and Cody freaked out every time he couldn’t get ahold of me, which made for a lot of tears when I returned to my own house. It got so bad that I had trouble sleeping, and I cried the entire week before I was supposed to go back. I even begged my parents to let me stay home and not return to school. I wanted to stay as far away from Cody as possible, but they both just hugged me and told me to be strong.
I realized that I didn’t need to have someone in my life like Cody, and broke up with him the first week of class in January. It was not without tears and of course yelling. He even bought me a cantaloupe because that is one of my favorite fruits in an attempt to win me back. We went on a walk in an attempt to smooth out the breakup, and it ended with me running towards my dorm as fast as I could with Cody yelling at me “you stupid bitch, I hope you get hit by a truck!”
I am not going to pretend that I was able to bounce back from this relationship as soon as I realized that he emotionally abused me. But I am proud to say that I know now what real “grown up” relationships are supposed to be like. I’m with someone now that loves me for who I am, and I plan to stay with him. He’s never called me names, never yelled, and never prevented me from leaving. This is what love should be.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sophie's Story

Dumbledore sure knew what he was talking about. Love is the most powerful magic in the world. And of all the magic I have ever witnessed, love has been the greatest. 

I was born on a snowy October morning in Anchorage, Alaska. And, let me tell you, October is not too early to be snowing if you’re that far up north. My parents are two of the most beautiful people I have ever met, to this day. Their beauty is so vast and substantial that sometimes I can see it glowing – radiating from their bodies – shimmering around them like starlight. Their beauty draws people towards them; it lights the way for others, giving them a path to follow. My parent’s beauty comes from the love they have for each other. The more love they share, the more beauty shines through. Though, sometimes, when my parent’s beauty is at its greatest, it can even scare people away.

Love can be scary. That’s why it’s so much easier to hate.

Even with such beautiful, loving parents, I have had to learn about love all on my own. Seriously, who doesn’t like love? Personally, I’ve always believed love brings true happiness. But it isn’t always easy to survive in this world of pessimists when you think that way. For me, love has always been greater than just romance. It’s the greatest thing this world has to offer – so why not share as much of it as you can? Yeah, yeah, that’s a great idea . . . as long as you are not starting 6th grade. 6th grade was the biggest reality check I ever had to face. I went into middle school with as much innocence and starry-eyed dreams as you can imagine. I was so blissfully unaware that, at first, I didn’t even notice when people tried to hurt me. I mean, who would want to hurt little old me?

Apparently, a lot of people.

And, after a while, they got their wish. I got hurt. More than hurt, I got maimed – in the most gory, morbid, gruesome way. These people around me, my peers and fellow schoolmates, broke my heart. I felt so wounded and naïve and foolish that my only hope was invisibility. So invisibility is what I became. By 7th grade I was the human equivalent of a “timid little mouse” as my mother so lovingly called it. I would literally go through days where I didn’t speak a word. Life was hard, it was lonely, I felt dreadful, and, worst of all, I had closed my heart to love because I didn’t want to get hurt again.

7th grade was also the year I first read Twilight (and no matter how much I rue the day I first set eyes on those books – I still find myself comparing boys I date to Edward). During that time my heart and I lived in an alternate reality. Only inside that book was I able to feel again. Inside that book I could once again be the starry-eyed optimist I once was, inside that book I could feel love. Yet, no matter how well those silly Twilight books protected me from the pain and suffering of the world, I had to face reality some time.

Reality hit in the most peculiar – yet oddly perfect – way possible, as it often does. I was a freshman in high school, the epitome of my hell. Life in the real world was so brutal and unforgiving at that time that I would have to come home and take naps after school so my body could deal with the stress. The best parts of the day were the bus rides home when I could curl up in the lumpy brown bus seats, open up Twilight, and travel back into my favorite world, my decidedly “real” world.

A friend of mine rode the bus with me. Her name was Dawn and I liked talking to her because she reminded me of my parents. She was kind of a hippy, to put it bluntly, and my parents are kind of hippies, too (I was rocked to sleep listening to The Grateful Dead, for gosh sakes). Sometimes Dawn would bring her boyfriend on the bus. Her boyfriend was an attractive guy – though, at the time, I only had eyes for book characters – with a pair of the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen. They were a terrible beauty – they scared the hell out of me. Sam was his name and when he and Dawn rode the bus I would always talk to them. I connected to these two rather out-of-place people because they understood me like no body else could. Sam and Dawn knew what it was like being poor in a rich community; they knew what it was like not liking pop music and not wearing the right clothes. They were just like me! But with one glaring difference: they didn’t feel bad about it. 

