the reality of depression.

Lily Pads

First it starts off as a little haze. Maybe a day where you feel “off.” But then the fog gets darker and more dense and more suffocating. But it happens so gradually, it’s hard to really know what’s going on…until you’re buried.

It starts with things that can be explained away. “Wow, I’m so tired all the time.” Or “I don’t have any interest in x,y,z that I used to LOVE but maybe it’s because I’m too tired to care. Because I’m so tired. All the time.” Then it turns into “Wow, you’re pathetic. Can’t even get out of bed like a normal person. No, you don’t deserve to eat. You’re ugly and disgusting. Hide away and don’t let anyone see you.”You will never accomplish anything, so stop dreaming. Dreams are dumb, especially YOUR dreams.” “Why can’t you be like a normal person? What makes you such a special snowflake?”

Then the guilt comes. Which makes the voices even more vocal and loud. And you just get so damned tired because the voices want something, your spouse wants something, your kids want something, everyone wants something and you just want to crawl under the covers and hide.

Your emotions… all the “bad” ones, anyway, are right at the surface. Everything makes you want to cry. (But you won’t because that’s weak and uncalled for.) You get upset over anything. You’re snapping at people, you’ve lost patience with everyone else and their problems because you’re so wrapped up in this fog, and the fog is like a smoke screen. You don’t want them to pull you out of the fog which makes you feel so far removed from them. And from the world. Nothing seems real. YOU don’t seem real.

Getting out of bed, let alone getting out of the house, becomes a major accomplishment. Putting on pants is really a BFD. But all of this comes along so gradually, so sneakily, that you don’t even notice it before it’s too late. And then you’re more tired because when you have to go out, you have to pull out ALL OF YOUR ACTING CHOPS to convince everyone that “Everything’s great! Everything’s fine! Please don’t ask me any more OK because I am truly fucking great!” And you get overwhelmed because you know that any time you’re around people, even those closest to you, that you have to pretend you’re OK to avoid the questions because you’re ashamed, so ashamed that you’re HERE again when you have no fucking reason to be sad because everything is going great, so fucking great. So really, there is no need to be nearly hysterical with the effort of holding back those tears that are right at the surface, and there is certainly no need to be crying in the shower, so get a grip already for God’s sake.

So you start to steal what little moments of happiness you can. You latch on to those things, and maybe you laugh too loudly and too long at a mediocre joke, or you become obsessed with a world you can escape to (movies, books, tv), except when those things start to hurt as well because you look on the screen and think “I’ll never be as pretty/successful/amazing as that actor” or “I don’t know if my writing will ever be this good or make the kind of impact on someone that this has made on me.” “I’m surrounded by all these people who are chasing and catching their dreams, and I can’t even get out of bed. What a loser I am.” You start to engage in unhealthy habits, you start making stupid decisions, you start to think of doing something extreme because you just cannot fucking handle feeling so much and yet feeling nothing at all.

And the loneliness. You feel SO ALONE because you don’t think anyone will get it or understand. You just know that if you try to explain, you’re going to get shot down or overrun by someone louder, bigger, more vocal than you are, and you’re going to be shuffled off to the side. Or that people will tell you what you’ve been telling yourself: “Get over yourself.” “Snap out of it.” “Plenty of people have it worse than you, so quit being a baby.”

Inside, you’re screaming “Do you think I WANT to be this way? I CAN’T snap out of it! Go away, leave me alone. But please don’t go. I’m scared.”

Helpless.

Guilty.

Overwhelmed.

Lonely.

The reality of depression is that it’s not something that comes out of nowhere because something made you sad. It comes from inside, and it sneaks up on you. You can try to keep it at bay, but it almost always wins. Medication helps, but knowing that you can’t stop taking it or else you’ll be a wreck is not a nice thing to know. Because it’s so shameful that you need medicine for your brain and your emotions to work “right”. Because you feel like you should be stronger than this, better than this. But you’re not and for some reason, it’s not OK to be not OK.

Friends, if you know someone who is dealing with depression, please, please, please be patient with them. Please give them space, but let then know you are there if they need you. Love on them in the way that they’re most comfortable with. They won’t come to you but they’ll be desperately wishing you could see something is wrong. They’ll wonder why no one can see, even though they’re expending a tremendous amount of effort so no one can see. Then they’ll try to hide it from you because they are ashamed. Realize that they are not doing this on purpose. They can’t help it any more than someone can help having diabetes or something else it’s OK to take medicine for. It’s just how they are. Please don’t tell them to “snap out of it” or “get over it.” Please don’t tell them that they’re possessed, that they’re letting Satan win, or that they don’t have enough “faith.” Please don’t point out all the good things they have. They know. It’s part of why feeling this way sucks so much.

If you’re lucky, the fog lifts and you can see clearly again. The medicine actually helps. The sun comes out. You no longer feel the need to beat yourself up for being so messed up. You start appreciating all the blessings again. And you start to think you’ve beat it. That it’s OK. You enjoy the ride for as long as possible, because deep down you know it’s going to come back. But you cope the best you can. Because that’s the reality. That’s my reality.

(extra)ordinary time.

