Ghost Writer Series: E4: A Glimpse into Depression

Written by Mallory Gothelf

The images were scattered, the night blurry. The hour was indecipherable. It could have been 5am or 5pm. I couldn’t tell if the thrashing in my head was from the force in which I was crying, or from hitting my head after throwing myself to the floor in tears.

I remember I stayed on that dirty carpet for hours. My chest felt as though it would explode from my heart, hammering at a rate that I thought would require medical attention. And I swear if I sobbed any harder, the little food I had in my system was going to come back up. I vaguely remember something breaking, I think that was my fault. I don’t even remember why I did that or with what intention.

Was I scared?

Was I frustrated?

Was this simply an attempt to punish myself for being this damaged?

These questions remained unanswered. I managed to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I crawled towards my bed. Who was I even looking at? There was no color in my face, the corners of my mouth were turned down, and dark circles encompassed my eyes. I dared to glimpse into the depths of my eyes, but I only saw a dull pool of brown, utterly lifeless. Was this the end? Was this really how I was going to go out? 

 I must have fallen asleep. I woke up the next morning with little memory of the disbanded events from the previous night. They felt separate from me. But that didn’t matter. I woke up. I lived to fight another day. “I’m alive”, I kept muttering. And even now I’m still racking my brain.

How did I make it?

Why did I make it?

But truthfully the how and why really don’t matter, because the fact remains that I’m still here. My heart still beats, my lungs still take in air, and I can without a doubt see and feel the grey and blue bruise forming on my forehead. “I’m alive”, I said one more time. I kept saying it as a reminder, because I was determined to accept that beautiful and slightly mysterious fact.

 What I realized, walking outside later that day, made me remember a few things. I become agitated when people walk exceedingly slow when I’m late, Boston smells like there is a never ending gas leak on certain roads, and melting snow is significantly less awe-inspiring than when its first fallen. But on the other hand, the slow walk allowed me to breathe in fresh air for the first time in days, Boston can smell delicious, especially walking past the various food trucks that line the streets, and watching people dodge slush falling from the trees can be pretty entertaining.

The point is that I’ve learned that my life will toggle between the darkness and the light, depression and elation. I can either embrace it and live fully or choose to give up on it and never know what could have been. And as difficult and complicated as that choice can be, here I stand, knowing that living another day will always be one of my best decisions.

Some days I’ll truly hate that decision to live, and other days I’ll shudder at the thought that I would have missed out on my life.

Luckily the latter always seems to edge out the former. •


Mallory Gothelf is a beautiful, strong, fighter, and might I add, very talented writer.  I had the amazing opportunity to connect with Mallory through our very public journeys with depression, sharing our common goals of encouraging others through our suffering, and leaning on each other, as well as others who may be personally battling a mental illness, or are support systems for those who battle mental illnesses.  Her instagram account is a blessing to my life and I’m sure to many more people who can relate to her.  She is currently attending Northeastern University, in Boston, MA, and is defying all kind of odds by achieving her goals in life, in spite of her diagnosis.  She is bravely walking through this very ‘mental life’, full of unpredictability and strife, yet showing the world what the  strength looks like.

I am very grateful to have connected with Mallory and I am so very thankful for her telling her truth on ‘A Mental Life’ blog.


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Ghost Writer Series: E3: It’s Alright to Fight

Written by Diana Briceno

Depression is a common thing on my mom’s side of the family, but I never really wanted to accept that I was also struggling with it.

My personality has always been the type that keeps things bottled up, because I would feel like such a bother if I explained my situation to someone. The few times I started to slightly open up, I’d be completely misunderstood. People would think I was seeking attention for my sadness, that I would just “get over it”,or that depression is not a real thing. This caused me to feel ashamed and keep everything to myself; by sharing, I felt like I was putting my emotional burden on others.

Eventually, I became so overwhelmed with all the emotions and all my internal struggles that I got to my tipping point. In December 2011 I tried to kill myself, and well obviously (and thankfully) it didn’t work, because I’m still here alive and breathing. That was one of my first eye openers that I needed to live my life. Still, I let my health get out of control and gained 50 pounds. I would put a lot of my focus into work and make myself feel like I didn’t have time to exercise or make healthy meals; the excuses were endless.

