Never forget that… 

Never forget that who you are isn’t entangled in depression or Bipolar. They are simply illnesses that don’t allow you to be you. 

If you are afraid of taking medication because it’ll make you less of who you are, remember that this is what your mental illness wants you to believe. 

 “I” [[a poem]] 

I am my own person. 

Depression can touch me but it cannot break me. 

Mania can keep me company but it will not outrun me. 

I am my own person. 

I can cope. 

I can heal. 

Myself… And others. 

I heal a little more as time passes by. 

I am my own person. 

No one can decide who I am but me. 

The person that I want to become is just on the horizon. 

She’s waiting for me to be ready.

I am my own person. 

I am stronger than I think.

I sleep in a warm bed of promises…

Promises that I’ve made for myself. 

Promises that are never too far away.  

I am my own person. 

I can feel the harsh winds striking my face, but I don’t allow them to scar me. 

They are fleeting. 

Just like you, depression. 

I am my own person. 

I spend my time laying in patches of green grass only to find that my mania has caused me to rip them from their roots. 

But it’s never too late to grow more. 

That’s something you must know, mania. 

I am my own person. 

I wade in the pool of inspiration and sacrifices. 

I wade, but I never dip my head in. 

Because my head does not sit idly with inspiration, and my mind does not dwell on the sacrifices I’ve made. 

I am my own person. 

I am my own person. 

I am my own person. 

And if you don’t understand that, depression and mania, then you have to go. 

I am my own person. 

And you are separate from me. 

-Jess 

My Fear of Dying [[plus, some news]]

Ever since I got on my mixture of medications I’ve been free of my suicidal thoughts.

I wanted to kill myself every day for about three years. I would stay up at night while everyone else in the world slept and plan my death. I’d pick locations, read news stories about things other kids did to end their lives and plan accordingly.

Now… life is a lot less dramatic.

I am, however, extremely paranoid. I can’t walk alone (day or night, really), and when I’m home alone I’m always anxious. At night, I’ll lay in fear sometimes because I’m completely convinced that someone is going to kill me.

I’m afraid to die.

Genuinely afraid to die.

The idea of death is terrifying to me. How will I die? Will someone harm me and kill me? Will I get into a gruesome car accident? Will my life get cut short? Why am I so convinced that I’m going to die young?

These are the things that keep me up at night now.

The idea of death used to make my mouth water. It was a thirst that I wanted to quench more than anything.

Now I want to be as far away from it as possible.

I turned to google.

“What to do if you’re afraid of dying.”

A few things came up. An anxiety test, a huffpost article and a wikipedia page about Sigmund Freud’s thoughts on the matter.

Thanatophobia

“Sigmund Freud hypothesized that people express a fear of death, called thanatophobia. He saw this as a disguise for a deeper source of concern. It was not actually death that people feared, because in Freud’s view nobody believes in their own death. The unconscious does not deal with the passage of time or with negations, which does not calculate amount of time left in one’s life. Furthermore, that which one does fear cannot be death itself, because one has never died. People who express death-related fears, actually are trying to deal with unresolved childhood conflicts that they cannot come to terms with or express emotion towards.”

Not only is there a name for this, but there’s a reason for it as well.

My childhood trauma.

Here it comes again to bite me in the ass.

It seems that with or without medication, my childhood trauma comes out of the woodwork. It is exhausting. There are a few things that happen every day due to said trauma.

  • I have to put my clothes on right away after I take a shower.
  • Sometimes after sex I shake and sweat until I can be calmed down.
  • I’m extremely uncomfortable being alone in a room with a man or men.
  • Entering a church makes me uneasy and talking about God or religion tends to bring me to tears.
  • I MUST lock my door when I go to bed no matter what.
  •  I usually feel that most men are thinking of harming me one way or another.
  • I’m afraid of someone kidnapping or killing me.
  • I’m afraid of death or dying in general.

I’m sure there are other things about myself that I don’t even know are related to my childhood trauma yet.

I need to go back to therapy.

I’m happy to announce that on December 1st, My Husband, Kam, and I are moving to Chicago. I’m moving back, he’s moving there for the first time. I miss my family and friends, and my therapist, Theresa. It’s time to go home.

Kam and I are so excited to be moving forward in our life together!

This feels really right. Like I’m supposed to be back in the windy city. I’m so pumped. We may not stay there forever, but for now this feels like the best step to take for us. (Maybe someday we’ll live in New York. That’s our goal.)

Anyway, I’m going back to Theresa. If you’ve followed my blog since the beginning, you’ll remember how great she was and how I missed her so much when I moved. To this day I’ve still never found a therapist I’ve connected with as much as her.

When I first started going to her I was extremely suicidal and always depressed. She had to get me out of that emergency stage before any real deep digging could happen.

By the time I was stable I had decided to move to Austin. No real healing from my past was able to happen.

Now … it will.

I’m determined to get this trauma off my back and live the crap out of whatever time I have left.

Any hey, I may live to be 101. You just never know.

-Jess

Medicated Zombie

Some days I find myself spacing out a lot, or not laughing at things that I usually find funny. People often ask me if I’m okay, and I don’t know what to say to them. I walk around without a smile on my face, but I feel fine inside.

These are the moments that make me feel like a medicated zombie.

It’s true, I don’t have suicidal thoughts anymore. Gone are the gloomy days and the painful nights I’d grown accustomed to. Gone is the need to use coping skill after coping skill just to stay afloat. I no longer feel everything on the spectrum, from manically happy to extremely depressed.

I’m really thankful for that, but the drawback is that those emotions have been replaced with a dull lingering boredom.

I feel colorblind.

I feel like everyone else can see the reds and blues and yellows and greens of the world and all I see is gray.

gray.

I miss the colors. I wonder if I’m missing out on those beautiful magentas and marigolds.

Even if I have to see the dark colors sometimes, isn’t it worth it to get to see the bright ones?

I feel like part of my brain has access to all of those things, but the other part refuses to react. That’s what the medication does to me.

Part of me wants to laugh or cry, but a much stronger part refuses to. Part of me wants to explode, but I don’t have the will to do it anymore.

I do, however, have the will to get things done and be responsible.

It’s so boring.

At least the Jess I was before medication had a personality.

I feel like mine is completely gone. Like I’ve lost my originality. My creativity. Like I’ve been stripped of everything that made me, me.

It seems devastating, but to tell you the truth, all I’m feeling about it right now is indifference. That’s how I feel about most things lately.

So where do I go from here? I’m not sure, honestly.

I could keep living my medicated life without fear of losing my job, losing my friends, hurting my husband, feeling so low that I can’t function.

Or I could go back to all of that and feel like myself again.

Is Bipolar who I am though? Or is that a lie that it’s telling me to lure me back into its arms?

All I know is that I don’t have to have all the answers today. Today I can relax and let go of my worries. I’m off from work for the rest of the evening and I plan on spending some quality time with my wonderful husband.

Jess

 

To medicate or not to medicate? 

Every morning I wake up and take five different pills. 

The first, wellbutrin, is supposed to keep me from feeling too low, due to the depressive side of my Bipolar disorder. 

The second, Abilify, is to keep me from feeling too high, due to the manic side of my Bipolar disorder. 

The third and fourth, Adderall extended and quick release, are to counteract the Abilify’s side effects. Without it I’m foggy and can’t concentrate. 

And the fifth, Naltrexone, is to curb my cravings for alcohol. Without it I’m at risk of seizures due to the wellbutrin and my habit of binge drinking. 

Phew. 

Taking all these pills every day helps me in certain ways. I don’t have suicidal thoughts anymore, which is a big deal. It’s a lot easier to wake up in the morning and get through my day. I’m more responsible when it comes to work.  I don’t feel hopeless quite as often and my thoughts aren’t as negative as they used to be. 

But it has its drawbacks, too. 

The biggest one being that with every pill I put in my mouth I feel sicker and sicker . it’s a daily reminder that I have a mental illness. It makes me feel like I’m crazy and the only way to stop my crazy is to sedate me. 

I feel like the old lady who swallowed a fly. 

I take the Adderall to swallow the abilify and take the abilify and naltrexone to swallow the wellbutrin, and take the wellbutrin to swallow the depression.

Some days I don’t know why I do it. 

It also doesn’t remove depression completely. I often hear depression calling my name. Asking me to come back. To stop taking my meds. It tries to convince me that taking pills somehow makes me a zombie or that I’m missing a part of myself. 

And honestly, some days I believe it. 

I know that if I went off my meds I wouldn’t just feel mentally ill, but I’d be mentally ill again, too. 

Once again would I feel the dull pain of exsisting. I’d fall back into my old ways of jumping from job to job, quitting on my low days and regretting it immediately. I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. I’d feel hopeless and the world would seem like a dark place again. Showers would be impossible. Connecting with people would be exhausting. 

… But my blog posts would be raw and creative. 

And I’d be able to feel the highs and lows of life again. Because no matter how devastating the lows are, those highs are unforgettable…

You see?! Depression is always calling. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. It causes you to not feel responsible for the things you do because after all, you’re depressed. 

