Letting Go of Control...Or Trying...

I have some serious control issues. This is no shocking revelation to me. I’ve been pyscho analyzed on the subject multiple times by multiple therapists and basically it boils down to a reasons.  

  1. Childhood Experiences: I can’t say I grew up in a calm household. My father was an alcoholic and an addict, and although he was sober for a good portion of my life, there were a few instances where he “fell off the wagon” in the worst way. My mom and he fought when that happened and it was scary, yes. When he passed away unexpectedly from a non-drug related heart attack, I was devastated and since then had been obsessed with making sure everything in my life I could control I would.
  2. Need for Perfection: I’ve talked about this many times before. I am constantly striving for perfection, even if I don’t know what perfection is. I hate asking for help on things like a project, because I am fearful it won’t get done the way I want it. Shit….I even remake the bed after my wife makes it because it’s not perfect. I HAVE to have control of it. If my house is messy, if something is out of place—it makes me crazy.

 

Aside from those two reasons, I think a lot of the control stuff (specifically with my environment), has to do with the chaos that is inside of my head. I feel like if my brain was an actual room, it would be like one of those hoarding houses with papers stacked to the ceiling and twenty seven cats hiding amongst the debris. Sometimes my head is just so fucking cluttered that I feel like if my outward space is calm, orderly and peaceful—maybe it will help my brain clear out some of the shit too. (Sorry for the cursing today—PMDD is full force, but that’s another issue.)

Having some jurisdiction over certain aspects of my life is okay-- but how do I learn to be okay with letting go some of the control? How can I learn to sit and let myself relax if there are dishes in the sink or if someone wants to help me with something?

 

I haven’t necessarily found the answer to those questions yet, but I’m trying to recognize that not everything needs to be perfect. That sometimes it’s okay to let someone else take the reins instead of always need to be the one steering. Every day, a little more each day, I am trying to find that balance I so desperately know I need. A little at a time. That’s all we can do, my loves. I hope you all have a beautiful week!

Living Fearless

In a lot of ways, my life has improved immensely after being diagnosed with PMDD and going through treatment. Prior to that, I think I spent the majority of my days being terrified of everything. I was afraid to go to work because what if I had a melt down? What if I started crying at my desk and couldn't stop? I was afraid to be with my wife because what if I lost my temper and she got angry with me or walked out on me? Most of all, I was fricken' terrified of being alone because I didn't trust myself. I was so emotionally unstable and had such unhealthy coping skills that I was honestly afraid of MYSELF. That's kind of crazy when I think about it--actually fearing your own mind--but it's so real for so many people.  But that' s just how it is. I don't find myself fearing those things as much anymore because

1.) MEDS. I never ever ever thought medication would help me, but it truly has.

2. KNOWLEDGE. I actually have some one of an idea of what is going on with my body and it makes me feel a little bit more in control of myself. I think that was really the biggest part of it before--not feeling in control of anything. Since I have a touch of OCD, I truly appreciate control ;)

So great--less fear right? Except now, I find myself fearing other things that I didn't have time to care about before because I was too consumed in my depression.  I think the big one for me is my writing. For a long time I stopped writing because  I could barely get out of bed let alone motivate myself to write. But now, my head is clearer and I want so badly to do the things that have always made me happy in the past. Writing has always been this anchor for me- this piece of me that keeps me grounded, that allows me to pour the swirly galaxy of words in my brain into something else. But now that I've started again, that shred of self doubt always finds a way to hinder me. I'm afraid nothing I write is good enough. I don't know, for the life of me, how to visually create a blog that I think is beautiful, so it stresses me out and makes me not want to write. I don't know if people will like or listen to what I write--so I think what's the point? I submit my articles and immediately believe they will be rejected because I'm not good enough.

Fear. Is. A. Son. Of. A. Bitch.

The thing that happens is when fear comes and tells me it's not going to be good enough, I just don;t do it at all. Instead of trying to write, just giving it a try,  I miss out on the opportunity to create something beautiful. How do I call myself a writer if I don't write?

You have to want it, more than you're afraid of it, right?  So here goes. I am not saying I am going to get rid of that fear because let's be honest, that's just not realistic. If it wants to come along for the ride, fine by me...but I'm driving. Fear can take a back seat.

