My friends and family know that I struggled mightily with post-partum depression after the birth of my first daughter nearly twenty four years ago. I was hospitalized for a bit, and I went through sixteen medication trials before we found one that worked. It took five years for me to fully recover and many more years to speak about all of that openly without feeling one bit of shame. And speaking about it is important because depression isn’t typically something that magically disappears never to return. I imagine I will be managing it for the rest of my life–like many of you who are reading this.

During that time–my first rodeo, if you will–many well-intentioned humans who assured me that they’d never experienced depression themselves had plenty of advice for me about how to feel better. Some of them were even bold enough to share those ideas with me–frequently–so that fragile little me might know the secrets of their mighty success.

Bless their hearts. 

And also: I’ve forgiven them now, several rodeos later.

The last ten months have provided ample opportunity for me to reflect on all that I learned about myself and others and the human condition during that first brutal depression of my life. I’m pulling on those lessons hard right now. They’re life preservers. Literally.

This was my most important lesson: Writing and specifically–blogging–matters.

I didn’t blog for educators, then. I blogged what I was thinking and experiencing and feeling as a new mom and wife and teacher and daughter and friend. Blogging helped me realize that often, what I thought was not an accurate interpretation of my own or others’ experiences. My feelings were often based on my wishes or my worries or insecurities or biases. Blogging helped me reality test daily, for quite a few years.

And then, I became a professional and deleted all of those entries.

“Your best writing was published in that space,” my husband once said.

He was right.

But that wasn’t what was most important.

The fact is that I met some of the bravest and most brilliant women writing in that space–women that I never met until a decade later, and when I did meet them, it was as if we’d been in each other’s company for years. Because we had been–through blogging. These were the friends who knew my story and nodded in the comments. “Me too,” they said and also, “I understand.”

And they were professionals, too. That kind of blogging was our dirty secret, perhaps. It was also our survival.

When difficult choices needed to be made (and most who recover from aggressive bouts of depression will tell you that difficult choices almost always need to be made), the perspective that I gained from those women who existed well outside of my local circle and situation was invaluable. Therapy helped, but writing my stories each day mattered so much more.

And now, perhaps you’re wondering why I am sharing way too much information with you here, on my professional website.

That is SO inappropriate, I know. I know.

I’m sharing because I’m sensing that many people–including myself–could benefit from some reality testing right about now.

I’m all for resolutions and one little words and pushup challenges and calendar audits and visioning and being a goal-getter and smoothies made from kale and all of it. I am here for all of it.

Sometimes, though–we lose people this way.

Sometimes, we lose ourselves, too.

So, if you need someone to say “me too” right now as you peer into the abyss and grapple with feelings so intense you’ve gone completely numb, I hope you can hear me.

This year has been gentle with me in a thousand different ways that it has completely shattered others.

It has also altered my entire life. I’ve lost a lot that I wasn’t ready to lose, and I had no say, and I am grieving that, and I’m trying not to say much about any of it to anyone because like some of you, I know that my losses are not nearly as devastating as others’.

And I know–I know that grief is heavy. It tires you. It weighs you down.

Each week for the last ten months, I’ve tried to pack a little newsletter full of strategies, ideas, resources, and tools intended to help you serve your students better. I’ve tried to make everyone feel less alone. I’ve tried to make people smile. Some of you have said that you like the weekly newsletter, and I’m glad for that. I won’t be giving it up.

I have to be honest, though: It feels almost offensive sharing those things in the absence of a far greater and more meaningful conversation about all the stuff I’m completely unable to figure out. At all.

We’re ten months into this.

Everything has changed.

Everyone has changed.

We’ve all been broken by this.

And I see a few of you there with your positive attitudes and your collective need to notice and grow the good. High fives, you and you and you. I try to be that person most days, too.

Bless our hearts.

Here’s the thing, though: I don’t think I want to keep sharing simple solutions and things that inspire easy smiles when I know very well that too many of you need so much more than I or anyone of us who tries to share on the interweb can really give right now.

So, here’s the most meaningful thing that I have to offer this week: I hope you will write this year, not for others, but for yourself. I hope that before you write to impact the field, you write to document and unravel and move through these hard days one at a time. I hope you write to check your feelings against your experiences and to get some good perspective from those who can examine those things from a distance or at least, a different vantage point.