It’s really hard to try to write from this new perspective. I’m so used to coping skills and depression and anxiety, and mania and knowing what all of that feels like. I haven’t really learned how to be a healthy sick person yet. But if there are people like me out there, this one is for you. 

So should you medicate or should you not? 

Honestly, I haven’t figured that out yet. Maybe to some people there’s an obvious choice, but to me there are so many factors that have to be considered. 

Everyone is different and no one pill or coping skill works for every person. 

All I know is today I woke up, took five pills, felt a little crazy, and went to work. Without those meds I might have never showed up to work. 

So I’m going to stay on my meds… For now. 

 – Jess

What to do when you feel like a burden 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.

It’s hard to depend on others because you don’t want to be a burden.

When you do finally let someone in you hold onto them for dear life because they are the only other person that has been inside your head. They are the only ones that know everything.

Suddenly you can’t stop. Every other conversation (or maybe even more) revolves around your depression. What set you off that day, all of the negative things you have to say about yourself and the world around you, all of the things you’re feeling. Over and over and over again.

Then eventually, like any human being who is being barraged with that kind of information all day long, grows restless.

It’s a difficult maze to get out of. You hear yourself babbling away about it and you desperately want to make yourself stop. You tell yourself that you’ve already said that before, or that you can see the annoyance on their face, or that you hate yourself for not being able to stop.

It happens to all of us. It will happen to all of us.

The key is using coping skills to help yourself, and your loved ones deal with this mental illness that is, as you know, out of your control.


Coping Skill #1: Doing things for others. Sometimes when you have depression you feel like everyone ends up taking care of you. Saving you. What about taking care of others? Buy your friend a meaningful gift, or write them a thank you note for being supportive. Take them to dinner. Help them with a chore.

This helps for two reasons. The first being that helping others gives you a sense of self worth, something that people with depression struggle with. The second being that your loved one will feel appreciated and cared for. It now went from being one sided- to very well balanced.

Coping Skill #2. Don’t let depression run your life. Take your depression by the hair and kick its ass. Nobody, not even depression, is allowed to control you. When you feel super low, remind yourself that you don’t always feel this way. I know it’s one of the most difficult things to do, but it is doable.

You ever have a really bad hour of depression brain and then when its over you suddenly realize that everything isn’t as bad as it seemed? Go into your low points knowing this will help in the long run.

Coping Skill #3. Find other ways to fill up time. When I was in the hospital and didn’t have my best friend there to talk to, I painted. I’m pretty terrible at it, but that’s not the point of painting. It was therapeutic for me. It felt great.

And afterwards I felt a little less heavy. A little less burdened with depression. It didn’t last long of course, but that’s depression for you. It worked better for me than talking on and on because I didn’t feel guilty afterwards.

Coping skill #4. You are allowed to think different thoughts. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Instead of using every moment of your time with this person stressing about depression, use it as a little vacation away from it. Let yourself be normal you. Joking, laughing, being whatever version of you you want to be.


Now, if there is a day you just really need to talk about it, then go for it! Your loved ones are called loved ones for a reason. They care. This list is for when you really feel like you have burned your friend/mom/dad/husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/sister/brother/etc out.

I hope this helps. This is just what worked for me, but everyone is different. I encourage you to discover what coping skills work for you!

-Jess

Loneliness and depression 

Being alone can sometimes be really nice. No one to bug you when you’re netflix binging or judge your personal hygiene or hog your snacks. 

I like being alone now and then.  Especially when I’ve had a rough work week and I just need quiet.

Yes, being alone can sometimes be nice.

Being lonely,  however… is never nice.

That pit in your stomach. That ache in your heart. The need to connect with someone right at that moment.  Feeling hopeless and trapped because there doesn’t seem to be a way out of it.

When depression is piled on top of that it feels like a whole other playing field. You start to wonder if you’re lonely because no one cares to be around you. As if they have people more important than you to spend time with right now. That you deserve to be alone. That if anyone talks to you it’s out of pity. That you shouldn’t even try to ease your loneliness. That you should sit with it and let it hurt you like you deserve to be hurt.

Bullshit.

Depression is this little bug.  Just waiting for you to leave yourself exposed so that it can bite the shit out of you.

All it takes is one negative thought and it just latches on to you.

And when something like that happens it’s not like you can just text someone you know and say, “hey, I feel really lonely right now. I’d like someone to talk to.”

Oh wait a second. You can.

There’s no reason not to. I think the reason we don’t is because it’s really hard to admit that you feel things in general. Chances are pretty much everyone around you has felt lonely before.

I know I have.

I’ve felt a lot of things. Depressed,  scared, angry, frustrated, embarrassed, bored, sad, manic… the list goes on and on.

But amongst all the negative feelings,  loneliness?  Oof, that one feels the worst.

If you feel like you don’t have anyone to turn to, think again.

Because now you have me. 

 Let’s be lonely together. We all know what it’s like to feel that way. We can all have each other’s backs.

We are stronger in numbers. Let’s use every day as a new opportunity to squash depression like the little bug that it is. After all, there’s no cure yet, so we must battle and conquer it daily.

This morning I wrote a blog post, took my medication, and listened to happy music. I feel good. I kicked depression’s ass so far today. But the day is still going. Having support will make it that much easier to keep winning.

It’s like all the people you love cheering you on from the stands. We can all be that for each other.

Don’t let your pride make you suffer. No one should have to feel lonely and depressed alone.

 Leave ccomments below. Let’s start a conversation and support each other.

-Jess 

If you were abused it’s NOT okay.   

Ever been in that situation? You tell someone you trust about your abuse and they say “oh so it wasn’t that bad.” and it’s funny because it probably wasn’t meant to come out that way, but it’s too late to backtrack.

That’s how it starts. You question if you remember correctly or if you’re just overreacting.

For a while there you start thinking that your abuse wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t so bad. Eventually you start to feel like you had never really been abused.

You may not remember the big picture entirely, but unfortunately there are feelings you’ll never forget.

Loneliness. Feeling like you had no one to talk to. Not even yourself because your abuser made sure you thought that you were nothing. Maybe you even continue to think that now.

Helplessness. Wondering why no one did anything to help you when you couldn’t help yourself. Feeling like the people that were supposed to protect you didn’t give a shit and remembering how you tried to cling to any adult that showed you basic human decency.

How your body felt. Even now as an adult things like sex remind your body of the sexual abuse. Or a key phrase taken out of context brings you back to the emotional abuse. Or the movement of a hand makes you flinch because of the physical abuse.

Whatever the abuse was it was more than enough to fuck you over as an adult. Maybe now you have a mental illness or trouble trusting anyone. Maybe functioning as a person is a lot more difficult than it should be. Maybe you struggle with self worth. Maybe when people actually like you as a person you wonder why. Maybe you’ve even attempted suicide because you have felt like there’s no where else to turn.

If any of this is going on in your life then how the hell could you ever tell yourself that your abuse wasnt bad enough?

If you look at your current life it’s clear that your childhood left some really awful and debilitating feelings behind.

If you look at your childhood it’s easy to remember how the younger version of you felt. You may even play it back in your head and wonder why no one’s helping younger you.

Maybe you feel like you can’t be happy now because younger you got it so bad. If you try to move on with your life it’s like you’re leaving that helpless version of you behind.

You were abused and it was NOT OKAY. It fucking ruined you for a while. Maybe you’re still in that ruined phase. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. You are so much more than your abuse, and holding onto it isn’t healthy, but never let anyone tell you your abuse wasn’t that bad compared to someone else’s.

Someone telling you to be happy because others have it worse is like someone telling you to be sad because others have it better.

It’s bullshit.

IT’S NOT OKAY. 

If anyone ever says that your abuse wasnt bad enough for you to complain about it then come back here and read this. I’m telling you right now no matter who you are:

It’s okay to admit to yourself that you were abused. You know the truth. The degree of the abuse doesn’t matter in this sense. You are allowed to acknowledge it. You’re allowed to share that part of you with someone. If that someone is on some bullshit then they aren’t essential to your recovery. In fact they are devastating to it.

Drop them.

And if it’s your abuser telling you that you’re overreacting, then let me tell you why.

No one wants to feel like a monster.

Not even monsters.

The moment you start wondering if you’re overreacting just remember to tell yourself that What happened to you…

was not okay.

Find comfort in that fact. The fact that it happened and it was real and you’re not crazy. If you have to live your life dealing with the aftermath then you get to live knowing the reason why.

All of this is fine and dandy, but in a future post we are going to look at how to remember the past objectively.

There is a way to remember the pain without making yourself suffer.

Remember you always have a friend here. Contact me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. If you’re having an emergency always call the hotline. It’s always okay to do that when you’re in distress.

Himym425@gmail.com

-Jess

When you can’t handle depression much longer…

I just want to say that I understand how you feel. I’ve been there so many times, and I’m sure one way or another, I’ll be there again.

Don’t let it win.

I almost did quite a few times. I almost lost my life. I almost left my family and friends to wade in a pool of trauma and despair.

I almost left my cat, Khaleesi.

I almost stopped existing.

Some people just don’t understand what it’s like. It’s a constant battle with yourself.

