I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the nature of mental health and how those both with and without mental health issues treat those of us who struggle in this manner. Mental health is this taboo subject, and where it is getting better, and more attention and compassion is being doled out here, there is still much growth needed. I recently was witness to a dear friend being labeled as “playing the victim” when reaching out and talking about their personal struggles. I’ve seen others be labeled as “attention seeking” for the same. I hear a lot of people say that depression, anxiety, etcetera are all “just in your head” (and really duh but still) and that all that is needed is the will to will it away. That, if a person wanted to get better all they must do is think happy thoughts, as if we were in a fairy tale ala Peter Pan.

Maybe we need to change our mentality in viewing those who talk about their issues, maybe those on the outside need to think happy thoughts, to think positive and supporting thoughts, and realize that this is a way that they seek help, or seek to quiet the mind, or try to help others who are struggling by showing them they are not alone.

When the world sees someone talking about depression as seeking attention or playing the victim how are we supposed to get better? How are we supposed to seek the help we need? How are we supposed to process the trauma that we have experienced? Yes, that is what therapy is for but it’s not like every time I am struggling, I pick up the phone and call Daniel, my therapist. No, that’s what our weekly session is for. That is what friends are for. We as a people need relationship, we need to share our life and that means sharing the good and the bad.

I am learning and growing when it comes to sharing my mental health. I fear being labeled as attention seeking, as “vague”booking, as playing the victim, when I share my struggles. It is terrifying to reach out when you think you will face ridicule and not support. When you think you will be ignored or your ‘Friends’ will attack, roll their eyes, or ignore you because they don’t understand.

To tell a person with depression, anxiety, and the like to just think happy thoughts is not helpful it is hurtful. Many have chemical imbalances that are part of the problem, our bodies do not create the correct chemicals, so we medicate, and those meds often need adjusting and sorting and changing as our bodies adjust and change. Many also are working hard to reform healthy neuropathways. Our brains are literally screwed up, we don’t know how to do it any other ways. In most cases trauma, that we have to delve into and sort through and talk about, caused “roads” in our brain for how we think and say all the nasty things that keep us from ‘just’ thinking happy thoughts. Our brains are not wired that way and we are working so very hard to map new roads and we need your help and support. We are learning something new, thinking positive, thinking without fear, thinking without the idea that we are failures, or that we are hated by others is new for us. Talking to ourselves nicely and in a positive manner is new.

Thank about how hard it would be to get to work if you had to create the new road first. This is what we are doing but in our brain and with neural pathways. We work HARD, it’s exhausting, everyday to think good thoughts, to be nice to ourselves, and to see the good in ourselves and our life. To try and “think happy thoughts”.

If you are our friends and you see us talking about our mental health, let us, love us, and unless we ask for advice or tips just listen to us. Let us process with you, be supported by you, be a positive voice for us when we can’t be one for ourselves.


This has been a month of change.  I left a job that I loved but was also draining.  I felt like I was drowning, I felt like no matter what I did or how hard I worked no one, or very few people, cared or even noticed.  The decision to leave was both fast and slow.  I debated it for over a year when the proverbial final straw broke my back and in a moment of tremendous hurt and anger I sat down and finalized my letter of resignation.  My final day was a week ago tomorrow.

In discussing this Monday in therapy I realized that other than leaving due to medical reasons I have basically never left something of my own free will.  I don’t mean I was fired, I mean life happened.  I mean my family moved, or the family I was working for moved, or what I had cobbled together could no longer sustain my bills.  I had never chosen change of my own free will.  I had never left a job in anger, I had never left for my own mental good.  Other than the need to pay bills and put a roof over my head I had never put myself first.  It was an odd realization.

As we delved further into my decision and my work on boundaries…boundaries which I had been letting falter in other parts of my life.  I cam to the realization that all I am is my job.  All I am is my career, all I am is my love of teaching.  I put my all into that because without it I am nothing and no one.  As I silently came to this realization I discovered that I was crying and I didn’t know why.  The more I talked, thought, and listened the more I realized how very broken I am as a person.

I have other interests, I have other things that matter, but they don’t matter.  Ya know?  I realized that I need more to my life, more that my work with kids.  More than my identity at St. John’s…an identity that is gone.  More than my identity as a teacher.  I just don’t know how that happens.  How do you branch out.  How do you get to know people when people terrify you? When you have social anxiety? When you are broken?  When the voice in your head says no one wants to know you?  That you’re a dork and a freak?  That you are LUCKY to have the people you have?  When you don’t know how those friendships happened.  My teacher friends happened because Faith is unique as are the amazing women I work with.  My squirrels…I have no idea but I thank God every day?  My church ladies, in one case I don’t know…the others their kids and grandkids. 

