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This stuff helps.

animal avian beak beautiful

Photo by Len on

I was reading this article about how different people deal with mental health issues when they can’t get to therapy, and I thought maybe I should write about that myself. (Side note: Refinery 29 is really kicking ass with some great mental health articles, which makes me so happy.) I don’t get to therapy a lot because I don’t have a lot of money right now. Even with my health insurance, I can’t swing it. But I have worked with a therapist to figure out what works for me when I can’t see her. So, here goes:

*Meditating — I’m getting better at it! Really, it was one of my very besties – JF – telling me to meditate over and over and over and over until I was finally like, FINE, she probably knows what she’s talking about. I really love the Fragrant Heart site – I love her voice and guided meditations help keep me focused. (Side note – every time I go to that site I laugh a little to myself because I think about a heart outside of the body and I imagine it doesn’t smell great, but they wanted to name their site that and who am I to judge? I won’t judge but I will giggle every time at my very dumb joke.) I also will listen to Abraham Hicks meditations on youtube because Jenny Bubbles recommended them and they are pretty good.

But regardless of what I’m using – meditation feels GOOD. Like really. I might be crying at the start, but by the end I’m much more calm.

*Prayer — I’m in this phase where I’m figuring out my own spirituality. Trying to figure out my own set of believes and what kind of spiritual practices work for me. It’s been quite enjoyable. To a person who isn’t spiritual or religious, my practices probably seem really Catholic (that is the religion I was raised with). But to staunch Catholics, I’m pretty bad at that religion. But anyway, I see prayer as another type of meditation. In addition to a freestyle-type of prayer, I use prayer cards sometimes. I also pray the Examen, and I pray the rosary. I love the Rosary Center’s site because it gives you all the words to the prayers (which I need) and it gives you little meditations to use as you progress about each decade. Sometimes I also use this youtube channel, because I like that there is music, that they include extra prayers and the other bonuses that I don’t use on my own. I really like to listen to that rosary couple on youtube while I’m walking.

*Exercise — Dancing, walking, being outside. I’ll been crying for some reason, put on sunglasses and walk around in my neighborhood until the crying has stopped. In the depths of depression, working out can be really hard. But I’m getting better at telling my depression to shut up and making myself get off of my couch. Sometimes I also listen to music or podcasts while working out to really pep me up.

*Music and Podcasts — I make a lot of mixes on Spotify. My username is blue13pop, so find me if you want to hear them. I also have some mixes (older ones) on 8tracks. Music really helps me, but sometimes podcasts help, too. Which podcasts? It really depends on my mood. I know this is dark and might scare some people, but I really love the podcast Suicide Buddies. Two comics who have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts themselves cover a historical suicide in each episode. It’s funny, it’s ridiculous, and they are serious when they need to be, but it’s mostly really funny. Honestly, it makes me feel more comfortable with my own mental illness. But there are thousands of podcasts, so if you’re interested in them, find one that works for you.

What else? Talking to friends and family, actually seeing friends and family, cooking something fun, deep breaths — the basics work. But if it’s a really bad situation, people are available to talk to you on the Suicide Hotline 24/7. 1-800-273-8255

And Cholula Chili Garlic.



Today was not super great. I’m trying to think of an analogy that fits, but nothing seems right. A balloon that’s slowly deflating? I have to be able to come up with something better than that. Let’s just get into it.

This morning was ok – I was in a good mood, but I ran out of my preferred breakfast (homemade oatmeal cups) so I bought something when I got to work. I got a bagel, which was tasty, but there’s never enough cream cheese and neither bagels or cream cheese make me feel great, physically. I drank some coffee and took my antidepressants (normal everyday morning activities) and went to work. I was really focused and that was good.