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Alien Invasion

I'm nine days out from my period, and all of a sudden something in me changed. I know that if I described this feeling to anyone else, the majority of the population for instance, no one would have any clue what I was taking about. But it's a very simple thing when I take a step back to analyze it: i know who I am. I've been with myself for thirty years. I know when I am Myself and when I am not the person I was meant to be. When I am suffering from my PMDD, regardless of medication, I am not the person I want to be. Tonight I was filled with this incredible mix of emotions--anger, sadness, resentment, dissatisfaction, love--all of these things that felt so overwhelming it was challenging to try to even be present. When these conflicting questions motions come, sometimes I don't even know how to control them. I don't know how to make sense of the. It feels like an alien has taken over my body, like Some foreign entity is filling me with these awful thoughts. Pmdd isn't premenstrual syndrome. It's hell.

The Never-ending Battle: Thoughts vs. Actions

Sometimes I feel like I’m two different people completely. There is one version of myself (the one I like to think exists the majority of the time), that’s rational. She’s the Jen that is creative, kind to herself, kind to the people she loves, and though she’s flawed like the rest of humanity, she’s in control.  When thoughts that aren’t so positive or loving pop into her head, she uses all of these lovely skills she’s learned to acknowledge the feelings and either sit with them, or act in a way that is healthy. Yep, this Jen may not have all of her shit together, but she’s on her way. She’s my fave.  

Then is the other version. I’m not going to be unkind to her, but I’ll say this Jen isn’t the most stable. She’s like that glass of water that’s filled to the brim, and you’re not sure WHEN she’ll overflow, but it’s pretty much a guarantee. She can’t distinguish thoughts from actions because the moment she’s filled with a thought that disturbs her, she finds herself trying to cope by turning to harmful behavior. This Jen usually pops up when a few doses of medication are forgotten or right before a period. She’s a combo of PMDD and depression and she just can’t.  She just CANNOT handle it.

 

When I went into the partial program, I kind of assumed that because I was getting treated, I’d eliminate Jen Version 2. Clearly, unrealistic. I will say, however, that at least now I’m able to recognize the difference. The lines between these two versions were so blurred before I got treatment, I didn’t know who the hell I was even supposed to be. Was I faking version 1? Was I destined to be version 2? I didn’t know—I didn’t care. Now, I recognize who I want to be and who I’m capable of being. I also realize version 2, is a part of me too. She’s not necessarily someone I want to like…hang out with all of the time. But, she’s a part of me and I need to be GENTLE with her. When I’ m in that state of mind, it’s so easy for me to just say fuck it and let emotions influence my behaviors. It happened last week. It was the day before I got my period (which was TEN days late) and I was feeling really emotional. I fought with my wife and I was so frustrated. I had thoughts about cutting and I made a decision on whether to let my thoughts turn into action. That time, I made a decision to cut. I did it. I regretted it. But I owned that choice and I owned the repercussions. Before, I would have gone from thoughts to emotions to cutting so fast I’d end up not even knowing how I got there until I was on the bathroom floor bleeding. This time, I was able to stop and think first. While this may not seem like a big victory because it seems like I made the “wrong choice”, it’s a HUGE step forward. Now, I know when I am in that state of mind at least I can recognize it. I can only hope the next time, I use some other skills I’ve learned to help me work on other things I can do to get the release I need in the moment that won’t be self-harming.

One day at a time and all that shit right? J

Happy Monday, muffins!

Am I Cured Yet?

If you were to ask someone close to me, like my wife, where I was three months ago compared to where I am today, I’m confident she would tell you without a shred of doubt that I am leaps and bounds better than I was.  If I look at the facts, if I look at this whole thing logically, I am mentally in a healthier place by far. Three months ago, I felt like I was stuck in that same familiar ditch I had been in many times before, except for some reason, this time I couldn’t see the light. I couldn’t see anything but darkness and that scared the shit out of me. I had always thought of myself as a fighter—confronting my depression and trying my best to kick it square in the teeth. When I lost that fight in me, I felt like I had completely lost myself. I think that scared me more than the depression—my desire to give up. Luckily for me, I can be reeeeeeeeallll stubborn and instead of surrendering, I asked for others to fight with me. I got help. That should feel like a victory in and of itself, right? Anyone who suffers from depression knows that our mind can be a powerful SOB. For me, learning to recognize my thoughts, especially the irrational thoughts, has been hard. My mind tells me, all the time, that I should be better. I should be farther along on my journey than I am. After all, I did SEVEN days of intensive therapy, am on medication, am eating right, exercising—shouldn’t I be 100% cured? Yes, friends, that’s my illogical brain talking and she can be a manipulative  bitch. Last week, I had one of the worst days I’ve had in a while. I was 10 days late for my period and was feeling the negative effects of my cycle being f*cked up.  That coupled with a particularly stressful work week was like the perfect PMDD/depression shit storm.  I was at work, hosting a company wide event, and had received a passive aggressive email that morning. Normally, I would mutter a curse under my breath, but I would let it go. But, my heightened emotions and hormones out of whack resulted in me turning into a sobbing, illogical, irrational mess. I unloaded on my boss, I cried in front of colleagues, and then for the rest of the day, I was so ashamed I didn’t even want to look anyone in the eye. Then the illogical B came and she was all “Everyone’s gonna think you’re crazy now! You’re probably going to get fired—might as well quit now and save them the trouble. You’re not better—you’ll always be like this.” Just like that, those thoughts threatened to erase all of the progress I’ve made.

