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

A Severe Case of the Not Enoughs: An Opportunity

Sometimes, I feel pretty good about Me. I suspect it’s a result of getting older and giving fewer shits. Like, take me or leave me, you know? I know who I am. I know where I fall short. I’m doing my best except when I’m doing my mediocre, which, let’s be honest, is way more often, but I’ve also realized that doing my best on Every Single Thing is unrealistic and, frankly, unhealthy. Do I REALLY want to do my best while grocery shopping? Or do I just want to run in, grab eggs and milk and off-brand bread, and call it a day so I can save my “best” energy for more important things, like handling the 47th question from my children about the Exact Same Thing and still choosing not to run screaming into the night? “I STILL DO NOT KNOW WHAT’S FOR DINNER, CHILDREN. I THINK I’VE MADE IT CLEAR HOW TO FIND THE CEREAL, THOUGH, SO — GREAT NEWS — NO STARVING FOR YOU TODAY.”  ...  read more

You Don’t Need the Oxford Dictionary to Go Hiking: Some Thoughts on Walking and Life

I had a dream the other night. I was hiking with friends, and there was something in my shoe stuck to my sock just past the ball of my left foot. Not enough to hurt me immediately but enough to be irritating and cause a problem if I left it there too long.

I sat down in the middle of the trail in my nylon runner’s short shorts, navy blue with white trim like the kind I wore to Ladera Elementary School in the 4th grade when I got called into the principal’s office for being immodest by showing off too much of my nine-year-old legs. I sat down in the dry dust on the mountain pass, and my friends stopped, too, and I pulled off my shoe to examine my sock and find the burr or the rock or the gritty ball of sap stuck there. ...  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

Quick Life Tip: Frosted Mini Wheats with Brown Sugar and Garlic Salt Is Not OK, After All

I had Frosted Mini Wheats with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a dusting of garlic salt today which I initially decided was fine.

It was the usual situation. Four hours after waking up, I decided I ought to feed myself. Some people make themselves and their physical needs a priority, understanding that providing their own bodies with nourishment upon waking allows them to better care for others. I imagine they set their alarms for early in the morning, rise cheerfully before their children, make themselves multi-grain avocado toast or a two-egg omelette, and eat it from an actual plate while sitting at the kitchen table with a dare-I-say hot cup of coffee or bright lemon tea. I can only assume people like that are generally rational and well-adjusted with an appropriate balance of self-care… and that they don’t wake up in a high-strung panic after hitting snooze thirteen times, thinking of all the tasks they must accomplish immediately, or yesterday, or last year, and itemizing the ever-expanding list of people they’ve let down with their lack of follow-through on their Very Good Intentions. ...  read more