But then around lunch I heard about a meeting that had to happen. And I was like no, I can’t, I need to eat first. So I went and got some lunch and bought a gift for a friend, and came back to my desk and ate. Giving the gift to my friend made me happy, but it was fleeting. I quickly recognized I was not feeling great mentally about this meeting, so I took a half a klonopin. I used a plastic knife to cut a pill in half at my desk – ingenuity! (or craziness? Sometimes it’s hard to tell)

I also looked up a prayer on my phone to refer to. I’m focusing a lot more on my spiritual self care, and talking to various saints seems to help me. I went to St. Joseph the Worker (aka the earth dad of Jesus). I felt a little better after that, but the 1/2 klonopin was not having the usual all-is-chill-and-good effect. I got some more coffee.

The meeting didn’t happen and I left the office for the day. My after-work plans didn’t turn out as I expected, and though I wasn’t totally upset by this I did feel like some unhappiness was creeping in more and more. I thought, I’ll just listen to this podcast that I find funny. But I couldn’t focus on it and it wasn’t making me laugh like usual. Maybe some music? I went to Spotify, but Spotify wanted to show me all the features I don’t normally use, instead of what I usually see when I open the app. I was a little irked at this, but I tried something new. I also got out the book I am reading.

Something in the book got to me and the music WAS NOT HELPING – it was making things worse – and after a couple pages of the book I was crying. I was on the bus, going home, crying. Nothing major, but tears escaped my eyes and I was not thrilled. I was like mad that I was sad. That’s depression. I wiped away my tears, put the book away and turned on some music that I actually like. I googled a prayer to St. Dymphna, who is the patron saint of anxieties and mental disorders. Surprise – she’s one of my favorites. Talking to her made my tears go away, which was good.

I got home and now I’m writing this, waiting for my dinner to cook. I need to eat something – that will be major in improving my mood. I mean, duh, but sometimes the things you need to help are not that apparent. I really wish some things weren’t so hard, but fuck it. If life was easy, it wouldn’t be fun, would it?

Self cares mentioned in this post: Coffee; klonopin; prayer; music; podcasts; writing; cooking; and books. And I didn’t mention this, but I got my 10K steps in today, so woo! Also, my meal will include Cholula Chili Garlic sauce. So things are definitely on the up and up!

Photo via. I’m having an orange moment right now. 

It’s a struggle.



I needed to write tonight. I’ll try to do this best I can — stream-of-consciousness style. I doubt this will be very organized, but I’m cool with that if you are.

Living with depression can kind of be like a roller coaster. Sometimes it’s a kiddie coaster — the highs aren’t too high, but the lows aren’t scary. Other times it’s an ultimate coaster — the highs are fleeting and the drops down are major. Yeah, I always get back up, but that doesn’t make it feel better when I’m way down.

My mom asked me over the weekend if I thought I’d ever be able to be off of anti-depressants. I said “no,” but explained I was ok with that. I’m not the only one. I’m lucky to have access to medication that helps me out. I don’t have the money to go to therapy as much as I’d like, but I deal with it in other ways (see all of my self-care practices). I think it made my mom a little sad to know this won’t ever really be “fixed,” but I’ve made my peace with it. This is my thing. Some people get arthritis. Some people have worse. This is my thing, and it’s part of me, and sometimes I get really sad, but most of the time I’m really not — and I can find happiness in many places others can’t. So, it’s really not the worst. Except when it seems like it is.

This week has been weird. Issues with dudes. A lot of work stress. The issues plus the stress have made my stomach upset — I seem to store my stress in my gut and shoulders — and I joked that I was going to get an ulcer as a weight-loss tool. Some people did not find that funny. I just smiled and shrugged. I’m good at laughing stress away, and I don’t mind if not everyone loves my dumb jokes.

Walking to a meeting yesterday, a meeting I knew would be stressful, I just started singing — out loud — “good good, happy happy, good good good!” My coworker was next to me, and she laughed and said “now don’t tell lies!” But that wasn’t what I was doing — I had to project some positivity outward, otherwise I might — I mean who knows. Was I going to cry in the meeting? Was I going to yell at someone? I just wasn’t looking forward to this meeting and it was an unconscious decision to start singing a silly song. It made me happy that I just started doing that. And I was calm in the meeting and focused and not on the verge of tears.

