Today I woke up sad

Not horribly sad, but “I’m not ever going to find love again because how could I force someone to go through depression with me” sad. This is not an uncommon type of sad, but it is one of the more dramatic types. So I Googled ‘dating with depression’ and I found a dating advice column that essentially said “Can’t be done. Sucks for you.”

OK, it didn’t say that. But it wasn’t the most positive article and it was in response to a person with depression asking for dating advice (see article here). I had to respond to her and I spent an hour on it so I thought I would repost it here:

‘I have severe depression and anxiety and I am never going to get better. This is not some “I give up, woe is me” statement, this is a medical fact. My therapists and psychiatrist have all told me this is something I need to manage, not something I can cure. This is not about exercise, nutrition, or a certain situation, this is because my brain is different. I am never going to just “be happy again” like a normal person, like I used to be, and not accepting this fact would be futile and stupid.

So from my perspective (and probably yours too), Evan said, “Ok, you CAN find love. There is always an exception to the rule. But it ain’t going to be anyone good until you fix yourself”. To which I respond, “Well, fixing myself at this point would be about as possible as growing back a limb so, awesome, I’ll just go die alone”.

I’m not trying to bash Evan, and I don’t even disagree with what he said. He seems like a nice enough person, so I’m fairly certain he meant something far, far more uplifting and kind. I’m just having a hard time seeing it. So I wanted to give you an alternative response, in case you interpreted it the way I did.

So, Kristi – 

Yes, people with depression can find love, but it is going to be more difficult. There is definitely a stigma that we have to overcome, but it isn’t impossible and I wouldn’t say finding someone who will love you is an exception to the rule. That just sounds depressing (pun intended).

And you’re getting help! That’s amazing and difficult and you should be congratulated on that. It sucks, but you’re doing it anyway. I have been going to therapy for years and every time I still think “Ugh, I don’t want to talk about my feelings today. I want to ignore them and eat too many tacos”. You recognize the problem as chronic and are taking steps to manage it. This is something many depressed people don’t do.

Dating advice (based on advice given to me): It’s not exactly something you bring up on the first date. Let them see you and your personality and if things seem to be getting serious or the topic comes up naturally, explain the depression. Don’t just say you have it. Emphasize that you care about them, even when you’re sad. Emphasize it’s not something to fix, it’s just a part of your life, like the flu or the music of Justin Bieber (i.e., It sucks, but at times its unavoidable). This is the first step to testing the compatibility. But seeing is believing, and after going through a bout with you, they may decide it’s not something they can accept after all. This doesn’t mean you don’t deserve love or even that they don’t care. Depression is difficult for everyone around it. But there are people who can accept it. I have dated these people. I am one of these people. And I would absolutely date someone with depression (as long as they are taking steps to manage it and seeking help). They get it. It’s not so scary and taboo for them.

That all being said, your therapists and psychiatrists want to help you, and if they think you aren’t ready for dating, that’s something to consider. What’s even more important is spending time on self reflection and deciding if it’s something you are ready for and if it’s something you really want. You should also be able to look at yourself and say “I have depression, but I’m also awesome.” Acceptance is key. Accept yourself and others will too.

I am currently single and whenever I go through a really bad spell, I want to be in a relationship more than anything. I want someone to be there while I’m crying and tell me that everything is going to be OK. Essentially, I want a crutch, not a partner, which isn’t fair to anyone involved. I should not and am not dating right now. I got shit to sort out.

You are not me and you face problems that I don’t. But I wanted to leave you with a hopeful message. People who will accept your depression and love you are out there, so don’t give up. You deserve love as much as anyone else does. Keep working on yourself because you always should. Try to be better than you were yesterday and move forward.’

Finding this article and writing this response is bittersweet. On the one hand, the article confirms my fears and doubts. On the other hand, I truly am hopeful for this woman and I believe what I said. If I believe it is true for her, it can be true for me too.

 

Family Pt. 2

MOM: Beth, do not be mean to your brother about his girlfriend.

ME: Fine. Brother, look at me. In the eyes. Do it. All your dreams will die.

MOM: OK, tone it down…

ME: What? It wasn’t about his girlfriend!

BROTHER: *ignores me*

Family

A conversation I had with my parents.

MOM: A man and his dog were lost in the woods for a couple days. They got lost while hiking.

ME: Is the dog ok? Did he eat his dog? He ate his DOG. WHAT A MONSTER! HOW COULD HE?

MOM: *after laughing at me* The dog is fine.

ME: Good. Because, otherwise, he would have been a monster.

