These are stories of power. They will grab you by the throat. They will demand unfamiliar parts of you to pay attention.

When a woman tells her story, without sentimentality and confusion, it is like the sharpest of arrows. It cuts right clear to the bone.

She lets you know: I am not here to console you. I am not interested in making you feel better, nor is my intention to enrage you.

Women everywhere today are collapsing and they are collapsing in isolation, in defeat, and disease. There is no language to communicate what is happening. Instead, women are told to lean in, find work-life balance, and keep going. To keep going at all costs. And women do it—smart women, capable women, beautiful women—until they have given everything and there is nothing left to give.

These stories chart the course of this very modern descent, a descent into the abyss, the swamp, and the uncertainty that comes when the body and the heart finally say no. No more. In our world, we call this ground all kinds of things—depression, mid-life crisis, failure—and it comes with all kinds of physical and emotional ills—cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome—but none of these names tell the whole story.