The pain is so unbelievably severe…

You find yourself awake in a dark room while the rest of the world  is quiet. You’re wondering what day you’re going to do it, and how. Planning out where you want to do it. Hoping the ones that you love don’t have to find you. Saying goodbye to people in your mind.

It’s almost impossible to stay alive when you’re in that pit.

Almost Impossible.

I know it doesn’t seem like it right now. I know it hurts all over, and when it isn’t so intense, it’s still a lingering pain that never seems to go away.

I know that you want to give up.

I know that you feel like you have no reasons to stick around, and the reasons that other people give you feel like complete bullshit.

Don’t stay for those reasons.

The one thing that kept me alive (besides the good people at Northwestern Hospital that saved my life) was curiosity.

I was curious. I wanted to know who I’d become if I stuck around.

Where would I end up? Who would I marry? What would my kids look like? Would I finally find myself? Would I ever have a tight hold around depression? Would I ever feel normal?

Present me would’ve missed out on all of the awesome things that are about to happen in my life. I just got married to an amazing man (who also happens to have bi polar II) and I feel so lucky that I got to experience that. 

And I’m not trying brag or say that I have it l figured out. I don’t. Some days are still awful and hard. But the days where life isn’t like that makes it worth it for me. 

I just want to take a moment to thank past Jessica for holding on. If it weren’t for her… well… I wouldn’t be here.

If curiosity is what will keep you here, then use it.

As far as I’m concerned, until you’re homeless, loveless, jobless, physically incapable of moving, and have no future…. you’ve still got hope.

What’s one more day?

And remember… when you die people are sad for a while, but eventually they move on with their lives. They grow up, fall in love, have children, or travel the world, find themselves… and at that point you’re just someone from their past who called it quits. They might think of you now and then, but it’s not the same.

You’re the only one who lost.

Hold on. And if you ever ever… and I mean EVER Need someone to talk to, you shoot me an email. I’m here for anyone and everyone. himym425@gmail.com

If it’s an emergency and you feel like you can’t hold on… promise me right now that you’ll call a suicide hotline. 1-800-273-8255

Seriously. Promise me. I had a friend who made me promise to call him before I ever thought of hurting myself. And I always did. Every time. And I’m still here. So promise me however you want to. Just promise.

-Jess

How to get things done when you’re depressed. 

I will say right off the bat that it is no easy feat to get things done while being Depressed and/or Anxious. I think the worst of it all is that people who don’t have a mental illness don’t get that.

They say, “Just get it done.” “Do what you gotta do.”

The one thing you have to understand about people like that is that they mean well but they unknowingly harm you.

Don’t sit with those ignorant comments because you know your truth.

You know that it’s a big deal when you are able to hold it together long enough to shower or wash the dishes or return an email.

This specific mental illness makes it virtually impossible to think rationally or to understand the world around you coherently.

Small tasks are overlooked because we are so afraid of the bigger picture. Getting one small thing done feels like nothing because of all the worrying about the things you’ll have to do in the future. It makes you feel like there really isn’t any point to life or doing anything at all because it will never amount up to anything.

We think these things because depression is an asshole that complicates our thoughts. It’s like that crazy ex we just can’t shake. And if you have anxiety, well, you find yourself being anxious about the thoughts that depression makes you have and you start to think even more irrationally.

So I wanted to share a tip that has seemed to help me in my time of struggle.

Write. It. Down.

I can’t take credit for this concept. I heard it time and time again in group therapy and from my former Therapist, Theresa.

It’s such a simple idea. Write down a list of things you have to get done, write your worries/fears/concerns about it, come up with a solution that has always been there but you couldn’t see because of the depressive fog that surrounds you.

It’s not meant to make you blame yourself or make you feel weak. Depression thinks for you sometimes. Writing things down can help you combat those thoughts because you see the words right in front of you. For a moment your mind goes from a room full of loose paper flying about in an endless swirl of chaos to a neat rows of color coordinated filing cabinets. It allows you to think of one thing at one time and focus on it. The bigger picture is no longer important. You begin to cross things off and before you know it you’re caught up on your tasks.

Trust me, I know it isn’t easy.

I have had thoughts like “What’s the point? If I do this today I have a whole bunch of shit to do the next day. It never ends. I can never have peace.”

I’ve actually said that before.

But if we are still alive and we are still working on things, why not try something new? I mean, what’s the alternative?

We’ve already experienced pain, boredom, indifference, existential thoughts, suicidal thoughts, and having lost all hope.

Why not fill the time with doing stuff that may actually improve things around us regardless of whether or not Depression lets us see it?

If you have depression and you plant a flower, it still blooms whether or not you can comprehend its beauty.

Let’s try this together. I’ll use an example that I’ve actually dealt with in my own life.

I was down to my last clean pair of underwear.

It seriously felt like the end of the world to me.

I thought wow, I have no clean underwear. How am I supposed to face the world when I can’t even make sure I have clean underwear? I might as well just give up on everything else because what’s the point of doing anything anymore? I don’t see how I can make this or anything else better.

At that time I was still writing in my group therapy journal so I decided to vent about it in there.

Problem: No clean underwear.

I read it.

No clean underwear.

I read it again.

No clean underwear.

Solution: Wash a load of laundry.

Suddenly the fog lifted. I read the sentence and for a moment my mind wasn’t focused on anything else.

Reading and writing can do that for you.

Someone without depression would pretty much automatically realize that they should do their laundry when they run out of something, but in the mind of someone who is depressed the solution isn’t even remotely clear because of all the other worries and thoughts that automatically flood to our brains.

Sooner or later after writing things down and getting said things done, you’ll feel accomplished. You’ll feel like you grew a little. You’ll feel normal. (Some therapists say “What is normal?” You know what normal means to you.)

If you find that this method works for you then try it with irrational fears.

Thought: I’m worthless

Reason: I can’t seem to do anything right, I hate myself, no one likes me, my life means nothing, I want to die, I don’t contribute anything to the world.

Dispute initial thought: (Really think about this one. Play devil’s advocate.)

I have cats who depends on me for food, shelter, and love, so there’s some worth there. There are people that fight to help me everyday even though I don’t always feel it, so I must be worth something to them. I’m in school and have a job, and though sometimes it’s really hard for me to get through it, I try as hard as I can with this illness. I make people laugh because I’m funny. My Husband, mom, and brothers love me, etc etc etc.

Your reasons will be different from mine. Don’t get it twisted, these aren’t “reasons to live” or whatever. This is to help you get some peace in your head for a little while because while we’re alive and dealing with every day life, we should be allowed to do it with some degree of peace.

I hope this finds you well!

-Jess

“My friends and family don’t understand my mental illness.”

When you have problems like depression, anxiety, PTSD, Bulimia, Anorexia, Bi polar, and even things like ADHD, there will always be people (even people whom you love) that won’t understand a damn thing you’re going through.

I only know my own experiences with my own diagnoses so I’ll use those as examples:

Depression: Just cheer up! Stop complaining! Killing yourself seems kind of dramatic. You have a great life, what’s so bad about it?

Anxiety: Calm down. Why are you so worried about something so far away in the future?

And my all time favorite for all of these: “It’s just mind over matter.”

Sometimes for smaller moments in recovery it really is just mind over matter.

But to anyone who says any of these things to people that suffer from a mental illness I say: Shut. The fuck. Up.

No one knows what you go through. No one knows what anyone goes through. We cannot simply use cliché advice to make everyone’s pain go away. Mental illness or not everyone has their own struggle.

But why are people so quick to dismiss a mental illness?

If my leg was broken people wouldn’t say, “dude, just get up and walk.”

If I had cancer no one would dare accuse me of being dramatic or overreacting.

But depression can (and has) killed people.

Depression wants you dead and somehow it has blackmailed you into being the hitman.

Usually when the people you love say things like “Why don’t you just go for a jog? Get out of bed?  It’s easy.” They only have your best interest at heart.

But it doesn’t solve anything.

And when I say, “shut the fuck up” I don’t mean that you should shut them out. What do you expect them to say? They have no clue what you go through on a daily basis. But they are obsessed with trying to fix you and it stresses them out everytime they realize that they simply cannot compete with your brain.

Let them know that they don’t have to fix you!

That’s what therapists are for. There are professionals out there who have studied about the things you deal with, and maybe we should leave it to them.

But your friends and family can always listen. Listening and understanding someone is in pain is one of the best things anyone can do.

If you have a loved one who is suffering from any of the above and you don’t know how to help them, please find a professional who can tell you what to do.

If you suffer from any of the above and feel that you have no support, then open your eyes, pal! Therapists, Psychiatrists, even blogs like these. WordPress has an amazing community of people that can relate to you and your pain on some level. Just like a broken leg, there are solutions to recovering. I used to be afraid of taking medication. I thought it was embarrassing and it made me feel even more sick. I’m slowly getting more and more excited about the things that are changing because of Wellbutrin and abilify, and I know now that I could’ve sped up this process had I not been so closed minded about it. I had to decide to do it.

I had to decide to see a therapist. I had to decide to eat. I had to decide to get out of bed every day. I’m not there yet, but deciding to do something about your problems is the first step. I know it’s truly messed up that life went on without you and people that may have hurt you have moved on from it and you’re still suffering on a daily basis. But giving up is not making them pay. Giving up is not hurting anyone but you. Once you realize that, you’ll wonder why you wasted so much time sitting in a trashed up room feeling so empty and alone when you could’ve been living your damn life.