Here is a random self care that I do. Sometimes I make music mixes just for me. My private mixes on Spotify. Songs I like, just for me. I don’t have to worry about anyone discovering it or saying whether or not they like it. I can make it as wackadoo as I want with no theme and as many cheesy musical songs as I’m in the mood for. I’m listening to one right now and it makes me smile. I like how crazy these mixes can get. And they are just for me.

Another thing that has helped me this week is that I have talked about it. Talking about it makes it seem not so bad. I couldn’t get in to see my therapist, so I talked to different friends. I don’t want to overburden anyone with all my junk, but I’m not going to lie and act like things are ok. Work stress? Well, I don’t totally need this right now because a dude also did something dumb and I’m trying to wrap my brain around that one. Dumb dude? Be dumb, I’m not dealing with this, I have many people who love me and I have a sometimes stressful job to deal with. I’m going to take a walk, get a sandwich and walk some more. No tears!

My mom thought it would be a good idea if I share my depression experiences. I smiled and explained I thought that was a good idea, too, and I already started. I should do this more, but finding time, ya know?

I try to put out a positive front, but it doesn’t always work. I’m clinically depressed. Some things make me really really sad. But I have a system in place to help get positive again. I hope you do, too. If you don’t, calling the suicide hotline is a great start. They can really help you. 1-800-273-8255 — talk it out.

Self-Care Sunday: Checking in



Things have been pretty good the past few weeks, but it’s left me with little time to blog. But I did want to check in to say I am on the up and up. For now! When I wrote my “gear shift” post in January, I was not in a good place mentally. Just too down for my liking. So, I thought about how I could change that.

I was pissed off that my depression had morphed into something new. Fuck that. But I knew I could fight it, so I did. Well, to be honest, it wasn’t that clear. I just knew I didn’t want to wallow in shitty mental health. So I thought about how I could change it. There were a lot of tears involved. Again, not a clear path. I learned in massage school about four facets of self care: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional. So those ideas have been in the back of my mind while I try to turn my life around in different ways.

-I gave up TV for awhile – I gave up TV for lent. It’s been good and bad. I miss TV. But, it’s allowed me to focus on other things that are important, and maybe these things better contribute to my mental health. But honestly, I do miss TV.

-Social time – I’m trying to connect with my friends who I don’t see often. It’s winter in Chicago — it’s very easy to see no one and not leave the house. But this homebody is enjoying getting out and about, even in the cold. I’m trying to make plans and stick to them. I haven’t gotten to everyone yet, but I’m making progress, and it’s been fun.

-Supporting my community – I’m trying to find the issues and the causes I care about and get out and do something to support them. I want to make a long-term commitment to the causes I care about.

-Listening to music – This may sound silly, but it was hard for me to listen to music after David Bowie died. I was sad and hurt. It hurt to listen to music. I had podcasts and I was fine. Fine! But about a month ago, I started making a mix for my 1-year-old niece, and to make a really good mix you have to listen to a lot of music to find the best songs. So I’m back. I’m fully back. It’s been great.

-Figuring out my spiritual life – I’m figuring out what spiritual things work for me. I have a good idea of what helps me in this area. I think it’s going to be an ever-evolving thing. I’m cool with that. And this also has been really good.

-Investing in my physical health – I’ve been to the doctor and talked to her about different things. I’m being honest with myself about medications I need. I may be tired, but I make myself work out, if only for 20 minutes. I’m cooking more and more. Loving it.

There is still more to do. I had a full on anxiety attack this week. Multiple factors contributed to it, but I won’t go into it here because bleeeeaaaaaahhhh. (work stress + family stress = too much) It just showed me that there is still more work to do, but I know how to kick anxiety’s ass if I want to. And I want to!

Photo via.