I thought a lot about what happened last week over the weekend. I could easily listen to those thoughts and consider the PMDD episode as a setback—an inevitable failure. But, instead, I am choosing to take this as a lesson to reframe my thinking. Will I ever be ‘cured’? What does that even mean? I don’t think depression/PMDD is a curable disease. But, it’s treatable and I am working every single day of my life to learn to live with this. Will I have days that feel worse than others? Sure. But no day is ‘bad’ and no day is a setback. It’s part of my gorgeous, messy story—and I’m going to see it through to the end.

Shhh...The Neighbors Might Hear

When I was a kid, anytime I said something “inappropriate”, gossiped, or basically just said something my mother felt we shouldn’t be talking about, she would always hush me and say with a whisper “Shh…the neighbors will hear..” or something to that effect. We could literally be in our living room with the doors and windows closed and she’d still say it. Unless our neighbors had bionic ears, pretty sure they couldn’t make out me asking my mom what the word “masturbation” meant. Nevertheless,  I listened to my mother and decided that if it’s something she thought neighbors would be appalled at, then it was best to keep my mouth shut. I carried that with me, subconsciously I think, for a long time.  When I came out, I was terrified. Not because I was struggling with being a lesbian (after my first experience with a girl, I was pretty comfortable with who I was internally), but because I was afraid of what people would say. What would my family say? After all, nice catholic Italian girls grew up to marry nice Catholic Italian men, right?

The same thing happened when I  first started with depression and self-injury. I needed help. I needed to tell people. But, that same little voice in the back of my head that told me I needed help also told me I needed to keep quiet because it wasn’t anyone’s business. No one should know. I had to keep up with the appearance I was fine. Guess how healthy that was?

Let me say this-- it’s not my mom’s fault—she was raised old school just like her mom was and she battled her own hidden chest full of fucked up secrets.  Eventually though, all of those secrets that were brewing boiled over and came to the surface, and even she had to come clean.  Now, that’s what I am doing. The PMDD diagnosis was the real eye opener for me. As I began doing research and reading other women’s stories in regards to mental health, women’s health issues, sexual assault—I also began to see how fucking resilient women are. How we are survivors, supporters, advocates, revolutionaries… We are making changes. Being heard. But change only comes when  we stop worrying , stop hiding, stop making excuses for other people  and most of all—stop apologizing.

I decided to make a #sorrynotsorrylist for all of the shit (especially as a woman)I  have always felt I wasn’t able to talk about…Leave a comment below—send me your list!!!

 

Sorry I’m Not Sorry For….

  1. Gaining, losing, gaining, and losing weight. It’s my body and only I know what it’s going through. I When I say I have a slow metabolism and people roll their eyes, I also know that I suffer from thyroid issues, a tumor on my pituitary gland, and bad genes. I also know that I make healthy choices- try to work out and do my damn best for MY body.Image result for gaining weight
  2. Talking about my period. Yup. I am a woman and I bleed. How DARE I! I’m sick of having this be a topic that is only appropriate to talk to women about. If I’m hunched over at work in pain and someone asks me what’s wrong, why do I have to lie and say “Oh just a tummy ache!” I know it probably isn’t lady like to scream in my best Linda Blair impression “MY FUCKING EGGS ARE DROPPING!!!!!” but can I just be honest? It’s my time of the month, dude. It sucks.anigif_sub-buzz-28243-1491563910-1
  3. Talking about my PMDD. I know now that PMDD is not PMS. It’s debilitating, it’s uncontrollable. Do you think I want to feel freaking insane for a week? Do you honestly think I was to sit at my desk and start sobbing like a lunatic? Nope. I want to do what I can, at least in my little inner circle, to raise awareness about PMDD.
  4. Talking about SEX. This is an area that for some reason, I’ve always felt like someone was judging me for. I don’t know how much of that is all in my head or not, but I do feel like there have got to be some women who feel or have felt the way I felt. I’ve always been interested in sex and sexuality. I’m curious about other people’s sex lives, fetishes, interests…I genuinely am fascinated by it and I want to talk about it. But, I’ve felt like when I talk about it or think about it or am vocal about my needs that it makes me a pig or that I “think like a man.” Well guess what? I don’t think like anyone else but ME. And ME likes sex. A lot.
  5. Standing up for what I believe in. I spend a long time having these incredibly strong urges to fight the good fight—to be an advocate for those who have felt alone, targeted, unheard…Probably because I’ve felt like this before. But, I never fought, just thought about it, because again—what would people think if I supported things that could potentially spark controversy? Who would listen to me? Again, change is only as good as the actions that follow…I want to talk about being gay, about being a woman, about being a mental health warrior so that others will feel inspired to do the same.

