I wasn’t really joking about thawing out

Former president, vampire hunter, alleged depression sufferer, non-namesake of Ashley’s baby and bearded wonder Abraham Lincoln once said “Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.”

Suffice it to say, it’s been a long winter. So long in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s still going, even though legally on the calendar its technically already Spring. Pshaw.

And with winter, comes SAD. And if you don’t believe that’s a thing, Seasonal Affective Disorder, I defy you to tell me this weather hanging on for a ridiculously long amount of time hasn’t effected you in some way.

I’m not saying I have that disorder, so don’t go all eye-rolly and think “Oh here comes the hypochondria again.” But a part of it – luckily for me a small part of it – plays a part when you have regular ol’ run-of-the-mill depression. And it sucks ass.

You may have noticed a severe lack in posting since oh, whenever you noticed it? Yeah. About that…

I tend to take accidental breaks from blogging a lot. Usually something – or twenty – comes up and I have literally no time to do much of anything else, especially work on a computer when it’s not related to my job.

This last one? It wasn’t really accidental. I’ve stared at my computer many a time in these last several weeks and wanted to write. But the words wouldn’t come. The motivation wouldn’t come. I couldn’t do it. So I didn’t. I didn’t force myself.

I’ve mentioned before how I tend to get in these “funks,” where I don’t know why I’m bothered but I am. Everything feels heavy, too much to deal with. I don’t wanna talk, I don’t wanna text, I don’t wanna write – the one thing I need the most to deal with this disease I have in my brain.

It’s been mostly just “meh” before. But this time it was different.

You know those commercials for antidepressants where they talk about how “hello hurts,” etc.? They’re not joking. Or over-exaggerating. That’s really a thing. Everything hurts. For no good reason.

I didn’t write about the Polar Plunge until a few weeks later. I had that post written in my head about 10 seconds after I got out of the Ohio. But the effort it took to put that on the blog? Too much.

I had about 10 post ideas stockpiled and ready to go. I had plans for the week my blog turned four years old. But I couldn’t make myself write. I had the time..I just didn’t have the desire. And I hate that.

Yeah I wear my heart on my sleeve but you’d be surprised how much you don’t know about how I’m feeling sometimes. And this time, I couldn’t hide it, though I was trying. People noticed something was off. People that I never in a million years would have expected to. And when they asked me what the deal was? I didn’t have an answer.

Did you know that you don’t have to have an answer for everything? Ever? Hell of a concept.

Sometimes you just feel like shit. Sometimes you just can’t escape that dark cloud hanging over your head, no matter how much you want to. Sometimes you have to wait it out.

And I did. And it got better.

I feel about 40 times better than I did, say, a month ago. I made it through. And I’m grateful. It never got scary-bad. But I was down. And unfortunately there are some who are still in that place. Who go farther down the rabbit-hole and can’t get out alone.

That quote from the beginning of this post? I re-tweeted it today because a while ago I made the decision to be happy, despite whatever other drama there was, despite the fact that I have a chemical imbalance that does all it can to prevent that from happening most of the time.

This is not to say the low points won’t ever happen again. Obviously that’s impossible. And obviously I’m not a robot. But 100 percent of the time I am CHOOSING to be happy. It’s just sometimes my brain has other plans.

So yeah, I’m ready for Spring.

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Saying something

I have debated, on and off, since Friday, if I should write something about what happened. I have turned my thoughts over and over in my head and I kept coming back to the same thing – I wanted to get them out. I wanted to write them down, so-to-speak. No matter how jumbled, no matter how all over the place, I wanted to see them in front of me. Because like much of what goes on with me, I deal with it better when I can write about it.

You all know what it is I’m speaking of – the tragic shooting at an elementary school Friday morning that left 20 six- and seven-year-olds dead and six of their teachers/administrators, who died trying to protect those children and others.

On Friday when I heard the news, my heart immediately leapt into my throat. Another shooting at a school? At an elementary school? Why?

