Sticks and Stones: A Poem About Life with Depression
By Linh Vu, Family Clinician and Diem Ngo, Ryan’s mother
Ryan Dang is a 20-year-old male who has been experiencing long-term depressive symptoms. He has been enduring these challenges since he was 10 years old. At around 16, Ryan started to question his existence and challenged what most people would desire – life itself. Often, his symptoms would overwhelm his pleasures, leaving him feeling hopeless and helpless – even with the encouragement and support of his family and care team.
Today, Ryan is working on strategies to connect with his inner self in healthier ways, and to integrate with the world around him. He finds that writing and drawing helps him cope during moments when he is not at baseline. Ryan’s poems are reflective of his lived and living experiences.
Ryan’s family continues to listen and be open to understanding his needs and strengths, even when the two cultures and languages between Vietnamese and American are so vastly different. Following is one of Ryan’s many masterful poems and the translation is done by his Mother. It is a beautiful testament to the family’s love and care that bridges the gaps between cultures and languages.
Ryan and his mother read the poem at our Visions of Community 2018 Conference – the video is available on YouTube.