What does depression (and anxiety) look like?

Most commercials for antidepressants show people in despair, lying on a couch crying or dressed in baggy clothing with unkempt hair.

Is that what depression looks like? Yes. Sometimes.

But often, depression can look like a person who has their shit together. A career woman who gets things done. A soccer mom with perfect hair and perfect kids. A lawyer. A doctor. A musician. An artist. A movie star. A writer. Me.

Anxiety medication ads often depict a person having a panic attack, complete with hyperventilating, rapid heartbeat and sweating.

So that’s what anxiety looks like, right? Sure. Sometimes.

It also can look like standoffishness. Indifference. Disengagement. Irritability. Forgetfulness. Me.

Continue reading “What does depression (and anxiety) look like?”

A Walk In The Rain

“A Walk In The Rain” Free Verse Poetry, August 2016/March 2017

She went for a walk in the rain
With barely enough light to see
The mist baptizing her favorite path.

She couldn’t escape the pain
Without causing much more
So she retreated to her abandoned door.

Once inside, the walls entombed her
And trapped her as they moved,
Revealing the family she’d left behind.

Trapped within the rose-printed wallpaper,
She stood in silent perfection
In thorns that drew no blood.

She went for a walk in the rain
To clear her overwhelmed mind
From burdens drowning in her wrath.

She dropped to her knees and prayed
For forgiveness and solitude;
Watched her children while they played.

They never missed her,
Or knew the sacrifices she made.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

All I know about my dad

Baby Doug.

My dad, Douglas Wayne Easterling, was born on January 23, 1953, the youngest of four children and the third boy for Howard and Pearl Easterling of Glen Rose, Arkansas. He would have been 64 this month. I am writing this post strictly from my own recollection of events and stories I’ve been told. Because of this, everything contained in this post may not be entirely accurate. (Note: I have worked on this post on and off for the past four weeks in preparation for posting today because I knew it would be emotionally draining and would take some time to write.)

Dad died of brain cancer on July 13, 1985, at 32 years old. He was diagnosed with cancer when I was a baby and went into remission for a while after treatment. Then, when I was a young girl—about three—it came back with a vengeance and killed him. There is absolutely nothing nice I can write about cancer. There are reasons why bumper stickers exist that read “Cancer Sucks” and “F%&# Cancer.” It does not discriminate on who it hits. I had turned four about a month before he died, which is how old my daughter is now. I’ve always thought that his first remission experience was God’s way of letting me remember him, though I won’t understand in my lifetime why he had to die so young. I’ve lived longer than my dad did and this year, he will have been gone longer than he lived. Continue reading “All I know about my dad”