We Can Choose How Our Stories Define Us

We Can Choose to Use Our Most Painful Experiences to Help Others

We all know a few people who cannot seem to get a break. These are the friends we have who were in tough childhood situations, moved from home to home, and had abusive teen and young adult years, and then seem to have tragedy after tragedy in their lives well into adulthood.


Some of them are angry and bitter, some are simply resigned to their fate, and then others become more and more resilient, making choices to grow and help others in a variety of ways.

That's Ashley Horner. She could easily have given up all of her power, her love, her compassion. As a matter of fact, she tried to when she was 25. As she woke in the hospital after a suicide attempt, her dad (she was finally adopted by a loving family), who was not a particularly affectionate person, but who demonstrated love in other ways, was there, patting her hand. The look on his face said it all: He was disappointed, hurt, heartbroken at Ashley's choice to leave him and this world.

It was his hand on hers that awakened her desire to live and thrive, and her motivation to make the changes necessary.

Years later, following more tragedy in her life, she decided to help others in a few different ways. First, she started a recruitment agencywith a focus on, and ambitious goal of helping veterans and members of the LGBTQ community. Next came Anchored Souls, to serve those who also suffered abuse and sexual assault, and then the recent creation of Anchored Kidz, an organization to help grandparents, extended family, and those children being raised by that family find resources and support as they navigate the sudden or unexpected custody of those children.

When we choose to use our most painful, damaging stories to motivate us to grow, thrive, and help others, we leave a legacy we can not possibly measure.

If you write on topics related to suicide, there are great resources available to make sure you are doing more good than harm. As a relatively uninformed professional on this topic, I use this website, ReportingSuicide.Org as a resource.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - Call 1–800–273–8255
Available 24 hours everyday.