It’s time to address the American plague that’s making even second graders want to die.

Photo by Vicky Sim: Unsplash

Trigger Warning: This piece includes discussion of suicide, which may be disturbing for some readers.

Working in healthcare, not many things shock me anymore, but a 7 year-old girl who was brought into the secure hold unit in the Emergency Department one evening shook me to my core.

Secure hold is a dreary, sterile space. The designated space for patients who want to harm themselves — the walls are painted a drab, neutral color. Each room contains a a small cot with a poorly fitted sheet, and pillows are available only by request. …

Photo Credit: Google Images

“Is it me, or is Trump winning?” A friend messaged me during tonight’s presidential debate — around the time that Trump knocked Biden for misquoting his alma mater and misrepresenting his class rank at the University of Delaware (something Biden did over 30 years ago) but it was still fair game for Trump.

“Nope,” I responded. “Trump is a bully, but he does it well. This is what people expect out of him.”

And truly, after almost four years of name calling, brazen insults and confident backtracking, the American people have gotten used to a new…

How the Democrats Went from Being the Party of Optimism to the Party of Despair

Hillary Clinton supporters react on election night in 2016 (photo courtesy of CNN)

In yet another blow to left leaning Americans, yesterday’s loss of icon and heroine Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has left most progressives reeling. My social media feed is flooded with tributes to her amazing life; people are changing their profile pictures to images of the Notorious RBG, and sharing her most famous quotes. Undoubtedly, the American left is filled with despair.

“I can’t stop crying,” one of my friends posted last night. “I am heartbroken. Have the bad guys really won?”

Other friends…

Trump supporters at a gathering in 2019 (via Google image)

My social media feed tends to favor leftist politics. I admit that after the 2016 election, when I saw people in my feed comment with pro-Trump rhetoric, I was grateful that Facebook unveiled their “unfollow" button.

Now that my feed is carefully curated by my own biased preferences, I’m no longer seeing friends share articles from Fox News or Ben Shapiro, but I’m also missing out on their life events — celebrations of anniversaries, news of a grim health diagnosis or a recovery, the joy of a new baby or grandchild.

But my social media feed is never devoid of…

Patient lifting a table in hospital (1949 Herbert Gehr, LIFE Magazine)

The morning that I woke up in a psychiatric ward, I was sure I didn’t belong there. My very sad roommate — who was already awake and crying in the bathroom— and the loud woman across the hallway who was speaking about the way her mother beat her as a child — absolutely, they needed help; but me being there was all an awkward mistake that I planned to quickly sort out with the on duty psychiatrist.

I sat up on my bed, which was covered with one blanket and a thin, faded pillow and looked at the bathroom door…

Photo via Unsplash

Too many women of the cloth are experiencing emotional and spiritual abuse at the hands of their supervisors. It’s time for the church to reckon with the #MeToo Movement.

Almost two years ago, I was settling in for a long warm bath when I received a call from my supervisor. I was serving as a pastor in a church of one of the largest protestant denominations in the United States. My supervisor was an ordained Elder and appointed to the bishop’s cabinet to oversee individual pastors and their churches. This supervisor held a lot of power over my job and my ministry. He had also, on the night that he called me, consumed a lot of alcohol.

I should note that before this call took place, I had a…

My daughter-on her last day of kindergarten.

Today my daughter graduated from the 5th grade. We brushed our hair, put on our shoes and masks, and walked across the street to the elementary school.

The playground was empty. There no were clusters of classrooms on the school lawn celebrating an end of the year picnic.

There were no field games, or extra recesses.

We were greeted outside by the receptionist, wearing a mask, standing six feet away. We stood there for a moment, until a teacher emerged-- her face covered, her hands gloved.

She handed us two plastic sacks filled with school supplies. My daughter’s 5th grade…

photo by Naomi August via Unsplash

In July of 2016, a few weeks after returning from a camping trip in Northern Minnesota, I became ill.

My neck ached, the bottoms of my feet throbbed, and one day I realized, if I wasn’t at work, I was home in my bed. My neck was so stiff that I rear-ended a young woman in a parking lot with my 7-year-old daughter in the car. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t turn my head to check my blind spots. Fortunately, there was no major damage, no insurance files claimed.

But soon things grew worse. My hands began…

photo credit: Unsplash

“Have you had her checked for a tapeworm?” My grandmother asked my mother when I was 11 years old. My outspoken and opinionated grandma was in disbelief that a girl like me could eat so much and not gain a pound.

But I was just a normal, healthy kid with a good metabolism. I didn’t have an eating disorder. I was fortunate that I could eat three bowls of ice cream a day and still fit into my skinny jeans. But when I was a sophomore in high school, I was diagnosed as anemic.

“No wonder you’re so skinny,” a…

How does a survivor of sexual assault reckon with this electoral nightmare?

photo credit: AP/Reuters

I will spare you the details of the sexual trauma I’ve endured in my past. My story is likely not much different from the 1 in every 3 women who experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Instead, I want to focus on the two presidential nominees who are left standing after a primary season that was a trainwreck by anyone’s standards.

But first, let’s go back a few years.

In 2016, when various allegations of sexual misconduct and assault were made public against then presidential…

Holly Sortland

Holly Sortland lives with her husband, four children, and many pets. Her first novel, Uri Full of Light, is available on Amazon.

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