So… I’m writing a book

I know that I’ve mentioned before that I was writing short stories on my blog for a future book I may write, but there haven’t been many specifics. After months of deliberating whether or not I wanted to do it, whether or not it would make sense, whether or not I thought it was important to share, etc. I have decided to do it.

I’m writing a book.

I’m currently sitting in the business center of my apartment complex, sipping on coffee and taking notes in an old beat up notebook as I scour through 235 posts on this blog whilst wearing my burgundy rimmed glasses (very writer-esque).

235 posts. Wow. It has been a year and 4 months now since day one of my blog and somehow I’ve still managed to write combinations of letters on a post that resonates with people all over the world.

That is beautiful.

This is why this book is important. I am still working things out, but it’s obvious that the book will be a collection of short stories and pretty much anything else I find relevant to my recovery. I don’t want to focus on love or romantic relationships as much as I do childhood and family relationships, mostly because I really want this book to be taken seriously, and tween-20 something love isn’t always received in the best light, no matter how real it feels.

I already have to break that barrier down for depression in this book. That’s more than enough to keep me busy.

I’m going over old posts that will create the outline for my book. The skeleton that is what I want this book to be. How I want it to feel. What I want to tell the world.

I will be editing a lot of those posts to sound less blogg-y and more book-y. I know, my genius way with words is showing.

I don’t really care if nothing happens with it. Even if one person picks it up and it changes something for them I’ll be happy.

I have to try. That’s the same thing I said with this blog and it has been such a wonderful success. I’ll still be blogging of course, it is the whole reason I even have material.

Thank you, WordPress followers, for giving me the courage to do this.

This book will be dedicated to you.

-Jess

Medication oh my

Day 12 on Lamotrigine.
Well look at that… I don’t have that little guy on my shoulder suggesting I jump off a building anymore.

Whoopideedoo

Least my sarcasm is still intact.

Last time I got better I was this bright eyed bubblegum bitch who thought her problems were over.

This time I know better than to let my guard down.

Still, it is nice to have a little bit of energy again. To feel like myself again. To wake up and not immediately hate my life. To take in the good around me.

I even have the energy to go to work.
Slowly but surely things are changing.

Things are shifting.

I know I should enjoy it but I’m not really in that place yet.

I know I’m getting better and I see everything that’s going on but I can’t react to it just yet.

It was the same with Wellbutrin. For the first 7 days I was emotional, hazy, suicidal, and every other feeling you could ever have wrapped in a white bow.

Then the next couple of days I had a neutral streak where I didn’t really realize it but I wasn’t the same.

Now I’m making future plans again, determined to get my mind and body in a better place, crossing off to do lists, etc etc.

I hope that it only gets better.

But as they say –

What goes up….

But I don’t want to end this post that way.

I want to be hopeful. Like that girl who hadn’t felt normal her whole life, and then one day after Wellbutrin she saw something that would normally set her off and she felt sad. Just sad. Not depressed, not suicidal, not a meltdown worthy moment. Just sad.

She was sad…. And it made her really happy.

-Jess

Savor every normal moment

Looking back on my old posts I felt like a clueless fool. A year ago I was on cloud nine and feeling better. All I could seem to do was write about how wonderful it felt to get my life back. How happy and independent I was. 

I thought I had all the answers and I spewed those out to the world to try and make it a better place.

What a braggy bitch.

But yknow, now that I am trying to get better again I’ve realized something. 

That version of me is who I aspire to be again. 

I’m jealous of my past self.

But how could I not be? That girl was fun, sassy, happy, talented, and actually wanted to be alive.

And honestly I bet to the rest of the world I still am those things. But it doesn’t matter unless I know them to be true.

And I don’t. Not yet.

Reading back on my posts I feel jealous, but I also realize that this girl, this wonderful version of me, she played her cards just right.

She lived, damnit. She worked, she played, she cared, she accomplished things, and she loved. 

She savored every moment of normal and told the world about it.

Even work. Work became fun because she knew it was a part of normal life.

And yeah, she bragged, but who wouldn’t? Life finally made sense. It finally had meaning. She finally felt comfortable in her own skin.

There are days when I don’t feel so low. I actually feel kind of okay sometimes. 

On those days I get so confused on how to feel. Sometimes I panic. I freak out about feeling somewhat normal and I waste it all. Sometimes it makes me sad. I know it’s only temporary and that fact gets me down.

My feelings are valid, but in those instances I have choices. 

And I want to choose to enjoy those moments. I don’t feel perfect or happy or manic. I just feel a little more normal. 

But that is a gift.

-Jess

An Ideal World vs. The Real World

Andy and I were talking about the possibilities of technology and medicine advancement in the future.

He brought up a scenario where there are drugs tailor made specifically for each person. A Jessica drug for me and my depression. He wasn’t for or against it, he was just curious on my thoughts. (Yes, we are nerdy like that.)

Ain’t that a treat? A pill designed for my body and no one else’s. The promise of a side effect free drug that cures my depression forever. That could have cured my depression when I almost lost my life.

I simply responded, “No.”

He asked me why.

“Because if I didn’t go through what I went through, I wouldn’t be sitting with you in this room right now.”

He waited on an explanation, completely puzzled.

“Well think about it. If I didn’t have depression, I wouldn’t have had to force myself out of my way of thinking. A lot of the times people without a life changing illness just kind of settle for what their lives are. Nothing to do, nothing to change. They find solace in the mundane.

I had to do something drastic to get out of that hole. So I decided to move here.

Hell, we can even go more in depth. I would have never adopted
Khaleesi, because as most know I adopted her because bonding with your pet is therapeutic and often helps with depression. I would have probably stayed with/married my ex, so I would have relied on him with my depression, refusing to take meds because I had him as a crutch, so I wouldn’t have recovered when I did. I wouldn’t have met this random guy in a bar, hit it off with him, and had the courage to go visit him in Austin a week after meeting him.

I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to stay true to myself when said guy screwed me over. I certainly wouldn’t have had the courage to move here. I wouldn’t have moved home and started saving. I wouldn’t have gotten an OkCupid profile to meet Austinites before my move. I would have never seen a picture of this gorgeous guy who claimed he could make a girl smile if she gave him the chance to. I wouldn’t have had the courage to message him, and he wouldn’t have made me smile within two message exchanges. We would have never talked every day before my move, I would have never moved here, I would have never gone on an amazing first date, or had an amazing first kiss. I would have never gotten the chance to hear him say ‘I love you’ and I wouldn’t have met his amazing son, and I wouldn’t be in this very room with him right now.”

It’s safe to say that he agreed that an ideal world is nowhere near as wonderful as the real world.

I believe he said something along the lines of:

“That world sounds like bullshit.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I hope when you are struggling you can remember that your pain, your suffering, your scars, they are all part of who you are. They shape you to be the person you are going to be someday. The person who has these crazy stories, these intense moments, these wonderful memories. A more well rounded, brave, and strong person.

If we lived in a world where my depression was 100% curable right off the bat, well, I wouldn’t be me. I’d be a robot. We would all be the same. And I wouldn’t have ever gotten the chance to start this blog

Do you have the courage to be you?

The Devil in an Unflattering Costume [[an excerpt from a larger story]]

2004

“Quien canta esa canción?”

“Extreme”

“Mejor déjalos cantarlo.”

I shielded my developing body as best I could. Since he married my mom I had gotten better at it. The trick is wrapping one arm over your chest under the opposite armpit and the other arm extended to the opposite shoulder. Covers you where it counts and gives you a sense of security, even at 11 years old.

My lower privates would have to settle for the soapy water.

“I’m taking a bath. Leave me alone.”

“No me hablas así. Es no fair. Yo soy tu papa.”

“You’re not my dad.”

________________________________________
2006

Dress up week at middle school was fun. I enjoyed making up my costumes and showing my friends. That day was superhero theme. I used a Wonder Woman costume my mom got me for Halloween a few years back.

“Cam on, Darse prisa.”

“I’m ready.”

“In the car.”

I forgot to grab a sweater and sweatpants. I always wore them when he gave me a ride. But I forgot it. Even after two years I still forgot sometimes.

“I like it.”

“What?”

Tu costume. Te miras very sexy.”

Reaching over to the notch on the radio, he somehow accidentally grabbed my leg instead. He was always accidentally grabbing something.

“Don’t touch me.”

I knew I shouldn’t have said that. Be quiet — that was my new angle. He lunged forward and wrapped his hands around my neck.

“No me hablas así.”

I choked out a few raspy okays before he let me go. 

“little bitch.”

When he was finished he dropped me off. He dropped me off an hour late and I couldn’t breathe. I leaned against the back doors of the building and tried to catch my breath, but It was miles away. Clutching my chest with tears in my eyes I didn’t understand why it had to be me. Why he had to pick my family. 

