When the World Breaks Your Heart

This is initially going to start out very badly. I hope it ends optimistically, but eh, it might not. Because the last few weeks have been more than a rollercoaster. I feel like I’m on a ride that keeps going up and down and up and down and down and down and down and maybe back up a little. I wish I knew what was going on, but I really don’t. I’m struggling. Hard.

I took a survey, sent out by Cal Poly, about mental health. They sent it out in an email, offered a hundred dollars as a raffle, and I needed a study break. I’m always down to talk anonymously about my mental health, so I thought, why not? So I took the survey, and I was very honest about my answers. Very honest. At the end of the survey, I had the option to see some overall results about my answers. Kind of like a ranking.

So I checked my results. I feel like deep down, I sort of knew what they were going to turn out to be. My answers placed me with elevated depression and elevated anxiety (top tier of the ranges given). That really stuck out to me. I know I’ve been struggling, and I know that I have had a lot of really low moments, but I didn’t realize just how bad it was.

I guess what really got me was that Depression could sneak up so suddenly on me and completely take over without me realizing it in the slightest. I am in recovery, and I thought I was strong in that. I am still confident that I am far enough along in my recovery that I won’t slip to where I was years ago, but hearing those thing about myself made me completely aware that I am very much depressed again. I hate knowing that, but I also know I can’t avoid those emotions.

I have often referred to my Depression as emptiness and numbness because that is how it feels for me. I feel numb to the world and my feelings. I feel so completely isolated and empty, like I have no purpose and all I am good for is to be a placeholder. But lately, I have remembered that it’s also the intense feeling of hopelessness and knowing that no matter how hard you try, you won’t improve a situation. It’s feeling wholly sad and defeated about everything. I feel like a failure about my writing. I’m failing a class, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to bring my grade up. I’m doing very well in two of my classes but those As aren’t enough to make even the slightest dent in making me feel better about my future and my life as a whole. I cried while writing an email to my professor. I confessed my anxiety to him, and I felt like I was asking for pity. I felt like it wasn’t worth it to even make the effort to improve. I want to give up on this class and the work. I work harder for one class than I do the other three combined and somehow I’m not doing even average work. It feels pointless to try. I feel worthless. I feel stupid.

And it took me too long to realize that these things I’ve been feeling all quarter require a very simple explanation: Depression. I don’t know why it took me so long to think about it this way or how I didn’t realize it before. I’m well-versed in my Depression, so why wouldn’t I notice? Probably because I have been so comfortable in my recovery. The last few years I have noticed these Bad Thoughts but I haven’t regarded them as Actual Depression, just Bad Thoughts and glimpses of Depression. So I didn’t think about these as any more than slightly worse versions of my emotions before. But now I realize how badly I’ve been feeling and how poorly I’ve been handling these thoughts. I can admit to myself that I am depressed again.

The one thing that’s different about this time is that I’ve talked about it. I’ve confessed these feelings and I’ve cried openly about them and I’ve been honest. Those are all things I could never do years ago. I could never say one thing relevant to mental health to a single soul.

I’ve been more or less 100% open with what I am feeling and just how badly my mind has been messing with me. And while the fact that this is all happening sucks, it’s also oddly and wonderfully refreshing to be able to talk about it. It’s helped a lot. Before, I had to keep it all inside, which made it ten times worse. I had to shoulder the burden alone. But now that I’ve thrown caution to the wind and talked openly and honestly about my Depression and my Anxiety, I feel so much lighter. I don’t quite feel like I’m falling into a pit of darkness and despair. I’m still kind of in the pit, but I’m just there–not falling or sinking.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t see this coming…because it is so completely different this time. Depression has caught me in a way that I can actually sort of handle it. I mean, I don’t necessarily think I’m handling it well, but I’m not letting it take over me. At least, I hope I’m not. I’ve found so much release in just talking about it.

So often, I’m the friend giving the ear. I am hear when people want to just talk about their issues. They don’t need anyone to respond or give advice (yet), but to simply let them know their feelings are valid. That it is perfectly okay they are sad or angry or upset about whatever it is they are sad or angry or upset about. I never really had that in my life, and I think that’s an important figure to have in life. But now I’m letting other people be my ear, and it’s kind of one of the greatest feelings in the world. And it has wholly helped me as I navigate through this.