The most vivid recollection I have of Dawn’s boyfriend, Sam, was one day on the bus when we were discussing music. Sam and I were discussing a musician we both liked and after I finished speaking Sam just stared at me. He stared at me with those terrifyingly beautiful green eyes, half a smile playing across his lips. I’m pretty sure, at that moment, I gulped. He saw right through me with that gaze of his, penetrating my soul, reading the emotions that played through my heart like a scholar reads a nursery rhyme (in other words, very easily). Sam eyed me as though I was a piece of candy, and I knew there was something bawdy going on behind his gaze . . . Ladies and gentlemen, this is also known as “undressing someone with your eyes”. And, oh my gawd, did it freak me out.

I remember days, after that experience on the bus, I would sit around contemplating whether or not I should tell Dawn her boyfriend had looked at me like that. At that time in my life I almost felt like I had been taken advantage of by Sam. It had only taken his gaze to send the defenses I had built up for myself to go flying. Now I understand that it was my own fears that had caused me freak out so much. My fear of love, of getting hurt, of getting my heart broken, caused me to see the intensity and passion in Sam’s eyes as a threat. Only through a look, Sam had forced me to become aware of myself. He had forced me to look at myself honestly. And I really didn’t want to look at myself honestly. Although, I can pretty surely attest that Sam still has the same killer gaze, I realize now that it was my own fear of reality that caused me to feel so intimidated by him.

I ended up leaving high school for a special state-funded school program that I got into. It was a good decision because it gave me time to look back at public school and realize how important those experiences were for me. Though high school did end up forcing me into reclusion and generally took away my ability to feel, in the end I’m thankful because it also taught me how important love is. Sam, and his crazy-yet-beautiful eyes, reminded me of reality and forced me to face my fears of love. After that experience I was finally able to recall the importance of love and I began a search for love in my real life – not just in book world.

Love is scary, but it’s also the most powerful magic this world has to offer.

You may be wondering if I ever talked to Sam again. Three years later I was able to contact him on facebook (now single . . . wink, wink). It’s been a pretty crazy trip since then and I am definitely not the same person I was in my freshmen year of high school. But what’s really important is not just that I have changed, but the journey I went through to get here. All I can wish for now is that I have many more journeys in my future. Maybe, even, a few of them will involve Sam, as well . . .

Ryan's Story

When I was six years old, I was on track to be what I thought was the best athlete in the world. I played soccer, tennis, golf, baseball, basketball, I swam a little bit and I really wanted to join some sort of track and field. I was pretty good at everything I played, and my coaches, mom and dad were all very proud of me. Right as I was turning seven, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes. Slowly but surely I quit every sport I played. Some diabetics can make it work. For whatever reason, I couldn't. By the time I was 10 I was done with every sport, and now, looking back, it's as if I never played them. I'm completely athletically incompetent. Around the age of eight, I found theater. I knew it was a good alternative and a good omen when I auditioned for my first professional show and got in. I performed flawlessly until the age of 15, sometimes without even a week's break because theaters kept calling me. Right before I turned 15, I was diagnosed with my second roadblock called dysphonia, a vocal conditions up there in severity with nodes. I was told there was a slight chance I'd never sing again. Much like with diabetes and sports, theater moved to the background and I was suddenly far more interested in things like becoming a doctor, then a lawyer, then an English teacher. These thoughts pushed theater out of my mind, and I ended up applying to schools to be an English teacher, refusing to apply at any theater schools. During the fall of my senior year, after being accepted at the University of Minnesota, I decided I should use my talents as a singer and actor to apply for some music scholarships. I sent a tape to a scholarship program called "YoungArts" hoping to maybe get a small merit scholarship. I was very surprised when instead I was called and awarded with an all expenses paid trip to Miami to work with professional actors and hone my craft. It was there that I realized I gave up to easily on everything. I could have stuck with sports if I really tried, and I could pursue my dreams as a performing artist if I wasn't too busy being scared. Since then I've been awarded on a national level twice, and have performed internationally. I'm going to the University of Minnesota as a Theater major and plan to pursue my art.