I watched my father physically abuse my brother every single day.

I supposed it was my turn now.
Maybe I’m overreacting.

I must be. Him and my mom always say I can be so dramatic.

I knew it wasn’t right. I knew he wasn’t right. 

But maybe I wasn’t either. Maybe I was messed up and needed to be punished. 

Maybe the universe set this up.

Maybe God knew I was no good too and decided to do something about it.

After all my mom met him at our church. He was in cahoots with The Lord I thought loved me.

Maybe the worst was over.

Maybe I’ve suffered enough.

Maybe God will have mercy on me.

Then again maybe he won’t. 

Day one back on Meds

That’s right… Here we go again.

Except this time it’s different. I am on a mood stabilizer. Lamotrigine.

The psychiatrist mentioned a rule of three.

If three SSRI’s fail on you then there may be multiple diagnoses involved.

He thinks I also have bi polar components.

… I’m not even sure what to think of that right now so I’ll get into it later.

Look if it makes me feel anything like Wellbutrin made me feel for those 6 months then it is more than worth it.

Also with my insurance it’s $5.50 for 60 pills so money can’t be an excuse like it was with Wellbutrin. 

Here we go.

I’ll keep you updated. 

-Jess-

This isn’t natural

There is nothing natural about wanting to kill yourself because you’d rather be dead than get up in the morning.

There is nothing natural about having a normal conversation with someone while simultaneously planning the details of your suicide in your mind.

There is nothing natural about smiling at the world and radiating this beautiful positive energy to those around you as you’re falling apart on the inside.

There is nothing natural about your mind constantly telling you to find a way to die – and soon.

There is nothing natural about hating yourself for no rational reason –

Or lying awake in bed and thinking about every mistake you ever made –

Or sitting in a chair and staring at the wall for hours because everything else feels just as mundane anyhow –

Or wishing nobody loved you so that you could silently excuse yourself from the pain.
There never has been and never will be anything natural about depression.

We were not meant to live like this, but more importantly, we were not meant to die like this. 

-Jess-

The circle of guilt and indifference

Recently a terrible tragedy happened where I work. One of my co workers (overworked and exhausted) had a different start to his morning last Thursday. He was supposed to drop off his son at daycare before coming to work.

Exhausted as he was he tried to do it all. Work double shift after double shift, spend time with and support his four year old son from a previous relationship, keep his marriage a happy one, and be there for his youngest as much as possible.

On Thursday, all of us and the rest of Austin learned that you can’t spread yourself that thin. My co worker drove straight to the restaurant, forgot that his quiet infant was in the backseat, and clocked in for work leaving him in a hot car. 

The shift lasted seven hours. In those seven hours no one saw or heard the baby. No one noticed him alone in a 130 degree car. Every customer and employee unknowingly passed right by him, walked into an air conditioned restaurant and sat in shiny chairs and ate their breakfast plates and drank their ice cold beverages.

That baby passed away in that car.

I thank my lucky stars that I wasn’t there that day, because just hearing about it triggered my depression so intensely. 

I kept thinking, “why this poor defenseless unblemished child who didn’t have any desire to die? Why not someone who has tried to end their life? 

Why not me?”

Of course, in the real world the two instances are unrelated, but depression doesn’t give a shit about that. It made me feel guilty for being alive anyway. 

What happened to my co worker and his famiy, losing a child, living with that guilt every day, not to mention facing criminal charges… It will never be okay.

Nothing that I or anyone else could say will make that better. All I could think to do in the most depressing shift I have ever had to work was hit the feed button on the register, rip off the receipt paper, write the words “it should have been me”, fold it into an origami heart, and tuck it next to a teddy bear on his vigil.

Today I got a new job downtown as a server (I knew I needed a fresh start after that). I applied at 10am, got a call at 11:30, interviewed at 3, got the job at 3:15, and I start in 40 mns.

All in a day. Life is a deranged and beautiful experience.

I am a deranged and beautiful person.

Today, sitting here on a restaurant deck sipping a glass of merlot, I can’t help but think that there’s a reason I’m still here. 

Depression, today I won. Today, you lost.

See you again tomorrow.

-Jess

While you’re alive, try not to be an asshole

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

I think Maya Angelou was right. The way you feel about someone never fades. I also think, however, that the way you make someone feel directly corroborates with things that you said or did. You ever hate someone so much but forget why? Those emotions are real, but you have no recollection as to how they came about.

Doesn’t really matter when someone dies in the grand scheme of things.

But what do they leave behind?

Some people just do things without caring how anyone else feels. Doesn’t matter if they care about you or not. They will do fucked up shit and use alcohol or emotions or technicalities to make themselves feel like it was alright.

I don’t feel that it’s alright.

When I leave this earth I want the people that I genuinely cared about to remember that I made them feel loved, cared for, and important. All of those things.

I don’t want to act reckless or treat people like shit.

People are not disposable to me.

When I have to drop someone, I make sure I mean it.

I wouldn’t drop someone for something trivial.

Usually I drop them because I think of Maya Angelou’s quote.

I ask myself if they died tomorrow, would I be okay with how they made me feel when they were alive?

If the answer is no then there is no reason to continue.

Sometimes I’m in the wrong, in that case I ask myself if I can fix it or not. If I can’t then I leave them to their decision. If I can… well I try.

At the end of the day I just want to filter out the people that I know do more harm than good. People that don’t seem to have a problem with hurting me severely. People that would probably do it again. I don’t have the energy or the time to waste on someone like that.

And honestly… neither do you.

Fool me once shame on you.

Fool me twice …

You’re done.

-Jess

“It’s a good day to be alive.”

On a day like this… A day where every single person in this country has the right to marry who they want to no matter what race or gender…

I’ve got to say that it’s a good day to be alive.

Now, no matter when I’m gone, I’ll always have the fact that I was alive the day same sex marriage was legalized.

I feel proud to be part of this time in history.

-Jess

Hate feeling depressed, hate feeling normal.

Right now I’m not feeling low.

I don’t have this extreme urge to die.

I don’t hate myself.

I don’t hate my life.

I just…

feel okay.

and it’s boring and stupid and lame.

Essentially it’s just as bad.

-Jess

There is nothing here.

When you are down, they all say “It gets better.”

When you are up, no one says, “It get’s worse.”

Humans like to try and find a silver lining. They like to try and think positively, hope for the best. I, myself am a realist.

I do not hope it gets better. I make it better.

And I don’t expect things to stay good. I give myself time to enjoy the peace that will inevitably become depression.

There are no quotes, no sayings, no memories that can save me.

There are no moments worth living for.

There is no green grass. Not on this side or the other. This is it. This is all it is. This is all I am.

A body with functioning organs and a mouth who’s voice spews out inconsistencies and lies.

There is no soul, no light, no dark after this container is spent.

There is only now, and now is worse than any fate I could imagine. Now is pain that no human mind can combat.

Now is overrated.

How Dare You Tell Me To Be Happy.

“How can you see trees, animals, beautiful things, and happy children and still be depressed?”

Depression is not a reaction to something. It sees the trees blowing in the wind and tells you that you are worth less than them. It sees your friends smiling at you and tells you that they’d all be better off if you were to not exist.

It sees your heart and tells you that someone else deserves it more than you.

And not only do you have to keep on existing through the pain, but you have to find beauty in the trees, smile back at your friends as if nothing is wrong, and continue to let your heart beat.

Worse yet, you have to look into a child’s innocent smiling eyes and pray to the skies that they never know what this pain is like.

Do not tell me there is beauty all around when your narrator is different than mine.

There is no reason to live if those reasons don’t change what is happening to me.

I cannot not feel this way

I cannot fully explain the circumstances under which I live.

I cannot save the world.

I cannot change the world.

And if I change myself it makes no difference.

So I have decided to face the inevitable —

I am already dead.

Writing the things you can’t even say [[An Excerpt From a Larger Story]]

Lately my posts have been either all consumingly depressing or willingly positive. Because of the fact that I’ve been seeing only two options, I haven’t had a consistent frame of thought long enough to finish a coherent thought.

So now I won’t try to make this coherent. I won’t try to tell people what they want to hear. I won’t try to convince you that life is good or bad. I won’t attempt to make every word perfect or even worry about grammar (not that I ever really did).

I just want to write.

The beautiful gooey center that is writing without a cause.

I read a few quotes today to help me get out of this weird funk I’m in.

Here are some that are igniting something in me right now:

“Writers… write to give reality to experience.” – Archibald MacLeish

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” – Natalie Goldberg

I think all of these quotes give different suggestions on what to write and where it should come from. Maybe I’ll try using a quote to write a piece every once in a while.

