It’s a circle — I mean cycle

(Oops, sorry for the Paramore reference)
I feel like I go through these cycles.

This past month I have been so busy and excited about the business, AND I’ve kept up with it all! However, these past few days I have felt myself sinking a little bit. I have come to see this cycle of when my depression decides to show its face.

Even though I am better than where I was a year ago, I still have days when my depression seems to be tied to my ankles.
I still have days when my depression draws dark circles under my eyes, and hooks weights onto my eyelids.
I still have days when I cannot fall asleep at night because I have a thousand things running through my head;
I still have days when my depression encompasses itself in my comforter, but weighs 100lbs, making it difficult to get out of bed.
I still have days when depression ties my hands together so I am unable to do my homework.
I still have days when my depression holds me down so I cannot leave the couch.
I still have days when depression takes over my appetite, whether that is eating too much or too little;
I still have days when my depression decides I need 2 bowls of ice cream and 3 bars of chocolate, even if I really don’t want it.
I still have days when my depression takes the words right out of my mouth, and I’m caught unable to explain how I am really feeling.
I still have days when my depression grabs my stomach and twists it into knots.
I still have days when my depression seeps into my veins and makes me feel anxious for no reason.
I still have days when my depression consumes my mind so I am unable to focus in class.
I still have days when my depression makes me obsess over the simplest things that don’t even matter.
I still have days when my depression looks at me in the mirror and calls me worthless, ugly, and pathetic.
I still have days when my depression makes me act out the “I’m fine” when I am really feeling the “save me.”

I also have days when my depression has gone on a day trip or extended vacation because it needs a break too. I know it is spending time with someone else’s depression, making their life even worse.
My depression will sometimes bring a friend to visit as well, plummeting my life into some ocean of darkness–
drowning–
instead of just letting my head float above the water.

But,

I also have days where I feel like I can do a million things in a day, and I actually  do them.
I have days when I am able to get up with my first alarm.
I have days when I get all my homework done, and have time to relax.
I have weeks where my depression is nowhere to be found.

I will always have good days and bad days. And that is okay.
It is important that I surround myself with supportive people who help me stay connected and engaged instead of drowning in my thoughts.

It’s okay not to feel okay. But don’t let that stop you from trying to reach “okay.”

I know nothing…and I’m okay with that

It’s crazy to me to look back at this past year, or even since the end of August when my FB post went viral. I have changed so much.

Especially since my winter break has ended, and getting myself into the routine of this semester. I feel more confident than I ever have. I don’t feel like the passive, quiet person that I have been pretty much my entire life. I feel comfortable stating my mind for what it is, uncaring if there is judgement. I feel confident in myself because I am finally taking the time to focus on who I am, instead of worrying about everyone else 24/7. I have always focused on other people and making them happy, fulfilling their needs, but I never took time to care for myself. Now, however, I feel like I am a better helper and friend because I am taking the time to care for myself as well. I finally am taking the time to reflect on what happened that day, or think about what someone said in class, and ask myself what that really means to me.

I can already tell that this semester is going to be a crazy one with the dynamic of classes I have, the several side projects I have going on, and preparing for the trip to Thailand. It is going to be a busy semester, but I am so excited about it! It’s the start of my senior year, and I could not be more ecstatic about it because I get to share it with the amazing people in my life. This school year (Fall 2015 & Spring 2016) has been made of classes to get my major (psychology) and minor (women’s studies). I love that these classes really make me question how I have lived my life up until this point, and the reasons I have lived my life how I have.

If we don’t face challenges in our life, or are never apart of conversations that make us question our entire existence, then we haven’t lived at all. When you leave college, you shouldn’t feel like you know everything…if they taught you right, you’ll realize you know absolutely nothing. And I realize that I know nothing…and that makes me all the more excited to learn.

I am endlessly creating myself. 

End of the year

Whenever we reach this time of the year, I always seem to reflect back on it, just as everyone else does.

This year has been a complete roller coaster.

So much has happened to me and for me in 2015. At the beginning of the year, I was struggling with how to deal with my depression; I was not seeing a therapist, and I was unmedicated. I was really struggling.

However, I am still so glad for the support and help I received from so many. Those people really are why I am where I am today. I have come a long way since then.

I can’t believe that the end of summer would turned my life upside down. Getting my ambigram tattoo is something I will always be thankful for. I cannot say enough how difficult it was for me to post. I literally had to look away from the screen when I pressed the “post” button because I did not want to back out of my decision. I knew it was something that I needed to do. I knew it was something that people shouldn’t be afraid to talk about, because it’s real. I am so glad that we can begin to feel more comfortable sharing our own stories; it won’t ever be easy, but it will always be worth it.

