beth woolsey

mess maker • magic finder • rule breaker • kindness monger

What Are You?

Hi, friends.

I’m working on swimming my way back to the surface. Watching my meds carefully. And my sleep. And trying to give myself a break for being human. Depression sucks. And it lies. And it sucks. But mostly right now it just makes me weary.

I’ve begun a dozen letters to you in the past 2 weeks. I haven’t finished any, but beginning them feels like a step on the way to the surface.

I’ll be back with you soon. Swearsies. In the meantime, I’m doing what’s necessary, letting everything else go, and painting my toenails blue because it’s the color of the water, where I wait, but also the color of the sky by daylight, which I seek.

With love — and always waving,





P.S. My daughter texted me this morning.


“What are you?” she asked.

I think she meant to ask where I was, but I decided to answer her question anyway because I’m rad.


“What are you?” she asked, so I told her I’m human. And partly divine. Magical and messy. Most days heavy on the mess. Weird and wonky. Also, wild and wonderful, although I have to remind myself of that a lot, and sometimes I don’t belive me. I am incredibly complex and also very simple, and I spend a lot of time being simultaneously sad and content, and giddy and joyful and bone deep exhausted.

P.P.S. Abby thanked me for the recap, and noted she just wanted to know where I was in case I wanted to bring her coffee. So at least I raised a kid with the right priorities. COFFEE. Coffee is always the priority.

P.P.P.S. When I told her I wasn’t getting her coffee, she texted me back sad faces. IMG_8338

And I reminded her it’s part of the human condition to be sad and happy. Both/And, friends. Both/And.

I’m pretty sure she liked that reminder as much as she would’ve liked free coffee.

In conclusion, I give and I give.

P.P.P.P.S. What are YOU? I’d like to know.

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32 responses to “What Are You?”

  1. I am excited and afraid and anxious about our future. Husband needs to retire soon, but we can’t afford him to.

    I am happy and sad, often within the same day, hour, minute.

    I am thrilled to have older kids — now adults — but confused how to treat them. They aren’t children anymore, but they’re MY children. This gets me in trouble.

    I am sad you’re sad, but strangely happy I’m not alone with these feelings.

    I’m waving in the dark. Because of you I now know the importance of waving…. And that I’m not alone.

  2. (Ann McGraw – I am an old lady at 85. You – not so much.)

    I have experienced deep depression several times in my life, but not since 1990 when I had the first of two mastectomies for breast cancer. Go figure. And not now when my beloved husband of 67 years is having surgery for bladder cancer tomorrow. Again, go figure. This equanimity is truly a gift that I treasure. And had I not experienced those depressions, I could not understand its value nearly so well. My heart reaches out to each of you with love.

  3. Ann McGraw – I am an old lady at age 85. You – not so much. 🙂

    I have experienced deep depressions several times in my life, but not since 1990 when I had the first of two mastectomies for breast cancer. Go figure. And not now when my beloved husband of 67 years is having surgery for bladder cancer tomorrow. Again, go figure. This equanimity is truly a gift that I treasure. But had I not experienced those depressions, I could not understand its value nearly so well. I hope your sadness and that dark black hole will give way to peace and light and joy. My heart reaches out to each of you with love.

  4. (Ann McGraw – I am an old lady (85). You – not so much.) I have been deep in depression a number of times in my life, but I haven’t been since 1990 when I had the first of two mastectomies for breast cancer. Go figure. And I’m not now even though my husband of 67 years is having surgery for bladder cancer tomorrow. Go figure. This equanimity is truly a gift for which I am exceedingly grateful. I would not recognize how wonderful it is had I not experienced devastating depression. My wish is that all of you now experiencing sadness and that deep black hole will eventually to come this place of peace and light and joy. My heart goes out to you with love.

  5. What am I?

    Today I am:
    Scared but excited.
    Dreading the things to come but also looking forward to them.
    Satisfied but feeling like I shouldn’t be.
    Thankful but feeling guilty that I might not be thankful enough.

    I am also happy you asked. Because writing that out helped. And made me realize that today I ALSO am:

    If not the best, at least pretty damned good.
    Wonderful, if not perfect.

    And most importantly, doing the best I frikkin’ can.

    Thank you. Here’s a big ol’ wave to you with fingernails shortly to be painted bright pink. Just because I can.

  6. I am not enough today. I have two best friends that are having surgery today and I can only be with one. Neither one will be aware of my presence or lack thereof. But I know and it is killing me.