I hope you’ll do some reality testing. For yourself.

Last week, I announced that I’m stepping back from Facebook a bit. That’s been a long time coming, and it wasn’t an easy decision. Isolating myself further from my friends and family isn’t a great idea. Remaining inside a space that is managed by some of the most craven business owners on earth isn’t a great idea either, though. So, I bit that bullet. We’ll see how it goes. I plan to be here more, and I’ll be more present on Twitter and LinkedIn, too. I won’t be all up in my feelings in every post, but hopefully, how I conduct myself inside of this space and others will make more space for you to be up in yours as much as you need to be.

Yeah, there is work to be done. I’ll still share the best of what I’m learning and much of the stuff that I create, too. The newsletter is here. From now on, it will always link to a more meaningful post right here, though.

Because blogging matters to me. For me.

This life we’re all living calls for something different right now.

So, things are going to be different.

I’m probably going to be different.

Take care of yourself this week, and I hope I “see” you online somewhere next week, too. Maybe here.

I’m missing all of you who I don’t get to see in person anymore.

Have a happier new year, all.





  1. Thank you for sharing this, Angela. And, can I say: “Me, too”? I had never experienced depression until about a month after my mom died and I wasn’t able to go her funeral because it was in the US and I was in Canada. This was in the spring. I never had closure and I had just gone through about 18 months of a cancer diagnosis, treatment and a recovery that was two steps back, one step forward for a while. It was hard. No one except my immediate family was aware of what was happening. They mostly listened and supported me as I tried to crawl out of the dark place I’d nestled into. I’m not really sure how I finally crawled out, but I did and I am very aware how easy it is to slip back into a state of depression or even extreme sadness. I know that many people are experiencing despair during the pandemic. I stick to my self-care routines religiously and reach out as often as possible to family and friends when I need to. I find I’m more honest with myself and others since I went through this experience. I am more focused on what’s important. I am hopeful that 2021 is a better year for everyone. Stay well.

    • Elisa, I am so appreciating your use of the word “nestled.” That’s how it feels sometimes, when we slip. It feels like rest or protection, but without routines, things shapeshift rather quickly for me and for others too, I imagine. Your willingness to leave these words here means the world to me. I know that others will read them and feel less alone, too. I just couldn’t come at this new year with the same kind of “go get ‘er” energy I usually have. I mean–to be fair–I’m always a skeptic, but I’m a glass is half-full skeptic if you know what I mean. There is no amount of positive thinking boot strappy chinuppyness that is going to help me or many others right now, though. I feel like we’re all carrying a lot, and feeling like I have to pretend that everything is fine just adds unnecessary weight. I’m more focused on what is essential and enduring and authentic right now, too. And I’m grateful for you.

  2. Erika Victor Reply

    Thank you for your words. Your honesty always inspires me. This sentence really says so much: “I’m more focused on what is essential and enduring and authentic right now, too.”

    • Yes. I am. I hope that you are too, Erika. I think this will be what sustains all of us. It isn’t what I expected or planned, but it is what matters…and who. xo

  3. Janet Clare F. Reply

    Thank you, Angela, as always for your honesty and your ideas. I like fb because it is “easy” and I am not a tech-minded soul. I have too many other things I’d rather do, yet it is the way of the world. I am not a Twitter person. It seems too much to me yet I know people love it. I read about it ,even signed up for a course on it, paid, but never took the course. I don’t see how one has time for it, it confuses me, so I simply choose not to bother and do something else. I am glad for this way to hear from and about you. I have often thought of starting a blog but I fear I cannot keep up and I have such high goals, like I want to have one like my friend Renee in Italy. Oh my, how zippy it is. I think her brother might help her some, but she has so many seemingly very strong tech skills. Well, enough of my complaining about the small potatoes. I try to do good every day. That is something that works for me and helps me. I send you hugs and hope to see you again some day and will always enjoy learning and reading from/about you, your ideas, your situation, your plans, etc. Big hugs.

    • I will still be checking in on Facebook, but it became my central outlet professionally and personally through the pandemic, and I don’t know that that’s a good thing for me. I’ve been troubled by the influence of FB on relationships, how we socialize, and how we learn about the world and understand our place in it. Mark Zukerberg’s ethics and intentions and practices are fairly rancid, and if there were any moment for me to do the work needed to establish community and lines of communication with friends and family and colleagues elsewhere, it’s now. So hopefully, by this time next year, new channels will be established and comfortable for people. I’m glad you’re here. You should be blogging. It’s not hard, and the templates are very easy to work with. Really!

