Posts in Uncategorized
never go to bed angry

"Never go to bed angry."  If anyone ever tells you to follow this rule, just know that you don't need to. I mean, do what you need to do. If you can stop being angry about something on command, never go to bed angry.

Over the messy confusion that was my first year of my marriage, I went to bed angry a lot. Sometimes a good night's sleep was all I needed. Sometimes I went to bed angry and woke up with a totally different perspective. Going to bed angry has saved more arguments than staying up until 5 am and trying to talk it out until we each had to go to work, only to come home exhausted and even more frustrated.

If I had never gone to bed angry, I wouldn't have slept for six months. Fuck, I already barely slept for six months. And I promise that those sleepless hours were not spent trying to not go to bed angry.

I think the principle to take away from this idea is that it's best not to push things under the rug. Go to bed angry, and talk about it the next day. Even if you're feeling better, talking through the situation from a non-angry place is really helpful. Honestly, I think that's like a key component and I really don't want to gloss over it. 

Talk about the argument. It's super important. I've found though that talking about tough stuff is best introduced with some kind of phrase resembling, "hey dude, can we talk about the shit we said last night?" And sometimes the answer will be, "not right now, we're having a nice day and I don't want to bring that up right now. Can we talk about it tonight?" 

And then, when you talk about it, know that you might get riled up again. We've prevented that by following some suggestions we got from our marriage counselor about how to talk when we're disagreeing. We face each other, we sit down. Standing up can be more threatening. We maintain eye contact. It's insane how much these guidelines have helped us.

We don't trigger each other so much and we are better able to stay in a vulnerable and compassionate place. Try it!

So, go to bed angry if you need to. It's okay. It's going to be okay.




where to start with self-compassion

Self-compassion is a straightforward concept -- be nice to yourself. So, why is it so hard to grasp? Being nice to others comes as a generally accepted given, despite varying definitions of "nice" across individuals. I think we can agree that people prefer when you are nice to them rather than rude. That idea doesn't always translate directly to our relationships with ourselves. Love and kindness is not typically the first thing we give ourselves when we need encouragement.

Research supports the notion that we are more successful when we are compassionate to ourselves. However, do you ever find that you are more motivated when you are self-critical?

If you do, you're not alone. There's a dude named Zig Ziglar, who I only recently heard about. He's super smart and has a bunch of good things to say about how to be successful. He's a motivational speaker and he's written a shit ton of books. Pretty credible dude, I really like his emphasis on being authentic and kind to others. He also has a quote that I really disagree with and I'm going to talk about it for a second.

He says, "when you are tough on yourself, life is going to be infinitely easy for you." A lot of people agree with this line of thinking. And honestly, that is totally cool with me if it works for you. I'm also just going to say that no current research supports this quote, and all of the current research discredits it. (Don't worry, Zig Ziglar has a bunch of other good quotes)

People who don't think self-compassion is going to help them frequently think that being kind to ourselves is "soft" or lazy. When I was a kid practicing soccer, I used to tell my brother to tell me that I was really terrible at it. I thought that would help me get better. This method certainly wasn't working with school, but perhaps it would with soccer. It didn't. I don't think that was entirely the fault of my negative self-talk (my feet have always been too big for me), but the negative self-talk certainly didn't help.

In fact, negative self-talk never helped me. I've never achieved something amazing by treating myself as though I were my own shitty boyfriend. Absolutely, on the road to really cool things I have doubted myself the entire ride. The difference today is that I don't get swept away in the whirl of negative thinking as quickly. And as soon as I say something shitty to myself, I usually say, "hey, you're a bad bitch, let's keep going."

I learned self-compassion from a bunch of therapists, and I believed them because they had a lot of experience. They cited some very cool people who I ended up really liking.

One of those people is a badass warrior princess named Dr. Kristin Neff ( She actually teaches at The University of Texas and I sometimes (every time I got to HEB) imagine running into her at the grocery store and then becoming her apprentice. A girl can dream.

Anyway, Dr. Kristin Neff pioneered self-compassion research. She is the reason I know what self-compassion is. The big term used to be "self-esteem," but the keyword became "self-compassion" after self-esteem proved to be not super sustainable over time.

I'll tell you why self-compassion is sustainable and why self-esteem isn't. Self-compassion is basically like, "hey girl, you're average, you are not better or worse than anyone, and that is fucking awesome." Self-esteem is more like, "wow, you really have something especially special that no one else has."

Self-esteem doesn't last because as soon as you actually aren't especially special at something, your self-esteem may drop. Self-esteem has requirements. Self-esteem compares us to others. One of the consequences of an emphasis on self-esteem has been a huge increase in narcissism over the last decade.

Self-compassion is badass because it sees the goodness even when life is a shit storm. I was reading a blog post about self-esteem vs. self-compassion on Dr. Krstin Neff's website and she defines self-compassion so clearly and beautifully. She says:

Self-compassion involves being kind to ourselves when life goes awry or we notice something about ourselves we don’t like, rather than being cold or harshly self-critical. It recognizes that the human condition is imperfect, so that we feel connected to others when we fail or suffer rather than feeling separate or isolated. It also involves mindfulness — the recognition and non-judgmental acceptance of painful emotions as they arise in the present moment. Rather than suppressing our pain or else making it into an exaggerated personal soap opera, we see ourselves and our situation clearly.

The part of that quote that I absolutely love is the part where it talks about connection with others. Pema Chodron talks about this in her book, Start Where You Are. I recently felt like a total failure when I quit my last job. Ugh. It sucked. Even though it was my decision, and it was ultimately to improve my health, I still felt like a failure. I was so proud of that job. Anyway, when I was going through that process, I thought, "wow, I wonder how many millions of people have felt this way before. And now, because I am experiencing this too, I am connected with all of those people."

Thinking about it that way helps me feel a lot better when I fuck something up because I remember that millions upon millions of people have all felt the exact same way. So, that can be pretty powerful. I'm not alone when I say something stupid or accidentally sound really harsh in an email reply to someone who used a smiley face. I use smiley faces sometimes, too! I was just in rush!

I really want to talk about mindfulness and radical acceptance, but those will have to be separate blog posts. Both are involved in self-compassion practice.

Begin your self-compassion practice slowly and grow it over time. It can be difficult to change a habit that is so engrained in us. It's engrained in our culture. It's hard to escape that grip. And, it can be uncomfortable to tell people we love ourselves.

So, you don't have to fall in love with yourself all at once. I didn't start loving myself until I kept up little self-compassion breaks over time. I started practicing self-compassion when one of my therapists asked me to say "I love you" while making eye contact with myself in the mirror. Everyday for 30 days. And I totally did it.

Ugh. I still remmeber the first time I did it. I was nauseous. At the time, I'd had a recent suicide attempt. There wasn't a ton I loved about myself. And I'd never told myself I loved me... because that's a super weird thing to do. I said "I love you" to myself for the first time in June of 2012, and I have said it almost everyday since.

