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.

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

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

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

 

Familiar Feelings Can Be Misleading

procon Sheet1

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.

12669522_10153408257841274_9088666917813126244_n

 

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.

12660274_10153410578841274_768394552_n

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.

12647875_10153410575766274_668267279_n

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

12644842_10153409024841274_8462941668665075332_n

 

Neuroscience semester 1

I’m officially registered! Starting this month on the 20th  (next Wednesday) I start my journey towards becoming a neuroscientist!

Oh. My. Gosh. I’m so excited! I’m doing this with a full time job so I’m only starting with two classes. A basic algebra class and an online psych 101 course. Doesn’t seem exciting when you look at the big picture, but it actually is.

A year ago today I was nowhere near ready to go back to school. Some say the hardest part is going back. Well… I’m officially back. And yeah a lame math class feels pointless when I know that a neuroscientist has to know trigonometry and calculus, but how do you think I’ll get there?

That’s right. This class.

Wish me luck, guys.

Here I go!

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.

Things I’ve learned about myself and others part 2

Please read part 1 before you continue with this post. It is a two parter about dealing with people who hurt you and treat you badly. Sometimes just because you have a mental illness. Other times because you’re a threat to them. Whatever it is… this post shows you that you can be the bigger person.

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.

We got a call from Lucas’s mom a little while back. She told Andy she was going to talk to a lawyer because she didn’t want me around Lucas. The wife had told her I attempted suicide.

For the first time in my whole life, someone used my mental illness to hurt me.

Wow.

It hurt all right.

But instead of calling her every name in the book and trying to hurt her as much as she hurt me, I decided to talk to Lucas’s mom face to face.

Things haven’t been easy between us since we first met. I haven’t talked about it much because I don’t like to. It’s frustrating and difficult to deal with. But here it is.

Lucas’s mom, let’s call her Sandra and Andy argue a lot. And sometimes it’s about me. Not because I do anything wrong, but because sometimes when people enter new relationships, the ones they emotionally leave behind get angry. They feel hurt, abandoned, and excluded.

I get it. But it’s not my fault. She threatened to take custody away because she had this idea in her head that Andy and I treated Lucas badly when he was in our care. That we would get drunk and ignore him. We’d let him watch TV all day so we didn’t have to deal with him. It was absurd, obviously. We love Lucas so much. But I didn’t know how to get her to understand that. She made rules like “Lucas can’t be alone with Jess” and “Jess can’t speak to me whatsoever.” My baby mama drama was real.

She lost her spy because we moved out. The wife was always willing to rat on us. Only problem was we never did anything rat-worthy. The last time she could blow up like this was because the Wife told her I didn’t have a job, but that one was removed once I found one, so it didn’t last long.

Unfortunately…this time she gave her the perfect ammunition to attack. (Because the idea that Andy being forgetful makes him an unfit father wasn’t working).

And once again I had to be the bigger person.

I didn’t have any way of articulating things correctly besides texting, so I sent her the following: (I would have just screenshot it to prove it’s what I really said but it includes all their real names so…)

Sandra,

In the time that I’ve had the pleasure of being in Andy and Lucas’s lives we have laughed, shared memories, payed games, eaten home cooked meals almost every day, and practiced our numbers, letters, shapes, and spelling. In our home he watches minimal TV (mostly Mighty Machines or Phineas and Ferb) and spends more time with activities like homework, coloring, playing matching games, and reading books.

Sometimes we all go to HEB together and he loves using his buddy bucks. He and I put the stickers on our hands and pretend to be super heroes. When Lucas is in our home, you are mommy. And no one speaks ill of mommy in front of him because we respect that you are his mother and that he is impressionable at this age.

He always sits with Daddy to do his homework while I cook and tidy up. We all sat down together to do his art project and had a blast! Andy does forget to put his school items back in his backpack sometimes but as you can understand people can be forgetful. That doesn’t mean he loves Lucas any less. Andy gives Lucas baths at night while I grab him clean clothes from the drawers that we have provided for him in our house. Above them are all his books and toys that he is allowed to ask for at any point.

We do not consume large amounts of alcohol when Lucas is with us because we care for his safety. That is always our number one priority. When Lucas leaves he is always out the door with hugs and love and we miss him when he isn’t around. Last weekend we were at a loss because he wasn’t with us.

