Autobiography · Mental Health


"Tired" © Giuseppe Milo, 2015. CC BY 2.0.
Tired” © Giuseppe Milo, 2015. CC BY 2.0.

“I don’t know. I guess… I guess I just feel like my default state now is… I don’t know. Complete misery.”

“And yet–and this is meant more as an observation than a compliment–you always look fantastic.”

I laughed. So he laughed.

“And that, too!” He pointed at me. “That laugh. That’s genuine. People can tell that’s real.”

“Right. Man, I don’t know. I mean, logically I know that those two parts of myself can exist together. But, I don’t know. It feels like one has to be real and the other a cover.”

Is that my disease or the two wolves fighting?

I don’t know where this idea came from. That I am all either one thing or the other. Either depressed and using happiness as a cover or happy and never feeling the real crippling emptiness of depression. Surely you are not all one thing or another. Maybe there are no covers.

I’m terrified and miserable. I’m confident and exuberant. Not because I’m bipolar, but because people are fluid. Not everything is a symptom, kid. Sometimes it’s just how you’re feeling. Maybe your default state isn’t anything. Maybe life is neutral.


Make it fit

Untitled” © Silvia Sala, 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

for Pat K.

She called my writing courageous
I tried to climb inside the word
Wear it like a second-hand jacket
which once held stories that were not mine
but now would only know the slope of my shoulders
and the place my elbows bend

Wanted desperately for it to fit
Turned it over in my hands
Traced all the stitches with my fingertips
sure I’d find it falling apart at the seams

But it was true enough
It fit well enough

No matter how well I know
it’s all about the things
still layered underneath

Feelings there are no words for

Not yet



"STAR-STRUCK BOKEH" © Neal Fowler, 2010. CC BY 2.0.
STAR-STRUCK BOKEH” © Neal Fowler, 2010. CC BY 2.0.
At dinner with Tanya I lean forward, chin in hand, elbow on table, and blow air hard through my lips. “Guh. I don’t know, dude. What the fuck am I doing?” That’s all there was to say about it.

She laughed and shrugged. “You’ll figure it out.”

I have to think I am coiling tight. Pulling in. A star about to go supernova, I’m collapsing in order to expand. Dazzling.