This BITE THE BULLET Story is from someone who is working their way through an ongoing matter.

She is ‘Biting the Bullet’ because she wants to speak beyond the shackles of shame. The individual’s name is left out for her protection. But this is an important story, and one that is shockingly too common.

“They look at me and see a perpetrator, the accused. I was just looking for love. But little did I know I would be the next in line; the next woman in the legacy of violence.

My perpetrator was my boyfriend, and he refused to leave my home. What would you do if you landed on your back from the force of a 6’2″, 185-pound man, cornered and scared for your life? …A place you’ve never been, nor ever want to be. Not in your wildest nightmares. Fight or flight?

He stands next to my unlocked front door, nothing obstructing him from leaving. Not scared, he sticks around. For what? I’m confused and I’m scared. I’m holding a knife in my hand repeating over and over the only words that come to me, “Get out of my house.” With the presence of mind he takes out his phone and begins to film me. Finally he leaves; he has what he needs.

I call the police; I go forward; they take photos of my cut lip (no medical) and tell me that my perpetrator will be arrested.

Less than 48 hours later I’m back at the police station. This time I’m sitting in a cell for 5 hours. I’m allowed to go, but not before being fingerprinted and brought up on two charges – assault & assault with a weapon. His charges? Dropped. Still confused I ask the station sergeant, “How did this happen?” The sergeant’s response: “If he hit you, you should have ended up in the hospital.” All I could think to do was clarify, and so I replied, “So you’re saying he didn’t hit me hard enough?” No response. It was then that I realized I had been failed, failed by the system and failed by someone who claimed to have loved me.

But now I’m stepping up and into my truth, and because it doesn’t stop there. The so-called ‘victim’ proceeds to reach me using fake Facebook accounts; emailing my family; my work; even sending an unmarked gift box with dead flowers (lilacs, my favourite kind) to my home, including a personal token just to make sure I know it’s him.

Deja-vu, here I am again but this time traumatized by my first-ever call to the police. But I go forward…with help from a counselor. Justice? Not yet. He’s off on a warning, and so he goes on unnoticed and undetected. My counselor says that they see this all the time, women wrongfully accused, everyday in fact. So where do we start?

Education and awareness? I’m looking at you, the Police. How can we work in concert to make change?

Abortion Addiction Rape

Laura Burke about ADDICTION, RAPE and ABORTION

Laura Burke

I had an amazing childhood. My parents were good to me. I was able to be a kid. Social media wasn’t around. I had good true friends that I still have. I have always been optimistic and lively. I wanted to be a famous actress!

I grew up in Calgary, Alberta and when I was 21 I worked at a bar there and also owned a cleaning company. I met a man named Josh and my life changed suddenly. He was a drug dealer who fell in love with me and worked really hard to make me fall in love with him. And it worked.

We started to seek drugs together at night after I was done both jobs and we would be high on cocaine for most of that. I was hanging around people who kept guns under their pillows. And I wasn’t worried. I knew that I would have this great life and although I had moments of fear and sadness and shame. I had a drink and forgot.

I was visiting my father and I felt sick. My dad is my best friend and we are twins. Connected spiritually as well as by blood. He held my face as he told me that I was pregnant. Not sick. I scoffed thinking he couldn’t possibly know. We drove to the pharmacy and bought a 3 pack of pregnancy tests. I came home. Took them and all 3 of them were positive.

I knew immediately that I would have an abortion. I wasn’t happy about it. I wanted children. Lots of them. But Josh was not the type of guy you wanted to father your children. So I booked an appointment and went a couple of weeks later. 4 days before my 22nd Birthday. It was awful.

On my 22nd Birthday. I was brutally raped and beaten up by Josh’s best friend. He told me not to tell anyone because he would kill me. I believed him. So I didn’t.

There was a rumor that he had Hepatitis C. I went to the clinic to get checked. They told me that it takes 6 months to find out if you actually have it. I freaked out. I’ve always been so fearful of STDs and herpes. And now I had to sit for 6 months and wait. I spiraled.