The time to get better is now, but no one else can do it for you.

Jess

What should you do when you don’t want to be anywhere or do anything?

Some days I don’t know how to live my life.

I don’t feel sad or depressed. I don’t feel happy or fulfilled.

I feel indifferent.

Like whatever happens, happens. I just don’t care.

I don’t want to be anywhere or do anything.

I don’t really know where this passiveness comes from. I suppose I could use it for good when it comes about. Just let stupid moments in my day roll off. Get through the rest of it on auto-pilot.

It can happen at any time. I feel like anything I do doesn’t really matter because not only do I feel indifferent, but so does the world.

Sometimes it feels like no one wants to hear what you want to say, or take the time to see what you’re doing. And why should they? In this world we live in everyone is born on their own and dies on their own. Whether it be by their own hand or not, they die and are alone.

I know this sounds like the most cliché question in the world but it’s very true.

What does it all mean?

Im sure I’m not the only one who’s asked this. Why do we sit here doing the same shit every single day? Why are some of us clocking in, clocking out, desperate for a day off, desperate to feel something in this mundane lifestyle?

Getting diagnosed and going to therapy has helped me get a handle on my depression. But now that it’s more manageable I’ve wondered where to go next. What to do next. This can’t be it.

Even on days where I’m doing things I know are contributing to my future… It feels like so much work… And for what? To get to that point and still feel unhappy because I’m chemically convinced to?

That feels awful. What if I get to what should be the peak of my happiness and…  It’s all the same?

On days like those I automatically start to blame myself. Why can’t I just live my life and do the things I have to do like everyone else? Why do I feel so entitled to live happily 24/7 365? I really need to get over myself.

Some days I feel like I don’t want to dream anymore. Every time I have a dream, I go for it, and if it works I end up being unhappy again, and if it doesn’t it brings me down like nothing else.

It’s never enough.

I feel stuck. Every time this happens I have this weird lingering feeling that death is just simpler.

But… Other days…

I look at my life and it actually makes sense.

There’s a clear path. A moment of understanding. A moment of –

Dare I say it –

Happiness.

Maybe even joy.

Yknow what I call that Rollercoaster?

Depression.

Yeah.

Some days you just have to hold your breath and get through it. There’s not much else to do.

Other days it’s easier to get out of your funk.

One handy trick that I’ve been using is my shower rule.

Whenever I feel low, or super indifferent, I take a shower.

A shower always makes me feel 20% better.

It’s funny, I don’t even really enjoy showers. Some people love them. I prefer naps.

But for some reason the feeling after I take a shower is wonderful. I feel like for a moment I really took care of myself. I cleaned myself, brushed my hair, brushed my teeth (I do that in the shower. Feels like two birds), and put some clean clothes on. I feel like I did something no matter how simple it was

And even though I say it’s simple, I know the sometimes something as “simple” as a shower feels intimidating.

You start to think about every tiny step before you even start.

Muster up the rest of your energy to get out of bed, walk to the bathroom, take clothes off, turn on the shower, wait for it to get warm, get in, shampoo, condition, body wash, brush teeth (if you’re like me) get out, dry off (which takes years), find clean clothes (which is hard if your depression has been fucking you over a lot lately), put them on, brush hair.

…. Shiiiiiiit.

But if you think of each step as you do it…  It doesn’t feel so bad.

Like in F. R. I. E. N. D. S.  When Ross was trying to get a very nervous Chandler married.

If you haven’t seen F. R. I. E. N. D. S. Then wtf are you reading this for?! Go watch that shit. It’s on Netflix. Go. Now. Seriously.

Except in his case a shower felt easy. For us a shower can sometimes feel like a fucking marathon.

I get it. I really do. But seriously, try the one thing at a time method. It takes a lot of pressure off of you.

Once I get out of the shower… Suddenly things don’t feel so…  Hopeless.

I encourage you to try it. Even if it’s not a shower. Try something that will make you feel like you helped yourself in some way.

Cook something, watch a show or a YouTube video you like, read a book, etc.

If you feel like you’re on a roll you can help other people. Makes you feel good, too.

If you ever feel like a burden (you’re not), call a friend and listen to their story. Let them talk. Give someone a ride somewhere, make something for someone, send your mom a card, etc.

These are the perfect days to do things that you don’t necessarily have to do that day.

You don’t care what happens that day anyway. Use it to be selfless, or selfish!

The day is yours.

Shit…  Sleep all damn day if you want.

Who gives a shit, right? You don’t! It’s indifference day!

If you have a trick that works, please share it in the comments below. We are all here for each other.

25 things you can do instead of self-harm 

I’ve never been one to not show my feelings. When I was younger I had a bit of an anger problem. But I believe as a kid in my situation it made sense that I’d be angry. 

I was abused from the ages of 10-16. And that abuse changed me. It made me feel hollow inside. I felt like the world was crashing down on me every single morning and crushing me under it’s weight every night. 

I missed my father who, unfortunately, didn’t miss me. I missed my mother who, for the most part, was a silent bystander in my life. 

I hated my stepfather… For obvious reasons. 

As I got older the trauma stuck with me. Although I didn’t know that because it manifested itself as bi-polar II and anxiety. It crept up on me during my junior year in college. 

Bi-polar II is a mental illness that sides more with depression than mania. I have somewhat high highs but soul crushing lows. 

These feelings of anger and resentment suddenly boiled over and I didn’t know what to do with them. So I self medicated.

I chose alcohol. 

It’s ironic that I tried to use alcohol to forget because alcohol is a depressant. If anything it helps you remember more intensely and you’re more susceptible to pain. What’s worse, if you drink enough you start to have an inability to make good choices. 

So you self medicate and self harm. 

I’ve come a long way since then. I’m by no means “cured”, but I feel a lot better. Through medication and therapy I’ve begun to accept things that I can’t change about my past, and to remember that it really is all in the past. I’ve also started to be able to see the positive people and things in my life. My true friends and family, my pets, my Husband, my creativity, and my will to carry on to name a few. 

But some days, it’s hard to connect with those positive things. 

Some days it feels like I’m in an empty room with nothing but a window to look out of. Through that window is another room filled with all of the wonderful things in my life and all of my reasons to live, displayed neatly and beautifully. I try to pry open the window but it’s sealed shut. I simply cannot access the good. 

What do I do on days like that? Where do I turn when everything feels hopeless? Do I self medicate? 

No. 

No, I don’t. Not anymore. Here’s why. 

There’s about five hundred other things you can do besides self medicating. Self medicating isn’t just alcohol. It could be doing dangerous drugs, cutting or self mutilating in any way, over or under-eating, or even staying in bed for days instead of facing your responsibilities. 

If it feels good but is self destructive, it’s self medicating.

I’ve complied a list of 25 things you can do instead of self medicating or self harm. Please feel free to take your favorites and write them down in case you need them one day, and add some of your own personal touch to that list. 

One more thing, these aren’t ways to make you feel better. There’s no way to force depression out of your head. This is meant to distract you from self – harming ways so that when you do feel better you won’t have done something that’s dangerous or bad for you. 

So here goes. Instead of self-harm, you can:

1. Call or text a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. 

2. Cook something new. 

3. Take a short nap. 

4. Draw a picture 

5. Read a book or an article (there are so many about coping skills).

6. Play with your pet 

7. Take a shower or bath (my saying is a shower always makes me feel 20% better no matter what). 

8. Make a list of positive things in your life. (Even if you can’t access them it’s nice to know they’re there. And yes, I promise you, there’s something positive in your life, even if it’s hard to see it at the moment.) 

 9. Write a letter to your older self. 

10. Watch a movie or show.  

11. Listen to music. 

12. Go through your closet and donate clothes you don’t want anymore.  

13.  Hug someone. 

14. Call your therapist. (This helped me many times.) 

15. Look at old home videos 

16. Get a haircut 

17. For anyone who wears makeup (look up tutorials on YouTube and try a new look. 

18. Start to learn a new instrument 

19. Go for a short walk 

20. Focus on your breathing for five minutes

21. Drink a big glass of water and eat a snack 

22. Organize your room. (Even just walking around with a trash bag and picking a few things up can make your room feel so much cleaner.)

23. Go on ancestry.com and do their free trial. (You can find some pretty cool stuff about your family tree there). 

24. Learn a new word. 

25. Go to the dollar store with $5 and buy things. 

Not all of these will be perfect for your situation, but I’m betting some will get you out of a bind at some point or another. 

As always, keep on keepin’ on friends. 

Feels good to write again.  

-Jess

I’m Getting Married!! 

That’s right! I’m getting married on May 6th to the man of my dreams. No fake names here. My future husband, Kameron Nix and I are tying the knot! A little over a month from now I’ll be Mrs. Jessica Nix! Kameron, I love you so much. You’re my world.

I finally found my forever. If you’ve followed this blog since the beginning you know how important that is to me.

 More on all of this later. Love y’all! 

-Jess

Andy

There are days when I miss you. 

There are days when I don’t. 

Today… I don’t. 

