I was 9 years old when my 7-year-old sister was diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder. The diagnosis hit my family like a ton of bricks, and just like that, our lives were turned upside down. Struggling with depression, mania, tunnel vision, violent outbursts and self-harming thoughts, my little sister was facing a battle larger than life.
Even when I was a kid, the shelves in my room were always overflowing with books. I read everything from The Boxcar Children to The Babysitters’ Club, Tallahassee Higgins to Harriet the Spy. My parents raised me to be a voracious reader, and that’s never changed.
On Aug. 1, I elected to take a month off and forgo my duties as a Facebook entertainer. My main goals in doing so were to reset my mind, strengthen my active relationships and impact others by encouraging them to question how social media is affecting their lives.
I stared into the darkness all night, waiting in a rental car outside a sterile, almost vacant building. Slumped over, restless, I couldn’t even guess what time of night it was, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep.
I was standing outside Maimonides Cemetery in Elmont, New York saying a goodbye that was 10 years overdue.
By Ryan Buffa | firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve always wondered what was going through my mother’s mind that day. My biological father stepped into the cab headed for the airport, and it would be five years before she would see him again.