After reading Nikki’s memoir I was lost for words. What a remarkable woman, I thought, and oh so courageous! To openly speak out about darker times in your past is draining, difficult and so daunting (I know because I’ve also opened up about my mental health issues through the form of poetry in book form). Putting it out there, for the world to see, is absolutely terrifying. And Nikki shares so much with us. You can’t fault a word in Nikki’s memoir: It is her whole life in your hands. You can feel it. You can feel her pain, her thought process, and more importantly – her desire to be loved. Nikki desperately wanted to be loved throughout her whole life and it breaks your heart reading about her life knowing that there is nothing you can do. I wanted to reach out to this young girl and tell her she is deeply loved – if only someone had.
Read the full review at Charlene McElhinney.
On June 7th, 2017, Gary Greenberg of Fighting for Children PAC (Protect NY Kids), Peaceful Hearts Foundation and Nikki DuBose along with Lauren’s Kids will host a “Walk in My Shoes” display at the Albany Capitol with accompanying stories from survivor’s/victims impact statements displayed to raise awareness during Children’s Awareness Month. Although this month typically brings awareness to the violence against kids, we are standing up and calling forth to the sexual violence and sexual abuse that affects more than 43,000 children annually in the state of New York and more than 43,000,000 around the nation. You can help in two ways.
- Donating shoes. We are collecting men’s shoes, women’s shoes, children’s shoes of all types – high end, tattered, athletic, and so forth, to show that sexual violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, etc. We need shoes and stories to show lawmakers the enormous impact that sexual violence has on our society. After the event, all of the shoes will be donated to a local homeless shelter or rape crisis center.
- Participating virtually. Take a picture of your shoes and upload to social media with the #walkinmyshoes #s809 along with a sentence on why ending child sexual abuse is so important to you. We will repost every entry.
Please send shoes to:
2568 Western Ave.
Altamont, N.Y. 12009
THANK YOU for joining us in the pledge to end child sexual abuse!!
Peaceful Hearts Foundation, Nikki DuBose, Gary Greenberg and Lauren’s Kids
Remember back when I read Lady Injury, when I told you that I liked a book…but then warned you not to read it? That’s exactly how I feel about Washed Away. In fact, the books are as similar as they are different, just as the two women are. Both books are about eating disorders and extremely severe mental illness. Both books are horrifically triggering and devastating. But, just as no two people are the same, no two mental illnesses are the same–and thus, no two memoirs could be the same either.
Read the full review at I Lay Reading.
Nikki DuBose, an abuse victim and former model, said she is “quite annoyed” that Cuomo doesn’t seem to be pushing harder for passage of a bill.
“The governor is failing his constituents — those who are abused, abandoned and who cannot advocate for themselves,” DuBose said in an email.
Read the full article on The New York Daily News.
I was naturally a shy, introverted child. Add in an abusive environment, a mother with severe mental illness, substance abuse, and an early battle with eating disorders, and my shyness was lit on fire.
Turning inward to the extreme and developing depression, playdates in my room with stencils, colored pencils and drawing pads were my everything. This was my way to connect to life and imaginary people.
Read the full blog post at Eating Disorder Hope.
Child sexual predators often place themselves in areas where they have easy access to children. This is one reason why teachers, babysitters, nannies, mothers, fathers, priests, and summer camp workers make excellent abusers. And while Florida has made great strides to protect children from predators in child-care centers, they are falling behind in one major area: summer camp. (1)
Recently, the Palm Beach Post probed and discovered that camps in Florida have no restrictions, therefore there are no boundaries placed on how the camps operate. (1) Abuse can happen and does happen, and nobody is there to prevent or stop it.
Read the full blog at PsychCentral.
Defying Mental Illness (DMI) recently had the unique and exclusive opportunity to meet Nikki and interview her. Nikki’s story is truly remarkable and will inspire you…
DMI: Wow, Nikki, what an honour to interview you today. You have an interesting story that you would like to share with DMI. You were a former model that was climbing high in your career at remarkable speed. However, there was a dark side you were struggling with.
