mental health

Some Sunday Selections

I normally (er… used to normally?) hook up links to my blog during my www. Wednesday feature, but since I’m SO far behind, I figured I’d roll ’em all out here on this lazy Sunday. Or, if you’re like me, you’ve already been up for three hours listening to the Arctic Monkeys and planning blog entries.

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+ I LOVE short stories. There is something about them that is so special; here’s a list compiled by Refinery29 of 30 you need to read… bookmarked and ready to go over here!

+ My friend S posted or sent this McSweeney’s article to me forever ago, and it just knocked me off my feet. It’s a perfect picture of our mental health care system right now, as written by a lady writer whose been through it all. She’s also witty as hell, so read it if you like charming-as-hell writing.

+ Not that I know anyone like this (cough… me), but I’ll just leave this here for anyone who might understand the 11 struggles of being a highly sexual being.

+ Through pure chance, I am apparently a combination of two of my lady heroes’ body-type wise: KimK (hourglass) and Angelina (carrot), and I could not be happier. I also adore how many body types they address in this article. #Refinery29JunkieForLife

+ I will never tire of this highly paid teachers salary math problem floating around on the Internet. Spoiler alert: teachers are so, so, SO underpaid.

+ BLESS THIS POST: 15 things you don’t owe ANYONE.

+ Just sayin’, this dude ain’t a marriage counselor for nothing. He understands why women (or men) leave and/or cheat on the ones they love: lack of attention/gratitude/listening.

+ Because I miss it every day, here’s a compilation of 26 Office quotes that will make you laugh. There are thousands more if you just WATCH THE SHOW!

+ I was appalled to find that the Neutrogena products I’d been using for YEARS were exposed as being horrible for you/NOT WORKING this year, especially since I’m (for the most part) vigilant about sun exposure. EWG has an extensive list of sunscreens that actual work, while also being good for your body.

+ God, I hope this scientifically-proven method of decreasing procrastination works on my concrete-stubborn procrastination tendencies.

+ This beauty article makes me feel so validated about my brow tendencies. Here’s how to keep your brows on FLEEK… and get ’em there if you don’t feel satisfied yet 🙂

+ Please enjoy this puppy photo to brighten your day, or you know, make it brighter.

via jjae

via jjae

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Hopefully I’ve caught up enough to jump back into the www. Wednesday pattern later this week! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, lovies ❤

Prepping for a New’n

This idea comes from Into Mind. I saw it on the blog and thought it’d be perfect to post here to share my experiences in 2014 and my dreams for 2015 with my favorite people: my readers!

