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Real Life Stories

The Story Of How I Almost Lost My Sister To A Mental Health Disorder


The first time that Jenny, my younger sister, watched young gymnasts perform at my elementary school, she was only three years old. According to my parents, it was the only time my sister remained seated for an hour ever since she learned how to walk. She could not take her eyes off the kids who were twirling and tumbling and doing splits on the mat while dancing to the upbeat song on the background.

After that performance, we thought that Jenny would forget about it at once and show her curiosity in other things. However, while the entire family watched the gymnastics competition in the Olympics via satellite, she started trying to copy the gymnasts, from their elegant stance to their basic routines. When Jenny was not rolling and tumbling in our living room, she would be sitting in front of the TV, obviously amazed by the athletes from different countries.


Since my parents noticed Jenny’s interest in gymnastics, they asked the gymnastics teacher at the local center if they would allow her to sit in the class. I remembered picking her up from class with Mom once and seeing that she was the youngest and smallest student there. To everyone’s surprise, though, Jenny was a natural gymnast. She did everything that she saw the older kids doing; there was no sign of shyness from her at all. After the first recital, we heard Jenny say, “I will be a professional gymnast when I grow up.”

A Rising Gymnast 

One year later, Jenny has officially enrolled in the gymnastics class. Mind you; she was four years old at the time. The teacher typically allowed seven-year-olds to register, but she exempted my sister from the rule because of her evident talent.


Three times a week, Jenny would go to the gym to walk and jump on beams and learn how to do front and backflips properly. It did not seem like those activities were challenging when she was doing them because she was always smiling. But we had seen other kids fall and struggle to improve their gymnastic skills, so it became apparent that my little sister might genuinely be meant to grow up as a gymnast.

This routine of driving Jenny to gymnastics class a few times a week went on for another year. We thought she would get bored with the activity after a year, but she showed no sign of that. If anything, my sister became eager to learn more moves and do competitive gymnastics soon. In truth, she already entered the Junior Olympics program and passed the first and second levels immediately. For Level 3, she had to wait until her sixth birthday to pass because that’s the minimum age requirement.

Jenny’s chance to compete finally came when she turned seven years old. There was a tournament in another city, and her gym wanted to send representatives to it. Since everyone was aware of my sister’s skills, she automatically got selected to compete against other Level 5 gymnasts. It became clearer that it was the right choice when she took home the gold after the competition.


The Fall Of The Gymnast

My sister did not stop competing since then. She worked hard to pass all the junior levels until a national coach scouted her and asked my parents if they would allow Jenny to train as a competitive gymnast for the Olympics. Of course, that was the goal, so Jenny left her little gym and began training with other professional athletes for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Since one had to qualify for the Olympics, Jenny joined various gymnastics competitions throughout 2015. The training was brutal for an 18-year-old’s body, but she never complained. On top of that, she had to do homeschooling so that she would still graduate high school with the rest of her batch. My sister often said, “I don’t care how much I suffer from perfecting my moves. This is what I was meant to do in my life. I want to continue competing for as long as I can.” So, we continued to support her dreams.

Unfortunately, Jenny got into a freaky car accident with her friends. Their vehicle toppled over, and it was lucky that none of them died, but Jenny had to get metal pins to put her broken legs back together. Since a gymnast had to have strong legs and arms to do everything, her professional career came to an end before the Olympics.


How I Almost Lost My Sister To A Mental Health

Jenny did not seem like the little sister that I used to have for months. After the accident, she became moody and unhappy; she even yelled at my parents for the first time when they tried to coax her to eat. Then, at night, we would hear her crying, most likely grieving over the loss of her dreams.

Our fears turned into reality when Mom found my sister passed out in bed with an empty bottle of sleeping pills in her hand. We rushed her to the hospital, and the doctors luckily managed to pump the drugs out of her stomach. When Jenny woke up the next day, we were all crying hard, and she was saying sorry for trying to take her life. It turned out that she was so depressed for months, but she wanted to get help and get her life back on track after what happened.

If you suspect that a loved one has a mental health disorder, don’t wait for something grave to occur before you confront them about it.


Therapist Recommends Cooking As A Form Of Therapy – What Should I Do?


I thought of seeing a therapist after a psychologist diagnosed that I had mild depression. Taking antidepressants was out of the equation since I refused even to take medicine to treat flu or fever. I wanted an organic way to handle my issues – something that I could try, especially when dark thoughts would creep in my mind.