 

What are you #sorrynotsorry for?

 

 

 

Med Madness

pexels-photo-143654 For years I refused to take medication. Mostly, I think my apprehension stems from watching my mother's relationship with medication. She was diagnosed with bi-polar after a suicide attempt and has been on a cocktail of medication. What I think scared me the most was the fact that I can always tell when she doesn't take her medication. She's like a different person and to me, it's a terrifying notion that one tiny pill has such a significant control on your mood and behavior. Obviously, she's better on her medication and the results are positive--but the idea that she will need to be on this medication probably for the rest of her life was just a little hard for me to swallow (Get it? hehe cheesy pun definitely intended.) I also think that part of me is a hippie at heart. I've always been advocate for alternative medicine--herbs, meditation, acupuncture--whatever way we can heal our bodies in a natural way.  I still laugh a little bit when those medication commercials for antidepressants come on showing some lady on a boat staring off into the sunset, now able to live a happy life free from depression while a voice over is talking about the possible negative side effects of the meds.

This medication may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, stroke, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, internal bleeding, blindness and possible growth of a third eye or an extra nipple...(sorry, I may have stretched the truth there for emphasis.).

Point being, why pump your body full of chemicals and risk all of that shit when the medication may not even work?

I think it's because sometimes "the reward" (so to speak) is worth the risks. For the past two years I tried a variety of different medications desperate for something to make me feel better. I had tried all of the other alternatives which helped me manage the depression a little, but it was still to great a burden to bear alone. I started off with Pristiq, then Celexa, then Lexapro, then Prozac... They all worked for a little bit and definitely came with some side effects including weight gain. I'm not going to lie, it was fucking frustrating trying to find something that worked. I was going to a nurse practitioner, and in hindsight, I probably should have tried to find someone who specialized in women's mental health issues like I have now. I was honestly ready to give up on medication until I went into the day program and ultimately had my PMDD diagnosis in conjunction with clinical depression. The doc there was incredible and actually LISTENED to my concerns, especially my fear of trying any other medication that could cause more weight gain. The combo of Wellbutrin and Celexa I'm on now has made an INCREDIBLE difference.

Moral of the story here: with your mental health, sometimes you have to do things you don't want to if it means getting better. If I'm being 100% honest (which I think you know by now I don't hold anything back), having to depend on medication still isn't something I love--but I'm learning to live with it. All part of the soul mending journey, right?

 

Lots of love, my beautiful souls!

Jen

 

Even Anthony Kiedis's Look Alike Gets Depressed...

It's been a while since I've written anything and I'm not going to lie, writing hasn't been the first thing on my mind lately.  But, today as I was slaving away working I realized two things. #1 Writing makes me happy.  And when you've found something that actually makes you happy, why would you avoid doing it?

#2 My point of starting this blog was part of healing process, yes, but also because I need people to hear my stories. Because I need people who have been through something similar or love someone who has been through/is going through something similar to know they are not alone. Feeling lonely sucks. It sucks a whole lot and maybe no one reads this blog now (because I am a lousy promoter and haven't the slightest idea what I'm doing), but eventually someone is going to stumble across this and hopefully something resonates.

This idea of not being alone is the topic of this entry today.  At the end of June. right after my PMDD official diagnosis, I decided I had to seek a more drastic intervention to help me on my path to recovery. For me, this meant I would take a week out of work to enter a group therapy day program. Basically, it was six hours straight of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy courses, group therapy with a bunch of strangers, one on one therapy and a medication consultation. The decision to go into the program wasn't easy. The night before my first day I couldn't sleep because I kept thinking to myself, "What the f*ck am I doing?". The even more f*cked up part is, even though I am someone who clearly suffers from mental health issues, I did the very thing that ENRAGES me when other people do it-- I stereotyped. I was convinced I was going to go there and it was going to be like a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Clearly now I recognize how dumb I was being, but in the moment that's how I felt.