I don’t know, I feel so very broken.  And so much like there is no point to who I am other than my work.  Like I don’t truly matter or effect the world.  I feel like this needs to change but I also feel like why?  I don’t know.  I also see all the people who have walked out of my life over the years and think I am so easy to let go off.  It is so easy to fill that space with another, is this because I am broken…it is easier to be with whole people.  People who aren’t needy, who aren’t broken, who aren’t me.

Anxiety: Medication and Lies

It’s interesting I have always had anxiety and some of the depression that comes with the invasiveness of anxiety ridden thoughts. I have always just said “It’s who I am” and tried to find the good in a brain that looks for all the bad things, all the dangers, all the wrongs. I worked to ignore the part that tells me I’m not worthy, I suck, that people don’t like me, that they sre judging all my actions, all I do is wrong and I should hide who I am. I never really realized how much this ruled my life until this week.

In early November I hit a low that scared me.  I hit a point in my battle with depression where I was always sad, I was always overwhelmed, I was always on the brink of tears, where I didn’t want to get up in the morning, where I didn’t find joy in my life, in the things that I usually love…it lit a fire under my terrified butt and I reached out. 

Medication is necessary for some…stop the stigma.

For years, I’ve kind of joked that I should probably be medicated but that was as far as it went. I listened to the anxiety brain that said no, people will judge, it’s the easy way out, you need to figure this out and fight it, you can’t admit the reality of your inner thoughts. Let me say that I never thought this way for others, I was always an advocate for getting help, getting counseling, getting medication if needed, this thought process only applied to me, it was not rational but then neither is mental illness.

I was finally scared enough that I was able to ignore that voice and made an appointment with my doctor, yes, I dithered a week or two but hey, I followed through. I then promptly told members of my support system so that I couldn’t back out. I was brutally honest on the appointment survey and when I met via phone with my doctor, who was amazing and kind and gentle. She asked some hard questions and I had to go further in admitting what was happening in my head than I had to that point.

I have now been taking medication for anxiety and depression for about a week and a half and where I am still adjusting and working up to my ‘full’ dosage it’s amazing how much has changed. I never really realized how much of who I was was covered and clouded by the anxiety. In the first week I found myself being sassier, maybe not a good thing but I wasn’t afraid to be me with the people in my life especially with my sassy pants co-workers. I’ve also found that I am happier, I am less concerned with the little things. I think the best thing was a comment made today by a friend and trusted support that they feel like their getting to know the real me, seeing who I really am.

Life isn’t perfect and yeah the world is still falling apart but it’s not the only thing I can see, feel, and focus on, I see the rainbows and the sunshine…I see, feel, and enjoy the good as well.

If you need it Medication is good, it’s ok to get the help you need and don’t let your brain tell you otherwise. Don’t suffer because you are listening to the lying words of Mental health issues.

Black Lives Matter

I have sat in terrible awe and horror over the last few days as I’ve watched our world implode.  I’ve watched as people have tried to justify the murder of a man because of his criminal history, tried to justify an officer of the law kneeling on his neck till he died.  There is no way to justify this, NONE!  I’ve watched as peaceful protests have become deadly.  As the people who are ordained to keep the peace, to keep us ALL safe have instigated violence.  I’ve watched as people were shoved, beat, bloodied, and maced for I don’t know what reason as all I saw was freedom of speech.  I’ve watched as opportunistic assholes took over peaceful protests to loot stores, I’ve watched as racist assholes tried to turn peace into violence so that the cause those protesting would be downplayed.  I’ve watched as intelligent, kind people who I love got caught up in the false bullshit.  Got carried away with the stupid and lost sight of what the fight was about.

2016-07-15-1468543542-5461644-theracistresponsetoblacklivesmatterLIbCT2p-thumbI admit there was a time in my life where I believed that “All Lives Matter” was an appropriate response to “Black Lives Matter”.  I admit that there have been times where I fought for the idea that ALL can be racist as I have been hated for my white skin, for something I too have no control over.  I admit to having grown up in predominantly white communities and therefore having no true idea what it is like on the other side.  And for this I am sorry.  I see you, I see the pain, I see the anger, and I see just how broken our world is.

Until we stop fighting and yelling towards each other, talking at instead of with; until we start LISTENING to the plight of the oppressed in our communities, our world nothing will change.  I am listening.

