Post Election. 


I’m sitting on the blue line heading into work partly in a daze and partly on the verge of tears. After coming off the high of a Cubs victory in the World Series, I am, like so many others, are reeling from last night’s election results.

I’ll be honest with you. This is only the second election I’ve voted in. The first was when Obama ran for a second term which I wish he could run again but such is the law, I suppose. I was an avid Bernie fan from the moment he came into the picture. As a Senator, I respected his rolled-up sleeves, his Vermont accent and disheveled wispy white hair while his glasses slid down his nose as hands waved and shook and the young voters became excited again. Here was a man who represented both inclusivity and the anti-establishment. When Bernie lost the Democratic nomination, you could see the defeat on the faces of voters, especially the millennial generation.

At the time of the Republican’s party endorsement of Donald Trump as their presidential candidate, I think a majority of us laughed it off. Then, we started texting one another with the question, “Wait, could he actually win this?” We started to wonder if a win was plausible and fear set in.

When last night’s results were announced just around 2AM, I was already in bed but awoke to mass texts from friends saying Trump had clinched the presidency. I laid in bed until 7:08AM. I read NPR, CNN, EVEN FOX just to confirm that what my friends were texting was, in fact, accurate. As I got ready for work, I felt sick. Knots twisted in my stomach. I felt progress pushed back decades. And I was terrified.

At work, I was physically in my office but my head worked out every scenario in my head where strides made on climate action and mental health could potentially be overturned. I needed what some mock as a safe space which, for me, is the yoga studio and my mat. I needed to feel that my fears were, in fact, validated. After class, we hugged one another transferring energy and love to fellow yogis, promoting hope through our teaching which is always difficult when you are not even sure if hope is worth believing in.

But I’m not the only one who’s walking with their head down or afraid of the future. Usually, I am optimistic about change–a little cautious at first but I ultimately adapt. Now, I’m not sure if adaptability is the right response.

What will happen to my mother’s social security and benefits as she gets older? What will happen to this beautiful earth when the people in power see climate change as a myth? What does this new administration for the disenfranchised, the minority, women’s rights? How will relationships with our European counterparts be sustained? 

Bottom line is we still have a billionaire in power who ultimately is for himself (but so are most politicians if we’re being totally honest). And I’m not confident he is the one to unite our country at a time when we are so undeniably split.

I am, by no means, an expert on politics, but I am a believer in equality and change for the better, that people are inherently good. I don’t believe in building walls or retreating to my “safe space” for the next four years (though I’ll certainly be frequenting my mat more often). I am a bleeding heart and proud of it. What I’m not proud of is how divided this nation has become which inevitably spills over into other countries across the globe. In case you aren’t aware, America is no longer the singular powerhouse with emerging nations coming up behind us, investing in better technologies, grasping the concept of rising sea levels a little firmer than the rest of us.

When I listened to Trump make quips about how cold it was at one of his rallies and how we are supposed to be in the midst of global warming, I sighed heavily. When Mike Pence was put on his running mate, my uterus wept. And when he was officially announced as the President of the Free World, I was outraged.

It’s November 10th now. This post has been a full day in the making. I keep coming back to it, deleting and rephrasing sentences, assessing new breaking stories and my eyes feel heavy like I’ve been awake for days. Because I have. I think most of have been awake pinching ourselves because this cannot be the reality. “Progress Undone” should now be the slogan for the new President of the United States. But I’ve allowed myself to grieve so I can get back up and fight like hell. Now, we must do work whether we’re ready for it or not.

For those who support Trump, I actually understand why you voted him into office–he is what you would say “the anti-establishment”, everything that Big Government isn’t. But now you must also ask yourselves, At what price does this come at? All politicians make promises. Most of them don’t make good on their word. Hillary probably wouldn’t have been an exception. And while you might be thinking I am against the man himself, I’m more repulsed by the movement he’s sparked within the white working-class, a population I currently fall into.

If you’ve engaged in social media arguments or face-to-face battles with whoever your opposition is, you’ve more than likely read comments so hurtful, so despicable I refuse to re-post. From the slandering of Muslims and yelling for the African American communities to “GO BACK TO AFRICA” all the way to promoting homophobia, sexism while feeling OK about it–it doesn’t bode well for the country when certain folks feel they now have a leader who’ll back them up in their antics. What I am trying to explain is the disappointment isn’t directed necessarily at the man but at the monster he’s unleashed across the country. Granted, we have been dealing with racism before this election. Women’s rights are always under siege. Marriage equality is still a taboo topic for many. We probably still have people that believe the Earth is flat (it isn’t, FYI).

