Stephen Fratello

@stephen-fratello | contributor
I ask a lot of questions. I battle a lot of demons. I try to live life one day at a time. I usually fail. Lover of humor, music, film, tv, Broadway, carbs, anthropology, nature and literature. I'm passionate and quirky. I wear my heart on my sleeve — on the inside of my sleeve, just so you can’t see. stephenfratello.com
Community Voices

What would your brutally honest dating profile say?

<p>What would your brutally honest dating profile say?</p>
25 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Issues Sleeping with Depression

Does anyone else with depression ever have issues with sleeping? I’m trying to find a balance between sleeping too little and sleeping too much. I feel worse when I sleep for a long period of time, but it’s also exhausting not to get enough sleep. I think my body naturally wants to sleep too much. It’s hard for me to tell how much sleep I actually need. The 7-9 hour recommendation for adults isn’t very helpful.
#Depression
#ChronicFatigue

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Why Churches Need an Education on Mental Health

Join Christians on The Mighty, a community for those of the Christian faith to share, encourage others, ask questions and receive support. My Christian faith has always been a big part of my life starting from when I was young. I was sent to Catholic school and raised in a liberal but faith-filled family. My faith has always been something I turned to during my dark moments with depression and physical illness. I remember a time when I had taken a break from “formal church” and felt very isolated and disconnected. I started to seek out connection within faith communities. I thought it would help me feel better, but it did not. It had the opposite effect. I realized many churches and their pastors are not equipped to deal with things like mental illness. I approached a pastor from a local church and told him my story and asked if he would be open to letting me start a support group for people with mental illness. Not only did he tell me he did not believe I was depressed, he blew me off and shooed me away. After I regrouped and got over my disappointment, I tried another church. This time I was looked at as if mental illness wasn’t real or something that belonged in church.  I was given the run around from one person to the next who politely refused to engage in any sort of conversation. It was clearly not a priority to the leadership. “One more time,” I thought. I figured this time I would blend in. I found another church. I showed up for healing services and liturgies. I even volunteered for a few ministries. At one point, a staff member asked me what I did for work. I said I was not working and was on disability for anxiety and depression. He then proceeded to say, “Oh, I work with crazy people.” I was stunned. I could not believe what just happened. I was so angry. I went to the pastor and told him what happened. He told me, “Well, we just have to forgive people. The church is imperfect, you know.” I was shocked. I left this church and never went back. Let me address the pastor’s point. Yes, the church is made up of human beings who are imperfect. Pastors are imperfect people who most likely are doing the best they can, and they can’t be all things to all people. This does not excuse wrongdoing and turning a blind eye to injustices going on. This is not an excuse to ignore issues that present themselves to you or the people in need right in front of your face. You have taken a vow to help these people. It is your obligation to educate yourself on what your congregation is going through — to address its needs. If you claim to follow Christ, you have to at least try to act like it. Churches need to comb the pews, get to know the people who attend, not just the mentally ill but everyone. What are their needs? Their stories? Are they chronically ill? Can you start a ministry, even a small one, to help these people? If you can’t, at least be understanding, compassionate and listen. Let them know they are heard and welcomed. It’s the Christian thing to do. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Stock photo by kavunchik

