When you think you’re OK

In the past 9 or 10 months, I have been happier than I can remember being anytime before that. Things are good for me. Good family, good job, good friends, good extracurriculars, I can afford all my bills including cable, etc., etc…

Since I quit my previous job last June, I have tried to keep busy non-stop. As my bff once put it, I was the busiest unemployed person she knew.

And then I became employed again and got even busier.

And I love it. Don’t get me wrong. The nights I sit home with nothing to do – no options of anything, nothing I’ve said no to – are few and far between. And I like it that way.

However, when you have anxiety/depression, that way of life still comes with a catch.

Last week I needed a break. I chose to work from home one day, rather than go into my AWESOME job (and it is so awesome, I’ll tell you all about it soon) with people I love being around, because of anxiety. I needed a day away from people.

You guys, I’m outgoing. I will talk to basically anyone. I am a good time at parties and other celebrations.

Case in point, St. Paddy’s. I have no idea who these people are and also I bought that Captain’s hat I’m wearing (backwards) for $10 because YOLO.

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But you know what I mean. I like being social, I like being outgoing, I am what you would call a people-person.

Until I’m not.

Did you know there’s a thing called an introverted extrovert? I didn’t until the idea was posed to me a couple years ago in therapy. (GOD I LOVE THERAPY).

It basically means you are outgoing AF, but to recharge your batteries, you actually need to be alone, rather than around all of those people you normally love to be around. Weird, right?

In my case, it apparently makes itself known that it’s time for a reboot when I just get grumpy for no reason until getting out of bed one day seems like a bad idea, no matter how great things may be. Oh and in addition to the random grumpiness (for no reason), there’s also the BLINDING fear that because everything’s so great right now, soon it won’t be. That other shoe will drop. That’s anxiety and depression for you… Welcome.

I am 100% grateful that I am able to recognize this need in myself to take a breather, because many don’t. I am 1,000% percent grateful that I was able to text my boss (who understood and supported me) and tell her exactly what was going on rather than fake an illness or maintenance appointment or some crap (which I would have had to do at my last job, because that job was the reason I stayed home. Eventually the PTSD from it will subside. I hope).

And by the next day, I felt better. I felt like me again. Ready to take on the world and all that.

(Aside..ish) I recently read the amazing Jenny Lawson’s second book, Furiously Happy. I highly recommend it because I about peed my pants at least 5 times from laughing. And I also recommend it if you want to understand the person you love with anxiety and/or depression or to feel like you’re not alone because she articulates it so much better than I can.

Even on the days I want to be alone, I’m still not alone. And neither are you. And that knowledge is so helpful. You will get through it. I did.

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One Hundred and Eighty

A week from today marks three months since I quit my job and everything changed.

Before June 1, 2015..I couldn’t tell you the last time I was legitimately, not-faking-it, seriously happy. I mean, y’all know. You’ve read this blog. How many times have I talked about my depression and anxiety and the toll it was taking on me?

(Answer: Three or four, I think).

Friends, I write to you from the other side…. and it is amazing.

Disclaimer: I’m not “cured” of depression and anxiety. That doesn’t happen. Nor do I want it to. It’s part of who I am and I’ve learned how to live with it.

The thing is.. now? It’s the most under control I’ve ever had it.

It’s ridiculous almost, how much one bad thing in one part of your life can take hold of the rest of it and completely bring you down. And I fully believe that one thing was that job.

So much has happened since the day I walked out of that office and breathed a huge sigh of relief because I never had to return to it. And now, I’m going to catch you up on (almost all of) it.

First of all, I only really had a week in there where I wasn’t sure what I would do. It was that first week after I quit, and it ended up serving as a little vacation, as much as you can call it that. I slept in a few days, but mostly I spent it trying to figure out my next move. Plus I went to that interview within two hours of quitting (that didn’t end up panning out but softened the blow of freaking out about income until I heard back haha).