And I think that’s what huge in the stigma of mental health. We are afraid to talk about it (for whatever reason, we all have them), so we just don’t. But if I figure if I just say what I mean and what I feel, people will just start to accept that. They will either be my ear and support me or judge me and stop being my friend. But would I really want people who don’t support me to be my friends? The answer seems simple. Harder in practice, but you get the gist. I know I’m one person and I’m not really changing anything when it comes to the bigger picture of this conversation on the mental health stigma, but I’d like to think maybe I’m making a small difference within my social circle. I’m certainly making a small difference in my own life.

So as much as things are totally terrible right now and my brain is back to being its old awful self, maybe it’s not as bad as I thought it was a few weeks ago. Maybe I’m figuring it out. Maybe I’m strong enough now that it won’t be like it was before. Maybe.

I mean, I don’t expect to just be cured by talking about it–no way. And I don’t think writing this all out is going to stop me from crying after my Mon/Wed class everyday. I fully expect to cry at least twice a week for the remainder of the quarter. Maybe more and maybe longer. But I’m dealing with it. And I’m (trying) not to let it eat me alive.

And I guess that’s all I can ask for right now.

I’m thankful for the people who have been listening. I wouldn’t be able to keep doing life without you. I wouldn’t be smiling as much. I wouldn’t feel the encouragement to keep going and to keep pursuing my passions. So thank you for that. You all inspire me.



I’m Still Standing

Remember last week when I was being incredibly dramatic about my life crisis/meltdown? Me too, and I’m still being sort of dramatic, but I am generally feeling much better about the situation. I was having a hard time with my philosophy class, overhearing people talking about jobs they’re accepting–and rejecting according to the boy walking behind me the other day, could you imagine having so many offers you have to reject them?? I certainly can’t–and I was worried that my writing was, well, shit.

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Since then, I have taken a philosophy midterm, which I actually feel pretty good about, overheard another guy talking about a job he was considering that was offering him “in the $95,000 a year range” like OKAY, and talked to my Writer Friend Sean about my story/senior project, which actually made me feel so much better. As much as I love my Frat Rats, Spookies, Matthew, etc friends, they just don’t quite get it when it comes to my passion for writing. It’s not because they don’t care, it’s because they just don’t have the same passions.

I was feeling incredibly dejected about the beginning to my third chapter after discussing it in class, and it made me completely rethink my passions and skills. I didn’t even have an inkling on how to fix it–or if I even should. I talked to Sean about it, and about his story/writing, and he encouraged me to keep going. He believed in my story and my characters, and, most importantly, my writing ability. So this past weekend when I was at Matthew’s I spent all day Saturday completely rethinking, revising, and rewriting chapter three–while watching Schitt’s Creek in the background.

Sidenote: I HIGHLY recommend that show!!

I was stressing big time about it, unsure about where I was going with it and figuring out how to fuse my background/history with the present plot. How was this possibly going to work? I had no idea. But I kept at it, reading and writing and believing in myself, and I think I came up with a great solution. As much as it originally didn’t sit well with me and the direction I was going for with my pacing and structure, I really like how it turned out. It is just a draft, of course, but I read through it again yesterday (because I needed a break from it for a few days), and I actually do think it’s much better. The suspense from the previous chapter continues and I was able to fuse most of the information into the action. I didn’t get to all of it, but since I know the next chapter is a set up for what’s to come, I can see how it fits there.

I’m actually excited about where it’s going!

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I’m still freaking out about it, of course, but I’m having slightly less of a crisis about it. My crisis mode is being saved for understanding Plato for our next section in philosophy and finding a job for after graduation. Still completely freaking out about my future, as usual! But I’m not crying about it, which is far better than the last two weeks.

Plus, I have an exciting two weekends ahead of me, and I can’t be stressing! I need to enjoy this time. This weekend we are throwing our second annual Groundhogs Day Redemption fiesta, but this time there is a twist because it is also National Tater Tot Day. Nobody takes tots as seriously as we do–except Napoleon Dynamite. I’m stoked to just be able to relax this weekend. I’m trying to get ahead on my schoolwork so I can enjoy it. My friends are planning to be blacked out all weekend because we have a big “Italian Wedding” event on Friday and Sunday is the Superbowl so it’s a jam-packed few days. I don’t plan to be blacked out because I know I’ll feel terrible and I hate feeling nauseated more than anything in the entire world, but I do plan on indulging a bit. Maybe this is an excuse to get that avocado bacon cheeseburger I’ve been thinking about………

The following weekend is our Semi Formal, and I’m very much looking forward to getting all dressed up for a fun night! I’m in it for the cute pictures and the french fries that will inevitably be available at the venue. Matthew and I haven’t really taken a lot of pictures together lately, so I’m excited for a new one. He’s never been to one of these events before, so it should be pretty interesting. Even I feel out of my element at them sometimes, so it’ll be an experience for both of us.