YOUR 2014

    • 1. What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about? Hands down, this goes to my sister’s mega Christmas surprise of leaving Japan and ending up on our front porch instead of in Thailand as she led us to believe.
    • 2. If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be? Chaotic, progressive, eye-opening.
    • 3. What new things did you discover about yourself? That I truly cannot do something “tolerable;” that I must do what I love. That I need an environment and people who allow me to go full-throttle on being myself and only myself. That I need to live instead of what I’ve been doing.
    • 4. What single achievement are you most proud of? Changing the lives of my students.
    • 5. What was the best news you received? That I’m going to officially be an {unofficial} aunt next June 😀
    • 6. What was your favourite place that you visited in 2014? Everywhere I visited in ol’ 2014 would be categorized as repeats, but it was really nice to get back to Boone twice this year.
    • 7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year? I suppose honesty, or rather, openness.
    • 8. Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on? Jeff
    • 9. Which new skills did you learn? Hm… mayhaps I am forgetting something, but this wasn’t a particularly fruitful year for skill-learnage.
    • 10. What, or who, are you most thankful for? I’m most thankful for the love that got me and my circle through this year, spanning from the weddings and other celebrations we attended to the hugs we gave one another when we were crying or laughing.
    • 11. If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else? A coming-of-age comedy-drama with some awesome highs, but LOTS of lulls.
    • 12. What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014? When all the outer AND inner elements are right, there will still be people who work really hard to bring you down; if your heart’s not in it, let them. Let them show you that you need to move on. Let them show you that you deserve more, better, what your soul’s been aching for while you’ve been skating by on simply surviving instead of living…
    • 14. What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with? 1) My roomie. 2) The Wolfpack. 3) My clan. 4) My clan’s clan. 5) SQUAD.
    • 15. What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise? Landing a new job, I suppose……..
    • 16. How did your relationship to your family evolve? I have tried really hard to get closer to all of the “families” in my life, and as the year comes to a close, I know that something has shifted positively. Still can’t wait to do a better job in 2015, though.
    • 17. What book or movie affected your life in a profound way? The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho {explanation here}.
    • 18. What was your favourite compliment that you received this year? “You’re the best teacher because you actually care.” – So many of my students aka LOVE Y’ALL.
    • 19. What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life? I’m not gonna lie, my Smart TV is straight up the savior of my sanity this year, and spending time with that every afternoon was pretty rad. Also, my dogs. And caffeine. AND BAKED GOODS!
    • 20. What cool things did you create this year? A pretty spot-on Bellatrix Lestrange costume that won a contest at the HP Yule Ball. Some cool photo backdrops (even though I haven’t used them all… yet). Some cute little ledge gardens. A hot bod… for the first 8 months of 2014, at least.
    • 21. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? STRESSED.
    • 22. Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year? I had my first fancy four-course+ meal. I mean, technically it was NYE of 2013, but I’M COUNTING IT! There were a million other tiny things, too, but food wins.
    • 23. What was your favourite moment spent with your friends? We had some great times in so many different ways, from big birthday celebrations in cozy mountain cabins to beach trips galore to late-night mini Christmas parties and everything in between.
    • 24. What major goal did you lay the foundations for? I tried to lay the foundations for my own business. Only customers and 2015 can see where it all will go!
    • 25. Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary? Hm. This is a tough question for someone with an anxiety disorder AND an extremely intuitive intuition (ha). I feel like all my worries turned out to be valid, even if I only found out months later that they were. Hey, maybe that’s just the GAD talking.
    • 26. What experience would you love to do all over again? The Paul McCartney concert!! An amazing experience from head to toe.
    • 27. What was the best gift you received? I received a lot of great stuff, but my Valentine’s day surprise from J was out of this world, especially since part of it was going to see Shaun of the Dead on the big screen!
    • 28. How did your overall outlook on life evolve? I feel like my year started more positively than it ended, so I’d like to think that I had grateful/joyous intentions with my outlook that then got beaten down by life the rest of the year.
    • 29. What was the biggest problem you solved? Finding a damn house in this new city! J & I searched foreverrrrr.
    • 30. What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it? I can think of a couple of things that instantly bring a smile to my face, but I feel like they are meant to stay private to keep them hilarious…….. and to save face for a few folks 😉
    • 31. What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever? My one-bedroom apartment for myself. It was really great living alone and supporting myself, getting to do what I wanted, when I wanted!
    • 32. What one thing would you do differently and why? Held out for true fulfillment by not letting money drive my decision-making about what I have to do for 5/7ths of my life.
    • 33. What do you deserve a pat on the back for? Moving me, myself, and I FOUR TIMES without killing myself or anyone who came to help.
    • 34. What activities made you lose track of time? Podcast-filled road trips, Netflix binges, organizing my life, and spending time with loved ones while laughing non-stop.
    • 35. What did you think about more than anything else? Work, unfortunately. I even nightmare dream about it.
    • 36. What topics did you most enjoy learning about? The back of my eyelids and what Netflix selection would best bring me there. (Dude, exhaustion is a big ol’ bitch that can ruin your whole life; THIS IS A SERIOUS OFFENSE!)
    • 37. What new habits did you cultivate? 1) Cleaning every day to keep the mess at bay. 2) Not drinking.
    • 38. What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could? It’s not going to get any less crazy until you jump off the crazy-train, so just grit and bear it until you can escape!
    • 39. Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year? My better self (happy, hard-working, healthy, productive) was sabotaged mid-year by my worse self (depressed, over-working, unhealthy, sedentary). Here’s to my better self having all the say in 2015.
    • 40. What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year? My career had the biggest impact on me this year. I taught students who became family, finally made some friends at work, and realized what does and doesn’t work for me as a human, the latter of which is something I’ll be delving into majorly in 2015…