My thoughts turned to my dad, an elementary school principal. To several of my closest friends, who are teachers. To the elementary-school-aged children in my life. I thanked God it wasn’t them while at the same time wondering how this could happen, why this could happen. Again.

I was in high school when Columbine happened. Just out of college when Virginia Tech did. I saw Dark Knight Rises a few weeks after the shootings in Colorado. Any one of those events could have happened where I live.

I watched and read the news all day Friday. But I didn’t let myself really feel it until Sunday morning. Sunday morning we sat in church, with 26 candles on the altar, representing the victims. Our pastor brought up the questions we all had: “Why? Where is God? How could he let this happen?” And he couldn’t answer them. No one can.

Saturday night, I babysat two of my favorite kids, both around the ages of those killed in Connecticut. I hugged ’em a little tighter while we sat on the couch together. I made the effort to play more, to do more fun things with them, while underneath it all, my heart was breaking for the parents who wouldn’t get to do the same. For them and for the babysitters, aunts, uncles, teachers, family friends, who loved those kids like they were their own, whose levels of grief I can’t even fathom.

People want to talk a lot about guns right now. That’s not my plan. There’s a bigger issue, a more important issue, one that people don’t talk about, at least not until it’s too late. That issue is mental health.

I’m writing this fresh off a visit with my therapist. I see her about once a month – sometimes the stretches are longer, but lately it’s been about four weeks apart. Today, one of the things we talked about was my medication. I am medicated. For depression and anxiety. Because sometimes life sucks. And sometimes it’s stressful. And sometimes, for some people, chemicals in their brain don’t fire the same way as others. The medicine fixes that.

A few years ago, I was afraid to go to a therapist. Afraid it meant something was wrong with me. Luckily, I had a friend who convinced me otherwise. Who told of all the good it had done for her. And if it weren’t for her, and the situation that ultimately got me to go, well, I don’t know. I’d be where I was then. Unhappy. Constantly stressed. Crying for no reason every other day. Dragging myself out of bed because I had to, not because I wanted to.

My personal experiences with mental health are tiny compared to what’s out there. But the stigma’s the same. To many, therapy means admitting a problem. It means something’s “wrong with them.” It means they’re “giving up.” When they hear the words mental health they picture asylums, padded walls, straightjackets.

People don’t want to talk about it. People don’t want to admit they need help. But no one can do it on their own. As human beings, with souls and hearts and emotions and minds, we need connections to others. And not just for the good stuff. We need someone we can call and say “Help” or “This is hard” or “I can’t do it.” Does it mean something’s wrong with you? NO. It means you’re a HUMAN.

Every one of these shootings has come back to mental health. The shooter was unstable. And it wasn’t just that one time. People remembered previous instances when they were worried, when they were unsettled, when they wondered just what was going on inside that person’s head. But nothing was done, until it was too late.

People with a mental illness cry for help. They do it in different ways, but it’s there. Does that mean everyone should be institutionalized, should be watched like a hawk and sent somewhere the first time they make a comment that doesn’t seem right to you? No. I don’t think there’s a perfect answer for how to deal with someone with mental illness, because they’re all so different.

But I do know that there are signs. I do know that people in a bad place don’t just get there overnight. And I know that they can’t get out of it alone.

Those children should not have lost their lives Friday. Neither should the people in that Colorado movie theater. Or at Virginia Tech, or the mall in Oregon.

We need to have these conversations about mental health. We need to get rid of the stigma associated with mental illness. Not everyone who has a problem will do something of this nature. And the more we talk, the more people are willing to seek help, to not be afraid to ask if they need it, the less likely we are to have something like this happen again.

We owe it to the memory of those 26, and all those before them, to make a change.

I came, I saw, I winked. And then I moved on.

One month. That’s how long it took me to decide.

It was a month when my insomnia came back full-force, when my anxiety moved from threat level yellow (where it stays most of the time) to red-orange or orange-red or whatever that crayon color is.

It was a month when I had paid $35 and all I was getting for my money was added stress. And that’s something I definitely don’t need.