I am trying to be optimistic about all the things that are happening–but also trying not to stress out about all the studying/schoolwork/writing I won’t be getting done because I’ll be participating in Life Things. I’m still trying to find the balance. But after feeling good about my philosophy midterm, it has been easier to find comfort in that balance. But one week ago I was failing a class–straight failing (sorry, Mom).

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How could I be at such a low point so early in the quarter, you ask? Because the class is solely based on participation, and I am terrible when it comes to that. However, this week, things have really been looking up! Somehow, in one week’s time, I have brought up my grade a whopping 20%! At this rate, I can pull out a decent grade, so I’m pretty jazzed about that.

So basically, I am still in crisis mode, but I’m working through it. I am becoming more comfortable turning this not so great situation into one that I can benefit from. It’s a learning process, as I have so discovered. I’ve always known (well, since coming to college always) that I am still learning and growing, but that usually comes to my mind after a win. I’ve felt like I’m on a bit of a losing streak, and I realize I can learn from this now to turn it into a winning streak. I think I’m already starting to–considering my grade boost!

Today in my philosophy class, we went over this scenario in which we get the option to Matrix-esque plug into a virtual reality in which we are always happy–it’s so realistic we would never know the difference. If we had that opportunity, would we take it?

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Of course, it had something to do with Plato’s philosophical argument about the always-connected pleasure and pain, meaning that we can’t have one unless we know the other. In this case it would be happiness and sadness. But if I’ve learned anything from life–and the movie Inside Out–it’s that you can’t have joy without sadness. That was my original argument in this exercise, but my professor said that the people plugging me into this virtual reality could give me that little bit of sadness to provide me that growth I get from sadness because it will ultimately lead me to happiness. If that was the case, then would I agree to “plug in” to this world? Maybe?

But then I thought: well, I’ve been through so much in my life to get me to this point, and even though I would still run the risk of being unhappy overall in life (which my crisis is making me think might happen), I’ve seen my life this far through. I’ve gone through twelve years of depression, and even more of anxiety. I’m proud of where I’ve gotten in my life, how much I’ve learned, so why shouldn’t I see this path through? My final answer to this virtual reality is no.

And yes, that’s overthinking it maybe, and bringing in things that are not typical to the normal person. It’s even a bit dramatic. But philosophy’s purpose is to make you truly think about the things you believe and why you believe them. And as much as I didn’t expect it to, this class has really gotten to me in a few ways. I’m actually a little bit into it. That doesn’t make the readings any easier to comprehend, but that’s not the point–they make sense in lecture and that’s what matters. And I’m actually interacting and using some of these concepts in my life, and I’m sure that’s my professor’s goal.

I may hate this crisis I’m going through because it’s really made me question my goals and the path I’ve taken in life, but it’s a learning process.

And now that I’ve rambled on for about fifteen hundred words about pointless revelations and thoughts that make no sense to anyone but myself, I will take any of you who have read this far out of your misery and sign off here. This is my public diary, isn’t it?

‘Til next time!


So It Goes…

The weather is off. My allergies are here. School is terrible. I am never going to do anything with my life. This is it, everyone. This is…

The Winter Quarter-Quarter Life Crisis.

Winter Quarter is honestly the worst quarter of all the quarters. I’ve always like the quarter system and being able to jump from class to class a lot quicker than my Semester Friends. But there is something about this Ten-Week-Plus-Finals stint of the year that really makes me question my entire existence. Is that dramatic? Probably. But that is a major side effect of the Winter Quarter-Quarter Life Crisis.

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I’ve been second-guessing my passions and my skills. Sometimes I am totally confident in my writing, but it is times like these when I feel like I have zero talent. Like I have no place running a blog or writing stories or even journaling! I’ve been working on my senior project, a super cool spy story I’ve been dying to write, and for a while I felt like I was doing well. I thought I was really getting somewhere.