Over the last year Lucas has drawn me in his pictures as part of his family. He says I’m his Jess. You see, what you are doing is threatening to take Lucas from, first off, his father. Who, in my opinion is a wonderful and caring man who stood by your side for many years because of the love he has for his son, and even when the relationship ended he made him a priority. You’d also be taking him form a person who cares for him more than she realized she ever could. I have no obligation to take care of Lucas, but I do it happily and willingly because I love him. Andy and I are going trick or treating with him and he wants to be a vampire. He asked me to be a pumpkin so I went out and got a costume just to make him smile. When Lucas is with us, he is not ignored. He is the center of our attention, and he knows it!

You do have a right to know what goes on in our home when he is with us, but you do not have a right to dictate our lives. If Andy treated your boyfriend the way you treat me I’m sure you can see how upsetting that would be to you. He trusts that you have Lucas’s best interest at heart and you wouldn’t let anything happen to him. Why can’t you trust Andy to do the same.

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults in a given year. Suicides drop overwhelmingly when someone is on medication that works.

I am currently on Lamotragine and have been for a month or so. It is working wonders and I am a fully functioning person. But even when I wasn’t I still loved my boys. I’m sure you know your cousin would have opened her mouth if that wasn’t true.

I know you are in school to be a nurse but you can’t possible know the complexities of any given mental illness unless you have lived through it. I have lived with it for many years. The triggers you referred to on the phone with Andy is merely a word related to depression. Triggers are the result of trauma, but when on medication do not result in depressive effects.

You see, depression didn’t break me. It made me incredibly strong. It doesn’t cause me to love less, but actually makes me love so much more because I treasure every happy emotion I feel. The very things you are using against me is one of the best things about me. I have lived through it all and I will live through this.

I am not doing this because I’m afraid of your attempt to get a lawyer. I guarantee no one would take that case. I am doing this for Andy and Lucas. They both deserve to live in a world where two important people in their lives can get along or at least put on a brave face.

I have attached a link to depression statistics and a few photos we have taken since I met Lucas. If these things don’t give you peace of mind, then it is clear that your problem isn’t with my illness, your problem is with me. And if that is the case, then I can’t help you.

Jess.

15583_10152882786181274_3469692269161302450_n11200621_10152883112756274_3608933405570345087_n11210502_10152883121136274_2375531861778639047_n20892_10152882954696274_105078931142107578_n

Because of this, she decided to sit down with me and have a chat. During my lunch I met her at a Starbuck’s and we talked it over. We’re actually in a better place now than we’ve ever been.

She no longer constantly calls Andy to yell at him. She hasn’t mentioned me at all in her texts. She has given us space and trust, and when she does call or text, I no longer feel annoyed or worried because I trust her, too.

Things aren’t perfect, but they are getting a lot better.

That’s the second wonderful thing the wife has done for me without knowing it. Sometimes people’s terrible actions end up giving you an opening to make your life better. But ultimately it’s up to you.

4. I have way more support than I think.

It’s really hard to see how many people love me from where I stand. I live in Austin and most of my friends and family live all the way in Chicago.

It makes me forget sometimes that they are always there for me.

When people who don’t like me are so close by, the things they say about me becomes a part of me. It makes me believe that I am what they say I am. It was especially harder not to feel that way when I wasn’t on meds. I have some friends here, but they are just that. Friends. People I haven’t known long and sometimes hang out with. My best friends are not at arms reach and I sometimes feel like I can’t turn to anyone but Andy.

That is so far from the truth. My best friend, Ray, is ALWAYS only a phone call away. And he is always there to listen. Same with my mom, my stepdad, my brothers, and all the people I have known and cared about since I was a child. Talking to them actually makes me feel like myself again. They give me words of encouragement and I feel their love from miles away… it resets me. They send me off into the world with happiness and love in my heart.

I will always have them.

5.The hardest part is letting go

This is how I did it.

I imagined myself in a black space. A space where I’m not distracted by anything. A space where nothing exists unless I want it to. I imagine an open doorframe in front of me, emitting a bright light so you couldn’t see anything outside of it.

I imagine the wife and husband standing in front of the light. I look them in the eyes for a few seconds and then turn away from them. I envision myself walking away form them. I can see their confused expressions follow my back as I get further and further away from them.

Eventually I walk so far that they are mere specks. The white light is only a glimmer. I come across another doorframe. As I walk through it, the door shuts on its own. A little further on I come across Andy.

He is smiling at me with that warm handsome face I know so well. He offers me his arm and I walk with him a little further.

As we get closer I can see a crowd of people.

It is every single person that loves me. I see Ray, my brothers, my mom, my step dad, Roxy, and countless other friends who have always been there for me.