That’s sad to me. 

It’s so sad. 

We were decently solid. 

We were on the right track. I think…

We were supposed to make it. 

Or were we? 

Maybe not. Maybe you just taught me all the lessons I needed to learn before I could find him. 

Him. The one. The calm. The everything all at once without expecting anything at all. 

Still, it hurts. 

I hope you’re okay. I hope I didn’t ruin your heart. I hope you find what I believe I’ve found. 

What I know I could never replace. 

I want that for you. 

I want you to feel overflowed with love and joy and still feel calm somehow. 

I want you to feel… 

… Light. 

Like he makes me feel everday. 

I’m sorry this is the way it turned out. I’m sorry that a part of me still loves you and that there’s nothing that will change that. 

I’m sorry. 

But also… I’m not sorry. I know you deserve her, and she wasn’t me. 

Just like you weren’t him. 

Jess

Today I feel….

…. Not great. 

But tomorrow is a new day. And though the thought of having to wake up tomorrow and do things makes me want to cry right now, I know it’ll be okay. 

How do I know? Because it always turns out to be okay. I always get through the day no matter how draining or depressing or daunting it was. 

I always survive. 

Here’s to you and me surviving every single day. 

Now… I just finished an 11 hour work day and am in desperate need of a beer. Goodnight, WordPress! 

-Jess

Being Alive 

When you least expect it you’ll have one of those days where being alive isn’t absolutely terrible. 

Enjoy those days! If they don’t come around very often you owe it to yourself to enjoy it. 

Don’t fret over the fact that it’ll be fleeting. 

After all, you wouldn’t know what amazing feels like if you didn’t have those bad times. 

Stay safe my friends.

-Jess
P. S. I’ve been getting lots of views today! Thank you so much for coming to my blog. I hope you see something you love. 

They’re not stupid for caring about you 

You deserve care like everyone else..

Being alive is hard. 

Why do it alone? 

Ask yourself,  “am I stronger with this person than I am alone?” 

If the answer is no, then why waste your time?

If it’s yes then stop being afraid. Accept the love and care that you’d give someone in your situation. 

Accept yourself. 

Accept that someone out there loves you. 

Let them in. 

-Jess

The Dr. Phil Show and triggers

I can’t give any advice on how to deal with triggers. It’s one of the few things I have no answer for. One of the few things I’m never prepared for.

My reaction to triggers whether it be an emotional reaction or a physical reaction is involuntary. I’m sure there are coping skills to fight off a bad trigger reaction but I can’t seem to bring myself to work on it. When they happen I just wait it out. It almost feels easier than acknowledging them.

It’s weird. Feeling dirty when I just got out if the shower. Having to put clothes on my still wet body. Wrapping myself in a blanket or pushing my face into Andy’s chest while I try to take deep breaths and let it pass.

It’s weird to be around my immediate family and feel this wave of disgust wash over every inch of me. I’m disgusting and everyone can see it.

It’s weird to watch a Dr. Phil episode and be able to relate with girls who’s family didn’t believe that they were abused by other family members.

But this isn’t about my family. This is about the aftermath.

I remember getting interviewed in this office. It had a window where my mom and a doctor could watch me. Judge me. I felt like I had done something bad by confiding in my school’s social worker with a problem I had had for two years.

A problem named Jesus Gonzalez.

A problem with a name that I haven’t said out loud in years.

Even writing it feels weird.

When I think of him my mind feels 9 again. I feel like that helpless defenseless little girl who just wanted someone to care about her.

The one who listened to music in her room at a very low volume and cried at a very low volume.

The one who wore a pair of shorts and a pair of sweatpants to bed along with a long sleeve shirt, a t shirt and a nightgown on top.

The one who would wedge a chair against her doorknob at night until he said she wasn’t allowed to do that anymore.

The one who knows what the blood in her lips tastes like.

The one who was touched, but not badly enough apparently.

You see, when they interrogated me and asked me what he used and if he put what he used inside me and I said no they assumed I had lied about the whole thing.

But why would a fifth grader lie? A fifth grade girl doesn’t usually know what that grown up stuff is about, much less how to accuse someone of doing said stuff to her.

“No, I was home sick and he was rubbing lotion on me while I pretended to be asleep. I always pretend to be asleep because I hate talking to him. He hurts me and makes me feel scared. He touched only the outside and before he could do more I told him to stop. He has hit me before, too.”

“…oh.”

Two days later I had to apologize to him when he came back home. I had to apologize to him.

Im not mad at my mom anymore. We all do stupid things. And to be mad at her now would be pointless. I’d be mad at a ghost. Because my mom is a completely different person now.

Im mad at the people who said through their actions that my abuser wasn’t abusive enough for them to care.

About two years ago I found myself in a psychiatric hospital. I remember meeting with a psychologist. Dr Dimwitty. And no, that’s not a fake name. It was the perfect name.

He asked me where my depression stems from.

“childhood trauma. ”
” What kind.”
“Mental, physical, sexual.”

“What kind of sexual trauma?”

“My stepfather molested me.”

“did he rape you?”

“no.”

“oh okay, so it wasn’t that bad.”

It’s that kind of language that is absolutely damaging to a person. Luckily for me I am very used to checking in with myself and my situation and it didn’t worsen my depression.

If anything…  It made me stronger.

But for a while there I started thinking that my abuse wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t so bad. Eventually I started to feel like I had never really been abused.

Then I saw this Dr Phil episode. One woman had been molested and raped,  and the other had been molested.

She was just like me. She was traumatized by these occurrences. I was traumatized by those occurrences.

I was diagnosed with depression in 2013. And if my step dad didn’t take part in creating that perfect storm for me then I don’t know what did.

It’s not okay that he would constantly walk in on me while I was changing.

It’s not okay that he would call me sexy, and a whore, and a bitch, and a sinner, and a woman.

It’s not okay that he pressured my boyfriend and I into having sex when I was sixteen.

It’s not okay that he watched us having sex through a window and his excuses were not valid when we caught him.

It is not okay that he struck me in the face.

It’s not okay that he touched me at all.

It’s. not. okay.

And honestly…  I find comfort in that.

So no cps, you don’t get to go home and feel like you did a good job with me. And no Dr. Dimwitty, you don’t get to tell me what degree of abuse is bad enough for you.

And no, Jesus Gonzalez, you do not get to live the rest of your life thinking what you did…

…. was okay.

Jess.

Where did we go? [[A poem]]

 

You were my dream before I even knew you.

I hoped you’d be out there somewhere and that for now we were just trying to get ourselves together. Trying to love ourselves and accept our flaws so that we’d be ready for each other when the time came.

And then the time came.

All of those moments when I felt like you may not exist washed away. When I took that road trip with my mom she held a missing person’s poster close to her heart. As she held it close and soaked it with her tears one, by one, by one…

I wondered if we shared more than just the same blood.

But then I saw your face, and for the first time – for the very first time – I felt reassured. I felt calm.

When I looked at you, I saw everything.

My heart beating quickly, the beauty in myself. I saw you looking at me the way no one else ever had.

The way I always wanted someone to look at me.

The way I looked at you, too.

Your smile sent an electric current through me.

Do you remember the night we made that fort in my apartment? It was filled with christmas lights and warm blankets. We bought wine and ordered pizza, dedicated to a night in. You smiled over me as I laid on the bed,Leon Bridges singing in the background. We had conversations and learned about each other. We laughed and you touched my face as gently as I had always wanted someone to.

And that was us. When the opportunity presented itself, we’d spend time together. That’s just what we wanted.

Now we can only seem to spend time together if there’s something around to entertain us. The TV, our phones, our own problems, our egos. So we order pizza and drink wine. We dedicate to stay in, but not because we want to be together.

Truth is we don’t want to go anywhere. Home is just the easiest place to exist.

We sit next to each other, but we don’t speak. We wish we could…. and we definitely could. But we don’t.

Why don’t we just speak?

Why don’t I just speak to you right now?

Perhaps because I don’t like talking to myself.

You sit with your denial, and I sit with my guilt.

We don’t try to work it out anymore.

We don’t even fight. We bicker. We stopped communicating. We stopped trying.

You stopped trying.

Right now there’s a fort in our apartment that I built by myself, just for fun. Every time I look at it my only desire is to take it down and clean the room.

Cleanse myself of the messiness that has transpired.

Our kisses don’t feel real anymore. They feel more like folding a shirt

When I look at you. I don’t see myself anymore. I don’t see you anymore.

I don’t see us anymore.

You don’t look at me at all anymore.

I laid in bed with myself and thought about it for a while. Cried about it for a while. Sighed about it for a while. kicked myself to walk through the door and cursed myself for even considering it.

I wish I could go back in time for even a minute to tell you what’s going on.

You’d hold me like you used to and let me cry in your arms. I wouldn’t feel like I lost you. I would ask him to knock some sense into you.

To listen to me. To hear my words. To absorb my words. To not take me for granted.

But I couldn’t do that. So I’d have to go on a mission to rescue you myself.

I tried peeling the layers back to see if I could find you. See if I could bring you home. I put up posters and signs so that maybe someone could tell me where you were. I didn’t happen to see any of me as I was taping them to trees and poles.