As the outrage subsides, I now ask myself, “What must be done, and how?” There’s a bigger picture, more important reason as to why some of us are fearing the worst and it’s already unfolding. Bigotry and hatred have found their host in nearly half of America’s voters and for that reason alone I am anxious. I am anxious for the outcomes that will occur within a 4-year period. I mourn the loss of empathy our country needed instead of borders and the inability to listen with an open mind, and while I certainly have an advantage over many others just because of the color of my skin, I will still fight for the America I believe in.

The “how” is probably our greatest task as we try and unite during one of the most divided periods, but our strength will come in numbers as we fight hate with love, open our arms instead of closing ourselves off. Volunteer with organizations supporting a greater cause. Wake up with purpose because YOU decide how this country runs. Empower yourself by empowering others. Smile at strangers as they walk by with their heads hung low. And don’t for one minute think your voice doesn’t count or should be silenced. Let yourself feel heavy for a couple of days, like you’re wading through cement, because processing these emotions allows for a proactive rather than reactive mentality.

As we get through the next couple of months with President Obama still at the helm, I hope you take the opportunity to arm yourself with knowledge on what the next administration’s agenda contains and also how we got to this point of voting Big Government out. I hope you will teach your children the mighty power of their voice and that kindness is to be practiced, not simply preached. I hope for a more civilized place where we feel free to express our differences without fearing for our lives. And I hope–for my sake and yours–we can endure as one nation by putting aside the fear-instilled anger resonating with both parties in order to make Mother Earth BREATHE again.

Image result for darkness cannot drive out darkness

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I’m just really tired and writing nonsense and my brain is mush. 

With the blink of an eye, the weekend is over. 7 days straight of work– my 9-5’er and teaching yoga. So pardon my French when I type out “I am tired as f*ck.” My morning routine comes down to showering (if I wake up on time), throwing sea salt and lavender spray in my hair, a dab of amber oil, and finding whatever’s clean to wear on my slow-moving body. I do my best to not snooze my alarm twelve times, but if only the work day started at 11AM, I would feel OK about it being Monday.

It’s not as bad as it was when I turned 25, but I’ve hit another divine bump in the road and this one shakes me to my core. I know I should be grateful, expressing a thankful heart for what I’ve been given and what I’ve achieved. I should thank my lucky stars I work where I do and receive the kind of benefits I have, but at the end of the day, it is unfulfilling. I may get paid a decent salary, but I don’t believe I’m compensated enough for what I do. A majority of the day is responding to email after email. Full conversations between computers when our offices are a mere thirty-five steps from one another. Overworked. Overwhelmed. Is this what the work space has become?

As I drove into work this morning, I sat in traffic and glanced at the driver next to me. In every car I looked into, the faces seemed worn out. Shoulders slumped over as the Monday Blues pressed into our backs. Downing coffee like our bodies now run on only caffeinated drinks. Hating everything about anything at a job we’re only happy with on pay days and even THAT is debatable. 

I am exhausted as I type this. Even my fingers press the keys with a certain lackluster as if writing doesn’t give me the joy it once did. All of the things I love to do are slowly being washed out by the noise of work emails, meaningless data, and projects I only really care about when I’ve procrastinated to the point where I need to finish this. 

For an hour and fifteen minutes, I sat on the couch in my therapist’s office opposite of her and just let all the frustration out–the hours, the lack of accountability, the entitlement, the people in power who genuinely have no idea what goes on at the lower levels of any organization. And what was it all for? What did it amount to? Was this work MEANINGFUL? 

“That’s called adulthood,” and then my therapist laughed out loud as soon as she said it. I laughed, too, because she’s right. But is there also a way out? 

For most of us, we will never be that person with the fashionable wardrobe and bank account to support worldwide travel. We will never live on beachfront property and make money off one post on Instagram for advertising new snorkeling gear. We will never be mermaids. We will never wear white and NOT spill on it. I swear, even on my wedding day, I will probably look like I rolled around with pigs in a pen. 

And I have to be OK with that. 

But I also cannot settle for the mundane, humdrum routine of getting up, going to work, paying bills, and repeating it all over again. 

I finally understand why I’ve come to my yoga mat so many times in the past few weeks–it’s what I need to stay connected to my truth, my authentic self. It’s what saves me from the world of adulting. I’m not afraid to grow up, but I am afraid of losing my sense of curiosity, my sense of adventure, a need to get up and go, and lately, those moments of elation are fleeting. So what’s the remedy? What’s the solution? 