You were challenged with several mental disorders. While you were probably the envy of your friends, secretly, they were your envy! Tell us, a little bit about who Nikki first and foremost. Give us an insight into your childhood.
Read the full interview on Defying Mental Illness.
We recently got to ask Nikki DuBose – A former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate a few questions.
Here’s what we got to talk about.
1) Do you have any advice for young teens and young adults battling with an eating disorder who want to get better and start their road to recovery but don’t know where to begin or don’t think they’re strong enough to make that commitment of an everyday fight to recover and start the healing process?
Read the full interview on Free and Above.
Nikki DuBose is a mental health advocate, ambassador, public speaker and writer. She is also a former model who has experienced the dark side of the fashion industry. Her harrowing journey includes childhood abuse, addiction, self harm, rape, eating disorders, psychosis and various other mental health issues. It’s undoubtable a frightening read, but an important one.
We follow Nikki from childhood, through her years as a teenager and as an adult. Divided into chapters with focus on different themes, she provides us with an honest account of what was going through her head at the time and how she experienced it. It’s refreshing to read something so raw and sincere.
Read the full review at TheTrueSea.
I’ve spent many an afternoon wandering around the library. To me the library has always been a place of opportunity, and it has helped me find books that ignite new interests and explain unknown worlds to me. I’ve loved collecting books over the years, and looking back at my favourites reminds me if where I was at that point in my life, how I was feeling and what I was doing.
Having depression and anxiety means I often look for answers in the books I read. Recently I reflected on some of the books that helped me make sense of my own mental illness and it’s something that I think you might find helpful, so I’ve listed my top 3 books below.
Read the full article at Fiona Likes to Blog.
A consortium of anti-sexual violence groups led by Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) has asked the Commonwealth Club of California to cancel the appearance of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, scheduled for May 1. Mackey is set to appear at the Cubberley Theatre in Palo Alto, in conversation with Dr. Dean Ornish.
Read more on The Digital Journal.
Author Nikki DuBose of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light was recently interviewed on addiction and recovery. Here she offers a recap on everything from when her addiction began to how to help a loved one who may be suffering.
1. Can you pinpoint when your problems with addiction began?
I was wired for addiction – my mother had bipolar and dissociative identity disorder and her mother (she was adopted) died from cirrhosis of the liver as a result of alcoholism.
Read the full article on Addiction Hope.
“. . . Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me . . .”
I let the words sink in, and then I looked out my bedroom window that overlooked the water; for once, I took in the scenery not in fear, but in admiration of the sun as it descended below the horizon. The setting of the sun was a reminder of the magnificence of creation.
“If God made the sun, surely he made me. He must love me, too. I’m going to believe that no matter what, God is with me. When I’m afraid, God is right by my side. I might not see Him physically, but I can see him with my soul; simply because I believe that God is with me, He is,” I thought.
Today as I hiked with my blind and deaf Australian Shepherd and friends up and down rocky trails and around the azure waves of the Pacific, I was amazed at the beauty of God’s creation and the magnitude of his power.
Read the full article at Eating Disorder Hope.
You had a very rough start in life. Tell us about your childhood.
I grew up in a violent, dysfunctional family, however, hardly anyone knew that because I went to a private Christian school and we lived in a nice house. My parents divorced when I was two and my mom remarried to a much older man who kind of swept her off her feet.
Starting at four, I was subjected to physical abuse and then at 8, sexual abuse by a male figure. I developed binge eating disorder as a way to cope with the trauma, and later Body Dysmorphic Disoder and bulimia, which lasted for over fifteen years. My mom sexually abused me from the ages of 9 to 13 until the police removed me from my house. I suppressed those memories until my late twenties.
Read the full interview at Plaid for Women.
Former model turned author and activist Nikki DuBose, was in San Francisco to challenge Whole Foods Co-CEO John Mackey to stand up for child sexual abuse survivors and speak about her role in the Omnibus Child Victims Act in the state of New York.
