Charlene McElhinney’s Book Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light by Nikki Dubose

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.

Walk in my shoes, hear my story.

 

Dear Friends,

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.

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.

Who would like to donate their shoes, their children’s shoes, their husband’s shoes, their friend’s? 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.

You can contact nikki@nikkidubose.com and ggreenberg21@aol.com for more info.

Please send shoes to:

Kathie Alvaro
2568 Western Ave.
Apt 5-7
Altamont, N.Y. 12009

THANK YOU for joining us in the pledge to end child sexual abuse!!

 

Sincerely,

Peaceful Hearts Foundation, Nikki DuBose, Gary Greenberg and Lauren’s Kids

 

 

Facebook Live Chat with Suzy Favor Hamilton and Nikki DuBose: Women and Mental Health in 2017

Fiona Likes to Blog: 3 mental health books you MUST read today

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.

PsychCentral: With Child Sexual Abuse, Awareness is Critical, but Prevention is Key

My parents trusted Robbie since he played Mr. Fix-it, but Uncle Robbie played other games—secret games that only he and I knew about. Whenever he fixed something in my house, and no one was around, he asked me to play. At first, I agreed, but soon I discovered that these were not fun games, they were painful. These were games I never won.

Read the full article on PsychCentral.

Times Union: Sour, sweet opening addresses for session

Model, and actress turned author Nikki DuBose urges passage of the Child Victims Act outside the Senate Parlor as the 2017 session of the NYS Legislature begins Wednesday Jan. 4, 2017 in Albany, NY. Read more at Times Union.

Reflecting on my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light to College Students

Nikki DuBose reflects on her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, to college students from nikki dubose on Vimeo.

Get Busy Thriving! Podcast: Interview with Fashion Model with Nikki DuBose

“I’ve been reading the recently released memoir of Nikki Dubose called Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.

I sense so much hope from this woman and her life’s message. To read about what she’s been through and how she is starting to rebuild a happy life for herself is inspiring.

Nikki was a fashion model who landed the cover of coveted magazines such as Maxim and Vogue in the peak of her career. While from the outside her photos portray a woman living the life many people dream of, beneath the surface she was dealing with severe depression, sexual abuse, anorexia, alcohol and drug abuse and much more.”

Read more and listen to the podcast on Getbusythriving.com.

Huffington Post: Denial, More Than Anything, Is Hindering Progress For Victims Of Child Sexual Abuse

If money is one hell of a drug, then denial is one of the biggest drug dealers in the world. And no group understands that truth better than survivors of child sexual abuse. While survivors, advocates and some lawmakers have fought hard to bring justice, there’s been little progress made; if anything, we’ve been forced to take giant steps backwards. And by forced, I’m referring to the tremendous power of, more than anything, denial.

Read my latest blog post on The Huffington Post.

Support the PAC Fighting for Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused

Donate to the PAC

Please donate to the PAC (Political Action Committee), so that corrupt lawmakers who helped kill the Child Victims Act in New York can be removed from office. All of the money from the PAC, started by Gary Greenberg, will be used to support candidates who support survivors of CSA and the Child Victims Act in New York.

VLOG: What Advice Would I Give to My Younger Self?

Thank you Jenni Schaefer, Eating Recovery Center, and Project Heal, for allowing me to be a part of this inspiring recovery series!

VLOG Episode 4: Eating Disorders & Sexual Abuse in the Modeling Industry

Huffington Post – I was Raped by a Photographer. Here’s Why You Should Care.

Trigger warning.

Models. Rape. Eating disorders. Sexual abuse. Mental health.

While all of the above are quick to grab attention, they are also quick to receive criticism because most people do not understand them. In my episode of Real Women Real Stories, and my upcoming memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, I talk about all of the above, because I was a successful model who experienced all of the dark issues you can imagine.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

In Memory of Ryan

You know, we were kids. He was older, and hiding my Barbies was his thing. Just like most cousins, he liked to tease; it was his way of showing affection. Of course I cried a lot – I loved my dolls more than anything. But as I grew, I wanted to spend more time with him and his brothers, and less time with my dolls.