I immediately sold my cleaning company and ran away from Calgary. I had an old friend who lived in Saskatoon with his girlfriend. He told me that I could stay with them. So I did. I left everything behind. Josh was determined to stay together and I told him that if he went through a 28-day stay at a rehab facility then I would take him back.

He did. And I did. He moved to Saskatchewan and we got an apartment together. My 8 months in Saskatoon were the worst of my life. I drank till I puked often. Josh and I did cocaine constantly. I had an eating disorder because I thought I wasn’t skinny enough. And our relationship was turbulent. He was manipulating and emotionally abusive. I would walk to the liquor store in the morning. And I called it. The wrong side of the morning.

One night. He hit me. Hard. I broke my nose. He knocked me unconscious. I woke laying in his arms. Looking up at him crying and holding a knife to his own throat.

Immediately I had to comfort him and talk him down the ledge. That’s when I decided to leave. I drove a uhaul to Chilliwack where I had family. I always wanted to end up in Vancouver and now I was just outside of it.

I was still drinking and doing drugs in Chilliwack. Josh got arrested and served 8 months in prison. But we wrote to each other. I have over 50 letters from him in prison. Growing smarter and closer to god together. When he got out. We tried to make it work again. But there was too much pain and resentment. We ended it for the final time. And it was ok. We were able to hug and wish each other the best life.

That was 8 years ago. I haven’t seen him since. I moved to Vancouver single and got a job as a server. I was done doing coke but my alcohol addiction was running rampant. I would buy the cheapest alcohol I could and get drunk by myself and go to a bar and write. I felt so posh.

Then I would spend the entire next day throwing up. I would go to a club alone with $60 and not remember getting home. And I would wake up with a man I didn’t know next to me and a half a cheeseburger on my chest. I would dump the booze down the drain just to buy more. It was Halloween 2012 and I was at work dressed as Marilyn Monroe. I was sloshed. I had drank a micky of vodka before work even started. My boss called me into the office and I got sent home. I headed to the nearest bar. And cried there as I drank.

I woke up at 3am. Sober. And crawled to my window. I looked up at the sky and asked God on my knees to please help me. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I cried and asked for help.

In the morning I went to my first AA meeting. I sat there overlooking the city and listened to people. I had hoped to be called. And I was. Very last. I stood up and went to the front and said for the first time “Hi. My name is Laura and I’m an alcoholic.” I asked for help. I told my story and I cried.

After the meeting almost everyone surrounded me. Told me to come out for breakfast with them. I did. And I remember leaving the table many times to puke. I spent the next year volunteering at that Alano club. Going to meetings and doing the steps. I have never relapsed. That was 6 years ago.

My life has changed dramatically since then. I managed restaurants for years until I quit to truly pursue my acting career. Now I serve at a high end restaurant and film about 5 indie films a year and perform in 1 or 2 local plays. I am engaged to a man who loves me unconditionally and treats me like gold.

We go to therapy together not to solve problems but to grow emotionally, spiritually and mentally. I am excited to be a mom one day.

I attribute my lack of guilt to doing the steps. I was truly able to let everything go after I confessed it to god and cried in shame and smudged my apartment. I always knew I would be ok. But I’m thriving. I hear stories all the time of people’s heartache and misfortune.

Everyone has gone through something. And it breaks my heart when people live in it still. I want to let people know that you can thrive. Not just survive. Life is hard. For everyone. And pushing yourself to become a better person. Or feel better. Or get over your anger and resentment. It will free you. You have everything you need inside of you. Forgive yourself for the wrongs you have done. Forgive others.

Allow yourself to dream. Know that you deserve it. And go out and get it. You will have moments of weakness and we all cycle through momentum and laziness. Allow yourself to relax when needed and push yourself out of your comfort zone when you have energy. Use your natural gifts to draw you to your purpose. Visualize your end goal.