Well, let me tell you right now, going into the program was the best decision of my life. I'll talk more about what I've learned at some point--but I'll tell you what happened on Day One that gave me my wake up call.  I walked into the group terrified and expecting the worst, but instead I was received with kindness and compassion. Everyone had their own unique stories, but the core of our issues was the same. These people were parents, business owners, teachers, nurses, rape victims, addicts---all from different places and from different paths but all there to heal. There was one guy ( who I swear was a dead ringer for Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers) that was completing the program that same day.  He was telling the group that while he was anxious to go back to his normal routine, he knew he had the tools to cope. He said when he first came in, on the verge of suicide, his biggest struggle was no one in his family understood what he was going through. He felt completely, 100% alone. Then he met other people in the program who said they felt 100% alone. And even though these people were complete strangers, knowing they were both feeling the same things, fighting the same battles, took away that feeling of isolation and instead made him feel a part of something bigger.  I just sat there listening to him, tears free flowing down my cheeks, thinking that somewhere out there in the world there is another person like me, going through the same shit. At the end of the day, our feelings aren't unique. They are unique to us, if that makes sense--they are our feelings yes, but at some point everyone has experienced some form of those emotions or those thoughts. Everyone. Accepting that first and foremost helped me to get rid of my own stigmas of mental illness and ultimately make the most of my time in the program.

I'm sorry if that sounded a bit cheesy or woo-woo for ya. I swear I wasn't brainwashed ;) This is what happens when you are finally properly medicated. Yay for drugs that actually work!

PMDD. WTF. SMH.

"It's like I get one person for two or three weeks, and then that last week, I get a completely different person. My notes for the past three months literally say 'hopeful' for two weeks, then hopeless and depressed for the last week or two of the month. I can't officially diagnose you, but I think you have PMDD" she said with confidence.

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I am not a failure. I am not a failure. I am not a failure.

Ever since I was a little kid, I've had this really terrible habit of giving up on something if I wasn't the best at it immediately.  At 30, I still don't know how to ride a bike because I gave up within the first hour of trying because I kept falling.  I remember my father telling me over and over again "It's going to take time! No one gets it on the first try." But I wasn't having it. No one was pressuring me. No one expected me to pop a wheelie as soon as my training wheels were removed.  But in my eyes, I was a failure.  I had gone into the experience (which I believe my father tried to make as memorable as possible) with outrageously unrealistic expectations of myself. And of course, when I did not meet those unattainable expectations, I felt utterly defeated and gave up. This pattern followed me all the way until now. I don't think this behavior stems from anything specifically.  As far as I can remember, my parents never made my sister or I feel like we needed to be perfect or to please them. Maybe it was a confidence thing. Maybe I was just born this way baby. Who knows. All I know is that if something doesn't come naturally to me, I have a hard time sticking to it, even if I'm enjoying myself, because I feel like a failure for not being better.

Sorry for the long walk for a short drink of water here, but I do have a point to my rambling.  During this past winter, I had one of the worst bouts of depression I've ever had. I typically notice changes in my mood when the seasons change and hoped that I would start feeling better as Spring approached. I didn't. So in April, I started to see a therapist again. We switched up my medication,  worked a lot on changing that negative self talk, I ate healthier, worked out, used different tools and apps, wrote down my feelings--did every thing I could possibly do in hopes I'd feel better. If my therapist had to give me a grade for my work on trying to beat depression, she'd give me an A fucking plus.

But, every week I'd go in and I'd tell her that it wasn't good enough. I felt better than when I came in, but why wasn't I fixed? Why did I still feel depressed? I gave it time. I did the work. I didn't give up. I stuck it out longer than I would have with anything else (and this ain't my first rodeo when it comes to depression). Hadn't I earned this?

What she said to me was a big dose of reality, but I desperately needed to hear it. She said to me (in an almost ARE YOU KIDDING ME tone of voice), "Who gave you a deadline to stop being depressed?" I didn't answer, clearly because this was a ridiculous question.

"You have these standards that you've set for yourself--that are so ingrained in you--and that are so unrealistic that they are impossible to achieve. But then when you don't achieve them, you immediately call yourself a failure. And you keep replaying that story in your head until you are convinced it's reality."