Pick up Nikki’s book Washed Away: From Darkness to Light on Amazon.
Listen to the podcast with Nikki and Bill Murray here.
Tonight’s special guest is Nikki DuBose from Los Angeles, a returning NAASCA family member who was abused as a child and later as a young professional model. Nikki works closely with Matt Sandusky at the ‘Peaceful Hearts Foundation,’ and will tell us about her new book, ‘Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.’ In her memoir, Nikki details how being sexually abused as a child led to a seventeen-year battle with serious mental health issues such as eating disorders, depression, self-harm, substance abuse and sexual addictions. She experienced a great deal of success, yet that prosperity came with a high price that often mirrored the sexual abuse from her youth. Among other things, Nikki advocates on her web site for better regulation of the modeling industry. Coming to a place of full healing has not been easy for Nikki, but she says, “I wholeheartedly believe that full recovery is possible. It starts with speaking out and reducing the shame and stigma that is so often attached to mental health issues.” She goes on, “Being an advocate is what allows me to wake up every day and feel truly alive. All of that pain that I lived with for so many years is now channeled into making a difference in society. Whatever issues you’re passionate about, use your voice and the resources you have; love yourself first and from there you can help to change the world.” We’re delighted to have Nikki as a card-carrying member of the NAASCA family!
If you are looking for a story about a remarkable human being, with perseverance and resilience, who describes her horrifying and haunting life story with candor and courage, than I highly recommend Washed Away: From Darkness To Light, a memoir by Nikki DuBose with James Johanson. It is definitely not a light read – so be forewarned now. Washed Away is emotionally wrenching, compelling and brutally honest, truly providing insight into the mind of someone with mental illness and allowing the reader to understand her deepest and darkest thoughts.
Read the full review at Slay Girl Society.
The other day, while sitting and rehashing all of my thoughts over to my psychiatrist through the computer screen, I began to feel annoyed. There he was, blissfully writing away on his notepad, while I regurgitated the same, unhappy words. “What does he really think? And why does he find my pain so funny?” I thought. But then I stopped and started to listen to my words. And I realized something. As much as I had tried to fool myself into thinking that I was no longer a paranoid person, or unaffected by the thoughts and behaviors of others, I was completely and utterly wrong.
So I snapped out of my tunnel, looked him square in the eyes (which can be hard for me to do with him), and said, “Stop writing on your little notepad.” He stopped. I noticed that he was maintaining that smirk on his face. I continued. “No matter how much I talk to you, my paranoia still exists, and in fact, it seems to get worse. And…all you can do is smile. I feel crazy!”
Read more on PsychCentral.
Nikki DuBose is a former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate. She recently released her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. In Washed Away, Nikki recounts her experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues. She recently appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network on the TD Jakes Show to speak about her recovery from Body Dysmorphic Disorder and eating disorders, and how the pressure to “fit into” the modeling industry nearly killed her.
Keep reading to learn more about this incredibly strong and inspiring woman, Nikki!
Read the full interview on Miss Millennia Mag.
“Author, speaker, and mental health advocate, Nikki DuBose, epitomizes the word brave. She courageously talks about tough topics that others shy away from. I know, because I am one. For a long time, I wasn’t prepared to talk about my own trauma. (I didn’t even realize I had experienced trauma.) But, with the support of people like Nikki, I have opened up. Thanks, Nikki, for encouraging many of us to share our stories. With this post, I am thrilled to have had the chance to interview Nikki about the release of her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.”
Read the full interview on Jenni Schaefer.
Nikki DuBose joins us today on The SHAIR podcast. Nikki is a former model turned author, speaker and mental health advocate. Her debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, was released September 30, 2016. In Washed Away, Nikki recounts her experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues. She recently appeared in the Oprah Winfrey Network on the T.D Jakes show to speak about her recovery from body dysmorphic order and eating disorders and how the pressure to fit into the modeling industry nearly killed her.