Dylan P
Dylan P @dylnmryjn
contributor

4 Reasons to Invite Your Friend With a Chronic Illness to Events

I am disabled and a wheelchair user. My mobility is limited by fatigue and pain and numerous other symptoms. But I still enjoy participating in life, doing things around the house, spending time with my loved ones, caring for my cats, and engaging in my hobbies. The way that I do these things might differ from how able-bodied people usually think about them, and that’s OK. What’s not OK is when able-bodied people assume I don’t want to participate in certain things because I can’t do things the way they do them. Sometimes people don’t want to make me feel bad for being disabled, so they avoid inviting me so I don’t have to bring up my limitations. Sometimes they feel uncomfortable or annoyed when I bring up accommodations and accessibility, and they don’t invite me so they won’t have to deal with the barriers I face every day. Whatever the reason, assuming I don’t want to be invited is incredibly hurtful and causes additional harm through depriving me of a number of opportunities. The opportunity of participating in a social event or outing is the most obvious of those opportunities, but I am talking about the opportunities that are present inside of the invitation itself. Opportunity #1: Advocating for Accessibility When people decline to invite me because they fear the venue or event won’t be accessible, what they are saying to me is that they don’t care if it’s inaccessible. I would like to be invited so that I can speak to whether the venue or event is accessible or not. If it isn’t, I’d like the opportunity to educate my social group on what could be improved, and whether there are accommodations we can provide for me as a group to make the outing more accessible. If I’m avoided because talking about accessibility is too uncomfortable or inconvenient, then how are we going to make the changes necessary for me to no longer need to talk about these issues? Opportunity #2: Assessing My Capacity When people decline to invite me because they fear I might not be able to endure the activity or event, they deny me the opportunity to assess my own capacity and balance my social needs with the needs of my chronic illnesses. Of course, going out and socializing taxes me and causes some of my symptoms to get worse. Of course, sometimes my capacity is too low and I will choose to stay home and care for myself. But my capacity fluctuates all the time, and if I am always assumed to be at my worst then you’ll never catch me at my best. Opportunity #3: Assessing My Desires When people decline to invite me because they assume I won’t like or want or enjoy the event, they deny me the opportunity to assess my own desires and enjoyment. This may not be as important for others, but as a childhood trauma survivor, I am still learning what I enjoy and what my natural personal preferences are. When you deny me an opportunity to assess my desires, to decide what I like or don’t like, and tell you about it, you are denying me an opportunity for growth and healing on my recovery journey. Opportunity #4: Exercising My Autonomy When people decide for me that I can’t be somewhere, or don’t want to be there, they are taking away my autonomy. As a childhood trauma survivor and as a disabled person, my autonomy is very important to me. When you take away my autonomy, you take away my choices. When you take away my choices, you cause me to be far more limited than my disabilities will ever make me. It is important for me to be invited because it is important for me to be able to say “Yes” or “No” to that invitation. It is important for me to be given the ability to decline your invitation, if, in fact, I can’t or don’t want to be there. Able-bodied folks are given this opportunity, and I deserve it as well. Declining to invite a disabled person to your social gathering isn’t just denying them that social opportunity. You are denying us opportunities to assess accessibility standards and personal capacity. You are denying us opportunities to communicate our needs, our desires, and our preferences. And you are denying us the opportunity to make our own decisions and choices. Before you decide inviting your disabled friend is too much effort, consider what you take away from them when you make that decision for them.

Community Voices

Do you “live with a condition” or do you “suffer from” it?

<p>Do you “live with a condition” or do you “suffer from” it?</p>
91 people are talking about this

Biden Pledges to Help the Disability Community in Victory Speech

If you have anxiety and you also are really concerned about the state of our country, this week was likely not a good week for you. I know it wasn’t for me. The cliffhanger experience of finding out who was going to lead our country into the future was excruciating. Personally, I believe there was really only one option this election for reasons I won’t get into here. But I will say that I have breathed a collective sigh of relief along with millions of other people. I felt the pride of being an American again after watching President-Elect Joe Biden give his acceptance speech in front of the nation Saturday night. He repeatedly mentioned the mandate he felt to help the American people, and the one thing that really struck a chord with me, that stood out most, was his promise to help the disabled community. We are often the most overlooked community. We severely lack sufficient advocacy in our government to create legislation that protects our rights and expands our potential as contributing members of society. Many in our community are living on the poverty line. Disability checks, if you are lucky enough to make it through the extremely complicated and harrowing system of getting approved, barely cover the essentials of daily living. Despite the ADA, many companies refuse to make accommodations for people with disabilities, such as allowing working from home, working flexible hours and having access to resources in the workplace to help them do their jobs more efficiently. So many talented people fall through the cracks. So many who are just looking for a chance to shine get overlooked. “That’s all they’re asking for,” Biden said. “A fair shot to succeed.” That’s all any of us are asking for — equal opportunity. Disabled people also face exorbitant medical fees for things not covered under insurance. It’s not uncommon for many of us to live in debt. The Affordable Care Act has helped minimize this to an extent, but it is nowhere near a perfect system and desperately needs reform. I am looking forward to seeing what this new administration is going to do to help my community. I look forward in hope and trust, because I believe we are entering a new era of compassion, honesty and integrity from our government. Those of us who live with disabilities and chronic illnesses are Americans. We deserve dignity and respect and a fair shot.