I see others listening also, the peaceful conversations are being lost in the sensationalism of violence.  I have hope that things will change this time.  That all will be heard, and that the oppressors will be shut down, that the fearful will stand up to them and say no more and that good will overcome the decades of evil.

I sit and I wait

I HATE this!  I pretty much hate everything that is life now.  I hate that my world, my life came to a crashing halt 11 weeks ago…that’s right 11 weeks, nearly 3 months, 76 days ago, everything in my realm changed.  Everything stopped.  The when of “would life start again” was tossed up in the air, and then out the window into a land of doubt and unsurety.  No one knew, hell no one knows now.  We wait.  We wonder…will we move to the next phase, will schools open in the fall…what will that look like, how will we do that, how will we keep people safe.

I was so glad when my college classes started cause at least something was coming back.  But not really learning on Zoom sucks, it is not the same, it feels different.  And where I have all the time in the world…because I am not teaching … I cannot get motivated.  My sense of urgency that is part of who I am and honestly part of my procrastinator hearts push is not there.  We sit in class and we talk about how crazy every one’s life is right now and I feel guilty.  I do not have kids, I do not have a family, I’m not teaching, yes, I’m working but it’s a couple hours a week.  I sit in my home doing nothing…my motivation is gone.

I sit in my anxiety.  I sit in my fear for the future.  I sit in a pit of depression.  I sit in my human need for people, for social interaction, for the hugs that are so glaringly absent from my life.  I sit.  I watch TV, I work on my computer, I read, but I sit…and I wait.  I wait for the world to figure out what is next.  I wait for the next shoe to drop, because “Have you met me?”.  I sit and I hope.  I hope for safety.  I hope for ‘normal’, knowing that normal will never be what it was.  I sit and I feel guilty.  I feel guilty that I am not out in the world and so many are.  I feel guilty for so so much as I sit, and I wait for the world to open back up.

Crossroads…what to do?

I hate these crossroads moments. The moments in life when you question what next? When you begin to question whether or not what you are doing is right whether it is where you are called any longer.

I KNOW that I am doing the right thing as a teacher. I love it and where there are aspects I’d happily hand off I know they are part of it and I accept them. That’s part of my quandary elsewhere, when the bad begins to outweigh the good is it time to move on. Just to clarify, my profession, my working as a teacher in a career and place I love, is not in question but other aspects of my life are.

I stepped into something after being asked many times to take on this mantle and after repeatedly saying no I finally said yes. I’m no longer sure if that was right. The voices of dissent are loud, they are always louder than the voices of assent…but is that all it is. Is it time for me to walk away…to pass the torch? I’ve done good things but maybe I’ve done what I can. Maybe it’s time to listen to the voices that yell that I am failure in this.

Either way there has to be a point where the bad to me and myself worth, my inner voice, has to be stopped. A point where I come first even to the detriment of others…even those so so important to me and my life.

God, I need a 2×4 moment so I know what is the right next steps…do I fight or just give up?

I have spent a lot of time thinking about the nature of people.  About personalities, about how we are people interact and relate to people who are different than us.  About how society expects a person to be.  See I am not the societal norm, I guess.  I am an introvert, I am terrified of people I don’t know well, I am a person with terrible social anxiety who shuts down in social interacts unless I am comfortable or working very hard.  I am a person with crappy social skills, no ability to have small talk – I literally don’t know how.  I am terrified that I am going to say or do the wrong thing, that I am going to piss someone off, that I am going to hurt their feelings, that I am going to find out that they don’t like me or worse that they are going to think I don’t like them because I do this interacting thing wrong.  God forbid I hurt someone with my words or actions.

I am a person who feels too much and I feel everything.  It is so hard to explain to people who don’t know what a true empath is but I am one.  I literally feel what others around me are feeling, especially those big powerful overwhelming emotions.  Because it scared me so much as a child I never learned to deal or process it, and more often than not if I don’t know where the emotions are coming from I struggle to pull apart what I am feeling and what another is feeling.  It overloads and overwhelms me and I don’t handle it well sometimes.  I am working on this, I am working so hard but that doesn’t mean I’m proficient or skilled at it, but I am trying so very hard. And as much as I hate this aspect of being me I also love it…it gives me a connection, a way of helping others that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It is also part of why I care as much as I do.

I am also a person with anxiety and depression, my mind lies to me constantly, telling me that I am worthless, that I am a waste of space, that the world does not need, want or especially like me.

My mind tells me that I am difficult…and I am because of all these things, I am a difficult person.  I think to much, I worry, I stress, I become overwhelmed, and all that leads to me becoming frustrated with myself and it boils over to others, with my own ineptitude at this thing called life and I snip and I snap, and people hate me (or get very very frustrated) and I hate me for it.

