Start Again

startagain

I’ve been just, really bad at blogging lately. It’s odd, because I have the time, and the ideas, but I lack motivation. It’s not totally a bad thing, because our nights after Alex goes to sleep are spent together down in the basement, either playing board games, video games or catching up on John Oliver. So it’s been kinda ok. But I miss my blog. I have a small cache of other like-minded blogs I love and read and think Gosh, I gotta get moving. I have stuff I want to say, mood boards I want to make, envy to stir.

But on the darker side of things, I have been suffering big time from depression and anxiety, more than I ever have in my life. It’s paralyzing at times. That takes a lot of energy, and the other energy is taken up by taking care of a baby. I was thinking this morning about why I love reading lifestyle and design blogs so much, and I wonder if it’s for the same reason I love Skyrim… It’s an escape from my own imperfect life. I spend a lot of time making my house look cool, while my own appearance has suffered. But this is the first time in my life where I actually hate being depressed. I hate how much it curbs my enthusiasm and creativity. So, I’m gonna work on this blog, and in the meantime, I have a list of “Spring Resolutions” (because while I love New Year’s, isn’t the brand new promise of SPRING even more rejuvenating??)

resolutions
  • Make Lists!
  • Cook dinner more!
  • Start a garden!
  • Organize the pantry!
  • Write Blogs!
  • Keep a journal!
  • Spend less time on Social Media!
  • Start running again!
  • …Or at least take more walks!

 

(Photos are my wedding bouquet, shot by Matt Lien)

Inbetween Days

Note: This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a couple weeks now, but I’ve had no idea how to approach it. I really believe in minimizing the stigma of “mental illness”, and in the interest of keeping it 100, I have no issue talking about my history with depression on this blog. But this has been such a difficult subject to broach, for reasons I don’t really understand myself. But my therapist encouraged me to write about this, and if I wait too much longer, I might lose my nerve. 

Almost daily for the last 4 months or so, I have struggled profoundly with a form of depression. We could call it situational or prenatal or just regular depression. It all applies. Pregnancy has changed my circumstances so dramatically, from being a generally social, full time graphic designer who does stuff to an unemployed woman who now finds it difficult to interact with people. Not that I don’t know how to relate to people anymore, per se, but all the old tricks I would have for “hanging out” usually included going out late at night, drinking, etc… You can’t really do that when you’re pregnant.

So I’ve been alone. More or less for half my pregnancy.

Here and there I would do the occasional lunch with a close friend or attend my old trivia night, even once or twice going out after 10 to dance with people. And the buzz you get from seeing people who you like and who like you sustains you for a short while, but eventually I slip back into a deep despair, where I feel guilty that I have all this free time, and no earthly idea of how to enjoy it. I think back to what I would do with days off from work, and the answer was usually along the lines of lunch, movie, shopping, errands. If every day is a day off, those once enjoyable activities become tedious, almost an obligation (i.e. “Maybe I should go see a movie but I don’t want to, ugh“). Then I start to think how pitiful it is that I can’t come up with anything other than going to the mall again to spend my time.

Who am I trying to impress? What does it matter if I want to go to the mall? Who cares? I know, I know. It shouldn’t matter. But for some reason it does, and I feel pathetic, and I feel sorry for myself, and then I cry, and then I cry some more because I’m sad that I’m sad. Then Alan comes home and I can’t explain what exactly is so upsetting and he can’t fix it and I feel more alone than ever.

I’m trapped between my old life and my new life. It’s about to change in ways I have no way of understanding and that’s scary but also exciting. I’m just totally stuck in this inbetween, but after a summer of no job and no social life, waiting for my life to have purpose again.

Did other mothers feel this same way? Alan and I have indulged in dinners out and movies we weren’t super stoked about, and dates with friends. I’ve indulged in shopping trips, long drives and sleeping in late (mainly out of necessity, because the morning is when I’m finally exhausted enough to ignore the pain in my hips). But I also feel like I’m the only woman in the world who has spent many of her days leading up to birth sobbing at her desk at home, sometimes over very small things, but other times, and more frequently, over the suffocating isolation and lack of creativity in her life.

I guess my goal here is not to send you on a big ol awkward guilt trip, but more to just show you, hey, when I was posting all those mood boards and photos of my house, I was also struggling silently with depression and I just want to talk about it.Processed with VSCO with j2 preset

Some months ago I recognized that I was struggling and having always had a fear that I could be afflicted by Postpartum Depression (PPD), or even in an extreme case, Postpartum Psychosis, I began to see a therapist. Seeking help has long been my biggest hurdle in my fight with depression and anxiety. It can be overwhelming to find a therapist, and then you have to hope that you have a good rapport with the therapist. Last fall I had a therapist who helped me in some ways but who I didn’t feel at all connected to. Luckily this time around I found a woman who is gentle and compassionate and who specializes in depressive disorders unique to women.