Biden Pledges to Help the Disability Community in Victory Speech

If you have anxiety and you also are really concerned about the state of our country, this week was likely not a good week for you. I know it wasn’t for me. The cliffhanger experience of finding out who was going to lead our country into the future was excruciating. Personally, I believe there was really only one option this election for reasons I won’t get into here. But I will say that I have breathed a collective sigh of relief along with millions of other people. I felt the pride of being an American again after watching President-Elect Joe Biden give his acceptance speech in front of the nation Saturday night. He repeatedly mentioned the mandate he felt to help the American people, and the one thing that really struck a chord with me, that stood out most, was his promise to help the disabled community. We are often the most overlooked community. We severely lack sufficient advocacy in our government to create legislation that protects our rights and expands our potential as contributing members of society. Many in our community are living on the poverty line. Disability checks, if you are lucky enough to make it through the extremely complicated and harrowing system of getting approved, barely cover the essentials of daily living. Despite the ADA, many companies refuse to make accommodations for people with disabilities, such as allowing working from home, working flexible hours and having access to resources in the workplace to help them do their jobs more efficiently. So many talented people fall through the cracks. So many who are just looking for a chance to shine get overlooked. “That’s all they’re asking for,” Biden said. “A fair shot to succeed.” That’s all any of us are asking for — equal opportunity. Disabled people also face exorbitant medical fees for things not covered under insurance. It’s not uncommon for many of us to live in debt. The Affordable Care Act has helped minimize this to an extent, but it is nowhere near a perfect system and desperately needs reform. I am looking forward to seeing what this new administration is going to do to help my community. I look forward in hope and trust, because I believe we are entering a new era of compassion, honesty and integrity from our government. Those of us who live with disabilities and chronic illnesses are Americans. We deserve dignity and respect and a fair shot.

Biden Pledges to Help the Disability Community in Victory Speech

If you have anxiety and you also are really concerned about the state of our country, this week was likely not a good week for you. I know it wasn’t for me. The cliffhanger experience of finding out who was going to lead our country into the future was excruciating. Personally, I believe there was really only one option this election for reasons I won’t get into here. But I will say that I have breathed a collective sigh of relief along with millions of other people. I felt the pride of being an American again after watching President-Elect Joe Biden give his acceptance speech in front of the nation Saturday night. He repeatedly mentioned the mandate he felt to help the American people, and the one thing that really struck a chord with me, that stood out most, was his promise to help the disabled community. We are often the most overlooked community. We severely lack sufficient advocacy in our government to create legislation that protects our rights and expands our potential as contributing members of society. Many in our community are living on the poverty line. Disability checks, if you are lucky enough to make it through the extremely complicated and harrowing system of getting approved, barely cover the essentials of daily living. Despite the ADA, many companies refuse to make accommodations for people with disabilities, such as allowing working from home, working flexible hours and having access to resources in the workplace to help them do their jobs more efficiently. So many talented people fall through the cracks. So many who are just looking for a chance to shine get overlooked. “That’s all they’re asking for,” Biden said. “A fair shot to succeed.” That’s all any of us are asking for — equal opportunity. Disabled people also face exorbitant medical fees for things not covered under insurance. It’s not uncommon for many of us to live in debt. The Affordable Care Act has helped minimize this to an extent, but it is nowhere near a perfect system and desperately needs reform. I am looking forward to seeing what this new administration is going to do to help my community. I look forward in hope and trust, because I believe we are entering a new era of compassion, honesty and integrity from our government. Those of us who live with disabilities and chronic illnesses are Americans. We deserve dignity and respect and a fair shot.

