by Marlane Gohl
I have struggled with mental health issues all my life, and have had many ups and downs. The worst was when my mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the early 2000s. I had to drop out of college and take care of her along with my brother for several years. When she died, it destroyed me. For some time I wouldn’t even speak to the rest of my family. Then I met a rat. Yes, I said a rat. He was this beautiful little round ball of joy, and my rescuer. I named him Misha. He made me see that I had to get my shit together. He was the guiding light that led me out of my darkness. He helped me enough that I was able to seek out the professional help I required, and eventually go back to school. Because of him, I now have an associate degree in liberal studies, am finishing my bachelors in creative and technical writing, and soon will begin an associate degree in communications. I have also become a mental health advocate. Misha has long since passed away, but his influence continues. I use him to remind me that even the smallest things can make a huge difference, and I hope to pass that on to all who visit this site.