Luckily, within the second week, I had not one but two amazing friends who stepped up and offered me things to do part-time. I’ve thanked them both about 100 times but probably will continue to, because they saved me a ton of stress in this interim. One of those jobs potentially could end up becoming full-time and I would take it in a heartbeat, because I’ve loved what I’ve been doing for them.

Not long after that, I got a three-day-a-week baby-sitting job through a friend of a friend. And then recently, I got a couple more regular baby-sitting gigs.

I got a part-time job running social media for probably my favorite restaurant in the city.

And soon, I will start work with one of my athletes from Special Olympics as a CLS worker, helping get him out of the house and involved in the community, working with him on budgeting and getting to appointments, finding employment and going back to school and just spending time with him.

I have said at least five times that I am basically Kirk from Gilmore Girls – which if you don’t get, I’m sorry, but this video should help some.

There’s been a little stress about the job and about money off and on, but I’ve managed to get every bill paid, even if they were a little late once.

I’ve gotten by, cutting back on things I don’t need while not becoming a hermit. I have paid much more attention to any signs I see about earning money — during a particularly stressful week, I saw a couple lost dog signs in my neighborhood offering rewards and thought about dedicating a few days to nothing but finding those dogs because that made all the sense. And money.

Here’s the thing though. That stress? Nothing compared to the stress I felt when I was at a job that made more than enough to pay my bills. Weird how that works.

What else… I have gotten a ton of stuff done for youth group-related events because I finally have time to work ahead. I got to go on a week-long trip with them to Montreat, which I am so grateful for because of the impact it had on every single one of us who attended.

I have become about 5 times more involved in Special Olympics, which I’ll discuss in another post soon.

A friend from elementary/high school got in touch with me early on this summer to join a group that focuses on accountability with getting healthier. It’s proved an awesome motivation for me and I can’t thank her enough. I have regularly hit up the gym, so much so that I need new workout clothes because mine fall off me. I’m not really a fan of my current situation, holding up my workout pants while I run, but it’s a damn good problem to have.

Everyone notices a difference in me overall. I was miserable before and it wasn’t hidden. At least 3 friends have said how much better I am to be around these days and I agree. I am happier to be around myself too.

The other night someone asked “So how are you? Are you ok?” And I said, with no sarcasm or irony or anything – “I am the happiest I have been in a very long time.” And I meant it.

As of June 2, 2015, I was venturing into the unknown, more excited than scared. I had no clue where any of it would lead. But going into it with the attitude that I would be OK and I would get better has made all the difference, because that’s what has happened.

I can’t say it enough, or really even in the right way I don’t think, but the support and love I’ve gotten since I made that decision almost 3 months ago have helped me maintain this new (old) way of living and looking at things. I am very blessed to have the friends and family I do.

Besides those that love me helping me in basically every way they could, keeping busy has been most helpful in preventing me from sliding into the sadness that could have come out of that decision June 1. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t have something to do that is either helping pay my bills or making me happy or both. And it’s usually both. Crazy, right?

When I wrote about my decision on Facebook, it got almost 200 likes and a ridiculous amount of comments. ALL of them supportive. One that stuck out especially to me was from a good friend’s mother: “You will be surprised where you are lead. It will be awesome.”

I was and it is. And I can’t wait to see what’s next.

A little less medicated

Once upon a time I thought I was crazy. Then (like 5 years ago) I saw a therapist and realized that my boss at the time was the crazy one and if I WASN’T letting that little devil (seriously, she is really short and is the devil incarnate) bother me then yes, I had some problems. Oh, and I’d had an underlying chemical imbalance for pretty much my entire life that made things that much harder.

Good news: I was still crazy, but not because of what I thought or as bad as I thought.

Let me say here that everyone is a little crazy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Because there are people that love you for and in spite of it and if you haven’t found them you’re doing it wrong.

