Confessions – 10th ed. – Special edition!

If you’re new to these parts – I like to confess shit. Just say things that the bloggy-verse that I probably should say in actual confession [or to no one at all]. But you know – relieve the burden of carrying it around in my head. And I’m aging so I only have so much head space to spare.

This is a special confessions edition, specific on mental health since May was Mental Health Awareness Month. Yeah I’m late – but shit happens. And no I am not going to lecture you but rather confess some [very hard] truths about my mental health in hopes you might confess or face some hard truths about your own or someone you know. Regardless, know that it’s real, it can be very scary and very lonely and it should always be taken seriously.

So lets confess some shit…

  • I have chronic depression and anxiety disorder. And I am heavily medicated.
  • I have good days and bad days. Peaks and valleys.
  • My depression began in middle school (about 6th grade) and anxiety kicked into high gear in high school. I don’t recall anytime since then that I’ve not had either in my life.
  • In my family – mental health anything was frowned upon. You were depressed? You were supposed to get over it. You had anxiety? You were told to stop being anxious. Period.
  • I once went off my meds cold turkey. Serotonin withdrawal is awful. NOT RECOMMENDED.
  • My depression has taken many forms over the years. From nights planning my death and calling the Suicide Lifeline (1-800-273-8255, just in case you need it) to cutting, pill taking, hiding my home or just not being able to fully function.
  • My anxiety has also surfaced in many forms over the years. Panic attacks that would send me to the ER with a heart rate into the 180s+, blackouts where I’d wake up really disoriented and not know who/where/what the hell was going on for about 30 mins, dizziness, blurred vision, the shakes, and so on.
  • When Mike and I started dating- my panic attacks slowed down dramatically.
  • I have eczema and pick at it when I’m stressed or down or just want to hurt, to feel something. My arms are scared and most of the time I don’t care to show them.
  • I have two main outlets to deal with life – writing and reading.
  • I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Most of my childhood journals were destroyed by my mother (a post for another time). But I’ve always kept a journal and always will.
  • I read to escape into new places, take new adventures, solve new mysteries. To get out of my own head for a while. This is part of the reason I needed a library in my home.
  • Working out is starting to become a new outlet. SHOCKING FOR ME, I KNOW!!! But I think it’s because I pushing myself. I’m also in the renaissance!
  • Sometimes I’m entirely nonfunctional. I feel like an awful human being. And I hate that my kid is now old enough know something is wrong.
  • I’ve found some comfort in other people who understand. I often seek refuge in the words of Jenny Lawson, my favorite blogger and author. She gets that’s depression lies and darkness is real. She saves me.

These are my [mental health] confessions.

Anxiety

My anxiety is on the fritz. Like when when your children act up in public, my anxiety is not something I love to acknowledge. But we alllll know it’s happening (or it feels that way anyway). My not sure what my trigger was this time around but whatever it was – it’s been sticking around and I am not a fan. I’m leaning towards stress. I’m trying to focus on the things I can control and take it one task at a time. Yeah, I said task. I’m not even on the day level. Baby steps.

I don’t talk about my anxiety for a variety of reasons. Mainly because people give you this phony look like you are making the whole thing up, like it’s all in your head. And as much as I would love to play along – I don’t have time for bull shit.

Anxiety is very real for lots of people. And everyone is different so therefore their anxiety is too. 

My friend shared this online and it couldn’t be more accurate.

In the past – my anxiety has taken on many shapes and forms. In high school, it was panic attacks that would send my heart heart well above 180 and require a trip to the ER. My mother – a doctor herself – was of the “it’s all  in your head” tribe and couldn’t possibly understand how her daughter – a girl brought up in a well off, Christian home – could possibly have this problem. She did nothing but throw Bible versus at me and essentially told me to get out of my own head and not embarrass the family with my “foolishness.”

In college, my anxiety decided to party hard (even though I didn’t) sending me into panic attacks so taxing that I would black out (sometimes hurting myself in the process), wake up so confused and not know who/what/where I was for a solid 20+ minutes. It was terrifying. My best friend at the time, Katie, would constantly write her name and number on my hand in Sharpie so that when I woke up confused I knew to call her and she would explain.