Also, do you know how many drinks you can buy at the bar for that much? Like 6, if you tip a buck or so on each one. More if you’re buying beer.

So yeah, so I quit Match.

When my month I paid for runs out at the end of this week, I’m dunzo.

I cancelled my subscription last night and afterwards? Got the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a month.

It’s not for money reasons. It’s not because I got too impatient trying to find the “love of my life.” It’s because I didn’t like how it made me feel.

Now. I’m not knocking the process. I think there are some people that do well with that option when it comes to dating. And obviously, it works for them, because I know people that have met good people and have great relationships that started with an online dating site. But it’s just not for me.

In this past month, I have cared more about what strangers think of me than I have in a long, long, long, long time. And I let it determine how I felt about myself.

When I was in high school, and silly about relationships as high schoolers can sometimes be, I cared so much about what other people thought. My mood was often determined by one specific boy’s feelings – or lack thereof – about me. I worried about everything I said or did when it came to him because one wrong word, one wrong action would mean the end. It would mean something was wrong with me, never him. (When in reality, looking back, it was SO him. Always. Weirdo.)

That’s when I was 17. And here we are, 11 years later, and I’m back in that mindset. I was letting what was happening – or not happening, actually – on that site determine how I felt about myself.

“Oh, I sent him a message and he hit the ‘no thanks’ button. Something must be seriously wrong with me. Bet he thinks my picture is bad and I’m not pretty.”

I’m not proud of these thoughts, people, but they’re there. They’d been down to a very dull roar for such a long time, but within the last few weeks, there they were, clear as day.

And I debated all day about writing those thoughts above. Because I’m not looking for reassurance or to be built back up. I know the good things about myself. I know the bad things about myself. I know that I more than likely think there are many, many more bad things than others do. But this online dating thing brought all of these feelings back up.

It’s a different world on there. The regular way of meeting people, if there is one – through a friend, through a group you’re in, through work, at a bar – is taken away. This method is strictly based on looks and how well you sell yourself in a profile with limited words and pre-determined questions.

By looking at my profile, guys aren’t going to get that I’m funny. That I am a great friend, that I take care of those I love, that I have pretty eyes when you get up close and what I’m like in a relationship.

Instead they’ll get a few pictures of me I think actually turned out well and answers to questions like “Do you smoke? How often do you drink? What sports do you enjoy? Which of these five animals do you like?”

And then they determine if they want to email me more or cut me off completely? And I’m paying people to help me with this?

No thanks.

My shrink said if I decided to quit Match I should write about being an Online Dating Survivor. And I guess that’s what I’m doing right now.

Because I survived the experience. I got out before the anxiety and frustration and depression it brought on swallowed me whole.

Thank God.

Don’t worry ’bout a thing…

I say “No problem” a lot. I picked it up in my home away from home/other favorite country, Jamaica, where I’ve been twice in the past 10 years and hopefully will be headed to next July for a week.

They say it a lot over there, because they don’t get stressed about a lot — at least not on the surface. Like, you’re an hour late? No problem, we’ll just start whenever you get here. What matters is you’re here now. That’s the mindset.

Usually the moment I get back from those trips I drill my potential new way of thinking into my head. “That’s how you’re gonna be. No problem. No stress. No worries.”

And it works. For like, a week.

I’m a worrywart. (Right here my close friends and family are nodding and/or rolling their eyes at just how much of an understatement that is.) If it’s possible something will go wrong, I’m worried that it will, no matter how small that possibility is. If there’s drama, I worry I did something to cause it, even though 9 times out of 10 I didn’t even have anything to do with it.

I know it’s weird and silly and borderline ridiculous, but that’s life — my life, anyway — and I’m working on it.

I don’t like that I’m like this. And in an effort to make some more permanent changes, I’m going to stop assuming that things aren’t ever going to work out like I planned. I’m going to stop being a pessimist and worrying that I said the wrong thing or did the wrong thing and now look what happened.