And believe you can do it.

I could have let any number of things drag me down. Forever. Some people never get over their trauma. I honestly forget parts. Because that isn’t me anymore. It just made me stronger. Humans have allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable boring routine. Break the habit. Excite your mind and create new neural pathways. You are forever a student. And I believe in you.

You are a child of god. Religion doesn’t matter. There is an energy in you that you can use to create. Connect to it. And know that you are safe.

Much love.



Pippa Scott

I’m ‘Biting the Bullet’ for Borderline Personality Disorder. There is such pain and loneliness in this disorder. BPD is often confused with bipolar, schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder. It’s none of those things. It took until I was 35 to be diagnosed and I wish as a kid I could have understood what was happening to me.

Growing up I was frequently overwhelmed by the intensity of my emotions. It felt like constantly being on a rollercoaster – I would be intensely happy and then like a flick of a switch I would be extremely angry or sad. My moods fluctuated hour by hour. It felt like living my life at 100 when everyone else was at a 50.

I felt others could not relate and it was such a lonely place. As a child I thought there was something wrong with me – I was in therapy since I was 6 and at 14 I was sent away to boarding school in the hopes that they could “fix me”. I felt very strong feelings of abandonment and a chronic emptiness that I was always searching to fill but no matter what I did I still felt empty.

Everything in my life seemed inconsistent and unreliable. I was so desperate to find a sense of stability and security and since I felt I was not able to find it from within I always looked to others for it. I allowed others to hold too much of my self and so without them I lost my own sense of identity. I was continually conflicted – I hated that others felt so important to my survival – I did not trust anyone not to abandon me and at the same time I felt I couldn’t be without them. It was a feeling of being trapped and suffocated and it sent my anxiety in to overdrive.

My entire existence became about trying to control everything in my environment. It was not done with any malicious intent – it just stemmed from the fear of constantly feeling out of control.

In my 20s I looked to others to “rescue” me. I felt if I just found the right guy I would be ok and the emptiness and loneliness would disappear. Of course, like my own instability, I ended up with an unstable dating life. I was the “other woman” or dating men with drug addictions. I often put myself in dangerous relationships – where I just confirmed for myself that I was fundamentally unlovable and everyone would just leave eventually. I did not at that time have the awareness I do now – and I could not see that I was setting myself up for failure by playing victim and not taking accountability for myself and how I was contributing to these relationships.

Like most of us, at the core of myself, is a strong desire to be loved, accepted and feel security but since I have a hard time depending on others I would eventually start to do things that pushed them away from me. It was incredibly painful because I was destroying any chance I would ever have at stability by my own inability to be stable and yet it was what I craved the most.

I was afraid to speak openly about it because I hate the idea of people having preconceived ideas of me. As humans we are all very complex and none of us fit neatly in to any labels. I never want to just be a label to someone. Ultimately though, I have found some peace in my 30s and if I am able to help even one person find theirs then I have to talk about it – especially since it seems to be a disorder that most know nothing about.

We all have a responsibility to help break the stigma and empower ourselves and others. Getting a correct diagnosis helps lead to better treatment options like DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) and Mindfulness.

Learning tools to better regulate your emotions is key.


Alexander Ludwig on “ADDICTION is addiction”

Alexander Ludwig // seen in The Hunger Games

I’m ‘Biting the Bullet’ to share that I have had my own personal struggles with addiction. Through my struggles, it has become unbearably evident that he who is born with the disease is not the only one who ends up living with it.

It is a tsunami that builds and builds within until it is released upon those dearest to us leaving a path of destruction and chaos in its wake.

With the help of family, friends and my love Kristy Dawn Dinsmore, I was able to see I had an addiction.

I chose to fight it and I went to rehab. I ‘Bite the Bullet’ for the addict who still suffers, I bite the bullet for the loved ones who try to help to no avail, I pray they find peace and know they are not alone and it is not their fault.

