I Am More: Melissa

When you sit down with Melissa, your blood pressure immediately lowers. Her calming voice, curiosity and warmth draws you out, whether you’ve known her for years or for minutes. She has spent countless days caring for the elderly in their times of most need, caring for the diners she serves, the dogs she adores, her partner, and the friends who love her. Her recovery is private but not secretive; she will share her experiences to help others, which is why she agreed to participate in the project: Continue reading

I Am More: Dylan

I am more than my anxiety. I am happy.

13138799_1778089849088276_6963107956081059442_nAnxiety can be all-consuming and it is incredibly hard not to let it take over your life. Lots of the time it can be tough to convince yourself to leave the house, and to do simple tasks like going to work or speaking on the phone can be terrifying. My anxiety can range from just nervous energy to my body breaking out in hives and being unable to breathe or see. It used to take up a large portion of my life, but now with the help of therapists and medication, and learning to face my fears, it is only a small part of me. Continue reading

I Am More: Chris

At the end of the opening night of Dylan’s first show with Boston Children’s Theatre we loaded the giddy 14-year-old in the car, and as we were driving out of the parking lot she suddenly rolled down her window, thrust her face and hands out into the night air and yelled “Chris!!! WHOOOO!!!” I said, “Who’s Chris?!” and she replied, “Our music director.” That was my first indication of how beloved Chris was by his students and cast members. Continue reading

Recovery

Depression took a lot of things from me last year. Time, friendships, laughter, and my garden.

This is how my reasoning went last year: plants in nature don’t need care, so I’m going to let nature take care of my garden. Also: plans get blown off so I’m going to stop making plans. Holidays are temporary and hard work, so are they really necessary? Baggy jeans are good for every activity so why wear anything else; chocolate is full of antioxidants so no need for a vegetable. (I stand by that one)

At the time, I thought I was being easygoing and realistic, now I can see I was just sick. Continue reading

I Am More: Brenda

When the Odyssey first came to Gloucester and we were making frequent trips to Gloucester Marine Railways on Rocky Neck, we would walk to The Last Stop for lunch, and along the way we would pass a gallery called Imagine. In an art colony famous for marine paintings, Imagine was an oasis of color, and at the center of it all was our new friend, Brenda Malloy. You can see her mark all over Gloucester–candy-colored hearts on cars, mailboxes, refrigerators. Brenda is the personification of joy. That is why her story is so important: Continue reading

I Am More: Jim

We met Jim Casey when the RV Odyssey first arrived in Gloucester in 2005 for a refit at Gloucester Marine Railways. Jim worked on the boat, along with his late brother Pat. Since then, he’s been a regular fixture helping out at Ocean Alliance at the Paint Factory. All of the woodwork in the Ocean Alliance office was painstakingly refinished by Jim, and he’s always around to help with a shoreline cleanup or event. It was only when I came out with my own depression that he reached out to me about his.

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Be a Part of I Am More

I recently received the following message from a Facebook friend who had read my blog post about the launch of the I Am More project:

you know, just read your latest blog there. drawn in curious about the title, ‘i am more.’ i am more? what does she mean? the average american thing is ‘i want more.’ as i read it i felt my heart kinda soar a little, as if just thinking of the idea gave it wings, lifting it out of some dark dark place i’ve been finding myself stuck in a lot lately. i could boldly proclaim, i am SO much more than my pain! (insert list here!)

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I Am More Begins

A month ago I put forward the idea of an art project that would consume the year ahead of me called I Am More – a series of portraits of MA residents celebrating the gifts and contributions of those living with mental suffering. Instantly the doubts crept in. How would I find funding here on Cape Ann? How could I learn to take photos of people for my drawings? How could I throw an art show about such a sensitive subject without getting sucked into the darkness? Continue reading