I’m being vague for a reason.. The short version is I embarrassed myself not too long ago. And instead of brushing it off as a silly little thing, it became A Thing. A Thing To Worry A Lot About.

Was it worth it? Hell to the no. Did it seem like it at the time (and for a few days after)? Yup. Should I never drink rum again? Probably not. (But it tastes so good!)

It all comes back to perspective. In the grand scheme of things is it the worst thing ever? Usually not. So here’s how you deal with it. Let it feel like the worst thing in the world. For five minutes. After that, move on with your life. That’s the perspective I’ve gained this week.

There are worse things than that (perceived by you) stupid thing you said or did.

There are worse things than things not working out the way you planned (the majority of the time).

So, buck up, soldier. And chill out. It ain’t that bad.

Furthermore, if anyone catches me unnecessarily worrying, you have my permission to smack me. But not too hard, I bruise easily.

Two eight

Tuesday night I didn’t fall asleep until well after 2 a.m. And it wasn’t for lack of trying. I read before bed, I didn’t go anywhere near the computer after work, I watched 10 minutes of the Weather Channel. Nothing helped.

And so I laid there. Staring at the ceiling and then the wall while I tried to think about nothing. Which is damn near impossible. Because I think that’s what you’re supposed to do in yoga, which makes every attempt to get you there, but all I was thinking about last time was “Really? This is yoga? Why haven’t I done this before? We’re basically just power-napping right now!” And then I thought about the nap I was
gonna take that weekend and how it was the first one I’d have taken in the past month because I’ve been busy and here’s why I have been busy and blah blah shut up already.

Tuesday night’s insomnia was nothing new, but the thoughts running through my head were. You see, today I turn 28. No big deal, right? Right, just like every other year of my 20s (after 21 of course). But for some reason, in those 2 hours after I attempted to go to bed, 28 seemed really scary.

If I had to metaphor it for you, it’d be like I was about to bungee jump (which I would never do in real life because that’s how your leg gets torn off and also, heights? Holy shit.). I was standing there, holding on and scared. I didn’t know what it was going to be like, I wasn’t ready for it and what in the hell had even brought me here?

On Tuesday night, that’s how I felt about my impending birthday. You guys, I have never felt like that about a birthday. I thought it’d come at 30, which makes so much more sense, because 30! No more 20s!

And here’s where it gets all therapy-like. Bear with me for a minute. Sidenote: Found a new therapist, that returns phone calls! One less thing to worry about! Now, if we could just stop playing phone tag and set up an appointment already…

You know what I thought about Tuesday night? Plans. Like, the plans when you’re younger and think you can control life to an extent and figure by this age you’ll do this and that age you’ll do that and 16-year-old me thought that by 28 I’d be married with one kid already, if not two. Funny how things work out.

I don’t know what I thought I’d be doing for work at this time, but I know an entertainment magazine of some sort was the priority. Glad that didn’t happen, though, because I’m pretty sure there aren’t any based in Louisville, at least not the kind I want to work for. And I need to stay here. This is where my heart is. Also, Derby.

Every once in a while – and it’s very rare – I feel like it’s Groundhog Day, but only for me. I’m doing the same things I’ve always done the same way I’ve always done them but around me, everyone else is moving on, changing, growing.

It’s silly. I worry about silly things. Because life, right now, for me? Is great. Is it what I thought it would be when I was 16? Nope. Is that a bad thing? HELL no. When I was 16 I also thought that being treated like crap by a guy was OK because hey, it was attention. Things change, people change, and I’m glad I’m where I am today because who said I’d be happy if I’d gotten what I thought I would when I was 16 by now?

It’s dumb to be scared, because it’s just another birthday – just another year that doesn’t really mean anything unless I make it mean something. And I plan to. Good things, remember? And I’ll bungee jump (metaphorically, not in real life). I’ll go into 28 willingly, not holding on to 27 for dear life because I’m used to it and I know it’s
safe and OK and happy and fine.