But here I am, wanting to give up on it. Getting criticism is always difficult, but after this particular chapter beginning that I had put so much faith in got so many negative comments, I felt like a failure. I’d failed myself as a writer and myself as a competent student. And then I wondered if I was ever good at this at all. Like I said, it was pretty dramatic, but that’s what being defeated feels like.

It just makes me feel like my entire school career has been a waste. I could have done something like math or business, but I loved writing. I’m only good at writing. Or so I thought. Now I can’t even say that. I still love it so much. Reading and writing have had such a huge impact on my life, and all I’ve ever wanted to make the same impact on someone else. It’s just hard to see that when I’m struggling so hard with a story I care so much about.

On top of that, one of my classes is completely participation based, and we all know how my anxiety doesn’t like when I try to participate in class. Even when I want to say something, it never comes out sounding coherent or intelligent–I can’t even say that it makes sense at all. So it is hard to come into a class where 95% of the students easily say profound things about the books we’re reading, while I can’t even articulate my annotations. My whole grade depends on a skill I have continually been unable to acquire.

In short, I’m just having a hard time.

It is common for us Quarter System Students to feel the Winter Quarter Blues. Every year I find myself in such a slump. So many of my friends and classmates are in the same boat. It is completely normal to hit such a terrible and draining low. I knew this was going to happen! But alas, it still hit me like a big red bus.

It’s awful to feel like this when I’ve spent so much of my life fighting darkness. This is when it so easily sneaks up on me–even though I am expecting it. Somehow it still surprises me. I can fight this Bad Feeling, but it still hurts. It still drains.

I won’t go into a long and boring tangent comparing this slump to my depression–because depression totally makes it worse–but that’s not the point. The point is that this hard. School is hard. Life is hard. Figuring out the future is hard.

And I have to be honest when it’s hard. It’s not going to be sunshine and rainbows all the time, even though I am so comfortable in my recovery. I am still going to have these terrible times, and I have to be open about that. I have to hold myself accountable for the ups and the downs of this rollercoaster of a life.

So I’m going through a Winter Quarter-Quarter Life Crisis and it is absolutely terrible and I’ve cried a lot. But I will get through it, as I do.

Perfectly Out of Key

Lately I’ve been AWOL. In life, over text, on the blog. Heck even my twitter is lacking originality and creativity of any kind. It’s all about Steve Harrington’s character development in season 2 of Stranger Things.

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The last time I fell into a pit of darkness was my junior year of high school. There was a giant severing of my friend group, and (separately but by people involved in said severing) I was shunned by my friends because I didn’t despise Taylor Swift for dating Harry Styles. So many people I cared about decided I wasn’t important enough to keep around, so naturally, I decided I wasn’t important enough either. Junior year was one of the hardest and most isolating years of my life.

Here I am, five years later, and the pit of darkness? It’s still here, too. I’ve gone through periods of time in college where things are pretty bleak and I feel like I’m thirteen years old again and hating myself. But this last week or so has been different. I haven’t felt this off since…well, a long time.

I’ve been messing up by days so badly that I missed a paper deadline, I forgot about a sorority event, I didn’t do a homework assignment on time, I screwed up travel plans, and I have three more classes to take than I originally thought to graduate. Any work I do isn’t just unappreciated or not respected, it’s downright degraded. I don’t have enough money to buy groceries anymore so I’ve been living off bags of Doritos left over from Parents Weekend. I hate my body as much as I did senior year of high school. I’m acting like a bitch to people I care about.

This is me @ everything:

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Last Thursday I cried during my bowling class, which made me look like an idiot. I was bowling very poorly, but that shouldn’t have been as upsetting as it was–and I’m in a freaking bowling class. I was going to get to spend two hours in my next class doing nothing but writing Book 3 aka My Senior Project, I was supposed to be in a good mood! But I was not only in a bad mood, I was in a pissed-off, scream-into-pillows, pull-my-hair out mood. I went home that day barely able to hold back tears. I walked into my dark bedroom and got in bed, only leaving once to get yet another bag of Doritos. I hated myself. I hated that day. I hated everyone.

What’s wrong, Ashley?

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I wish I had a better answer, but that is exactly where I’m at right now.

I’m feeling empty again, unlike other times. It’s worse. And I can’t seem to let any of this anger or need for escape go. It’s similar to when I had anxiety abroad, and all I wanted was to scream at everyone for the utter insipidness of their conversations. I couldn’t say a word without wanting to burst into tears. I didn’t want to feel it anymore. What’s different about this time is that I don’t want to feel anything anymore. I want to go to sleep forever and not have to deal with the pressures of school and my friends.