Tonight I want to use this one:

“Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say.” -Mitch Albom


Sometimes I find myself wishing that I could have been good enough for many things throughout my life.

I don’t feel that I’ll ever get the chance to prove myself. I’m so small in a world full of people who stand out. I’m so lost in a sea of others just like me with aspirations, dreams, talent, misfortunes, and doubts that I have officially been permanently overlooked.

On a smaller scale I’ve been able to find a niche where I belong. A home, a job, a hobby or two, and a sense of responsibility. Surely if I was no longer here there would be a few people who depended on me that would not easily recover from the loss. 

But is that enough for me?

Is this enough for me?

Will anything ever be enough for me.

It seems anonymity follows me wherever I go.

The coffee shop on the corner of Clark and Wilson.

Riverside street on my way to nowhere.

Austin.

Chicago.

The mexican restaurant just outside work.

The truth is it doesn’t matter how many tears escape me in my time on earth.

Or how many times I move.

Or how many relationships I have.

Or how many laughs I share with someone.

Or how many purely beautiful moments I collect throughout the years.

Or how many people love me.

Or how many people fall in love with me.

Or how many lives I effect.

Or how many beers I drink.

Or how many books I read.

Or how many songs I listen to.

Or how many drugs I try.

Or how many posts I write.

Or how many moments of peace I get.

Someday I will die.

Whether by my own hand or by life’s.

And the people that mourned my loss, they will also die.

It will all be over.

And just like that… none of it will matter.

Worrying about it one way or another won’t change anything.

This is just the way it is.

And whoever controls it all must be laughing at us.

At all of the things we regret. All of the words we wrote. All of the times we cried. All of the fights we had. All of the times we worried. All of the what if’s we never got to conquer.

All of the times we beat death.

All of the times we wasted life.

All of the times we thought we had any power.

None of it mattered.

None of it ever mattered.

None of it ever will.

I hate to be the one to say it, but ultimately that doesn’t matter either.

Because I sit here in this ocean of no one’s and I am heard by few.

Isn’t that 

funny?

-Jess 

Depression Gives Me Writer’s Block

I’ve been flip flopping around emotionally lately. I’ll wake up extremely depressed and will begin a depressing post about whatever irrational idea has popped into my brain, then when it’s gone (sometimes halfway into a post) I’ll feel level again and won’t want to continue dwelling on my darkest thoughts.

On the other hand when I’m feeling functional and I start writing an insigtful and helpful post I end up feeling low somewhere between the words and I lose myself.

Not the good kind of losing myself. Not the Eminem kind where I become enthralled by what’s happening around me and just let go.

The kind where I don’t know where to go from after my last point. The kind where my words somehow stop appearing on the screen.

Depression is exhausting.

I think I need to get back on my meds.

Honestly, my quality of life just decreases without it.

And I refuse to buy into the idea that medication is bullshit. Believe it all you want, but I’d rather spend money on a “placebo” than live the way I’m currently living.

Anyway my brain has been all over the place lately. So much so that I find myself reading my old posts in order to help myself feel better.

I actually started to realize that some of the same exterior issues I’ve had in my life are happening again in one way or another. It’s kind of cool to go to write a post and start to wonder if I’m having dejavu.

I find myself thinking, “I’ve written this before.”

Anyway I want to work on one of my drafts tonight. Not sure if it’ll be a low day post or a normal day post (feeling okay right now). All I know is that I have to get over this hump or I may never write again.

Consider this post my official promise to finish a draft.

-Jess

What are you gonna do with your life?

It’s a tough question…

It’s tough because I thought I knew at least a million times.

I took one of those career matching quizzes in high school and it said I should be a stunt double.

Turns out I’m five feet tall and look like no one.

So… that didn’t pan out.

I’ve had plenty of ideas. Actress, singer, dancer, school counselor, nurse, wedding planner, teacher, writer, therapist, graphic designer, etc.

I entered college with a major in film – post production, but the longer I stuck around the more I realized that I didn’t need a major to be an editor. Everything I learned about real world editing I had learned from jobs. I wasn’t getting anything out of the courses I was taking, and editing was only slightly satisfying to me. I felt like I wasted my chance at majoring in something I could learn how to do and could actually use in my life.

Getting sick last year gave me something not many people get regarding huge life decisions.

I got a second chance.

I began the path towards mental stability which included withdrawing from school the 2nd semester of my junior year. I moved to Austin for a fresh start, and started paying off the remaining debt from my last semester.

Now I find myself opened up to a world of academic opportunities. I can be anything I want to be. Luckily I listened to those articles I read before starting school that suggested I take gen eds first. I got almost all of them done at Columbia. Now I can transfer to the University of Texas and complete my bachelor’s in-

….

….

Shit. I have no clue what I want to do with my life.

Nothing screams at me. Nothing makes me feel alive. At least not academically.

See, when I write, I feel at peace with myself. I feel like the deepest part of me is exposed for the world to see. It’s a beautiful thing.

When I sing, I feel like I’m on ecstasy. The world is amazing, everyone is glowing, my life is perfect, and I am exactly who I am meant to be.

In an ideal world I’d be a million things. Writer/Blogger/Singer extraordinaire who edits when she wants and works random jobs that seem fun and tries a different new job when one isn’t making her happy. But this is not an ideal world.

I have bills to pay.

I have a new family to consider.

I have my mom’s pride on the line.

I have to get my bachelor’s degree and it can’t be something general or overly artsy.

I strongly considered teaching at the kindergarten level. Seeing Lucas play and learn and grow every day and knowing that I am a part of that makes me feel really good.

But I honestly feel that teachers have to be more passionate than that. I can’t just jump into it because it seems fun. That’s not right.

I considered nursing but I remember my mom saying that anyone can be a nurse. Anyone can do it in two years and start working.

while I’m not sure I agree, getting a degree in nursing would ultimately not make her proud and that’s kind of the point. Some people may say that I shouldn’t live my life for my mom, but making her happy makes me happy. makes me feel accomplished. I want this.

At first I just wanted to settle for anything that would make her happy. As long as I got a degree it didn’t really matter. But four years later I’m a little bit older and a little bit wiser and I’ve realized that there is a chance I can make her proud and actually get something out of my degree. Money, happiness, or satisfaction.

Not sure I can have all of them, but hey, it’s worth a try.

Now to find something to major in…

oy.

-Jess

Northwestern Hospital Patients [[An excerpt from a larger story]]

I took a shower every morning as soon as I woke up.

Showers are for normal every day people.

I was always sure to wear fashionably conscious outfits. Black flats, dark blue skinny jeans, a flowy blouse, and a clean black blazer.  There was, however, not much I could do about my hair. My products and accessories were on the outside. My hair would be just like the worst of them. A frizzy and dishoveled disappointment despite my best attempt at taming it.

The depression down-do.

Getting through the door was always the hardest part. The room itself was an open space. Cold and uninviting save the pretty view of Chicago through the window.

It’s not about leaving the comfort of the room. There was no comfort there. 

It’s about leaving the cold to enter the freezing. Passing by the unfamiliar to enter the completely foreign.

 Leaving my last shred of sanity to plunge into a collective madness.

  Dionne Little was a successful journalist from DC. It is quite amazing how accomplished she is at 24. She sported what looked like expensive clothing, natural hair, braided and fastened in place, and a small silver septum ring that moved with her nose in unison as she ate or spoke.

Though I didn’t have a desire to live, I desired greatly to be her friend.

I remember Lilian Moto’s hair. Long, black, straight. She was warm, but a bit off-putting. She had a daughter and a family on the outside, but she mostly talked about her tiny dog, Bowzer.

“I don’t like that he’s out there thinking his mommy left him all alone. But when he sees me I’m sure he’ll be giddy!”

She shrieked with unnecessary laughter, and often. She seemed to be manic all the time, which was the opposite of Guy Alonzo. He was almost always calm. Maybe it was the artist in him. Maybe it was this place. It’s hard to be yourself here.

No matter what yourself is.

Ed Whittaker was – for lack of a better word – creepy.

But not by choice.

He was sick. He never knew where he was or who he was speaking to. He often stared at me like he recognized me, and called me Loretta. He had a pair of glasses with only one cracked lens intact. His hair sat in patches atop his head. Whether it grew that way or he pulled it out I don’t know. He talked about how the nurses were keeping him here and making him think he was crazy.

He was crazy. He just didn’t comprehend it.

Maybe that was better than the alternative. At least when you don’t know what your mental state is you don’t feel guilty for being who you are, or how you smell, or what you say.

I didn’t have that luxury. 

Neither did most of these people. 