New York City 2013

The Christmas decorations are down and put away. Chicago’s been in a deep freeze for days now. It’s a whopping 0F as I write this, which is somewhat of an improvement over the -14F we had on Tuesday. Although, when it’s this cold, it doesn’t even matter what the temperature is. It’s just effing cold, and I effing hate it. Truly, I have not been out of the house since December 30. I don’t get cabin fever like a lot of people I know, but even I’m ready for this to be over. Thankfully, temperatures are predicted to be normal by the weekend, so I can get start going to yoga again, and I can start acting classes. (I’m also out of some of my favorite foods, and I need parmesan cheese. We also need cat food.)

Freelance work is starting up again–I have a gig with VSA later this week. Aidan heads back to Columbus later this evening. (One good thing about this horrible weather? I got extra days with Aidan! Always a good thing. I will be sad when he’s gone.)

I realized that I didn’t really do any Christmas posts on my blog in 2013. Truthfully, I found it really hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I nearly didn’t decorate, but knowing that Aidan was going to be here motivated me. (He seemed to appreciate my efforts, but he had more fun twirling in the beads when I took the tree down.)

Untitled

I had a nice Christmas, though. We rang in the holiday at Rich’s place (Rich is one of my favorite yoga teachers), where he and loads of other people were cooking all sorts of pancakes. There was also wine. Delicious wine. It was a really great way to bring in Christmas. Even Santa showed up. We sang Christmas carols and kirtan and talked and took pictures. It was a magical, beautiful time, and reminded me of how blessed I am to be a part of the Moksha community.

pancakeparty2013 copy 2
can you find me and aidan?
my friend jaylen took this photo.

After the party, we went to Hollywood Grill. That place is open 24/7, and we were still hungry. Good times.

Christmas Day was relaxing because we didn’t have to travel, nor were we hosting anyone. I liked all my gifts. I really enjoyed watching Aidan open his presents, and he was happy with everything (which was mostly LEGO and more LEGO).

Aidan enjoying his new stuff!
see?

My birthday was low key as well. I spent most of the day with Aidan, and I got some cool presents: a Tiffany necklace from Adam, a Mickey Mouse watch from Chris and Aidan, a Mickey Mouse ring from Ivy, and $25 to amazon.com from Grandma Bel. I also bought myself a Ralph Lauren sweater. And a TARDIS blanket.

Birthday gift from Aidan. Untitled Focused better.

For Aidan’s birthday, we took him to a LEGO store and spoiled him some more, then we let him pick where to eat for dinner. (He wanted Harold’s, but we were in the suburbs and knew it would be a while till we made it back to the city, so we had Red Lobster instead.)

Happy Birthday Aidan!!!
happy birthday, aidan!
i can’t believe i have an 11 year old.

All the big time partying has ended, and it’s time to trudge through another Chicago winter. This one is extra hard because it started so early. I get the feeling the North Face coat and new shell I got a couple of months ago was an excellent investment.

But I do have things to look forward to. I’m excited to start going to yoga again. Betty’s Vinyasa 1 class is the perfect amount of challenge for someone whose practice is so sporadic (like mine). I’m also excited to take acting classes. Right now, Living Social has a voucher for a 10-week workshop at Chicago Actor’s Studio. I felt like it was the Universe nudging me, so I went for it. Now I just need to go register and actually start taking classes. It’s going to be interesting to see what comes out of this. I love that I can learn for the sake of learning, and it’s affordable and accessible. The Universe opens so many possibilities when I can take advantage of those opportunities.

That’s all for now. Computer’s battery is like “meh” and I’m like “I should go to bed” and my domain is like “I’m not previewing this anymore dang it” and plus, I’m cold and want to get under my electric blanket. So, till next time……

action. my word for 2014.

New York City 2013

When I was in high school, it was hard for me to get engaged enough to care about homework and schoolwork. I hated my school, I didn’t care about most of the people I went to school with, and I didn’t fit in with them anyway. I had to write all over my assignments “JUST DO IT” so I’d actually get the work done.

I spend a lot of time thinking of the things I want to do, or thinking of things I feel that I should do, but then I don’t do them. I burrow deeper under the covers. I make up excuses. “It’s too cold out.” “I am too tired.” “I’ll do it tomorrow. Or Friday. Or next week.”

Then the days go by, and I look back like “Wow, I really haven’t a lot to show for that, have I?”

2014wishes

I spend a lot of time dreaming. A LOT. Many of them are fantastical things. Incredible daydreams that keep me up at night with their sheer ridiculousness. Some of them are actually within reach, if I would just act on them.

those ‘holy grail’ yoga poses?
I can totally do them someday, if I’d just get and stay regular in my practice.

a completed novel?
Keep writing every day. Revise. Find honest but gentle critique partners. Workshop workshop workshop.

travel?
OK, the trip to New Orleans is already booked. But what about booking those trips to NYC and the Land of Medicine Buddha for the Writing & Yoga retreat?

cleaning/organizing my room? (and maybe keeping it clean?)
Yeah… I jut need to DO IT. UFYH says to do it in 20-10 (twenty minutes of cleaning, ten minutes break), but I know myself. My ten minute break will turn into an hour break surfing tumblr. Nope. Nope. Nope. I have to marathon or else I won’t get it done.

spending less time on social media?
Close the computer. Engage in real life. I miss doing paper crafts. Taking a lot of photos.

getting in better shape?
Easy. I just have to do it. Put on the loud music and dance. Utilize the many workout DVDs I have (including an oldie but goodie I used to have on VHS and now on DVD: Paula Abdul’s Get Up and Dance!). Yoga. Use the exercise bike.