So after those two hours of anxiety-ridden tossing and turning Tuesday night, reading several articles on Cracked to get my mind off things and listening to a song Baby Einstein introduced me to first thing Wednesday morning, I was fine. I still am fine. And I’ll be fine. Just don’t ask me to bungee jump for real. I like having both legs.

P.s. The song Cheesebob told me about was Fun.’s “Be Calm.” Should become my motto. But it’s addicting and we sing it loud and I love it a lot.

Also, while I am scared of heights, that doesn’t mean I won’t try new things if they’re up high. What do I mean? Well there’s a good chance yours truly is riding in a balloon in the Derby Festival’s balloon race. WHAT? Let the irrational fears of death by balloon crash commence.

Oh, and happy birthday to me. Twenty-eight. Bring it.

My favorite posts this year – 10, to be exact

In honor of another year of blogging with double the amount of posts, comments and followers from the year before (really? What??!?) I have rounded up my personal favorites from what I’ve shared with you on this site. Some are one-hit wonders and others are part of a series. Because it’s too awesome not to, I’ve included all things Bourbon Boys, also known as that time when I drove my dad, uncles, and other awesome guys in my life on a tour of all the bourbon distilleries in the state (except one).

1. The first time I did yoga – WHAT was I thinking??

2. I wrote about when I got motivated.

3. Apparently I look like Paul McCartney?

4. Guys, I am not a painter.

5. Twice in one year I’m in a hospital because of an organ.

6. Bourbon Boyzzzz – six for the price of one.
One, two, three, four, five and six.

7. Saying goodbye to Grandpa.

8. Mission accomplished

9. Wherein my love affair with PIMM’S begins. Oh and Ashley and I went to England for a week.

10. I shared with you the story of my depression and anxiety. And it made me feel so much better.

So if you haven’t already, please read and enjoy. Or re-read and re-enjoy. Or tell me in the comments if I left any off you liked.

And thanks so much for reading!! I don’t really know why you do, a lot of the time, but I sure am grateful for it!

Getting serious here for a minute

It’s not always fun and games over here at on-account-of.com, or, in my offline existence either. But you know that, I’ve talked about it plenty before and for the most part, I am an open book, take it or leave it.

That said, I want to talk about something important, something serious. And it’s about a TV show. Glee, to be exact.

Now bear with me.

Before you roll your eyes, know that for all its corniness and campiness and sometimes ridiculous storylines, it also tends to confront real-life issues in a pretty serious way.

Part of Tuesday night’s episode focused on a character who in the past three seasons of the show has struggled with his sexuality and with who he is, going from a bully to bullied himself.

And in the episode, when he could think of no other way to deal, no other way to confront what was going on in his life and around him, he attempted suicide.

This hit me hard for several reasons, not all of which I’ll share.

I work with teenagers at my church. They’re middle-schoolers and high-schoolers and they’re at a time in their lives when something you or I might see as a silly worry is the worst possible thing that could happen to them.

There have been so many stories in the news recently about teens committing suicide. Because they’re being bullied. Because they’re being mistreated by other students for being who they are and trying to be proud of it.

It scares the shit out of me to think that any of those teenagers I care about so much could one day feel like this.

And it’s even scarier that it’s something that doesn’t go away, even as you get older.

There are people in my life that have been touched by suicide in some way.

There are people who’ve thought about it and then thought again. Or reached out and somehow asked for help.

Let me make one thing clear right now though – I have never been and am not suicidal. Period.

But I do know what it’s like to feel as if nothing – not work, not school, not the situation I’m in with the guy I care about – will get better. I know what it feels like to think (even if you’re completely wrong) that no one cares. I know what it’s like to hate yourself. And it’s a lonely place.

Psychological problems are just as real and just as damaging as any physical, medical problem you can get. Often it’s worse, because you can’t just put a cast or an Ace bandage on your brain or your heart for eight or nine weeks and get all better.

I saw this episode after a particularly bad day in my personal life, but the difference there is, I knew the next day would be better. It had to be.