Sometimes we could get out of our heads. We’d watch the big bang theory as a group, play speed and other card games, eat meals together and talk about outside things.

 Sometimes we’d do things that used our minds’ capacities like playing chess. I liked letting my head wander to another world through a book. I was desperate to cling on to every single word in fear that I’d get my mind back.

I didn’t want to get my mind back.

I didn’t want to get my life back.

But maybe that’s what this place is about. No matter how much you don’t want to continue your life in the real world, you’d rather do that than stay in the hospital.

It wasn’t because it was dirty. It wasn’t dirty. It wasn’t because the nurses were mean. They weren’t.

It was because being there was a constant reminder that you – like the others who sleep in beds that aren’t theirs in rooms that have no pipes to hang themselves from or razor blades to cut themselves with staring away from the large wooden door that has an even smaller door in the middle of it that allows nurses to turn a key and check on them every hour at night – aren’t well.

None of us were well, and not being able to escape that fact…

That was worse than being alive. 

She Endures

Just a year ago she was neck deep in a depressive pool of nothingness.

Nothing hurt, everything hurt.
Nothing helped, never a lesson to be found.
No one understanding that what she has gone through, what she is enduring, and what she would suffer…

It was all for nothing.

She’d surely come out feeling stronger.
But at what cost?

Every first of February will be haunted by the almost ghost of herself.

Even fourth of July will now be stained by the world finding out about her 3 week hiatus from food.
every may will ache.
every June might, too.

Who knows? We’re only in the first year.

No one will ever truly understand what it felt like.

It was a black hole. An icy friend. A betrayal of her mind. Just recounting the pain provides her with a freshly tied knot in her throat.

That’s why this blog is important to her. Someone has to know, but more importantly, acknowledge what happened to her.

This illness came in the form of an earthquake ruining everything in its path. Though she hates to admit it, it left her wounded.

It was a trauma.

And some days she can still feel the tremors.

She is more prepared now. It’s a fair fight, but a fight in which there are no victors.

-Jess

Asking for help is hard to do.

You don’t know how strong you really are until you are faced with a problem you can’t handle on your own. Be it about mental health, money, a ride to work, a shoulder to cry on, or just about anything else. Perhaps you can stall it and hope for the best, but you can’t actually make it better or right without help.

It is whether or not you have the bravery to swallow your pride and ask for that help that determines your strength.

If you need help, ask for it.

In return if you’re asked to help, do it graciously and genuinely.

There is no shame in being human.

-Jess

New Menu Options!!

I’m happy to announce that it is absolutely simple to find my categories now! Right below my site title, “Never ask ‘What if?” at the top of every page will now show all of the following categories:

Family/Friendships

Depression and Anxiety Advice

Andy

Site Updates

Quotes

Relationships

Special Events

This will lead you to all corresponding posts!

Hope this helps you navigate my site in an easier way!! More coming today. I have 8 hours of uninterrupted time to work on the betterment of my blog!

-Jess

-Jess

Finding someone that understands – and accepts – your struggles

He always gets us home safely. Always. I feel safe in his presence. In his arms. We lie on the bed as I – intoxicated from the night – look him in the eyes. This ensued the loveliest love I couldn’t possibly describe to you. Sweet, but passionate. Strong, yet gentle. And when we were done he kissed me deeply and longingly. Like it was our first kiss. Like it was our last kiss.

He laid next to me, trying to even out his breathing, and held my hand.

I looked to my left and focused on a darker spot in my closet. My eyes started to well up. My body became stiff. I knew what I had to do, but I kept stealing time. Trying to fight the rational.

“Jess are you okay?”

“Andy. I need you to hide all of the pills I have in my bathroom. My leftover prescription pills are on the counter next to the sink.”

“Okay. I’ll go now.”

“Wait Andy. What if we play a game? We can see how many. Pills it takes for me to get sick. I won’t die but it might make the urge go away.”

“No Jess. This isn’t you talking right now. Your brain is in a different mode, but you’ll feel alright again soon. I’m going to put the pills away and then I’m going to come back and snuggle you to sleep.”

He moved towards me and kissed my forehead, and with that he was out the door. The tears of guilt and frustration kept me entertained. I hugged my cat who I believe sensed I needed her as she walked over to me from the windowsill.

When he came back I knew I had to be honest.

“My regular medicine is in a bag in the bottom drawer.”

“Do you have pills anywhere else?”

“No.”

“Okay. Thank you for telling me. I’ll be right back.”

I let myself cry as much as I needed to. I allowed myself to feel what was happening to me because I knew that crying helped. I knew once I couldn’t cry anymore I could start thinking rationally again.

I could be the strong and secure woman I had worked very hard to be. A woman that has won in the face of depression countless times. A woman that has survived the impossible. A woman courageous enough to go up against her own brain.

A woman who deserved Andy.

He came back into the room. Every centimeter of me burned to be held by him. He climbed back into bed and wrapped his arms around me.

“You know, you may feel small for having these thoughts, but you should feel very big for asking for and accepting help. I love you.”

“Thank you so much for that. I love you too.”

I couldn’t believe I had found a man like him. I still can’t believe it. Someone who not only understands, but wants to be there for me. Someone who doesn’t feel obliged to help, but instead feels good that I trust  him enough to accept his help.

The next morning a slight pang of guilt set in as you might imagine.


This is the kind of person I hope everyone with and without depression gets to be with. It’s what they deserve. It’s what you deserve. Anything less wouldn’t do you justice. Everyone has baggage. Everyone has issues one way or another.

We all need help, constant love, reassurance, distraction, and understanding. We need someone to help us walk that extra mile when we’re tired. To let us know that our pasts and losses and struggles do not define us. To remind us of the good we create just by existing in this world. To love us when we don’t feel that we deserve love.

That is what you should look for in a partner. But first…that is who you should strive to become.

I love you Andrew Evans.

-Jess

My move to Austin in 15 posts

You ever notice how most sitcoms’ plots only really take about half the episodes to cover? The rest is fluff, or unrelated. Well I was going through my old posts and realized that the plot of my moving to Austin could be told in 15 of them! Thought it’d be fun to link you up to that story. This will be an ongoing series. The next one will track my ups and downs with depression so be on the lookout! ❤

1. Homecoming [day 127]

2. Revealing my plans to Wordpress 

3. Planning for Austin 

4. Things I learned along the first month of planning

5. Recounting old times

6. What was my point?

7. Flight Confirmed

8. A poem

9. At a loss for words

10. Fear sets in

11. Anxiety sets in 

13. Off to the airport [day 0]

14. Update [day 1]

15. My first day in Austin [day 1]

We’re moving in together!


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Things have been pretty wild since I last checked in. Two weeks is the longest bar of silence I’ve had this year.

I suppose I didn’t know what to write. Things have been happening, but I decided to take a break from sharing those things because I wanted to try immersing myself in my own life instead of trying to find ways to narrate it.

11146206_10152847747341274_4810380212775105341_nI’ve got to say, it has been pretty fun.

When you’re present and in the moment things change. The way you see people around you, the way you make decisions, the way you experience everything.

I made the difficult decision to stop taking my medication two weeks ago.

I still have not made contact with my father in prison.

I quit my front desk job that made me feel like crap and left with a bombshell email exposing my former boss’s wrongdoings.


I had some awesome bon11161349_10152849402596274_9211810873696856201_nding time with one of Andy’s sisters, Lizzie.

I got another job as a server at a sports bar.

I started paying off my $640 balance for college so I can finish my last year and a half.

I’m proud to say that Andy’s son, Lucas now recognizes me as “Jess”.

11070032_10152803720696274_3663089419191069148_o

To tie everything up in a beautiful bow that is life, I’m excited to announce that Andy and I are moving in together!

The move will most likely be happening right before our trip to Chicago. I still have to get out of my lease, we are still working out logistics like what things we can get rid of/sell, and come to an agreement with his already roommates.


They are great people. Funny story, they are a married couple with a son. The wife is actually Andy’s ex’s cousin. She is, however, super wonderful and accommodating. She actually said today that she’d really love to get to know me and hang out. She has always gotten along with Andy and the break up didn’t change that.

11059347_10152808962046274_2160873252254272321_nHer son and Lucas are cousins, so Andy and I decided that we’re going to get bunk beds for them so that Lucas can stay in his room when he visits. It’s a three bedroom, two bathroom house, so it’s more than livable and roomy.

I think I’m going to like it here.

I just can’t believe how in sync Andy and I have been since day 1.

We have been through some pretty high hurdles, but now we’ll have to face our toughest one yet: his ex girlfriend.

18295_10152809170241274_3540082442894434176_nI haven’t said much about her except that respect her and Andy’s dedication to Lucas in this post.

