The Most Impossible Task: Saying I’m Not OK

If you struggle with depression like I do, and if you haven’t yet read M. Molly Backes’ viral twitter string about the Impossible Task, I highly recommend it as something to help put words to a common symptom of this insidious disease. 

Depression commercials always talk about sadness but they never mention that sneaky symptom that everyone with depression knows all too well: the Impossible Task. (Other sneaky symptoms they don’t mention are numbness, anxiety, and inexplicable rage—just FYI for folks trying to figure this crap out. Depression comes in disguise, folks. It rarely announces itself via sadness.¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )  ...  read more

On Doing Way Too Much and Not Nearly Enough: What October 2020 Feels Like

I drive four mornings each week up the winding roads of Parrett Mountain, past alpaca farms and vineyards and into the Douglas Fir forests as I climb. It’s a slow drive by necessity; there are steep drop-offs and no guard rails or shoulders to offer forgiveness if you stray.

It always feels peaceful to me, that drive: the forced slowing of my typical pace, the tiered ruffles of the fir branches like a designer got carried away layering petticoats, the falcons that circle overhead, and the deer that dive down the canyons.  ...  read more

Bearing Witness

Before we begin, please imagine me face down on the couch, head smooshed into the grubby cushions, cereal shrapnel and muddy dog prints decorating my periphery. That is where I metaphorically am. I am not sitting upright at my desk typing. I am using telepathy from my frazzled, stuttering brain. Nothing is happening in a linear fashion around here. No thing. It’s all illusion and mirrors. I am stuck on the couch now, and here I shall remain for all eternity because getting up would require energy and I don’t know what that is anymore. ...  read more

1 July 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

Just a few quick things.

Thing 1: I went to the food cart pod in our little town today, and this dude showed up, went to two carts, said, “I don’t need anything today, I just didn’t have any cash to tip last time I was here,” and then he popped cash money into their tip jars. DEAR LORD, DIARY, I CANNOT EVEN TELL YOU HOW MUCH I NEEDED TO WITNESS KINDNESS. I legit teared up. Swear to God Almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth, it was a GIFT to watch that. It was like rain after drought. It was like sparkling joy in the midst of whatever cluster we’re in right now with rampant unkindness and a global pandemic and folks unwilling to listen to people who are being harmed. I wanted to follow that dude home like a puppy. Just to soak in his goodness for a little longer. But I didn’t because I occasionallyevery now and then, just to mix things up have appropriate social boundaries. Not following the dude was like my gift back to him. You’re welcome, kind dude. Keep being excellent. ...  read more

24 May 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

a) Back pain is NO JOKE, Diary. I’ve spent the last 48ish hours rapidly breathing short, unsatisfying breaths, pausing to mentally brace myself before I stand up or sit down, and icing, medicating, yoga-cat-posing, and generally fussing. Bright side = caught up on a lot of Riverdale. Down side = overall malaise.

b) The overall malaise may not be from back pain. Or may not be only from back pain. It may also be slightly, marginally, minimally, somewhat a side effect of the Third Quarter Phenomenon (TQP). My friend, Doreen, who was once, is now, and forevermore shall be smarter than I am, is also a psychologist, and wrote last week about TQP in Psychology Today...  read more

13 May 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

Just before we moved into self-isolation, I hit a new stride with book-writing. I was managing 2500+ words per day, and not all of them were crap, so that was a major win. I’d spend the morning writing at home, and then, when my family members interrupted me for the billionth time, I’d bail. I’d head downtown in our little village with its old brick buildings and coffee shops and bakeries and ice cream counters, I’d grab a snack or a caffeine boost, and then I’d go to the library, heavy bag in hand, laden with computer and research materials and post-it notes and multi-colored pens because everyone knows Only Good Things Happen when multi-colored pens are involved. ...  read more