I've implemented a lot of self-compassion practices in my daily life. I take self-compassion breaks and write myself nice notes. Really simple things. Things that sometimes feel embarrassing and weird because it feels so counterintuitive at first.


You can do your own research and start your self-compassion adventure however you want. I used to teach some self-compassion workshops, and based on what I've learned from Dr. Kristin Neff, the best way to start being self-compassionate is to notice when you're not.

Sometimes we say rude stuff to ourselves and we don't even notice. You can start your self-compassion practice by simply observing and noticing when you are self-critical. What are the common phrases you say to yourself? Does this habit really help you?

You can start with that and move from there if you find that you do want to try something new. If you're curious about this topic and you want to read some more in-depth research, check this out.

an intentional year

On January 1st, I woke up pretty confused because for the first time in my adult life, I was actually asleep by 10 pm on New Years Eve. I was disappointed by this because I felt like I had missed the opportunity to be a part of the official transition into the new year. So, we spent January 1st pretending it was New Years Eve again so that I could start the new year properly. My little family, consisting of my two dogs and one husband, sat down together to discuss what we hope to leave in 2017, and what we hope to bring with us into the new year. We put together a list of core values that we will post in our house and aim to be mindful of as we travel through another year. Based on what we learned in 2017, we came up with five guiding values.

These values were put together as we were thinking about steps we hope to take towards creating the life that is most authentic and sustainable for Jonny and I as a couple and as individuals. In 2017 I learned that my connections with others were so important to me that I frequently held on, hoping for approval for longer than I ever needed to.

A lot of people cared about me throughout the year. When I was sick, when I was facing my own personal struggles, and when I walked through the "oh my god I'm married" realization, there were friends by my side throughout the entire journey. I was so worried about the relationships I thought I was losing that I stopped looking at the strong relationships I already have. As I walk into 2018, I have a clarity that will hopefully last at least through the end of January. With that clarity, I see a similar set of priorities with a different way of looking at them. I intend to foster the relationships that are mutually supportive and loving. I intend to prioritize feelings of community during a transition from comfortable routines to new adventures. And just like Brene Brown (via Theodore Roosevelt) taught me, I don't need to worry about the opinions of those who are not fighting the arena.

I hope to try out new ways to explore my authentic self so that I can show up in every arena looking to my values for guidance and insight. I set random dates on my phone calendar to alert me of my core values throughout the year. I Thought that was a cool idea.

In my journal most mornings, I spend three pages of incomprehensible rambles attempting to answer one question -- what do you want to create today? We asked ourselves this question when we were thinking about 2018 as a whole. What do we hope to create? What is our one goal? Our 2018 big, challenging, vague goal is to be both intentional and curious.

On January 1st, I woke up and realized an entire year had just flown by. I noticed that even though I made progress in mindfulness and careful consideration in 2017, there were some major lapses and major returns to auto-pilot and people-pleasing. As I take more steps into my own, I hope to act according to my values in moments where my gut reaction is to make a quick decision and keep moving. I hope I'll slow down and observe each step and then take action to change direction when I notice myself wandering.

My spiritual curiosity is at an all time high. I am learning to take pieces of what I learn, from Brene Brown to Sam Harris, and experiment with what it feels like to see the world's issues and my own from a different angle. How can this inform the way I see my existence? How can I chase my curiosity without moving though it too quickly? 

I know I will forget, I know I will fall back into the patterns that are comfortable to me. That is the nature of my adjustment to new endeavors. Every change that occurs in my life occurs for the first time. It's a new experience every time. I can give myself a break (hopefully, eventually) when I do not walk through new experiences with untethered courage. I do things for the very first time every day, whether I notice or not.

I hope to remember this as I continue to strengthen and then forget and then strengthen and then forget my commitment to self-compassion and introspection. Whether taking a personal inventory at the end of the day or realizing it's December 31st 2018 and I forgot to practice any values, I will aim to be kind to myself.

Persistence in 2018 is essential. I know that I must partake in the positive changes I wish to see in my community and in my country. That starts with being kind myself. And then it grows when I reach new depths of kindness for others catalyzed by my own self-love.

On January 1st, I woke up and decided to celebrate New Year's at midnight since I had missed it the night before. Once again, I was asleep by 10 pm despite my strenuous efforts to stay awake. If 2018 supplies plenty of early nights and intention-setting meetings, I'll be more than pleased.

i think it's going to be cool

  There are things I need to leave in 2017. I am taking this opportunity to let the new year symbolize a new beginning. Just as there are things I need to leave behind, there are things I need to bring in order to show up completely for what this year may have in store.

I carry around my anxiety like I went out of my way to get it. Sometimes I wonder if I really want to let it go. What I have noticed more lately is a new kind of anxiety that feels like more of an existential “I am always so confused about what the world is” feeling. And I don’t know how to leave it.

Staying in the present moment has not been my thing lately. I give myself maybe a couple of minutes maybe once a day to meditate and be mindful. But as soon as that’s done it’s off to the races again. I’ve been told to not read the news as much. I don’t know how to leave it.

Don’t get me started on my attempts to read people’s minds. I’ve been very wrong about that lately. I don’t know how to leave it.

This is where the tricky part comes in, okay? The thing is, I do know how to leave it. I know exactly what I need to do. I replace the things I don't want to hold with the things I do want to hold.

I'm going to be mindful of my information consumption (and I'm going to delete three of my news apps).

I don’t get to leave behind the political climate, but there are things I can do to protect myself a bit more. I can be mindful about the information I engage in.

I was doing some research the other day and I found an article about the Low Information Diet. At first, I thought it was a typo and that it was supposed to say, “low inflammation diet.” But in fact, the Low Information Diet (aka selective ignorance) is a thing. It’s super effective and research supports it.

The guy who wrote The 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss, is all about the Low information diet. I looked more into him because I haven’t actually read The 4 Hour Work Week (I’ve pretended that I’ve read it, does that count?). He’s a super smart dude and he’s doing big things to change the way people approach their work and their lives in general. I especially like a blog post he wrote about curing anxiety. I pulled a lot of inspiration from that piece. Big things I took away were the need for play, and news as the biggest source of anxiety.

I intend to leave my phone on the charger across the room while my ipad is dead so that I can spend time with my friends and not worry so much about the latest in Washington.

I plan to play. I've been craving a good swing set sesh lately. We just got a new puppy and we have a one-year-old pup, so I will let them remind me to play.

dog dog dog pic
dog dog dog pic

I hope to cultivate authentic community and foster supportive relationships. I will leave behind those things I tell myself that keep me from approaching new people. Maybe I'm just lazy. I joined Bumble BFF and I went on a friend date that went well, so, that's a step.

Once I'm actually having a conversation, I'm fine. But the moments leading up to those conversations are rough. Also the moments of silence when you sort of forget what to talk about. Those feel like long sprees of awkward eye contact with a person who may or may not think I'm a total fraud. How could I know? Best to assume the worst.

