I think a title is supposed to go here.

black whiteI am tired. I am tired of asking for help. It’s not the vulnerability that’s difficult for me – my nature gives me no choice but to be embarrassingly and shamefully vulnerable almost all the time. It’s the astounding lack of follow through on the part of others. I’ve been thinking over and over how to follow the advice to writers out there – how to create good content that people actually want and need, how to find an agent, how to land a book deal, etc. – and I just can’t do it. None of it feels right. I can’t get any of it to work. So, I guess this blog is just for me, then. I guess, after all, even though one of my deepest desires is to write for others (I mean, I write “for myself,” too, but that’s called journaling, and not at all the same as what I think every Writer actually wants), maybe all this is just for me. Continue reading I think a title is supposed to go here.

Okay, bye, 2016.

tired-dog

This day last year, with about an hour of 2015 to go, I was 30,000 feet in the air going through what I can now say was tiny turbulence compared to the last 12 months and was told this would be the hardest year of my life. My only reflection on it is, “It f*ing better be.” I leave this year wondering if anything will work out (personally, nationally or globally) and hoping that I might be able to stop waking up in the middle of the night sobbing. I’m glad I’ve reached the age where a year feels like just several months.

Thankfully, I started learning German this year and they have a perfect word for this: Lebensmüde. Life-tired. From an article on the Book of Life: “We believe ourselves to be firmly attached to life, but a lot of our behaviour attests to something more interesting and troubling; an occasional longing to give up our hold on existence. It is deeply useful to have this word to hand on gloomy days when it feels like nothing will ever work out.”

2016 wasn’t really anyone’s year so instead of wishing you a happy new year, I’m going to say that I hope, for myself as well as you, that this incoming year will reveal and affirm why we’re still here.

Sad Lady Scatterdly Considers Aloneness

 

ClownfishI’m excited to see this going mainstream: the best we can do for our loved ones is to try to love them. We don’t have to call the police. We don’t have to recite all our commitments and things pulling at our time (I’m not alone in despising the “I’m busy” excuse). We don’t have to “just” pray for them, especially since it is an expressly Christian call, not to be passive in the face of suffering – that of our friend’s, that of our enemy’s, our own. Continue reading Sad Lady Scatterdly Considers Aloneness

Sad Lady, An Interlude

commitmentI had thought I found a new voice. Friends noticed a difference and I was filled up by their affirmations and encouragements even as I was facing a new way of being: sad not mad. But 30 years of loneliness, isolation and taking people far too seriously than they seem to want to be taken titrates a rage with a particularly long half-life. Continue reading Sad Lady, An Interlude

Sad Lady and the Persistence of Anger

falling_RockI have a dear and longtime friend who has worked very hard to understand me, who does so well generally, and who has been integral to my life since 2009. He’s also been unfairly (to him) busy in a way that’s not allowed him much rest or time to do things that are nourishing for him and in a way that makes me think we’re sort of losing him, at least as anything more than a shell of a person. I’m going through some deep pain and some ancient pain; I wrote him a very long letter explaining one aspect of this pain in detail and had been waiting for over two months to give it to him. I don’t need everyone to understand this particular thing I’m going through (most people won’t, given how deceiving a surface-level view of it is) but I really needed this friend to.

Continue reading Sad Lady and the Persistence of Anger

Sad Lady Meets An Unexpected Kindness

I cardwanted a water filter that removed fluoride and had been saving up. My mom texted me on Easter, wishing me a happy one, asked if I had plans and if I needed a new spring dress. “I’ve been looking at some for you and I want to buy one for you if you need.” The only thing I’m displeased with about my wardrobe is that I have too many clothes so I told her this, and about the water filter. She said she’d definitely contribute to that fund and would send a check. It arrived on Friday. And I was a sodden woman. Continue reading Sad Lady Meets An Unexpected Kindness

Sad Lady Meets An Unexpected Kindness

I cardwanted a water filter that removed fluoride and had been saving up. My mom texted me on Easter, wishing me a happy one, asked if I had plans and if I needed a new spring dress. “I’ve been looking at some for you and I want to buy one for you if you need.” The only thing I’m displeased with about my wardrobe is that I have too many clothes so I told her this, and about the water filter. She said she’d definitely contribute to that fund and would send a check. It arrived on Friday. And I was a sodden woman. Continue reading Sad Lady Meets An Unexpected Kindness

Sad Lady, An Introduction

cracked stoneThere’s a story in the Old Testament where Moses strikes a stone and water gushes out. Nevermind what he strikes it with; de- and recontextualized, this is my story of self protection. Literally, self preservation. The stone is my anger. The water is sadness so deep I don’t perceive how I’ll outlive it. It’s been there since I, age four, learned that trees can die and so can bunnies and flowers and dreams. My porcelain-doll sister was only five months old at the time; she, too, would die? Even if she (and I) did everything right? Continue reading Sad Lady, An Introduction

Love, not Law: A Response to Mental Illness

dirty handsTwo weeks ago now (sorry about that), I mentioned that a friend who read my op-ed in Real Change’s May 27th issue had asked some good follow-up questions, specifically what my suggestions for better legislation/solutions were and if there are other states or countries that are doing a better job. I’ll start with the big picture: we lose about one million people worldwide to suicide a year; 450 million are dealing with experiences commonly understood as mental illness; ‘neuropsychiatric disorders’ accounted for the largest percentage of “disability adjusted life years” – above AIDS and injuries – in 2001, the last time they did such a study, and that number has only grown since; and one in four families contain a member dealing with a ‘mental illness.’ Continue reading Love, not Law: A Response to Mental Illness

Healing for the Mental Health System

healingIt’s been several months since one of these blog topic requests came in. I got it on Good Friday (4/3) and am excited and trepidatious to attempt an answer: “Do you think there are ways the mental health system can be actually improved, not just botched with a feel-better patch, and how?” I am so grateful for this question.  Let’s begin.

Continue reading Healing for the Mental Health System