YOUR 2015

    • 41. What do you want the overarching theme for your 2015 to be? Metamorphosis.
    • 42. What do you want to see, discover, explore? I want to explore new countries, especially a few in Europe. I want to see more of what I want to see, which sounds vague, but makes sense if you feel like you’ve been confined most of your adult life.
    • 43. Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015? Myself.
    • 44. What skills do you want to learn, improve or master? I want to learn how to sew and woodwork. I want to improve my crafting skills. I want to master fashion, running a business, and being myself without saying “sorry” every two seconds.
    • 45. Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen? Authenticity.
    • 46. What do you want your everyday life to be like? 200% less stressful than any day this past year, and filled with joy, gratification, quality work, and love. A little dancing wouldn’t hurt either.
    • 47. Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of? I would like to get out of the habit of spacing 100% when I leave work. I want to change my living habits to be more minimalistic. I want to cultivate my work ethic I apply in an office and transfer it to be the same anywhere.
    • 48. What do you want to achieve career-wise? Work for myself for now and ever and EVER, amen.
    • 49. How do you want to remember the year 2015 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now? As the year I did everything for myself (DOES NOT EQUAL selfish) and finally got my shit together.
    • 50. What is your number one goal for 2015? To finally live doing the things that will keep my best self at the forefront, even if that means losing money, reputation, grace, friends, family, lovers, etc.

How-To: Get Back to Yourself

Life throws us loops. Some are amazing, while others are absolutely devastating, but most loops fall in the massive, massive gray area in between. Regardless of where they lie on the scale, all these changes can take us out of ourselves. We start freaking out about something great happening two months away or we stress about where we’ll find money tomorrow. It’s like an anxiety record playing on a loop constantly, and eventually, it’ll catch up. My own stress, good and bad, has caught up to me big time. I think it’s important to remind you and I of all the best ways we can get back to being ourselves.

1. Take a day. Hell, I don’t care. Take 3 days. Take as many days as you need to feel like you’re not a live wire fallen in the middle of a rainy road. Do whatever your body tells you to do those days, and most of the time, it will tell you to sleep and drink a lot of water.

2. Do something you love without apology. Have a movie marathon. Read lots of books. Take a long walk alone. Sing at the top of your lungs to Beyonce. Combine all of these things at the same time. Whatever it is, do it only if you love it, and do it for you.

3. TREAT YO’ SELF! This doesn’t have to be a lucrative purchase, but on the other hand, it can be. You call the shots! Take yourself out to a movie or get your hair done. Go shopping with your friends. Make yourself realize you’re worth it.

4. Start some lists. You should at least make a list of things you enjoy doing and are good at doing — these won’t necessarily intersect, so make sure you’ve got two columns or some fancy Venn diagram. Next up: to-do lists, goals to achieve, goals for those goals, etc.

5. Hone in on “your things.” The point of all those lists is to try to rediscover what your happiest self enjoys doing, both for hobby and for money. Once you find these things again, focus on them intensely and deeply in an effort not to lose sight of the elements that leave you fulfilled and essentially yourself.

6. Plan and schedule. In order to keep your head about you after taking time for yourself and rediscovering your passions, try to plan and schedule not only your goals and happy activities, but time for yourself to recharge so you won’t burn out again… at least not any time soon.

7. Organize and purge. Once you have a plan and goals, make sure you don’t have any obstacles — physical or mental — in the way. Organize your desk, dump toxic people. Basically, clean house in every meaning of the phrase.

8. Slowly emerge back into society. If it wasn’t clear, steps 1-7 should all be done alone. These are things that shape YOUR life and no one else’s, so you should be solo for a while. However, it is important to incorporate your loved ones back in as soon as you’re done being a self-growth vampire.

9. If you’re still struggling, get advice. NOW is the time to ask your pals for a word or two. Seek answers from your parents or a therapist. Use the magic of online forums. Whatever it is you choose, just make sure you are 100% sure about where you’ll be going from here on out because…

10. Do “your thing(s).” …in order to properly do your things, aka LIVE YOUR LIFE, you need to be sure in yourself and your decisions, at least for the moment. You can tweak your plan, but only after you’ve begun to execute one.

If you’re a visual person, this is basically what the plan looks like:

20140728-233731-85051422.jpg

Regular Monet, right?

www. Wednesday

I went into the archives for some of these, and OH BABY, did it pay off! Enjoy these for now, ’cause I have some good ones on the deck for the next coupl’a weeks!

+ The most accurate post about baby names that make us want to punch (or at least vigorously shake) someone.

+ I have been obsessed with finding the perfect oil-cleaning regimen for my face and now own approximately 5 different types for different occasions. HERE ARE MORE TO ADD TO MY (AND YOUR) COLLECTION!

+ If you think you know what teachers do, you’re wrong. {Just like I don’t know what a bookkeeper does all day. Sit around, upset that they don’t actually get to be a keeper of a large library of delightful books?!? I HAVE NO IDEA!}

+ It’s no secret: if you’re from the South (specifically NC), and you don’t like David Sedaris, you’re not a true Southerner. Read this moving piece he wrote about his deceased sister. He’ll still find a way to make you laugh.

