Mental Health and the Pandemic by Juliana Aragon Fatula

May 25, 2022

Dear Reader,

This year I’ve written book reviews, judged book contests, entered two manuscripts for publishing and started writing a new novel. My writing has been sporadic, and my submissions have been few, but I continue to write and read and do research and learn every day.

I’ve been writing for the Stiletto Gang for years and have written several posts about my life as a writer and educator. I’ve also written about my genealogy research and stories about my ancestors. I’ve posted book reviews and interviews. I’ve posted photos of my Chicana Garden and my flowers. I’ve written about my music therapy for the blues, and I’ve written about my dysfunctional family. I’ve told the stories of my life and how I ended up the Crazy Chicana in Catholic City in Red Canyon Falling on Churches, Colorado. My characters are based on the compilations of people I’ve known. Many of them are dead but I’m still here telling their stories. My imagination is wicked, and my sense of humor is dark and disturbing. I write from the heart and tell the truth, not the facts, the truth. 

My therapist tells me to get my joy back I need to think about the good things in my life and so I’m going to tell you about some of the good things that make me unique and adored. I am kind and generous and funny and smart and creative and silly. I like my eggs hard-boiled and with no runny yokes in my fried eggs. I only eat my meat well done never rare. I love children but have a soft spot for the elderly. I’ve rescued hundreds of at-risk teenagers and given them guidance and love. 

I’ve been married twice. Once when I was twenty-one. Divorced at twenty-two. It was a disaster. Married again and found my lifelong partner of 32 years and counting. I have one son, no daughters, no grandchildren, and lots of siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins. All my aunts and uncles on both sides have died. My parents died on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, many years apart. I am an orphan. 

I love zombies and werewolves and vampires and love stories about the unlovable. I listen to a variety of music but love Reggae and Dance music. I love to dance and have danced in too many saloons, dives, bars, and joints to count. When I was in my twenties, I played soccer in Colorado Springs and enjoyed running on the field playing fullback defense. 

I love animals and spoil my pets. My home is filled with houseplants and my garden is flowering from May to October with flowers and herbs. I grow my own cannabis for medication and make a salve for pain and edibles for dosing for my depression. I’ve had the same small-town country doctor for 40 plus years. I’ve known him longer than my husband. 

I began therapy again during the pandemic and am on my way to healing but it is a process, and you can’t rush or count on pharmaceuticals for a cure. It takes work. I’m working hard at healing and returning to my joyful self. I haven’t been joyful for a couple of years. I’ve stayed away from people and practiced social distancing to the extreme. I’ve been vaccinated, boosted, and boosted some more. I fear getting Covid or the Monkey Pox and avoid gatherings with people who are not vaccinated. My life has changed, and my joy has diminished but I’m striving for a better future where I travel and visit friends and enjoy going to writing workshops and comingling with strangers. 

Until I no longer fear the outside world, I’ll continue to hibernate in my comfy little house with my husband, Big Bad Baby Boy Bear, and Yogi. I’ll continue to write and read and submit my work and when my first novel gets published, I’ll celebrate. There is hope for me and I know I can be a better human being and that is what I’m working on. 

These photos of books in my library speak clearly about my choice of authors and subjects. I have a collection of poetry and novels by writers of color and it continues to grow. My skin color, brown, has been underrepresented for centuries and today that fact has changed. Please read books by writers of color and the LGBTQ community and broaden your understanding of the world. If you need any recommendations, I’m happy to suggest a book or two for you. Thank you and keep the faith. 

5 replies
  1. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Juliana, thank you for the book references. I've been off social media since the Texas shooting. We live in terrible times. Wishing you comfort and joy as you look for peace and mental stability. I am a firm believer that we have a mental health crisis in our world. I have written to my elected officials that if we can have an urgent care on most corners, why can't we do the same for mental health facilities?

    Reply
  2. Eikmeier Barb
    Eikmeier Barb says:

    You made a big move toward healing by talking about it in your blog post. You are not alone in your suffering. Keep making small steps and celebrate every little win.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Didn’t know you where going through this. The pandemic has been hell in many ways. I love you my friend. You let me (and others) know when you’re ready for a visit.

    Reply

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