Archive for the 'Thankful' Category

Exciting News!

The Ah Project is among twenty-seven projects that received a Sappi: Ideas That Matter grant! We are partnering with The Jed Foundation to launch the full website and to supply resources to college and university students who may have a loved one or friend with a mental illness.

I would like to say a personal thank you to every person who has contributed their personal stories, their opinions, and their encouragement over the past year — this wouldn’t have been possible without you. When I began the project, I was unaware of how many people were affected by mental illness in their family, and I’ve since been humbled by the number of people that have approached me to tell me their own personal stories. At times The Ah Project was a daunting undertaking for me, but through these words of encouragement and appreciation, I chugged along. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

For the time being, we will still maintain the blog format for the website until we have our full launch. Stay tuned for details!

If you would like to contribute your own personal story, music, video, or drawing to The Ah Project, send an email to:

A hand moves, and the fires’s whirling takes different shapes.
…all things change when we do.
The first word, Ah! blossomed into all others.
Each of them is true.

—Kukei, Eighth Century Zen master, translated by Jane Hirschfield


(Ah) My Dad was Diagnosed with Depression

My dad was diagnosed with depression when I was 15. He was like a stranger to me, he became this weird dad acting like a little boy: screaming, losing his temper, breaking objects but the worse was when he insulted us or showed big disappointment in us. For many years, I was really mad at my dad, insomuch that I was hating him, hoping that he would disappear of my life. My sisters and I couldn’t talk about it to anyone, my family didn’t know and no one explained to us what was going on. I was the oldest and I was trying to support my sisters. I was feeling alone in the world, not connected to anyone anymore.

The first time I talked about the situation to someone outside of my closest friends was to a doctor. I was 18, the situation was getting a little bit better, my dad was under medication and accepting some help. I remember saying to the doctor that my dad died three years earlier. She did not help much, in fact. But my mum had the most comforting and enlightening point: when I asked her why she was staying with my dad she told me that he didn’t mean to act like that, he wasn’t himself but just a sick person that needed help, and mostly from his family. It sounds obvious and cliché today but I was 18 at the time and very confused… After this day I was able to accept my dad, accept his apologies that came a few years after and start to reconnect with him. Today, it has been 9 years, my dad is getting much better and we are getting closer and closer everyday even if I had to move out of my country, to get some space in order to totally understand the situation.

Looking back,  I wish that someone explained to me, as a little girl, what was happening and taught me how to help him instead of reject him. I am very thankful to my younger sister who had the strength to stay close to him, listen to him and always be there for him. And I have to say, I could not dream of a better father (and a better mother, because she held the family together).