Maybe I’m more angry that I can still feel like this after so long. After so much work. And after so much time, I feel like I still can’t talk to so many people about any of this. I can’t just be completely honest when someone asks me what’s wrong. By the time anyone notices something off with me, there is a culmination of things and they’ve just been piling up for so long. It’s not even about anything anymore.

“Are you okay? What happened?”

“I got an 87 in bowling today.” It sounds so stupid, right? Right! But it’s not just bowling, it’s making dumb mistake after dumb mistake. It’s never being able to be stressed about school because other people have a far more intensive workload. It’s about trying to be mature and do adult things and failing miserably. It’s about never being able to be tired because I went to bed before midnight. It’s about seeing every other person happy or healthy or secure in what they’re going to do with their life and I still feel so all over the place. And it’s about not being able to just say these things out loud to people.

I wish I had something positive to say after all this. I always want to end on a good note, but right now I feel pretty hopeless. I know it’s temporary and I know it’s in my head…but that doesn’t mean it sucks any less. And it doesn’t mean my feelings are any less real.

I don’t know what kind of slump this is yet. Because Thursday was one of the worst days of my life–and if you have read this blog at all, you’ll know that’s saying something–but Friday was such a high. I met my great-grand-little and she’s so cute and sweet. I got to laugh with my sorority family, whom I love so much. I felt things. But other than that? I just…don’t.

I’m doing my best not to let this numbness tear down everything I’ve built up in the last five years. Or anything I’ve worked so hard to overcome for the last twelve (oh, my God, has it really been that long??). But I also don’t see myself letting go of this darkness right away.

You remember that one Fairy Odd Parents episode where Timmy asks Cosmo and Wanda to take away his emotions? That’s how I feel right now. Or…I don’t feel? Basically:

“How do you feel, Ashley?”

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I don’t know, I just feel like I need to be honest. Sometimes I don’t know my thoughts until I blog about them. I’ve just been rather uninspired and very much empty–maybe for longer than I realized. I guess I just think it’s important to note this:

Depression is hard. Recovery is harder.

And if you’re like me and you’ve struggled with this for years and you’re still having a hard time, I’m with you. It’s not always easy, and sometimes it gets you when you least expect it.

Keep working at it. I’m going to.

((I guess that’s almost positive?))

I’ll just be over here trying to feel something and do things that aren’t stress out and watch Stranger Things or The Office all day.

– Ash

The Middle

Summer days mean a sweltering sun and lazy days, and even though I work most days of the week, I would say I’ve definitely been a model for this classic image. Catch me at the beach reading a little Stephen King or on my couch drafting my way through my novels. It’s a rough life, ya know?

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In reality, I have to start at least thinking about my future. My snap answer to “What are you doing after graduation?” is “Oh, I’m moving to New York!” Yes, that’s still my dream and no, I’m not giving up on it, but now that I am starting my senior year of college in less than two months, it’s daunting. I know that is still my dream–and I will make it happen–but I have to start looking for jobs and places to live and publishers. I’ve been hanging onto my book for so long that I’m terrified to put it in anyone else’s hands. Forty more pages and it might be time to send it into the world…

What a terrifying feeling.

It’s late on Tuesday night–or should I say a Wednesday morning–and I’m on the couch with Kristin, watching That 70s Show and talking about her latest Tinder date, our family issues, and boy things. We bought some nicer-than-Barefoot pinot grigio and are distracted by boy band videos on Facebook.

It’s kind of wonderful and it’s been distracting me from the major anxiety I’ve been feeling the last few weeks.

It’s not major, hyperventilating, crying in public, unable to control any kind of emotion anxiety. It’s more like under the rug, creeps in during a slow Led Zeppelin song, driving up PCH alone kind of anxiety. With so many wonderful things happening in my life, it’s difficult to believe that I could be feeling anything but happiness right about now. But I know very well that no moment is guaranteed bliss when you’ve been fighting a demonic mental illness since you were ten years old. And lately I’ve been trudging through an uphill battle.

I had relatively low levels of anxiety when I started grade school, but it really kicked into high gear when I was in fifth grade. I didn’t know my intense nervousness was more than that yet. It began affecting my immune system and taking over when I was a freshman in high school. Still didn’t have a name or reason for it. I didn’t know what that sickening, sinking feeling was until junior year.