Anyways, so I found out my chemicals were off. And after a few months of excessive amounts of talking to a professional in these sorts of things, we came up with a plan. I’d continue to see her to talk about how to cope with the feelings I’d get about how everything sucked and I wasn’t good enough and other peoples’ bad moods were because of me, but also we’d try a little bit of medication, just to see.

And it worked alright at first, and then it didn’t. There were still days I didn’t want to get out of bed (too many of them, in fact) and though I had every reason in the world to be happy, I was nowhere close.

What they sometimes don’t mention – at least I didn’t know about it – about depression is that it can get worse before it gets better. And it did. Both. It got worse, and we upped the meds and then it got better.

Part of that I credit to the medication. It balanced me out, knocked me upright again, pretty much got rid of any and all depression I was having (even though it still lurks there from time to time, its much quieter and doesn’t visit nearly as often anymore) and moved me right on into anxiety.

Ohhhhh, anxiety. That nasty bitch. It’s been harder to shake than the depression was, but we’re working on it. And by we, I don’t mean me and the other personalities or voices in my head (I said crazy, but not like, real crazy, y’all). I mean me and my therapist, a new one I’ve had for a couple years now. She’s amazing and wonderful and done so much for me and I found her through the Internet and I highly recommend she be everyone’s therapist. That’s how much I love her. And with her help and all I’ve learned from my time with her, I felt good enough to make a decision about the future of my mental health.

I’m working my way off the meds.

I saw my physician last month, and decided to cut the dosage of the antidepressant I take in half, slowly, hopefully, weaning myself off of it completely before the end of this year.

It wasn’t a quick decision, or one I came to lightly. In fact, I was anxious. Anxious about giving up the medicine that helps you deal with anxiety. There’s a joke in there somewhere.

But I’m in an entirely different place than I was back then – when I started to get help for these feelings I’d had forever. Then I didn’t know that it was OK to be sad and anxious and it may not be my fault at all. I might just be wired that way.

I don’t credit medication for getting me here – it just made the trip a little easier.

But these days I am happier, more relaxed, less worrisome about trivial things that would have knocked me on my ass five years ago. And I’m more confident in myself and my ability to handle things that I thought this plan – this slowly working my way off of chemical help – was worth a shot.

Funny enough, the last day of my former dosage? Was the day I made an offer on a condo, that I then didn’t end up getting. Yeah it sucked, but I’m surprisingly fine. And I’ll be fine. And soon, hopefully, medication free.

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.

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.

Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn

Did you feel a change in the atmosphere Tuesday? Like the world got a little better and colors were brighter and while life might still have been kicking your ass, at least it was wearing slippers instead of steel-toed boots?

It’s on account of The Album.

Mumford’s new one, DUH.

They played some of this stuff at their concert I saw last month wherein I confirmed my suspicions, that Marcus Mumford has the voice of an angel.

Download it/buy it/order it/watch it on YouTube/borrow it from a friend or whatever you need to do, just get it. It’s that good.

Current favorite obsession?

This one.

I can’t even…

What music does – what REALLY good music does – is takes you away. No matter the drama, no matter the day you’ve had, the week you’ve had, the year you’ve had, a good song (or better yet, a good album, which are few and far between) pulls you out of it. At least for the time you’re listening.

There are many times I’ve just sat and listened. Nothing else, just listened to a song and let my mind close off to all of the other stresses and problems and worries of the day.

It’s not something that’s happened as many times as I would prefer, and it’s a practice I’m reinstating. A few minutes a day, just to zone out and concentrate on nothing but listening to or singing along with a good song. A song that makes your heart and mind and soul smile. And I’m so serious, you guys, that song you just (hopefully) listened to, that’s one of them for me.

What’s your song going to be?

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.

Been there, done that

Whenever I get stressed, I have dreams about high school or college. I think I’ve told you about this before. In the dreams I have already graduated, but then find out that there was a class I forgot to go to. Ever. Or a test I didn’t pass so my grades are all wrong and I have to go back.

