Hello my friends!

I want to talk about this insidious beast we call depression, at least how it fits in my life. Ordinarily, I joke about it, but it is very serious.

I think about death most of the time. I say this not to alarm you, but to say that this is my experience. I read recently about types of suicidality and realized that I am in the gray area. The area where there is obviously a problem, but it isn’t necessary for emergency services to be called. I still see the line as a line.

I don’t think I really want to miss out on life; I am more tired of life beating the crap out of me. Being sick has ruined my life. I am not expecting pity, just stating how I feel and how the world seems to me.

I have struggled with mental illness issues for years, maybe all the way back to when I was about 11. I interpreted my needs as burdens to my parents. They never said that, but I always felt that I wasn’t quite deserving of all that they did.

As life went on and I experienced sexual abuse and developed an eating disorder and eventually moved to having manic and depressive episodes, all going undiagnosed, I developed deadly coping skills. I tried to kill myself in college, right before graduation. I was 21.

Throughout graduate school, I was in and out of hospitals and had two surgeries for my birth defect, in addition to depositions for the sexual abuse. I spent hours being told that, at thirteen, I seduced a middle-aged man who was supposed to be taking care of me. The depression and eating disorder and self-harm continued.

I was about 26 when I was diagnosed with bipolar. By then, I had racked up (in one month) $30,000 worth of debt, including buying a new car. I was beyond manic. I then crashed horribly and started thinking about death constantly. I stayed alive for my pets. I still stay alive for my dog.

I don’t know if any of you reading this can understand the depth of feeling and frustration that goes into managing mental health symptoms. Combine that with pain and hormonal imbalances and life is beyond difficult. It feels impossible.

Humor doesn’t fix everything

So, I have shifted from limited eating to overeating. I am miserable. I keep hoping to feel better, but with every bite, I hate myself a little bit more. It could be hormones. It could be meds. It could be any number of things, but it isn’t funny.

So, why do I make jokes about it?

I make jokes about a lot of things that make me uncomfortable. It is my way of dealing with things. It’s painting a smiley face on that picture of rain that’s torn in five pieces. It doesn’t fix it.

In this case, it makes me feel worse. I find myself joking about all that I eat, because I am ashamed of my intake. I tell my parents that they would be doing fine financially if I would just put down the fork. If I could just say no to pop tarts, my world would make sense. Then I correct it and say the appropriate thing of “Oh, but they’re so good.” No, they’re not. I have never really cared for pop tarts.

I make fat jokes. I say cutting things to myself like, “With my expanding waistline…” When someone says they lost weight, I comment that I found it. The barista at the hospital asked me right after New Year’s, “Did you get thick over the holidays?” I laughed and agreed and quickly offered my excuse of prednisone. Why did I need an excuse?

You may be asking why I am bothering to write about all of this. I am not sure, except that I feel like I am fatphobic. Not toward others… Funny thing is that nobody else is required to live by my standards. I am accepting of all bodies, just not my own. I sit in public places and read blogs and watch people and how they eat and drink and express themselves. I am jealous of those that seem so self-assured. I do not know their problems, but I envy their drinking a beer before dinner. I envy their enjoyment of tira misu and baklava and cake. I envy their smiles.

When I go out with friends who truly understand my struggles, we drink coffee only. I regularly get mocha lattes to remind me that I deserve good things. But, then I have some friends who want cake and cookies. I go along with it, because my disease makes people uncomfortable and people like to eat. They think I am better if I eat. Why not let them believe the lie? Truth bomb: I don’t like eating around people. I don’t like eating with coffee. I have taken to eating in secret because I am ashamed of my interactions with food. If I eat in front of you, it is because I want you to be happy, not because I want to.

I pretend and make jokes to hide how distressed I am. I cry about these things a lot. I cry a lot. And that’s okay. I would tell anyone else that it is okay to fear the changes in one’s body, but I have to be this stalwart anchor for the world… I am holding everyone else in place while I am hiding below the surface. My smiley face is making me miserable.


My life is an endless montage of things gone awry. Like having a cyst rupture and proceeding to be nauseous for days and finally vomiting my guts out after a day of sitting absolutely still to avoid vomiting. I just wanted some Dr. Pepper. Well, the porcelain god wanted it more.