When I was pregnant I was SO WORRIED about having panic attacks and depriving the baby of oxygen. I had sleepless nights my first trimester. Then when I got over that hump – I obsessively cleaned, cooked and nested to keep busy. And I was an emotional disaster. Countless times Mike caught me crying over nothing – brushing my teeth, baking cookies, folding laundry. Sometimes happy tears, sometimes sad, sometimes tears for no reason at all. I attribute that phase to angst about entering motherhood. I mean it’s not like they give you this magical guide to not fucking up your kid when you push them out at the hospital. You know?

At the present, my anxiety is a bit unpredictable but far more tame. I thank Mike for that. He grounded me and while all of the anxiety didn’t go away – the scary stuff did. Your partner should always bring out the good in you, help you grow, heal, flourish. Mike helped wipe away a lot of my fears and worries, kept me calm and encouraged me. And certainly didn’t mock my pain and anxiousness. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for better. I’m so lucky. Not all spouses get it.

But for now – it appears my anxiety is here to stay. So it’s one task at a time. I just have to stay focused and

just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

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Dark Valleys

I have depression (who doesn’t, right?) and anxiety. Neither are anything I love to talk about but mental health is a real struggle that a lot of us face, often in silence. I’m medicated, so I function. Just like most, I have ups and downs, peaks and valleys of good mental health and bad.

Currently – I’m in a valley. A dark, desolate valley.

The valley is surrounded by enormous mountains, dark and ominous on all sides. Intimidating even at a distance, even at night. It’s dry here. Even the air is stale, as if all the moisture was sucked out of it. It’s hard to breathe. The ground around me is nothing but dirt and rocks. No grass grows. Nothing. Drought has seized this valley. It is brittle and sad. Hardly any life flourishes because the ground has barely anything left to give. What does survive is the most resilient of plants and animals. The outcasts. The things no one truly wants. Also the things that scare me the most. The ground is jagged with fallen boulders and rocks as obstacles almost in all directions.

The wind begins to pick up. It’s rough, almost like a storm. The kind of storm that you love in the comfort of your own bed but is terrifying in a valley of your depressive conscience. There is no where safe for me to take shelter. No trees to help cover me. I can barely see in front of me. The dust and dirt and pebbles are pelting my body. It hurts. Darkness consumes me. The wind envelopes me. All I want to do it lay down and let them take over. But I don’t. I walk. I’ve been here before. Maybe not this exact valley but one like it. This is familiar. I can feel blood start to run down the arm I am using to protect my face. It stings from all the dirt. I walk on in hopes that darkness will end. That there will be light.

There has to be light….somewhere.

 

I’m here

I know it’s been months since I last posted but I was in a dark place. I had to take a break from writing because my brain was being stupid and I was being self destructive. But I’m here. Hope you are too.

Confessions – 6th ed.

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Happy 2017! If you’re like me – this is your first week back to work and if you’ve made it to Friday then CONGRATS on surviving your first week back in hell. If you accomplish nothing else this year then you’ve done that! I essentially took the month of December off so  you can imagine how I felt going to the office on Tuesday. YIKES!

If you are just joining the shenanigans – I like to confess shit. My husband, Mike, probably says I do this too much {I sense his eyes rolling right now}. I just put it out there. Kind of takes the weight off my shoulders and makes me feel just a little lighter. If you know me, I need to drop some serious weight so shedding even a little is a big help. Everyone likes to loose weight, am I right? So to start my 2017 blogging year – I wanted to get some things off my chest. What better way to do that than confess.