+ Mental health sufferers! Remember all those times someone said they didn’t believe you or they didn’t understand? GET THEM TO PLAY THIS GAME, aptly called “Depression Quest.” It’s an interactive video game that will make the naysayers see the light.

+ I have this list of 100 Reasons to Start Loving Yourself Right Now in my “Life” binder in my Inspiration Collection (something I’ll talk about at length here on the blog soon). It really is a good list of reminders, and it’s nice to see a lot of stuff on it that doesn’t normally show up on your typical “do this to get that” list o’ things.

+ Absolutely one of my favorite posts of all time: 27 Definitions to Words You Likely Never Knew Existed.

+ If you didn’t already know – ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD! – about my raging addiction to Welcome to Night Vale, please read this step-by-step process on how I got there. And now, the weather…

How I Got My Happiness Back

depression

It’s funny, you know? You can appear to have it all or if you’re really lucky, you can actually have it all. But sometimes it’s not enough; not for your lack of gratitude or love, but because your brain doesn’t register the actualities of happiness. It doesn’t understand “This is what I need, what I want, what I’ve worked so hard for.” It only vomits back “I DON’T FEEL GOOD! EVERYTHING IS GLOOMY, DISGUSTING, AND MEANINGLESS! GO EAT A LOT OF FOOD AND CRY!”

It’s not like I didn’t know something was wrong. I had suspicions I was close to the edge, but I shrugged those off as usual stresses. Besides, I’d had worries all my life, some that even registered with the DSM. I thought I had it under control because I’ve always “had it under control.” Even in the blackest of holes, I’ve somehow found a way to defy physics and light up my darkness. This time, though… this time was different. This time was above me, beyond me. And when I pushed and stretched and struggled to light up the shadows around me, I couldn’t. Sometimes I could muster a flicker, but it couldn’t hold its crappy candle to the depression.

People noticed I was different. They noticed I was sad, exhausted, angry, neurotic, withdrawn. But no one saw the depth of it, not really. They didn’t see me cry silently every day so my roommate couldn’t hear. They didn’t see me yelling and screaming at all of the things that were going wrong. They didn’t see me drowning in a sea of thoughts that even skimmed over the idea of death; not so much in a suicidal manner, but in a “I don’t mean anything to anyone, and everything is pointless, so why am I alive?” kind of way.

One day, I started freaking out when I realized how very little it would take to break me. How easily I could become even less than nothing. If I lost this or I lost that, that would be it. I wouldn’t be able to cope, and those thoughts about doubting aliveness would become believing in the soothing nothingness of death. I was no longer responsible for my own thoughts. I was merely a vessel for my fucked up brain and its malfunctioning internal responses to external stimuli.

I had to change something, but as I’d told every person who told me to just “get better,” it wasn’t as simple as that. Often and violently, I pointed out that “mental illness needs medical attention in the same vein as the flu. You wouldn’t tell someone vomiting to just ‘get over it!'” However, I knew I had to work on myself in the lag time between mental crisis and the first moments the SSRI kicked in. So in spite of myself, though I knew it couldn’t solve all of my despair, I made the effort to start trying to change what small part of my mind I still had control over. Think happy to be happy, you know? Ugh.

It wasn’t easy. It’s strikingly hard to jolt yourself out of a coma, especially when you’re not really in charge of whether you’re awake or not. But sometimes, even when you’re more feeble than you’ve ever been, your pinky finger still finds a notch to hold onto in the side of the tunnel you’re careening into. Sometimes it’s just enough of a grip for you to slowly bring up your ring finger, then your middle and index fingers before you finally have a whole hand holding on to something – anything – again.

I realized through a lot of tears and a lot of talking to my partner about getting better that it was possible to do so through baby steps, despite those steps being the ones I am worst at taking. I had to learn how, which made it seem all the more daunting and painful, but he is the one who really convinced me I could control what parts of me were left unsullied by mental disease. And so I did…

I decided to work out any time I got angry.
And I joined a gym, then spent many weeks grappling the crippling anxiety of returning to public workout life. But when I finally jumped that scary first hurdle, my body immediately thanked me. It begged for more. It started to return to its toned shape, and all my rage and fatigue finally had an outlet. It will always be a struggle for me to make it there after a horrible day, but I also know I will always be one of those {annoying} folks who just finds peace in exercise.