Only when we truly surrender to that which we cannot control can we begin to make the changes we need to live a life of inner peace, gratitude, love, and joy.

I found that the most important piece to this puzzle is having the courage to ask for help, so everyone suffering can get the real support that they need.

Commit to oneself, and continue forward without judgement and toxic shame. We as human beings are constantly suffering on a daily basis and if we have more kindness towards ourselves and each other we can conquer anything.

Anxiety Depression

Jesi Leigh about Store-Bought Is Fine

Jesi Leigh

I spent my teen years and subsequent early college years feeling like an utter failure. “You’re wasting your potential!” the teachers would cry. “Why can’t you just do what you’re supposed to do?!” My mother would plead.

I could write a hell of a paper and test well, so my grades were mostly decent despite my perpetually forgotten homework and last-minute assignments. I took my ACT after an all-nighter on the internet because I’d forgotten the date for the test. No calculator because I didn’t remember to grab one. If high school was hard, adulthood hit me like a freight train.

Late fees piled up on my bills as I got older because nobody reminded me to pay them. My credit score tanked. I’d buy planners and fancy apps, determined to “get my life together” only to spiral into misery and overwhelm weeks later, expensive planner empty on the table under the piles of red shut-off notices for my utilities. I’d sleep until late afternoon and wallow in my filthy bedroom with no inclination to clean it up or take care of myself.

Over and over again I’d wonder what was wrong with me. Why am I so incapable of managing these expectations and tasks that every other person has under control? At my darkest point, this feeling of failure and worthlessness consumed me and a little voice in my head asked me as I drove across the river to work every morning “Why are you still here? You could turn that steering wheel just once and it could all be over if you wanted it to. You’re just a waste of space anyway.”

It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my daughter and in the emergency room for the never-ending panic-attacks that plagued me that I got my first diagnosis: general anxiety disorder and depression.

After she was born, things felt okay for a while. My mental health had never been better. Looking back it’s almost like I had the opposite of postpartum depression. But as I went back to work and then school, the juggling act fell apart over and over and over again. I’d sob to my husband about what a failure I was. That I was a terrible mom. A terrible wife. A terrible teacher. A terrible student. I couldn’t keep my house clean or get my homework done on time. I’d forget the doctor’s appointments for my baby and lose things at every turn.

Friends here and there would suggest medications and therapists but I’d ignore the advice or put it off as usual. That was a “someday” problem to fix and I had a laundry list of last week’s problems I still hadn’t addressed. Besides, everyone always said that maybe if I would lose weight or eat more natural foods or exercise more I wouldn’t feel like this. I didn’t need medication or therapy, I needed to stop being so damn lazy.

My daughter was four when I finally gave in and scheduled a therapy appointment. At that point it had been a vicious fifteen year cycle of treading water until I started to drown and someone had to save me. Fifteen years of failing to get a grip on my life. We spent the first visit going over possible diagnoses. Possible labels for what was wrong with me. Anxiety and depression were a given. She agreed immediately with those ones.

But then came the page in the book that listed every single problem I had struggled with for my entire life. Distraction, inability to focus, forgetfulness, procrastination, impulsivity, poor decisions about money, interrupting people when they talk–the list went on. With every check-mark, I could feel something inside me begin to shift. My eyes filled with tears because, for the first time in my entire life, I felt understood. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel like a failure.

With the final symptom checked off the list, the therapist looked at me and nodded as she said “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Have you ever been on meds for any of this stuff?”

“I really don’t want to do any medications,” I replied. “Everyone always says you should do natural things and avoid medications.” She shrugged and told me that if I changed my mind I should let my doctor know.

Labels can be such a scary thing when it comes to your health. People avoid them or whisper their diagnoses like the very word is a scarlet letter across their chest or a ball and chain they have to drag with them for the rest of their lives, weighing them down. But for me, they came as answers to questions that had plagued me for years. It was nice to hear someone say there was a cause for all of these problems in my life and it wasn’t just me sucking at being an adult. But still, nothing was getting better.

