Anita D. Russell’s first solo project as an author, I Wanna See Laney’s House: A Sibling Story, reveals her decades-long journey towards spiritual growth and mental wellness. It begins with a tragic moment at the family home on Linden Avenue in East Pittsburgh. A dark night of the soul unfolds when one sister is hit by a car and the other hit by depression.
Anita is a life coach, speaker and founder/CEO of The Place to SOAR, a Pittsburgh-based social enterprise dedicated to cultivating. The primary components of the SOAR concept — Step Out And Redesign — include the SOAR Coaching Academy for adults and the SOAR Youth Empowerment Program, developing leadership in teens ages 13-18.
I have a riddle for you:
How does a 5-year-old girl recover from depression?
Answer: One decade at a time.
Therein lies my story, a life filled with joy, laughter and sunshine ultimately morphed into a quest for mental wellness over several decades. On Sept. 6, 1962, I became a depressed little girl after witnessing the death of my 3-year-old sister, Laney, who was hit by a car in front of our house. On that day I disappeared, and no one could see that I was gone. I suffered from the internal bleeding of emotions I did not recognize nor understand; emotions that I did not have the language to express, articulate or process. I suffered from the pain of grief that dragged me into the dark, melancholic space of depression.