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little victories

i just got back from a 2-mile walk. i realize that may not sound terribly impressive, but to me, it’s a fairly big deal. in my life, i want to be more active. i want to be fit and healthy. i want to live a long life with my awesome spousal unit. depression gets in the way. A LOT!

in therapy yesterday, we danced around the ideas of: 1. giving myself permission { whether it’s permission to practice self-care OR permission to be as i am, in that moment, without judgement } and 2. to celebrate/revel in/ be proud of little victories { REALLY DIFFICULT CONCEPTS FOR ME}

the universe must really want me to take those lessons to heart, because not only did i share { in solidarity } this with a co-worker, but one of my “regular sites” featured this post on how “tracking positivity” can help with depression.  so here i am, celebrating my little victory with the universe.

an amazing mentor { and friend  AND founder of The Women’s Intelligence Project } shared an enlightening piece Centering Wellness: Reimagining Justice, Care and Change Making Professions. the author, jardana peacock,  is speaking specifically about fields of work when she stares:

“we must see our work as trauma work.

We often experience that trauma as overwhelm, anxiety and stress. Compound that with personal trauma(s) and we are headed toward breakdown and burnout.

Without an emphasis on wellness, folks will continue to suffer exponentially from burnout, anxiety, and spiritual malaise….

The truth is trauma never goes away. Trauma will always exist in our world and in our bodies. Self-care/Community-care, wellness and spiritual practices will, however, provide a container of healing.”

this is what i am attempting to do: practice self-care. i want to heal.

The grange watercolor female profile

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nuggets of wisdom 2: “the noonday demon”

i had suspected that this book would be full of juicy, thought-provoking wisdom, and so far, i have not been disappointed.

from page 133:

Most people cannot emerge from really serious depression just by fighting; a real serious depression has to be treated, or it had to pass. But while you are being treated or waiting for it to pass, you have to keep up the fighting. To take medication as part of the battle is to battle fiercely, and to refuse it would be as ludicrously self-destructive as entering a modern war on horseback. It is not weak to take medications; it does not mean that you can’t cope with your personal life; it is courageous. { emphasis mine } Nor is it weak to seek help from a wise therapist. Faith in God and any form of faith in yourself are great. You must take your therapies, all kinds, with you into the struggle. You cannot wait to be cured.

help me { i’m an } adult!!!

adulting

it may have reached meme status, but–I’M DONE ADULTING!!! i’m truly at a loss as to how i’m supposed to get decent sleep, eat well/healthy, practice self-care, work, do laundry, pay bills, pay back your student loan, save money for the future, have something that resembles a social life…and NOT end up in a frothy attack of sheer anxiety.

today, 2 bills and my student loan payment were/are due. have i paid them yet? nope. what have i done with my day? stuff that ACTUALLY brings me joy. something i rarely do.

look, i know the reality is that *no one* has their shit together, but why does it feel so much like i’m failing??? like everyone else has at least ONE thing figured out in their life. that everyone else has mastered at least ONE aspect of adulting.

i want to get in shape- mentally & physically.

i want to eat nourishing, healthy foods.

i want a direction in which to take my life: career or otherwise.

i want to not be so damn sleepy all the time.

i want to have friends i do things with, and not like i’m some lonely hermit because i also want to stay at home.

i want to feel like i belong somewhere.

i want to not have raging panic attacks.

mostly, i want to go back and be a kid again, so the only worries i have are trivial.

 

litany of terror { unemployment edition }

twice, in my life so far { and hopefully never again–knock on wood }, have i been unemployed. not the between-gig-a-and-gig-b or the i-just-quit-a-shitty-job-should-start-looking-for-a-new-one or even the i’m-taking-some-time-off-just-for-me type of unemployment. no, i mean the you-show-up-for-work-to-be-greeted-by-your-manager-“hey-we’re-gonna-have-to-let-you-go” type. the soul crushing type. the, yes, i MAY have hated this job but i still came in everyday and gave it 100% and then you fucked me in the ass type.

this category { if you will } of unemployment sucks major assballs. twice i have gone through this. twice i have had to apply for EDD { unemployment benefits } and SNAP { food stamps } just to get by. twice i have had to face the humiliation of not being able to know how to answer: “so, what do you do?” the emotional scars and anxiety NEVER go away…or, at least, they haven’t gone away yet.

which brings me to the present day–i am utterly & completely terrified of losing my job, once again, and having to face unemployment. my current position is by no means glamourous, nor do i honestly believe it is in any amount of jeopardy, but the looming monster of stress/anxiety/doubt/paranoia which follows former unemployeds { such as myself } finds ways to make me panic.