Some people can’t think like that. Some people don’t believe it will get better. They don’t believe it will get easier. And that breaks my heart.

One of the things in life that scares me the most is the thought that someone I care about would feel this way and not talk to me, not talk to anyone. That they would not somehow, even if they’re not saying the exact words, ask for help.

I felt so many things last night watching it all play out on the show, knowing that they were just putting a face on something that’s happening all over the place. And often to people who aren’t as lucky as the character on the show. Not everyone gets a second chance.

I make sure people in my life know that I care. I tell my family and friends I love them. Because I do love them and because I will be there to catch them when they fall and help them see that things will be OK. I no longer apologize to myself or anyone else for being who I am – that girl that wears her heart on her sleeve in person and on her blog and who also posts lots of Glee songs and videos with Muppets in them.

Bullying is a terrible thing, whether it’s someone else doing it or your own mean thoughts about yourself. I could rattle off a bunch of cliches about how there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and whatnot, but I won’t. I’ll simply say that you will go through things that will suck. They will suck beyond belief. But there will be good times too. And there is – or there SHOULD BE – someone(s) in your life who will make sure of it.

And if you don’t have anyone else? Well, you know right where to find me.

Untitled

You see, I would have given this post a clever title if I could have thought of one. But I’m too mentally spent to worry about it right now. Besides, “Untitled” is all mysterious and whatnot so it should drive some hits from the curious/nosy. And you know I’m all about the blog hits.

But that’s not what this is about. This is about me. As usual. And before you say anything, here’s something to think about while you read – this is how I feel better..writing it out. Some people put it in a journal/diary no one can see. Some people bottle it up. Some people tell a friend or a family member or a therapist – which reminds me, I need to get on finding a new one of those because I haven’t seen mine in a year.

That said, continue on at your own risk. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’m in one of those weird moods I can’t explain. It’s not sad, it’s not mad, it’s….I don’t know. It’s anxiety at its finest and most annoying. Because it ain’t depression, no way.

For those of you perhaps confused at the moment, know that right now, I am just about the happiest I’ve ever been. There are a lot of good things going on. There are a lot of good things to look forward to in the coming days, weeks, months, year. I have family, friends, a job, my health (knock on wood) and relatively nothing to complain about.

But you know I’m going to complain a little bit.

90 percent of my anxiety/depression comes from a place where I never feel like I’m good enough. At anything. Even though I know it’s not true. I know I’m good at stuff. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wasn’t.

And I’ll be good. For a while. A long while. But then one little thing happens. Trivial, usually, and it makes me question myself and my talents and automatically assume the worst will happen.

I’m keeping it vague because I have a personal rule about this blog. If you want to know it, I’ll tell you, outside of the Internet. But suffice it to say that for as much as I put out there for you all to read, there’s specifics I keep to myself.

In re-reading what I’ve wrote so far, it seems confusing. So sorry if I’m making it hard to follow.

The Reader’s Digest Version isn’t much shorter, but here goes.

In three months my prescription is up for the medicine I take to keep me firing on all cylinders. In three months I have to either have found a new therapist who will keep prescribing it to me or talk to my doctor about slowly weaning myself off of it. And thinking about that makes me anxious. Which to me clearly means “stay on the meds a little longer” and “get a therapist that returns phone calls.”

When I started seeing a counselor almost 2 years ago, it was largely situational. I knew exactly what to blame it on (my job at the time) and what to do about it. But then we found out about the underlying stuff that I have no idea where it comes from because I didn’t have anything out of the ordinary ever happen to me to make me feel like that.

But sometimes – and those times are getting fewer and farther between – I feel not good enough. And please don’t tell me not to feel that way. Because I’ve said the same thing to myself. And I’m trying. God, am I trying.

And it’s funny, because recently I’ve been told by several people that I’m confident. So, there’s that. At least I can feel better knowing that for all the self-doubt I’ve got, I’m really good at not projecting it to others. At least not all the time.