Looking back, I can say that some days Depression still wraps its tight grasp around my throat, hindering me from basic breathing.
Some days I feel like Depression is weights tied around my ankles, leaving me slow and unmotivated;
Some days it feels like it ran me a marathon, leaving my body and mind exhausted;
Some days it feels like it is just lingering… like the feeling you’re being watched after finishing a scary movie at night, but not knowing who is out in the dark.
And some days it feels like Depression has gone on vacation and left me house-sitting money to treat myself while it is away.

And here I am now, months down the road; I’m in a place I never thought I would be. I have reached so many people, and I will continue to do so with all of the opportunities that are arising. And I sure hope that some of you will join me.

Thank you all so much. Have a wonderful New Year!

The reason I write

For a good portion of my life, I wrote. I had an entire stack of journals, filled from front to back with diary entries or poems that I wrote to express myself. The reason for it was because I was young, and was not aware of ways that I could express it. I definitely did not know how to talk about it with my parents or my friends. I felt that I was the only person in the world feeling the way that I did, so I kept it hidden in the vast pages of spiral notebooks or “cute” graphic art journals.

I stopped for a time; writing didn’t seem to flow as easily as before. I always told myself it was because I was happy, and that I had only written when there was pain in my life. I could never seem to produce poems or entries describing my happiness because I didn’t know what that looked like.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my entire life was miserable and I had absolutely nothing to smile about, but at the end of the day, there would still be a pit in my stomach.

So, when my focus was more on my happiness, I couldn’t put it into words. I didn’t know how to describe the embrace of a friend you hadn’t seen in a long time;
I didn’t know how to explain the butterflies that I felt when I saw my boyfriend;
I didn’t know how to convey how trees reminded me of home and my foundation.

But I do now, because I’m finally opening up and digging out the parts of me that I have been hiding; the parts of me that I have not dealt with or thought about in years. I have reason to write again.

The reason I write is to express things I feel that I otherwise cannot.

The reason I write is to put my feelings into words so I can process them easier.

The reason I write is to paint a picture for other people who may not understand what it’s like to struggle with a mental illness.

The reason I write is to help free myself of my insecurities regarding my depression. The more I actually express myself, the better I process it.

The reason I write ambiguous posts (like the last one) is to not leave you out of the loop, but to show you that I am progressing, even if I am unable to publicly talk about it. But I am talking about it, just privatelyAnd that’s okay!

Ultimately, the reason I write is to share my experiences with you, hoping that you find comfort in my disclosure, even though it’s painful. I hope you feel not so alone.

I now know that my friend’s embrace felt like being wrapped in a blanket, sitting by a fire, and reminiscing about the time you spent with that friend under that same blanket talking about where you were going after graduation; bittersweet.
I now know that the butterflies weren’t contained in my stomach, like they always say; they consumed my insides, fluttering their wings to tickle me until I smiled.
I now know that the trees’ branches were like outstretched arms–much like the arms of my friend–pulling me into my foundation, my home; their height reminding me how small I was, showing me that there are so many places to climb, explore, visit, or immerse myself, and all I needed was the wind to sway those big, wooden arms in the right direction, releasing me to do great things and become someone that my younger self would have looked up to.

I now know that I don’t need sadness to fuel my drive because it was comfortable and safe; I now know that have so much potential at the end of my fingertips and in the words of my voice. I am glad that I have found my true reason to write.

Today was incredible

And I just want to share it with you!!

So I woke up this morning and saw that mine and Kris’ (my professor) poster was accepted for the 2016 CAPS Conference in March in Los Angeles! We get to present on the data we are collecting from the viral post, including some data of the shares, comments, and private messages. We are also going to look at content of the comments and messages. I am SO excited to continue this information!

Also, I received an email today that the Fall/Winter 2015 George Fox Journal article is printed, AND I’M THE COVER! I didn’t know that I was going to be the cover!
Displaying IMG_9188.JPGGFU J cover

I’m incredible excited! The journal has not been officially released to the school yet, so all I am going to post is the cover until they release it to the public, and the digital version. I will share it on here and my Facebook when it is released!

Anyways, I just wanted to share some of my excitement! Overall, I’m glad this week is almost over because this week was very busy for me, so it was a great way to sort of end my week. I’m excited to see where this goes.

On another note, though, there have been a few things on my mind lately (that I cannot disclose), and I’m at such conflict about what I should do. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be able to make these things public, but I know my family would be at such conflict, or be upset. I am sorry, family, that I have kept such secrets from you.

