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5 Empowering Authors Who Overcame Adversity and Stepped Into Their Greatness

Mental health has undoubtedly risen to the top of our society's priorities since the start of the pandemic.

With approximately 1 in 8 people worldwide living with a mental health disorder, World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to promote the eradication of global stigmas and renew our efforts to safeguard and improve our mental well-being.

Many have come to realise that adversity is unavoidable and that through life's difficulties, we can thrive.

The following 5 Authors have used their resilience to turn misfortune into an opportunity, overcome adversity and step into greatness.

Marc O'Brien

Storyteller, Barry University Communication Arts Graduate and Author of The Final Fence: Sophomores in the Saddle, Marc O'Brien always knew that it was his duty to educate people on facing adversity while challenging the reader to interpret and learn from his writings.

Sparked by the skills acquired during his College years as a therapeutic horseback riding participant, The Final Fence: Sophomores in the Saddle will educate you in the method you feel most comfortable with through interpretive fiction.

The main character, Eddie Patrick, is based on O'Brien, a Communications Arts major. Due to circumstances beyond his control and as a sign of self-destructive behaviour, Patrick made a suicide attempt using two canes and two wristbands.

On the contrary, Danielle Lynne, who has never participated in a national competition, is capable and possesses the necessary abilities to earn a spot in the Olympics.

When Patrick and Lynne, two kindhearted people, first meet on a college campus, their shared passion for horses starts a discussion in class. Their friendship serves as an example of the importance of talking about mental health, how one person dealt with a physical limitation beyond their control, respect, excellent friendships, finding closure, and having a solid foundation.


"Facing adversity entails learning what you are truly made of and observing how you behave when things are beyond

one's control."


Offering a fresh and unvarnished perspective on a life full of encouragement, it is highly rare for someone to transmit a message to others outside conventional "inspiration," while highlighting the importance of supporting the uniquely abled demographic based on real-life experiences.

Everyone can impact society and make a difference. The Final Fence: Sophomores In The Saddle is about living, not winning.

Iyanla Vanzant

Many people believed Vanzant's life would be filled with challenges and winding roads, but today she stands on fertile ground and offers thousands of people advice.

Vanzant was raised in Brooklyn, New York, and experienced abuse and abandonment as a child, unwanted pregnancies and several career changes. After an arduous path, in 1983 she made it possible for herself to graduate from college turning her adversity into triumph.


"No storm can last forever. It will never rain 365 days consecutively. Keep in mind that trouble comes to pass, not to stay. Don't worry! No storm, not even the one in your life, can last forever."


In a fit of depression, Vanzant attempted suicide, and endured difficulties in her journey to becoming an author and a motivational speaker. Although the mountain to success was challenging to climb, in the end, she overcame adversity.

Through her compelling writing and speaking talents, Vanzant continues to educate women around the world so they can improve their lives and the lives of the communities in which they live.

J.K Rowling

One of the best-selling Authors of all time is the creator of the Harry Potter series, J.K Rowling. Before her breakthrough, Rowling went through several years of battling depression, considering committing suicide, a divorce, experiencing her mother's death, to supporting herself and her children on public assistance. Rowling yet found motivation at every turn.


“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finish the only work that mattered to me. Had I succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged.


I was set free … I was still alive ...I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Using past challenges as a foundation to rebuild herself, Rowling often gives talks on depression helping others to remove the stigma and overcome their battles too.

Kinyatta E. Gray

On October 21, 2018, Gray's life as she once knew it would change forever leaving her to accept a new perspective on earth by herself.

Gray, Founder and CEO of FlightsInStilettos, wrote and published her first book in 2019, a memoir entitled '30 Days: Surviving the Trauma and Unexpected Loss of a Single Parent as an Only Child.

Spending years cultivating her self-awareness through prayer, along with self-belief, Gray has personal experience with what it's like to feel hopeless, unworthy, exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally, and wanting to end a poisonous relationship.


"I was not always on the path that I’m on now, but one day I made a choice about how I would live my life and what I wanted in my life – and once I made those choices, everything thereafter became a goal."


Committing herself to honouring her Mother's legacy by becoming an author, a dream her Mother also wished to attain, Gray also set out to become an influential travel figure, sparking the creation behind FlightsInStilettos, celebrities' favourite lifestyle brand.

Already a top favourite amongst A-listers, FlightsInStilettos has been featured on billboards in New York City's Times Square and supported by celebrities from Claire Sulmers of Fashion Bomb Daily to ‘Housewives of New Jersey’s, Delores.

Paulo Coelho

Brazilian songwriter-turned-novelist, Paulo Coelho was sent to a mental facility by his parents at the age of 17, who was worried about his reclusive, unconventional conduct. However, Coelho who received electroshock therapy and was administered tranquillizers managed to get away numerous times before he was finally freed at the age of 20.

In Paulo Coelho's novel The Alchemist, a young child named Santiago seeks out his mythology with the aid of others. He becomes more whole as a result of the challenges he faces.


"Avoiding problems you need to face is

avoiding the life you need to live."


On his seemingly endless trek, Santiago encounters a crystal dealer who offers him a fresh perspective on his goal.

Coelho is currently the all-time best-selling author in the Portuguese language. The Alchemist, his groundbreaking book, has been translated into 80 different languages and comprises numerous gems on overcoming adversity.

What separates people in our society who succeed is their fortitude to persevere through seemingly insurmountable challenges in life.

Not only have these Authors overcome adversity, they know a thing or two about having the willingness to pursue your dreams and why you need to persevere until you succeed.

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