I tried looking through the magnifying glass you bought as part of our Sherlock and Watson costumes. I still couldn’t find you.

Hard as I’ve tried I don’t see us anymore.

All I see are empty bodies that walk around and say things that we would never say. Do things that we would never do.

Bodies that we no longer control.

Bodies that sleep next to each other every night but somehow feel like they’re alone.

Where did we go?

 

Celebrity Kristen Bell Opening up about Anxiety And Depression

Folks, please watch this video if you feel ashamed about having anxiety or depression (or both). Honestly, it really doesn’t even matter what mental illness you have. This video shows Kristen Bell (one of my favorite actresses) explaining that there is no shame in getting help.

Watching this brought my mood up today. I hope it does the same for you.

 

Jess

To: Andy [Revised Version]

So… a while back I published a pretty little post called To: Andy on this blog. It was posted in March 2015, about two months after Andy and I started dating.

Yes, we loved each other that fast. It just happened.

— and we still do.

That post-however- hadn’t been updated since then. I read it today and it just didn’t feel like us anymore. We’re different people now and our relationship is different.

I used to think that was a bad thing. I always used to say that people should always stay in the honeymoon phase if they love each other. After careful consideration, I’ve realized that the honeymoon phase is just people feeling something genuine that is based on nothing.

I really felt like I loved who I knew him to be, but I didn’t know Andy well enough to say anything that really meant something. There wasn’t anything real to write yet.

So I meandered around, using a lot of cheesy lines and broad thoughts about love to try to describe the feelings that I had. I couldn’t find the words. I suppose the words I wrote were the right words at the time.

The honeymoon phase is just a facade. When it’s lifted and you still feel good about that person, that’s when the realness begins.

Now we’ve been together almost a year and a half. It may not be a huge accomplishment but I only mention it because after this amount of time, I feel that I know Andy enough to revise my previous post.

Maybe in 3 years I’ll revise it again. Maybe in 3 years there won’t be anything to write about us but memories.

All I know is that today I still love him and I am so glad I now have some real words to write.

Below is the revised version in black along with my old post in grey. Some words have changed, and some haven’t.

Here goes–

Continue reading

Woo baby! Almost 300 followers!

Thank you guys. It’s amazing to think that almost 300 care about the things I write enough to hit that follow button. And even the like button too!

Love y’all!

Just a reminder that I have started a new blog with my friend, Eliza. It is specifically about depression. Tips,  stories, and even posts just complaining about how shit depression is. 

Click the link below, give our recent posts a read, and the follow button if you please!
United In Depression

Well, I gotta go.  I get off of work in about an hour and today is Lucas’s fifth birthday! Him, Andy, and I are going out to eat and then opening presents.

We got him a wicked awesome storm trooper puzzle we can work on together and made him a hot wheels cake from scratch! Today is a good day. 

image

Jess

New blog url

Unitedindepression.wordpress.com

This blog is strictly for depression advice. I started it with a friend, Eliza, who also suffers from depression.

This blog may be for my personal stuff. I’m still deciding. Might delete it.

I know i’ve had some really loyal followers since day one. I want to continue to have you in my life. If you’d like to please follow me on this new journey!

Jess

Remember that test I studied for?

I wanted a 90% or higher.

I got 110%.

Yes. 110%.

I am so freaking proud of myself. 

I can’t even explain it. 

Two years ago the unbearable weight of depression on my back forced me to quit school.

And now…  It’s my bitch.

And this is only the beginning,  folks.

Stay tuned!

Jess

image

Study study study

I got a 98% on my first test. I have my second one today. Anything less than a 90% isn’t happening. I’m going to make sure I understand at least 90% of everything that is put in front of me. No matter what class it may be.

Jess

image

This week’s coping skill: “So What?”

I feel like I don’t even want to understand what is going on with me today. After over three years of constantly checking in with myself I’ve grown incredibly tired of it.

Usually it stems from some bizarre and irrational line of thinking anyway, and it goes away a lot faster than it builds. Even so, it still sucks. It still makes life hard. I suppose life is hard for everyone though.

It doesn’t really have to be that big a deal either. Today I couldn’t check out a math textbook from the library or student center that I pay for in my tuition because I don’t have my student ID yet. I’m never on campus when the office is open due to work.

All I wanted to do was the last two sections of my math homework. That’s it. I’m doing so well and I want to keep it that way. I felt neglected. I felt betrayed. I just want to be a good student. I’m trying so hard to be a good student. I study and turn things in on time. I got a 98% on my first test of the semester and I actually listen in class. I’m a very different student now than I was back in Chicago.

I care now.

And that’s why I hid in a quiet corner of the campus building and cried a little. So here I am in all my glory. Nose is runny. My face patterned in red splotches, my contacts going in and out of focus. All because I wanted to do my homework.

But… So what?

So what if I don’t turn in 2 assignments when the homework portion is 20% and I have done everything else so far?

So what if I need my ID and didn’t have it this time? I will get it and when I do I’m gonna check shit out all over the place just because I can.

So what if I feel sad right now? I didn’t earlier. I felt fine, and I’ll feel fine again soon.

So what if I have to cry a little? That’s absolutely okay. And hey, what a cool thing to experience. Actual sadness because I want to be the perfect student. I’ve never felt that way before. I’m growing up. Grown ups cry, people.

It also doesn’t hurt to remember everything else that is going right in life. Compared to all of that this is nothing. This is an isolated event. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I always have access to the resources I need. Besides, there is always extra credit.

My main focus should be to understand the material. If I understand it then I know I’ll ace those tests despite not having two little sections turned in. And if I understand the material then it means I’m getting ready to move on to my next class.

I’ve accomplished a lot so far this year. The greatest of those accomplishments being that I actually went back to school and am kicking ass. I’m not worthless because of these two assignments. I’m not falling into a deep depression just because I was upset. I’m still in control. I still have a say in how I react to things that happen to me.

Thank you for reading. Writing a post always helps me. That’s why my posts usually start out angry and heavy and then become more rational towards the end. This blog is a resource for coping with depression in every day life, but what most people don’t know is that I’m usually giving myself the advice to begin with.

I feel better. Not great or perfect or shiny. Better. I’m still kind of pissed at life, but I’ve shifted the anger from myself to the situation.

The moment you feel like the world is abandoning you, you’d better make sure that you’re not abandoning yourself, too.

-Jess

 

Playing With Fire

So because of the job stuff we had a bit of a financial hiccup this month and aren’t going to be able to get my medication for about a week. When I’m on it I’m a normal functioning person. When I’m not… well it’s pretty much hell for me and everyone around me. I’ve been off for about 4 days and shockingly enough I’ve been alright.

It’s scary because I know it can change at any moment. I know that my brain isn’t really mine when I’m not on meds. I think things I normally wouldn’t and I do things I normally wouldn’t. Things that hurt the people I love.

I was telling Andy that it’s okay we have to wait a week since I was feeling pretty decent given the situation.  He said we will get it as soon as possible because he doesn’t want to play with fire.

At first I was a little caught off guard. Am I the fire? Are the meds the extingisher? Is he the fireman?

I found myself on the depression subreddit today. One of the things I do right before shit hits the fan. The moment I pressed the button …

… I felt like the fire.

Slowly spreading, burning myself and everything around me to a crisp.

But something funny happened. As I was looking around at the posts I started realizing that I couldn’t seem to relate to any of it. Sure it sounded familiar, but I didn’t share the thoughts or feelings that come with depression like others did on the subreddit.

It made me feel hopeful. And because I felt hopeful I had a moment of rational clarity.

I am not the fire. None of us are.

Depression is the fire.

I’m the house.

I am the house that cares for others and shelters them. Loves them and keeps them warm. Helps keep their memories and is always there for them when they need me. Warns them of fire with smoke alarms in hopes that someone will wake up and help me tame the flames.

I am fine.

Jess

Familiar Feelings Can Be Misleading

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Recently some really messed up things have happened, specifically with my (now former) place of employment. Basically they have a policy that says because I don’t work there anymore they don’t have to pay me the bonus money I earned the month before. The bonus money we earn is given to us the month after we earn it. I made $500 of bonus money in december, and I haven’t seen a dime. On top of that they still haven’t paid me my regular paycheck either. It was due on friday.

To add insult to injury part of that money was going to be used to pay rent, get a new washer, and celebrate my birthday (yesterday).

We are now going to have to borrow money in order to just pay rent.

I’m kind of in the middle of filing an unpaid wage claim and talking to a lawyer. My co workers have alienated me and refuse to help with evidence in any way, and my supervisor whom I trusted won’t answer my calls.

It felt eerily familiar.

Feeling like the world hates me. Feeling like I’m a loser. Feeling like I’m hurting Andy in the process (it’s his money, too). Feeling like the past three months of showing up to work every day on time and trying so hard was just a ruse.

Feeling like I’m back to my old, negative self again.

Feeling like I should have planned better. demanded every single pay statement (sometimes they sent them, sometimes they didn’t), made copies of all the policies that I read in the office, picked up my binder full of all the relevant information to help my case, etc. etc. etc.

