Long forgotten happy place

When I was a kid my favorite uncle worked at Home Depot. My mom and I would occasionally go visit him and pick up a plant or paint sample while we were there. I fell in love with the store. I loved walking through the kitchen section and feeling the differing types of tile, looking at the carpet samples to determine what kind will be in my home when I grow up, studying every type of door fascinated by the ones with windows or fancy knobs. But my favorite aisle was the one with wood. Nothing but boards in various sizes, all with the most spectacular smell. I could loose myself in that aisle forever.

Over time I forgot this happy place of mine. My uncle went on to another career, we bought our plants elsewhere, didn’t paint as often. And the joys of this magical place got lost somewhere in the back of my mind. Not too long ago I had to get something from Home Depot. It was late, an hour before closing, and quiet. So I decided to wander a bit. I began to remember how much I loved this store, but as I went into my magical forest aisle it wasn’t quite the same. So I continued to wander until I reached the far edge of the gardening section and became lost in a sea of half grown trees and giant bags of soil. My new aisle, my new happy place.

Today I needed a break. I needed to calm my mind of the anxiety of the week. Week? Actually no, let’s try month. So I went to Home Depot and picked up a new pack of key rings and then went into the forest in the far corner. As I wandered I found myself at the clearance rack, a metal shelf unit covered in half dead plants marked down 50-75%. As I stood there I longed for these plants. But I rent an apartment, and my tiny patio and window sills have more heat than light from the sun, so plants don’t grow for me right now. I had to leave them all behind as I knew they wouldn’t flourish with me. So I spoke quietly to them. I told these plants that they were not forgotten, that I loved them, and that when I have a house and a garden I will fill that garden with clearance plants and bring them back to life. The plants can’t hear me, but that’s okay because I needed the reminder that all living things can come back to beauty and life if cared for properly. Some day I will save those plants, they will not be forgotten, left to die on a shelf.

I loved my moments in my forest today in the back corner of Home Depot. Then of course I hit the grocery store on the way home for a giant bottle of wine cause let’s face it, it’s been a shitty few weeks. So cheers. Here’s to half dead plants, half forgotten happy places, and half empty bottles of wine.

I will not

I will not rage quit my job today.

I will not allow a single email to determine my career.

I will not allow this bitch to get to me, even after nearly three years of her hacking away at my mental state at work.

I will not rage quit my job today.

I will not stay up all night.

I will not be up all night afraid of the dreams that will haunt my sleep.

I will not allow my stress from the day to determine whether or not I will sleep that night.

I will not stay up all night.

I will not spend the day in tears.

I will not hide and cry all day over the devastation in this world.

I will not dwell on my personal experiences of loved once trapped in past shootings and replay the fear in my head while others face this new terror in their own lives.

I will not spend the day in tears.

I will not give up.

I will not forget that this day is temporary.

I will not allow the insanity of my current life and stress levels to destroy the future I am always fighting towards.

I will not give up.

“YOU’RE almost done”

After 3 weeks of go go go craziness, my husband told me I needed to take a day to do nothing. He asked me to cancel my plans for Saturday and just rest. I exclaimed that I can’t do that, that my current reoccurring Saturday activity should be done every Saturday. “Besides, it’s almost done” I stated in an effort to prove my point. He turned to me and said “YOU’RE almost done.” And he’s right. I’m stretched too thin and continuously telling myself it’s okay cause each of these things are just for the season, it’s almost done. My “it’s temporary” thought process may help me fight my depression, but I can really screw with my focus when applied to all of the things I want to accomplish.

So with his words in my head, I cancelled my Saturday plans. This morning I thought it was silly, I felt fine. Around 1pm I realized I hadn’t eaten all day, hmmm maybe the stress has been effecting me if I don’t have my normal appetite. After a light lunch I fell asleep. When I woke up 6 hours later my husband simply turned to me and said “see, I knew you were gonna crash. Feel better?” And yes, yes I do. I’m still enjoying some lazy time right now, and have no idea how this will effect my sleep tonight. But for now I will appreciate the day of rest, the sudden appetite upon waking up, and the fact that my Hubby will always take care of me.