A friend recommended her therapist to me, whom she said is not like anyone I have encountered in the past. Of course, upon hearing that, I doubted the professional’s ability for a second. At the time, I was still carrying the notion that therapists would talk to me one-on-one, ask me to talk about my issues, and help me cope with them. I thought, “If that person was unlike the others, then what could I gain from him?”

Armed only with my faith in my friend’s words, I went to set up an appointment with the recommended therapist. The woman I met looked like she’s in her 50s. Her office has a relaxed atmosphere; everything was in white and mocha with pops of color here and there.

Being offered the choice to sit on the couch or the chair in front of her desk was already a massive plus for me. I thought, “Hmm, she’s nice.” We exchanged pleasantries, and she allowed me to talk about what I wanted to talk about. Then, the first words that came out of her mouth afterward were, “Is there any activity that you hate doing because you find it tedious?”

I didn’t know where the conversation was headed, but I replied, “Yes. Cooking.”

The therapist said, “Before I help you understand other coping mechanism techniques, I would love for you to start cooking first. Sometimes, it helps to make ourselves do things that we’re not used to. It can be a simple form of therapy.”


Should I Cook Or Not?

I left the therapist’s clinic with that question in mind. I still stand by my initial opinion of it as a troublesome activity. I love to eat, but I don’t like cooking my food. My reason is that I can always buy ready-made stuff or order something from my favorite restaurant.

Nevertheless, since it was a mental health professional’s suggestion, I gave cooking a shot. I found a simple pasta recipe online that merely asked for a few ingredients that I already had at home. It tasted bland, but the experience wasn’t too bad. I tried making an omelet for my man the next day, and he praised me for it. It made me happy.

The more I cooked, the more I managed to let go of my issues. When I went back to the therapist, she asked, “How are you?” I smiled and talked about how my life has changed since I started cooking. We still went through several sessions after that, but I knew that it would not have been possible if I didn’t listen to the therapist’s first recommendation.

Bonus: Top 3 Cookware For Cooking Newbies

Finding the best cookware for beginners has not been easy. I have always been aware that there are different pots and pans for every dish, but I have had no clue as to what to get for myself. In case you are in the same boat as I was, here are some tips for you.



Skillets are lifesavers when you wish to fry omelet or meat without the extra oil that some cooking products require. My brand of choice for this is Cuisinart because most of their pans are non-stick and therefore let me eat healthily. The one I currently use is the 12-inch Open Skillet with Helper Handle. It is a real keeper because it is made from scratch-proof and durable ceramic that is easy to clean and free from harmful chemicals.


I am a sucker for stews and casseroles, that’s why I need items like the aluminum saucepans from Calphalon Contemporary in which food will not get stuck on the sides or at the bottom. The cost of the ingredients in any recipe often inflate, and so it will be an absolute waste of money if you can eat a portion of what you have initially put in the cookware.

Dutch Oven

The Lodge L8DD3 Double Dutch Oven brings a lot of convenience to me every single time that my entire family comes over, and I have to cook for no less than 15 adults. Its size is incredible as this can hold a large ham or turkey. Since the cast-iron allows heat to be distributed evenly, anything I prepare with this over a campfire, a stovetop or an oven is cooked so well.

Final Thoughts

Cooking, in my opinion, is a valid form of therapy that not everyone talks about. You should try if you still haven’t. Cheers!

Family-Centered And Child-Inclusive Divorce


Kim Bowen, LPC says “Marriage is risky business. Divorce is a real threat to EVERYONE who says “I do.”

A broken family is one of the primary reasons that could impact a child’s development as they grow older. We can only count on two results, negative and positive but never the neutral. For some, the separation of their parents might be one of the driving factors to become a better person and learn from their mistakes. But on the other side of the fence, the effect is too devastating and unbearable. We can never empathize with these situations unless you are a product of such circumstances; however, there are professionals out there who specialize in these cases (for therapy) and could help both of the parties involved in the divorce process which mainly includes the child. Pat Skinner, LPC says “When a biological parent finds a new partner, the children are often expected to show love and respect for that new partner right away”

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A Quick Guide To Mindfulness 

If there is one essential thing that you must prioritize in this life, it is achieving complete mindfulness. You need to be able to learn how to become mindful of everything in your life. Learn how to live in the present so that you will have a better future. Take note that for every action, there is always a corresponding consequence. According to Brittany Gilchrist, MA, LPC, CEDS, “Learn to utilize your senses to connect with the present moment. Connecting more fully with the senses is a way to become grounded to the present moment.”

Mindfulness includes knowing and identifying your responsibilities in every aspect of your life. Be sure to check and read the rest of the article if you want to find some tips on how you can get started with mindfulness:



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