So, on Monday, I was going to the coffee shop to rev myself up for therapy. Yes, I thought some additional caffeine before the latte that I drink in therapy was necessary. I was walking out to my car when it drove off, squealing its tires, and leaving me standing there in shock. Someone stole my car. Seriously!?!? I ran out back, told my dad and he ran up the hill, got in his truck and tried to pursue. I called the police, filed a report with the sheriff, filed a claim with my auto insurance. All very calmly. I can be calm. I might have had rapid-fire speech at one point. I was trying to get my license plate number and talk to the insurance and I was frustrated. Did you know that you need your license plate number to get your license plate number? Luckily, the sheriff’s office was able to obtain that information, because I could not. Also, the joy of my phone calls came when the adjuster said that the thief took it because he was cold and would likely abandon it once he reached his destination. And my doctors think I am delusional. She then proceeded to tell me to have a “good day.”

It is two days later today and it is still missing. I have given up on being positive and for the people who say, “It’s okay”–it’s not okay. He also took my house keys and we had to change the locks. I jump when I hear a doorknob rattle. I am grateful that I wasn’t hurt and that no violence happened, but this sucked.

I saw my doctors afterward and they want me to consider more therapy. My struggles with reality and stress management are proving to be far more difficult than anticipated. My lack of structure and my weariness are also stressors. I try to think of ways to fill my day, but am overwhelmed by every task. I suppose it sounds as though I am throwing myself a pity party, but truly life is a struggle right now.


Better? or Worse?

This week has been rough. I have had random delusional thoughts (Thanks Bipolar I). I have struggled to take my medicines. Eating has been next to impossible. Then, when I do eat, I have engaged in behaviors. I am not proud of myself for this week.

I was honest with my therapist about my delusions; it was the first time I told him about them and it was very shame producing. Out of curiosity, what is the best way to share with one’s providers that you wonder if they are providing you with placebos? Also, that you think they want you to kill yourself? I don’t think there is a way. Also, no matter how your therapist handles it, whether in jest, kindness, or direct confrontation, you are going to feel like crap. At least, I did. My therapist did all of the above and my logical mind agrees with him; my doctors and pharmacy are not giving me fake pills, but I am frustrated by my lack of progress.

My doctors assure me that it will get better. My therapist says maybe it is the nocebo effect. I think I am beyond help. I smile when people ask how I am. I lie about what I am doing. In truth, I sit around a lot. I am scared to leave my house most of the time. I am overwhelmed by the simplest of things. This is not new to my situation; this has been going on for years. I’m just good at smiling.

Super Powers

I want to be powerful. I want to be a force for change. I want to be an encouragement to others. I am not Supergirl, nor am I Jessica Jones, but I am a combination of dysfunction and belief in the better parts of the world. 

Super heroes are making a comeback. Maybe they have always been here. My friend would argue that they have always been here, I am just oblivious. I was never interested in the super hero scene, probably because I did not identify with any of those men in tights or women with extraordinarily naive beliefs in the good of mankind. Plus, they are so functional. Secret identities. Two lives. Hide-outs. Solid relationships. Exceptional problem-solving skills. LIKE REALLY!?!?!?

A few months ago, I ran across Jessica Jones. She is a heroine I can relate to. Her brooding alcoholic dysfunction makes me believe that I have the possibility of helping others in my own dysfunctional ways. She also doesn’t claim to be a super hero. She doesn’t have a double life. Jessica does the best she can with what she has (super-strength) and whatever alcohol she can find. Her relationships are troubled. She wonders if some people deserve to be saved. She has flaws-human flaws.

So, Jessica started me on my way into super hero land and I am currently watching Supergirl. Supergirl eats. Supergirl has favorite foods. Supergirl loves donuts. She does have a double life and she does follow her heart and she is naive, but she brings something to the tweens who watch her. Like most women and young women, especially… We are trying to find ourselves and learn of our own superpowers. Supergirl pushes her limits and survives even when she should be dead. Women want to be powerful, but seem limited by their humanity.

I want to be powerful. I want to be a force for change. I want to be an encouragement to others. I am not Supergirl, nor am I Jessica Jones, but I am a combination of dysfunction and belief in the better parts of the world.

I cannot stop moving cars or jump from the 5th story of a building and survive. I do not have x-ray vision or frost breath. However, I am alive. My superpower is eating a full meal without crying. My superpower is taking my medicine every day when my alarms go off. My superpower is walking into a grocery store and buying creamer when I am low. These may seem like mediocre tasks, but when one struggles with mental illness, just getting out of bed is a superpower.