It’s been hard for me to let go of that terrible, fluttery feeling in my stomach. Every day that I worked at Victoria’s Secret the last year, I felt nauseous. I walk into the store and smell the slightly-comforting scent of Bombshell and prepare myself for the inevitable stress of impatient customers who passive-aggressively snap at me when something goes wrong. Something out of my control. Retail is so important, but it is also a major stress. I quit that job for the anxiety it gave me–which is no one’s fault but my own. But now I’m a glorified Uber driver. I drive a couple of high school girls to and from summer school and tennis practice. I enjoy it, I do, and it causes me so much less stress than any retail job could.

But somehow anxiety gets to me anyway.

I can’t talk to people as easily about little things that might get to me, about a kind-of-unsafe driver who switched lanes recklessly on my way home, about how I can’t see a car that may look like a cop car without convincing myself I’ve done something wrong, about how I’ll drive through an intersection and panic because I can’t remember if the light was green (even though it was). Driving has always given me so much anxiety, but I act like it’s the normal, everyday activity it is for most people.

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I am Ross every time I’m in the driver’s seat.

I’m almost twenty-two, and I have the same sinking worries that I had when I was ten: do these people I care about actually like me? Do they think I’m worthy of their friendship? Are they going to stand by me when I can’t stand myself? Despite the evidence that they will continue to be my best friends and support me through my rough days, I still can’t help but grind my teeth in fear. Fear I’m not warranted to have.

I read a Teen Vogue article about anxiety today that completely represented how this illness has ruled my life for a decade–and how it has continued to impact me since I have completely embraced recovery from Depression. The article was mostly just a compilation of quotes from people with anxiety about the things they are afraid to tell their friends. Even though I do talk to my friends about my anxiety sometimes, these quotes hit the nail on the head on everything I can’t say to them.

“I already feel like a huge burden, I don’t want to add to it. And I honestly 90 percent of the time I can’t explain why I’m anxious. So I’d rather not say anything and just get through it on my own.”

This was one that really stuck out to me. Most of the time I can’t tell you why I’m anxious or depressed because I simply don’t know. It’s just a feeling that creeps up on me. I can’t stop it. There’s nothing anyone can really do to help, either, so I just don’t mention it. Instead of reaching out for any help (because to be honest, that doesn’t do anything for me) I shut myself away from everyone for a while. I have to let myself fall into it to get out of it.

When I was in Burbank in May and my dad was driving me to the train station to come back to SLO, he brought up the ever-difficult topic of anxiety. I know my parents read my blog sometimes–so does my grandma–but it doesn’t make it any easier to talk to them about any of this. It’s my way of putting everything out on the table, but we never talk about any of it when we see each other. Except this one time.

My dad told me that he used to struggle with anxiety. I guess I wasn’t surprised, but I just didn’t think about it. I’ve always felt so distant from my parents that it just felt like they would never understand what it’s like in my dark little world. But my dad did. He said my grandmother struggled as well–I never got to meet her, but I’m so much like my dad and his family that I guess it makes perfect sense. He said that if I ever have bad anxiety to talk to him and my mom about it. It’s probably the nicest sentiment, to actually talk to the people that can help me, but it’s far easier said than done. And like I said, it’s so much easier to get through an episode on my own.

Maybe one day, Dad.


I’m trying to find a point here. Maybe it’s that I need therapy–which is something I mentioned to Kristin during our wine-induced venting session. I’ve made a lot of progress on my own, but it’s still hard. I mentioned to my boyfriend (yeah, you read that right) that I’m so much less responsive, talkative, and emotional when I text him when I wake up because sometimes I still can’t feel anything in the morning. I wake up and I feel numb to the world. It takes a little while for actual feelings (of any kind) to kick in. That’s why it takes me so long to get out of bed every day. That’s the Depression in me, but it all stems from my anxiety. Sometimes it’s still hard to be a real person, even with the people I care about the most. Every day I try to be better at it for those people and for myself.

I hate that all of this still gets to me, but at least I can feel now. At least I know that there is more than the numbness. And when I feel (or not feel) like everything is hopeless, I remember that it’s not. I’m better than that.

See? All I need to do it write it all out to find that silver lining. I’ll see you when I’m out of this little funk.

Thanks for listening.