By Stephanie Stahl


DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — Are you ready to be inspired? There is a new version of a book from a Delaware County mom about turning heartbreak and hardship into hope, and finding a way through darkness. Most families at some point have difficult times, whether it’s illness, divorce, addiction or depression.

The book is about how people have overcome what seems impossible.

“I had this everyday life, but inside I was struggling,” author Melissa Ann Hopely said.

Hopely was a standout athlete, but she was consumed with “feelings of worthlessness.”

“I couldn’t get out of bed,” she said.

How Hopely turned darkness to light is a journey she is telling in her book called “The People You Meet In Real Life.”

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“I started sharing my story and it was like a magnet. I go through this too. Oh my gosh, I want to share my story. Then literally all of a sudden I had 30 people that wanted to be a part of this,” Hopely said.

The real life stories in the book come from people around Philadelphia impacted by all kinds of heartache and hardships. They not only survive, but they’re able to find hope and inspiration.

“It’s creating a community of courage and grace,” said Denis Asselin, whose son Nathaniel died by suicide.

Nathaniel Asselin suffered from OCD and body dysmorphic disorder. He died by suicide when he was 24 years old.

“I’m doing what he wasn’t able to do,” Denis Asselin said.

Instead of being consumed by despair, Asselin started walking.

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“Walked from Philly to Boston, I forced myself to speak to five people every day who didn’t know anything about mental health issues,” he said.

Asselin created an organization called Walking With Nathaniel.

“It’s about giving hope to people, it’s getting mental health out of the closet,” Asselin said.

Another chapter in the book is about Jordan Burnham.

“I didn’t cope with my depression in a healthy way,” Burnham said.

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Burnham was 18 years old when he survived a suicide attempt with devastating injuries. He has since become a motivational speaker.

“I always say there is hope that it is a one day at a time type thing,” he said.

They are learning to live again, one step at a time and reaching out to others.

“My grandmother always says the rainbows of life always follow the storm,” Hopely said.

Hopely says proceeds from the book will go to The Stephen Patrick Scholarship that she set up in honor of her cousin who died from an overdose.

The book also has information about support groups like Minding Your Mind, reminding everyone that help is available for people who are struggling.

Stephanie Stahl