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The Mighty's Top 10 Most-Read Stories of 2021

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It’s that time of year where people tend to be a tad bit more reflective than usual. For many, this can be a very complicated and conflicting time as we wrangle and process those we’ve loved and lost, new diagnoses and old ones that persist, and a myriad of other experiences. 

The Mighty is not immune to this contemplative period. That’s why we wanted to take a moment to celebrate our ten most read Mighty stories from the year 2021. These stories collectively have been read by over 600,000 people from all over the world. That’s over 600,000 people who found stories that they not only resonated with, but were able to find comfort, resources, answers, and for some a starting point in their own health journeys. 

We thank all of you – every Mighty reader, contributor, Super Contributor, and more for being a part of this community. Thank you for sharing your stories. Thank you for trusting us with them. Thank you for pushing “share” on social media networks. Thank you for being a core part of what makes The Mighty community so unique and special. 

Without further ado… 

The Mighty’s Top Ten Stories of 2021

1. When I’m Questioned About My Disability Parking Placard by Tammy Monaghan

Large blue handicap sign

“I will no longer put myself in danger to appease someone else. I pray that each of you utilizes and accepts the assistance you need, whether it be a disability parking placard or a mobility device. If you don’t, the only person who is affected is the one you should care the most about — you!” 

How it resonated: “Thank you for sharing this! There are many people experiencing this”

2. To the Family and Friends Who Disappeared After My Child’s Autism Diagnosis by Jacquelyn B.

A mother and their austic child smiling and looking at the camera. The mother has blonde hair and brown sunglasses with a pink brown lipstick. she's also wearing a coral colored shirt.

“I read this quote and it really resonated with me. “There is a ‘get it’ factor in parenting kids with autism… Those who get it become part of your inner circle. Those who don’t are weeded out, often through no particular fault of their own.”

How it resonated: “Wonderful description of the life of autism parents’ rollercoaster. Only those who have experienced it can appreciate what it is ( my personal opinion) . No one else had a clue what it is like.”

3. My Heart Goes Out to Nick Carter, His Wife and Their New Baby by B.L Acker

Nick Carter's tweet that reads "Ok everyone, I wanted to let you know that finally, we are home safe and sound. they are doing so much better." He uses a smiley emoji and a bottle emoji, then continues "I'm going to share a little picture with you really soon. Thank again for all your love" with the prayer hands emoji. In the back there's a blurred out image from his Instagram.

“Reading the news stories about Nick Carter, his wife and baby brought it all back for me full force– the string of miscarriages, the surprise pregnancy, the extra stay at the hospital where you hope and pray with all your might that your baby is okay. I don’t personally know them, but I rooted for them with every fiber of my being and watched apprehensively for updates, hoping that things would turn out well for them as it had for me, because I too had been there. I could imagine what they were going through, as could many other women who have been in similar situations can I’m sure.  I was elated to see him announce that his wife and child were doing well and would be heading home.  I sympathize and empathize with all the losses they’ve endured up to this point and am so grateful that they, too, were gifted their own little surprise blessing after resigning themselves to the fact that they may never have another child.

What the writer had to say about it: “I don’t personally know them, but I rooted for them hoping that things would turn out well for them because I too had been there.”

4. How Netflix’s ‘Maid’ Perfectly Illustrates What It’s Like to be a Parentified Child by Monika Sudakov

A scene from Netflix's Maid, where the daughter is sitting int he car looking forlornly off camera.

“Rarely do I watch a series that renders me speechless and overwhelmed. After watching “Maid” on Netflix, I felt this lingering sense of pain that prompted me to message my therapist. I was simultaneously triggered, intrigued, angered, captivated, and validated by the show. The series, starring Margaret Qualley and Andie MacDowell as daughter and mother Alex and Paula, is poignant and depicts the very broken system we have in this country for victims of domestic violence. While that is an important discussion to be had, the focus of my own catharsis in watching the show was the painfully accurate depiction of a parentified and enmeshed mother-daughter relationship.”

