Introducing DC Area Cast Member Cindy Kolbe

Struggling with Serendipity


I’m excited to share that I signed my first book contract with a traditional publisher (not self-publishing) in September of 2018! My memoir, Struggling with Serendipity, will be released this spring. It tells the story of a mom’s crisis, a daughter’s paralysis, and extraordinary adventures around the world.

My story also explores possibilities after tragedy, and hope after deep depression. I was first diagnosed with depression in my 20’s, but I was in denial until my 30’s, when it came up again at a pain clinic. I worked with doctors to try medications for the first time, which managed my depression. Until. . .

I fell asleep at the wheel late one night with my 14-year-old daughter in the passenger seat. The car flipped across a dark field. The accident left Beth with a spinal cord injury and quadriplegia. Her struggles were physical and mine were mental. My doctor increased the doses on my anti-depressants, but it didn’t help. My depression intensified with new guilt and anxiety to completely change me. I listened to the lies of depression and felt unworthy of help. I didn’t want to worry my family, so I hid the pain.

At the same time, Beth wheeled forward in her new wheelchair and found serendipity again and again. She carried us from our small town in Ohio to Harvard and around the world. Eventually, I started counseling and continued weekly sessions for three years. I wish I had reached out for help earlier, from my family and from mental health professionals. With the passage of years, I learned to forgive myself and find the hope that Beth had all along. Today, I’m in a much better place.

I live in the Shenandoah Valley with my husband (and best friend!) of 41 years. Our three kids live in DC, Baltimore, and Boston. I’ve been a lifelong disability advocate—even before Beth’s spinal cord injury. I ran a nonprofit, managed group homes, and taught literacy at a state institution. I also write a weekly blog and published 50 articles in 16 different media since 2016. I’m a peer mentor and volunteer with disability nonprofits. I’m passionate about sharing this message: If you #NeverGiveUp, #HopeWins!

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Please share this post with friends and family in the DC area. We're all affected by mental health and addiction issues, and the more we can support each other, the easier it will be for people to seek help. This Is My Brave is proof that Storytelling Saves Lives.