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  • Jacque Stevens

The Full Story behind Winter Falls (or how I became a nurse when I wanted to be a writer) PART 2

This depression didn’t last for just a few weeks or months. This lasted three years. When I couldn’t find a job living with my parents, one of my married siblings reached out. She was having some medical struggles and with her husband in the military, she wanted my help nannying her toddler and new baby. This was both good and bad. It was good because I love my sister and WAS able to help her. It was bad because I was back to avoiding the real question of figuring out my life, prolonging the issue.

I was back to writing in the closet, but my writing became darker. I started writing a story about a girl whose life/prophecy wasn’t what she wanted (Stone Bearers!!!), but in the end even that was too “light” and “happy” for me to finish. I abandoned that project half-way through for something that fit my emotions better, a story about a girl who rejected life completely.

It really wasn’t as bad as that sounds. Or at least, it wasn’t at first. I channeled my feelings into my character. I wasn’t depressed. My character was. I was just fine. I might not be able to find a job, but I had cute nephew babies to mother. And that was really all I did. I was on the other side of the country from where I grew up. Making new friends was always difficult for me, and now I had a new struggle. The dreaded get to know you question, “What do you do?” To avoid it, I avoided new people and even some of my old friends, becoming even more reclusive than usual—near agoraphobic as my social skills worsened and became more anxiety-ridden with lack of practice.

But again, it couldn’t last forever. My sister got well enough that my presence didn’t seem to be helping her anymore. Having me there was really becoming enabling to both of our current weaknesses, and I knew it would soon be time for me to leave without accomplishing anything on my path to self-discovery. I couldn’t even picture myself having a real life again—marriage or a normal job seemed completely out of reach. That Christmas, I went to visit my parents in Settle and went on a fairy (the nonmagical boat kind). That was when it happened, a thought came to me, clear as day.

“You could just jump off. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about figuring out your life anymore and would no longer be a burden to your family.”

This was similar to a scenario with my character, but it wasn’t my character. It was me. I was suicidal and it terrified me.


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