I decided to shower every time I sobbed uncontrollably.
And I did eventually, but it took a long time to get myself in that stall. Once I was there, I found reason. I started being able to work out some things, even if they only stayed under the droplets in the shower. For 15 minutes, I could either completely let go or completely control myself, whichever came more naturally. Both felt good. So did realizing my hair didn’t have to dread horribly if I remembered to tend to it a little more frequently. (Oh, and going to the gym more often actually required me to wash myself. Two birds, right?)

I decided to create after bad days at work.
And I found myself getting better at those creative things I love, remembering practice makes perfect, and strengthening my soul and its drive to push through for greatness. I started writing more, making more items for the shop I hope to own ever-so-soon, and I started cooking dinner for myself again. I started doing, doing, and doing, but only if it was something I wanted to create, something I thought would make me better.

I decided to laugh when it hurt. I decided to get up and sing. I decided to walk and snuggle with my dog more. I decided to eat better. I decided to get up and leave when I didn’t like the environment. I decided to forgive. I decided to let go of toxic waste. I decided to realize what a beautiful life I had built. I decided to live.

Tired of Tired

I’m tired.

I’m tired of not appreciating enough the only job that will have me. I’m tired of not having money. I’m tired of working too hard to make the career I DO want for myself. I’m tired of being told “sometimes you have to do things in life you don’t want to do,” just to turn around and alternatively be told “life’s too short, so do what you love.” I’m tired of asking for help and not getting any. I’m tired of being told to ask for help after I’ve already asked. I’m tired of busting my ass to make an occupation I love and getting door after door slammed in my face. I’m tired of people telling me “you must not be working hard enough, then.”

I’m tired.

I’m tired of feeling anxious and worried all the time. I’m tired of explaining those things stem from illness. I’m tired of explaining that yes, mental illness is real. I’m tired of feeling sick all the time. I’m tired of doctors telling me I’m okay when I feel so distinctly un-okay. I’m tired of feeling fatigue on 3 or 8 or 10 hours of sleep. I’m tired of internally hating my sicknesses when I love my self and my body so much. I’m tired of being told to walk it off, work through it, get over it. I’m tired of searching for a solution and finding the same old lines fed to me by professionals who haven’t ever had their mind and body fighting against them. I’m tired of not getting to enjoy life because I’m bound by invisible chains of pain.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of being the last one. I’m tired of being a best friend, but not THE best friend. I’m tired of being alone and lonely, one or the other or both. I’m tired of waiting in the wings. I’m tired of putting myself out there too often, too far. I’m tired of having to go back into hiding. I’m tired of always caring, but never being cared for. I’m tired of missing people, even when some of those people are still right in front of me. I’m tired of calling, texting, emailing, chatting. I’m tired of letting all of it slide, letting everyone think it’s okay to put me last. I’m tired of being unsupported.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of knowing where I should be, yet not having the means to get there. I’m tired of knowing who and what makes me happy, yet unimportant realities get priority, get in the way when they shouldn’t. I’m tired of apologizing. I’m tired of trying to fit my round personality into a boring square hole. I’m tired of screaming. I’m tired of not fulfilling my potential in life for reasons I don’t understand, but reasons that nonetheless weigh so heavily on my shoulders every day.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of knowing I’m good enough and falling on my face every. single. time. I’m tired of being told to grow up, to stop caring, to get over it, to let go of my dreams. I’m tired of a lack of faith, of hope, of connection, of love. I’m tired of pleasing others who say they know what’s best for me. I’m tired of being told I’m not capable of knowing what is best for myself. I’m tired of standing up for myself. I’m tired of being anyone other than myself.

I’m tired of being tired.

Anxious Beast

Anxiety is something so native to my being I often find it hard to believe when people don’t understand it. “What do you mean you just… do something?” I find it biting when they don’t think it’s real. “You mean you don’t trust the thoughts in my head are actually happening the way the thoughts in your head are?” I find it daunting to try and explain it to the former, let alone the latter, but I just found the most brilliant and accurate illustration of anxiety on the face of this planet. Ladies and gents, The Anxiety Monster.
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Source unknown, but I’d love to credit the genius behind this.)
 
26 Gonnas for 26 is really about working on ignoring that ugly boogeyman. While I’ve started on a handful of the 26ers, I have to constantly battle the beast in my brain that says I can’t do them. But as we always say here: oh, I’m gonna.