However, I do get comfortable quickly, and I know how to put on the game face when I need to, for sure. It just takes so much energy. Running on auto pilot can work, but goodness is it exhausting.

I have found that the more authentic I am with others, the better connections I have with them. Fostering relationships with people who support and love me, who I support and love, was one of the most powerful experiences I had in 2017. I'd like to further embrace this in 2018 by cold calling (or texting, if I'm nervous) the people I care about who I just don't call enough.

People save my life, and goodness do I love my people. In 2018, I'd like to make a more active effort to reach out, listen to, and love the people I care about. The things that once concerned me are not important to me anymore. My standards were insane. It was because I didn't realize how much I hated myself. It always is. When I further embrace self-love and recommit to my wellbeing, I get to reconnect with the oneness of everything that is or isn't.

I'd like to leave behind poor prioritization and refocus on the things that make me a better person. 

In the last month I have found a growing interest in the way spirituality is really defined. My curiosity about the connectedness of the universe and what that means or doesn't mean at all is at an all-time high. As I am more concerned than ever for the wellbeing of this weird ass fucking world, I am also experiencing a lot more existential angst. Instead of pushing that away or ignoring it (because I have thought about life plenty), I have allowed my curiosity to guide me towards people who have asked these questions, too.

I find the answers in meditation.

So, I'd like to recommit to my meditation practice. I also want to go back to being obsessed with gratitude. I make a gratitude list everyday, but I do it as though it's just a thing to check off my list. I'm going to put a lot of thought and intention into my happy jar this year, and I'm going to take time out of each day to visualize, write down, and talk about my gratitude.

I want to create. 

I want to create the life that my husband and I are feeling brave enough to go after. I want to create memories and friendships with people I just so happen to meet.

Writing will help me create tangible pieces of myself so that I can somehow feel less alone and less burdened by the thoughts which have no business in my head.

Someone once asked me, "are you looking forward to your life over the next three months?" and that still echoes in my head. I ask myself this question all the time. And today, I can't wait to see what life has in store. New mistakes and fears, new resentments and weirdness. And new opportunities to persist with gratitude and grace.

california air

I haven't written in a while because I sort of went through a couple of weeks where I wanted to quit writing all together forever. I kept thinking, "why do I have a right to put myself out there? What's so great about the bullshit I write?" I just sort of had this moment where I was convinced that me writing wasn't only meaningless and a waste of time, but that it was also destructive and horrible. Like me writing was doing some kind of disservice to people. I don't know where I got these ideas. I was feeling insecure, neurotic, and I was beginning to question my worthiness for love. Why would anyone love me? What's so important about me? I don't blame people for thinking I'm full of shit (I don't actually know for sure if people think that), I think I'm full of shit, too.

So, I went through all of this shit, and now I'm sort of getting over this idea that I am a total fraud. Here's how I'm trying to do that: I'm trying to give myself more compliments. I am spending time with people who voice their support and love for me. It's amazing how the people I surround myself affect my worldview and feelings of positivity or negativity. I just don't want to spend any more time being disappointed because I don't have approval from specific people. I get support and encouragement from so many people, but that disappears the moment I don't feel loved enough by just one person. So, it's tough to let go of that. I get so desperate for understanding and acceptance that I end up making a fool of myself.

I'm working on that by crying about it when I need to, and taking a bunch of deep breaths, and developing new boundaries. I get to make a choice about what kind of relationships I want to spend time on, and what kind of relationships breed negativity and tension. Why should I subject myself to such a twitchy situation?

It's okay to feel shitty, man. In fact, allowing myself to just sit and allow myself to hurt is how I feel so wonderfully loved and joyful today. If I don't process these feelings, resentment and sadness fester into questions about how valuable I am to others. So, the only way to get through it is to get through it. And it sucks and it hurts. However, because of all of this shittiness, I feel like I've climbed up a really tough mountain, and now I'm at the top looking at a beautiful view.

It's been a tough year. A tough year for me, for this country, for this world. Ugh. What a year. I am in a lot of fear about what is happening to this country and I get pessimistic and negative. So, how can I spread positivity? How can I shine light for others? That's tough to do when I'm having trouble finding my own light. The only thing I know to do is hold on tight to gratitude. Always grateful.

The last six months have been difficult. I've struggled hard. I wrote a bunch of vague blog posts. I do that because I don't like to include specific people in my post, even though sometimes a reader close to me might know who I'm talking about. I try to be authentic and expressive while remaining respectful. I don't always do a great job of that.

Over the last few months I ate a lot of donuts, and then I got really into working out, I did a lot of knitting, I bought a mandolin, I tried to become a hat person, I quit my job, I just started cross-stitching, I thought maybe I'd be the kind of person who would hike the whole PCT.

Some of these hobbies have stuck around. I love cross-stitching and I love my mandolin. I really like my hat, but I don't have the confidence to pull it off in public, so I just wear it around my house. The thought of donuts grosses me out. And I still like working out but I'm not so obsessed with it.

I didn't really want to publish this blog post on Thanksgiving because I'm about to talk a lot about gratitude and there are more days of the year where you can express gratitude than this one. So, whatever.

I am so fucking grateful. By practicing gratitude and deep breathing, I made it through a really tough time. One of those phases where I was like, "wow, how could anything ever get better? Everything is just going to suck forever." And here I am, almost all the way through the darkness. I feel like I'm about to watch a really pretty sunrise.

Everything that has happened over the last six months helped me grow up. I have a much better sense of who I am. I felt like I was watching myself from afar. And I saw myself being strong, patient, compassionate. I have to be real and let you know that I was inspired by myself. I was so impressed with the way I kept my head held high. The way I got out of bed before 8 am every day and then immediately made the bed.

Here is a secret trick that helped express my rage. I was so angry. I was angry at the universe for taking people away from me. I was angry at myself for neglecting relationships that are really important to me. I was angry at the people who weren't reading my mind and then giving me what I wanted (mostly affirmations and attention). So, I would go to my office and lock the door. I would set my timer for five minutes. I would put a huge pile of pencils in front of me (I have thousands of pencils from my teaching days, if you want any), and once I started my timer, I broke as many pencils as I could in five minutes. I channeled all of my negative feelings into these pencils. It has become one of my favorite coping skills. Highly recommend. It helped me feel my feelings and get the energy out. It is such a relieving coping skill, and it is not threatening at all.

I have a much better sense of who I am as an individual. For the most part, I am proud of the person I am. I'll never be done growing. I'll never be done learning. I will always make mistakes, and I will have to own the consequences and do my best to have those experiences guide me towards being the person I am meant to be.

I have to give a shout out to my siblings, to my in-laws, to my whole family, and to my friends who have given me tough truths, difficult conversations, unconditional love, donuts, hugs, and shoulders to cry on. I don't exist without other people. And all of you shape me. You teach me. You help me grow. And whether or not we have spoken over the last six months, you've still made an impact on me that has helped me grow and learn.