  4. Lisa Azzarelli Brown Reply

    Angela, Thank you for sharing bravely and for providing community in doing so. I am grateful for what you share personally and professionally in many, many ways.
    @Elisa, I wish you peace and healing.

  5. Kristin E Kochheiser Reply

    I think a difference between this type of writing–with length, strength and depth–and the sharing on FB is that we, as readers, sometimes quickly click a “heart” or a “like” button. We do so wanting you to know we have read it, we are here, and we understand the threads of life you share. We do so wanting to be part of your fabric that helps to comfort, inspire and reflect. I know I do not take enough time to write, and it is a goal of mine. Seems like it is always a goal of mine. I have grown used to the simplicity of hearts, thumbs up, emojis on social media. I, too, have been pulling back from social media in order to find “me” again and work on the better version of myself. And truthfully, life is much, much deeper than those simplistic social media two-dimensional touches that lack true embrace and connection. So while I will not be clicking hearts and thumbs up for you, please know I am here and reading. Know, too, that I am working on getting to the pen and paper, the keyboard and screen, the words and me…first, for me, and later, perhaps for others. And know that I extend gratitude and understanding beyond the hearts, thumbs up and emoji faces…thank you for continuing to be authentic through the power of multi-dimensional words rather than the frequent shallow reflections within social media.

    • You make such a powerful point, Kristin. And actually, those quick thumbs-up and hearts are uplifting. Life is busy and fast, and I appreciate that we can share like this on FB. I actually miss it a great deal. I am just struggling with the ethical choices that FB owners/leaders make. So, this is an experiment for me, of sorts. And I also worry that when all that we share is the stuff of FB, it creates this false reality that might disillusion many…or worse. I think we’re all living with the consequences of this right now. It’s frightening. I’m grateful for you and for the time you took to share this thinking with me. And we will still connect! I’m right here and in a few other places, too. I hope you will write!

  6. Annie Coburn-Kane Reply

    Your vulnerability is inspiring and comforting. You bring so much thought and care to others through your craft and teaching. I found myself feeling sad that I might not get to enjoy your insight, humor and wisdom on my facebook page, as your writing gives me the same kind of comfort as Anne LaMott and Barbara Kingsolver (earlier work) bring me in that attention to justice and detail.
    I am also familiar with all of the advice and practices of managing mental wellness. I spend a good part of my day taking care of my diet, exercise an sleep. And as a therapist I advise us all to add taking care of our social support and network as part of the pillars of good mental health. But there is something about writing that is also good care. And now that it is so hard to have connection with friends writing seems to be a good way to be a good friend to myself.
    So thank for for the nudge. I’m glad to know that missing you on facebook and other social media means that you are giving yourself the good care you deserve and have been so generous in providing to others! Let it ripple! Grow the good!

    • This means much coming from you, Annie. I hope to write more substantially here and in other places, and in ways that connect who I am with what I do a bit better. Writing IS a good way to befriend ourselves, I think. And when I share little things here and there, especially when they are honest things, I seem to find my people. My people are very hard to find right now and to connect with, face to face. Even on Zoom, we often twiddle our thumbs and stay at the surface of things. We aren’t doing as much, out in the world. That leaves us less to talk about when we meet up, virtually. And reality is pretty…real…for most of us. I know that I don’t want to bring heavy energy into most spaces or converstaions right now, because everyone is dealing with their own heavy too. Time and place. I’m figuring in out. I’m trying to leave FB because I feel that so much of what happens under the surface of that space is unethical. We’ll see how that goes. I miss it. Much. I was fortunate to have a thoughtful and compassionate circle there, for the most part. What most people complain about relevant to FB…was not relevant to me, really. It is a huge time suck, though. And I find myself getting upset each time I visit–not because people are behaving badly, but because there is so much pain in the world right now, and it’s like drinking from grief firehouse each time I enter. That said, I miss the funny memes and happy news that everyone shares. Like everything else these days, I’m feeling torn about it all. And I miss you. Someday, we will have lunch at the Red Pepper and catch up again. xoxo

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