Listen to the podcast.
In light of the latest presidential election, I think it’s great that the Western world has sort of woken up and decided to get more involved with advocacy work. After all, there is a positive side to every seemingly negative situation, not that I hate Trump, because I don’t. What I am saying is that, every time I go on social media, it seems that a vast majority of Americans, particularly liberal females and the men who support them, are constantly pushing forth issues they are passionate about, and how they can make significant changes for good.
I am all for being an advocate . Five years ago, I began to campaign for the rights of those in the eating disorder community, while I was still in the throes of my own eating disorder and learning how to recover from a range of mental illnesses. In fact, helping others and pushing for change in my community, teaming up with national associations and bring awareness to issues is one of the biggest reasons why I believe I got to a strong place of recovery. It’s also why I am now so heavily involved in helping to pass legislation and want to run for office one day.
Read more at Eating Disorder Hope.
Kimberley Quinlan, LMFT interviews Nikki DuBose on her recovery from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Binge-Eating Disorder and Bulimia Nervosa. Nikki DuBose is a former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate. Her debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, speaks about her experience with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Binge-Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, Schizophrenia and child abuse.
“That face. . .Look at it!” I didn’t question the voice. I leaned in until my eyes crossed and my nose touched the mirror. My glasses began to fog from my breath. The voice continued, and then another voice joined it: a giggly, female voice. “Four eyes! Loser. No one will ever love you. What an ugly thing you are. I can’t tell if you look like a girl or a boy. Get to work fatty! Change that face. Don’t stop moving until it’s done. You can win, you can be the winner!” — “Washed Away: From Darkness to Light”
In my newly released memoir, “Washed Away: From Darkness to Light,” I discuss many of the graphic events that led to my mental breakdown in childhood. I think that sharing our stories is critical because there are many hurting people in the world who will benefit from our experiences, and also the more we share, the more we continue to heal and grow.
Read more on The Mighty.
I could feel the sadness creeping up again, like an unwelcome relative looking over my shoulder and breathing down my neck. I didn’t want it to come, but it did, and I knew that I was helpless to stop it. And then it washed over me; it poured down like a river of madness, and bathed me in uncertainty. As the tears poured down my face and I crawled into bed, I wanted nothing other than to end my own life. Again. But I couldn’t move. I was drowning and stuck staring into nothingness, and the nothingness was ripping my heart apart. As much as I wanted to end my life, I had no energy to get up and do it.
Some time went by, and the energy slowly came back into my body. I muddled around and managed to answer work emails, walk my dog, feed myself and finish some schoolwork. As I drifted around the house and tried to connect with life again, my phone rang. It was a friend, calling to check up on me. My brain told me not to answer it, and I listened. Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, I told myself. Right now, right now I need rest.
Read more on Psych Central.
Nikki Dubose’s Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is a modern take on an old genre, namely the salvation narrative. It begins with a brief anecdote of the author at her worst, before providing a chronological memoir of Dubose’s life. Dubose’s early childhood was riddled with abuse and neglect. She is brutalized by her stepfather, sexually molested by a family friend, and forced to deal with her mother’s mental illness, which results in yet more abuse. Dubose internalizes this abuse, and the reader witnesses her become her own worst enemy, hounded by the voices in her head that tell her she is disgusting, ugly, fat, and worthless. These voices are only silenced by her compulsive behavior, which includes round after round of binging and purging. Despite all of this, Dubose manages to become a well-known model, which unfortunately only exacerbates her eating disorder and body dysmorphia. Dubose only truly begins to heal after her mother’s untimely, but not unexpected, death. The tragedy allows her to begin to forgive not only those who harmed her, but herself as well.
Read more on Red City Review.
Many years ago I opened up to one of my modeling agents in Miami about my chronic struggle with bulimia. At that point, I had been battling the illness for over fourteen years and I was terrified to lose another contract because of it.
