56 Words

Over the summer two things happened. First I wanted to quit trying. Like quit quit. Trying was getting me nowhere. And then in August, a turn. New impatience to move on, be okay again. This was a relief, the furious impatience. Reckon the circumstance. Reckon the heart.

(I want to rage, really. I have this desire to scream, to be out with all the anger, hurt and fear. I want to rage until peace settles my body).

Recently a friend called me on seeing only myself in a certain situation. And he was right. I saw my frustration, my dissatisfaction. I could not think beyond my own want rooted in insecurity. The past year (longer) I have struggled to accept loss forever, yes, but also to accept those good things I hold. But along the way I discounted how who I am where I am affects those nearest me, so inside of my suffering that I could lack empathy for others.

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with my son that made me think about how my kids experience – I don’t know how to talk about this. I can articulate how depression works for me, what my body and mind feel like. But I wonder at what it means for my daughter and son to see their mother as frail or sad or apathetic or afraid or angry, what it means for them to watch me work out the mess of my mind, hold slim hope, keep a faith that looks like letting go.


You know how I am sometimes sad – a question or statement. A late afternoon when I sit with my son. We lean together on the couch, look ahead. A lot of the times, he says. Earlier I cried, and he knows. For a year I’ve wept. It is a lot. He is right. We wait. Hold.


Twenty-nine of thirty-nine. Fifty-six words. From an old exercise: tell a story in ten sentences. First sentence has ten words, second has nine words, and so on. The last sentence is a single word.

3 responses

  1. Sarah, I love you. Please read the following advice with that in mind. You have suffered enough. If you aren’t on a anti depressant, get on one. Keep trying until you find one that works for you. See a therapist. Speaking from experience, depression is a bitch. It is different for everyone so you can’t just wrap it up in a box. Find something wonderful in each day and write it down. It can be as little as the smell of Claire’s hair or as big as selling a story. Soldier on even when it feels like you are trying to lift each foot out of a sucking hole of swamp mud. XXOO

    • I appreciate your thought, Rollene. For me, depression comes and goes. This past year was an unusually long stretch so we talked about medication. I decided on a date to begin, if other approaches were not helping. Other approaches are very much helping. Early August, shortly after returning to Seoul, was my last big dip.

      I want to write an essay opening with this conversation with Grant. The year dragged on for me. But that conversation also made me think about how for his concept or measure of time, the year really felt like all the time.

      If my kids know I am sad, I talk with them about why. I want them to see me take care of myself too. This means they know I go to therapy and that I sleep or exercise to help my body and mind feel good. They know I love to laugh with them and snuggle. They know I choose light too.

      Always there is more to say about mental health.

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