There are no mistakes in art, only happy accidents.


There's a lyric to a song that says, "all that I know is I'm breathing, all I can do is keep breathing." That's all I'm trying to do right now. Keep breathing. And it's the only thing I'm certain of. Since I was 15, I've been making 10-year plans. Mapping my goals and the steps it would take to get there, deciding on big careers and identities. I've always had some kind of plan for the future. As I've grown a bit older, I still make 10 year plans, but I do so with the understanding that everything will likely change. And when any changes have happened, I get excited because I get to sit down and re-write my 10-year plan. I have an entire binder dedicated to this process.

What I'm getting at is for the first time since I began this habit, I don't have a fucking 10-year plan. I don't have a plan for what's going to happen three hours from now. I don't have a plan for my next six months.

Right now, my biggest goal, the number one thing I am trying to achieve: see how long I can go without wearing a bra.

It's cool and it's the worst thing ever. I'm calm and I am losing my mind.

write more

I want to write more. To chronicle this time in my life. I feel like I have hit puberty all over again. Only, this time is worse and the growing pains are more painful. I'm getting pretty good at leaning into uncertainty. I am learning to say things like, "maybe I will go," instead of, "I am going to go."

I really don't know anything. I have no idea what will happen next. So, how can say with confidence what is definitely going to happen?

I found that I have spent about the last 6 months being exhausted. Any free time I had I spent sleeping or rewatching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. I'm not kidding when I say I have watched all 7 seasons 6 times over the last 4 months.

I tried to tie my identity to work. I tried to tie my identity to what I thought a wife is supposed to be like. I let go of who I am. I stopped being curious. I let go of what I love, of what my hobbies are. So much so that I do not know what I like. I do not know what my hobbies are. I don't know how I want to spend my time.

Now I have an opportunity to explore the world of myself. I stopped doing my self-compassion rituals because I was happy and loved myself. I have learned the hard way that self-compassion takes maintenance. I learned this because I am so deep in self-loathing. I woke up a few days ago, looked in the mirror, and said "I don't like you." It was sad and I proceeded to go to my closet and cry for a while.

I've started to say "I love you" in the mirror again. I'm writing myself notes. I wrote myself a love poem the other day. I might put it on here, but I am too nervous to do that right now.

I took the TV out of my bedroom. For some reason, I didn't like movies. Now, I am curious about watching super popular movies that I have not seen. Most of the time, when people ask me if I've seen a movie I say, "oh yeah, totally. But it was so long ago that I barely remember it. Great movie, though." I'd like to watch one movie that I have not seen every week. Other than that, I am done with TV. I use it like I used to use weed to numb out and chill for a while.

I preach a lot of things. I talk a lot about the importance of letting go image management. But I realized that image management is all I do. Posting on social media all the time about how great my life is. My life actually is great, I just work hard to let people know that I am just fine and everything is under control.

The truth is, I don't know myself. I stopped being connected to my true self. My life is not going wonderfully and nothing is under control. I am powerless. I also feel empowered to work on myself. I feel like I am a badass warrior princess, conquering my little world and loving myself again. All I can do is love me, focus on me, be a good friend, feel everything I need to feel -- scream, cry, laugh, relax.

scream, cry, laugh, relax.

broken open

For the first time in my sobriety, I have no plans for the future. I have no idea what is coming. So much of one year from now depends on one day from now. That is how I am living each day. Trying to see what will happen, in the midst of an impossible fog. I am living in complete uncertainty. I feel like the ground has been ripped from under me. I had all of the pieces of a happy life. There was promise and hope for my future in each facet of my life.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that every one of those things is gone now. Like that structure of a life never existed. It was made of glitter, and I sneezed. Now there's just a whole mess of glitter flying everywhere, with no purpose or direction. I know, I know, I have so much promise. But right now, I am feeling the hurt. That's where I am and that's what I need to do.

I turned 26 on Tuesday. And that is very young. I am very young. I feel even younger. I feel completely clueless.

This type of mass destruction of a life has not happened while I've been sober. Not even close. Not even a little bit.

Why do I need certainty? Why does it kill me to not understand?

Here are the books I've read: "Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change," by Pema Chodron, "When Things Fall Apart," by Pema Chodron, and "Welcome to the Universe," by J. Richard Gott, Michael A. Strauss, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Because when I don't have answers, I must seek them. And most of what I've learned is that there are no answers. Even during the times when I think I've had answers, I didn't, really. Answers are an illusion. There is no certainty.

But that does not help me. Because fuck uncertainty, I need something concrete. I need to know. I must know. I am so resistant to all of this. And suffering is caused by resistance to the present moment. I know, I know, I know. But fuck that. I don't like it. So I need to change it. This is where I am right now.

Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do to change what is happening. Because I can't change other people. I can no longer be the stage director my life. I can no longer be the actor, trying to adjust everything to suit my needs.

Sometimes, I am peaceful. During meditation, I sit in the uncertainty and I do not react to it, I simply allow it to be. I give it space. And I feel good for about 30 seconds after my meditation, and then again I see the giant tidal wave of horror crashing through my life and fucking everything up.

I am sad about big things -- Hurricane Harvey, Nazis, etc. I am sad about little things -- I went about 6 weeks without biting my nails once, and now I've started biting them again. I am sad about things that seem gigantic but are actually little. However, I am not at a place where I see them as little. I have no perspective.

I have a lot of awareness about what I can do to lean into this uncertainty, I have heard suggestions about what I can do to empower myself in this moment. And I just feel too defeated. Stuck in self-pity and fear.

So, I've decided to do one thing. I have decided to start spin classes at Soul Cycle. Because I know that being active helps me. And when I go to the gym these days I just lift weights and start crying because I have no idea what I'm doing and it is a good representation of my life -- trying to hold something heavy, and then losing my breath and realizing that I am not as strong as I want to be.

Despite this darkness, I am determined to hold my head high. There are a few things I hold on to: my parents, a couple of solid friends, gratitude for the fact that I am alive, and this piece of writing from Albert Camus:

My dear, In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. I realized, through it all, that… In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

the very best timing

Sup! This blog post is coming to you from a lady with a fever wavering between 101 and 102, after a lovely day of throwing up and crying. Hopefully this week I'll have some more answers after my cardiology appointment. On Thursday I'll have a recommendation from my doctors about what I can do work-wise. I've come to some sort of weird acceptance of the worst case scenario.

I'm working half days at work until I get the verdict from my doctor on Thursday. I went to sleep last night thinking, "alright, this week I am going to give it my all. I am going to work hard each day and be fully present. I am going to listen to my body when I need a rest and I am going to be a total rockstar about that."

I woke up this morning and immediately threw up. I thought, "okay, that was weird. Probably anxiety, I'm good." I got ready for work, threw up a few more times, and then went to work. I lasted approximately 45 minutes at work before I decided to call it and go home.