  • I’m a sucky gift giver. I never know what to get. It’s just really not my strength.
  • In my next home I will have a room with floor to ceiling shelves for books. I have dreamt of this since I was a kid. Most people dream of castles – I dream of libraries.
  • I hate the Kardashians. Everything about the. WITH A PASSION. There, I said it. Shun me.
  • My name is Sarah and I have a wrapping paper addiction. I LOVE to buy wrapping paper. Mainly Christmas (because it’s my favorite holiday) but if it’s a deal – I’ll likely buy it. I have problem and I might need help.
  • Don’t go into my office closet. It’s a scary place where I’m unorganized. I hide things there and shove things I don’t want to deal with or don’t know where to put. Beware.
  • For the first time in 5 years I am using my EC Life Planner differently and I have low-key anxiety about it. Because while I welcome change, it’s still super hard shit.
  • I don’t set resolutions. I set goals.
  • Personally, I think LuLaRoe is a fugly. Why are grown ass women trying to dress like Miss Frizzle? I don’t understand it? Riddle me this – $35 for leggings that you have to hand wash? And they have pizzas on them? No.
    • {Side note: I know people are going to hate for this confession. But it’s my confession so it’s okay. Also – I don’t care what people think.}
  • I started a new journal for 2017 without finishing my previous one. This goes against my journaling code of ethics but sometimes rules need to be broken.
  • Raw broccoli >>> raw cauliflower.
  • We watched Elf about 76 times this Christmas and it was glorious! Sadly, I didn’t get in one Home Alone marathon and I’m sad about it.
  • I don’t have a TV in my bedroom.
  • I’m over Bey.
  • I totally slacked on the Elf on the Shelf this year. Oops! Oh well. Simon the Elf will return to his ridiculous pranks Decemeber 2017.
  • There are people in the world who don’t like FRIENDS. This baffles me. Iconic 90’s television!
  • The ASPCA commercials with the cold puppies that get you to donate money piss me off.
  • I only take selfies in Snapchat.

These are my confessions.

She saves me.

Two weeks ago I was casually browsing the inter webs and thought I would peak on some of my favorite people on the world. We all have those people we like to follow and see what they are doing. Yours are like Kim Kardashian or Kanye. Mine are a little different. Mine are Chrissy Teigen (because who doesn’t love Chrissy?), a few cooks (because who doesn’t love food?) and Jennifer Lawson (aka the author of TheBloggess). I stumbled across a post where Jenny said she was coming to Ohio!!! The woman I essentially idolize, IN OHIO. I immediately took to Facebook to find out where. And other Jenny fans told me she was going to be at Books by the Banks in Cincinnati. That’s like spitting distance from me…if you can spit 40 miles away. Nonetheless – completely doable. I told Mikey. He was all like you have to go and see her. Well DUH! So we made plans to leave first thing in the morning, get my books signed, maybe see her speak….everything was falling into place.

I went to bed that night planning to see my hero in the morning. I day dreamed of us becoming BFFs. But I woke up early in the morning… completely panic-stricken. I wanted to go and meet this amazing woman who speaks to me in the darkest times in my life, who reminds me to keep going when my brain wants me to do stupid things, who lets me know that it’s okay to hurt, who lets the world know that there are other people out there fighting depression, anxiety and all kinds of fucked up shit….but I was terrified. What if I went and didn’t get to see her? What if we missed her speak or didn’t get my books signed? What if she was like you’re a fucking disaster, GET IT TOGETHER? What if I couldn’t remember my name? So I just laid in bed and didn’t say anything.

At about 10:30AM – Mike woke up and questioned why we were still at home. I made up some bull shit about not wanting to screw up everyone’s plans for the day. He clearly read through my weak ass excuse. These were our plans. He told me I was being stupid and to get my ass up and get ready to go meet Jenny Lawson. So I did.

We got to Books By the Banks just in enough time to listen to Jenny speak. She read from her book – Furiously Happy – and then answered questions. I got to ask the first one and she complimented by Harry Potter shirt! Potter Weasley 2016!! I could have died at that moment. Then we waited in line and she signed my books. We chatted like we were the best of friends. And in my head we totally are. 🙂

Easily goes down as one of the most memorable days of my life.

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Today I am furiously happy I met @thebloggess! And she liked my tee shirt!