Autobiography · Mental Health


We get coffee while it’s dark out. Our reflections bouncing off the window back at us. The barista plays a Dashboard Confessional album I haven’t listened to since about 2004. He hadn’t either. Something in the air made him want to put it on. Something about the mood. Like we are all going backward.

I remember what it felt like to be in high school. Remember the growing pains. Journal after journal filled with questions about how to survive, but no answers. Just postpone. Always just postpone.

My sister tells me that suicide does not put an end to pain, it just transfers it. And that’s the only thing that has ever really sunk in. I can’t imagine making someone feel the way I feel.

But there are also moments. While we share our warm drinks. While I answer customer questions at work. While I walk with music blasting through headphones. While we drive home at 3 AM singing loud to pop songs. Andrew’s head resting on my lap while I write this.

There is still goodness out there. There is still goodness in here. We haven’t lost it all yet. Maybe we never will.

Photo courtesy of Alex Wong.

Autobiography · Mental Health


I keep telling myself that all I really have to do is keep existing. Miss work. Let the bills pile up. Skip rent. Get rid of everything I own. Move back to my hometown. Stop trying to be a good partner, a good friend. Quit writing. Keep smoking. Never go for a run again. Get drunk. But keep existing. Just keep existing.

Photo courtesy of Arnaud Mesureur .

Autobiography · Mental Health


Three sick kids join forces for pho, ginger tea, and nighttime cold medicine. It’s a special kind of misery that is nice to share. When you know you’re not in it alone. And you know it’s going to pass.

My alarm goes off in the morning and I hear cars driving by down on the street. Tires on wet road sound like the rise and fall of applause, ushering in the day. “Good job. We’re glad you came.”

Outside the air is warmer than expected, but still cool enough to feel good on my face. Windows down, radio up. I sing quietly over the crackling bass as I merge onto the interstate. It’s going to be a good day. We’re going to be okay.

Photo courtesy of Maria Stiehler.