New Hampshire Mother Uses Art Therapy to Raise Heroin Addiction Awareness

13450033_10153852229215345_6907428901319467035_nAnne Marie Zanfagna’s gregarious nature is evident from the moment you start talking with her. One would be hard pressed to see the pain hidden behind her outgoing demeanor. Even as a life long friend, I do not always see the sadness Anne Marie carries with her.

When I sat down with her for an interview about her Angels of Addictions project, it quickly became evident that her sadness was what motivates her to paint the portraits of young heroin overdose victims. Anne Marie feels this work, painting portraits and talking about heroin addiction is now her life’s work, her mission.

Through her 501c3 non-profit organization, Angels Of Addictions, Anne Marie and her husband Jim work to raise awareness about heroin addiction, the stigma of heroin addiction and to help raise money for recovery services and a scholarship in their daughter Jackie’s name. Jackie died of a heroin overdose in October 2014.  Continue reading

If You’re Depressed, Be Open and Talk About It

An essay in today’s Washington Post about depression and suicide, details one young woman’s quest to be honest about her sister’s suicide, with the hope that she might help others think twice about suicide and get help:

I had to be honest. I had to tell the truth.

By the time I sat down to write my sister’s obituary I knew that the opening line could only be one thing: Aletha Meyer Pinnow, 31, of Duluth (formerly of Oswego and Chicago, IL) died from depression and suicide on February 20, 2016.

Eleni Pinnow said in her essay on her sister’s suicide:

The lies of depression can exist only in isolation. Brought out into the open, lies are revealed for what they are.

Here is the truth: You have value. You have worth. You are loved. Trust the voices of those who love you. Trust the enormous chorus of voices that say only one thing: You matter. Depression lies. We must tell the truth.

these-are-the-first-signs-of-depression-that-everyone-ignoresDepression is so common and yet we still have such a huge stigma about talking about it.

So many like this young woman in the story, Aletha Meyer Pinnow, who committed suicide at 31 years old, would rather keep their depression a secret than discuss it openly.

Here’s a few reason why that is wrong: Continue reading