96660007-288-k17389I have spent the last fifteen years of my life working, struggling, and striving to do this thing called life and interacting better … and you know what if you knew me fifteen years ago you know that I do do it better.  I have fought, I have stretched, I have grown…and I still am growing and I am working to do it better.  Please know that I am trying, trying so hard and when I say that I am sorry I mean it, I am doing my best to do better, to not repeat but I am human and I am about as far from perfect as possible.

If I mess up, if I hurt you, if I fail at this thing called life and people with you tell me, tell me what I did, help me to do it better.  Just like a child sometimes I need help growing and knowing where my mistakes and flaws are.

Change is Possible

I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of people the last three days. There are people in this world who do not believe that people can change or grow. We have sayings and phrases in the common lexicon that imply this but you know what…it’s not true.

Throughout our life we change, we grow, we become better, or worse…but we change. To say that we don’t grow and change would mean that I was still the loose cannon of my early twenties. I was still the idiot who in order to hide her insecurities had to act like she knew everything. It would be to say that I was still the ‘Little Bitch’ my mom dubbed me in one of my shittier moments. A moment that started a rapid translation and deep look at who I was and who I wanted to be.

I am not that person anymore. Vestiges of her still exist, but I am NOT her. Who I was at 15 is different than who was at 25 and who I was at 35. This goes for all people.

We need to allow ourselves and others to change and to grow. To become who we are trying to be. Growth is hard and usually comes with many mistakes. It comes with hurts for ourselves and the ones we love.

Don’t assume that a person past actions are all there is to them, don’t assume that as a person is struggling to change it is futile. Love them and support them, see what can happen when the caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

To whom it may concern,

Over the last 36 hours I have watched as friends became enemies.  I have watched as people became villains.  I have watched as strangers attacked the character of a person they knew nothing about, all on the words of another.  I have watched as a group of people with mental illness have worked their hardest to drive another over the edge, to destroy other people with the same illness.  I have found myself in tears…wishing for a way to end the pain, the anger, and the hurt for ALL involved.  I have found my friends sobbing and aching from pain caused by words.  I have myself collapsed in tears at the words of a ‘friend’.

Why?!?!  Why do we do this?  Why as a people do we strive to hurt?  I know sometimes it is unintentional, sometimes we just loose our way in the darkness, sometimes things go to far.  Why do we not apologize?  Why are the apologies unaccepted?  Why is it so much easier to hurt than to forgive?  Why do we hold onto grudges, why do we seek annihilation instead of reconciliation or for that matter nothing instead, why not just strive to find the strength within us to move on?  Why is it so hard to let go, to move on?  Wouldn’t it be better; more healing to just move on?  Why are we, as a people so very prone to evil?  To nastiness?  To hatred instead of love and kindness?

I admit I made mistakes, I carried things to far, and I apologized, I tried to move on.  I get forgiveness is hard, but why do you need to destroy?  Why do you need to take everything and everyone down with you?  Why do you have to break others?  Why?

There are times, there are days that I really hate this world we live in.  I hate that so many people are so broken and feel that they need to break others to be better.  Why are we as a people like this?

My heart hurts.  My very soul hurts for everyone who I have interacted with for the past few days.  I wish I could fix it all.  I wish I could repair the damage done not only now but the damage done in the past, the damage that caused the need to break others.  I wish I could fix it, and I can’t, and I’m oh so very sorry.  Really and truly.

The people of our world are so unbelievably broken, so wounded.  Until we figure out how to stop causing more harm, to heal ourselves, it will never get better only worse for us and for all to come.


There are truly evil people in this world. People who will do all they can to destroy others. People who will take all your mistakes, all your perceived evils and use them against you. People who will save up there anger to use at the most and in the most painful and vindictive way they can. When you find that these people are in your life remove them! Rip them out at the root and do not let them back in. Realize that what they do and what they say has more to do with them and their true nature than with you. Realize that they are the ones who are broken not you. Realize that your true friends, the ones who deserve a place in your life will look at the trash they are spewing and say no! They will look at the crap and ask about it, and talk to you before deciding and they will love you anyway. Realizing that mistakes are a part of life and that just because you made some, and someone held onto them to break you does not mean those mistakes are who you are. Realize that that evil person was never your friend and that the real ones, the ones that matter are still there loving you, and supporting you. In these moments cut out the toxic people and hold the others even closer. Remember how far you have come, how strong you are, and how important and loved you are by so many.