A Note to You While I Sit in the Dark

It’s been a grueling ride lately, through some rough territory. Dry deserts by day. Lonely plains at night. Scaling steep mountains. Standing at the edges of the world on a precipice or two, trying to catch my breath at the heights where the air is thinner than I like. Slogging through the valleys where the air is thick and soggy and hard to pull into my lungs. Sometimes the ride is like this, though. Breathless. Relentless. Even as the scenery changes around me, and summer turns to fall, and there’s a chill on my skin urging me to wrap up tight. This is what it is right now to navigate my wonky brain and try to move forward at the same time.  ...  read more

Here’s How It’s Going: Not Well. Also, Fine.

Here’s how it’s going ‘round about now:

Not well.

Also, fine.

I thought I’d update you while still in the throes of this delightful mental illness episode, because a) I’M STILL ALIVE which means, b) I’M WINNING, GODDAMMIT, and c) I’ve utterly abandoned the idea that I need only reveal the pretty parts of life or write only after I have an inspiring, Oprah Winfrey Book Club story of tragedy-turned-triumph to share. I mean, I’m not opposed to triumphing. Triumphing’s rad. It’s awesome. It’s the best. But right now, I’m slogging, and slogging is the biggest part of triumphing, so slogging is what we’re discussing today.  ...  read more

Why I Can’t Ask My People for Help When I’m Depressed: Also, a Historically Murky Story About a Saber Tooth Tiger

I wrote Monday about hitting the Depression Wall again. About what it’s like when I don’t see it coming. About how I’ve learned to cope. About steps I take. About the reality that I don’t ask my people — my closest friends and family — for help. And about texting the 24/7 Crisis Text Hotline (741741), along with screenshots so you, too, can see what it’s like to contact a crisis assistance network, what happens, and demystify the process. ...  read more

I Hit a Wall on Thursday Before Dawn: An Honest Post About Mental Illness, Steps to Take When You’re Down and Out, and What It’s Like to Call a Crisis Hotline

{CW: Depression, Mental Illness, Suicide Ideation}

I want to write about my kid’s engagement party, how to throw one that’s pretty and cheap, and how to show up for each other and celebrate well. The post is drafted. Finished but for a final read. But it’s going to have to wait, because I’m writing this instead.

I want to write about the dog we found… inside our car… because that’s a normal place to find a dog you’ve never met before. I have pics and a story about being lost and found, and starting over and redemption, and somehow finding our way home. But I’m writing this instead. ...  read more

On Depression, How to Tell if It’s Getting Bad Again… and Vibrators. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It Is What It Is.

Once upon a time, I went on a trip with Greg to Southern Italy, which should have been AMAZING but was, in truth, the Most Terrible Vacation Ever. I felt the whole time like I should be able to Gratitude my way through it. Like, WHO GETS TO GO ON VACATION TO SOUTHERN ITALY, BETH? I mean, other than people who live in Southern Italy. Like, people from Oregon, you know? Who gets to go on vacation to Southern Italy from Oregon? Who have 5 kids. And a mortgage. And who shop at discount grocery stores and refuse to replace towels no matter how threadbare they get because towels are really expensive, guys. REALLY , REALLY EXPENSIVE. The good ones cost $20. EACH. Or lots more. And it’s not like you can buy one towel and tell the family to share it. You have to buy at least 4 at a time. That’s the Rule of Towel Buying. And if we don’t want the humans in our household yelling at each other over Who Gets the Good Towel (“HE HAD IT LAST TIME!”), then we have to buy seven. SEVEN NEW TOWELS. For $140. 😳😳😳 Who has that kind of towel money, friends? Not me. Which is why trips to places like Southern Italy always feel like a MIRACLE to me. We can’t buy new towels, but, by God (and by my dad because he’s a pilot with travel benefits) we CAN magically arrive in places like Southern Italy upon occasion. If we stay in super cheap AirBnbs. And if we eat only cheese pizza and gelato and zero fancy restaurant meals.  ...  read more

Turns Out, I’m Coffee: Thoughts on Managing Mental Illness

I hit a mental wall last week, on Thursday, at noon. 

I pulled into my driveway after my morning tasks, sent a few urgent texts, crafted my plan for the afternoon which consisted of Too Many Commitments and No Time to Shower, and couldn’t shake the increasing sense of impending doom. It wasn’t a feeling, per se; not an emotion, necessarily. It was more of a physical response. Fight or Flight. Or Freeze. Or, my personal favorite, Fall Apart. My heartbeat was rapid. My breaths were shallow. Everything on my schedule felt overwhelming and unmanageable, as it had for days, and I could acknowledge to myself in the quiet of my car that the mental illness wall was rising, brick by brick, and getting consistently higher. ...  read more

5 Real Ways I Eased My Depression This Year

SERIOUS ACCOMPLISHMENT TODAY, friends.

I called the pharmacy. On the TELEPHONE.

Like, I was out of medicine, so I casually picked up the phone, all la-dee-da as though I do this every day, dialed, talked to another human, and ordered more meds.

TRUE STORY.

It took less than two minutes, as opposed to the usual two weeks of crippling inertia and dread.

It took no brain space and carried no anxiety, as opposed to a full mental shut-down, clammy skin, and racing heart. ...  read more