Upon arriving home I spent the day thinking, "okay, this probably is more of a stomach bug than anxiety." The day was pretty much, drink water -> throw up -> cry -> go to sleep -> wake up really thirsty, and on and on until Jonny got home with a thermometer and I learned that this is probably your typical 24-48 hour stomach bug.

As Jonny put it, this is comedically bad timing. And yet another thing that is completely out of my control. I'm 90% sure that this is completely unrelated to the unexplained fainting stuff. It's just a random stomach bug that came at a really bad time.

When I did a 4th and 5th step about all of this sick/work stuff the other day, I found that I tend to overvalue myself at work. So I've been praying to be put to my right-size. And my Higher Power is like, okay dude, here you go.

I keep thinking, "okay HP, I get it, are we cool now?" And my HP is like, "eh, I don't think you really get it, here's the flu."

There's nothing I can do. I just have to let life keep going and I have to let work stuff unfold and I have to be cool with whatever happens. Or get cool with whatever happens. And that sucks and I don't want to be cool with it, but I really don't have much of another option.

I read a book about leadership recently that said sometimes the way to our goals is not a straight shot. Sometimes we think we know the way, and then that way doesn't work out and we get to our goals another way. And sometimes along that new way, we find that our goals have changed and things are better than they ever would have been if they had worked out the way we thought they were supposed to.

I'm in that shitty spot right now where I'm resisting change, refusing to let a new path happen, convinced that I know what is best. I wrote this whole blog post and didn't throw up once, so I'm pretty sure I'm cured and everything is cool now.

not figuring things out

Last week was a difficult week, and I didn't write at all. I barely wrote in my journal. I couldn't bring myself to it for some reason. Writer's block by boredom, I guess. Really, it wasn't that boring because I was in so much distress the whole time. In an attempt to see whether or not I have epilepsy, we tried to induce a seizure. I did not like the process at all.

The wonderful thing that came out of all of it was how loved I really feel. So many people came to visit me. They went out of their way, paid for parking, went through the maze of the hospital, so that they could come sit in my room and be there for me as I expressed my discontent. I laughed and cried and felt truly grateful. I usually have a wonderful feeling of gratitude in my bones all the time. I didn't have that last week, so my Higher Power brought it to me in the eyes of the people who care about me. (Thanks y'all, I would have bailed on day three if it weren't for your love).

After 7 days in my hospital room, I was discharged. It was found that I probably do not have epilepsy. 7 days, and that's all we know. I'm glad we ruled it out, but I'm discouraged that my time did not reveal any more results. Next up, cardiologist.

I'm trying to be okay right now. I'm trying to accept the present moment and the not-knowing. However, fear is running the show right now and I'm having a hard time getting out of this sinkhole.

My higher power, I keep telling myself, is going to teach me something through all of this. I keep thinking, "dude, what are you trying to teach me, and why are you trying to teach it to me like this?" Of course it is possible that I am so stubborn, my HP had to get me to stop moving to teach me something, and this was the only way it knew how. That's the only rationale I can think of. Or else I don't have a higher power, and AA isn't real. I know that's not true, so I have no option but to trust. Not a bad option to have. I'm trying.

I worked a 4th and 5th step with a friend yesterday and it was really revealing. It revealed that I have a lot of anger. Underneath that anger is my fear of not being good enough, my fear of how people will see me, and my fear that I will eventually go completely unacknowledged as time goes on and the world keeps spinning.

I resent myself for calling attention to all of this. I resent myself for making a simple statement one day - "hey, I keep fainting. Is that weird?"

I went to a meeting last night and shared about all of this. Honestly, there were a lot of newcomers in the room so I wasn't completely candid. I definitely expressed my fear, but I made it all sound much more hopeful than I actually feel. So, I didn't feel better. After the meeting, Jonny and I connected with a friend we hadn't seen in a while and that was nice. That sort of made me feel better.

I read steps 6 through 8 in the twelve and twelve over and over again until I could fall asleep. I didn't stay asleep long. It's 2:15 am. I was super hungry, so I got cheesecake from UberEats. I am going to go back to bed until I need to wake up to go back to work.

figuring things out

Things have definitely been weird lately. I've been having this weird health stuff going on and I have no idea what the deal is. I don't want to write about it much because it freaks me out, and I don't know how much I should tell people. I don't know what's going on, so how I can explain to people what's going on? I hope to be writing a lot in the next week. I'll be in an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, having my brain looked at to see what is causing my fainting spells. It might be a tiny bit of epilepsy.

I'm grateful to be on the road to answers, but I've been asking so many questions over the last month, and none of them have been answered. I'm careful not to get my hopes up.

I'm just really frustrated with this. I don't know what's going on with me, and that makes me feel really disconnected from my body. Like I can't control my brain. It's frustrating. I got two concussions in ten days, I went to the ER twice in three days. I landed on my concrete floor and got a terrible black eye. I'm just fed up.

And I hate to sound complainy. I keep saying that it's really not a big deal. All of the people I love are very worried, and that freaks me out. It's a whole new level of accepting love from other people, and that feels uncomfortable. It also feels calming, to know I have so many people around me, praying for me. I can feel that love.

It sucks to not be able to work. I think that's where most of this frustration comes from. It's awesome that I love my job, it's wonderful that I miss hard work. I never thought I would get to place where I felt capable and empowered by a work environment. Since I don't have my work right now, I'm having to turn to other things to give me strength and purpose. Writing is one of those things. I've been reading a lot. I've been reading books about leadership, goals, and how to empower others. That makes me feel really good.

I haven't driven a car in three weeks. Rock climbing became my "thing" outside of work that gave me a lot of strength and happiness. I can't do that right now, and I can't work out. I'm doing everything I can not to slip into depression. I stay seated most of the day, if I walk too much I might faint, and I can't do another trip to the ER. So, we're basically holding our breaths until Monday. Thank goodness I only need to go one more day without having a fall. And then I'll be safe. That's really nice to know. And it's great for my family.

To know that I could fall at any moment and get any injury is scary. And it scares Jonny, and it scares my friends. It hasn't really scared me until the last few days. I haven't fallen in like five days, so I keep thinking, "oh no, if I stand up right now, is it going to happen again? I'm due for another one, what if the next fall down the stairs is worse than the first three?"

I haven't wanted to write about this, because I don't want my frustration to sound like self-pity. I am full of gratitude. I am full of fear. And I just don't know how to express that. I'm trying to meditate a lot and accept where I am. Resisting the present moment only adds more frustration, and it doesn't change the truth of what is going on.

So, I'm trying to accept the moment exactly as it is. The same way I do with people. I just want to love this moment unconditionally, and try to see my Higher Power in it. What will I learn from this? What will be revealed? I want to maintain this attitude of curiosity. I am surrounded by people I love. I am grateful for the support, the "don't worry about anything, we will take care of it" encouragement, the visits from friends, and the most loving and patient husband.

