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

Flashback Friday: This post was originally published on May 10, 2016. 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 […]

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 […]

Dismantling Dark Emotions

I am one of those people that journal religiously. I have since I can remember. And I keep them (which is miraculous considering how much crap I throw away). I used to think that buying a new journal was like New Year’s Eve: A new chance at life. But now I’m learning that it doesn’t […]

The Crushing Weight of White Supremacy

This isn’t the post I had originally started writing for this month’s “Disquietude, Distress, and Dread” theme. Originally, I was going to share with you how I’m learning that Fall and this last quarter of the year are when I’m most vulnerable to the symptoms of my illness. I had written words detailing how my […]

Wearing the Word Brave

It’s dark in here, I told him, but all the lights in the room are on. It’s the first thing I can think of to explain my knees bouncing and my teeth chattering, even though I’m not cold. I am out of control. I am helpless, at the mercy of my brain. I am utterly […]

I Know Why They Chose to Sink

I came across a journal the other day with one of the only poems I’ve written in more than a decade. My college years were spent between literary criticism, philosophy papers, and procrastinating by writing poetry. But after life got increasingly full and more complicated, I let verse fall to the wayside. That fullness quite […]