For my first weeks on the job, I had a crash-course in poor event planning and couldn't think about anything else, including reading.
Normally I devour books. I never read anything twice, because there are daunting lists and lists, as well as stacks and stacks, that I want to get to.
I have finished two (long) novels in as many days. I picked up both of them because they were both penned by authors I like; I barely glanced at the back covers, eagerly buying the paperbacks I had been waiting for.
Both of the books dealt with mental illness, and compassionately.
And both of them hit me in the gut.
They dealt with subjects that I have experienced in my life but have rarely talked about: sexual assault and suicidal feelings.
Granted, I have never been made to suffer anything as horrific as the characters in these novels. But I am realizing, as I delve into my job, that my silence has harmed me and prevented me from helping others.
At the end of the second book, in the reader's notes, the author said that she had been clinically depressed in high school - like her protagonist - and had attempted suicide.
I thought that was brave to write about it, be open.
I never got that far, but there are bone-white razor blade scars on my left forearm that won't go away.
There are memories I would rather not have, guys that pushed me to do things I didn't want to do and random assholes who groped me in the hallways at school.
Why didn't I yell, hit them, report them?
Why didn't anyone take me to see a shrink when I was slicing my arms?
Once I accidentally got too deep and actually got scared at the amount of blood in the sink.
It occurred to me to write about this because someone in my professional life has been affected by deep depression, but won't discuss it - and he leaves us to pick up the pieces after him every time he crashes.
It is not easy to confront the issues - is there a better word than issues? - but only in doing so, I now believe, can we heal ourselves and help others to heal as well.
I don't normally write about really personal stuff, or talk about really personal stuff even with close friends.
But why be silent anymore?
Talk about it.
PS ... The books: Every Visible Thing, by Lisa Carey, and The Double Bind, by Chris Bohjalian.