Soon, we will have answers. We will be closer to understanding what is going on, and I will be back on my feet. I will come out of this having learned something amazing (I don't know what that is yet). I have already learned a lot about really disliking a moment, and living in it anyway. Sitting in that uncomfortable space of not knowing, and letting my fear exist instead of shaming it.

This is definitely slowing down. The slowest I've ever been. And I just need to sit in that, be with it, and let the next right thing unfold. I will keep you posted, I'm sure.

I'm trying not to use the word "boring" as much, because that's all I've been saying about this experience. Instead, I can flow with the slow, and explore the world going 5 miles per hour instead of 100. So, this next week won't be boring, it will be revealing. It will be a different kind of adventure. I am so grateful.

staying slow

I feel so grateful. I have been practicing daily gratitude for almost five years, and I've never felt this grateful. I also feel really happy right now. It's interesting to feel happiness and pain at the same time. I've been struggling lately, and I have so many people reaching out to me, visiting me when I am stuck at home, and supporting me no matter where I am on any given day.

And at first, I was completely embarrassed. Right now I am having trouble living up to the expectations I have for myself, and others are carrying me through this wave of uncertainty. I was embarrassed because I truly cannot bring my A-game to my daily life.

I'm letting go of embarrassment now, and turning it into gratitude. (or at least, attempting to do so)

I have been living in self-reliance for so long. I think I was in denial of it at first. So stuck in denial that I didn't even realize it until my therapist suggested it. I have this attitude of, "leave me alone, don't carry me, I can take care of myself."

But the truth is, right now, I need others. And that just feels odd to me. That others are offering to take some of the weight off my shoulders, and I am giving it to them.

When I teach self-compassion, I do the common, "what would you someone who loves you say to you in your time of shame and struggle." Currently I've been asking myself, "what would your higher power want for you?" And the reality is, my higher power is within me. When I sit and get quiet, I know what I need, despite the fact that what I want is the opposite. And I've just been trusting in the spirit of the universe and staying true to what I know I need. Letting others know what I need is difficult, but I am trusting my truth and letting them take pieces of my burden.

Sometimes I feel like a badass warrior princess because I am showing up and doing what I can do, and not doing what I am not able to do right now. Sometimes I think that's really badass. Other times, it makes me feel like I am weak to let others help me. On an intellectual level that that's not true. However, I can't help but feel it when I really want to do something and I have to let that something rest in someone else's hands.

I'm working on all of this. I am just so full of gratitude that I have people who love me enough to watch me struggle and to do what they can to make that struggle hurt less because they love me.

fourth day of slow

I feel so free here. More free than I've ever felt. There is magic in this island. Every moment is a lesson. I see the Spirit of the Universe so clearly in every person I meet. This place is special. And it comes at a time where I am opening up more than ever spiritually. I feel myself blooming in to my connection with my higher power. It is easy to believe in something beyond myself here.

Yesterday we went on an incredible hike to a beach called Colombier. It is only accessible by foot or boat, and the hike was amazing. We saw a beautiful white bird with this long, flowing tail. We saw a really cool rock wall and talked (like a bunch of granolas) about how cool it would be to bring a crash pad and boulder it. We saw the most incredible views of the ocean and the tiny islands surrounding our tiny island.

It was such a clear day. While I was swimming in the ocean, I felt totally connected to my existence.

Last night at dinner we talked about the Big Bang and what it means to us on a spiritual level. It was a very long conversation, and we came to some pretty cool conclusions about the idea that the Big Bang being the Oneness that we all come from. How the Big Bang was one singular purity, and everything that has come from it has that in every piece of its structure.

Right now I am sitting on the back patio of our place enjoying some music and watching the trees grow. I just ate some crepes. Jonny is smoking a cuban cigar. We're about to go swimming.

The last time I felt this free was about five years ago, when I was discovering myself in outpatient treatment. I got to experience life in total awe because I had just chosen life. Here I am, five years later, in total awe of life. I forgot that I was missing this feeling. I forgot that this feeling existed.

Now that I remember, I think I can tap into this no matter where I am. I think that in meditation, I can create a bubble for myself where this freedom and lack of worry exists. I am so grateful for every breath. I feel like I am discovering the world for the first time. My curiosity and wonder have been re-ignited.

7 days of slow

I have not been taking good care of my body. Body image issues, little sleep, and long work hours have resulted in a malnourished Simone. Honestly, I am embarrassed. I want to be put together all the time. I want to look healthy and energized everyday. I didn't stop when I fell down my stairs. I didn't stop when I fainted. I am on this quest to prove to my imagined audience that I am not disposable. And I tell myself that in order to do that, I must keep going.

I tell myself that when I miss a day (and a day off, to me, means I am missing a day of work -- so I work on my days off), I am giving people the opportunity to realize, "oh yeah, we don't need her, let's get rid of her." I know, I know, that is not at all what anyone is thinking.

It's what I am thinking.

Really, this couldn't have happened at a better time. I have been confined to the doctor's office and my bed for the last two days. I am beginning to feel better, and I get to start eating solid foods today. I've decided to use this experience as my bottom. My realization that my mental health isn't the only thing that comes first, my body is, too. Really, if my body isn't doing well, if my brain is not nourished, my mental health can't be 100%.

Tomorrow, we go on our honeymoon. I will rest. I will walk slowly through the market and I will take my time. We have no agenda, no strict itinerary. Just 7 days of slow.

I will not work. I will not check my email or call my coworkers to see how it's going. I will rest. I give myself permission to let go, and trust. Everything is fine without me, that doesn't mean I am disposable. That doesn't mean that I am not valued in my work community.

I will spend today resting and preparing for a long travel day tomorrow. I can't wait to write from the easiness of a beach.

guest appearance poem

Jonny wrote this song and I begged him to let me share it with all of you. It's beautiful. The song is beautiful, and I can't post that (yet?), but the words make a beautiful poem. So, here it is:

I was raised up,

Believing in,


Greater than me,

But I didn't believe,

What I couldn't see,

So I chose me.

Then I saw the ocean,

I saw the trees,

I saw the sky up high,

And I saw me,

So I chose the ocean,

I chose the trees,

I chose the sky up high,

And it showed me.

That I'm just a man,

On a spinning ball of things,

I can walk any way,

But my troubles follow me,

So I take a breath,

I feel the leaves,

I taste the water,

And the water's clean.

So I forget me,

I forget my troubles,

I forget my need to know,

And I remember curiosity,

Like I was a child,

Before I knew the world,

Might swallow me whole,

And spit out my bones.

So I grasp at air,

I hold it tight,

I put aside the things I know,

And I take flight.

five years later

I'm going to start this post with a few quotes from two different books, the AA Big Book and Conversations With God.