I only met her once, and briefly, but I have unfortunately witnessed countless phone conversations between her and Andy. It is safe to say that she is quite possessive. It seems to be hard for her to let go of Andy. I don’t think there are feelings there, but I do think that she doesn’t want him to be happy with anyone else. That really bothers her.

As I said in my last post, I refuse to have stupid baby mama drama. This will be handled as it should be: with three adults who all care about the child involved. I won’t entertain any other way.

Regardless, I can’t tell you how amazing it is to witness someone defend you with the utmost admiration and respect.

I’ll save that for later though. Right now I want to revel in what is the most amazing and fulfilling relationship of my life.

It looks like I’ll be an Austinite a bit longer than planned!

noIA7zM

-Jess

I’m Scared.

I can’t even imagine what my life would be like right now if I had let fear dictate it. So happy to be me.

Never Ask "What If?"

Here’s the thing… I don’t think anyone ever really knows how they’ll react to any given situation. It isn’t until the moment you experience it that you find out. And even then the reaction is fleeting, because it adapts to new situations as they happen.

116 days ago when I boarded a Megabus back to Chicago, I could hear Austin, Texas calling my name. Shouting it, even. As my bus left the outskirts of the city, could not bear having to be apart from it for any amount of time. This would be my home. This would be my future. I was sure of it.

46 days ago, as I sat in a tiny cubicle making dreaded sales calls and realizing that I couldn’t possibly do this for the rest of my life, I wished deeply to be in the warm Austin sun. Hidden in my snack box under my…

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Coping skills that helped me hold on

I’ve realized that I’ve been talking about my daily life and experiences, but I tend not to elaborate on the times when I was first diagnosed.

Perhaps it’s because it still feels too soon.

It was only  15 months ago that I voluntarily went to a psych hospital and was diagnosed.

It was only a year ago that I was in the ICU on attempted suicide.

Going back to that time is actually sometimes more painful than going back to my childhood.

When I was in the hospital I sang to myself to feel protected and cared for. The way I see it, there’s two of me. Healthy Jess and depressed Jess. Healthy Jess has got it together and feels terrible for depressed Jess. She knows that depressed Jess can’t help but have suicidal thoughts and feel the pain and helplessness of the past. When depressed Jess has the wheel… Well it’s not easy to say the least. Before there was more of depressed Jess than there was healthy, so that made it a lot harder to hear her. But now I truly believe that I’m more healthy than depressed, so stopping myself in my tracks is easier now. Back then, the only thing that seemed to get me out of it was singing to myself. It was like healthy Jess was singing to me. Telling me that if I hold on a little bit longer she’d be able to take over.

To be honest, just thinking about it makes me tear up.

This trek that we’re all on is a very difficult one, my friends.

It can sometimes be the most painful when no one around you understands.

The song I chose to sing whenever I was feeling terrible is “You’ll be in my heart” by Phil Collins.

Yes I like Phil Collins.

Yes I love Tarzan.

But also when my father left our family he dedicated that song to my brother and me.

It used to make me cry because it reminded me that my father wasn’t ever really around. But then when I was diagnosed I realized that song was never about us. It was about me. It was my way of just barely making it through the storm till a stronger me could return.

It was a song that I could use to remind depressed Jessica that healthy Jessica was right around the corner. Things weren’t really as bad as my mind was telling me. That if I just hold on… It’ll be alright.

Some lyrics that are and will always be relevant to my recovery:

“For one so small, you seem so strong.”

Depression is fucking difficult. When you have depression brain you don’t really think about the consequences of death or who you leave behind, all you can think about is how horrible everything is and that suicide would make it all stop. People with this mental illness are extremely strong.

And the fact is, some people will never get that. Which brings me to my next lyric:

“Why can’t they understand the way we feel? They just don’t trust what they can’t explain.”

It’s like running a marathon with no shoes on in a blizzard and your loved ones are bundled up drinking hot cocoa telling you to get over it. It’s an extra layer of hurt on top of everything else.

This is the most important lyric to me. And hopefully if you ever need someone to tell you you’ll be okay when you can’t tell yourself, you’ll come back to this post and read it again.

“When destiny calls you, you must be strong. I may not be with you, but you’ve got to hold on.”

Healthy Jess and your healthy self will come back around. But you have got to hold on.

believe me, I know it’s so much easier said than done, but if you are seconds away from death and you have no one but yourself… you’ve got to hold on.

I’m not going to bore you with “reasons to live.”

We have all heard that shit before and even in my worst bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts I still manage to stop crying and roll my eyes at that.

The only thing that makes sense to me is curiosity.

I’m curious to see how I end up.

The way I see it, until I’m homeless, jobless, loveless (in every sense of the word), and starving… I’ve still got some time to turn this thing around.

Maybe try finding a song that speaks to you the way this one does to me. And really try to get in tune with the two parts of you. Because we both know that we are not truly ourselves when depression takes over.

1969264_10152003229481274_623889275_n<— Khaleesi turning to her alter ego, the lion.

In the event that you’d like to speak to me on a more personal level, please fill out this contact form and I will get back to you ASAP. If your healthy side is smaller than your depressed side right now, I’m not against letting you borrow healthy Jess for a while ^_^.

-Jess

What is a Grown Woman?


What is a grown woman? What does she look like? What does she act like? How can you tell the difference? Is there a real distinction?

A grown woman does not have to be past a certain age.

Nor dos she have to be a certain weight.

Nor a certain height.

She does not feel the need to people please.

She does not have to be perfect.

She does, however, have to be good enough for herself.

She does not participate in idle passive aggression.

She instead speaks her mind; She speaks with a purpose.

She does not let her emotions get in the way of her point.

She knows that it discredits her completely, therefore it can’t be taken seriously

She chooses to end further association with the immature women that do such things.

And as we all know, those women exist.

A grown woman feels free to be who she is.

Be it smart.

Be it funny.

Be it confident.

Be it messy.

Be it silly.

Be it trusting.

Be it impatient.

Be it gentle.

Be it loud.

Be it career focused.

Be it in love.

Be it single.

Be it creative.

Be it anything anyone doesn’t like about her.

A grown woman knows who she is and doesn’t let petty things get to her.

She is not afraid of confrontation when it’s necessary.

She does not hide from the people that don’t approve of her.

She can’t.

She won’t.

The most important piece of a grown woman, however, is that a grown woman knows she doesn’t have to have all the answers

because there’s no such thing.

-Jess

Choose Happiness

When I was 17 my mother thought I had the most rebellious heart around. Like every decision I made was purely to go against her wishes.

At times my choices would backfire on me in the worst way, and other times they would be what I’d call some of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I’m sure we can all look back on moments and wish they had never happened, but personally I can live with the regret of past failures.

I cannot, however, live with the regret of not choosing my happiness.

That was, after all, why I made the choices I made. It was never to spite my mom (though, as a 17 year old it was an added bonus). I did it because at the time it was what made me happy.

This doesn’t just apply in big life decisions. You have hundreds of opportunities every day to choose happiness. Life gives you these choices, and you decide which route to take.

Today for some reason my father popped into my head. He is someone I really don’t like to talk about anymore. He’s currently in prison for sexual assault on a minor. And while what he has done to many women is a disgusting and unforgivable crime, today I can only see him as my dad.

To the world he is a monster, which is completely understandable.

To me he is kind of an enigma. I grew up watching him till about 8 years old and though it’s hard to admit, I don’t really know him at all. We always pretended to be close when he would come visit us, and I always craved his love and acceptance as any daughter would, but at the end of the day we were strangers.

He’s my dad. And today I miss him.

I’m not even sure what I miss.

I can’t really miss the good times, because there weren’t many.

I can’t miss being around him, because being around him hurt.

I think if I had to put the reasons for my feelings in words (which really, you don’t have to do, because no matter what they are valid. However, for this blog’s sake…) I would say I miss the tiny chance of having a real father daughter relationship.

He’s just about to finish his first 6 months, but he’s still got 12 years to go. In 12 years I’ll be 34 years old. By then I will have most likely gotten married, and I can only hope to be a mother already.

There won’t be any room in this world for that relationship to work.

At least not in my world.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that these thoughts are coming up on a very busy weekend for me. A happy weekend. My best friend Ray is currently visiting me from Chicago and so far it has been great! He met Andy and they really hit it off. He helped me sharpen up my pool skills, and we spent my two off days relaxing and exploring Austin. Not too shabby!

Today as soon as I get off (which is in approximately 28 minutes) He’s meeting me at my job and I’m taking him to the top floor to see the view. Then Andy and Lucas are meeting us so we can head off to the boat we rented for 3 hours!