Self Care Sunday: Basic edition



Happy Sunday! It’s not all doom and gloom around here, I promise. I looooove self care, whether I’m happy or sad. It’s always necessary – mental, emotional, spiritual and physical self care.

So, here are some of my basics, and I plan to expound on many of them in upcoming posts. What do you like to do?

*Dancing and working out — Dancing is happiness to me. I made a promise to myself that if I start to feel down or sad (I know those words mean the same but they feel different), I will make myself work out or dance. Even if at the beginning I’m teary. I literally want to work out those bad feelings. So far, so good.

*Listening to podcasts (often while doing crossword puzzles) — Which podcasts? I’ll dedicate a post to that. But so many. My favorite crossword puzzles are the ones in Streetwise.

*Cooking and/or cleaning — I’m not a great cook, but I’m learning. And the successes make me so happy! Today I made myself breakfast and lunch, and I reorganized my kitchen cabinets. I know how boring that sounds, but it has been lovely!

–Currently, my key recipes are chicken tacos, veggie-heavy stir fry and oatmeal cups for breakfast. My two favorite oatmeal cup recipes are here and here – I loooove them. I want to start making frittatas, lentil soups and other tasty things that are healthy. Groovy!

*Connecting with friends and family — Maybe I don’t have time for an actual visit, but a quick text to someone I haven’t talked to in awhile is just a great pick-me-up. It takes work to maintain relationships, and I’ve made it a goal to put the work in. My family knows I bug them all the time for photos of my niece. Her smile is pure sunshine.

*Dedicated quite time — No music, no podcasts, no TV, just me, myself and I. At some point (soon, I hope), I might actually meditate. Whoo boy. Is meditation intimidating to anyone else? I can do it.

Hope your Sunday is going well! Photo via.

A timeline.



So this post has been top of mind for me almost every day, but finding the time and the strength to put it out there has been difficult. But here I go – this is the approximate timeline of my struggle with depression.

Early 2000s – I was in my mid 20s and my depression started. Maybe I was prone to sadness earlier than this, but around this time my depression really reared its ugly head. My parents got divorced and I didn’t handle that very well – although it was ultimately a good thing for all involved, it was hard to deal with at the time.

Late 2006/Early 2007 – My doctor noticed a change in me and asked if I wanted to see a therapist. I said no – I could handle this on my own. Well, haha, I couldn’t. So around this time I asked her to refer a therapist and I started going.

-I’m not sure when I started taking anti depressants. But around this time or maybe a little earlier, I started them. It took a long time to find a medication that worked for me. It was frustrating, but I was always hopeful.

Sept 2007 – My family went through a major tragedy that I am not yet willing to talk about here. But it was bad. I was already in therapy and that really helped me deal with the family stuff. I stayed in therapy.

Early 2008 – By this time I had lost 98% of my friends. It’s hard for people to stick around through a tragedy. For those to did stay by me, I am forever grateful. For those who did not, I totally get it.

-The next few years were not great. At some point my therapist moved to Texas, so I got a new one. The new therapist also had me see a psychiatrist to make sure my medication was on point. Things were improving with my family and I dated a little, but I missed having a larger circle of friends and it was hard for me to reach out.

Late 2011 – I got tired of being depressed. I decided to make some changes. A big one is that I enrolled in massage therapy school. I needed something new.

2012 – The changes were helping and I was feeling good. I stayed on my medication but I stopped going to therapy. Things were much better.

June 2013 –  I graduated from massage school and things were still good. I really love massage. It makes me very happy – still does!

2014-2016 – I worked a lot at my day job and massage stuff. It was hard with the long hours but it was still fulfilling. I was so happy. I met so many amazing people.

Late 2016/Mid 2017 – My massage work changed and it was less fulfilling. I made some more changes, but these left me sad. I tried some new things that didn’t work out. I wasn’t fully depressed, but I also was at an uncertain period of my life.

-Around this time my doctor gave me a prescription for klonopin, an anti-anxiety med.