Anyway, let’s fast forward to the last couple months of 2015. This is when I decided to start getting off of my medication. I felt so alone in this process, because I had nobody I knew going through a similar journey. I tried to look on Instagram for fitness people who brought up mental health or just anyone really, but I couldn’t find any at that time. This is when I decided that maybe I had to be the one to initiate the conversation, maybe others like me were scared to be judged and were also waiting on someone to relate to.

In January 2016, I began to openly talk about my depression and how eating well and working out has helped me get off my pills and get it under control. I was so surprised to see the amount of support and people sharing their journeys. It’s like all these accounts I couldn’t find before, found their way to me and I felt like there was now a community of people who help could one another.

I cared way too much about what people thought. I also realized that sometimes those who misunderstand depression just needed to be educated about it. I met my husband 5 years ago and he did not understand it at all, which really angered me; but then I realized I had to talk to him about it and try to explain, as best I could, how it was. He is now my biggest supporter and always listens to me. He gave me the push I needed to be unafraid to talk about my good and bad days.

Now there’s so many people that I see online that share their stories and we message back and forth. It feels so good to not feel alone in this because sometimes it can get really dark and we need some help to let us see the light in any situation. I want everyone going through difficult times to know that the hard times will pass. You are not alone and people care about you. People that you might not even know in person care about whether you live or die. I wish everybody could see that and really realize that because it’s true!

You are not a burden and there’s people out there that will listen to you and try to help. Keeping everything inside makes it feel like a slow painful death, don’t do that to yourself. Talk to someone, be it a friend, therapist, teacher, anyone really, because you will feel a weight coming off of your shoulders. Sometimes repeating the nasty thoughts out loud makes you really realize how wrong they are. There’s no need to be ashamed of your moments of weakness, there is strength in discussing them which in turn helps you learn how to overcome them. •


Diana Briceno is a stunning boss lady.  Having the opportunity to stumble across her amazing, as well as inspirational Instagram account, was an honor.  Her transparency and disclosure of her unique road to recovery with depression, and current fight against relapse, will make you feel like you are a bit a lone warrior.  I appreciate her bravery for showing those with a mental illness, that it’s possible to LIVE with a mental illness and fight against succumbing to it, with everything you have in you.  All her days may not be perfect, but she keeps it real no matter what, while creating a healthy lifestyle, free of medicine (Shero), and encouraging others about the importance of caring for their mental health; it’s alright to fight!


Ghost Writer Series: E2: The Power of Backbends

Written by Kendall Grace

Life before yoga was lifeless, that’s the only way I can describe it.

Resultant of recurring and long-term trauma, I have been consumed by PTSD, anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, bulimia and anorexia for more years than I can count, and before yoga, I had no hope. When I first began practicing 18 months ago, I had no idea it would change my life. I couldn’t fathom presence with or acceptance of the darkness that had almost taken my life on more than one occasion. But I took out a mat that day, and now I barely put it away.

I adore backbends. Anything that opens the heart has always held such power for me in my practice.

Wheel Pose.

There are times when I’m effortlessly vulnerable in sharing my struggles, but others where I hold tight to my emotions, almost unintentionally, and I become numb in order to cope. It is in those moments that the power of backbends shine. I’ve found freedom in them, an energy release like no other. I love to flow through Ustrasana/Camel Pose transitions, and Urdhva Dhanurasana/Wheel Pose is where I feel most at home.


Yoga brings awareness to every avenue of my life. It has taught me to trust that my perfectly imperfect life has played out exactly as it needed to in order to shape who I am today. That in every moment, all is exactly as it should be. And for that, I am endlessly grateful. So now, it’s my mission to pay it forward in every way I know how.

Kendall x

Kendall Grace.

Kendall Grace, of Melbourne, Australia, is a 26 year old fellow warrior in the day to day battle with mental illness.  She is such a strong, beautiful soul that has overcome many obstacles, and documents her road to recovery, as well as relapse, through powerful photos on her Instagram.  The power of her will and resilience are evident throughout her insta feed, telling an honest story about how she is coping.  Her yoga journey is awe-inspiring and so worth exploring!

Thank you Kendall, for sharing your #activitiestocope with the world!

*If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact me.



Follow A Mental Life

Ghost Writer: E1: Uncertainty is me

Uncertainty is me

Written by Charniece Jarman


It’s 6 am and your alarm is going off, startling you, and it’s once again time to start your day.  As you gather your strength to move one leg and then the other out of the bed, you start to think.

Did I wake up on time?

Will I get to work on time?

What will happen today?

I am in the field of public relations.  So, will I make a mistake on a press release?