It was another year before I finally spoke with my doctor about needing help with putting my life back together. I had come within an inch of being put on probation at work–a job I absolutely love and am passionate about with all of my heart–because of the same things I had been struggling with my whole life.

The labels were an answer but they weren’t the solution. So I finally asked what she would suggest and she put through the prescriptions: Zoloft, Wellbutrin, and Adderall. I started one at a time, adjusting doses as I went until I found the right levels. I don’t take Adderall daily, but for those really tough days, it’s nice to have as a backup.

My emotions stabilized and my ability to focus and get things done improved within weeks. I still have some social anxiety from time to time and need lots of recovery time after an extended period of time in crowds, but I no longer have panic attacks in the car or agonize over all of the things that could go wrong in a day. I don’t lay in bed for days at a time with no desire to spend time with my family. I am an active mother, wife, and friend. I enjoy yoga and boxing and traveling and eating healthy foods (all of those things people told me I needed to do to get better–but it was getting better that allows me to finally do those things).

I’ve learned more about my disorders and how to battle the problems that come with them, but I’ve also learned to embrace my labels and speak up so that I can help get rid of the stigma that comes along with them. I’ve explained how my brain works differently and explained the accommodations I might need (having fidget toys in a meeting has been life-changing!). I’ve helped others in my life pursue answers for the questions they were too afraid to ask before.

As my daughter gets older I have begun to recognize she struggles in a lot of the same ways. It’s too early to tell if it’s due to nature or nurture–I haven’t exactly been a good model for controlling impulses and keeping a tidy room, but a lot of mental health issues can also be hereditary. I remember crying to my mom on the phone because the last thing in the world I want for my child is for her to struggle like I do.

But she reassured me by reminding me that I have the answers now and that I don’t have to let her struggle for two decades the way I did before she can get help. So for now we work on coping mechanisms–lots of checklists, timers, and reminders.

We practice mindfulness together and focus on the positive to ease her anxiety. I’ve explained to her that her mom’s brain doesn’t make the stuff it’s supposed to, so I take something to help it do its job the right way. If the day comes that she decides she needs medication to help solve the same chemical imbalances in her own brain, at least she knows there will be no judgment or stigma from her family.

At the end of the day, the important thing is her happiness. And if her brain can’t make its own neurotransmitters? Store-bought is fine.


Tommy Cole about Life Before Success

Tommy Cole

Life before success….that’s where I am right now: I pursue my passions for free and I have a few jobs to pay my bills. It’s not glamorous or thrilling, it’s actually incredibly exhausting and stressful. Dedicating time and energy to work that you’re paid for often leaves you feeling like you have nothing left for your passion.

For quite some time I lived with shame that I had to side hustle, I developed a deep sense of self loathing. I’m a writer. It’s more than a hobby, it’s more than a passion – it is a life choice. Sure it might not be putting a roof over my head right now, but that doesn’t change my drive or my heart.

There were years that I bought into the idea that people would see me in my place before success or “acclaim” and judge me for not having it. Thinking they would look down on me for not being on top of my game yet. This petrified me. I would shy away from discussion about what I was working toward, saying “I’m just a….” Bartender, Personal Assistant, Fitness Instructor etc. I would wave that shame around like a flag so people could understand it wasn’t what I wanted for my life, but I was too cowardly to come forth with my truth.

It’s an unhealthy habit of thinking that kept me living in this place of fear; further preventing me from networking, collaborating, and growing as an artist. I lived like this for quite some time; making zero strides in my creative and professional life.

I would ask, “Why not me?” “Why can’t someone choose me?” “Where’s my shot?”. How is a painter going to sell their paintings if they won’t let anyone look at them? Furthermore, how is a painter going to sell their paintings if no one even knows they paint?

I now find the more I express my heart and share my goals – the more I open myself up to opportunities where people can help me accomplish them. And anyone who judges me for not being there yet isn’t worth having around anyway.”