WHAT?!

I know, I’m super excited! We ordered pizzas and pasta and we have the whole 15 person boat to ourselves for three hours. To be honest though, I’m mostly excited to be able to spend some time with Lucas. He’s going to look adorable in his little life vest!

Today is an amazing day. Today has been handed to me already amazing. Today my thoughts aren’t on my side. Today, however, I have two choices. Those choices will determine the course of the rest of my day.

I can spend my day thinking about my Dad and being upset over something I don’t have – and have never had – control over. These thoughts will eventually lead to me thinking irrationally the rest of the day, having to deal with either a low depression kind of mood or an overly anxious overly painful state of mind.

I could also decide that I am allowed to think different thoughts and enjoy this once in a lifetime moment (aren’t they all, really?) before it slips through my fingers.

I choose happiness.

I encourage you to do the same.

Now this isn’t to say that depression is a choice. You and I and everyone else who struggles with depression know this. However, when given two choices in a regular state of mind you may have enough strength to choose the alternative route.

Today, I do.

I wish the same for you.

-Jess

To: Andy


Sometimes I haven’t the slightest idea what to do about it.

You say something sweet or laugh the way you do, and I am overcome with joy.

Just pure joy.

The cuts and bruises from my life before you…they just don’t hurt anymore.

They’ve become scars.

I’ll never forget the pain of the past but being with you has changed the way I look at it.

I won’t carry it with me anymore.

It’s you and me now.

The way it was always supposed to be. At least that’s how it feels.

We have been in sync since day one.

I feel what you feel.
You hope what I hope.
I love what you love.

There has never been, nor will there ever be, another us.

That’s what is so great and terrifying about it.

Decades from now when we’re both gone no one will know who we were or what we meant to each other, but it doesn’t even matter.

Because right now, today, right here, as I sit on my bed and type, I love you.

I love every single moment that you exist.

Even in my deepest sleep I love you.

In my worst and best moments I love you.

Even in the times I’m upset with you, I love you.

When I was seven years old and I wondered if you existed I loved you.

When I was fifteen years old and I wished for you I loved you.

Just half a year ago when I wondered how many years I had left before I’d meet you I loved you.

The day I saw your face for the first time I loved you.

I just didn’t know it was you yet.

Now that we’re both here and feel the way we do

I can’t really describe the way I feel.

To say you make me happy is an understatement.

It almost feels like an insult. That word doesn’t even come remotely close to the way I feel.

In fact, there is nothing I could ever say that would describe this.

Then again, words have never been necessary with us.

You show me through your eyes. Your kiss. The way you hold onto me a little longer every time.

You show me through your actions.

I hope we always feel this way about each other.

It’s so different from any other feeling I’ve ever felt.

So foreign at first, but now it is the thing I treasure most.

Could love be this great?

We share this electrifying closeness that feels like a Utopia. But it isn’t. It is the realest thing we’ve ever known.

There is something so incredibly perfect about resting my head on your shoulder.

Something so painstakingly wonderful about feeling your hand touch my face.

Feeling the warmth of your hug.

Feeling the kisses you leave on my forehead.

Feeling this way about you.

I love us.

-Jess

Tips for when you feel too dependent on others

Depression can be pretty scary. It’s especially scary when you’re alone in your room at 3:30am fighting a war against yourself to stay alive while the rest of the world sleeps soundly.

Intense, I know.

Continue reading

Nothing is a waste if you enjoy it.

One time I saw Andy unwrap two pieces of gum and put them both in his mouth.

I watched him, puzzled, as I ripped mine in half, unwrapped one half of it, and put it in my mouth.

“Why are you wasting so much gum?” Continue reading

Caring for yourself when you need it the most

Some days things are very overwhelming and you don’t know what to do first, or what to think about, or who to talk to, etc.

When things like that happen… you just have to let yourself off the hook for a sec.

Take a bath, or watch a movie. Whatever you need to do to clear your head.

Tonight I’m backing away from depression and obsessing over trying to save as many people as possible.

I can’t help anyone if my head isn’t clear.

So I’m going to do something that helps me feel at peace. I’m going to:

1. Clean and organize my room.

2. Hang out with Andy while I clean and organize my room.

It’s going to be a very calm and nice night.

Adieu, WordPress.

-Jess

Photos that help explain why people that seem happy commit suicide

11083002_10155362285250352_1942744918_n11081693_1612871318944578_2143459581_n11085998_10155408293810637_400615538_nWP_20140609_01511081773_927692740608914_799279800_n

Too often we see people with depression try to overcompensate for the way they feel inside. Bubbly, funny people that don’t seem even remotely broken or in danger.

The truth is whether or not you see it, it’s happening.

Every day they are losing hope. They are struggling. They are holding these feelings back because someone, somewhere told them they should stop being dramatic. They should look around at all the good in their lives. They should stop being so self – Centered. They are attention whores. They should stop being a “Debbie downer.” They should realize that others have it worse.

The problem with these comments is that they imply that we have a choice in the matter of depression.

We don’t.

Continue reading

Quick things to boost up your mood

It’s been a while since I’ve done this and I’ve gotta say, it always boosts my mood. Some days you’re grumpy or sad or just in a negative mood and you want to sit with it and feel that way. That’s completely okay.

But right now I’m at work and part of my job is to be extremely pleasant at all times, so right now, right here, I don’t want to feel low.

I want to boost my mood.

So I’ve already done some things that I feel are helping.

A. Changing my wallpaper to different shades of green. That color always makes me feel better. It’s my favorite.

B. Smiling. Even though I don’t feel like it, I do it anyway. It is scientifically proven to work. Fake it till you make it.

C. Going on Reddit and look at the /r/funny subreddit. So many things that make me giggle. Laughing also boosts up your mood.

D. Writing down some of the things I’m thankful for.

So here I go:

1. I’m thankful for the fact that there is food in my fridge.

2. I’m thankful that I have a family who loves me.

3. I’m thankful that I have a job that keeps me financially stable.

4. I’m thankful that I have Khaleesi (My cat)

5. I’m thankful that my best friend Ray is coming to visit in one week! (And by the way, in a recent post I was talking about how stressed I was because I wasn’t sure if I’d get any time off while he was here. Well, I have the first two days he’s here off! and the other days I’ll make it work!)

6. I’m thankful that I’m me. Because I’m a cool cat.

7. I’m thankful for my nephew who is growing more and more every day.

8. I’m thankful for the fact that I’m still alive and I didn’t miss out on all the awesome stuff I would have otherwise.

9. I’m thankful that my co worker was nice enough to get me a chocolate donut today. People are nice here.

10. I’m thankful that I have the love of an amazing guy.

11. I’m thankful that I’m going to visit my family soon and they get to meet said amazing guy.

12. I’m thankful for music. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have music.

13. I’m thankful for the fact that I had enough money to get things I needed/wanted on top of my bills. (A new bed frame, plates, bowls, silverware, mugs, a table for my awesome mini bar, some cool new things for Khaleesi, some decorations, etc.

14. I’m thankful that I can walk. People (including me) take that for granted.

15. I’m thankful for this blog.

16. I’m thankful for living in the beautiful city that is Austin.

17. I’m thankful for my friends.

18. I’m thankful for Skype so that I can see said friends.

19. I’m thankful for others that can relate to my struggle with Depression. Being in the presence of someone that understands you is a really amazing thing.

20. I’m thankful for medication.

Yep, I feel better. Not like ecstatic or giddy, but just more in tune with myself. More understanding of myself. In a lighter mood.

Try it sometime, maybe it’ll work for you when you need a boost.

-Jess

Not mine [[A Poem]]

Last night I was not myself.

I was no one.

I was nowhere.

I had no fingerprints.

No identity.

No past.

No present.

No future.


My hair was not mine.

My skin felt foreign.

I felt like a fraud that no one could see.

except him.

His gaze heavy with fervor, and I couldn’t bring myself to meet it.

for my eyes were not mine.


I wanted to want all the things I normally want, but I was not me.

There was a disconnect.

All of my serotonin had been used up.

There was nothing left.

He said, “It’s alright. You will be yourself again soon.”

He seemed to understand exactly how I felt.

Even though I was not acting like the girl he fell in love with.

I was acting like a clone of  her.

A clone that didn’t quite know how to be her.

But he was good for her. Not like the others.

It was nice to know she got what she deserved.

I knew she wouldn’t want to miss this.


Just an hour ago she was in pure bliss.

Everything was right. Everyone was right. Every moment mattered.

Every moment counted.

What happened to her? Where did she go? I missed her terribly.


I should not be in the limelight.

I should always be in the background. Deep deep down.

When I’m shoved to the forefront terrible things happen.