I finish this piece in my bed with heavy eyelids and a sobering outlook on where I’m headed. Anywhere but the ordinary, I think. Anywhere but a windowless office and swivel chair. I wrap up this piece with no conclusion. No sunny thoughts of hope or promise or “can do” quips. There isn’t any room for that at the moment. 

I’m so f*cking tired that my tights were on backwards today and I’ve taken more Clonapin in the last six days than I care to count but it’s going to be OK. It has to be OK. Are we going to be OK? 

Elephant Journal published me. 

I have been working hard at my craft. I have been trying to build myself as a writer because it’s what I love to do. I’ve always loved it ever since I was in grade school, and it wasn’t until two really important teachers told me I could share my passion with people and they would listen. 

So shout out to Elephant Journal who has since published TWO articles of mine. I hope you will take the time to read each with the first link being the MOST recent. 😊 

Love and light, friends….

Why my Past Loves will always Stay with Me.

Sitting with Depression.

PS–I highly recommend spending the $12/year on following such an independent and diverse site. 

“be brave.”

‘Tis a lovely trait to have, being brave, but it is not easily acquired. For a while, I’ve been trying to think of ways to write this without sounding arrogant or ungrateful toward my supporters. It is a fine line to walk between being a voice for many while also having the strength to continuously find my own. I walk blindly into the unknown most of the time without having a clear vision of what it is I’m looking for.

Most of the time, I am tired and a bit of a recluse outside of my job. I am not one for small talk and I’d rather write than say what I feel because I’m much better with a pen than a microphone. It’s mainly because my brain works faster than my mouth and my hands have an easier time keeping up. I prefer nights on the couch with my boyfriend or a cozy dinner with family over loud bars and crowded parties that give me sensory overload. Give me a good book and I’ll get lost in it for days.

When I started this blog, my intentions were unclear. I knew I wanted this to be a space for how I deal with my depression and anxiety, but I didn’t know it would create a ripple effect in so many others’ lives. I had no idea some of my seemingly jovial and extroverted friends were, in fact, quiet, anxiety-riddled souls like myself. I actually had people sending me Facebook messages and texts telling me how much my blog meant to them and how my words were making them feel less alone in this world.

Well, fuck, I thought. I suppose I should keep going.

Brené Brown writes:

Courage, the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language – it’s from the Latin word ‘cor’, meaning ‘heart’ – and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

So, I kept writing and scribbling and doodling and editing and openly putting myself out there. I made this platform into an honest space where I could freely share thoughts and opinions on mental health and even post some poetry–something I usually keep to myself. The more truthful my writing became, the more people emerged talking about their own struggles because they knew I would get it.

I tell the story with my whole heart. In turn, I believe the universe rewards us for baring our souls and following our own truths. I never expected people to really follow my story and be inspired to live comfortably in their own skin, faults and all! It has been humbling and rewarding and full of life lessons.

Which is why we must all find within our souls to be brave. We cannot (and must not) stop telling our stories. We have to be ready for criticism (because let’s face it–that will obviously occur), but our burning desire to create change must be louder than the little voice telling us to give up.

For a long time, the overwhelming presence of nerves stifled my creative process, my voice, my ideas. Now, I’m still nervous but in a completely excited-nervous kind of way. And as soon as we succumb to our bravery, a whole new chapter unfolds bringing with it the most amazing opportunities.

Tell your story and tell it with your whole heart.

And never stop being brave.

“I’m not supposed to be here.”

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy spoke in a TED Talks back in June of 2012 on body language and its ability to shape who we are. Though I am no expert on the subject, I find myself looking at my body language as a professional and as a yoga teacher. So much (or so little) of our power conveys itself through the slightest arm motion or shoulder slump.

What is our body language communicating? How does the outside world perceive these actions? Do “power poses” really boost our confidence?

Check out Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talks and listen closely to the last few minutes, the part where she talks about a former student “faking it until she became it” by willing her physical poses to make it seem like she was everything she didn’t feel on the inside.

I found this talk timely. I recently began another yoga teacher certification, one that has me teaching every Saturday for the next five weeks. To say I was nervous is an understatement. Before the training began, our lead instructor sent us assignments to complete prior to the first class–one of those assignments encouraging us to watch Cuddy’s video.