We walk into the crowd and we hug each and every person. Even Andy’s family is there. They love us too. Standing in this crowd of people makes me realize that letting two people that hurt me run my thoughts and emotions was so pointless.

For every person that doesn’t like me… there are 10 who love me.

And now… I feel better. Now whenever I think about being angry again I picture this scenario over and over again. I hope you can find one that makes you feel like this one does for me. You can borrow mine until you find one that is truly you!

If you get anything out of this post I hope it’s that you can move past unresolved issues. You can walk away from people forever. You don’t deserve anything less than love, respect, and consideration. And if you don’t agree with that then there is a toxic in your life that is making you feel that way.

Get rid of them.

Love you guys.

-Jess

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

“It’s a good day to be alive.”

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

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

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

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

-Jess

Hate feeling depressed, hate feeling normal.

Right now I’m not feeling low.

I don’t have this extreme urge to die.

I don’t hate myself.

I don’t hate my life.

I just…

feel okay.

and it’s boring and stupid and lame.

Essentially it’s just as bad.

-Jess

There is nothing here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are no moments worth living for.

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

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

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

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

Now is overrated.

How Dare You Tell Me To Be Happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I cannot not feel this way

I cannot fully explain the circumstances under which I live.

I cannot save the world.

I cannot change the world.

And if I change myself it makes no difference.

So I have decided to face the inevitable —

I am already dead.

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

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

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

I just want to write.

The beautiful gooey center that is writing without a cause.

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

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

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

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

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

Tonight I want to use this one:

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


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

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

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

But is that enough for me?

Is this enough for me?

Will anything ever be enough for me.

It seems anonymity follows me wherever I go.

The coffee shop on the corner of Clark and Wilson.

Riverside street on my way to nowhere.

Austin.

Chicago.

The mexican restaurant just outside work.

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

Or how many times I move.

Or how many relationships I have.

Or how many laughs I share with someone.

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

Or how many people love me.

Or how many people fall in love with me.

Or how many lives I effect.

Or how many beers I drink.

Or how many books I read.

Or how many songs I listen to.

Or how many drugs I try.

Or how many posts I write.

Or how many moments of peace I get.

Someday I will die.

Whether by my own hand or by life’s.

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

It will all be over.

And just like that… none of it will matter.

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

This is just the way it is.

And whoever controls it all must be laughing at us.

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

All of the times we beat death.

All of the times we wasted life.

All of the times we thought we had any power.

None of it mattered.

None of it ever mattered.

None of it ever will.

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

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

Isn’t that 

funny?

-Jess 

Depression Gives Me Writer’s Block

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

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

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

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

Depression is exhausting.

I think I need to get back on my meds.

Honestly, my quality of life just decreases without it.

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

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

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

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

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

Consider this post my official promise to finish a draft.

-Jess

What are you gonna do with your life?

It’s a tough question…

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

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

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

So… that didn’t pan out.

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

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

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

I got a second chance.

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

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

….

….

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

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

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

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

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

I have bills to pay.

I have a new family to consider.

I have my mom’s pride on the line.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now to find something to major in…

oy.

-Jess

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

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

Showers are for normal every day people.

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

The depression down-do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No matter what yourself is.

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

But not by choice.

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

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

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

I didn’t have that luxury. 

Neither did most of these people. 

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

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

I didn’t want to get my mind back.

I didn’t want to get my life back.

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

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

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

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

That was worse than being alive. 

She Endures

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

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

It was all for nothing.

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

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

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

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

No one will ever truly understand what it felt like.

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

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

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

It was a trauma.

And some days she can still feel the tremors.

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

-Jess

Asking for help is hard to do.

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

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

If you need help, ask for it.

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

There is no shame in being human.

-Jess

New Menu Options!!

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

Family/Friendships

Depression and Anxiety Advice

Andy

Site Updates

Quotes

Relationships

Special Events

This will lead you to all corresponding posts!

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

-Jess

-Jess

Finding someone that understands – and accepts – your struggles

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

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

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

“Jess are you okay?”

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

“Okay. I’ll go now.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Do you have pills anywhere else?”

“No.”

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

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

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

A woman who deserved Andy.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

I love you Andrew Evans.

-Jess

My move to Austin in 15 posts

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

1. Homecoming [day 127]

2. Revealing my plans to Wordpress 

3. Planning for Austin 

4. Things I learned along the first month of planning

5. Recounting old times

6. What was my point?

7. Flight Confirmed

8. A poem

9. At a loss for words

10. Fear sets in

11. Anxiety sets in 

13. Off to the airport [day 0]

14. Update [day 1]

15. My first day in Austin [day 1]