I’ve hurt her so many times.

Left her with scars that she did not cause.

Left her heart with a burden that she did not create.

And she has forgiven me so many times.

I wish I was stronger, but I am not.

All I can do is try to hold on till she can take over.

She tries to explain me to others, but I am what they call a stigma.

Most do not understand.

I just wanted him to be right.

That it would be over soon and I could rest.

I could watch her take on the world as she can when I’m at bay.


This morning I woke up and I was back in my little room.

I was cozy and warm under my covers. She had been here. She had been locked up in this room.

For her it is torture. She doesn’t belong here. This is my place.

She was back in her own body. In her own brain, and she felt at peace.

And he was so glad.

And so was I.

For her hair, her hands, her skin, her life –

are not mine.

A ball of stress

That’s what I am right now.

I’m just working a lot and trying to keep up with it.

I’m also trying to figure out whether or not I’m buying a car.

I’m trying to spend time with Andy but our schedules disagree quite a bit.

It seems before when I had jobs that weren’t dependable, everything else worked out.

Money was my only stress. It was a big deal, but it was the only thing I put my stress on.

Now that I’m financially secure I have a whole new set of problems.

I’m not really sure which is worse.

To be fair, now that my Wellbutrin has kicked in so have the side effects.

Dry mouth, aches and pains, but most ferociously, Anxiety.

My anxiety is through the roof. Doesn’t help with everything I’ve got going on.

It’s why I haven’t really been able to write anything coherent in the past week or so.

Usually the strength of the side effects subside within a month or so. I’m really hoping that this is the worst of it.

Because the only thing worse than anxiety is a low sex drive.

-Jess

Why do you insist on loving what doesn’t love you back?

I struggled with this question for many years. The question I asked myself often.

My father, my ex’s…

I even asked myself why I couldn’t love the one person who I knew could love me back… me.

The human condition is an interesting one.

-Jess

Taking Meds Every Day Is Important

I’m feeling a lot better. I realized that my meds are still working, but I was being lazy about how I used them.

I’d take them three days in a row, miss a day, take another, miss another day, take them two days in a row, miss two days, etc.

I didn’t realize that that still has an effect on how the meds work.

Now I realize that sounds dumb, but I really didn’t think about it.

Then I stopped taking them and sunk into depression a little bit.

I don’t want to call it regressing, because no recovery is perfect.

Why be so hard on myself when I know that this is an ongoing battle?

Nah, I’d rather not participate in self loathing, especially when I’m in a level headed frame of mind.

Anyway I’ve been taking my pill every single day now, not forgetting or missing any days. It’s been about 10 days now and that’s usually when I start seeing changes.

It’s pretty amazing that an anti-depressant that’s right for you can change your whole life in 10 days. Puts things into perspective for you.

If you are surviving without meds, I commend you. Everyone has the option to do so, and believe me, it’s not easy.

I prefer meds because I myself would rather make it a little easier on myself.

I’ve been through a lot. I deserve to have a normal and fulfilling life, and I deserve to be able to live that life without pain every day.

-Jess

My father is in prison (Reddit)

I was perusing reddit AMA and something in me just really wanted to talk about my dad today. So I decided to post about it and am now answering questions about my dad’s imprisonment.

Here’s the link to the reddit post: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2yc5fh/iama_girl_whose_father_is_in_prison/

Reddit, here are some family pictures for proof:

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Me explaining what it’s like to live with depression


I wanted to make a video that explained what it is like to have depression on a daily basis. I did it hoping that it would help people that have never lived through it understand it more.

Fact: 90% of americans that have committed suicide had treatable mental illnesses at the time of their death.

Let’s end the stigma.

300,000 people that die from suicide annually can’t all be wrong.

-Jess

This is What Unadulterated Bliss Looks Like


When I’m around you, I don’t think about anything else. Time freezes for a little while.

See… I’ve never had love like this before. Love that is so honest. So real. Love that comes so easily.

Love that teaches me something new every day.

Like the fact that the pain from my past does not define who I am now. It’s part of how I got here, but I don’t have to hurt about it anymore.

Like the fact that when I need you, I shouldn’t feel like I’m a burden or inconvenience. I shouldn’t be afraid to ask to see you two days in a row. I shouldn’t be afraid to say that I’m having a bad day.

Like the fact that there are men out there who like to communicate. Be honest. Be truthful. Be an open book. Not hiding their phones out of plain sight. Not lying about where they are and who they’re with. We don’t have to worry about hiding those things, because there’s nothing to hide.

Being with you is pretty much like being with the other part of me. The part I didn’t really know existed in real life.

The part that I always hoped I’d find, but can’t even come close to explaining it when I try to now that I have it.

I know that we don’t need each other in the grand scheme of things. We could have never met and I’m sure, no, I’m positive things would’ve worked out either way.

But that’s not how life went. We got lucky. We found each other. No, I don’t need you, and you don’t need me either.

But I want you in my life. And see that’s why relationships worth preserving take work. Because we want to be in each other’s lives, we work to be there for each other. We work to make each other smile. We work to comfort each other. We work to make time for each other.

Though I have to admit, it doesn’t even remotely feel like work.

I think the best part about all of this is that you feel exactly the same way I do.

I’m that other part of you that you didn’t know existed.

And now we have all the time in the world to enjoy it.

I love nights like these. It’s just you, me, a bottle of wine, usually pizza, and the whole night to talk, laugh, snuggle, and watch the world from afar. We rarely watch it, though. We don’t really care what anyone else is doing.

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-Jess

Feeling fine one minute, and depressed the next

I’m all too familiar with that feeling. I didn’t think it’d happen to me ever again, but I suppose that’s foolish.

Yesterday I felt so hopeless and disappointed in myself, and today I feel just fine. It’s my day off, I can relax, take the pressure off, take a day for myself.

I’m also in a non depressed mood right now. Like right now. I  know that that can change in 20 minutes.

This feels like a breakup after having gone through a really tough breakup. I know what to do to help myself feel better, but the pain is still there because I’m a human being and every time is different.

When I’m in these healthy moods I want to take advantage of them. I’m going to call a psychiatrist and make an appointment. The sooner I start looking for a new med combination, the better. It’s going to take at least three weeks to get it under control and even then we may find that it isn’t the right mix and have to start over with a new drug.

But those three weeks will pass me by whether I do something or not so why live with the pain when there’s an option not to?

Hopefully I can get it together.

Last night, I confessed to Andy that I was starting to feel some of my old symptoms. He said something that made me feel great. Something that not many people understand about us.

“Just like any other illness you need medication to get better and I understand that. It’s not easy. And if you need a ride to see your psychiatrist I’d be more than happy to take you. Please let me take you. It would make me incredibly sad if you denied my offer.”

1. He noted that depression is a real thing.

2. He acknowledged my pain.

3. He offered to help in a way he knew that he could.

4. He asked me to let him take me. It’s my choice. And I wouldn’t want to make him sad at all so it made me really want to let him.

So we’re going together. He’s going to keep me accountable and we’re going to hang out afterwards as my own little incentive.

I’m also talking to Theresa today (My therapist from Chicago) to see if we can’t find me a new therapist. I’ve been here two months and in those two months I’ve cancelled three appointments with two different therapists.

Don’t ask me why I do the things I do, because I’ll respond with an answer that won’t satisfy anyone’s needs: I have no clue.

All I know is I am not going back into that dark and dreadful hole.

This is not where my story ends. I’m not going to let this beat me. I’m catching it before it takes over.

-Jess

The Frustrations of Having Depression

I hate depression.

It is so inconsistent

Either let me live my life or kill me.

Don’t toy with my emotions.

Don’t give me false hope.

Stop taking me on this stupid roller coaster.

I didn’t pay for this, I didn’t put myself on this ride, I don’t have my seat belt on or any proper restraints to help me.

I can only hold on for dear life and wonder if I’ll see the end.

What is the end?

Death. Whether it be today or tomorrow or 50 years from now, it’s death.

Depression, all you give me is time.

Time to hurt, time to over think, time to self loathe, time to sit with unspeakable pain, time to plan for nothing.

I hate depression.

It is so indecisive.

Set me free. Whichever way you want. Just set me free.

-Jess

I know what it’s like to have depression

I know what it’s like to feel the constant and harrowing pain that is depression on a daily basis.

I know what it’s like to see the possibility of death all around you.

I know what it’s like to see absolutely no reason to live.

I know what it’s like to attempt suicide.

I know what it’s like to be alone in a psych hospital.

I know what it’s like to spend countless nights in invisible pain.

I know what it’s like to feel death at my fingertips.

I know what it’s like to hear someone say something that resonates with a part of you.