"My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, 'why don't you choose your own conception of God?' That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last." - AA Big Book, page 12

"This is what your religions mean when they say that you were created in the 'image and likeness of god.' This doesn't mean, as some have suggested, that our physical bodies look alike... It does mean that our essence is the same. We are composed of the same stuff." - Conversations With God, page 26

Over the course of this year I have explored my spirituality more than ever before. There have been days when I have solely relied on my Higher Power. Days where I have prayed to the great Oneness and felt the love that I create by connecting to that Oneness with intention. In my world, having faith means believing in something that might not be there. Believing in something that, most of the time, I don't really think is there. Because I still revert to the shadows of my icy intellectual mountain.

Sometimes I find myself unable to believe that I am a part of a whole. But my foundation of recovery and of connection with others is faith -- belief that something that I don't always think is there is actually there. All the time, it's there. Even when I don't believe in it. Just like the stars.

And the stars are the tangible representation of my Higher Power. The way they work, the way they live and die, the way they fall. I need something tangible. And because I am made up of star stuff, I feel connected to stars. And I feel connected to the ocean and to the moon because so much water flows within me.

When I say, "this is all bullshit, nothing means anything and this is all random," I tell myself, "yes, both can be true."

I can believe that this is meaningless. In that meaninglessness is some sort of feeling of completion. This deep belief I have that within this mess of randomness, we are all one. We are in it together, working together (whether we know it or not), to learn what need to learn. To learn that we are one.

We came from one moment. Out of that moment came every single thing that has ever or will ever exist. Oneness is the cornerstone of my faith. Oneness keeps me going.

Five years later, this is where I am. In the middle of this infinite exploration of my spirituality.

I am surrounded by a community of people who remind every day that I am one. I am a part of a whole. When I am sitting in meetings, I feel connected to every person there. When I am having coffee with inspiring women, I feel totally free to say my real truth, because we are ultimately one. (Another thing that has developed this year -- I am less afraid of women than ever before, and have come to the understanding that it is so important to keep inspiring women in my daily life. I have a lot of women surrounding me with love). When I am at work, I am a part of family of people who work hard and practice compassion with every action they take. I have begun my career, and that feels really good. I feel secure, valued, and cared about both professionally and personally. I am grateful.

When I married my husband in February, I made a spiritual promise to my twin flame. (I know that might be the most woo woo sentence ever). My husband is my number one fan, my teacher, my best friend. I am grateful.

My sponsor has helped me understand what my higher power is constantly revealing to me. Different things every day. I have owned up to my self-seeking, selfish behaviors and I am working my through the fact that I cannot make others be what I think I want them to be. I am grateful.

I have learned that it takes effort to be a good friend. I am figuring out how to prioritize that effort. I have a best girl friend who understands me to my very depths, and who makes me laugh when I am feeling sorrow and fear. I am friends with people who inspire me and push me to be my best self. People who will not co-sign my bullshit. People who love me unconditionally. I am grateful.

My teacher works with me to gain a closer relationship to my higher power. She lights the path for me. She knows exactly who I am, and that does not scare me. My teacher helps me make connections. She helps me untangle my web and sit in feelings. I sit, I get curious, I accept. I am grateful.

I would have died. And I am alive. I was going to die. But I am alive. Every morning when I wake up, I remember that I am alive. And though I make mistakes and feel shame and fear, I have this deep love for myself. A compassion for that girl. And for the woman I am today. I am becoming who I was always meant to be. At the same time, I am already who I was always meant to be. I am grateful.

My sobriety is the most important thing in my life. And because my sobriety is the most important thing in my life, I have received so many gifts and opportunities. By prioritizing myself, I am able to show up in my world and be helpful, kind, and hard working. Also, I have great dance moves.

comfortable in the uncertainty

Basically, I am noticing. I wanted to say more in that sentence, but all I can say is that I am noticing. I am learning to notice, really. I am fascinated by this experiencing of beginning to sit in a non-understanding, a not-knowing, of the universe and the everyday goings on of every single thing. There is nothing that I can truly know. That makes me super uncomfortable. I can't truly know what is going to happen at work tomorrow, I can't truly know what a person is thinking about me, or if they're even thinking about me.

And it makes me uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable to sit in the not-knowing of things. It is uncomfortable to say, "I have no idea what will happen tomorrow, and that is just fine." Like, I almost can't even type that, it's such a strange idea to me that I could be perfectly fine with not knowing, or even trying to know, what is going to happen.

So, how do I get comfortable? How do I come to this place of peace with the inability to know everything?

Here's what I am trying (I'll let you know how it goes): Every time I have a thought that begins with "I know what is going to happen..." I am trying to think, "oh, there's a thought," and then replace it with a positive thought of the current moment.

For example, I might think "Ugh, I am going to make such a fool of myself when I share in that meeting tonight." In that moment I can respond to that thought by thinking, "oh, there's a thought. That's okay. Right now I am enjoying the feeling of the breeze on this hot day."

Over time, that positive thought could replace the negative thought all together. At the beginning, they will just get closer and closer together.

I am curious about how I have come to do this so easily with negative self-talk. I do the same thing. I think something negative about myself, and I immediately replace it with loving thoughts. Now, I have love thoughts all the time without even having negative self-talk.

What I think happened is that my ego wanted to find a way to make things negative, and used this avenue of fortune telling to get me into a negative headspace.

I am addicted to excitement. That is a trait of an adult child of an alcoholic, and I am the poster child for it. Super addicted to excitement. Part of this tension with assuming that the worst is going to happen is exciting to me. I get revved up when I am getting ready for something negative, and I like the feeling of being revved up.

So how do I let go of that sort of desire for excitement/tension? I notice it. I simply become aware -- "oh, I am having a thought. There is a thought in my head that life is boring if I don't have that sort of excitement. Okay, it's natural to have that thought. It's simply a thought. Here I am, in this moment, having this thought. And all is well."

All of this is pretty new to me. This idea of getting comfortable with uncertainty. It is also a cool thing to imagine the peace of mind that could come with this work. Peace of mind doesn't sound super exciting to me. It does sound consistent. And the idea of enjoying something as simple as the breeze at my feet sounds so pure to me. And I think I can get to a place where every part of me, even my ego, truly wants that.

I'll keep you posted.


My trips to Houston always breed interesting blog posts. Every time I talk with Dr. Mary Oxford, she gives me tons of amazing things to write about. We have some of the coolest conversations. Yesterday we discussed a number of things. One of the big themes was -- how do I keep going? How do I continue this journey of working on myself and staying curious?

There is no end in sight for my development and healing. It's not as though some day I'll graduate from the work I do on myself and be deemed "healed" or somehow done with the work. That's not why I do the work.

I am constantly asking questions. I'm still in therapy twice a week, and there are still times where I go to therapy three times in one week because I'm really hammering away at an issue. I work a program of recovery and I stay close to my sponsor. She has become a huge source of inspiration and growth.