I say nothing, mainly because I am now choking back tears but partly because I am annoyed by her candidness. And her accuracy.

"We are trying to undo years, literally years of damage to the way you think, the way you look at yourself and talk to yourself. Do you think that's something that can be 'cured' in a few months? No. Are you a little better, a little stronger than when you first came in here? Yes.  This is going to take work. It's going to  be the hardest thing you've ever done, but it's not a race. No one is measuring your time, or keeping score or whatever else you tell yourself. This is a journey and you need to celebrate every single victory along the way."

I hate it when she's right and she is right pretty often. I guess that's why I pay her.... So with a bit of tough love, I continue to move forward, to hit bumps, to have really bad days and to have to ask for help. This is unnatural for me--to live without expectation-- to just trust the process and all that shit. So when I feel like throwing in the towel my new plan is to rewrite the story--to I just keep repeating, "I am not a failure. I am not a failure." Cause I'm not. I'm a mother fucking fighter.

The Black Hole, Rain Cloud, Roller Coaster and the Fog

I think one of the most frustrating things about depression, is trying to explain what it's like to someone else.

I've gone to enough therapy to finally accept the fact that depression is a disease. I know that, I understand that there is something off in a part of my brain--a chemical imbalance, neurons misfiring--some physiological explanation attributing to my depression. Like any disease, it needs to be treated as such. But, not everyone sees it as a disease and even still, I find I have to defend myself or try to put into words what it's like to live with depression.

This infuriates me.  It infuriates me because:

a.) Mental Illness isn't something most people recognizes a legitimate disease despite the fact depression affects over 15 million Americans in the US .

b.) Because depression and anxiety don't usually have visible symptoms, saying you suffer from depression is almost always accompanied with skeptisim or demands an explanation.

c.) If I had a friend come to me and tell me they had a disease like Chrohn's disease (a disease in which the physical symptoms aren't typically visible to other people), I would never ever ask that friend explain to me what it feels like (unless they wanted to) or make them feel like they need to somehow prove to me they suffer from it.

Sigh. I'm sorry if that came off a bit aggressive (my aggression is not a symptom of my mental illness, but most likely caused by my raging Italian hot blooded temper I was born with) but it's just so frustrating. But, such is life. So, I find myself trying to articulate what depression looks like, feels like, etc. in a way that will provide some semblance of insight into the disease and also, legitimize what I'm going through.

I'm unoriginal when it comes to my depression, so I typically use the 'black hole' metaphor. This is typically how the conversation will go (kind of..I may be fabricating a bit to make a point here.)

Non-Depressed Person: Jen, why do you cry all the time?

Me: I have a disease called depression. Heard of it?

Non-Depressed Person: Yes, but isn't it just like...your sad? I'm sad some times. Am I depressed?

Me: (Spicy italian blood boiling) Being sad doesn't necessarily make you depressed, but let me explain how I feel when I have depression. Being depressed, being in a state of severe depression for me, feels like being at the bottom of a big black hole. Like a dark, ditch. Sometimes I can't see any light at all. Sometimes it's just complete darkness and I'm at the bottom of the hole and I don't see any way out because I can't see anything but black. Sometimes I can see a tiny bit of light--a little sliver of light--but when I try to climb out of the hole, there's nothing to hold on to. I keep trying to climb up, to claw my way out, but I keep falling back down back into the black hole.

Non-Depressed Person: ......

Me: (In my head) Well, you asked.

I've found if I ever want to get out of having to make conversation at a party, I just bring up the black hole and poof, gone. Turns out depression is a real buzz kill. HA.

Sorry. Back to the point of this post. Having to explain yourself sucks. I don't want to have to do it but until the stigma associated with mental illness is gone, I probably will always need to.

So, whether you describe your depression as a black hole, tidal wave, roller coaster, arch enemy, thick fog, twister, hurricane, Donald Trump--WHATEVER--find something that helps. Because as annoying AF as it is to be asked to give an example to explain your disease, you may also find some clarity or peace in it yourself.

If Anxiety and Depression Had a Baby....

That baby would be me.  Yup, I'd be the love child-- or hate child-- (cause let's be honest anxiety and depression suck a whole lot) of the above couple. Depression and anxiety (along with it's occasional tumultuous third lover, self injury) have been on and off for the past seventeen years. I've gone through periods of time where I've had a break from this trio of mental illness, but like  as any nagging parent, anxiety and depression come barging in when they are the most unwanted and unwelcome.

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