Because I don’t feel like that all the time. Most of the time I feel fine. But every so often, it hits me. Every so often, because I’m stressed at work, usually, or because I’ve forgotten to just stop and BREATHE, out pops the anxiety cloud. And it’s suffocating.

I wish it was as easy as quitting that way of thinking. I wish I could do what my dad suggested tonight and take it “one day at a time” instead of looking big picture and thinking “this is what I have to do tomorrow and next week and in two weeks” and so on. I’m working on it, I swear, and I’m much better than I used to be, believe it or not.

In fact, I feel like in a lot of ways, in the past couple of years, I’ve become less stressed overall. I have adopted a Hakuna Matata way of thinking on a lot of fronts, and that’s served me well. I’ve been happier. But that doesn’t mean the anxiety stops completely. I think if it did that would make me a robot. Or a cheerleader. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

All of this is to say I’ve had a couple stressful weeks. Two, really. I’ve been home long enough to sleep and do little else and even the sleep is getting interrupted by the thoughts of all I have to do the next day. And the next.

I’m on my way out of the craziness, thank God, but then I go thinking of the future again, namely, have I learned enough about myself and how I can cope to begin the process of not being dependent on medication to be evened out? And if I’m not ready to let go of that chemical assistance, is that a bad thing?

In no way do I think it was a bad idea to ever go to a counselor, to ever start taking an anti-depressant. It is, without a doubt, the best decision I have ever made in my life. I guess it’s just now that I’m having to revisit it, to re-address it, I’m wondering – am I doing better than I was two years ago? Yes.

Am I in a better place? I think so.

Am I ever going to stop doubting myself, medicine or no medicine? Probably not.

Am I strong enough to do this on my own? I don’t know.

Note: I just re-read through all of this and it sounds like a rambling mess. So really, it’s a peek inside my mind during the past couple weeks. You’re welcome.

But getting it out feels better. I’m not gritting my teeth like I was when I started writing. I’m not thinking about anything I need to do past tomorrow.

Don’t think that I forgot that I had that public (at least on the Internet) New Year’s resolution to give myself a break this year – take it easier on myself.

I am not perfect. No one is. And no one expects me to be. So I should stop expecting it of myself. I do the best i can and everyone seems to be OK with that. Except me. But please know that I am working on it. I swear.

So please be patient with me. I’m a work in progress.

If I were a superhero

First of all, the thought of me as a superhero makes me laugh. Several reasons…you have to wear super-tight clothing, which I do not. You have to be rich, which I am not. And I didn’t have a traumatic childhood experience that completely changed me or a magnet placed in the center of my chest, a la Batman and Iron Man, respectively.

Nah, if I was a superhero, I’d be Anxiety Girl.

You’ve seen that drawing before, I’m sure. And if you haven’t, well, I’m glad you stopped by today.

It’s no secret that I have trouble with anxiety and depression. And yes, I take medicine to counteract the crazy, for the most part. But it’s still there.

Take Monday/Tuesday of this week. I did one wrong thing at work. It was something others have done and lived to speak about afterwards. But, after three hours and seeing the boss’ door closed twice, I assumed the worst. I screwed up. I’m not perfect. Ergo, I should be fired. Because that screw-up proves that I’m not good enough for this job and blah, blah, crazy girl.

Yeah. That’s how it goes.

In this case, however, I have something to blame it on. And we’ll call her “CatWoman.” Her initials are the same ones capitalized in that word, so why not.

CatWoman was my boss at the job I had before this one. She was one of a few, but the last one I had before I decided to GTFO of there. (Mom and Dad, I’ll tell you what that acronym means later, if you don’t figure it out yourselves.) And she about killed me.

Not literally, but maybe psychologically. She was a good part of the reason I started therapy. She was a good part of the reason I quit that job. She was also a good part of me realizing just how awesome I am at being passive-agressive.

