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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The i'Mpossible Project …According to Chelsea Kowal (39)

This is the thirty-ninth edition of The i’Mpossible Project: A series where anyone can share a personal story of inspiration or an event in life where they overcame tremendous odds. Everyone has a powerful story to tell and something to teach the world. (See HERE for guidelines on how you can write for The i’Mpossible Project.) Here we have Chelsea Kowal with "Finding My Voice With the Help of a Pencil."

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I just woke up from what might have been the most scary, unbelievably weird, yet most interesting dream I have ever had. The incredible thing is that I remember most of it and even learned from it. 
My friend, her daughter, and I were in a city and I brought her daughter to another town to spend some time at a lake. We were out in the water and then looked back at the city and there were tornados swirling around.
To me, tornados are the epitome of losing control. At any moment, a tornado can make a sharp turn. For many years as a child, I lost control. I was abused by various family members. I never knew when the next “attack” would come. I lost further control of my surroundings as I watched everyone in my family deal with drug and alcohol abuse. I lost even further control earlier this year as I dealt with psychotic episodes due to schizoaffective disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sometimes life can take inevitable twists and turns—a loss of a job,  divorce, death in the family.
In my dream, my friend’s daughter said she was scared. I had to admit I was scared as well but I told her, “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you.” And I did. I got her to a safe spot.
The significance of this is that lately, I’ve been taking back control in my own life. Though we may not always be in control of our surroundings or the things that we deal with, we can take back control by the way we react to the situation. And that is empowering—truly. We will always undergo things in this life that are out of control … but we can choose how we react.
The second thing that I learned from my dream was that how we react to different situations not only affects us but also the people around us. In my dream, I had to be calm for my friend’s daughter. I had to tell her that everything was going to be okay. There are so many things that we have to deal with in life that are difficult and sometimes terrifying. But we have the power to take control and in so doing we can help others along the way.
Everything that we are experiencing is not just about us. It’s also about the other people who are with us on the journey. We have a great opportunity to make a difference in the world just by enduring, overcoming, and moving forward despite the challenges.
The last thing that I’ve realized from braving current and past struggles is that we each have a voice. Allowing that voice to talk is not just important for us, but we can make a difference in other peoples’ lives by speaking out about how we’ve gotten through our trials and tribulations. I recently started a blog and it has been so empowering to have a voice—to talk about the difficult stuff and to let myself be heard.
For so many years, I felt voiceless. I felt like I wasn’t being heard. I was ashamed of my mental illnesses. But since writing about my struggles, I realized how freeing it is to raise awareness and to help others to understand mental illness through my own frame of reference.
No matter what you’re going through, you can be heard.
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Chelsea Kowal holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering and is currently in school to receive her Masters. In her free time, she likes to write, read, take walks and listen to music. She also enjoys raising awareness about mental illness through her blog, Hope Rising (www.hoperisesafterthestorm.com).
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Why is this "The i’Mpossible Project?" 
Inspired by Josh Rivedal's book and one-man show The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah. Gospel (non-religious) means "Good News" and Josh's good news is that he's alive, and thriving, able to tell his story and help other people.

On his international tour with his one-man show, he found incredible people who felt voiceless or worthless yet who were outstanding people with important personal stories waiting to be told. These personal stories changed his life and the life of the storyteller for the better. 


Josh's one-man show continues through 2015 and beyond and he is looking for people in all walks of life, online and offline, to help give them a voice and share their stories with the world.