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My word for 2014 is action. Instead of letting the days speed by, thinking “Wow, I should have gone to…” or “Wow, I should have done…”, I am going to act on all the things I want to do and can do within reason. And I’ll blog about it when I do. Maybe.

capable

Linking up here.

another day, another year.

2014
source

Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot.
Seek the path that demands your whole being. — Rumi

Holy cow. That quote is speaking to me right now. Rumi, ladies and gentlemen.

You see, I spend most of my life not really present. It’s really weird those moments I am present because things are so bright and vivid. It’s overwhelming sometimes, which is why, after a lot of social interaction, I run and hide for a few days. I’m used to seeing everything through this haze that lives permanently in my brain. When I think of my past, I see it through that same haze, and I always wonder what was going through my mind for me to make the choices I did, good or bad.

This year, I am going to do something that will break things wide open for me. It will pull me out of that comfortable haze and force me to be present and push myself in ways I haven’t in years. I am scared and insecure and freaking out about it. But I’m going to go for it because if not now, when? I have the time. I have the money. I have the fear–but not the paralyzing kind. It’s the “I’m out of fucks to give so what the hell?” kind. I may as well… what have I got to lose? I have the support for it–a surprising amount–from friends and those closest to me. So… why not do this? I will always regret it if I don’t. I regret that I let people talk me out of it sooner. But then, I wouldn’t have Aidan. So there’s that.

(That’s one good thing about Adam. He’s remarkably supportive of all the harebrained ideas I come up with, knowing that there is a chance things might not pan out. I daresay HE’S more supportive of me than I am of myself in these endeavors. It’s like with the yoga teacher training–I still don’t know if I ever want to teach yoga full time, but I have absolutely no regrets for doing the training, and I would do it all over again.)

Truthfully, I’m writing this post while I am feeling a bit down. It’s been a hard few weeks for me, so I’m dealing with that. Having Aidan here is a huge help, though. He’s hilarious and kind and I hope he stays that way when the hormones start driving him crazy.

Even though I’m feeling kinda down for a bunch of reasons I’d rather not go into on here (thank you baby Jesus for a certain friend who gets it and is gentle with me because of it), I’m not going to let it keep me from having hopes and dreams for 2014. I always start the year like this even though I don’t officially make resolutions.

So, with that said…

Things that Need to Happen in 2014
– a trip to New Orleans (already planned)
– a trip to Jekyll Island (Thanksmas at the beach!)
– a trip to Disney World (trying to figure out the timing for this)
– acting classes (if at Second City, will sign up January 31, when the early bird registration for Spring session opens, if elsewhere, will sign up whenever that early bird registration for Spring session opens)
– more yoga (I need it. Truly.)
– more exercising (time to dust off the ole stationary bike)
– better financial decisions
– NO MORE SODA
– complete and revise novel for submission
– less time on social media (already failing at this)
– more time with my mommy
– more time with Aidan

Hopes for 2014
– more travel (New York City to see Wanda and T, California for the Candles in the Window and also to visit friends, Arkansas to visit friends and get into some serious nature, Sukhava Bodhe for at least two days….)
– more background acting work (Insurgent, please please please, and maybe not as Abnegation this time, but I’ll take what I can get and I will like it!)
– financial comfort (I really like being able to buy whatever I want–within reason, of course–and also spoiling Aidan and my mom)
– more fresh, whole foods and less meat in my diet
– better physical shape
– the guts to audition for real acting roles, small or large
– serious decluttering on a literal and a figurative level
– making new friends and appreciating the friends I already have even more
– have enough work-from-home projects so I am comfortable financially
– keep the place cleaner
– more self care (massages, positive self talk, spa days, etc.)

In My Dreams for 2014
– landing actual acting roles, small or large
– getting a publishing contract
– meeting a certain actor (if you don’t know by now then whose blog have you been reading all this time?)
– a trip to Paris (I want to sit on that lawn by the Eiffel Tower and stare at it while eating macarons from Laduree…oh and I guess visit some of the other sites and museums and things I mean I might as well while I’m there)

There are a bunch of new books coming out this year that I’m excited about, a certain movie that my face may or may not actually show up in, Betsy Tinney’s CD will be here sooooon, and I’m so looking forward to that. Of course, I’m looking forward to new music, new experiences, new everything. Here’s hoping that 2014 is filled with love, light, peace, happiness, good health, amazing opportunities, and positivity for all of us. No fear, go for your dreams, leap, and a net will appear. Be willing to let go of what does not serve you to make room for that which does. All that la di da stuff. Sending it to me and all of you.

Happy New Year!

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