I Won’t Say I Read Trashy Books Anymore

My friend Melissa has a way of being kind that also makes me think. We were out for coffee, talking about books. Specifically: about my anxiety about wanting to read more. By most measures, I read a lot, but with the advent of smart phones and parenthood, I read less then I used to. Recently, […]

Taking Back My Power

In high school I started blacking out. The first time I was sitting in math class listening to the teacher drone on. The next thing I remember I was looking up at a crowd of people surrounding me. A litany of tests and doctors followed that incident and left me feeling defeated. When they could find […]

4 Things I Want You to Know about Mental Illness

What Mental Illness Is Empty. Sometimes I just feel empty. My body is heavy with exhaustion so that my arm flops down to the table. It’s not even that I’m sad. Just, empty. Void of emotion. And honestly, I don’t care. Yeah, that’s depression. Tight. Often I feel tight. All my muscles are tense and […]

The Waging and the Waiting

This essay is an excerpt from the anthology Soul Bare: Stories of Redemption published by Inter Varsity Press in August 2016. In 1977, my mother left my brothers and me with sitters to go looking for an apartment and didn’t return for days. When she finally did, after what most people considered a “lost weekend,” my […]

When the Word “Holidays” Stresses You Out

You know what my idea of a holiday is? A normal day. Laundry, hanging with my kids, and, by 9:30 pm, watching a murder mystery with my husband while I eat raisin bran. Even better: doing all that in slippers. Normal days are easy. On a normal day, I have a routine. I know what’s […]

What’s Your Trigger?

I know the panic which rises, gripping and pulsating, when a certain number flickers on the phone. I am a well-seasoned avoider as my heart races and I wait for voicemail, confident I am in trouble. I stall. Do laundry. Later, I listen. The same anxiety wakes me on days I meet with her. Well […]

Cleaning Up the Mess

“Now, what?” I asked myself a few months ago. After years, consisting of very long days, of  family struggles with mental and medical conditions, the season began to change. At first, I dared not believe it. So many times, there had been brief glimpses of light as we forged through the darkness. But those moments […]

Tasting Beauty in the Suburbs

It had been a string of days with too much noise—me, children, politics, social media—so I took to the neighborhood walking paths to work things out in my body, while my husband constructed things out of wood (his own way of working things out). I could feel myself hit walls, get to breaking points, pass the […]

The Power of Enduring

It’s Thanksgiving. I’ve been cycling through this mixed state of hypomania and depression all Fall. Relief came at the beginning of the month, like a release on a pressure valve, giving my mind and lungs the room I needed to breathe and just . . . be again. The cycling has slowed but has not […]