After an unsuccessful stint at rehab, my former agent in New York realized that I just couldn’t make the cut with castings and jobs due to my eating disorder and other mental health issues, and sent me back to South Florida without a ticket back. Ultimately, my disorders prevented me from being able to focus at work, maintain a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.
It’s been one of my life’s missions to fight for the rights of children who have been sexually abused, because, after all, I was abused, too. But I remember recently telling a friend and fellow survivor of child sexual abuse, while getting ready to speak at a rally at the New York State Capitol on The Omnibus Child Victims Act, that sometimes, advocating for our rights in modern times feels like fighting for freedom from slavery. And not that I would ever understand what being an African-American slave feels like, but I do understand what it’s like to be physically tormented, beaten, and sexually abused. Not to mention the fact that fellow advocates, Senators and Assemblymembers have been fighting to eliminate the statue of limitations for child sexual abuse in New York for eleven years now. Repeating the same legislative process, year after year, is exhausting to those of us who grew up knowing nothing but humiliation and shame. Many times we feel as though we have to beg, cry, scream, and plead for our basic human rights – rights that were stolen from us as children. Thankfully, with the help of Governor Cuomo this year, I believe that things will be different. I want so badly to believe, and I will continue to fight for change.
Read more on PsychCentral.
We have a huge problem in this country when it comes to protecting children from sexual abuse, and that’s denial. As an Executive Board member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, a child sexual abuse nonprofit, one of the most common issues I come across when a survivor discloses their abuse is denial – from family members, teachers, friends – the list goes on. Myself, a survivor of incest from my late mother from the ages of 9 to 13, and a male figure at the age of 8, I know what it’s like to finally come to terms with the abuse and entrust others with the information, only to have them deny that it ever could have happened. The psychological effects were beyond damaging; I questioned my own sanity, the trauma, and attempted suicide. After all, if no one believed that such heinous acts had occurred, what reasons did I have to go on living? Child sexual abuse left me scarred with depression, psychosis, suicidal ideation and many other mental illnesses, and without proper support, it was only a matter of time before I permanently checked out.
Read more on PsychCentral.
Among the victims who attended the rally held outside the Senate chambers shortly before the start of the new legislative session was former model Nikki DuBose, who was sexually abused as a kid.
“New York needs this bill for one reason —to protect children from predators.The predators are the ones currently being protected by the law, not the children,” she said.
Read more at the New York Daily News.
ALBANY — Former model and sexual abuse victim Nikki DuBose is coming to the state Capitol Wednesday with a message for state lawmakers — children need to be protected.
DuBose is the featured speaker at a rally being planned by advocates for legislation that would change New York’s statute of limitations and make it easier for child sex abuse victims to obtain justice in state courts.
“We are talking about kids,” DuBose, 31, told The Daily News.
“Why is it OK for an innocent child to be sexually abused and to have his rights, his soul, his identity, his emotions his life taken away from that very moment and for him to not receive justice?” DuBose continued. “Why is that OK?”
Read more on New York Daily News.
ALBANY — Advocates for legislation to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek legal recourse as adults will mark the Wednesday start of a new legislative session with a rally near the state Senate chambers.
Gary Greenberg, a child sex abuse victim and upstate investor who created a political action committee to fight for the issue, said the rally will feature former model and sexual abuse victim Nikki DuBose and Senate bill sponsor Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan).
Read more on New York Daily News.
Today I’m announcing my first guest blogger, Nikki DuBose! Nikki is a friend, model, and actress turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate. Nikki and I have been working together recently with the common interests such as education about eating disorders, and have been teaming up to find ways to encourage girls in their desire to find acceptance in that the answer is only in Christ. You can find out more about Nikki at her website at http://nikkidubose.com.
I interviewed Nikki and asked her questions about her eating disorder in the modeling industry, and she was refreshingly open in her responses:
Read more on CheriseShaddix.com
We are Nikki DuBose and Cherise Shaddix, two former models working to be role models for the next generation.