So, I watched it and found myself completely moved by the very end of the talk. Not only was Cuddy extremely emotional during the last few minutes, but I, too, \ was choked up over her vulnerability and how she got up in front of hundreds of people to remind people the whole point of her talk: Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it until you become it–even when you think you’re not supposed to get there.

That was undoubtedly what I needed to hear. For months, I had been waiting for the next part of my yoga journey to start. I so badly wanted to teach, to share the gift of yoga with others. I also wanted to get serious about my writing and take a stab at re-branding myself as a yogipreneur/writer. I felt as if I had hit the ground running once January came around.

But within a week into my latest yoga teacher training, I somehow convinced myself that I wasn’t meant for the yoga teacher life. I mentally talked myself into believing I had made a terrible mistake, costing me money and time and sleep. I told myself I wasn’t the yoga teacher I thought I could be. I looked around at the other eleven faces signed up for the same training and my heart fell.

I am a better student than leader, I thought. I am not supposed to be here. 

For two weeks, I moped around the house and when my mom asked me if I was excited to teach a class on Saturday, I gave her a lackluster “Sure.” As we both climbed into the car the day of my first yoga class, I had no choice but to tell her everything. I metaphorically spilled my guts, heart, and tears over the process of becoming what I didn’t think was meant for me anymore. It’s safe to say I have never enjoyed anything new from the start, but yoga–yoga was the one thing I spoke about with fervor.

And now, I was second-guessing the very thing that had brought me back to life, figuratively speaking. I was shrinking away and almost to the point where throwing in the towel looked like the only solution.

I walked into the at-capacity studio along with my fellow teachers in training staring at strangers who had come for a yoga class and after taking my seat in preparation to teach my portion of the hour-long class, my soul was ignited.

I regained consciousness as soon as the next yogi began to teach her part. In that moment, a quiet but powerful energy surged through my veins and I once again felt the connection to my mat I had felt after my very first yoga class. This was home. This was where I would plant more roots. This was my purpose.

I believe the mind to be a forceful entity. It is a mischievous creature with its many tricks and shape-shifting ways. It has the ability to overcome us, to paralyze us, to selfishly keep us in stagnation.

But it also meant for good–plowing through negative thoughts and getting us over the hurdles we often put in front of ourselves. It is now week four of five of my teacher training. I assumed I’d be just as nervous to teach now as I was on that first Saturday, but the reality is I know where my place is. There is still so much learning to be done and I doubt this training will be my last. I also doubt this will be the last time I truly believe I am not meant to be somewhere. But just for the sake of being in the moment, let me take my seat as the teacher, look out at all the strange new faces, and think, “This is where I belong.”

**Disclaimer: I apologize for the very lax writing approach I’ve taken these past several weeks. I think this post tells you a lot about where my head’s been. It has been incredibly difficult finding the words to put together a decent post or even write three lines of a poem. Thank you for your patience as I transition into yet another phase of my life. You are all dears.**

 

 

Check It Out. 

Hey friendly critters,

2015 brought so much to the table and 2016 is off to a phenomenal start. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been doing some heavy writing in hopes of submitting my stuff to e-journals and indie magazines, etc. I’ve stepped back from The Happy Depressive in an effort to focus on the direction I want to take it in the new year but to also reflect on its current content and how I can what I have to editors.

Basically, I didn’t want to wake up one day without pursuing a goal of mine which is to write professionally or at least serve as a contributor to a large-scale publisher/website.

So I held my breath, clicked “Send”, and waited…

This is what happened. Indie website, Elephant Journal, took my piece and posted it on their website. I didn’t think they would, but they did.

I would love for you all to check out the link below which sends you to where my article lives. I am excited, nervous, and inspired.

You are all the reason I write. You are all brilliant. You make this blog what it is and for these things, I am grateful.

Happy reading, friends! ❤️

Sitting with Depression.

From the broken heart.

Charles Bukowski quote typed on a vintage typewriter:

 

I have read and re-read this quote several times over the last 24 hours and I still find new ways to fall in love with it all over again. As a recovering co-dependent with a huge heart, I often found myself looking ahead to the Saturday nights spent without a date or feeling ill over the idea of not having someone to text “Good morning” as I rode the train to work. Suddenly, my bed grew bigger while my hopes in any long-lasting relationship diminished. The inevitable thought crept inside my already-paranoid head–what if I was totally unlovable to the ones I wanted love from? What if I was some defective piece of merchandise, purchased and then returned because the customer always found something wrong? What if I was destined to be the village’s resident spinster with sixty-two cats?