Audio book recommendations

So life is crazy and hectic and exhausting right now. It’s giving off the strange effect of increasing my depression rather than my anxiety or anger like it more commonly would. And because all has gone haywire, I’m struggling to make time for self care, which I desperately need. So I started listening to audio books in the car to and from work in hopes of building in at least that small chance of personal calm and happy. But I need recommendations for new ones.

So please recommend audio books for me. I would greatly appreciate it!

By a robber in the woods

A very dear friend of mine attempted suicide this weekend. She survived and is safe in a psychiatric hospital right now. But I spoke with her today and she still seems overcome by the depression and the sorrow she faces. I looked briefly through photos of us over the past few months and can see, now with clarity, the smile on her face and the sorrow in her eyes.

I am in hermit mode while I safely heal my own broken heart as she exhaustedly fights for hers. I await to see the success of her fight because I cannot bear it to think she may lose. She is strong, though she doesn't see it. She is brave, though she sees only her fear. I will see the truth of her on her behalf while she navigates the dark woods of her depression.

I do not claim to be religious but have studied numerous scholars of numerous religions. One of the things that has always stuck with me was the idea by Martin Luther in the 16th Century that suicide did not mean that the soul was damned. That having your life taken by the despair the devil attacks you with is no different than being murdered by a robber in the woods. I believe that to be true.

My friend was attacked by a robber in the woods. She survived but continues to fight through these horrifying woods of her mind. I hope she receives the guidance she needs to make it out. Whether through a god, a therapist, a friend, or a family member. I want her to come safely out, back into the sunshine that will heal her.

He’s still processing

I could see that my son was stressed, but unsure why exactly. He's 6 years old so doesn't know the words for what is happening in his mind. We talked and I gave him time to process the words while I listened. And I gave him some new words that might help explain his feelings, and make him feel less alone in his thoughts.

He started out by saying he wishes this was a dream.
"Why do you wish it were a dream?"
"I think maybe it should be a nightmare."
"What makes it a nightmare?"
"Um, because I want to wake up from it."
"Why do you want to wake up from this?"
Long pause….
"I just do."
"If you woke up, what would be different?"
"Well, I wouldn't have to eat all the healthy food" pause…
"Anything else?"
"Yeah, my room would be clean."
"Well, you can make that happen."
"But there's SO MUCH. All the toys all around, it makes me like I'm dizzy."
"Ok. Well we can find ways to make that easier."
Long pause….
"Is there anything else that would be different?"
"Well…"
Another pause…
"You can tell me sweetie."
"Well…. my fish would be back."

And that's when it clicked. He's been more irritable since his fish died. I can't believe I didn't connect the two before. So we snuggled for a bit, he began to cry. I just hugged him. I can see he's still processing the loss of his fish and it breaks my heart. We talked a bit more. I told him that maybe he was stressed, and he asked what that means. I described it as when things make us upset in a way that our feelings make us feel dizzy. But not like spinning around in circles dizzy, just an emotions dizzy.

I could see his understanding. I knew that was what he had been trying to put into words. I explained that when our stress feels really big, it makes us feel overwhelmed. I think he understood.

Today my son learned that his emotions have names, and he is not alone in them. Today I was reminded that he does have strong emotions, and I need to help him learn to process them. I never learned that as a child. I have the emotional (and physical) scars to prove it. I will do all that I can to help my kids learn to process their emotions.

Shifts of mood

I’m shifting from depression to anxiety which sucks but also gives hope. This is common for me when I’m about to feel better. What gives me hope the most though isn’t that I’m likely to feel better soon, but that I recognize it. For so many years I did not recognize my cycles, and it made them more intense and frightening. I felt more desperate and wanted to give up so often. Through 2 years of therapy I am just now finally getting to understand my own mind, my mental monster. I’m so proud of this, and so glad that I stuck with treatment. 