–Some time later–

ME: You know how cats eat their owners when they die, but dogs usually don’t?

MOM: Yes…

ME: Well, if I got lost in the woods with Azlan, I would want him to eat me if I died. And I don’t think he would. Do you think if I started feeding him little pieces of myself before I died, he would eat my dead body? Like, feed him chunks of my arm.

MOM and DAD: *purposeful silence*

ME: You’re IGNORING me.

MOM: Yes.

ME: How could you? I need your input! These are the questions that keep up at night.

MOM: Yes, sweetie, I know.

(Later, I asked my brother the same question. He answered yes. I thanked him for his input. )

ME: If we were lost in the forest and you died, could I eat you?

MOM: Sure. Once I’m dead you can do whatever you want.

ME: Cool. Noted.

MOM: Could I eat you?

ME: WHAT? NO. I am your DAUGHTER. That’s so WRONG.

MOM: Your dog could eat you, but I can’t?!

ME: He’s my SON. He could eat me, but I would NEVER eat him. God, Mom, it’s called being a good mother.

MOM: I’m going to eat you anyway. You’ll be dead.

ME: Fair enough.

 

Bird Mansion

Today’s post is about how the public school system in America has failed me. I am not a fan of art classes. I art things, but I don’t like the structure of art classes. They should exist, but I would like the schools to bring back skill classes like auto shop or woodworking. I want my extracurricular activities to provide me with a skill. And cars and wood can be creative. Oh, you know what would be great? A classes on banking and taxes on adult shit. Because I am adulting the best I can, and I pay taxes, but I sure as shit do not understand them. Or anything else. I do not feel prepared for the world. Please send help.

It’s super cool to know how to develop film, but it is not something that I happen to partake in on a daily basis. I would rather know how to fix my car or build furniture or repair things. I drive a car a lot more than I develop film. Because that is never. I am not a photographer. I do not own a camera. I would like to understand my car and I realize I could teach myself or find a class, but it would have been great to learn about it in high school. Instead I’m in my 20s slowly realizing I drive a death machine that I know next to nothing about. Scary.

I would also love to take wood shop and learn how to build things. If I had gotten to take wood shop in high school, imagine how good I would be at building bird houses by now. I could be building bird mansions with ballrooms and bird nest made of gossamer and angel dust. Wait, no, not angel dust. That’s PCP. If the birds want drugs, they can get their own. They have beaks and talons and I just have tiny fists. Birds can just steal from the drug dealers. I know if I was a drug dealer I would run if there were just, like, 5 birds attacking me.

Anyway, I would be building bird mansions so majestic that soon birds would refuse to live in anything less. People would be like “Hey, I don’t have in birds in my bird house, do you know what’s up?” “Yeah, the birds are used to a higher quality of living, you gotta get a bird mansion from Beth if you want any birds.” And I would be a rich businesswoman, selling bird mansions so extravagant and luxurious that bald eagles, the symbol of freedom themselves, would want them. Instead, I’m just going to become a scientist and try to better the world. Thanks a lot AMERICA. You failed me and the bald eagles. How do you sleep at night?

Happy (late) Mother’s Day

I meant to write this post two days ago, but I didn’t want to wait until next year. I’d forget by then.

So happy late mother’s day to all the brave, selfless women who foolishly choose to be mothers. I am not a huge fan of children and I don’t plan on having kids because it looks scary. I don’t mind babysitting, and I really love the kids I’ve spent time with, but motherhood looks painfully difficult. I get to leave, mothers do not. Children are monsters that you have to treat nicely, which parents seem to be able to do. I admire that.

My friend recently had a baby who I am going to call Bob (that is not his real name). Anyway, Bob recently started to crawl, which means he is now far more capable of foolishly causing his demise. All the fluffy baby toys in the world are not nearly as interesting as knives, scissors, or attempting to throw yourself off of tall objects. Motor control may be a step forward in development, but it sure makes it more difficult to keep the little darling alive. Watching Bob try to forcefully launch himself away from the person holding him makes me wonder how the human race has survived this long. You would think evolution would have allowed us to develop some basic survival skills, but watching Bob has proved that is not true.

And after their infant stage they learn how to talk. Talking is cute and sweet until they use it to yell insults and lie. Azlan will never be able to tell me he hates me because Azlan is a dog and he will never learn how to talk. Dogs:1 Children:0. Although if he did it would be alright because an actual talking dog would definitely make me rich. And Azlan would never say he hates me. Never. Then they become teenagers, and that’s at least a little awful. Hormones and high school drive everyone a little crazy and parents get the brunt of the rage and angst. And just at the point they may start to become a functioning human being, they leave. OR stay forever and live in their parent’s basement.