I will let you readers know that I had finally disclosed something to my therapist about something that happened years ago that I have never talked about. I also have sought out someone outside of my therapist that has gone through something similar; I am excited to talk with them about it because–even though I’ll be terrified–I can feel that it is something that is well overdue, and I am anxious to hear a first hand experience from someone I actually know and care for (even though I would never wish it upon anyone).

I just want to thank every one of you: to my friends and family who have been by my side for so long, helping me overcome  so many struggles, and loving me no matter what; and to all of you readers and followers that I gained from the viral post: you guys encourage me everyday to keep fighting, and keep talking about my mental illness, so we can begin to see the change in our world. And I am amazed to see the impact that I have had on so many people; I am so thankful for it. I am so encouraged to see and hear so many people seeking help or speaking out. Every time you do, the stigma falls; it becomes less and less of a problem.

Thank you, every one.

Hearts

For my Learning class (yes, the class is titled “Learning.” Yes, I hear it being made fun of all the time. It’s about Learning theories, get over it!) we have to write a research paper analyzing a behavior with two of the theories that we have learned in class (behavior can include abnormal illnesses like depression or OCD, or normal behaviors too). I decided I wanted to write mine on self-harm because I think it would be an interesting topic to look into because of the cause and effect of (for example) cutting; it’s cathartic, or it’s one thing the individual can control.

ANYWAYS

I am looking at self-harm, not specifically cutting, so I Googled common ways that people self-harm, and I came across “carving.”

And I remembered something…

I used to do that.

Do you remember when I said in an earlier post that I would carelessly shave and “accidentally” cut myself? Well, this is different from that. I completely forgot I used to carve into my skin. I still have some scars from where I carved hearts in different places on my body, like my arms or legs. There is one that is still prominent on the side of my right knee.

At the time, I never saw this as self-harm. I used pencils and would draw and redraw and retrace until the spot began to indent into my skin, or break the surface. And then I’d keep going.

I did this in middle school and in high school. It never even hurt me.

I remember my mom being upset at me for doing that to myself, but like I said, I didn’t see it as self-harm. When I carved the one on the top of my wrist, people at my high school saw it during class; I didn’t even try to hide it. Because I didn’t see it as self-harm.

So then, is is self-harm?

Yes. Yes, it is. It was me mutilating my body, in which I found joy in. Do people who self-harm in other ways think it is particularly bad at the time? Not necessarily. Like I said, it’s something they have control over, or it’s a cathartic experience.

I remember looking at the scar on my knee this summer, and it was almost nostalgic. I don’t know why it almost brought happy thoughts to my mind, but it was a time where I had control of what was going on with or happening to my body.

I guess I will explore what this really means.

 

How did I get here?

I’m not sure how I ended up where I am.

Honestly, I’m lucky to be where I am.

The odds were against me. I should not be at one of the top rated colleges in Oregon. It should have been hard enough to go to community college with my financial situation. My parents can’t help me with my tuition; I am lucky enough that my grandparent are willing to cosign for me these past two years so I can pay tuition. I don’t know how I managed to not take out a private loan this year; somehow I was able to pay out of pocket the last bit of tuition, AND pay for rent every month. All on my own.

It’s tough growing up. This would be a lot easier if I could work more than I am, or not go to school. If I wasn’t going to school, I could work a full-time job and make decent pay to provide for myself, and have enough to play with.

But that’s not where I am.

I have a desire to further my education. I love learning, even if the homework is the worst part. However, there have been a few things that I have realized these past few years while I’ve been in college. My professor from my International Women’s Voices class said something along the lines of, “We go into college thinking we have a good idea of what it is we are interested in, or that we think we know a lot. When you leave college, you know it worked when you leave and realize you know nothing.”

It was something along those lines. And she is right. The more I learn about these different subjects, the more heavy the world seems to become. It weighs on me a lot because I know there is not a lot I can do to change anything. Not to be cliche, but I’m going to quote a Disney’s Pocahontas song: “You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.” I first realized this in my Gender Theory class last year; that was the class that made me decide to minor in Women’s Studies. I learned so many theories, ideas, and concepts about gender that I never even knew that I didn’t know about (hopefully that made sense;))!

It’s hard balancing all of the information that keeps getting thrown my way. It’s tough to handle at times because it makes you feel hopeless or worthless because there is nothing you can do, and other people don’t care enough to change anything anyway. Is the world actually better if we’re educated, even though we don’t do anything to change the problems we do have?  Or is ignorance actually bliss?