October 2017 – I had a panic attack that put me in the hospital for a night. It was my first panic attack. The attack and some other things made me realize my depression had morphed and I needed to not ignore it.

Early 2018 – I’m not ignoring it! Things are mostly good, sometimes not. I’ll probably go into most of all of this more, but I wanted to get this timeline down so my battle is documented. I’m finding it’s important not to totally hide my depression, and this blog is part of that.

Gear shift.



I decided awhile ago (a couple of months or so) that I didn’t want to completely abandon this blog. I was thinking about launching a new blog, but I wasn’t sure what to do with this one. So after some thought, I decided I would use this as an outlet to talk about my struggles with depression.

It’s helped me a lot to see people on social media share their experiences with depression and/or mental illness. Honestly, I’ve read accounts from people who I don’t even know, but I follow them (probably on instagram) because they post pretty photos or something. And after reading 3 to 5 examples of that type of post, I was like “maybe I should do that.”

I want to be honest with myself, my family and friends, and the world about what I deal with, how I deal with it, how I don’t deal, etc. I’ve dealt with depression for so long that at this point I feel like I’m lying if I’m not open about how things are.

But I don’t want this to be a total bummer. I want to be honest and open about my depression, but I also want to share the things that help me feel happy and how I approach self care. Because, oh boy, do I self care hard. 🙂

Photo via.

Goals for 2018



I guess you could call these my resolutions, but that word has a lot of stress in it for me. Go for goals!

*Learn to cook fish in interesting and healthy ways.

*Make better use of my cast iron pan.

*Really focus on my apartment décor.

*Yoga with Bunnies at least once a quarter.

*Host at least two parties but try for more.

*Transform this blog into something new (for me).

*Maybe launch an ambitious (for me) new blog!

Good luck to you in your goals 🙂

Photo via.

Current Obsession: Blood Oranges



I used to have a blog where I documented my “obsessions,” or things that I was really into at the time. I no longer update that blog but I still get little obsessions here and there, so I thought I’d just update this now-no-longer-dormant blog. My current obsession is blood oranges. Yummmm.

It’s still quite chilly out, so I like to come home, cook and do whatever, and then before bed, curl up on the couch in a blanket, eat a blood orange and watch something – right now it’s most likely X Files, Those Who Can’t or Burning Love.

Blood oranges are a semi-pricey snack as far as produce goes, but I’m justifying the cost knowing they won’t be in the store for much longer and they give me the sweet/tart taste I love, without being too sweet or too tart. Plus, they’re so pretty!

I have yet to try cooking with blood oranges, but here are two recipes I might try if/when I get the inclination: Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake and Blood Orange Gin Sparkler.

Fruity snacks are my fave. ❤

Still here.



Hi! OMG, it’s been so long. I’m still around, just busy, busy, busy. Always focusing on improving my classes for my students and keeping my head above water as I manage working so much. I got a little whiny the other day about how much I work, and my mom gently reminded me that the more I work now, the less I can work later. So, there are some developments in my work life, but I don’t really want to get into that now.

With all the work I do, what do I do for fun?

*Dance – Dance, dance, dance. I recently had a long night of dancing for my birthday and it was so fun. But I don’t need special nights for that, I dance most every day. No, still not that great at it, but I don’t care. Still love it!

*Books – Well, kind of. I’m trying to read more. I have not read most of the books on my shelves, so I need to fix that. I’m usually too tired to read, but I’m trying. I’m jealous of readers and I don’t like feeling jealous, so I am trying to be a reader, too.

*Cooking – I’m getting kind of good at it! At last! It’s delicious and healthy and amazing. And mostly tacos, because of course. Tacos forever.

*Planning – I’m planning beach trips (to the beach 1/2 block from my apartment – yay!) and vacations. Even if I’m not leaving right away, it’s still fun knowing the good times are on their way.

And seeing friends/family where and when I can. It’s tricky and I don’t like not being able to see people very much, but I can’t imagine my schedule will be like this for much longer.

Hope to see you soon! Image via.