I have learned to love the work, I guess. There are days where I want throw my hands up and say, "ugh, I am done with this self-help shit." In fact, there are days where I do exactly that. And then I take the minutes I need to (usually) sit in my self-pity about how "I'm never going to get better, why should I even try?" And then I pick up the pieces of my day and I keep working.

The work brings the light. The work keeps the candle burning. The work I do when I am not depressed keeps the light on when I am depressed. I am always preparing future Sim for the shit storm. There might not be a shit storm for a while, and if there isn't, the work makes the good times that much sweeter. However, life comes with shit storms.

I don't look at the fact that I know there will be shitty days with this attitude of doom and gloom. I'm not (always) afraid of the bad days. I don't (typically) dread them, because I know they are a part of my cycle of depression. I mean, really, they're just part of the cycle of being a human being.

If you know me, or my journey at all, you know I do a lot of maintenance to keep myself healthy and happy. I don't mind the work. I love it.

Some people get tired of working on themselves. And don't get me wrong, there are days when I am in my depression and I think, "oh my god, you're telling me I'm never going to be healed? That I have to keep up this work for years and years to come? And I'm STILL going to suffer from depression. despite the work? Fuck that!" And then I read notes to myself that clearly state, "yes, dear, this work will continue, and yes, you will still have shitty days despite the work, and yes, you badass warrior princess, you can do it."

The cost of the work is time and dedication. I have to remain consistent in my treatment, and that isn't always easy to do. Thankfully, I have built my treatment into my daily life. It's been five years. I can't believe it's been five years. But, after five years it comes naturally. It doesn't (most of the time) feel like an inconvenience, it just feels like part of my day.

I wake up, I practice gratitude. It's not something I force myself to do, it's something I've been doing for a few years. I don't even have to remember to do it, I just do it. I go to sleep, and if I can't sleep, I write and meditate. It isn't frustrating (most of the time) or hard to think of what to do when I can't sleep. I tried a lot of things to help my sleeplessness, and that worked, so that's what I just naturally go to.

There are days when I think "ugh, please not more therapy!" and then I go to therapy and talk about that.

The pay off of doing these things is that I don't want to kill myself. I am fully aware that when I am suicidal, suicide is the best option I can think of. The work I have done and continue to do keeps a tiny ember burning in the darkness that says, "hey, I know you and I know you're happy to be alive. There's a chance you're not totally in the best place mentally right now, maybe you could reach out/go to a meeting/ask for help/call your psychiatrist, and try to get out of this." And then I'll do one of the things that I have trained myself to do and I will come out of that mindset and think, "whew, awesome, I am so glad I'm alive. What can I do to make that ember burn a little brighter next time?"

I know that if I didn't do this work, the chances of suicide sounding like a good idea and then not doing anything to change that thinking get higher and higher.

Another pay off of this work is that there are a lot more good days. A lot more days where I feel really solid about being alive, even when I am in depression. Because I practice mindfulness when I am depressed, I also practice mindfulness when I am not depressed. It makes happy days happier and sad days happier.

thank you

Some days, gravity suctions me to my bed and disappointment colors all of my thoughts. Some days, I feel hidden in the shadows of my thoughts and the corners of my brain that tell me, "this is how it will always be: terrible, failing, frustrating." I pull myself out of these black holes of seemingly constant depression by shining the light on the shadows. I shine the light primarily by talking about it. I let people know, "this is where my mind is today." And they love me anyway. Love is my connection to reality. Love from others, love from myself. Today, I woke up feeling ready. I woke up feeling free from the shackles of depression. I woke up feeling a weight off my shoulders and a willingness to come back to breath.

Depression is scary and I'm trying to stop hating it. Depression is on my resentment list. Depression is on my gratitude list. Depression, these days, forces me to be authentic. It forces me to be honest because I know that over time, if I hide it, it grows. So I let it be seen. I let it be heard. And I try so hard not to hate it. Sit with me, have tea.

And on days that I wake up and I don't feel its tight, suffocating grip on my mind, I celebrate. I get grateful for the ease of getting out of bed. I try to celebrate without saying, "that motherfucker is gone!" Because I am tired of talking shit to myself about my depression. I'm tired of calling it an asshole. It isn't bad. It isn't good. It just, very simply, is. And when I allow it to be, I can better hear what it wants to tell me.

I have come to believe that my depression was built into my brain a long time ago to protect me the very best way it knew how- to shut me off. To turn me into auto-pilot. To keep me from the moment, because there were moments that I couldn't have handled if I had been there mentally. So, my depression kept me away from it. And now, it comes and it goes and it comes and it takes me and I let it be. I try so hard to let it breathe.

And now, it helps me connect. Because when it comes, I know it's time to hold on tight to the people who love me and see me and who have my back. And this time around, it taught me a lot about my job.

It showed me how loved I am at work. Because I got depressed, and I still had to show up. And I had to tell my work support system what was going on. And they loved me so much. And I felt it all the time. And I gave myself a break, and I am just so grateful that they understood. That the words out of their mouths were not, "ooohhh, okay, well..." but were instead, "tell us what you need, we are here for you." Immediate, non-judgmental acceptance. This is among the biggest gifts my recovery has brought me. I am just so grateful.

And this morning, as I drink my tea and watch my adorable puppy eat my shoes, I feel peace. If I am late to work today, it isn't because it took me three hours to get out of bed, it's because I keep getting stuck looking in wonder at my beautiful life. (Don't worry, I won't be late).

professionally depressed

I'm currently experiencing a bout of depression. I'm still figuring out how to show up as a professional at my job while allowing space for my depression to breathe and do what it needs to do. My teacher frequently references the buddhist idea of inviting our demons to sit with us. The idea is to say, "sit with me, have tea" instead of trying to push away or deny negativity. Working in recovery can be difficult. It's also a wonderful environment, where my bosses and peers understand and have compassion for mental illness. That doesn't mean I don't have a hard time owning my mental health status myself.  I encourage others to be open and allow themselves to be themselves, but I have a hard time applying that suggestion to my own struggles.

Sometimes I wonder if admitting I am depressed means I won't be taken seriously. Intellectually, I know that likely won't happen. I'm not any less brilliant when I am depressed. A bit foggy, sure, but definitely not less brilliant.

I am big on communication and letting people know exactly where I am and how I am feeling (within appropriate boundaries). The thing I struggle with when I am depressed is that I don't exactly know how long my depression is going to last. So, when should I tell my boss that I am struggling? I don't want to alert the troops on day one. What if it only lasts one day? So, I think that's what I am trying to figure out.

I had a great talk today about the support I need at work and what can help me through this undertow. I feel so accepted and loved. That's really all I need from others. The rest is sort of up to me. I need to remain vocal. At Menninger I learned (it was a big surprise) that people cannot read my mind. So, it's really up to me to communicate what I need.

I feel so grateful that I work in an environment that is so accepting and willing to support me through whatever I need to walk through. I can show up, give my best (whatever that looks like right now), and accept the love (something I sometimes struggle with).