The Why & The Yellow Brick Road
Updated: Apr 14
Cowardly Lion: All right, I'll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch, guards or no guards, I'll tear them apart. I may not come out alive, but I'm going in there. There's only one thing I want you fellows to do.
Tin Man and Scarecrow: What's that?
Cowardly Lion: Talk me out of it!
Like the cowardly lion in pursuit of courage, I’ve been talking myself out of this for a solid two years. By “this” I mean sharing my story. Sure, I’ve been writing for the past couple of years, but without expectation of having someone actually read the stories. Over the last couple of years, the excuses mounted and “life” got in the way.
Until, I recently stumbled across the story of Alexis Joy D’Achille. In a video of her husband Steven D’Achille and their adorable daughter, Steven explained how they desperately sought help for Alexis shortly after bringing their baby girl into the world. Something was “off” and they visited seven different hospitals and facilities in two weeks and none could help her.
In the middle of the night, Alexis told Steven she loved him and then ended her suffering. The little girl lost her momma and a husband lost a piece of his soul.
Steven picked up the broken pieces of his heart and built a legacy for Alexis. He founded the Alexis Joy D’Achille Center for Perinatal Mental Health in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s a one of a kind facility that provides treatment while keeping the mother and baby together.
Alexis suffered from a rapid onset of postpartum depression. Steven took unspeakable loss and turned it into a lifeline for other women and their loved ones.
Although my struggle didn’t happen until two months postpartum – like Alexis I suffered from a rapid onset of mental illness that manifested into psychosis. It’s rare.
But – I survived.
Their story gave me courage; inspiring me to tell my story. Victory didn’t come overnight. It was a long road to recovery. Something I’ll tell you about one piece at a time.
Like, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I got whipped around in a storm, bumped my head and found myself somewhere far away from home. Although frightening at first, I made some friends, went on a journey of healing and walked away with wisdom, heart and courage. I collected some new scars, but also a change of heart.
The Good Witch of the South (I love that she’s a Southerner by the way!) had to remind Dorothy that she’s always had the power to go home. Dorothy couldn’t just be told she had this power: she had to learn her heart’s desire for herself.
A Wizard didn’t heal me and I didn’t have any ruby slippers to click together. I found God and he saved my soul filling it with wisdom, heart and courage. He reminded me that the power of Christ lives within. He taught me how to face my fears. And then he made my cup overflow with joy once more!
Truth be told, I hated the Wizard of Oz. The witches, the music and don’t get me started with the flying monkeys. I hated it more when I had to play the part of a munchkin in a dance recital. Yep, at six feet two, I had to skip and jump around to “The Lollipop Guild” in front of hundreds of people. I was written into the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest munchkin alive.
Somehow I found the courage to stand in the spot light and play the part of a character I was not cut out for. If I did that as an awkward teenager, I figured I can find the courage to give God the spot light and tell you the story of my yellow brick road -- the one I call the road to sold.
Like the cowardly lion, I’m going to find my ROAR -- one step at a time.
So here it goes.
This is my story.
It’s not intended just for those suffering from postpartum mental illness – but all who are suffering.
To the one who feels lost
The one unnoticed
The one who is afraid
To the ashamed
To those who are resentful and hurting
To the outsiders
To the one who wants real instead of religion
To the curious
The one who wants a good laugh
To the one who wants to feel more normal about yourself – which trust me some of my stories will do that for you:
I’m going to tell you a story that doesn’t have an ending yet, but leaning on God’s promises – it’s going to come to a glorious one! One where we drive fast and free on the Highway to Holiness (Isaiah 35).
Someone who is not cut out to play this part.