How it resonated: “I couldn’t relate more to how this person described how intriguing it was for them. So many emotions. Binged it all in 2 days. Could not stop. Something so similar in how I grew up…”

5. The Learning Disability You May Not Have Heard Of by Kelly M.

3 neon colored dandelions (red, blue green variants) against a bright purple background

“I have a learning disability — a few actually — including one you may have never heard of. It is recognized by most neuropsychologists and yet it is controversial because it does not exist in the DSM-5: nonverbal learning disability (NVLD/NLD). The name is often misleading to the average person. One may see the word “nonverbal” and assume it means the individual does not speak. This is often quite the contrary. Those with NVLD can be quite talkative; the reason behind the name is because NVLDers struggle with understanding nonverbal communication, a hallmark of the learning disability.”

How it resonated: “As somebody with NVLD, thanks so much for writing this. I also have trouble with fine motor skills, embarrassed myself in P.E. and had trouble learning to drive and still can’t parallel park.”

6. Biden Withdraws Trump Rule That Would Require People to ‘Prove’ Their Disability by Leslie Zukor

President Joe Biden signing H.R. 335. He's wearing a navy suit with a gold and navy striped tie and wearing a mask.

“While Biden’s move was applauded by disability advocates, they urged the president to do more. Since Biden promised to expand Social Security benefits during the 2020 presidential election cycle, progressives are prodding him to fire Trump administration holdovers, Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul and Deputy Commissioner David Black, both of whom spearheaded the Trump administration’s changes to SSDI.”

How it resonated: “A sigh of relief after long difficult years????☮????”

7. When I Became ‘That Mom’ I Once Dreaded as a Special Education Teacher by Trish Jacobi

A family of five. A mother in a red dress stands to the left, mirrored by her husband to the right in a gray sweatshirt with a lighter gray undershirt, an infant betwen them and two sons, one with his arms crossed over his chest and the other looking off camera.

“If you are reading this as a seasoned special educator, you likely are very familiar with “that mom.” You may be counting your blessings that you did not get “that mom” this year or you may be cursing your misfortune if you did. You may already be preparing for the possibility of getting “that mom” next year or still recovering from having her last year. For those of you studying special education or very new to the field who don’t know about “that mom,” this is a good time to learn.”

How it resonated: “I needed this article today as I’ve had to be “that mom” all week. Thank you for your insight and encouragement.”

8. What I Want Others to Know About Life With HS by Allyson Byers

A little clip art of a drawing of a girl with an orange shirt and blue pants, pulling open a blue curtain with the words "What I want others to know about life with MS"

“Usually when I share that I have a chronic illness, someone will ask what it is. I’m very open about my hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), but I still struggle with how to answer this question. I’ll first say it’s HS, then I’ll follow up with a joke about how it’s a mouthful. I debate how to best describe what it is that I, and so many others, live with. If I say it’s a skin disease, I’ll sometimes be met with a look of dismissal that suggests, That’s all? If I explain that it results in boils and lesions all over the body, there’s usually at least a quick look of disgust that passes over the person’s face. I just want to show them one of my flare-ups to help get my point across of just how painful it is.”

How it resonated: ” Wow! Right! Now I have learned that I’m so lucky that my husband loves me and accepts me just as I am. And the flaky friend is definitely a terrible feeling.”

9. Why Anhedonia Is Such an Insidious Symptom of Depression by Fairley Lloyd

Black woman crossing hands over her chest with her eyes closed, at a three quarter angle in sepia tones.

“Thanks to the internet and the world generally being more connected than it was several years ago, we know more about depression and its symptoms than we did before. Growing up, I remember thinking that depression was just a general period of sadness, nothing as serious as it was, until I developed depression in high school. The feelings of self-hatred, suicidal thoughts, fatigue and loss of appetite are just a few more symptoms of depression that we’ve become more aware of.”

How it resonated: “I never knew this had a name of its own. It’s my daily life lately. Even with antidepressants, therapy, etc… I still feel this way every waking moment of my life.”

10. 8 ‘Quirks’ I Realized Were Symptoms of ADHD by Mel Hebert

Cartoon of a white girl with brown hair and a dark blue shirt against a light blue backdrop with spiral thoughts swirling out from her head

“As someone who got diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as an adult, when that diagnosis hit so many things just made sense. Sure, I always had the typical fidgeting, restlessness and lack of focus of someone with ADHD, but I attributed it to that just being me. I was just an antsy person. But this diagnosis also explained deeper things– things I thought made me a bad person.”

How it resonated: “Mel, it’s like you just described a day in my life!”


Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Originally published: December 17, 2021
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