A Tale of Woe

I wish I had the comedic efforts of Allie Brosh to aid in this tale, but alas, I am not in a place of creativeness; if I were, could I even begin to write/illustrate something as magnificent, yet touching, as these entries? I hope so, but know the answer is “LOL, probably not, girl.”

On with the tale…

It all started sometime last year, when I started feeling something of a quarter-life crisis. I was happy with the good parts of my life, but couldn’t shake the funk of the bad parts. In fact, I often let the stuff bothering me eclipse the stuff that made me smile. It left me in a series of funks, but every time I found my way out, so I figured it was just self-pity or a part of growing up.

Not so long ago, I felt better for a lengthier period of time than I had for as long as I can remember. My life started to go on an upswing: I figured out some of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to do it with. I felt mostly okay, but there would always be something…

That something was and is normally me overthinking any and everything. It’s how I’ve always been, and on occasion, it can be helpful. But there are the other times, most times, when I overthink something that has little importance in reality, or overanalyze someone’s actions for stupid reasons. Times when I can’t stop the thoughts, as irrational as they sound even to myself. Times when I can’t find happiness or any other emotion, even when I want to.

via Hyperbole and a Half

I alternate between non-stop movement and sloth-like slowness, physically and mentally speaking, both accompanied with this astounding fatigue that feels like it has been here since I was born. I am never quite manic, but I’m never quite depressed either. Must mean the irritability, the paranoia, the anxiety, the sadness, the nothingness, the tiredness, and all the ups and downs and in-betweens must be normal, right? It’s totally normal to feel nothing about a new job. It’s totally normal to slouch in non-productiveness all day because you feel like an ocean is sitting on top of you. It’s totally normal because it’s not noticeably or dangerously abnormal. Right? RIGHT?!

I’ll take wrong for $500, Alex.

After a series of events and lots of chats with my truth-sayer, I realized the reactions I have, while somewhat a part of who I am, are still not necessarily normal. It’s like I have a five-course Brinner in front of me all the time and I just think, “Huh, I really could care less about the delicious and copious ways in which crispy bacon has been utilized in this meal.” But then sometimes I think “THERE IS NO WAY THIS IS MINE. SOMETHING MUST BE WRONG. THERE MUST BE SOMETHING HIDDEN UNDER THIS TABLE! THE CHEFS ARE PROBZ POISONING ME! GOOD BRINNER JUST DOESN’T FALL INTO MY LAP!” And other times I’m like “Oh, man, I really hope all the animals that died to make this didn’t have large families, and golly, I really hope these carbs don’t clog my arteries and give me a heart attack, and SHIT, I should probably make sure that everyone else at Brinner has their meals taken care of first, and OMG! I can’t believe the chef hasn’t come out of the kitchen to check on us yet. Do you think he’s okay? He’s probably burning alive.”

It’s exhausting to read. It’s exhausting to write. It’s exhausting to live. I mean really, who can’t just sit back and enjoy the bacon, no matter the circumstances? You should be able to… but I can’t. Why?

In good faith, I headed to my always-trusty Internet to start investigating the process of fixin’-uppin’. After a few duds, I found a somewhat decent and free online test to take to begin to narrow down what my mind’s ailment could be. I knew I couldn’t be bi-polar, but everything seemed somewhat similar; a distant cousin of the disorder perhaps. And while I did score high on said disorder, I also scored high on something called Cyclothymia.

To be crass, cyclothymia is like bi-polar lite. If bi-polar were the Catholic church, I’d be Episcopalian. Of course, I have to be diagnosed. I have an appointment to chat with my trusty psych later this month to hopefully do that, but I honestly don’t know what the course will be. I do know that it’s a step.

That step is a crucial one, but it’s not where this journey starts, and most certainly not where it ends. I also have to start making decisions that make me happy, and more importantly, decisions simply to be happy — a hard fight, but one I think I can win. And this happiness must be based on my own notions, not some pre-described ones my friends, or my family, or even society as a whole may try to force upon me. I need to find my happy to find my way back to myself.

So goes my tale of woe. I know it’s not the worst there’s ever been, nor the worst there will ever be. But I do think it’s an important tale to tell because as someone who has lived it for a long time, it can be really hard to admit to yourself something is wrong. It can also be even harder to notice something is wrong to begin with. Luckily, I have a person to kick my ass in gear, but if you don’t… well, here I am:

Get your ass in gear! Take a test. Call a number. Make an appointment. Mental health is still health. E’rrybody got time fo’ dat.