Biden Pledges to Help the Disability Community in Victory Speech

If you have anxiety and you also are really concerned about the state of our country, this week was likely not a good week for you. I know it wasn’t for me. The cliffhanger experience of finding out who was going to lead our country into the future was excruciating. Personally, I believe there was really only one option this election for reasons I won’t get into here. But I will say that I have breathed a collective sigh of relief along with millions of other people. I felt the pride of being an American again after watching President-Elect Joe Biden give his acceptance speech in front of the nation Saturday night. He repeatedly mentioned the mandate he felt to help the American people, and the one thing that really struck a chord with me, that stood out most, was his promise to help the disabled community. We are often the most overlooked community. We severely lack sufficient advocacy in our government to create legislation that protects our rights and expands our potential as contributing members of society. Many in our community are living on the poverty line. Disability checks, if you are lucky enough to make it through the extremely complicated and harrowing system of getting approved, barely cover the essentials of daily living. Despite the ADA, many companies refuse to make accommodations for people with disabilities, such as allowing working from home, working flexible hours and having access to resources in the workplace to help them do their jobs more efficiently. So many talented people fall through the cracks. So many who are just looking for a chance to shine get overlooked. “That’s all they’re asking for,” Biden said. “A fair shot to succeed.” That’s all any of us are asking for — equal opportunity. Disabled people also face exorbitant medical fees for things not covered under insurance. It’s not uncommon for many of us to live in debt. The Affordable Care Act has helped minimize this to an extent, but it is nowhere near a perfect system and desperately needs reform. I am looking forward to seeing what this new administration is going to do to help my community. I look forward in hope and trust, because I believe we are entering a new era of compassion, honesty and integrity from our government. Those of us who live with disabilities and chronic illnesses are Americans. We deserve dignity and respect and a fair shot.

Biden Pledges to Help the Disability Community in Victory Speech

If you have anxiety and you also are really concerned about the state of our country, this week was likely not a good week for you. I know it wasn’t for me. The cliffhanger experience of finding out who was going to lead our country into the future was excruciating. Personally, I believe there was really only one option this election for reasons I won’t get into here. But I will say that I have breathed a collective sigh of relief along with millions of other people. I felt the pride of being an American again after watching President-Elect Joe Biden give his acceptance speech in front of the nation Saturday night. He repeatedly mentioned the mandate he felt to help the American people, and the one thing that really struck a chord with me, that stood out most, was his promise to help the disabled community. We are often the most overlooked community. We severely lack sufficient advocacy in our government to create legislation that protects our rights and expands our potential as contributing members of society. Many in our community are living on the poverty line. Disability checks, if you are lucky enough to make it through the extremely complicated and harrowing system of getting approved, barely cover the essentials of daily living. Despite the ADA, many companies refuse to make accommodations for people with disabilities, such as allowing working from home, working flexible hours and having access to resources in the workplace to help them do their jobs more efficiently. So many talented people fall through the cracks. So many who are just looking for a chance to shine get overlooked. “That’s all they’re asking for,” Biden said. “A fair shot to succeed.” That’s all any of us are asking for — equal opportunity. Disabled people also face exorbitant medical fees for things not covered under insurance. It’s not uncommon for many of us to live in debt. The Affordable Care Act has helped minimize this to an extent, but it is nowhere near a perfect system and desperately needs reform. I am looking forward to seeing what this new administration is going to do to help my community. I look forward in hope and trust, because I believe we are entering a new era of compassion, honesty and integrity from our government. Those of us who live with disabilities and chronic illnesses are Americans. We deserve dignity and respect and a fair shot.