And if there is one thing we know all too well, it’s the pressure to be perfect and climb the ladder of success in the fashion business at any cost.
(Nikki recently spoke out about the dark things she experienced in the fashion business in her new memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. Cherise left the industry after an agent said things like, “your pictures make me want to kill myself,” and “oh yeah…they kinda make me want to slit my wrists, too.”)
Read more on Feminine Collective.
Just stopping by today with an excerpt from the book, Washed Away. There is more information about the book and the author below the excerpt.
Chapter 5: Sex, Suicide, Addiction, Bullying & Divorce
Life is like a painting; our circumstances are the brushes that define which way the lines will flow and trickle. This endless mural reveals the contents of our souls through its unique colors, textures, and shades.
Read more on He Said Books Or Me.
“I really didn’t know what to expect when I started this book. The little bit I’d read and heard about it suggested it was a pretty dark memoir recounting a life of mental health issues and abuse. A few pages in, I realised the book was a lot heavier than I could have imagined.”
Read more on Banana Bloom.
I received the sweetest message from a girl I know in NYC. Amongst the hateful messages, she reached out in love, like so many of you. Thank you, everyone, for all of your support, I have so much to be grateful for this holiday season. Read on:
“Hey Nikki! I’m reaching out because I’m nearly finished with your memoir — I was going to wait to write to you until I finished it (I have less than 100 pages left), but then I saw your FB post this morning and felt the need to reach out now.
I almost don’t know what to say (without sounding trite) about my experience of reading your book. All I can say is that I’m blown away….I’ll probably finish it today, which means that I will have read it in about four days—and seeing as it usually takes me weeks or months to get through a book, that’s saying a lot! All of us here in the ED community know, on some level, that each one of us has gone through difficult things. We wouldn’t have eating disorders if that weren’t true (and an ED is itself difficult enough to go through). But I had no idea just how much pain you’ve walked through in your life. It breaks my heart to think of the depth of suffering you experienced as a child, as a teenager, as a young adult….it’s excruciatingly painful to experience sexual trauma OR mental illness OR an abusive modeling industry OR a parent’s addiction and death OR domestic violence and abuse OR divorce — to say nothing of experiencing *all* of those things. And what you said in your FB post is completely true—trauma changes your psyche and the way you behave. It’s cumulative, and also pervasive—it affects your entire worldview, how you think, what you do. (And btw, about your FB post, whoever said those things—f*ck them. Those sound like the comments of someone who has literally zero clue about any of these issues. I’m glad you have the strength and knowledge now to recognize the lies in what they say, but I still wish you didn’t have to be the recipient of such ignorance and callousness. Please know, at least, that the people who support and love you don’t think or believe those things for a second.)
I keep thinking back to our beautiful breakfast with Don last summer. I remember then being impressed and inspired by your quiet strength, your calm, your assurance that recovery is 100% possible. If only I knew then who I was sitting next to. You are the real deal, Nikki. You’ve traveled through the darkest circles of hell and come back to share your story of light. You are hope personified. I am grateful to be one of many beneficiaries of your wisdom.
Thank you for sharing your story with all of us, and with the world. I can only imagine how many people out there have a lighter burden now just by knowing that they aren’t alone in their personal hell. I hope it was healing for you to write it.
Most of all, thank you for being a light in the dark.”
“Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, a memoir written by Nikki Dubose with James Johanson, is a series of dark memories of her dysfunctional family life, and the misery caused by addictions and abuse. Nikki Dubose recounts the tragic story of her life, dealing with severe eating disorders and mental challenges. Her sad story reveals a less-than-glamorous look at the world of modelling. While she is not casting aspersions on the high class world of models, she does reveal how physical and mental issues can greatly affect the choices one makes. As family and friendships come and go, and people accept then reject her, she finally grasps an opportunity to turn from her ugly duckling persona in order to become a beautiful cleansed swan – metaphorically speaking.”
Read more on Reader’s Favorite.
