Carrie Fisher opened up about her demons — and knew she wouldn’t have a Hollywood ending [LA Times article in link]

Mental illness and addiction so often go hand in hand and until society stops villainizing and dehumanizing the people affected by them, we need people like Carrie Fisher who are brave enough to yell it from the rooftops when it still requires bravery to do it: I DEAL WITH SHIT THAT’S REALLY FUCKING HARD, BUT I’M FIGHTING IT AND I’M NOT EMBARRASSED BECAUSE IT’S NOTHING TO BE EMBARRASSED ABOUT. NOW LET’S FIND A SOLUTION.

Scars in the Summertime (or: The Girl Who Lived or: I Have Overall Shorts)

I have three scars on my legs. Well, I have more than that, but three that are intentional, while the others came from general falling over-or-running-into-table-corner-type events. Two of the three came from the night I checked into the hospital, and one came from about a week earlier- or maybe it was the other way around. I would swear the first one is on my right calf, but that one is healing better than the one on my left calf, and the more recent one(s) got fairly immediate professional attention at the hospital and would have healed better, bringing my timeline into question. Why I did it…well, that’s a whole other post, but suffice to say that it was some combination of a test run for something much worse and a way to move the awful feeling from my brain to something physical I could focus on (more the latter than the former, in case anyone’s worried about that). Continue reading

I am ALSO happy

What I say about being happy is that I am ‘also happy.’ I’m happy among other things. Happy is one of the many feelings or experiences that I will have throughout a day. I think happy has been sort of made into this Hallmark card of a word, and I don’t know what that means. So I will just say that I enjoy my life, I make choices, I do what I want to do. I am a strong person, I’m not afraid of almost anything, and that’s a lot because of [Debbie Reynold’s] example- Carrie Fisher, Oprah 2011

I know the focus of this blog is mental illness and that’s necessarily kind of a bummer subject, so I wanted to take a minute to enjoy a moment to talk about the things that are making me happy right now. Continue reading

Guest Post! Amy Kocur

It’s a big day! Today the first guest post for this blog. This inaugural post was written by Amy Kocur, and the below comes from her website, http://www.newminutiae.com/  all opinions and insights are her own.

Continue reading

I’m Not Sad (usually), I Have Depression

“What are you depressed…about?” Continue reading

Mood Music

I have two playlists that I always keep at the ready. Sometimes when you’re feeling awful, you just want to wallow. And sometimes you want music that’ll pick you up. Anyway, these are mine, just in case there’s something you might like, too. Nothing too pretentious. Just stuff that feels right: Continue reading

On Being There

 

When I went back to work after taking almost 3 months off for the acute phase of ECT, my dog Elly took it hard. She had gotten used to me being home, even if I wasn’t exactly ~there~. I would roll in from treatment and climb into bed to nap for the rest of the day, which is pretty well in line with her daily routine: sleep during the day, run around briefly in the evening, and then fall into bed with the exhaustion of an animal that has done nothing to warrant it. Yes, she’s spoiled, but she also mysteriously lost her tail at some point in the four months between when she was born and when I adopted her and she’s generally well-behaved, so I’m not too worried about it. The only time she’s ever run away was right after I returned to work. I think she might have gone looking for me. Or that’s what I tell myself.

This is all to say that I am Elly’s world. I know that at any given moment, she is thrilled- thrilled– to be near me. Even better if she’s curled up on my lap, as she is at the exact time of this writing. She’s never more at peace than when she’s physically touching me- sometimes she contorts herself so her chin is resting on my leg, in a position that cannot be comfortable but that seems to make her feel that way.

People are harder. I’ve been staring at my computer for awhile now, trying to figure out how to articulate this. It’s difficult to write about because it feels like a) guilting people into friendship and/or b) trying to excuse my own bad behavior that might legitimately cause someone to keep their distance. But I’ve always held the default understanding that people are actively avoiding interaction with me. And see? That statement covers both categories. It just bleeds with self-doubt and varsity level pathetic.

The thing is, depression often manifests itself as a voice whispering into your ear all reasons why someone hasn’t reached out, or why that other someone’s message was so curt. It’s because of that thing you did that day or, other other thing that other day, or maybe they just finally caught on and learned to see through you. It’s something that I’ve heard time and time again- in articles about the disease, in Unit III group sessions, and in my own brain.

When my depression acts up, I withdraw from the real world. It all just feels like too much. I don’t go to events, I cancel plans, and it’s all I can do to peel myself out of bed to get to work (and my leave balance will show you that I’m not always successful at that). But there’s still that human need for socialization and validation, so I find myself scrolling through social media, posting photos of my dog, or reposting another Parks & Rec screencap. It’s easy to brush it off as a millennial obsession with the internet, but at least for me, it’s a way to stay connected without having to fully punch through the fog. And as ridiculous as it sounds, I can feel like I haven’t been totally lost to the void when we like each other’s posts. It’s like a quick “hello and I haven’t forgotten you.”

All of this does not exactly make me a good friend- I’m not so self involved that I can’t see that communicating via social media likes isn’t nearly enough. So you imagine how grateful I am for the people who not only stick around, but who actively make sure I know they’re here, even when it seems like I’m not. There’s no blueprint on how to do it, and really everyone is different anyway, but anything along these lines is a good place to start.

This of course places the burden of reaching out on the friend, and what a vicious cycle that is if you’re both waiting on the other person to announce that they’re still around. You’re just two dark little clouds standing nearby, but not able to see that the other one is there. I don’t know how to rectify this, and oh, I wish I did. Because I so badly want to be that friend, but not everyone creates an entire blog to help let people know it’s what they need. Seems like an awful lot of trouble, doesn’t it (and so self-absorbed)? But I’m working on it. On taking that first step, and assuming my presence isn’t the burden I think it is, but that just maybe, it’s the quick note someone needs to hear to be reminded that they’re not alone.

So thank you, everyone who is better at this than I am. Everyone who has made it clear that they’re still there, and that they understand (or that they don’t, but there still there anyway). I don’t know how you do it, but you know just what to say when I need it, and you’ve shown that I have so much support, despite often not feeling worthy of it. The little things mean so much, and help me feel a little less lost. I’m out of metaphors and like that dark cloud one the best, so I’ll just stick with that dark, foggy cloud again. You help sneak a little (or a lot) of sunshine into it. And if you find this just as difficult as I do, I understand. And I’m still here, whenever you’re ready.

If you (or anyone else) need the same thing from me, you can bet I’m right there. I might not have the best timing, but I’m nearly always willing and ready, and almost certainly near my phone looking up Leslie Knope quotes…this one is at the ready if anyone needs it 🙂