To all of my dear readers who do not believe themselves worthwhile or like they do enough: YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

Practicing Self-Love

I am embracing my own line of fashion: lace, ruffles, flowers, ooh la la… And I am going to embrace the fact that I love walking and yoga, but hate exercise. I am going to embrace my limitations and recognize that I can only do so much physically. I deserve gentle love and care.

So, with an eating disorder, I have all these judgements about my body and about what I deserve. When people tell me what all I have to offer, I have all of these reasons that I am really not worth all that the world says I deserve.

When I was in college, I measured my worth by grades. If I got a 100%, then I deserved a full meal. If I got a 90%, I deserved 5 bites, followed by laxatives. If I got less, the results were not to be mentioned. Now, I consider my reasons for deserving things and it is still really difficult to think of myself as being worthy of anything.

In my last session with my therapist, he challenged me to be nice to myself: say nice things, stop belittling myself, be kind… So, yesterday, I went out and bought some clothes. It may seem that spending money was a bad idea, but with all of my recent weight gain, my wardrobe is too small for me. So, I bought some new clothes, most of which remind me of my college days, but this time with leggings instead of designer jeans. I didn’t try anything on (I know, a mistake in the fashion world where nothing is as it says it is) and I am hoping they all fit.

I have spent the past ten years or so dressing for business. I’ve worn argyle and houndstooth and creased pants and jackets. I’ve worn dresses that are business casual. Really, I have wanted lace and ruffles and flowers. I dressed for the business world when I was made for the arts. I hate t-shirts. I have never liked them. I hate sports jackets. I hate blazers. I hate suits. Yet, this is how I have dressed myself over the past ten years or so.

So, this year, I am embracing my own line of fashion: lace, ruffles, flowers, ooh la la… And I am going to embrace the fact that I love walking and yoga, but hate exercise. I am going to embrace my limitations and recognize that I can only do so much physically. I deserve gentle love and care.


Embracing Change

When it comes to embracing change, I am not ready. I have to think hard about it. I am very depressed about this change and it has taken its toll. I know that quitting my job and focusing on me was the best choice I could have made, but it was still difficult.

I am unsure of what to expect in my life right now. Right before Christmas, I quit my job after trying for months to battle against my illnesses and balance my health with my job. I was unsuccessful.

For now, people advise that I relax and rest and recuperate from the beating I gave my body and mind. I don’t know how to relax. I am resting beyond my norms and feel somewhat lazy, as well as worthless. My family raised me to be productive and I cringe at my inability to accomplish many things these days.

The truth is that I have accomplished very little. I can barely force myself to shower once a week. I sit in front of blank pages and wonder where my mind has gone, if it is lost forever. I still have my wit.

I was reading articles the other night on reasons to be thankful for illness, or the bonuses of illnesses, primarily bipolar. The frustrating thing about all of these articles, in fact most of the articles I read about bipolar is from contributors with bipolar type II. I feel as though type I is its own beast and one that is rarely discussed in the media, except to cast blame and to portray us as entirely cray-cray. Reasons to be thankful are not present.

Gratitude is one of those things that are encouraged in communities fostering wellness. It was one of those things that I encouraged my clients to cultivate in their search for recovery. So, here is my own list:

I am grateful for my sense of humor; may I always be able to provide a snarky response to the most annoying of questions.

I am grateful for my family, who is supporting me as I attempt to find wellness and heal.

I am grateful for coffee, lattes, espresso, chocolate… generally anything with caffeine.

I am grateful for intelligent providers, ones that don’t make me question my beliefs about humanity.

I am grateful for friends, even those who abandoned ship, or feel that I am being too little or too much. It is amazing how friendships get torn asunder by life changes, or personal struggles.

I am grateful for my meds and the amazing 14-16 hours of sleep I get every night from them. Okay. Not really. That pisses me off.

I am grateful for a diagnosis that tells me about my problem and what I can expect.

I recognize this post is not really so much about embracing change, but about a wide array of thoughts and feelings. When it comes to embracing change, I am not ready. I have to think hard about it. I am very depressed about this change and it has taken its toll. I know that quitting my job and focusing on me was the best choice I could have made, but it was still difficult. So, while I should be embracing change and preparing for this phase of my life, I am wanting to give it the middle finger.