Is there a possibility that I might send a media advisory that shouldn’t be released?

What direction is my career going in?

What is my purpose in life and will I be happy when I fulfill that purpose?

Again, just imagine.

This is your morning and this is how your morning is everyday.

Growing up, I thought that this continuous train of thought was normal; assuming that everyone was just as unsure about life as I was.  It wasn’t until I decided to move to Fort Myers, FL. to start a new career, that I realized that I have a problem and this may not be something that everyone experiences throughout each day of their life.

The stress of life begin to pile up and become overwhelming, beginning in 2014.  I uprooted and moved to south Florida from my home in northern Virginia, ended an emotionally abusive relationship, my grandfather passed away suddenly, my sister’s pregnancy became complicated which led to my first niece being born early by emergency c-section, then while I was visiting her, her house caught on fire, and then this cycle repeated itself in 2015; this time there was no fire, I was still alone in a new area, and my grandmother had a sudden aneurysm and passed away.  I felt even more alone than ever, still being in an unfamiliar city and steadily settling into a new job.

Life was hard.  I wanted life to just slow down as if it were a passenger that was in the backseat.  I felt beat up.  I wanted to stop feeling as though life was controlling me and it took everything I had to put aside what others thought or what would happen if I took a step toward help and simply decide to own my anxiety, as well as get the help that I needed.

I researched doctors throughout the Ft. Meyers area and stumbled upon “The Listening Doctor”.  I thought to myself that that was a silly name and why would you call your practice “The Listening Doctor”?.  That was my anxiety speaking, once again.  Fearful of the future.  So I resisted these feelings, set up an appointment, and decided to just defy my inner self and go for it.  I felt as if life could not throw anymore curve balls at this point.

“The Listening Doctor” actually LISTENED to me; she HEARD me.  With every word I said, she used it to seek solutions to help me fight this disorder and not make me feel ashamed to be dealing with it or use what seemed as my weakness against me.  After talking with her, she explained to me that my symptoms were associated with a mental illness known as GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder; a common anxiety disorder that is far from being anything to be ashamed of and is treatable.  I’m glad that I found the strength to seek help.

Life sometimes beats you up, and trying to weather through these times, especially with anxiety, another unknown, was a lot for me to handle.  I was in a new city with no family, friends, with nothing familiar around me, and now a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  After starting treatment, still not 100% free from experiencing what was a routine mental workout every day, I eventually made a new friend who is actually my closest friend now, my college roommate and best friend came to visit me twice, and I have met an amazing guy who sees me for me and knows that I have a mental illness.  He took the time to listen to me about my struggles, now can sense when I am on the verge of having an anxiety attack, and knows how to help calm me down through reassurance and much support.

Once I owned my anxiety, I started to truly seek help and support from those that would understand who I AM, an imperfect person who is fighting against a disorder daily, and not judge me for how I felt or what I feared in life.

Who I am is a person who, if you can imagine, is like someone who is standing in front of five billion people who are looking anywhere else, but at you.  Your heart is racing and your palms are drenched in sweat.  As you get up to speak, the wind is figuratively knocked out of you and you feel hopeless at this point.  You feel as though nothing could be worse than this moment, but then you realize that this whole experience is a fear of what may happen in the future.  It may happen several times in the future, but there is nothing you can do to stop what you’re feeling in that moment, without treatment.

This is my life.  This is anxiety and this is who I AM.

I have muscle tension, reflux, and trouble sleeping in association with this disorder.  Anxiety resonates within my mind and my body falls victim to it’s effects.

Everyday I struggle with the stressors of life, the worries of the future, feelings of helplessness, and feeling uneasy when things are out of order or disorganized.  I may never know the answers to those questions that plague me daily, but I am who I am.

I have anxiety and that is OKAY.  It is okay to question things and be uncertain about what will happen in your life.

I have anxiety.  I am uncertain and uncertainty is me •

Charniece Jarman is a 25 year old public relations specialist navigating the world of PR, new beginnings in Fort Meyers, Fl., and fighting to cope daily with life while battling anxiety.  She is another brave soul in the community of those who battle with a mental illness, and I am proud to not only call her my sister, but a fellow AML (a mental life) supporter who is for taking a stand for mental health awareness.

Charniece Jarman

If you have questions about anxiety or how she is coping daily, please email her at

If you want to be a fellow AML supporter, stand with us for mental health awareness, and be a writer in the ghost writer series, please contact me.