But probably the most upsetting feeling was the one that led me to thinking if I would’ve successfully ended my life at some point this wouldn’t be happening. Andy could pay his rent because he wasn’t depending on someone else’s money or spending his on someone. Guilt. Shame. Remorse.

But… Why did I feel guilty? It’s not my fault that the company I work for isn’t paying me the money that I rightfully deserve. It’s not my fault that a customer who gave out his personal information was threatening to sue because I spoke to someone who verified all his information. It’s not even my fault that my co workers are mad at me because they didn’t make goal this week and blame me somehow (we had one week left to make goal and regardless of my presence there’s no way it would’ve happened).

You know what would be my fault, though? If I let my emotions go into a downward spiral.

Now that I have meds I have the ability to get myself out of that line of thinking. I can hate myself and feel like I can’t catch a break. I’ll assume that everyone I know and love will be disappointed in me. I’ll find ways to belittle myself when no one around me is.

I’ll self sabotage and ruin every other aspect of my life (quit school, end relationship, cut off family/friends, lay in bed all day, possibly end up committing suicide because that is where all of it leads to).

Or…

I could realize that money isn’t everything. Money can be made again. I am more valuable than money, and the people that love me know that. I can realize that I’m doing everything I can to recover from this really unfortunate setback. Within 5 days I already had a new job that paid more than the other, I decided to not let this get to me on my birthday and instead of going all out like we wanted, we had some friends over and spent $20 on beer and snacks. Had a great time. I continue to do my schoolwork and show up to class. I am working with a lawyer and filing a claim to try and get what’s mine, but am also aware that sometimes shit isn’t fair and it may not work out.

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Khaleesi was probably having a worse day than me tbh. Just look at what her mommy did to her.

I can also determine who’s opinion matters to me. Co-workers that I didn’t even know four months ago and never truly connected with? A company that isn’t decent enough to abide by Texas Employment Laws? No. No, the people who matter are the ones that constantly love me through everything I go through. Sure, Andy’s life would be different if I was no longer in it, but I don’t think he’d rather have rent money without having to borrow it than have me.

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I can take a step back and view my life as if it’s a pro and con list. I can determine that the good outweighs the bad right now. It’s so easy to list all the bad going on. Almost addicting. Try listing all the good. You may be surprised.

I can stop blaming myself and instead celebrate myself for getting through this and staying strong. I can remember that the downsides to what happened are only temporary. When we have our money back on track in a month or two we can buy a washer, experience those birthday plans we originally planned on, and this experience will be long gone.

I can enjoy my life.

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Things are always worse than they seem when they’re currently your biggest struggle. Sometimes I forget that I’ve been through so much worse because it feels so far away. A few months ago I dealt with what I thought was the worst thing I’ve ever been through. Dealing with Lucas’s mom and her knowing about my depression. That feels long gone now. I rarely even think about it. That’s just how it goes.

I just want to stress that even though the situation feels like something you’ve been through before, it doesn’t mean that you are the same person you used to be. Give yourself more credit than that.

Also remember this. You ARE allowed to think different thoughts. Hating yourself and constantly assessing the situation isn’t going to change anything. You might as well enjoy yourself if shit is about to hit the fan. You only get to experience today once and then it’s gone. It is your choice to throw it in the trash or take advantage of it.

Focusing on one isolated problem in your life makes you forget all the good and awesome things going on. Take a look again, and this time not through binoculars.

Jess

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Loneliness

Being alone can sometimes be really nice. No one to bug you when you’re netflix binging or judge your personal hygiene or hog your snacks. 

I like being alone now and then.  Especially when I’ve had a rough work week and I just need quiet. 

Yes, being alone can sometimes be nice.

Being lonely,  however… is never nice. 

That pit in your stomach. That ache in your heart. The need to connect with someone right at that moment.  Feeling hopeless and trapped because there doesn’t seem to be a way out of this loneliness. 

Sometimes you don’t have to be alone to feel lonely. You may physically be close to someone and still feel alone. So alone that all you can do is pretend you’re not. 

I think that’s because it’s really hard to admit that you feel lonely in general. 

It’s not like you can just text someone you know and say, “hey, I feel really alone right now. I’d like someone to talk to.”

Oh wait a second. You can. 

There’s no reason not to. Chances are pretty much everyone around you has felt lonely before.

I know I have.

I’ve felt a lot of things. Depressed,  scared, angry, frustrated, embarrassed, bored, sad… the list goes on and on.

But amongst all the negative feelings,  loneliness?  Oof, that one feels the worst. 

I feel lonely right now. Everyone is asleep at my place.  Feels like the whole world is, honestly. I tried watching a show and reading blog posts to distract myself,  but there is this constant nagging in my head that won’t go away. 

So you know what I’m gonna do? I’m going to turn to Andy, softly wake him up (it’s the weekend anyway) and tell him that I feel really lonely right now. 

Don’t let your pride make you suffer. No one should have to feel lonely alone. 

Jess

Awake

It’s so weird being an active participant in my own life.  Not just some bystander who watches as the other part of me breaks down a little more every day.

This time is a little different than my last low bout. I’m more mindful of my situation.

I’m being smarter about the choices I make for myself.  I’m not creating some big moment to prove myself – or prove to myself – that I’m better.

I’m just letting my meds help me do everyday things.  Getting up and going to work in the morning, seeing things in more rational and simple ways. Getting ready to start taking classes again.

I’m laying low. I’m doing what I want to and not doing what I don’t. I’m methodical in my decision making and I enjoy the thrill that is experiencing things that used to break me and letting them roll off my back without a second thought.

My mind is once again clean and organized manila folders color coded in all their glory, filed away in cabinets marked: “Open at your convenience”

Now instead of worrying about things like how to make sure my loved ones never have to see my corpse, or trying to figure out how I’m going to hold on for another night, my mind is free to worry about more trivial things like,

“I hope I get the lunch hour I want today”

Or

“What should I get Andy’s family members for Christmas?”

It’s actually fun. 🙂

There’s this feeling of peace in me that is swirling around, like when a cup filled to the brim is being stirred but always seems to just barely miss the edge.

Never spilling.

It’s exhilarating and familiar. It’s peaceful and reassuring.

I feel like the people that walk by me on the street seem to feel. Normal. Like I don’t have “depression” tattooed on my forehead. Attempting to hide it with my hand and feeling so unnatural when I meet people. Wondering if they can see it in me somehow.

Wondering if the people I love can even see me anymore.

Now I’m seeing myself again and I feel giddy, like when you see a good old friend after so long. I like myself again. I respect myself again. There’s no fog obstructing my view.

I feel like I dont have to hide anymore. Every day feels weirdly new even though most days aren’t special or out of the ordinary.

Those days, though… they matter to me most.

I try not to talk about it a lot. Just enjoy it by myself. I feel myself being engulfed by the calmness around me, and astonished by the quiet in my head, like it’s a cool party trick. I feel tranquillity flowing through me, coating my bones with its gooey protective warmth.

Finally, normalcy. Yes, normalcy. I wished for normalcy.

Suddenly the mistakes I’ve made in the past,  whether big or small, don’t keep me up at night.

It just doesn’t bother me anymore.

Suddenly I’m the girl that Andy fell in love with again. I’m the girl I love to be.

I’m alive again.

I’m awake.

Jess

Introducing: The Depression Podcast

Well, here it is.

I didn’t really know what to call it, honestly.

Never Ask What If came to mind of course, but I’ve kind of always had an issue with that name since it doesn’t really explain anything. I’ll just have to live with it on my blog. It’s alright, though. That’s the name my readers have followed so it stays!

Then I was thinking about naming it something catchy like “Just Jessica” as in I want to be known for me, not my depression, but that just felt too personal to me.

I want others to be able to see this podcast as pieces of their stories too, because so many of us share similar moments.

So in order to be clear and concise (and easier to find on search engines) I decided to go for the most obvious choice:

The Depression Podcast.

so, here it is.

Podcast Announcement

I’m starting a podcast. For a couple of reasons.

1. I have the Galaxy S6 (pretty much the only fancy phone is ever had), and it has a ridiculously decent mic. 

2. I’ve been tuning into podcasts lately and they are like leaving your own world and entering a new one.

3. Hopefully it’ll be another way I can try to help others. 

Still deciding what to call it,  but here is my announcement. 

Hope you’ll tune in. 

-Jess

For those who think they’re failures

You wanna know what I think? You can fail an infinite amount of times. That doesn’t matter. You only need to succeed once.

-Jess

Sing sing sing

I really want to sing today. Just sing my heart out in an empty room. It sucks though, because I don’t really have a place to do that right now. I have my apartment but Andy is trying to unwind there too. It’s not really fair to him that my way of unwinding is so loud.

I wish my life was like Glee. I could just walk around places without anyone noticing I’m singing and being weird.

So I guess in order to help with that I’m going to write today. Just write write write. write posts, write songs, feed my creative monster because he is getting restless. With this full time job and these goals to pursue a non-arts major I just feel like my creative side is being neglected.

But tapping into my creative side is the only thing that makes me feel alive without fail. Everything else has failed me here and there.

Singing makes me feel right.

It’s who I am.

Anyway, I need to remember that and stop neglecting that side of me. It’s too important.

