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the depression never really leaves.

you might think it is long gone,

but it turns up again

like a needy relative

with his hand out

asking for another piece of your soul,

pretty soon you wonder if there will be any left for yourself

…or for God.

From “If There’s No Heaven” by Barbara Marie Minney

Poetry Is Life Publishing, 2020

©2020 by Barbara Marie Minney. All Rights Reserved.

I wrote this poem in 2019 during the early stages of my transition. I did not really realize then how true it really is. I am struggling. Really struggling. I have had a migraine 23 out of the last 24 days, and when I look at myself in the mirror, all I see is a canvas of hopelessness. It is time to admit to myself that the depression is back just like the needy relative in the poem. I started crying on Saturday morning, something I have not been able to do for months, and blurted out, “I just don’t want to be here anymore.” I have not had those kind of thoughts in a very long time.

I can only speak for myself, but when I am depressed, I feel isolated and alone in the vast wasteland of my head. I cannot get my mind to stop, my thinking becomes warped, I have trouble sleeping and eating, and can only think of the worst possible scenarios. I try to hide what I am feeling and suffer in silence. Asking for help is totally out of the question.

I am as fragile as a porcelain doll broken into a hundred pieces. I need to take a huge step back and try to regain my strength. I keep telling myself, “I am stronger than the depression.” But, the real challenge is in believing it.

Barbara Marie Minney is a transgender woman, poet, writer, speaker, and quiet activist. She is a retired attorney and originally from West Virginia. Now based in Tallmadge, Ohio, her first collection of poetry entitled “If There’s No Heaven” was the winner of the 2020 Poetry Is Life Book Award and was selected by the Akron Beacon Journal as one of the Best Northeast Ohio Books in 2020. It is available at Follow her at

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