I want to encourage all who face these mental monsters to stick with treatment. You may not see results for quite a while, but stick to it anyway. You didn’t learn to tie your shoes, or ride a bike, or add fractions over night (ok, fractions are a bad example, I’m not sure I ever really learned that). You learned through constant effort. Therapy is the same. Stick to it, keep trying, keep learning. And when you have sessions where you’re yelling at your therapist that “this shit is stupid!” And she asks “what do you want to do?” Schedule your next appointment. That is what you want to do, even if you don’t recognize it right away. Stick to it. I believe in you and your ability to win this fight, and I believe in using all the resources available to you. 
Namaste y’all – I bow to the divine in you

That’s what copiers are for right?

So I forgot my pills this morning. And felt continuously more wonky as the day went on. About 2pm I was ready to curl up into fetal position behind the office copier and have a full blown panic attack. That’s not really considered “professional” though, so I hid in the bathroom for 10 minutes instead and spent the rest of the work day with my earbuds in. Most people assume earbuds means I have a lot of paperwork and need music to keep me going, so it’s not questioned. I made it through the day… mostly… but got home dizzy and with 16 rubber bands on my right wrist to remind me of my failures. Or at least my perceived failures. But it’s temporary, right? The dizzy, the panic, the fear, the anger, the judgement of myself, it’s all temporary. Please remind me that it is temporary. I’m not sure I can trust my brain today, but I’m certain I can trust yours. 

If we were (almost) having coffee…

Thank god for virtual coffee dates cause I don’t exsist today. I had a migraine all morning and so have been in bed desperately longing for the pain to release. It is a dangerous longing for me to have, luckily my room is safe and I was able to sleep. Feeling half alive now I am drinking a small coffee, large water, and eating fruit, hoping I actually keep this down. 

I’m not exactly a lump of joy or energy, but at least I’m a lump so 1 out of 3 at least, yeah? I do want to share a great moment from the week though. Yesterday the kids were arguing and my 7yo stormed out of the room, flopped on the couch, and crossed his arms. This is typical of him being upset, and usually followed with “I’m having a bad day!!!” I’ve been trying to teach the kids that a moment is temporary and does not need to determine the whole day. This time, without prompt, the statement was “I’m having a bad moment!” And I couldn’t have been more proud.

So, to practice what I preach. The pressure in my head is temporary. The frustration I feel is for a moment. It does not define my day, and will not effect the week to come. Wishing you all lots of good moments this week. Remember the bad moments are temporary and will pass, the good moments are temporary and so to be enjoyed as they happen. 

Not a success, not a failure, just a day

I finished my day Saturday with only one rubber band on my right wrist. I was so proud of the proof that I am successfully changing my brain! Then on Sunday morning I had 4 rubber bands on the right wrist before 10am, and as I noticed this fact I was distraught at how I am clearly a failure who can’t change. And then I proceeded to move over the 5th rubber band.

If you didn’t read Saturday’s post then you are probably very confused right now. Don’t worry, we’re all confused about something right now. But to lower your confusion, I am doing an exercise from DBT where you tally your judgmental thoughts through the day. To tally, I am keeping a number of rubber bands on my left wrist, and when my brain goes all judgy I move one to the right wrist. Not only does this open my eyes to frequency of judgement, it also causes a natural pause. As I pause to move the rubber band I begin to rethink and rephrase the statement to be less assuming and more fact based.

As I moved the new rubber band on Sunday I rephrased that I am not a failure. I will have good days and bad. I am taking steps in the right direction and need to be patient. Something that occurred to me later on was that my excitement the previous night was also a judgement. I didn’t realize it at the time because I don’t usually judge myself positively, but it was. It could have been rethought as something like “I had a good day mentally. I am so glad I am taking these steps to become more mindful and honest.” Excitement would still have played a part in that, emotions are not the enemy, but it would have been more rational excitement that wouldn’t have made me feel quite so let down the following morning.

So today was a new day, and I continued to practice non-judgement. I worked hard to be mindful of the day itself and not dwell on yesterday or worry about tomorrow. I am proud that I am making progress regardless of my rubber band count at the end of each day, and I plan to continue my hard work towards better stability.

However I was not mindful enough to stop freaking out over a meeting I have next month that I am not prepared for in any way. But hey, mindfulness is hard and apparently I totally suck at it *moves rubber band*…. and I will continue to practice because these things take time. 😉