Fact: I don’t live in a remote village, and I’m allergic to cats.

Why, Bukowski, must I begin again? At twenty-eight years old, my time and eggs are valuable!

That’s me half-joking, half nervously chuckling to myself because this weekend, it happened again. I somehow ended up single again and my stomach was ready to relieve itself of whatever leftovers were in my stomach. Basically, every relationship insecurity I’d managed to seemingly resolve came flooding back in a conversation that ultimately ended with us parting ways.

The sad part is I was beginning to give pieces of myself to this person, but that’s the risky gamble we all take when we find someone we eventually want a relationship with. For a depressive, it’s even harder to give up those pieces because if it does end, getting back into the dating world is tricky. How do I tell someone I’m depressed or have severe anxiety or obsessively read about global warming and conclude we’re all going to die tomorrow because, well, we’re running out of water, aren’t we?! The typical dude will run for the nearest exit and I get it. Dating someone with mental illness is tough to navigate. And my chest hurts just thinking about having to start from scratch again, visiting that topic, and watching my potential partner’s face for any sudden flinches or pupil dilation–any sign that may indicate they won’t know what to do when I am unusually stressed out over a small task.

To put it bluntly, my now-ex boyfriend was extremely patient with my depression. He listened to me go on about impending doom and rationalized my thoughts. He studied environmental engineering, so he got it. It was a good relationship until it wasn’t, I suppose, and I guess the beauty of it was being adult enough to know when to call it. So we did.

And now I’m here with this Bukowski quote staring me down, daring me to begin yet again, and I’m not the type of girl to back down from a challenge. The beauty of depression is self-acceptance and self-discovery, and what better way to explore those two lessons than after a relationship ends! From my bleeding heart to yours, here are some important findings I’ve uncovered about healing the wounds of a partnership gone wrong:

  • “There is so much more room for activities!” (StepbrothersWithout this coming off as completely selfish, a breakup can be a really positive thing. Looking back on past relationships all the way up to this last one, I see a huge transformation of self–a period necessary for growth and exploration. All too often, we can immediately look for another relationship to fill the void of not having someone to go on dates with. But is that time well spent? Do you really think being busy with dates every weekend is going to fill your cup? Are you even interested in the person sitting across from you, or are you just looking for a way to not be alone in your apartment? Screw that entire plan and get comfortable with dating yourself for awhile. Heal by taking yourself to a movie. Treat yourself well and fill your time with things you love to do. Women are especially guilty of this, but we often defer to our partner’s plans and routine instead of maintaining our own schedules. In this deferring of our own needs and wants, we lose our identity. I’m certainly guilty of it, 100%. So after a relationship ended about two years ago, I signed up for improv classes. I took up yoga. I woke up on Sundays and took myself out for coffee. Treat yourself well first by giving your time to passions you once lived for.
  • You learn the value of your worth and you don’t apologize for it. God, I wish I could tell you how f*cking awesome you are and awesome you will continue to be. Whether you’re a man or a woman, breakups suck. But there are powerful messages to receive, like finding out the qualities you truly want in a partner. For instance, I love deeply and passionately. When I’m devoted to something/one, you have all of me and then some. With the last couple of relationships, the same line comes up: “You deserve someone who loves like you do.” Guess what? They’re right. And chances are they deserve someone they want to be with, too. It’s not fair for them to try and live up to the way you love. It’s also not fair for you to keep giving your heart and soul only to get half of one or the other in return. Recognize your worth.
  • Surround yourself with good vibes. I am #blessed to have an amazing support network of truly unstoppable forces of nature as friends. My yoga community is my safe haven. Yesterday, I came to my mat for a 75-minute class with my dear friend, Halle. She knew about my newly established relationship status and as soon as I got on my mat, I teared up. I had come to my mat three years ago after a brutal breakup and found yoga. Now, I was still coming back for healing and self-love. I spent Sunday afternoon at a good friend’s BBQ. My Sunday morning was spent with another amazing soul drinking coffee on an ivy-covered patio and laughing about all the crazy things that happen in life. For my first day of being “back on the market”, I’d say I fared pretty well despite the waves of missing him at certain points throughout the day.
  • Love comes again. I know, it’s hard to imagine but love actually happens again, and it typically happens when you least expect it. We are allowed to feel the emotions that arise from a breakup. We’re allowed to cry and feel vulnerable and swear off dating all together! But most importantly, love doesn’t listen to your crazy pacts you make with yourself. It has its own agenda and knows your address. Trust me on this.