There’s something about hearing myself do a good, crisp vocal run that makes me tingle. Something about hitting that one note correctly that hits me like nothing else. Something about fucking up royally and being able to forgive myself and try again that makes me think that if only I could do that in real life i’d be better off.

Singing is wonderful.

-Jess

When is accepting your flaws acceptable?

It’s a cool title, but also an interesting question.

I’ve always been the type of person that doesnt finish things. Not in a sad, hopeless kind of way (at least not usually), but in a firm and decisive way.

I choose to stop doing things if I don’t feel the need or want to continue doing said things. 

It’s something I’ve always had a problem with. Not necessarily because I care about finishing things. No. I don’t care. It’s because of one simple fact that makes every person have insecurities, doubts, and causes them to use self hate language:

It’s a problem because society says so.

I should finish things even if I don’t want to or have to. 

I should finish things simply because according to society the opposite of finishing is quitting.

And quitting indicates irresponsibility.

Well I think that’s bullshit.

I’m sorry but… No actually I’m not sorry.

Me quitting gymnastics when I was 4 didn’t make me irresponsible. It made me a child that didn’t want to do gymnastics. They said we’d do splits next class and I peaced out of there. Also my mom sent me in with a bathing suit instead of an expensive leotard and I wasn’t about that life.

Me quitting basketball when I was 12 didn’t make me a bad kid in any way. I just didn’t care about basketball.

How about when I quit all those jobs? Yeah. Well those jobs sucked ass and I knew I could do better. 

And I have.

You know what I never quit? 

  • Show choir
  • Voice lessons
  • High school (even through the craziness that was my childhood and home life)
  • My so far decade long best friendship with Ray 
  • Dreaming
  • Caring about animals
  • Loving my family
  • Taking care of Khaleesi
  • Russian and soviet history which was by far the hardest class I’ve ever taken
  • This blog

I’m sure there are more out there but you get the picture. Those are all things that matter to me. Things that make me feel happy and alive. Things I wake up for in the morning.

That is what matters.

If following through on everything is important to you, then more power to ya! It’s all about what makes you happy. What makes you, you.

And hey, I never quit saving to move to Austin, but I did quit 8 cities 8 years. 

And get this, I quit because I know what makes me happy.

Being here makes me happy.

Writing a book, going back to school for neuroscience, being in love, working at a job that makes me actually want to show up every day, and continuing to get healthy.

That is what is up, my friends. I may give up on a lot of things, but I’ll never give up on building a happy life for myself.

Don’t give up on yourself either. And I don’t just mean suicide. I mean hating yourself for stupid things you don’t even care about. Make a list. I guarantee you’ll realize your insecurities are actually a reflection of the things others don’t like about you.

Showcase your middle finger with pride, drop that mic, and walk away from that noise. You and I deserve more than that. 

-Jess

Things I’ve learned about myself and others: part 1

I haven’t really been writing lately. I’ve been busy I suppose. I really wanted to write something today though. Anything really. I can definitely tell that it’s a part of me.

This post wasn’t supposed to be a long one, but I just started writing and ran with it. It has now become a two parter. If you are having trouble dealing with how others make you feel about yourself this may be a good read. Problems with people that you thought were your friends or people that you’ll always have to have in your life (like… baby mama’s perhaps…). If not I’m glad you stopped by anyway.

So without further adieu, here are some things I’ve learned about myself and others recently.

  1. I am a fully functioning person when I  am on medication.

I was hired at a signature loan store on October 2nd. Full time. Monday through Friday, 8:30 -5:30. I’m still employed there! That’s a big deal for me. I didn’t quit or give up when I didn’t feel like it. Why? Because there never came a point where I wanted to give up.

When I’m on meds I want a full time job. I want to wake up every day and do good work and make money. When I was really depressed recently, I had this idea in my head that a full time job was like a prison. I was trapped there, hopeless, tired, and depressed, begging for a day off so that I could feel normal. I think people joke about work feeling like prison, but I really felt it to be true.

But you know what? Having a job makes me feel normal. I feel like my life is good. Like I am contributing something to the people around me. On top of that I’m starting school in January! I will be working and going to school and being busy and happy and in love.

2. I am in a really strong relationship.

Andy had to call an ambulance one night because I once again had fallen into a depression so deep that I resorted to suicide.

Yes… It happened again.

No… I don’t even remotely want to dwell on it.

All I’ll say is my roommates woke to it and saw what happened.

I’m fine, it wasn’t even remotely worse than last time, and that’s because Andy reacted quickly.

He is an amazing man. I can’t even talk about it. For nearly 5 months he watched me struggle and suffer and deal with not being able to keep a job. He never doubted me or told me that I needed to get it together. He waited patiently and trusted the person he knew I was.

Thank you so much, Andy.

Now we have our own apartment. Just us and Khaleesi! We kiss each other goodbye every weekday morning and go to our jobs. We both do our share of chores and go grocery shopping. We answer to no one and we live in peace together.

I can’t even explain how wonderful  it feels to be living this life right now.

3. Some people are just plain cruel and you have to walk away.

After my suicide attempt, our old roommates told us we had a month to move out. Sometimes people don’t understand mental illness so they just treat it as a character flaw. They see me as a bad person because of my illness.

Okay, fine. I was still really sick and that negativity wasn’t good for me. Even before that they were so patronizing to both of us, so living with them was pretty uncomfortable towards the end. It was mostly the wife. I won’t even give her a name, mostly because this is the last time she’ll be mentioned. She didn’t work, which isn’t really a negative thing because she’s a mom. She spent most of her days cooking and cleaning and watching her son. She also enjoyed bad mouthing anyone she knew to anyone that would listen.

It was pretty weird for me because, well first off… I didn’t care. Second, a lot of the time it was in regards to her cousin. Andy’s ex. Lucas’s Mom. Someone I try my best not to start trouble with.

She’d brag about how in high school she once beat her up. She’d talk about how she was mentally unstable (I should’ve known she’d be ignorant to that sort of thing.) She also told me personal things about their childhoods that I really didn’t need to know.

She worked out a lot and was of normal height which unfortunately made her very vein. Her husband was also into fitness so he spent a lot of time body building. He was, deep down, a decent person and never made us feel like she did.

She would tell us that we can’t touch the thermostat because we don’t pay enough money for that. She only gave us half a shelf in the fridge, and said we had to put the rest of our stuff in the garage fridge, which wouldn’t have been a big deal if she didn’t say it the way she did. She treated us like we were nobodies in her home. I hate that feeling, but with my struggle to deal with my mental health and work I didn’t have a lot of options. I didn’t want to worry Andy or make him feel like we had to move and spend more money. I kept my mouth shut.

Luckily they kicked us out. The husband really didn’t want to, but she insisted. So we left, and the week we moved into our new home I decided to get back on meds.

It was the nicest thing she could’ve done for us.

That same week we asked if we could pick up our last few things in the house and Andy went to get them while I cooked dinner. He came back and told me that she had thrown out one of his woodworking projects. This wasn’t uncommon for her. She used to throw out our food and belongings all the time. She had a lot of time on her hands.

I texted her asking why she’d throw it out. I swear it wasn’t confrontational, I just asked what happened.

She said she didn’t know what the hell it was and so she threw it away.

I said, “okay, I’ll let you know when the housewarming is.”

And then the shitstorm hit. She started saying that I had an attitude and that she wanted Andy to move all his stuff out of the shed (he used it as a woodshop and had all of his tools in it, but we had previously come up with an agreement to rent it out). She texted him later and told him that she was just messing with me and he could keep his stuff in there, but he had to control his girlfriend.

Of course he told me everything and we both decided it’d be best to from now on only keep in contact with her husband. We haven’t spoken to her since.

But of course when someone is truly cruel, they don’t go away so easily.

3. I had to learn how to let go of unresolved issues.

Letting go of something that will never get resolved. Oh boy… that is a tough pill to swallow. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation like that. The kind where I don’t go crazy and bitch at someone till I’m red in the face. The kind where I handle things correctly and just let it go.

At first it fucking sucks. It really does. But then… it kind of doesn’t. You don’t have to live with the fact that you couldn’t be the bigger person. That temporary rush you get from bitching someone out fades.

Sometimes when people feel guilty they decide to lash out at you. That’s what happened when the wife threw out Andy’s stuff. Instead of admitting she made a mistake she decided to try and make me feel bad for calling her out on it.

Same thing happened when she invited me out a while back when we lived together. At the last minute she cancelled and decided not to go (for the second time). I ended up not having plans because of it. I asked her to in the future not make plans if she doesn’t feel like going to begin with because it left me without plans. She, of course, lashed out and got extremely angry. Said I was acting like a child. I apologized because I was kind of at her mercy. She wore the pants in her relationship and making her mad could ruin things for us.

Fast forward.

The wife… She was so mad at me for bringing up the project she threw out. So angry that she did something extremely cruel. Something that put Lucas’s life in Jeopardy. Something I’ll never be able to rationalize.

To be continued in part 2

Hello friends

I just really wanted to write something – anything today in hopes that someone might see it and know I am alive and well and happy and thriving in this big crazy world.

So, here goes.

My name is Jess and I like being alive.

🙂

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