my job isn’t commissioned-based, per se, but they *DO* keep a running tally of how many successful “conversions” { new  memberships } each employee makes…and it does reflect in your performance reports and can even determine how many hours/shifts per week you receive during leaner times of year. and i’ve have been stuck at 28 conversions for about 2 months now. nevermind the dozens of membership forms i hand out, or how often i talk it up–no one has taken the bait.  which leads me to this morning…

i am scheduled to work from 9:30-5:30, no big deal. however, from 9:30-10:30 i’m scheduled as “misc. event” { ??? } now normally, before the store opens at 10, we will have vendor workshops, but they END AT 10, because the store opens for business. so what in the world is this 9:30-10:30 business???? the previously mentioned monster of stress/anxiety/doubt/paranoia is panicking that this is some type of intervention…i.e. “stein, you aren’t good enough. you need to get your act together or else” or that i will show up and be told, once again, that i’m not needed.

how does one vanquish these demons? can one ever? or does the monster of stress/anxiety/doubt/paranoia follow you forever, once you’ve been through the pain of non-voluntary unemployment???

“guest post”: depression

it’s no secret that many of us battle day-in-day-out with various forms and degrees of depression. i have been thinking a lot, recently, of my own on going battle with the disease that lies { as i prefer to call it }. instead of giving you all the long, drawn out history, i’m going to attempt to condense it all into brief tidbits, and then allow the “guest posts” { aka other bloggers/webcomics  i will gladly give full credit to } to speak their truths in a more enjoyable way.

my mother claims i always battled the “dark and morose” feelings and was an emotional rollercoaster even at the tender age of 4. in my own recollection, the onslaught of the disease that lies began my senior year of high school, and manifested itself as crazy, brutal, epic panic attacks of doom! { registered trademark } that sent me home on a semi-regular basis. i was overwhelmed with the thought of dying–and not in the suicidal way– no no, i was CONVINCED that i was about to die, any second. driving home from school, i would chant mantras of “please let me live until my parents come home so i can tell them i love them” or “please don’t let me die, because then my car will careen out of control and take innocent people with me”….it was horrible, and followed me through several states and into my early college career. the anxiety difused, but never fully went away { every once in a blue moon, i still get an epic attack }, instead turning into a constant monologue of self-deprecation and doubt.

this general “depression” was made worse by a year of non-voluntary, semi-confinement { also known as teaching english in a foreign country } wear my nearest native-english speaking neighbour was a 20 minute drive away, i didn’t have a car for the first 4 months, and said person was a misogynist chode. matters were made worse by the committee of elderly “gentlemen” who were my direct supervisors and made me feel like shit about myself for not being the MALE TEACHER they had requested. so enduring a year of this, on top of recovering from major anxiety, and plagued with all sorts of other demons, has left me more broken than i would be…which is unfortunate in that, besides the suckitude of making me feel isolated and unworthy and alone, that year abroad was actually quite an amazing experience. had i been placed somewhere more central, or with less old-fashioned, misogynist bosses, i’d be way better adapted.

SIGH. which brings me to the “guest” part of this post….because all these amazing people are going through similar feelings that i deal with at least on a weekly basis.

the admirable wil wheaton from his blog/mini-empire wilwheaton.net : an excerpt:   I haven’t ever felt suicidal, but I do have Depression and Anxiety. I suffered for no good reason for decades, until I couldn’t reconcile my awesome life with feeling terrible all the time. Talking therapy wasn’t ever enough for me, and I was very resistant to medication, because I believed (and continue to believe) that we are an over-medicated culture.

another incredible person the bloggess { aka jenny larson } updates often on her struggles, so i’m including not one, but TWO links…this one is about depression greeting cards and brings awareness to national mental health awareness week.  this one is more introspective, and really brings home the message that **depression lies**—When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t.  We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.

finally, for those of you who are more visual, i give you “adventures in depression” by the fabulous webcomic artist/site hyberbole and a halfthis is just part one of her journey, which is concluded in her most recent post “depression: part two”, where she so aptly describes what suffering from the disease that lies is really like: At first, I’d try to explain that it’s not really negativity or sadness anymore, it’s more just this detached, meaningless fog where you can’t feel anything about anything — even the things you love, even fun things — and you’re horribly bored and lonely, but since you’ve lost your ability to connect with any of the things that would normally make you feel less bored and lonely, you’re stuck in the boring, lonely, meaningless void without anything to distract you from how boring, lonely, and meaningless it is.

with that, i leave you with this panel from hyperbole and a halfDEPRESSIONTWO8.2