No thank you.

If when I’m stressed, the first thing my subconscious goes to is high school, that should mean it was the most stressful time of my life, right?

I don’t know. In some ways it was, but who’s isn’t. At least at the time, everything seems to be the worst possible thing or best possible thing when it happens. Until you get past high school and realize there are much more important things to worry about.

My high school experience wasn’t all bad. In fact, I liked a majority of it. I met some great people that I still keep in touch with and hang out with on a regular basis. However, the only one I see constantly from my graduating class is my roommate.

I tell you that to tell you this – in one year, my graduating class will be celebrating 10 years out of high school. They’ve already started the Facebook group and messages and stuff about what we want to do and who wants to come and I could not be less interested.

Same goes for the roommate. We’ve made a pact, I guess you could call it, to not go.

Why? ‘Cause it doesn’t matter to me. If I wanted to see these people or what they were doing I could just look at their Facebook page. And if you do that, then you don’t have to talk to them!

We’re not close. We’re not like my sister’s graduating class who basically all ended up as good friends and a majority of which went to the same college so everyone kept pretty well in touch. I saw some people from my graduating class at college – besides the group of friends I went down there with – and they acted like we’d been best friends when they saw me.

Or, in one case, when they needed help with homework because we were in the same class, all the sudden we’re buddies. When, in reality, you had about 2 words to say to me the entire four years we shared several classes a day.

I’m just not interested. I don’t want to go, so, as it stands now, I’m not.

I’ll just stick to what I’ve already done – helped out at my sister’s class reunions and tried to be an honorary member of that class. I hang out with more of them anyway.

It’s like allergies. For your brain.

I have a dream of a day when I’ll wake up without one of the following – a headache, a stuffy nose or a sore throat.

And on that day, I don’t know what I’ll do, on account of I’ve never had a miracle happen to me before so I don’t really know the protocol, or how I would react, should such an amazing thing happen.

Allergies suck. And they never really go away.

Another thing that doesn’t go away? Depression.

I’ve told you guys before about how I used to be sad but then it got better.

It’s still better, don’t get me wrong. And please don’t think something crazy has happened to make me all the sudden be talking about this again. But it’s true, it sticks around. It’s like allergies, in your brain.

The thing about allergies, though, is I usually can guess when they’re coming. The depression stuff’s not that easy.

See, it sneaks up. One day you’re feeling like it’s under control, and the next day, you would be totally fine if all your day consisted of was not moving from that safe, comfy spot on your bed.

And it’s not like I have anything to be upset about. My problems, the limited amount of them I have, pale in comparison to most. Not to mention, they pale in comparison to the problems of several of my friends and family lately.

I think that’s what’s most frustrating. I can’t shake it sometimes because I don’t know what to blame it on. I just feel…down.

I’m not worrying about stuff, I’m not being a Negative Nancy, I just feel like I’m in a funk. And it comes and goes, which is even more frustrating.

And while it’s nowhere near where it was before I figured out what the hell my deal was, it’s still a pain.

Depression’s a chemical imbalance in your brain. And my chemicals need to balance themselves out, ’cause this is ridiculous.

When you say you’re sad, especially when you don’t really know why you are, people tend to kind of just tell you to be happy. Like it’s that easy.

I’ve said before, I’m not going to be that super-excited all the time Peppy Pepster, because I think that’s pretty unrealistic too. I don’t know anyone that’s perfectly content all the time. And if there are people that are, well, they’re on some serious uppers.

This will pass, because it always does, I’ve just got to wait for it to. Just like the allergies.

Whenever I get sad, I stop being sad…

…and be awesome instead.

That’s a quote from a show. Don’t act like you’re surprised – TV and movies are where most of my conversations come from anyway, remember?

This particular one is from How I Met Your Mother and maybe one of the best characters on TV, Barney Stinson.

It’s also kind of been my motto the past several months.

