So I’m going to admit something difficult to you. I suffer from depression. Over the years, I’ve worked to manage the condition – keeping track of my diet, making sure to maintain my social connections and countering negative self-talk with more realistic perspectives. But it doesn’t always work. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I find myself sliding down a lightless hole created by the condition where my horizon narrows till all I can see are the flaws and the imperfections, all the ways that I am failing to measure up
On those days it is all I can do get out of bed and shower. The simplest human interactions become excruciating. And long term focus and concentration – the kind that is essential for the editing and writing and research I do to make my living – becomes impossible. When in the midst of it, it can be difficult to explain to others what’s happening. One of the first things depression does is isolate you. You become convinced that no one wants to hear your whining. And so in silence you work to stop the slide, to pull yourself out by any means you can.
These bouts can last for days, for weeks, for months. And when they pass, they leave in their wake piles of unfinished work. Phone calls I should have made, emails I should have answered. Deadlines long passed. And the gnawing guilt and shame that sows the seeds for the next bout. I fall further and further behind – endangering personal and professional connections with each bout.
I write this not to offer excuses for the lateness of this edition – we all have challenges in our lives and issues that we are all dealing with – but to shine a light into my corner of the world and by illuminating what is there, push back against the darkness.
Because we are living in dark times. Our world today is filled with violence and chaos. Some days it feels like the inmates are running the asylum and the only sane response is to get back under the covers and wait for the madness to pass. But one cannot hide from the dark forever. At some point we have to take the first step to emerge into the light. It is usually painful, often filled with loathing and despair, but it must be done if we are to grow.
In this sense,
– and each is a story of hope and resilience. From spirits trying to understand their past lives, to lovers fighting against possession, and individuals and families standing strong in the face of violence and ruin.
We also feature art by the incomparable Ghanaian artist Setor Fiadzigbey, who generously donated the cover art, and Olisa Onwualu who illustrated the interior. We can’t thank them both enough.
Above all, we want to thank you, our readers and supporters, for hanging in there with us. It can be a struggle sometimes, but we aren’t going to give up, and we hope you won’t either.