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Sole Shack – a community for teenagers with Bipolar, Depression, or other mental illness

How many teenagers are out there, confused and misunderstood, due to being different according to the world’s standards, because mental disease has such a stigma about it. The idea is to help you guys, the ones that don’t want to talk to someone they know, but would rather be part of a community that understands, yet doing this anonymously* without anyone knowing who or where you are. Sole Shack is a support group for you and your peers going through the same turmoil, but with a Dotty, who actually understands and does not judge, to talk to.

If you have been at your lowest of lows and had nowhere to go, this is the site for you. You can talk to me (Dotty) without being judged and you will have your peers to give you generation-related advice, but with Dotty as a safety net. Join us and let’s see how we can change each other’s outlook on most problems that we struggle with, daily.

Once you join the Sole Shack community, you will get to know me (Dotty), as being determined, rebellious, young at heart, and a real softy.

My teen daughter (Neno) will splash by, from time-to-time, to share her High School world and all the fun and complications. She is loyal, smart, and loves animals – oh, and she speaks Whale fluently!

And to help us get some release from our stress and anxiety, coach Ruth will pop in once a month to drop articles regarding exercise and healthy lifestyle tips. Ruth is my life coach as well as exercise coach. She is an amazing lady that can inspire by one word or even one look. She has so much love and blessings to share and I am sure you will also find her as inspiring as I do.

* Within the Sole Shack community, we respect privacy. By creating a username and password, you can interact with the community, anonymously. Non-members will not be allowed to enter our chat room. Dotty will moderate posts as seen fit and if a post is removed, a reason will be given. Nothing on this site will ever be copied or discussed outside this cycle.

Where it all started

For me (Dotty), this journey started years ago. I was a sixteen year old kid that rebelled against all. I started feeling depressed and wondered if my life was worth anything. I tried to commit suicide. Nobody ever found out, as I did not succeed and only felt unwell enough after, to miss school and stay in my hostel room. One year later, I was at a new school. I tried again. But this time my sister tried as well. She landed in hospital. We both got expelled and had to move back home. Fast forward a few years and I was eventually diagnosed. But nobody understood. Although I now had medication, I started self harming, in the form of cutting.

Unfortunately we didn’t live in a society, don’t live in one even now, that understands what it feels like to live with Bipolar, OCD or any other mental disease. Most people think a person can just shake it off, walk it off. But all in this cycle will definitely agree that we do not have control over our feelings. It can be found in anger, tears, even plain frustration. Because nobody knows how alone it is in that void we create to not feel anything. I did my time in a few mental facilities and everyone thought I had my condition under control. But then, one night I decided I wanted no more of this and in a last ditch effort, tried again to commit suicide. I woke up in ICU and for a moment I was so disappointed that it did not work.

But then the Lord spoke to me. I heard Him say, “Listen here, you are doing this all wrong.” So, I started to exercise daily and took my medication strictly. And I started living with a different attitude, looking for ways to make a difference. Slowly, I could see a positive change in myself.

How Sole Shack was born

Last year, during the Covid-19 Lockdown, everyone was so down and vulnerable. So, when the gym I have a membership with, opened up again, I started joking around, trying to brighten up my exercise buddies’ day. That I could brighten up anyone’s day was a feat on its own, as I’ve been struggling with Depression, Bipolar, OCD, and anxiety for years. And it was just a year before that I landed up in a psych ward, after I tried killing myself. But something in me has changed. I was noticing that I have a gift for helping people and I started thinking about how I can change the world. Immediately, I thought about this confusing medicated world - created to keep me sane, but also dull – that I live in. I associated so much with Dory of Finding Nemo (btw Dory was my 3rd Tattoo). I was this confused person wandering the world, mostly forgetting all that I need to be thankful for - my husband and teenage daughter (call her Neno), who are my world, but that I keep losing, unintentionally.

For me, living confused like that, was no longer an option. I was in this world, for a purpose. So, an idea started forming in my head. I wanted to provide a safe space for teenagers struggling with mental illness to be able to talk about their issues. Because I understand teenagers, and sometimes I still feel like a teenager, myself. I, Dotty (Yvette Myburgh), am in no means qualified as a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I can relate to you out if my own experience.

Sole Shack’s goal

The point of this site is for you to be able to share your stories on a safe platform, anonymous, to speak to like-minded teens. Dotty will pop in once in a while to let you know what is going on, on the Reef. So, Sole Shack should be seen as a safety zone where we can discuss our feelings openly and not be judged, a safe haven for peers going through the same experience.

Fun fact: Coral reefs form a protective barrier around coastlines, protecting the coast from storms and erosion. They also create job-opportunities and are a source of recreation, food, and medicines.

I look forward to swimming alongside you, on the Sole Shack Reef. We will share our stories and unite in inspiring each other to be the best we were meant to be.


(Yvette Myburgh) Dotty Fish