My first night back in Ohio I slept on a love seat.

Nate picked me up from the airport. It was late and he was one of the only people who knew where I’d been. Actually, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be coming back at all.

I’d been living in exile in Arizona. Only half a year since I checked myself out of the mental institution, I spent the first few months going through step-down detox at my grandparents’ place outside Sedona. After that I tried, and failed, to establish myself alone in Phoenix, so I agreed to…

Walter and Cathy. So much love.

Cathy’s son Walter was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. During a Mental Health crisis, Cathy called 911 for help. Armed officers came four times, laughing at Walter’s behavior before finally shooting him dead in the street in front of his family and friends. His kids gave interviews to the news as Cathy wept.

Julie’s son Jay was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. During his second suicide attempt in two days, Jay’s friends called 911 for help. …



On July 10th, I’ll turn 34. 34 has been my lucky number ever since, as a ten-year-old, I decided then-Kansas Jayhawk and eventual Boston Celtic Paul Pierce was my favorite basketball player (he wore number 34, Rock Chalk and go Green!). This being my lucky year, I want to do something special.

In 2005, as a college Freshman, I was arrested with a couple friends for paraphernalia, possession and a few other charges relating to marijuana use and sale. Being an affluent white guy, this disruption to my life was minimal. In fact, my record was ultimately expunged…

To my Jewish brothers and sisters.

I was reminded of how proud I am to be a Reform Jew when I read this statement by the URJ:

For too long we’ve been content with being not racists. More, we point to isolated incidents of anti-racism and tell ourselves we are true friends of the systemically abused and neglected. But it’s time we move forward toward a goal of complete anti-racism. Only then will we be true allies.

To be anti-racist means recognizing the current system allows the murderers of Breonna Taylor to walk free while those who protest her…

Family, friends and neighbors, we’re in this together.

My name is Jay Shifman and I’m ten years in recovery from an Addiction that almost ended my life. That experience taught me something: it’s true when they say it’s always darkest before the dawn. Like my brother in the struggle James Taylor sang, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. But you know what comes after the rain? The bloom.

We have no idea how or when this is going to end, and we have no idea what’s going to come next. To everyone who has lost loved ones, my heart…

I’ve never met an addict that wasn’t fighting it in some way. Addiction is a destructive illness that divorces parts of the brain from itself and suspends the sufferer in a constant state of self-battle, like a person continuously drowning who can reach the surface just long enough to elongate the suffering and glimpse redemption yet never fully break free. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the suicide rate among addicts is so high. You can only go through this sort of mental abuse for so long before you reach a breaking point. It doesn’t matter how strong you are…

Jay Shifman

Vulnerable Storyteller ∞ Choose Your Struggle Podcast Host ∞ Stigma-Destroying Public Speaker

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