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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

18 Seconds to Save a Life

Two years ago, when I was in the depth of depression, I couldn't imagine surviving until I was 18. That seemed impossible. Yet here I am today, 18 years old and glad to be alive. Impossible, yes, but true.

I want to ask you to help me celebrate my birthday in a very special way. Will you join my "18 Seconds to Save a Life" campaign?

If you have 18 seconds a day to spare for 18 days, then this is for you. All I ask is that you take 18 seconds each day from October 1st (my birthday) to October 18th (the feast of St. Luke, my namesake) and do one--just one each day--of the following:

1. Pray for someone—by name, if you can—who is depressed or suicidal, even if it's yourself.
2. Greet someone who seems lonely or out of place around others.
3. Share my campaign through social media, email, or in person. You can use the image above to link to this post.

It really takes only 18 seconds. These videos prove it:

I'm also asking you to change your banner on your social media to spread this campaign and explode the stigma of depression: 

My goal is to reach 1,000 shares to know that we're touching lives and saving teens (and maybe not-teens, too). Your network is powerful, so use it for something good. Very good.

I'd love to hear how you spend your 18 seconds each day by leaving a comment here, on Facebook, or Google+. And add the hashtag #my18seconds so others can see how many people are sharing!

I want every teen to celebrate their 18th birthday . . . and more.

Monday, September 29, 2014

I'm Waking Up at 4:00 a.m. on My Birthday

Yep, you read that right. Actually, I might not even need to wake up--maybe I'll just stay awake. 

But the reason for that seemingly crazy choice is that I'm formally announcing my "18 Seconds to Save a Life" campaign on the Son Rise Morning Show this Wednesday, October 1. Since it airs from Ohio, and I'm in California, well, need I say more? Do the math. It's not pretty, but I'm more than happy to do it.

I was on the show last January, and I'm so excited to be a guest again! I hope all of you can catch it--just click on the link above or find it on your local Catholic radio station broadcast schedule. I should be on at 7:20 a.m. EST (live) and 9:20 a.m. PST (the way the timing works is super confusing, as I learned the last time I was on the show and my segment didn't air in my area that day).

I would have never guessed that God wanted me to wake up so early on my 18th birthday, but as you know, that's just one of the few ways His plan has surprised me in the last couple of years. 

Almost there!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

From Another: The Stumble

I've had depression since I was 8. I grew up in both a toxic but also wonderful household. I battled biological depression, as well as numerous environmental factors that affected my depression. After living through several traumatic events, I have started a blog about my most recent loss, the death of my father, and my most recent positive step, TMS treatments. 

I have been through several types of treatments, including therapy, medications and hospitalization; all of which helped me in different ways. 


You can read more about Libby's story on her blog, The Stumble: living with depression.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

4th Time's the Charm

I had a blast on the Setting Things Right radio show today! It was my fourth time, and I enjoyed it so much. The hosts have such a dedication to breaking the stigma of mental illness and making real changes throughout the diocese, so people who need help can find it at church. It's always a positive and fun experience for me. I hope they ask me to be on again soon.

In case you missed it, here's the archive, or you could listen to the replay on AM 10000 at 9:00 p.m. tonight.

I joined the three amazing hosts of the Setting Things Right radio show.
From left: Linda Arreola, Kent Peters, Deacon Jim Walsh, and yours truly.

Trying to get the head phones just right. And, remember . . . don't breathe too loud.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Two Weeks to Go!

Get ready!

In two weeks, you'll find out what all the excitement is about. Yes, it will be my 18th birthday. And that's pretty exciting. But there's more. Oh, so much more . . . so stay tuned.

If you absolutely can't wait, you can get the scoop early by listening to "Setting Things Right" next Wednesday, September 27, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

One Day, Two Events, Three Talks

I don't think I'll do that again. And although is was a hectic and tiring day, I was able to meet so many people who shared their stories of depression and suicide with me. Now that Suicide Prevention Week is over, I'm gonna step back and take a breather.


The Benedictus breakfast was packed, and the audience was great! I really bonded with the men during those couple of hours.

At the Church Ministers Conference, it was standing room only for both talks! The audiences consisted of some teens, but most of the people were seeking advice on what to do when church or community members ask them for help. I also learned the sad news that a student of the high school where the event was held had died by suicide last week, and one of his teachers was in the audience.

verall, I enjoyed my time with attendees and felt that I reached those who were meant to hear my message! (And thanks to my mom who stood at my booth while I was at the breakfast, and my dad who drove to all these places).

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Body

You might have noticed that a whole lot of people in our society today are obsessed with being super healthy. That's good. I applaud that. And, I have a confession: I'm one of those people.

Immediately after the crash, my parents spent their energy making sure I was safe. Then after a little while, they turned more attention to my recovery. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and was placed on medication, but my parents knew that wasn't enough. They knew I couldn't just pop a pill and recover.

So good. Oh, so good.
My mom has always tried to have us eat healthy, and fast food and junk food started making me sick, so we ate even healthier than before, but something was still bothering me.

Through trial and error, we found I had a slight intolerance to gluten. I mean, imagine being sensitive to wheat when that was almost all I ate. That certainly didn't help me during my four years of depression.

We did, and still do, the best we can about the whole bread thing, but it doesn't always work out. I do my best given my active life. (And if you doubt what you eat can affect your mental health, check out this article on the gut-brain connection--there's plenty more out there, too).

But my parents realized that taking care of my body isn't just about eating right--it's getting exercise as well. I know almost every kid on the face of the earth has been told at least once to go outside and play. "It's good for you," our parents say. What most people don't know, however, is that the chemicals in your body interact with your mind when you exercise. It physically makes you feel better, and it's proven to help with depression

My parents made it a rule for me to go outside and do some kind of exercise every day during my treatment. I played soccer or foursquare with my siblings, we rode our bikes, and I always participated in pick-up sports at different gatherings.

That helped me a lot, but I received one of the most helpful pieces of advice from a dear friend of the family. He recommended going to bed at 10:30 every night, and waking up at 7:30 every morning.

I think I was frozen in shock. You want me to do what?

I didn't want to do it, but I tried it out. And now, if I'm off the sleep schedule, it throws my entire day out of whack. And later, when I was preparing my talk, I did my research to make sure it's not just me. I found it is proven scientifically that good sleep habits can help with depression.

I wanted to feel better, so I followed the advice that made sense. And look what happened--my healing progressed in an upward pattern. Don't discount the little actions you can take to attain recovery. They add up. 

I'm still healing . . . one rice noodle at a time.