Author Introduction: Megan Snyder

Hello,                                                                                                                                              ,

My name is Megan Snyder. I’m 24- years- old and currently a graduate student pursuing a degree in Communication Technology at Point Park University.  To say that I am passionate about just one thing in this life would be an understatement. I am passionate about spreading the good news of the Gospel, learning new things, and raising awareness regarding addiction  and mental health issues.

I am so passionate about the aforementioned because the good news of the Gospel and learning new things have saved my life. I have mental health issues. I suffer from depression and anxiety. At 24, I have walked through many valleys. Born with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, the roads I have walked have been anything but smooth. Being that my brain and legs do not know how to properly communicate, I am the individual who walks into walls, whose body constantly feels like it’s gotten into a fight with Mike Tyson, and who can’t pass a field sobriety test when sober.

I have a wonderful family. I live with my grandparents who have been there for me since I made my grand entrance into this world. They have been supportive of all my many ambitions and dreams. I also have a wonderful mentor who started working with me in middle school and led me to salvation in Jesus Christ.

Often, people think that once people accept Jesus Christ as their Savior that life has no more valleys. I am here to tell you that such a thought is the farthest thing from the truth. Shortly after getting saved, my parents decided they were going to split up. This was not a typical divorce, both of my parents left. They elected to walk the road most traveled. My father decided to immerse himself in work in addition to having two more children. His world came crashing down when he and the mother of those two boys split, and now he too suffers from depression but refuses help. My mom had never truly been an involved parent. After all, she had me at 16.  To this day, she continues to be a free spirit who lacks the ability to prioritize even when it comes to myself and my younger brother Mark.

The two of us were left with my grandparents and we grew up hardly seeing my parents at all. My first question was “Jesus… the Healer… The Comforter… What? Where the heck are you?” By this time, my grandfather had begun to have insurmountable health problems and I felt like the biggest burden of all time. In my teenage mind, the only solution was to commit suicide so that my family would no longer have the burden of caring for a special needs child.  Such thoughts continued through high school where a suicide attempt of mine was thwarted. During high school, I also developed epilepsy and I was certain that if I didn’t take my life, a seizure would.

My church family was quick to be by my side as I continued to fall deeper into depression and self-harm. I soon realized my worth and what I was meant to do this world: impact others by telling my story. As I continued to walk through valleys in life, I immersed myself in learning. I have trouble walking, but school is where I continue to feel at home. Although it may have taken me longer to complete assignments, I was successful and gave all the glory to the Lord.  I went on to graduate high school and got accepted into Point Park University. I graduated with a B.A. in English with the honor of Magna Cum Laude in 2016.

Shortly before my college graduation ceremony in April of 2017, I was knocking on death’s door. This time not on my own accord. I had sepsis. Simultaneously, my grandfather suffered a massive stroke accompanied by seizures. The outlook for both of us was rather dark. We weren’t expected to live, but God had other plans for us. God had walked with us through our valleys. My grandfather had a long road ahead, but we were grateful that he lived to begin taking that long walk.  I was eager to participate in the college commencement ceremony that had been five years in the making for me.

Things in my life seemed to be going well. My mom had re-entered my life. I was about to celebrate the biggest accomplishment of my life. However, our joy had turned to sorrow, a week before my grandfather’s 75th birthday and just days before my graduation. On April 8th, 2017, my family and I had received a call that no one wants to receive. My Uncle Bob had passed away at age 53 after a lifelong battle with depression, anxiety, and addiction. It rocked my family’s world so much that I considered not attending graduation and not having a party.

My faith was shaken once again. The Lord had just walked with me through one of the most terrifying health journeys in my life. I survived. My grandfather had survived. We were so happy to be celebrating another birthday with him. I had to watch my two biggest cheerleaders, my grandparents grieve the loss of their first-born son. We had a fabulous homegoing service for him, but it was tough watching my grandparents bury their baby boy. My mother’s visits had become sporadic and eventually, her regularity just stopped. She became a trigger regarding my depression and urge to self-harm.

I still struggle with depression and anxiety. In recent months, I was regularly suicidal and needed an antidepressant. The Lord has held me in the palm of His hand. Satan tried to silence me, but The Lord helped me see that asking for help was okay.   Because of my struggle, I wanted to partner with The Sunflower Effect.  I had the honor of knowing the young lady for whom this organization is named after. Amber was a beautiful soul.  She was broken, but she still carried a smile. Her fragile heart was welcomed into His healing hands. She was one who put others before herself, much like myself.  Amber’s beautiful legacy will continue to make an impact. My hope is that I can be a voice for the voiceless and raise awareness about issues that have been silenced for far too long.

I leave you with this. I encountered it a lot as an English major:

The Road Not Taken:

Author: Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Signing off for now-

Megan