Outskirts Press, the #1-rated self-publishing company according to Top Consumer Reviews, has announced the highest selling authors for October 2016.
With the help of Outskirts Press and the many options it offers to assist authors in the successful publishing and marketing of their books, these authors have sold almost 3,000 books in the month of October alone.
Read more on: itbusinessnet.com.
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl in Charleston with a big heart and a great lust for life. Although she held a fascination for the world, she was helpless to explore it. Braces covered her legs, and whenever she walked, she took stiff steps. Her adopted mother and father prayed every day for her limbs to move with grace, but the doctors gave no hope. They learned to accept the fate of their precious child, and they did their best to make her life comfortable.
When the rain came down, she listened in bed and delighted in the sounds. Shadows from the drizzling water reflected off her bedroom walls, causing her to drift into a fantasy universe. It was an enchanted place, filled with underwater fairies that guided her to faraway lands. In these lands, she was free to run through lush fields full of magical flowers.
She went to her special world as often as she could, and with every trip, she felt the strength returning to her body. Soon, she believed that she was invincible, just like every other girl and boy. But the strength lasted only in this place, and not in her waking life.
One day, as she relaxed in the grass and peered up at the powder blue sky, she noticed a dove as white as snow, soaring in-between the clouds. She watched in amazement as it glided through the atmosphere like an angel before descending and landing on her shoulder. Suddenly, she felt an overwhelming sense of joy and peace; this presence was familiar, and she recognized it as the spirit of Jesus. Her body softened, and she was infused with a new strength: a healing power full of grace and love.
Light shone into her eyes, and she inhaled and drifted into consciousness. The little girl returned to her waking life, but she did not feel Jesus leave her. She yawned and sat up on the bed, and as she turned her body, she noticed a peculiar sensation in her legs. Her eyes widened, and she threw off the covers and gazed down. She slid forward; one of her feet touched the cold wooden floor then the other. She allowed herself to continue rising while holding onto the bed and released to find herself standing without braces. She took a step, and another, and for the first time in her life, she walked by herself.
This little girl was my momma, Sandy.
– Washed Away: From Darkness to Light pg. 261
My momma, Sandy, was a fighter all of her life. She was born with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects a person’s body movement and muscle coordination. Currently, there is no cure for Cerebral Palsy, rather, it is a condition that an affected individual and family members learn how to manage. As a child, my mother walked with braces around her legs and tried to hide them underneath her long, cotton dresses. I don’t know if she felt sad or ashamed, but from the few pictures I saw of her during that time, she was always smiling and holding her fluffy, calico cat. I think that animals brought a lot of comfort for her, a way for her to cope with the mixed feelings she experienced from being adopted and having a physical disability.
Then one day, she had that dream; the dream of a dove that flew down from Heaven and sat on her shoulder. The next morning when she woke up, she walked for the very first time in her life without braces. The doctors were shocked; they had never seen such a thing before. Momma had experienced a miracle, but she would eventually lose her battle to her demons. The mental ones.
To be continued.
Hi everyone! Starting next week, I’ll pick a mental health topic that you decide on – anything from psychosis to dissociative identity disorder to addictions to what it was like to have mental illness in the modeling industry – things that I cover in my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, and I’ll discuss them with you. These videos are meant to be both educational and from the perspective of my own experiences. I’ll be answering any questions you may have, so please leave them in the comments on YouTube and be kind.
“Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder or have experienced binging, the following post could potentially be triggering. Please don’t hesitate to call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
Darkness descends upon the room, signaling my arrival. Behind the curtain, I can feel my breath, waiting for permission to exhale. My knees quiver with apprehension as whispers drone from the crowd outside. From my spot behind the platform, I notice the flares from cameras and spotlights, like shooting stars in a strange, forsaken sky. I can already feel the eyes of the people as they stare at the empty runway, waiting for their goddesses to strut. My throat clenches and my mind empties — anxiety has taken control. What will they think of me?”
Read more on The Mighty.