I know what it’s like to read something that makes sense in my brain.

I know what it’s like to start to feel that life isn’t so bad.

I know what it’s like to start having rational thoughts again.

I know what it’s like to start to get ahold of yourself.

I know what it’s like to take medication and feel it work.

I know what it’s like to be sad in a normal, fully functional way.

I know what it’s like to be happy.

I know what it’s like to be in love.

I know what it’s like to set goals and achieve them.

I know what it’s like to love myself.

I know what it’s like to start to recognize some of my old destructive thoughts.

I know what it’s like to wake up and feel extremely confused about what’s happening to me.

I know what it’s like to take medication every day only to realize it’s not working as well as it used to.

I know what it’s like to start having the occasional irrational thought that turns sour.

I know what it’s like to be sick of the whole charade.

I know what it’s like to hear the illness calling my name. Begging me to join it the ditch I fought so hard to crawl out of.

I know what it’s like to start to scare myself.

I know what it’s like to be scared of scaring the people I love again.

I know what it’s like to stop taking medication.

I know what it’s like to go to work and sit there and be a good girl and surf the internet and start to look at suicide notes and last words and wonder what mine will be.

I know what it’s like to feel like on paper everything is perfect, yet inside I’m screaming. Constantly screaming.

I know what it’s like to feel fine 20 minutes later.

I know what it’s like to be terrified of losing the things I love.

And today, after nine months of a somewhat unhinged bliss…

I know what it’s like to have a suicidal thought again.

I am so disappointed in myself.
I am so ashamed.

-Jess

How to Write a Book

The best way I’ve found to write a book? Don’t want to write one.

Actually, that seems to be a good rule of thumb with any ambition.

Don’t want it.

Then it’ll come to you.

want my blog to be successful

want to write a book

want to be okay with everything around me

Therefore, none of these things will ever happen.

Once you realize you want something, the pressure is on.

Its doesn’t flow out of you naturally anymore.

Here I was enjoying my little corner of the internet, not caring too much what came out of it. And then it blossomed. My writing was real. It was candid. It was impulsive.

The moment I started caring what others thought about my writing was the moment I lost touch with it.

So from this day on, I’m going to stop caring so much. Because when you care, you get tense. You freeze up. You stop thinking rationally.

And we all know that thinking irrationally with depression isn’t a good thing.

-Jess

Leaving your significant other for someone else.

You ever notice how no one wants to date you until you’re already dating someone else?

When I was in the 7th grade I had a boyfriend named Eric. We were together for a long three weeks. Then I met a boy named Rob and I had to make the decision of a lifetime. Break up with Eric and date Rob, or stay with Eric and turn Rob down.

Obviously now looking back it was not the decision of a lifetime at all. It was barely even a decision. Anyway I chose to break up with Eric and date Rob.

One week later I realized that I had made the mistake of a lifetime (remember, I was in the seventh grade) and I called Eric to ask him if we could be together again.

And he declined.

See, technically I didn’t cheat on him or anything, but I did leave him for someone else. That was the day I understood the quote, “Don’t leave the one you love for the one you like, because the one you like will leave you for the one they love.”

No, I didn’t love Eric, but I never forgot about him. He taught me that if I’m going to break up with someone for someone else, I’d better be damn sure that’s what I want, because you don’t always get a second chance.

I’ve kept that belief with me ever since that day, and I’m glad I did, because when I was in high school and the same predicament happened, I knew what to do.

And today I’m especially glad because it has happened again.

A certain person in my life admitted that he had very strong feelings for me. He said that he loved me, and that he feels like he made a mistake not telling me sooner. He had hurt me in the past and so the whole predicament left me in tears. He went on to try to explain himself and his feelings.

I was listening to him. I really was. I heard the things he said, I let them sit in my mind, but I couldn’t focus. Andy was everywhere I looked. Suddenly my head was filled with us.

Trying new wine together while playing games and talking, dancing salsa barefoot in my room, kissing him, feeling him hold me, seeing that adorable face he makes when he laughs really hard, saying things in silly voices, listening to music and cuddling, feeling happy when he wakes me up in the morning with a forehead kiss (It’s a miracle, really. I’m not even remotely a morning person). Feeling my stomach flutter every damn time he knocks on my front door. feeling so much joy the moment I open the door and see him smiling at me, randomly waking up at night and seeing him sleep peacefully, imagining what our future will be like, and just simply knowing that he loves me, too.

There wasn’t even a moment of doubt in my mind. Andy is, has always been, and will always be my soulmate.

There’s a reason I missed Joseph by a week.

There’s a reason this guy and I never worked out.

There’s a reason every little thing happened before I could meet and fall in love with Andy.

And that reason is that he was meant for me.

When you are given the opportunity to leave your significant other for someone else, and you actually consider it, I suppose you should just go for it.

It took me .5 seconds to say no. because it took .5 seconds to open my mouth.

Andy will always be the better choice. He’ll always be the only choice.

I chose him that night, and I’ll choose him every time anything like that happens because he’s it.

When you know you know. You know?

Happy 9 month Anniversary to you both [[An excerpt from a larger story]]

I couldn’t feel my heart. It was nonexistent for the 7.5 seconds it took for him to give me his answer. I searched for the answer in his eyes, but it didn’t really matter. His facial expressions never quite matched his tone. He always had an odd toothy smile in the face of stress, awkwardness, anger, and confusion.

“I really thought about it.”

I was sweating. In my defense I was standing next to an oven full of cupcakes during a Chicago summer. I guess I’ll never know if it was his words or the atmosphere that made me sweat that much.

My mind instantly went to a younger, more foolish version of me. You know… from last night. I planned what cupcakes I’d make and washed my sheets and cleaned my room. I had a long talk with Roxy about how I know we had problems but I was sure we could get over them.

“So he only lasts 90 seconds. That’s fine, we can make it work. More foreplay, numbing cream, even going a second round. You know, if he is in the mood. Which he usually isn’t because he says he’s too sensitive. I really wish he would let me hug him afterwards but his body is just so sensitive after sex. Okay, whole other problem. I’ll make this work. We can make this work.”

Roxy nodded her head and warned me that he may not want to get back together.

“I know. Part of me wants to believe he wouldn’t give up on us that easily. Oh my god, Roxy. We might be together again by this time tomorrow.”

“I thought about it for a long time, and I want to be friends.”

I slowly turned away from him and held onto the stovetop to keep myself from falling. Is this what a heart attack feels like? I think I’m having a heart attack. There’s nothing in me. It’s all gone. It’s all just flying around me. He’s not even here. Nothing is here. Only my shallow breaths and this stove top.

“Jess?”

“Is it because of her?”

“No.”

“It’s her isn’t it? You’re throwing this away for someone you don’t even know. We have history. We are best friends. You’re a fucking asshole.”

I sauntered off into the back stairwell.

 “It’s not about her. We’re not even dating. We’re just talking.”

“Joseph, a week ago you told me that you wished you were with me. What the fuck?”

“You missed me. You missed me by a week and I’m sorry but it’s the truth.”

I sat on the top step and he followed. I couldn’t do anything but beg. With tears in my eyes I moved a few steps down and faced him on my knees.

“Joseph I love you. Please don’t choose her. What am I going to do without you? Without this? You are my best friend.”

He pushed my hands away as I tried to touch his face.

“Please don’t do this. Get up.”

“No. I can’t. I have to fight for you because we promised each other we always would. You fight for what you love. That’s what we always said.”

” I don’t love you anymore Jess. I don’t know how it happened I just fell out of love. There was nothing left. I don’t know why but it’s gone.”

I hate to say it, but this went on for twenty minutes. I groveled on my knees for twenty minutes. I begged him to love me back. To find it in himself to love me back. To remember who he fell in love with.

But to no avail.

Once I realized that begging wasn’t going to help, I got up. I thought about how I was going to kill myself. Would I leave a note for him? Maybe then he’d have to live with it forever. He’d never forget me. Any woman he’d be with in the future would permanently have my face on. He wouldn’t be able to escape me.

I walked up the stairs and rested my arms on the banister. I looked at the alley from the window.

He waited for me to react, but I couldn’t.

After all the tears, the heart wrenching pain depression and this relationship had put me through. After being rejected by the second man I ever loved – the first being my father – I just couldn’t react anymore.

I felt a sense of peace wash over me. The sun had started to set a little bit. I took a deep breath and he held his.

“Someday… I have no idea when. I don’t even know what will make you realize it. Someday you’re going to look back and come to find that this was the day you made the biggest mistake of your life. You will regret it.”

He only stared at me and said, “I won’t regret it. I’m sure I don’t love you.”

“You’ll see.”

278 days and counting.

-Jess