So, my dear heart, are you ready to brave the world solo? Have you learned enough to get you through this next phase and be open to whatever comes your way?  Are you ready to drink from your self and begin again? Because I sure think you are.

Loving a depressive.

I want to be clear about this post. I want you to know that loving yourself is a crucial part in accepting your mental health issues but it is also imperative to build up a strong sense of identity in order for others to love you back. And one of the hardest parts about dealing with mental illness is thinking how to best open up to those closest to us and being real about who we are.

Will they accept us?
Will they understand?
Will they treat me differently?

This is a great way to also find out who your true friends are. Process of elimination, baby! In all seriousness though, I’ve read the lists written by other bloggers or authors on mental health website. I’ve seen the points made in each article, outlining the appropriate course of action in loving someone with, say, depression. Some points made are extremely valid. Others can be argued just like anything you read on the internet, including this post by me!

Because loving someone who struggles to love her own self on a daily basis has no set rule book or strict guidelines to adhere to. I feel like if there were such things, there were be amendments and clauses and all sorts of fine print because there isn’t a clear path to success. My days are typically the same. I wake up late, change my outfit four times, poke at the small tired around my waist for a bit, smile with my teeth showing and quickly press my lips back together, look at the clock and realize I will be late again. I people-watch on the train to work while fidgeting with my third generation iPod and skip around to songs that express my current mood. I think of everything on my to-do list, already overwhelmed and exhausted, and I’m finally at my computer with everything spread out on my desk and deciding how to prioritize.

And I realize how monotonous my day is. I realize I have so much to do in order to build myself up as a yoga instructor. I doodle and daydream and think about how my career path is such a winding one with no real end goal in sight. I think about how different I feel compared to everyone else, how highly sensitive I am to another’s energy or emotions. I think about how my mom ever puts up with me, how I wear her out with my mind that never stops. I think about my friends and realize I’ve lost quite a few because I over-commit or disappear for days, lost in my own world and disconnected from my phone or email. Of course I feel awful about it but I don’t dwell on it for too long because I’ve got a million other thoughts to work out in the next 24 hours. Some nights, I can’t sleep. I wake up at 2 or 3 AM because my skin is uncomfortable. It’s suffocating. It’s confining. And it is nearly impossible to explain this to others who simply haven’t experienced this emotional rollercoaster, like, ever.

So how do you love someone like this? How do you love someone who struggles to love herself every day?

Well, for starters, understand what you may be getting yourself into. Loving someone that struggles with mental illness is a two-way street. Both parties have to put in effort to make a partnership work. Understand that our low days are exacerbated by the something you might consider trivial. Understand we often don’t know why we’re sad or angry. These feelings just get caught in our throats and become difficult to verbally communicate with you because we don’t know where each emotion stems from.

Please also understand that compassion is key and when we snap at something you say or do, it’s almost never personal. There is an internal conversation going on in our own head and our lashing out is often a result of what we’re processing inside our mind. But most importantly, understand this.

If you are going to love a depressive, love them entirely. Don’t half ass it. Don’t say you understand and then walk out on us. If you have any shred of doubt in mentally and emotionally supporting someone at their worst, run. I would rather have someone tell me it’s too much for them and know what they’re capable of giving than get involved only to want out of it all a few months down the line. It’s important for the “saner” of the two to also practice self-care and respect their own boundaries.

Love us like you mean it. Love us when we can’t get out of bed or when we’re planning adventures with you. Love us when we don’t answer texts from you and fall off the face of the earth. And if you can’t love us, that’s OK, too. Just make sure you are up front about it. Be honest with yourself. One of the saddest and most gut wrenching things someone has ever said to me was, “You are too much–too emotional, too flaky, too all over the place.” I already know that. Anyone with mental health issues is their OWN WORST CRITIC. We spend days beating ourselves up over past events and words we said. We think we should be better than what we are. We think we’re awful human beings at times. We think about everything you’re calling us and it stays with us…for days, weeks, months, even years.

So if you are going to love a depressive, tell them they are emotional and all over the place but you accept them anyways. Love them without condition just as we love you for all the wonderful and terrible things you are.

“Wait, so how I do I get to adult?”

Does anyone else feel bogged down by exhaustion? Anxiety? Relentless questioning of one’s decisions like, “What am I actually doing with myself?” I don’t know if it’s Mercury in retrograde that’s causing me to feel so unstable, but the ground beneath my feet feels like it’s about to give way at any second.