You see, it’s been a somewhat interesting year for me. There have been a couple changes. The biggest one? I got better.

I know what you’re thinking – you’re already amazing, how could you possibly get better?! Well, sweet friends, that’s not what I meant. And I wasn’t sick either…really.

For the majority of my life I’ve felt like…I’m driving a car with four flat tires. I didn’t come up with that analogy myself, I had some help, but it describes how I felt the last, oh, 25.5 years of my life maybe?

Ask my family, my best friends from high school and those who know me really, really well. They’ll tell you that I haven’t always been the most pleasant person to be around (I know, I know, you’re surprised). I worried too much, stressed too much and was the most pessimistic person you’d ever meet. Not to mention something was almost always wrong.

Well, I take that back. I was bad…ish. But I was no Debbie Downer or anything.

Anyways. I’ve always been the kind of person that worries. Part of it’s the Oldest Child Syndrome. But it’s usually about stupid stuff – Example: A lot of high school, college and even a couple years ago I worried about people being mad at me for something. Did they have a reason to be? No. But if we weren’t talking or things were different, I automatically assumed it was my fault. Stupid? Yes, but I didn’t realize that. Yet.

So last year about this time, as my life was beginning to be made miserable by a person whose initials may or may not be the same as a television station that has crappy programming, it was recommended to me by a very good friend that I should talk to somebody. And not a friend or family member.

Cut to what I now refer to as The Best Thing I Ever Did. I started seeing a counselor. A counselor who after a day of talking to me had me figured out. And realized that while what was going on at the time played a big part in how I was feeling, I’d probably also had something up with me my whole life.

I’ve never really considered myself fully depressed. Like if there were levels one to 10, I’d probably be about a 4. A six or seven on a bad day maybe? But there did come a point – after the insomnia and the stress headaches and the blood pressure got really bad – where some things needed to change.

I made the counselor visits more of a regular thing and while I went in skeptical, this lady helped me more than I could have imagined. I told her the things I worried about and she told me ways to deal with it.

I told her about how I worried about people being mad at me and for some reason, it didn’t click until she said “Everything’s not about you.” Um, duh. Why hadn’t I thought of that? ‘Cause it’s the damn truth. And with that little sentence, things started to change.

Crazy, huh?

Speaking of crazy, I kind of felt that way. Why was I so down all the time when I really had nothing AT ALL in my life to be down about? This is where the four flat tires analogy comes in. And the realization that these feelings don’t mean you’re crazy, they don’t mean something’s “wrong” with you. It means you have a chemical imbalance in your brain that’s not allowing you to buck up and enjoy your life, already.

So I’ve made some changes in the past year – in the way I look at things, the way I think about things, the way I let things (and people) make me feel. Perspective is a hell of a thing, ya know, because I think of what used to get me down and I’m like, “Really? People have so much bigger problems than this…”

That’s not to say I don’t still worry. And I still get pessimistic, but I’m working on that with the help of one of my best friends I’ve kind of hired (for free) as a life coach. And by life coach I mean I text her what I’m thinking and she tells me why it’s ridiculous. It’s worked out quite well so far.

Some people have told me they never knew. They think I’m funny and confident and positive and can’t imagine me being one of those people that’s always upset about something. And that’s amazing to me because that was the opposite of how I saw myself. Until recently.

I’m trying my hardest to be positive about things and it’s something I think will still take a little more time. I’m trying to be confident ’cause, well, I am funny, dammit. And people like me. And before I start sounding like that old SNL skit….

My unwritten – and unspoken, actually – New Year’s Resolution in 2010 was to be happy. And I think I’ve finally gotten there, for the first time since I can’t remember when.

I’m still not gonna be the most peppy and grinny and OH MY GOD SHE’S SO HAPPY IT’S ANNOYING person you’ll meet, but in my opinion I’ve come a long way in the past year. And it will hopefully (See? Look at that positivity!) just keep getting better.