  7. I am depressed, too. Overwhelmed with my life as a hamster on the wheel, going nowhere. I am needed by my children and my husband, by my parents. So, I am grabbing on to a lifeline thrown by my doctor of some CBT sessions (even though I feel nothing can help me after years of on-off therapy of different varieties). I am grabbing on to my resolutions to do some tiny things for myself each day even though back exercises and a little crafting don’t seem like they will do anything. Just keeping on doing things that might help. xo

  8. I am a wonderfully, perfectly made, messed up human, barely treading the damn-near black waters right now too. At the moment I am trying to figure out just what it is I’m feeling, because I too am past feeling…just a vast empty nothingness… my light will shine again soon, but not today!

    P.S. I’m also sad/disappointed/bummed/feel crapped on that I didn’t win POWERBALL last night. That would’ve fixed all of this…right?!?!

  9. I am in a dark place. I am not a wife, a mommy, a friend, a daughter. I am not me. I am one struggling soul barely keeping my head above the dark waters below. You would think those waters would be scary, cold and uninviting. But they are warm, despite the black. Thick, viscous, like maple syrup. It is deceptively comforting and all too easy to stop treading water and let the inky darkness slowly take me down. Down to a place where I stop feeling, stop caring, stop trying. The shrill demands of my life are muted, silenced. My eyes are blinded to the colors, sharp and jarring. I would say it is peaceful here but it is not peace I am experiencing. It is the opposite of peace. I am in a place of nothing, empty, devoid of all emotion. I am not sad or angry or defeated anymore. I feel nothing which is more sinister than all the negative emotions that once buffeted me like angry birds, picking and pecking pieces of me away. Because when you are angry at least you can fight. You can shoo those birds away and take back those stolen pieces. So I teeter on that razor edge of succumbing to the nothing or fighting off the swarm

    • I feel you Mindi. Try not to feel alone down there because I am with you. Maybe we can hold hands and just try to be until it get better. I thought this year would be better but 15 days in and it just worse. I know I am not giving good advice and I am sorry but I do feel just the same. Your words are beautiful. Let’s hold on together, because I have no one to hold on to. Maybe together it will be a little better.

    • Beautifully written and haunting. And too familiar. Psalm 139 assures us that God is still in the darkness. In the past I have found comfort in it. Perhaps you might, too?

  10. I am anxiety
    I am fearful
    I am scared
    I am also a beloved
    Which makes the fear and anxiety a little more bearable

  11. I am a mother, an employee, a wife and, right now, a hot mess. I’ve been in the hole before though, and I know the way out. So far, I’ve survived everything life has thrown at me, and I’m feeling pretty good about that. So right now, what am I? I am climbing out of the hole.

  12. I am a young retiree.
    Pink hair, tattoos, reading of many books.

    I rest as much as I want and walk everywhere. Life is good, look up, enjoy the sky.

    Hugs, depression is a big meanie.
    take care xo

  13. I’m an old lady (62 years old). Well, I don’t mean that in a negative way. I LIKE being 62. I just mean I wish the whole internet/blogging thing had been around when I was a young woman. I could have read you and not felt so alone. To be older and wiser (on my good days) is a good thing, but there are still plenty of minutes (and days) that I’m still a mess. I think to myself, “Shouldn’t you be over this by now?” I was reminded lately by a friend that you don’t get to choose a gift. You just accept it with gratitude. So my appearance and basic personality with its pros and cons are gifts to me by God. My dissatisfaction with those things is a little like shaking my fist at God and saying, “You messed up. I don’t like this gift you gave me!” *sigh* I’m still such a work in progress, and I have a feeling this will go on even if I live to be 105!

  14. Supermom. It’s my secret identity. Also, confused and exhausted. It goes with the territory. I am looking forward to your full return.

  15. These days, I’m happy. Happy. That’s right, HAPPY!!!!! Not because life is perfect, but because two years after leaving 15 years of a shitty marriage, I’m loved by a wonderful man. Not a perfect man, but a real one….who loves me and my kids, who tells me hard things and lovely things, who holds me when I laugh and yell and cry, who loves board games and star trek and dragons, who tells my girls they are beautiful and teaches my son to open doors for ladies. Happy is good. It’s hard work some days, but it’s good work.

  16. I am breaking the surface. I am bound and determined to love my self once more, while learning to let the ones I love go. They deserve their peace just as much as I do. I am resisting the urge to fall back into the deep, black, abyss. What am I? I am somebody rediscovering myself after a year of meds, that preceded 2 years of grief fueled depression. But I am also someone who is starting to be able to see the sun rising over a crystal blue sea.

  17. I am alone but not lonely, but also not alone and a bit lonely.
    I am a mix of endings and beginnings.
    I am sad and worried but also happy and content.
    I am a mess but also coming together.
    I am happy with the old me but finding the new me.
    I am confused but also sure.
    I am answering All The “Whys” with I’m not sure.

    I am sitting by the water with you and waving in the dark dark blue. Not quite black, but a deep dark blue.

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