This is where I give you the scoop, the personal low-down about me: The ‘trying to be a good human and mother’ me; the ‘getting my creative rocks off with my work because nothing sings the body electric like writing’ me; and the “trying to balance, trying to maintain a Zen-like hum that floats around my body like so much mist off a hot spring,’ me. We can start with the fact that I’ve written professionally for years and years, with accolades and high clapping, but poetry is what turns my heat on. That and magazine writing. This I didn’t know until I became an Associate Editor at an upstart young mag in Salt Lake City called the Wasatch Journal. I worked with writers and had an editorial team that was smart, funny and willing to take risks. So, I fell in love with magazine writing as well. Good magazine writing. Smart writing. And then, as has happened to many, the magazine folded. Spectacularly. One day I had a desk with a view and the Website was perky and shining and the next I was moving my stuff out in boxes with everyone else.

But here’s the kicker: two days after the magazine folded, I found out that I was pregnant. Two days. A week after that I launched into a nine-month bout of debilitating insomnia and unmentionable body weirdness that didn’t resolve until my daughter was born.

And since this page is meant to give you a sense of me, the je ne sais quoi sense of me that is so hard to transmit electronically, I’ve decided to write a little ‘About Me’ poem for your reading pleasure.

Here it is, the espresso version, in third person:

  1. Never was a skinny girl, always was a small girl, always had to jump.
  2. Wrote on her mattress at night, burning adolescent smoke and fire.
  3. It started here, with heat and brooding and a Jim Morrison crush, big as a movie.
  4. Bigger.
  5. Years pass: She teaches addicts and hurt children the love of the pen.
  6. Years pass: She writes articles and poems on people that burn.
  7. Bright.
  8. Sometimes too bright, but heat attracts her, it sings the body electric.
  9. Stands on a street corner some days, wearing a hoop skirt, reading poetry.
  10. Reads lots of poetry lots of places: Austin, Portland, San Francisco, Asheville, Salt Lake City.
  11. Goes to New Orleans after the big water. Hammers down dry wall. Comes home.
  12. Makes a show and people cry and she cries.
  13. Meets a man with eyes that flash the kind of light and dark that she understands.
  14. Eats her own wedding cake. Finally, someone says. Too bad, someone else says.
  15. A baby comes, faster than a speedball.
  16. Another.
  17. Who knew she was like spring?
  18. These children, these little sprouts.
  19. And the boy child is different, has more chromosomes than most boys, has a soft heart.
  20. A rocket ship.
  21. Her voice explodes.

12 thoughts on “About”

  1. Just found you doing a search for benzo withdrawal support.

  2. Found you doing a search for benzo withdrawal support, pregnancy, etc., can’t wait to learn more about you, your pending book and more.

    Gotta get to my laptop and off this phone to see more!

  3. I came across your website looking for something anything to help make sense of it all. I have been tapering from valium for over a year after tapering off klonopin and am stuck at .5 mg. For the last month and the insomnia is back and the hole is deeper and darker than ever. Not sleeping nights at a time. Dr’s want to put me on antidepressants to get me to sleep. The terror is overwhelming me. My question did this happen to you? Did you stick to the tapering plan? I live here in Utah mother of 6 children. Life is meant to be lived not just endured right?

    • Lorie –
      Hang in there! I’ve often heard of people having a tough time as they get closer to point zero. Be so very gentle with yourself. I suggest that you work with your doctor but also trust your body and your intuition. Dr. Heather Ashton, if you aren’t familiar, is someone you should Google. She has the most comprehensive research that I know of and can be of great comfort. Talk with your doctor about things to manage the symptoms that are as benign as possible and do as much research as you can.

      I hope all the best for you and send tons of support!

  4. I’d love to have an update. Your strength inspires me more than you know! Are you feeling healthy and back to yourself? I’m in the middle of my benzo detox and I really appreciate your honesty!

    • Jill –

      Wow! So much to say. First, I am sending all heart wishes your way. Hang in there. This kind of ride needs gentleness and compassion and patience. May what you go through that’s difficult pass quickly!

      Next, I am crazy strong! I’m raising my kids and have just (like JUST! Like 20 min ago!) finished my book about this experience. I eat normally and sleep fairly well and my mind and my emotions are my own. I feel luckier than I can say. The analogy that i use is that I weathered the worst kind of tsunami and survived. You can too. ALL My best!!

    • Jill – Just saw this! So sorry for the long delay in responding. I’m a very busy and healthy mama. I sleep well, feel strong and while I wouldn’t say I’m back to pre-benzo health, I’d say I’m darn close. I think that it’s made me very careful with my health and I think most people see me as incredibly healthy!! Be patient and be as kind to yourself as you can every single day. You’re the best one to do this!! I didn’t know if it could be done but it can!

  5. Oh this warms my heart! I bet you’re a fabulous mommy. I have four small kids watching me struggle with anxiety and agoraphobia while I detox. I’m not finding a lot of support from Drs while trying to take the natural path. Did you ever find herbs or amino acids etc that eased your nerves? I cannot wait to see your book. I’m on a mission to clear this crap out of my body and get a message out that these drugs are so dangerous. I’m so happy I found you and your story. I’m in salt lake too! Small world. Thanks for all of your kind words. Blessing to you and yours!

  6. Hi, Melissa. I am in benzo hell. I tapered using the Ashton method from 3 mg of Klonopin down to 30 mg of Valium. But then I had a relapse and now I’m up to 3 to 4 mg of Klonopin a day over the last couple weeks. I don’t know whether to start from ground zero or where I left off with the Valium. any suggestions? I also have a very high pressure job that I need to keep and was just offered a new one. Not sure if I should accept because I am having some degree of cognitive impairment, even though I am a writer. I am in a constant state of agitation — sweaty feet, etc. hair falling out. I saw a psychiatrist who wants to taper me in 40 days with Librium and seroquel. I don’t think this is the best approach. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I am lost.

    • Oh George … I’m so terribly sorry to hear about your suffering. Suffice it to say that I understand. I have to be careful about giving advice, but I will say that stress definitely contributes to difficulty in managing a withdrawal. My best recommend is to find a doctor you trust who can support your efforts. Get as much emotional, spiritual and physical support as you can. This was hands down the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life. I used metaphor. I found the kindest and smartest people I could to support my detox and I went as slow as I needed to go. Above all else, I held my health as paramount. My detox was my job. It was my life for a while. You’ve got to come to terms with the fact that it may take a long time. But you CAN do it. Be gentle. Go as slow as you need to.

      I wish you all the best.

      • Thank you, Melissa. The work part is incredibly taxing. If I could just focus on my recovery for six months, it would be a whole different story, but the stress and accompanying cognitive impairment make my recovery more challenging. I’m a writer and I have had three movies made. The writing career is on hold because of choices I made around benzo use and now I have a day job in software.I want my brain back. It seems like you were able to get yours back, and that provides me with much hope and inspiration.

      • George- Yes, I think I have my brain back. I have a 40 hr. week job and am raising two kids so it must be back enough to balance these things. And I have a day job in IT as well! I think that reduction of stress (as much as is possible) and tons of patience are your best allies. And exercise. I can’t emphasize how much this has made a difference in my brain health. The fog comes in quickly if I don’t get my arse moving almost every day. And it’s a great stress reducer as well.

        Hang in there, friend. Patience and time and exercise and kindness. Those are the most nourishing things I can think of to help aid recovery!

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