She was the type of boss that should never be a boss, meaning she never mentally matured past high school. She’d make her way through our office, stopping to talk smack with an employee about another employee. Once, I had to go talk to someone and take a message for her while she hid in a closet because she didn’t want to have to talk to them.

YEAH. That happened.

If a door was closed when she worked there, it usually meant she was talking. And it was about nothing related to work. Unless you count “(Insert name of employee here) is really getting on my nerves” as work-related.

I never got called in because I didn’t put up with her shit. She’d come try to talk to me and I wouldn’t look up from my computer. She’d ask me to do something she could have just as easily done, but she wanted to treat everyone like her assistant. I told her I was too busy. I perfected the passive-aggressive thing thanks to her.

So I guess, since I wasn’t one of her loyal soldiers that catered to the bullshit, it made sense to cut my pay and my hours from an already dismal amount. She gave me reasons she’d made up and I began looking for new employment.

She is without a doubt 95 percent of the reason I am the way I am when it comes to work. I was doing what I was supposed to there. Over and above it, in fact. And I was punished. Not to mention the fact that I was punished with no warning.

So, it makes sense that it’s a short leap to think I’m being punished when I actually do do something wrong (doodoo. heh). And I hate it. I hate that I’m like that. And after I come back from the ledge I even think to myself “Really? You got all hyped up about that? What’s the point?”

And there is no point. Because nothing is worth making yourself feel like absolute shit over. And, guess what? You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. No one is. And the sooner I get that tattooed on the inside of my eyelids so I see it all the time, the better.

Anxiety Girl. She’ll save your life and then panic that she did it the complete opposite way of what she was supposed to.

Not sleeping is not a good thing

For a good portion of my adult life – I’m counting mainly after college – I’ve had trouble, off and on, with insomnia.

A little over a year ago, when my anxiety was at an all-time high, it was probably the worst it’s been. Lots of late-night TV and Internet roaming for this lady.

During that time, I got on Facebook every so often, wondering if there was anyone else up having the same problems as me that I could talk to. And one name kept showing up on my online friends.

He and I started talking after I told him I noticed we had the same hours. He joked that he was nocturnal and sometimes, a vampire, but it never went beyond that, just the Internet equivalent of a nod of the head every so often when we “saw” each other at the same place at the same time.

I knew him from high school. We weren’t close by any means, it was more of a friend of a friend situation, but we knew who the other was. A while back, we were no longer Facebook friends anymore..though I can’t remember if it was he or I that hit the remove button. We hadn’t talked in a long time and if it was me, that was probably my criteria for a friends-list reduction.

Last night, while looking at my news feed, his name popped up, because another friend was praying for his family. That could mean one of two things, so after a couple messages and reading through his Facebook wall, I found that he’d passed away.

Apparently, from what I heard, his father had passed away earlier this week. He died Thursday or Friday and my fellow vampire wasn’t taking it very well. From what it sounds like, the need for sleep was even stronger now, as I’m imagining he wanted to just check out for a little while and not have to think about what had just happened.

Friday night he took some sleeping pills and on Saturday, he didn’t wake up.

Hearing about this last night broke my heart. And kept me from sleeping until about 3 a.m.

It’s a scary thing, especially as it’s just that easy to no longer be in this world.

Insomnia’s no joke. If it was that easy to just go to sleep, it would happen. People wouldn’t lie awake worrying and thinking and letting their mind take control. They would be able to put all that’s on their hearts and minds away for a while. But a lot of people can’t. And they take medicine for it or do other things to try and make the thoughts just STOP.

But very easily, accidents can happen.

I’m not pretending to know everything involved in this guy’s life and his death this past weekend. But I do know that a year ago, when I couldn’t sleep either, he was the only other person I knew who always seemed to be up.

My heart hurts for his family and his friends and his fiancee, who must be feeling things right now that I can’t imagine.

Last night, when my eyes finally started to close and I was saying my prayers, I made sure to say one for him and for his family. Somehow, I finally got my thoughts to quiet down enough for me to sleep. And for that I am grateful, because for others, it’s not that easy.