Anna Skeels performs on a stage wearing a dress, bonnet and floral apron.

The ‘tortured artist’ trope is torturing artists

Compelling personal stories
told by the people living them. My high school’s Friday night showing of “Beauty and the Beast” starts in an hour.  As Lumiere the candlestick does his sound check, the rest of the cast is waiting onstage for our own. Our lighting designer is running through cues, making the hot stage lights jump from bright white to blue to red and back again. Someone is playing the piano in the green room (probably a “Hamilton” song). I’m in my huge Mrs. Potts costume and I can’t quite figure out how to breathe.

When surviving is just the beginning: Lessons from my experience with terminal illness may help those dealing with post-COVID trauma

Compelling personal stories
told by the people living them. I fall into this thought experiment from time to time where I imagine what it would be like if I jumped ahead in my life by exactly a year to the date. I performed this thought experiment at the end of April 2019. I was about to exit one phase of my life and enter into an indefinite period of unemployment. However, I had some plans in store, ranging from grad school to teaching overseas.

After misdiagnosis and relentless symptoms, I’ve felt the toll of RLS on my mental health. We need better care.

Compelling personal stories
told by the people living them. Editor’s note, trigger warning: The essay discusses suicidal ideation. If you or someone you know are struggling with suicidal ideation, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), or message the Crisis Text Line at 741741. The programs provide free, confidential support 24/7. The author's full name is being withheld to protect his privacy.