Not all prisoners are locked in jail cells. There are some not under protective custody who live a caged existence, as they quietly wrestle with their demons.
Mental illness can indeed seem like incarceration—until breakthrough opens doors to personal transformation as it did for Nyack College senior Morgan Kessler. As violence to others and self-harm become more prevalent in our society, it is clear that mental diseases warrant the same attention that physical diseases do. Morgan shared her thoughts on a critical reality for people who struggle with mental disorders.
“I think what is most assumed about people with mental illness is that we can control it,” explains the intercultural studies major. “To a certain extent you can control how you react to certain situations, but I think many people think that we can “just get over it.” This is absolutely not true. When you are struggling just to get out of bed in the morning, you are not going to be able to do much, let alone “just get over it.” I feel like a lot of times we are talked to like mental illness is a switch that can be turned on and off, when in reality we really don’t have any control over some of the thoughts that come into our heads or the things we feel. I believe many of us would argue, “Do you think I want to feel like this or think about these things?”
Morgan’s challenges with anxiety, chronic depression, insomnia and an eating disorder were a part of her journey; but those difficulties are far behind her now. Her road to becoming healthy is something she is willing to freely share with others.
The hope and the future that only God can make possible is evident in the trajectory of Morgan’s life. The Oneida County, NY native completed high school at 16, took a gap year, and with a desire to be as far away from home as possible, she ultimately settled in Florida. With a “life-worth-living” goal, she eventually enrolled at Word of Life Bible Institute in Hudson, Florida. After testing the waters of higher education, she transferred to Nyack College in 2017, where real personal transformation began.
“If it wasn’t for God bringing me to Nyack, Him spiritually healing me from a demonic attachment and His constant intervention in my daily life, I would not be where I am today,” Morgan emphatically shares. She is also grateful for the impact of the Office of Spiritual Formation’s Deeper Life events and how the Offices of Counseling Services and Student Development invested in her personal growth.
With a passion for learning about other cultures and her May 2020 graduation ahead, Morgan is considering working with an organization like YWAM (Youth With A Mission) or getting accredited with the C&MA to pursue business overseas. “I love community and I love creating community. I love people, and I love empowering other people, and I love God. So the combination of those things is exactly why I want to do business as mission.”