Because of the lessening stigma surrounding these types of issues people have, I’ve learned of a ton of my friends who suffer in similar ways, or other ways I can’t imagine. It’s hard to remember when you’re being whipped around the maelstrom of sadness that there are others struggling in their own way too, so let’s all just try a little more to look out for each other.

I’m looking forward to this podcast which will hopefully help me and others to feel even less alone in the journey. Because while I’m so glad this pregnancy is almost over, I don’t know about what the next wave of strange body changes will bring. All I know is I want to be a strong and happy mother for my baby.

You’ve Got to Change Your Ways or Die

CHANGEI mentioned (or rather, blogged for 3 months about it) that this last was kind of a “last hurrah”. And it was the best summer ever. I had zero cares. I drank, I smoked, I didn’t sleep. On the few weekends I didn’t have a music festival or a cabin to go to or camping or birthdays, I would get myself a bloody mary or two with brunch and then lie on the couch all day. Oh it was so deliciously lazy. My body was sore, my head was pounding, I couldn’t keep my eyes open half the time. But all of it was so fun. And it was 100% social. I hung out with my friends all the time and we laughed and loved each other. My summer of love.

A small confession I have though is that I don’t LOVE drinking. I really like that first, second and third beer. But after a while it becomes just too much, and being drunk is uncomfortable and painful. But the thing is, it’s just so easy. Grabbing a beer and going into my yard and sitting there all night is so much easier than say, going to the gym. Gosh, that’s hard work. I think I’m in the third wave of 2015 where I’m trying to kick bad habits once and for all and turn a new leaf. I did a dry month in January (and went to the gym a lot, though I still lacked energy and didn’t lose weight). You’ll recall in April and May and started a fitness routine and that was going really well. The thing that changed that was our trip to Atlanta, which was a ton of fun, but I drank, didn’t exercise, bummed some smokes, and then it was all over. And then vita.mn shut down and I lost the routine for the whole summer. While the summer was the most fun, it was also painful and hard to keep going. I shot a multi-day camping music festival and then a few days later got on a plane to New York, aka the City That Never Sleeps. I felt like a zombie walking those streets, and drunkenly navigating my way along the subway system back to Queens every night.

I do enjoy that lifestyle (to an extent. It’s bloody exhausting), but simply, it’s terrible for me (technically speaking it should be terrible for everyone). What I really want more than anything is to be able to wake up early, like 6 am. Go take a walk in the early sunlight, listen to some podcasts (or my ever handy Skyrim soundtrack), come home, make coffee and eat breakfast. Then, go to work feeling energized and refreshed. At my gym, I’ve been going to classes every week. Cycle mainly, and yoga. Do you guys know how incredibly powerful Yoga is? It makes me feel like kneaded dough by the end of it – my body is relaxed and languid and warm and I’m so pleasantly tired but I’m buzzing. It feels way better than drinking. Almost every day, I’ve taken a 3 mile walk on doctor’s orders because I hurt my back in May. I’ve also started taking medieval sword fighting classes (an astonishingly amount of fitness involved there), I signed up to run a 5k on Thanksgiving, I’m going to go climb the rock wall at REI, and in October I’m going to Colorado to walk around in the Rockies all by myself.

I also went to the doctor to get some stuff checked out and got a (mostly) clean bill of health. I went to the dentist for the first time in 7 years. And I’ve started to make a regular habit of going to therapy. I’ve talked about my depression a lot on here before. It’s a constant uphill battle to feeling good. You have to be strong enough of mind to want to feel better to take that step, and that’s doubly hard when you’re depressed. While talking with my therapist, we discussed my drinking. Now, if I were to be objective (which I think I’m pretty good at), I don’t have a problem half as bad as some people I know. The therapist suggested I go without drinking for 3 months.

Which I can do. I can totally do that. I never thought “I can’t do that.” (TBH if you think “I couldn’t do that” you probably should. If you think “I wouldn’t want to” then like, whatever. Life is short, you might as well drink if you want to right?) Having it come from a licensed professional makes it seem more doable than just saying to my friends “you know what? I think I’m gonna quit boozing for a while.” And also, you know you have good friends when none of them care that you’re not going to drink. When they just want to see you, you know you’re ok. Alan and I went to a friend’s party on Saturday, and neither of us drank, and I still had a really great time. It’s empowering. I really can just do this and knock these bad habits for good.

In 2009, I turned 21. That was when this all started, and I had some amazing times. The most intense period of personal growth. 6 years later, a lot has changed around me, and I’m ready to close the book on that chapter and start a fresh one. I look forward to sharing it with everyone along the way.

%d bloggers like this: