Preparing for the Crash – Processing Healthy Sadness

I am currently preparing myself for a crash.

I’ve been on an up and down since October, but the ups have been stunning and glorious.  I don’t mean manic highs, just the kind of excitement and anticipation of finishing my book which means the world to me.

But since what goes up must come down, I know that when it is done, when I have it in my hands, there will be a crash.

This is just human.  We cannot live in a sustained state of happy, it’s not possible.

Always happy
I shall have this bliss for a million gagillion years!

So I am preparing myself for that.

Here’s what I’m not doing, I’m not trying to set up something that will take my focus away from these feelings, try to push them into the back of my mind.

I know this sounds counter-intuitive, and maybe unhealthy, but I don’t think so. I don’t think it is unhealthy to want to feel sadness or even a sort of grieving, which this will be.  I think it’s healthy to want to be with those emotions, to feel them, and then…let them go.

If we ignore these things, that smoldering emotion can show up in other ways.

What should you do at these times?

I don’t know, what feels right for you?

For me, I’m lining up ideas. I’m going to let myself feel whatever it is that’s in my heart, and I’m going to respond however it makes sense at that moment; I’ll no doubt cry, this is a 25 year project which is deeply meaningful to me, then I’ll employ three of my best non-alcohol defense mechanisms; sleep, daydream, hide away in the dark like a troll awaiting its next billy-goat, and process the emotions.

And then, I will center and get to the next thing.

I’m telling you all of this because I think we in the U.S. specifically are too wrapped up in “we must be happy/sadness is bad.”

No, sadness is not bad, sadness is human. Telling someone to “smile, you’ll feel better!” or “oh, it’s not that bad” or my personal favorite “if you changed your gladitude you’d be fine!” (“gladitude” is a real thing that someone actually said with their mouth and larynx and got paid for doing so.) All of these glib phrases can be truly offensive to someone who is suffering, regardless of why.  Pain is not a contest, yours may not be equal to someone else in magnitude, but it is exactly as valid.  So these well-meaning platitudes are rude, actually.

But for us, they can be deadly.

Telling someone with a mental illness to get over it or just smile is beyond dangerous. By its nature depression and its friends tell us that we aren’t good, that we are broken, and other damaging messages. So this could be the last straw for someone already suicidal.

But if you can still talk yourself through the sadness, it’s a good thing to do, in whatever way resonates with you.

It can be an issue for people with jobs, kids, school, anything that takes up your time and energy and leaves you with little left for yourself.  I understand I’ve been there.

If you have the luxury as I currently do, to be with your sadness and process it, that is wonderful.

But if you can’t, if you are too overburdened, I hope that you can find a way to get a moment, even just a moment, to be with it.

If you can’t do this because you are in an unsafe place, if you’re in an abusive relationship or feel too far down the pit of depression to try to do it by yourself, I’ve included some links below that could be of help.  Please do not try to do this alone if you are not sure.

Otherwise, let me know in the comments what you do in these moments for self-care, I’d love to see your ideas.

Because yeah, I’m about to crash.


National Helpline

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.


National Suicide Prevention Hotline

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.








Travel – Bad Times Make the Best Stories

I love travel, I can’t recommend it highly enough.  Experiencing new things, food, cultures, meeting new people, getting out of my comfort zone, all of these things.

I am an advocate for travel, and I recommend not doing a tour, especially in Great Britain, for example, where everyone speaks English, even the Scottish. No really, they do.

This has nothing to do with that, I just love this picture.


Europe is dead easy, and you’ll get more out of it without a tour guide telling you where you can go and for how long.  A friend informed me, much to my shock and horror, that their tour allowed only an hour for Paris.  Paris!  That is a crime against nature, is what that is.

So, my husband and I don’t do tours.  We don’t do itineraries either; we have a basic idea of what we want to see, but that can always change.  We generally fly by the seat of our pants.  When I travel alone, I do the same.

Here’s the thing though, travel will never be perfect.  Every vacation includes some bother.  We have missed a few trains in Egypt, because we could not begin to read the ticket.  On a train in Poland the lights sparked and crooked doors between the cars would close without warning and trap us.  We have been stuck driving up mountain roads in Ireland barely large enough for our right hand drive car and, oh look at that, it’s a two way road!  And we both got bronchial infections in India.

At the time, these things were unpleasant.  Now they make the best stories.

The main advice I give to people who are traveling for the first time is, part of it will not be fun.  There is no such thing as a “perfect vacation.”

Charles bridge
Also, if at all possible, travel in the off season. This is the Charles Bridge in Prague. It does not look like this in the summer time.

Maybe it’s better with a tour group, I’ve no idea.  But let me tell you this.

If you are on a tour, you are missing out on one of the main reasons to travel because the people you meet are paid to be nice to you.  You are not getting a real taste of the culture.

Let me give you an example.

My husband and I were in Egypt during Ramadan, 2004.

It happened that Ramadan ended in November that year, so we went to a shop and bought Christmas presents to take home.  We spent around $200 USD, which to the young man working there was a lot of money.  He was so happy he closed his shop and invited us back to his home.

When we got to the apartment complex, a tiny boy, just barely walking, saw us and was about to explode with excitement.  He said “Hi!” and we said “Hi!” and he waved his arms at his sides like a play-pretend bird and made a sound like a balloon deflating.  He ran with us the rest of the way to the stairs saying Hi! and giggling like a little Muppet.

When we got to the young man’s apartment his sisters prepared tea and Ramadan cookies for us.  We sat and chatted and enjoyed the cookies and company.

Now, would that ever in a million years happen with a tour?


I have so many stories like this.  So many beautiful moments that would simply have been missed.

Egypt cat
Egyptian cat says “marhabaan.”

And sure, there were awful moments too, and when they happened, I scowled and vowed to never travel again.  San Francisco is enough for me, dammit!

But I get home and tell all the stories and everyone laughs and then I’m planning my next trip a week or so later.

Next should be Thailand.  I will give the elephants a bath!

And enjoy the stunning antiquities, delicious food, and amazing culture, of course.

But mostly elephants.

By the way – Please don’t ride the elephants.  Don’t pay for places where people can ride elephants.  It’s not good for them so please don’t give these places your money.

I’m going to go here and bathe an elephant.

Happy trails!

Mental Health Awareness Month

I did not intend to let a month go by between articles.  I have been utterly consumed by a project, finishing my book for publication, so things like self-care, the outside world, and current events have pretty much escaped me.

I’m afraid that one of the things that got past my radar is that May is Mental Health Awareness Month!  I cannot believe I missed that.

I was reminded by a Facebook post, because of  course I was, and quickly consulted one of my favorite advocacy/support organizations NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness.

I think this site and others like it will provide more information and more eloquently than I can, so I will keep this short.

I just want to be sure that you have this information in case you, like me, didn’t know until half way through the month.

Let me say though, there is something wonderful and healthy about being so wrapped up in your passion that you very briefly* lose all track of time and pass the days feeling excited, fulfilled, and looking forward to starting you day.  I wish that for all of you.

* Very briefly.  If you start to go Howard Hughes, miss paying any bills, or generally neglect the real world it’s time to rejoin us because that would not be healthy.

Snipped out