The first signs appeared my second year in Seoul, when the Asian economic crisis and a Korean presidential election together created more work than I could feasibly handle. I went from writing for two newspapers and doing occasional radio spots to stringing for four papers and almost daily radio broadcasts. The day after a former dissident unexpectedly won the presidential election, I ended up with front-page stories in two newspapers on opposite sides of the globe -- one in Boston, the other Hong Kong....
I finished my last three months in Asia on a good note then returned to Pennsylvania, planning to get a newspaper job stateside. When my father was diagnosed with cancer, I delayed my search. A few months later, my longtime boyfriend and I called it quits. Before I knew it, my mind had gotten off track again.
With no structure to my days, blackness overtook my thoughts.
For the first time in my life, reading was little solace. Every mediocre newspaper article taunted me. I paged through book after book for answers and inspiration, to no avail. I went on long, cold walks and scratched for hours in my journal. Empty of everything, I rarely cried. When the house was empty, I would sit in my bedroom and pray out loud, begging God for direction, for mercy. At the most desperate moments, one line became a touchstone: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?