May was interesting. June is off to a weird start. Every time I come to my computer, I look at it with a furrowed brow and quickly walk away from the desk. I’m not sure what is happening but it’s like my legs got caught in mud and I’m sluggishly moving through it without making much headway.

Does that make sense? Does anybody else feel like they are moving at a snail’s pace, like the world is suddenly spinning backward and we’re all heading into the giant unknown? Yes? Maybe? OK. Perhaps I’ve been burning too much incense.

This is probably the most honest I have ever been. To myself. To my readers. But lately, the overwhelming feeling of amounting to nothing has weighed heavily on my shoulders. Every person’s path is different, but mine is entirely covered with overgrown vines and tall trees that nearly scrape the sky. What was once bathed in sunlight is now dark with doubt.

I should be married. No, you’re in no way ready for that.
You should want kids. Get real. You, yourself, are still a kid.
I should be working in my dream job. You have a hard enough time picking out your outfits in the morning.
I can’t get out of bed and everything hurts. It’s OK.

I just gave you a small peek into the conversations I have with myself sometimes. There are days when I’m pretty confident in the direction I’m headed. And then, I have a pit in my stomach while thinking about what my life should look like and how it is so far from that. Because as a depressive, you have good days, OK days, bearable days, and days where you’re pinned down by an unseen force of ten elephants. Then, there are the days when people don’t understand why it’s so difficult for you to put on your big girl pants and shrug off your worries. I wish it were that simple, I silently respond, to rid myself of this awful baggage I carry with me everywhere.

And I know others who struggle with the same looming pressure to “just be normal.” I know intelligent, highly self-aware individuals with extensive resumes and incredible accomplishments who also struggle with the big question–“What am I doing with myself?” This question is coming up quite frequently and I’m not exactly sure how to answer it anymore. I don’t know if I was ever able to confidently respond to that inquiry. At 27, I still feel like I’m figuring it out. Social media depresses me when I see everyone else apparently with their sh*t together. I’m happy for them, really. I can’t describe the proper emotion for it, but it is neither jealousy nor self-loathing. I guess the only comparable way to explain it would be something along the lines of going at your own pace with a smile on your face and then you suddenly stop like you’ve forgotten what you were doing and why you were doing it.

There’s this idea in my head that I’m supposed to have it figured out by 30 and I don’t even know what I’m figuring out in the first place. Type A personalities have a hard time understanding this. I have a hard time explaining it. Basically, it makes me feel that much more isolated in a time where I should be caught up with everybody else.

Or should I?

So I cope with those days of fearing the unknown and carrying the guilt of not being successful, according to the standards of the human race. By nature, I am someone who does everything in their own time but it makes me feel excluded from the rest of the pack. I don’t have a trust fund or rich parents to fall back on. I never worked jobs where I was well connected in the industry. I was never given a set course to follow and maybe that is also the blessing in disguise. Maybe I need to stop the comparisons and setting these expectations I don’t necessarily want to reach in the long run.

But as quickly as this mood comes on, it retreats. The shoreline comes to view and I am dragging myself upright to catch a glimpse of glittering sun and a thin line of hope on the horizon. Maybe I won’t feel like this forever. Perhaps this feeling of self doubt will pass like all the moments before. Just maybe…I’ll survive and come out on top.

I won’t tell you to make to-do lists or set a five year plan. The truth is that simply brushing your teeth can prove to be difficult on days when the world is metaphorically ending in your neck of the woods. But it is not permanent and you are stronger than you think and, above all else, you are spectacular.

So I took another look at this dusty path before me and sighed a deep sigh knowing I can’t quit here. Not like this. Not without a fight. We have things to prove to ourselves. We have discoveries to make and excellent adventures to embark on (whether it’s clear to us now or later in life)…

A Valentine’s Day Post From My Mom

So, I asked my brilliant woman of a mother to contribute a post to my blog about raising a child with anxiety and depression. And then, I cried. I am BEYOND blessed to have a mom THIS understanding and patient. I am, at times, one of the MOST DIFFICULT humans to handle and while I’ve seen a glimmer of frustration in her eyes, my mom never gave up on me.

