The Communicator

Coping

Martha+Ribant+stares+out+the+third-floor+window+of+Community+High+School+at+the+city+down+below.+Ribant+was+diagnosed+in+2017+and%2C+for+her%2C+it+was+a+life-changing+experience.+%E2%80%9CLiberation+is+the+word+I+would+use+to+describe+it%2C%E2%80%9D+Ribant+said.+
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Coping

Martha Ribant stares out the third-floor window of Community High School at the city down below. Ribant was diagnosed in 2017 and, for her, it was a life-changing experience. “Liberation is the word I would use to describe it,” Ribant said.

Martha Ribant stares out the third-floor window of Community High School at the city down below. Ribant was diagnosed in 2017 and, for her, it was a life-changing experience. “Liberation is the word I would use to describe it,” Ribant said.

Martha Ribant stares out the third-floor window of Community High School at the city down below. Ribant was diagnosed in 2017 and, for her, it was a life-changing experience. “Liberation is the word I would use to describe it,” Ribant said.

Martha Ribant stares out the third-floor window of Community High School at the city down below. Ribant was diagnosed in 2017 and, for her, it was a life-changing experience. “Liberation is the word I would use to describe it,” Ribant said.

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Poetry. Friends. Family.

These are just a few of the ways that Martha Ribant, a sophomore at Community High School, deals with her diagnosis.

Just about a year and a half ago, in Aug. 2017, Ribant was diagnosed with anxiety.

“Liberation is the word I would use to describe it,” Ribant said. “Just that feeling of ‘what I’m feeling isn’t all in my head. Someone who has dedicated their life to helping people with this is saying that this is something that I have.’ It’s validation. It’s a chronic illness.”

A few months later, in Oct. 2017, Ribant was diagnosed with depression.

Left with two serious mental illnesses, Ribant needed to find a way to cope.

Ribant’s family is a huge part of her support system. With almost her entire family struggling from some sort of mental illness, she is able to be open with them about how she is feeling.

“I have always felt comfortable to talk with my parents or my sister about how I’m struggling and what I need help with,” Ribant said.

Ribant has also developed a very close group of friends at Community. Watching movies and going to the mall with her friends help her clear her mind. With such a close-knit group, Ribant was able to find some of the support she needed.

But Ribant discovered her most effective coping strategy more recently.

About a year ago, in Jan. 2018, she found Poetry. A true form of expression where she could write down all of her feelings and share them with the world.

“Originally, I had no idea what I was writing,” Ribant said. “Then, as I started writing more, and realizing that I had all of these thoughts inside of my head, but no way to get them out, I realized how important poetry can be.”

Ribant is a member of the Community High School Poetry Club that meets once a week during lunch. She also performs her poems at local poetry slams.

“As I write more, and as I perform more poetry, I see more support,” Ribant said. “Other people say, ‘oh, I know what that’s like.’ Whether it’s anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, body image issues, whatever it is, somebody else in the world understands it. That sense of validation, and community and connection, nothing in the world can describe it. That sense of ‘I’m not alone.’”

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