mental illness

Why I Put Down the Wheat Thins

Alright, bloggees. I’m about to get real….

Today’s been a SHITTY day. I’m not even going to get into it. But I have a feeling it has a little something to do with this. Anyway… it’s been rough. And after getting home from my internship, I saw where my night was headed: a half-eaten box of Chili Cheese Wheat Thins and a tub of Greek-style hummus was calling my name. I was going to sit in front of my TV, watch The League (until I decided I wanted to watch something I could cry over), and consume that ENTIRE damn half-box/tub duo. I was in pretty deep. But I stopped. With about 10 crackers left in the bag (and a lot in my belly), I heard a voice: “You deserve better than this. ESPECIALLY on a day like today–when things just don’t feel quite right.” This voice was filled with love. She directed my attention out my big bedroom windows, and reminded me I had a few hours of daylight left (the best few hours, in fact, right before the sunset).

With much hesitation, I put the remainder of my “snack” down (YES, there were only 10 left, but it was time to STOP!), peeling my body off the chair, feeling double my actual weight (because of the depression–not so much the Wheat Thins ;-)). I changed into some comfy walking clothes, and headed out the door with my iPod in hand. I turned on one of my very favorite podcasts–The Mental Illness Happy Hour–and listened to the truthful, honest, and darkly comedic words of Stefanie Wilder-Taylor as Paul Gilmartin interviewed her about her struggles–from depression to an eating disorder to overcoming a drinking problem, all the way through the truth about motherhood and what true love is.

In the spirit of being honest–I do love this podcast, but I haven’t listened to it in quite some time. I think deep inside, even though I KNOW hearing others talk about their struggles always helps me get through my own, I’ve worried what listening will do to me. When I’m capable of it, I like to keep my negative thoughts folded neatly in a corner of my brain, where they can be left alone, and forgotten. But shouldn’t we all know by now–that never works.

To my surprise (not really), I felt comforted and warm while listening. I laughed and I cried, sending myself on a true roller coaster of emotions throughout this particularly long two-hour show (NOT complaining). There were parts of it that made me hurt, and parts that made me realize I was ok enough to be loved. But the thing that helped me most was realizing what Paul has been trying to show his listeners all along–I am NOT alone.

I am NOT alone.

We are NEVER alone.

No matter what you’re thinking, no matter what you feel, no matter what awful, terrible, embarrassing, disgusting or weird urge, desire, or thought you’re too ashamed to talk about–SOMEONE has thought it before, and more people than you ever believed possible WILL relate.

As a result of the combination I allowed for myself–a little exercise, some fresh air, and tuning into a podcast I worried would send me on a downward spiral–I changed the course of my entire night. I did not go back to those tasty little conniving, addicting Wheat Thins. I did not mope myself to tears. Actually, I came home with a smile on my face, my cheeks still pink and flushed from the cold ocean air that was rolling in after sunset. I cleaned my room and put away laundry which had been overwhelming me for weeks (if you don’t get it, ask someone with depression and/or anxiety–I’m 95% sure they can explain it to you). I even cleaned my kitchen, did the dishes, and cooked myself a wholesome dinner out of REAL food.


IMG_5602

I feel great. And I know tomorrow might be rough. And I know I HATE my depression, and still have a voice that loves to remind me that IT’S NOT FAIR. But the difference between me now and me 3 hours ago is that I now feel prepared to deal with it FOR NOW. I can tackle tonight. Tomorrow morning I’ll see what I can handle. I’ll get out of bed, and carry on to the best of my ability. And I’ll do the same thing the next day, and the day after that.

Commit to your own recovery–whatever that is for you. If you try, and you bring yourself toward the right path, there’s no way for you to fail. There’s no way you won’t come out 1 step further than you were when you started.

IMG_5598

Also, if you haven’t–check out the Mental Illness Happy Hour! Download it off iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, or go to mentalpod.com. I am not lying when I say it has literally changed my life.

Mental-Illness-Happy-Hour-magnum

Goodnight! Love yourself.

Advertisements

Coffee Drinking Associated with Lower Suicide Rates in Some

Coffee Drinking Associated with Lower Suicide Rates in Some

I now feel absolutely NO reason to defend my coffee drinking to anyone! Drink up, coffee fiends. Happy Saturday!

20130727-092658.jpg

The Darkness

I’ve not typically written here about my depression. This may, perhaps, be an effort on the part of my guarded subconscious to keep my depression a secret, as I often feel compelled to do. It is not on purpose that I keep this aspect of my life out of my blog, but I haven’t made a strong effort to include it either.

Yesterday, however, I was truly struck by it, and must congratulate myself on identifying what was going on. I figure if it’s been so difficult for me to understand the workings of my own mind, I can’t be alone, and maybe some of my readers will benefit from a share.

Image

On Tuesday night, I was leaving my second job (working in an eating disorder recovery program), and had a recurring thought: “I fucking love my job.” The day had been hard. A client was sent out to the hospital. And eating dinner with a group of recovering anorexics, bulimics, and binge eaters, I assure you, is no breeze. But I was truly so excited to be there, and recognized how lucky I was to have found what I believe to be my true calling at the ripe age of 24. I couldn’t wait to return two days later.

Thursday finally arrives. But I come into work, and I just feel… different. Can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s a vague sadness, finding it hard to notice color in things. But it’s more than sadness. I hear a negative voice that has had its volume maximized. The self-loathing overtakes me, and I doubt everything I have to offer the world. It hurts to smile. I can’t seem to find the brave face I feel my clients need to see plastered on me for their recovery process to be adequate.

I begin to panic: here I go again, getting bored before something even has the chance to begin. I start to hate myself for, once again, jumping to the conclusion that I love something before I have the chance to see its dark side, believing that I have no choice but to hate this career choice forever. I catastrophize my life.

Then I remember: I am depressed. Sometimes the darkness creeps in, and it often has very little to do with where you are, who you’re with, and what you love. It can overtake you at inopportune moments, and when you least expect it.

I don’t justify my feelings as a cop out. It’s true I may be depressed, but I won’t be victim to it. I refuse. I will do everything in my power to prove that I can beat this, as I have decided that it will not run my life. BUT, I believe that recognizing these moments–being able to know what that sadness feels like inside, and recognizing why it’s happening–is the first step to finding your cure.

This is not your fault. You are not bad. You are not lazy. You are not stupid. But you are not a victim. And you are not alone.

ImageIf you have battled depression, or any other mental illness, please feel free to utilize the comments section below as a means of support. Others need it just as much as you do! ❤

NAMI Walk in Ventura, Ca

NAMI Walk in Ventura, Ca

An incredible event, raising awareness and funds for mental illness, which plagues so many without access to help, is happening in Ventura, Ca TOMORROW, May 4, 2013. I wish I could be a part of it. If you are in the area, sign up (FOLLOW THE LINK ABOVE :D)! Otherwise, head to the Ventura Beach Promenade to offer your moral support, and to learn more.

Have a wonderful, relaxing, self-respectin’ filled weekend, bloggers. Do something for YOU over the next two days ;).