When I was five, or maybe six, my sister and I spent the day at our castle. It was a large rock that reached my waist as a child and my knee when I was an adult. From there we took trips to the money tree, collected rose petals to scent our fine clothes and never lacked for anything, though in real life our father worked the night shift in a factory and our mother “worked her fingers to the bone.” I suppose that was when I started telling stories. By high school, I wanted to be a writer.

Life intervened and I did other things. Married a prince, raised a family, worked as a therapist and learned from that experience that the essence of mental health is a coherent life story. Stories, it turns out, are a necessity, not a luxury. I’ve come full circle.

Photo taken by the author in Idaho, 2012