Then came the times he spent showing me how he could play the guitar, and I was impressed. This kid was good. Like radio good. I spent hours at his feet, cuddling my knees and bobbing my head, as he ripped away tunes, sweating over sheets of music. Of course the teasing always came back. At Halloween he locked me in a dark room and blasted loud tapes of spooky noises. I cried. He laughed.

I didn’t see Ryan for years, but I always thought about him. As life took us in different directions, he and his brothers were constantly in my heart. I struggled with my own issues – depression, eating disorders, addiction, the after-effects of abuse. I was trying to keep my head afloat in a dark ocean of confusion; I wanted to visit my family, but I felt detached from the world. I could no longer identify with the little girl who once played freely and enjoyed life for what it had to offer. I was simply someone else…an identity I had created to cope with life. Often, I contemplated destroying that identity altogether. I wanted to die.

Then came the day – it started out like every other day. Except on this day, I learned that Ryan was gone. He had taken his own life. The memories we shared, were all I had to hold onto. We could never create new ones.

I wish he could have known that, whatever pain he was going through were only temporary. I wish he could have known that he could have reached out…to anyone. I wish that as kids, I could have told him anything, just one thing, that could have made a difference. But I can’t go back and change that. I can, however, help someone else, in honor of him.

I changed my life in honor of my mother, who died in 2012. More importantly, I did it for myself. We can all do it, in memory of someone we love, in honor of ourselves.

If you or someone you love needs to talk, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As well, you can visit their website to find out more about suicide prevention and ways you can help in your area.

God Bless,
Nikki

Now and Always, I Choose Life

Every thirteen minutes another person makes the horrifying decision to end their life in the United States.(1) That’s one too many; imagine how many precious lives could be saved if they could see themselves through the eyes of the people who love and care for them.

Suicide is something I am all too familiar with. In honor of Suicide Prevention Week, I would like to share a bit of my story.

I am now thirty years old; thankfully I am able to see life on the other side of that seemingly endless tunnel of despair. But life wasn’t always like this, no, in fact, for most of it, I struggled with the after-effects of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, a seventeen year eating disorder, alcoholism, depression and stints of heavy drug use. On the outside, I seemed like I had everything together, but on the inside and to a close few who really got to know me, I was desperate to die.

Thoughts of death began to creep in around my early teens, when my mother attempted suicide twice. When other kids my age were just beginning to blossom at school and make friends, I was living in a nightmare, visiting Mom at the mental ward. Visions of her bandaged arms haunted me for most of my adult life, although they were detached somehow; I buried them in a deep place. After all, mothers weren’t supposed to be the ones who needed care.

I internalized the clouded feelings. If Mom wanted to die…I wanted to, too. What was my identity? How was it being formed? My mental state deteriorated at a time when it should have been growing. I was angry and began to dabble in my own forms of self-harm and ultimately, turned towards sharp objects for relief. I needed something to release the intense misery that I felt inside.

At eighteen I was married, although it was brief. I was looking to get away from my family, and move as far away from home as I possibly could. I looked for anyone and anything to cure the loneliness and painful memories that kept resurfacing from my childhood. My eating disorder was worse than ever; I binged and purged multiple times a day. When that couldn’t numb me anymore, I reached for a full bottle of ephedrine and swallowed it whole. The world became dark and I collapsed. Thankfully, my husband at the time came home and found me, my sweaty body convulsing on the floor. I was angry. “How could he do this to me?” I thought. “How could he let me live?”

I continued to struggle with thoughts of suicide, especially when I was recovering from anorexia. Many people are not aware how many deaths are due to suicide from those suffering from eating disorders, but I teetered on the brink for far too long.(2) I was blinded as to my worth; years of trauma had led me to believe that I was not good enough. Throughout years of recovery, however, I am grateful to say that not only am I alive and thriving, but I am able to help others see their value as well. Our darkest times truly can serve as our most valuable lessons.

My mom was not so lucky. Only a couple of months before her death she was in rehab, trying to get her life together. However, she kept talking about how she wanted to die. And she did…she created that life. It was the hardest reality for me to face. My life will turn into the way I want it to. I choose life, today and always. What do you choose?

If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, please call 1.800.273.8255  Just talk, to anyone. Whether you know it or not, there are so many people who love you.

Visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to learn more about suicide and ways to get involved in your area

To learn more about eating disorders, check out the National Eating Disorders Association.