I cannot run from myself anymore.

Tuesday, December 29, 6:15AM: The grey winter’s dawn forces its way into the cracks of my sleep mask. I refuse to accept it’s daylight already. The night, its darkness obscuring the sharp edges of daytime, quells the cacophony in my mind. Morning‘s first light is an assault on the emotions I try to run from.

Running away is my superpower, I tell myself. Running from the well of emotions I’ve tried to squelch for years with psych meds. …


How understanding my infant years is helping me heal.

When a Korean War refugee’s sperm and small-town white girl’s eggs intermix, you get a fetus whose genes aren’t sure what kind of human being to turn into. The unlikely pair married in 1967, while cities burned from the rage and exasperation of race riots, conceived me in 1968, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, and I was born in 1969, the year Nixon came into office and unscrupulously bombed Cambodia.

My parents married two months after the Supreme court issued the Loving vs. Virginia decision, disallowing the ban on…


I didn’t want to, but doing so gave me unexpected optimism.

Spring brings longer days and represents a time of renewal and joy. For most, that is. I am not one of the creatures who flourishes in springtime. While others emerge from their abodes and bask in the extended daylight hours, the light of longer days pierces my pupils. Spring scorches my mind in such a troublesome way that I want to go to war with the nature’s rhythm.

Longer days torture me. My system cannot calm down until the sun sets.

The first Saturday in spring, I’m awakened from my afternoon nap by my neighbor yelling after her dog: “Herbert…


How the pandemic brought me to my knees, then helped me stand again.

My most striking pre-pandemic memory is not toasting glasses of Prosecco with friends over a good meal. It’s not dancing at an English Beat concert, nor is it swimming in the Indian Ocean while on a surf tour of Sumatra.

Mine is of cancelling my dad’s funeral. He died on February 16, 2020.

His swan song was supposed to be grand.

Even as he plunged into his dementia, he’d faithfully write letters to me. Unsure of how to memorialize him after he died, I found the following email. He often spoke of his own death:

I would like to be…


You told me to be happy. I think I’m finally allowing myself to be.

Dad,

This date marks exactly a year since you died. What echoes in my mind today is what you wrote at the end of a letter you sent me in 1996. You were flying to Dallas to work a trip to Narita. I was living in San Francisco.

You knew I was having a difficult time adjusting to my new job, my new city. We’d mail each other notes, listing five things that made us happy. You started this practice. I so looked forward to your letters.

I found this one letter last night, when I was going through old…


But the only path to healing is through acceptance.

“This illness is about being trapped by your own mind and body…My mood may swing from one part of the day to another. I may wake up low at 10am, but be high and excitable by 3pm.” -NCBI article from The British Journal of General Practice: ‘On madness, a personal account of rapid cycling bipolar disorder’, written by J. General Practitioner.

Wednesday evening: my scalp tingles. I think to myself, “I’m so glad my depression only lasted one day. I can’t wait to cook dinner for my husband.” …


We need to de-stigmatize suicide more than ever right now.

Content warning: this article includes mentions of suicide. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 800–273–8255. Counselors are available 24 hours, 7 days a week, and it’s confidential and free.

I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed. I stare at a post that makes my throat tighten like I’m in anaphylactic shock:

“This week we lost someone special from our community because of her struggle with her own Covid-induced loneliness. Social distancing is taking its toll. …


Antidepressants can save your life. But their black box warning needs to be taken seriously.

Content Warning: This article contains detailed descriptions of suicidal ideation. More, the information here is does not oppose antidepressants. Antidepressants have helped many people, including myself. Also, I am not a doctor nor am I a mental health professional.

I’m in an overwater bungalow in Moorea, French Polynesia, clutching my heart, deliberating over ways to kill myself. I’ve been on a new anti-depressant — the fourth I’ve tried this year — for seven days. …


Our voices are stifled, but we still fight back.

Dear Depression:

You are a force to be reckoned with. But you already know that. The way you overpower even the most strong-willed person is nothing short of astonishing.

You attach yourself to so many of us. And those who are lucky enough not to be afflicted often don’t understand your vehemence.

You’re sneaky and persistent. You kill too many. Too many depressives cannot work. Too many of our loved ones suffer along with us in our misery.

Here’s the thing: we who do have mental illness are too melancholy to raise awareness. …


In my bleakest moment, I invoked my loved ones.

Prayer does not change the world for me, but it can change me for the world. So, instead of seeing prayer as an unfortunate relic from a religious past, atheists can practice it as a ritual in which one pauses to gain proper perspective, humility, and gratitude. Only good can result from that. -William Irwin, IAI News

I’m sitting in the Pacific Ocean, looking out at where the sea meets the sky. I’ve forced myself to get outside and exercise, even though despondency suffocates me. I inhale the therapeutic sea water as the sun warms me. But a lump sits…

Kelley Jhung

Writer. Advocate. Truth seeker. Perpetually curious over-analyzer.

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