You have people in your life who love you like this. They are there to support you, let you wear wigs that aren’t the color of your hair, and help you embrace your quirks. I hope everyone had an amazing weekend! Love to all of you today and always…

Valentine’s Day, 2015

As a valentine to my exquisite daughter, I’m going to try and put in words the pure, magical, joyful love that I feel for her. As a mother, I would hope that every single one of us feels that our child is the most beautiful, gifted, perfect little person to ever be put on this earth. Of course, I’m no exception. From the moment I became pregnant, it was the most glorious time of my life. I felt perfectly comfortable knowing this child had picked me to be her guide and protector and teacher throughout her journey. And together we would be able to handle whatever crossed our paths. That trust and confidence has served us both well. Little did we know what life would have in store for us.

I think Bri’s anxiety started at a very young age. She hated her crib, stroller,
car seat, playpen………..anything that confined her. She didn’t like to sleep, so we usually read about 5 books at bedtime! I didn’t mind. It was our cuddle time. She didn’t like loud noises, dark places, adults who wanted to
hold and hug her just because she was cute. She wasn’t a friendly baby with strangers, which is actually not a bad thing! Family vacations were tough, and really aggravated her anxiety. Places outside of familiar territory would put her in panic mode, which usually started just an hour after departing our home destination. Her and I would repeat a mantra every hour about how we would be home soon, but how much fun we were having in the interim. However, she repeatedly informed me know how much she disliked the hotels, cars, vacation sites and everything else that was not in her comfort zone. It could have been exhausting, but I used these experiences as teaching tools for coping mechanisms. Luckily, or not, my family history is filled with anxiety and depression, so I felt very comfortable working thru her panic attacks at that stage in her life.

My daughter was her own person from the day she was born. When she was done playing with playmates, she wanted them to go home. Usually after an hour. When going out to dinner, she would dress up in costumes, perhaps a
Snow White dress, and a long platinum blonde ponytail clipped into her jet-black hair. I thought she looked fabulous and we rolled with it. If going out to dinner as a character made her more comfortable, it worked for us! She loved to dance, but only if she could make up the steps. She loved to sing in the backseat of the van, but only if she imagined I wasn’t driving in the car with her!! Her hyper-sensitivity made her so creative and intuitive and fun that we always kept busy with interesting projects and lots of friends and family around. It was a wonderfully magical time.

There were some tough times. At 5. her grandfather passed away. At 8, her dad had a lengthy illness. At 10, her precious grandmother passed away. We made it thru these times and became even tighter as a family of 3. But at 14, after another long illness, her dad was taken from us. Life was forever changed. We had to reinvent ourselves. No time for panic attacks. No time for pity parties. Just get the job done. And I think in this space in time, we put a lot of feelings away. We have always been extremely close, but this period of time was a disaster. Bri had to grow up very fast, and I wasn’t much help. Lost in my own grief and just putting one foot in front of the other, each day was a struggle. But I think, looking back on everything, we’re extremely happy for the experiences we had, because they made us who we are today. We are survivors. We learned that laughter and speaking our feelings certainly can be the best medicine in tough times.

Once our lives settled into some sense of normalcy, I watched my daughter settle into relationships with several guys who weren’t really worthy of her fabulosity. I hoped and prayed one day she would see that she was this incredibly loving, giving, sensitive human being who could be even MORE without a man. She didn’t need to give up her hopes and dreams to be a couple. She didn’t need any man to complete her. She needed to complete herself, and enjoy things that interested and excited her, just as she did as a child. She needed to look in the mirror and see who I saw. Only then, would she WANT the right man for her……not NEED the wrong ones.

And one day, it all came to her. Thru a breakDOWN, that turned into her incredible breakTHROUGH!!!!! Her anxiety and depression all came out over the discovery, after 3 years, that she was with someone who really wasn’t right for her. It was frightening, and horribly sad to see my daughter in such a state, but it was time to get her professional help and move her to the next level of her journey. With the help of an amazing professional team,
and family and friends, she has done it with courage and honesty and diligence. She has learned what makes her tick. She has faced the hard questions that sometimes gave her even tougher answers. She is pursuing her passions and dreams, and figuring out that sometimes you have to tolerate certain things to reach your goals. She is running solo marathons, and pursuing her love of yoga with teacher training. She has started this blog, which touches my heart every day thru insights into who she was and who she is becoming. I could not be prouder or love this child of mine any more fiercely than I do each and every day. Her depression does not define her. It has made her discover who she really is and has pushed her towards life goals that will make her happy and fulfilled and a leader of others. I only wish the same for others who read this.

So, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, to my amazingly beautiful daughter!!!
You have taught me what true, unconditional, unselfish love is. It has been an honor and privilege to be your mother and life partner. You truly are the
great love of my life! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. XOXO