Mental Health

Learning to Be

Late November, I hit a wall. A panic attack out of nowhere led me to spend a week in bed recuperating, watching Hallmark channel movies to the point where there was nothing else in my YouTube feed. (I know, they’re terrible, but everything works out in the end. It’s so comforting). The attack forced me […]

Abortion: Unwanted Reality

I had two abortions. They weren’t “crisis pregnancies.” They weren’t “unplanned pregnancies.” They were simply unwanted. I was a teenaged girl living with her boyfriend, playing house. Our “unplanned pregnancies” were nothing more than “not planning ahead and being responsible pregnancies.” I didn’t use birth control. So abortion became my birth control. 1987 was the […]

Honoring a Parent With Whom I’ve Drawn a Boundary

My mom prunes the Mexican Oak tree in my front yard with her bare hands. The tree stands catty-corner to the chain-link fence, standing guard against the neighbor’s driveway. It appears diseased as my mom tirelessly rips off each limb. The branches fall around her like the many stories we hold and can’t quite bring […]

When Other People Think Your Kids Are Apples

Today my kids got these . . . I don’t know . . . lip spreaders at church. You know the ones I mean? The plastic thingies that pull your lips away from your gums and make you talk funny like you’re at the dentist? As we walked out of church, my kids start chanting […]

Wishing Pokemon Were Real: A Story of Autism

There’s no band aid for this, no kissing it away, no telling her it will feel better tomorrow. Because it may not. Tomorrow feels very far away when she is shrieking in frustration, when she is nearly inconsolable. I can’t comfort my baby girl. No matter how many truths I tell her, no matter the amount […]

Healing from Depression

When the moon rolls out of the sky And you are strangled with darkness.   When the trees have lost their leaves And stand in surrender to winter.   When every word is a suicide note And your face is dry from crying.   This is when hope arrives Like a hurricane of joy   […]

Soul-Care After an Unexpected Descent Into Depression

Without warning, I found my mental state rapidly shifting. For one week in late March, it seemed to spin out of my control. Increasing anxiety gripped my soul, its force building stronger each day. Suddenly, the anxiety transformed into a deep depression. Never had I felt such a heaviness pressing upon me.  After a few […]

Ink, Blood, and Tears

I got off the bus at my new school and saw the parking lot filled with cars. This was nothing like my former crowded, noisy, urban Philadelphia high school with the dark stairwells and constant police presence. I’d never seen so many Ford Tauruses in my life. Some even had monograms on the doors. I […]

Coping by Escaping

I remember three holes in the wooden post of my childhood bunk bed. One contained the bolt that connected the frame together and the other two were empty. They were meant for adjusting the height of the lower bunk, but we never did. The empty holes were insignificant to the rest of the room, unimportant […]