Rob Raco about Bullying

Rob Raco // seen in Riverdale

I’m ‘Biting the Bullet to say, ‘Stand up for yourself.’

Growing up I was an odd kid…to everyone else. But to myself, I was me, imaginative and in my own world, thanks to my supportive, artistic family.

In school, I never really found myself in the “popular group”. In fact, I was spit on by a group of kids, punched in the face and held down as others piled snow on my face.

Now the fun part…all that energy was expurgated through my creativity. I retaliated by becoming a disciplined drummer and standing up for myself with art, not fists.

Stand up for yourself and others in need but remember you can’t fight fire with fire. Shine on! I got your back!”


Briana Buckmaster about Bullying & Body Image

Briana Buckmaster // seen in Supernatural

I’m ‘Biting the Bullet’ to say, your power isn’t found in a nutritional label.

I’ve been considered a big girl all my life. People loved to make jokes at my expense. As a 9 year old I was made fun of for how I looked in bathing suits at birthday parties.

As a high schooler, I was bullied endlessly whilst walking down the hall or raising my hand in class. It seemed the world was laughing at me. And yet, a very common question asked of me was “Where on earth do you get your confidence?”

It was always such a strange question. First off, why was everyone so shocked that a girl like me was confident? I mean, you think girls who shop at the plus-size stores don’t really deserve to hold their head high occasionally? But my thing was – I hadn’t really decided that I indeed WAS confident.

I still cried in the bathroom when people made oinking sounds at me. I still daydreamed about waking up looking like the women in my fashion magazines. And I, like most people in the world, generally felt like I had no idea what I was doing the majority of the time.

But I did like to laugh. A lot. And I REALLY liked to make other people laugh. A LOT.

Slowly I realized that the feeling I had after a perfectly timed punchline, or the high I got when someone asked me to “act out that bit again” far outweighed the pain of lame unoriginal jokes that were made at my expense.

So it’s interesting to me to be described as confident. I just like to think that I’m funny. And loud. I want things for my life. And I’m not shy about stating that. If that’s confidence, then sure.

I guess I’ve got it. But, I also have a long history of crying in bathrooms and not fitting into bathing suits. I just make sure to remind people that that’s the least fun part about me.


Anne Winters about CYBERBULLIYING

Anne Winters // Emmy Award Winning Actress // seen in 13 Reasons Why

I am ‘Biting the Bullet’ to talk about cyberbullying.

It is time to put an end to sharing hateful comments and instead share positivity. With all of the different social media platforms these days people have found it easy to hurt others while hiding behind a screen.

It is important for all of us to stand up for each other and show compassion towards one another. I am committed to spreading awareness on this issue to show that words can be hurtful, no matter who you are.

The topic of cyberbullying really hits home for me. Being on a buzz-worthy show like “13 Reasons Why” has caused my social media following to grow tremendously, which is such a blessing. But, with a larger social media following also comes more hate.

I have never really cared for the haters, but I am very active on social media since I like to give my fans a sense of my life on a daily basis. I love keeping everyone in the loop, but there are times that I get insecure and doubtful about random things that I post, based on people’s hateful comments.

With that said, I definitely know the impact that certain words can have on people. I would encourage anyone that has ever been cyberbullied to remain true to themselves. Remember that the person bullying you is likely someone that is not confident in who they are.

If they were, then they would not feel the need to put others down. You will go further in life trusting your own intuition rather than relying heavily on other’s opinions. No one knows you better than yourself!


Juliana Harkavy about SELF-DOUBT

Juliana Harkavy // seen in Arrow

I am ‘Biting the Bullet’ for self-doubt.

For every time I told myself I’m not good enough.
For every time I believed someone else was better for the job, smarter, funnier, prettier, stronger.
For every time I was unkind to myself.
For every time I wished I was different.

We each hold all the wonder and beauty and power of the universe within us. If you don’t believe it you can’t use it.

Shine shine shine, unabashedly. We are more than enough. We are everything.