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  • Writer's pictureSarah Swindell

The Overpass

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

Early 2011

I wrote this journal entry about 10 years ago I think, but things are still a little fuzzy about that time. Dawson was around 10 years old and Greg and I had not been divorced for very long. When I read it for the first time years later, it hardly made any sense. I now realize it was because I was a freaking mess!

It is still hard to read just how sad, exhausted and hopeless I felt back then, and how I never really shared it with anyone.

Autism seemed to be devouring Dawson, and events that lead to my divorce would not leave my brain. I was trying to be there for my three daughters that were also going through their own stuff, and felt like I was failing everyone and everything.

I truly believed at the time, Dawson was as miserable as I was, and I would be doing us both a favor. I also believe sleep deprivation can make you a bit crazy. Dawson never slept...I mean never. It felt like I was in a constant fog from exhaustion, and too emotionally crushed to pick myself up or do anything about it.

There is absolutely no doubt I should have sought help, and I don't really understand why I didn't. Only that maybe it was because I was just too tired, humiliated, and embarrassed about how bad things had gotten.

I thank God I decided to not drive off that overpass so many years ago. I can't begin to imagine what I would have put my family through if I had, and so many beautiful moments that were In my future that I would have missed.

My hope for sharing this is that if you ever find yourself in that dark place, PLEASE talk to someone...anyone. You are more loved than you will ever know and you WILL get through it! You have love all around you that you don't even realize is out there just waiting to put loving arms around you, I promise you that. You just have to be brave enough to talk about it with someone who will listen, and allow that love to help you through it.

This is the end section of that long journal entry I wrote so many years ago.

For some reason I don’t really know, I slow down and decide to follow the curve instead of driving through it. I instead choose to drive the dark, early morning hours for a bit longer to let my girls get the sleep they need for school.

As I pull into the garage, the yelling from the back seat stops for a moment and a sweet smile forms on Dawson’s beautifully perfect face. For a child who can’t speak, his eyes can speak so clearly sometimes. I can almost feel him telling me, “Everything is going to be alright mommy, I love you and I need you.”

I unbuckle Dawson from his seat and lift him to my chest to hug him tightly. I quietly whisper an apology for ever thinking about what I had just thought about doing. I walk up the stairs in my garage, and into my house to start breakfast for my girls that were busy getting ready for school.

I feel grateful that at least for this moment, I can pretend to be a normal mother on the outside, rather than the shattered, exhausted and terrified woman that is on the inside.

Sarah Swindell's memoir, Rounding Home, is now available here!


If you are in danger of acting on suicidal thoughts or are in any other life-threatening crisis, please call emergency services in your area (9-1-1 in the U.S.) or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.

If You are Thinking about  Suicide, Read This First

Hotlines in the U.S.

All hotlines listed below are free and confidential.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

800-273-TALK (8255)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day, every day.

Services are also available for veterans, and for Spanish speakers.

The Trevor Project 

866-488-7386 – a hotline for LGBT youth

Trans Lifeline

This is a hotline for transgender people. The volunteers and staff are themselves transgender.

U.S.: (877) 565-8860 

Canada: (877) 330-6366

Online Chat and Email

E-mail Samaritans

Note that the Samaritans international website states that people who send an email typically receive a response within 12 hours. The site also notes that names are immediately removed from emails, and emails are deleted after 30 days.

Lifeline Crisis Chat

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also has chat available, 24 hours a day. To use the service, go to

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