"If you do not take the antibiotics, you will die," the doctor proclaimed from the foot of my hospital bed. [spacer height="10px"] A lineup of physicians—a urologist, an internist, a cardiologist, and a neurologist—and countless nurses were parading in and out of my hospital room over a 10-day period. I had CT scans, a spinal tap, an MRI, and a visit from the rapid response team. I had IVs in my arms and was practically buckled to...

In August 2008, 9 months after my sister killed herself, I walked into a tiny home in Huntington Woods, Michigan with a bag of clothes, my computer, my handmade journal, and my cat Koh in hand.Linda's home, what we called "The Yellow House", was a 30-minute drive from my parents'.  Just far enough away to feel like I could catch my breath and hide for the time being. Linda was like a second mother to...

I understand why The Glass Castle was so vital to Jeannette Walls’ childhood psyche, because my three older sisters and I had our own version of it—The Gunni Cabin.For Jeanette and her siblings, it symbolized survival and promise.For us, it represented a return to innocence.My eldest sister, Miya, was the innovator. She envisioned an enormous home built out of wood and stone in Gunnison, Colorado, where she lived. With a well-equipped kitchen, cozy living room,...

Sometimes, when I think about my sister and cry, I'm not crying for her, but instead for my 21-year-old self who didn't yet know how drastically her life would change. Who, months from then, would, without choice, be forced into a world into which no one wants to be forced. She was a young woman who had plans and dreams, and though uncertain and fearful about life and the future like many her age, she didn't...

It's true. Living joyfully is all I want.I've had enough of the rest. All the sadness and anger and despair. I want it to never appear again. I want my joy to fill every cell and pour over, like the ocean waves breaking in front of me.I say to any person I meet: Feeling and expressing emotion is healthy and wonderful. When we aren't able to identify how and why we feel a certain way and then...

Hospitals don't scare me.I feel calm when I walk through the sliding doors. As if nothing physically bad can happen, because its walls and staff surround me like a bubble. Emotionally though, I'm as vulnerable as a cancer patient's immunity is weak.Despite my positive association, the majority of hospital visits have been traumatic, including saying goodbye to my mom's best friend before she died from cancer, my 10-day stay due to an almost deadly kidney infection and...