So people, call your mom. Call your dad too. Not just on Mother’s day. Raising kids is hard and your parents deserve a medal of honor for putting up with you all these years. If everyone was as concerned with self-preservation as I am, your mom never would have agreed to have you. And mankind would be extinct.

Love, Beth.

 

Self-medication

We had a more light-hearted post the other day, so let me bring it back down to my level. Your  welcome ;D

I try my damndest not to self-medicate, but good god do I understand the appeal. The psych meds help, but they take weeks, sometimes even months, to have a significant effect. That’s a long time to be in the dark and it’s nearly impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Every minute feels like you’re losing a little bit of your soul.

I’m straight-laced by nature, so the only immediate gratification I partake in is alcohol, but I get it. I avoid drinking during my lows because it is so much easier to drink than to be patient with my meds or just wait for the funk to pass. I imagine other (slightly more illegal) drugs have that same immediate effect of making it hurt less. Of distracting you. Of just doing something besides focusing on that horribly empty feeling in your chest.

But it’s not worth it. I know that, and I want you to know it too. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however faint it may be. The fog will pass or the meds will start helping eventually and  will be happy knowing that you did it without any illegal, mind-numbing drugs. And taking prescribed medication does not make you weak or broken. It makes you brave and strong enough  to recognize the problem and try to fix it.

We can’t see the other people stuck in the dark with us, but there are so many. We are never alone and that is something important to keep in mind. Stay strong, stay here, and try to get some support. It’s out there if you ask for it.

Sappy post out.

Azlan

I have a dog named Azlan. He is a fluffy, ridiculous husky that I love more than anything. I probably love my dog more than I love you. I might love my dog more than you love your child. I love him so much sometimes it literally makes me cry.

I would fight a bear for Azlan, no questions asked. I would not fight a bear for you. Because what the hell did you do to piss off the bear? Did you insult his/her bear pride? It seems pretty easy not to be attacked by a bear. I, personally, never have been. You being attacked by a bear is really a personal problem that I don’t want to be involved in. Plus, am I really your best option in bear fighting? I’m not even 5 feet tall. I mean, sure, I’m feisty, but the bear will still rip off my face. If I’m your best option in a bear fight, then you are up shit creek without a paddle. I should just stay out of it so at least one of us can survive.

However, I would fight a bear for Azlan. Even if it was his fault and he insulted their bear mother and deserved to be smacked around a little bit. Because I will always risk my life to save that little ball of weird. He also has a much better chance that I will win because I love him more than I love you and I’ll probably try harder. Sorry.

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Look at his face. Look at it. 

Azlan has also been a huge help with my various mental issues. During panic attacks petting his fluffy head calms me down and during depression he forces me to go outside. He is perfect because he doesn’t care if I’m sad or stressed. He has dog things he needs to do and I need to help him. It’s nice to have someone who treats me the same no matter where my head is at that day, who loves me unconditionally, who believes I’m the greatest person to ever live. Someday I hope to be the person he thinks I am.

Today my brain broke.

Ok, it wasn’t today. It was a few days ago. I feel if I’m going to start this journey with you I should be honest. Sorry for beginning with a lie.

Anyway, a few days ago, my brain broke. After almost a year of my most crippling bout of depression and anxiety, something in me just snapped, but in a good way (for once). It was a horrible week, ironically, and I came closer to suicide than I ever had before. Let’s just say I was already in a bad place, I got my feelings hurt and my brain turned it into a situation worthy of drastic measures.

I was hurt and angry and my brain broke from years of pressure. I decided it was just time not to give a shit. It is too exhausting to pretend I have my shit together, too hard to pretend to be happy, and, frankly, it’s not worth. A lot of people have mental health issues, and I’m one of them. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and I will not punish myself for it any longer.

And the result was acceptance of myself, of how I have to live to get through the day, of all the decisions I have made, good and bad. I’m still alive and have managed to fumble my way around with relative success. And that makes me bad ass. Really, anyone getting through this ‘life’ business is bad ass. Give yourself a hand.

So, here I am. I have depression and anxiety. I am very rarely proud of myself and there are days that I don’t want to live. There are going to be people that can’t handle it and have to leave my life. It is something I will live with forever, and it sucks. But I’m here, and I’m throwing it down like a gauntlet. Come at me, bro.

Song of the day: Down with the Sickness – Richard Cheese