Category Archives: anxiety

Haven’t done this in a while

God, how long has it been since I’ve blogged? Since the election? Since I started my new job? I’d have to check, and it’s taking enough effort for me to even write this thing, so, I’m going to say it’s been at least seven months or so.

I’m going to try to get back into blogging at least 1x per week from now on. After the election, the plan was to wait until the rage-and-despair-fueled fire burning in the pit of my soul subsided before trying my hand at this blog again, but then things got even worse, so, like, fuck it, whatever. I like to be funny in this space, y’all, and not much has seemed funny for the last six months, but I’m just gonna have to make some lemonade out of the shitty, moldering, Russian-grown lemons Cheetolini has given us in lieu of a future for Americans’ health care and, you know, the planet. First, though, an update on my life.

I started a new job eight days before the election. The job is great, but twice since 11/8/16 I’ve dipped into suicidal-ideation-level depressions. Twice. In six months. That’s not good. I’ve just come out of one of these troughs, so now’s a good a time as any to make this thing work.

That’s…kind of the whole update. I got a new job, been working, been depressed, been trying to make it through each day without bursting into tears and/or making a papier-mâché Trump and burning it in effigy in front of my apartment. Also been eating way too much and not working out enough/at all. WOOHOO ISN’T THIS UPLIFTING AF?

I’m better now, though. I swear. I hope. Please, God, let me be better. I mean, I feel better today, but that might be the rosé wine and Carly Rae Jepsen combo I’m jiving to right now. Also, I bought new cleaning supplies for my apartment and that always makes me feel awesome (I’m not kidding. I love cleaning supplies.). I walked 10K steps each of the last three days. I ate, like, a salad yesterday, with minimal cheese in it*. These are all good signs, right? Honestly, I feel like I accomplished a lot more this week than Donald Trump did in Europe. Like, at least I didn’t insult and alienate the United States’ closest allies and follow the rest of the G7 leaders around on a golf cart like a toddler who’s overdue for a nap! See, lemonade!

Depression is pretty funny though, I have to say. Like, last week I broke down and collapsed in a ball on the floor because I dropped a towel on the floor when I meant to hang it up on the hook on the back of my bathroom door. This was apparently more than my sick mind could bear. I just lost it, and sobbed uncontrollably as I stared at it for a moment before bending over, picking it up again, and finally managing to hang it on the hook. I was convinced that I was a terrible, disgusting, evil person because I had a moment of clumsiness and accidentally dropped a towel, which, in case you’ve never encountered one, is a soft, unbreakable object which is not spoiled from resting on a moderately clean hardwood floor for 3.5 seconds. Honestly, I should have been celebrating instead of crying– in getting that towel on the hook in only two tries, I still accomplished more for the good of our nation in one day than the President has in 130 days, so I’m just going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for that one.

Maybe I’ve been looking at this “our president and his entire posse are traitors” thing the wrong way – really, this guy just gives all of us a pass to be our most incompetent selves at all times. I mean, my dog puts more effort into shitting on the lawn than Trump puts into leading a nation of 330 million people, so let’s give that (literal) bitch a gold fucking medal, right? RIGHT!

Huh, I feel even BETTER now. More rosé! More Carly Rae Jepsen! Depression, go fuck yourself.

Till next week!IMG_20170528_193437

*minimal cheese means a lot of fucking cheese but whatever

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FYI: I Will Cease to Care About Anything on Friday Except Gilmore Girls

This is a quick heads-up that I will cease to care about anything or anyone else on the planet this Friday except for the four-part revival of “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix. Here are just a few things the existence of which I will forget about for six full hours:

  • Energy bills
  • My failed high-protein diet(s)
  • Nuclear proliferation
  • My unkempt eyebrows
  • Donald Trump
  • Neo-nazis (see above)
  • Deep dish pizza vs. regular pizza
  • Daylight Savings Time
  • Time
  • Space
  • Space-time continuum
  • Stephen Hawking
  • Feminism
  • Planes
  • Trains
  • Automobiles
  • Zucchini noodles aka “zoodles”
  • Fro-yo
  • Ill-fitting jeans
  • Red states
  • Blue states
  • Purple states
  • The oceans (all)
  • The continents (all)
  • Also lakes
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 1066 (I know stuff happened but I forget most of it anyways blah blah England)
  • Most of History
  • Millennials
  • GenX
  • GenC (?)
  • Whatever generation I am
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Your racist uncle
  • Birth control methods (all)
  • Indiana (included in above “red states” but I want to forget it twice)
  • The New York Times
  • Fake news
  • Real news
  • Sort-of-real-maybe news, but it was retweeted by Joss Whedon so who knows?
  • Carrier pigeons
  • Ostriches
  • All birds, really
  • Whether or not there is a God(s)
  • Reptiles
  • Whether my direct deposit for work will kick in soon
  • Apples
  • The fact that we are all, as Dickens said, fellow passengers to the grave
  • Reality
  • Satire

Why? Because after this year, I deserve this ONE THING, OKAY? WE ALL DO! JUST THIS ONE THING! SIX HOURS! FOUR NINETY-MINUTE EPISODES! PLEASE JUST LET US HAVE THIS, UNIVERSE!

Ahem.

Happy Thanksgiving.

ggirlslifestyle

 

 

ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr f*** everything: venting and then doing some real s***

This post is gonna be bad and sort of stream-of-consciousness venting but it ends okay so hang in there!

Here it is:

Ugh forever. Fuck everything.

I was fired up on Wednesday but now ughhhhhhh.

Look, there have been a gazillion pieces on how even if someone voted for Trump for “non-racist” reasons, they still voted for racism. If you don’t buy it after folks like Scalzi break it all down for you in the easiest-to-understand terms, you’re not going to buy it from me, so I’m not going to write another one here.

There have also been a gazillion pieces written on the Electoral College (google it). I fucking hate the Electoral College, since it basically means my California vote is worth less than, say, a Wyoming vote because something something rural Real America(TM) slave state history blah blah blah. So I’m not gonna write one here, either.

Don’t even get me started on the gazillion pieces about how the left needs to understand Trump voters more because blah blah blah. I get it; many of them are losing traditional jobs that aren’t coming back because #robots and they’re mad, but many of them are also assholes who hate that they had to see a black dude on TV for 8 years and sure as fuck weren’t gonna look at an old lady for that long even if she’s white. You can guess where I come down on that argument so I’m not gonna write my own take here either.

So here’s what I have to say: ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything. The next four years are going to be apocalyptic. I’m especially excited for the inevitable Pence presidency, because, let’s get real, our Cheeto-Elect is not gonna last more than a year, tops. He’s never had to do any actual work in his life, and he’s just now realizing that the Presidency involves reading and sitting still and receiving criticism and not staying in Trump Tower among his gold-plated accessories unless he ventures out to grab him some fresh pussy. He’s going to resign, and if not he will be impeached, because the GOP would vastly prefer working with Pence (ugh) and, let’s face it, Mr. Cheeto has already committed about a zillion impeachable offenses and will accumulate more in his first five days in office than Nixon managed in five years. Pence hates gay people and women especially and is going to do his fucking utmost to take away our rights, so that’s gonna be GREAT.

And then there’s the worst part: the violence and harassment against minorities. This violence has existed for centuries, duh, but now it’s been validated in the mainstream by the dude who’s gonna be president. People are fucking scared. Hundreds of incidents a day have been reported since Nov. 8: women randomly getting grabbed walking down the street, Muslim women having their hijabs ripped off, black people called n****** who should “go back to Africa” (because it’s not like our white ancestors dragged their black ancestors from Africa against their will in chains, but okay, sure), anyone who looks vaguely Hispanic threatened with deportation (not that anyone should be threatened with deportation, but I’m almost tickled by racists who can’t tell the difference between someone of Asian descent or Mexican descent).

Also the environment is over and maybe there will be a nuclear war and Marie Le Pen will be elected and I can’t shop at Macy’s anymore and I’m a privileged-yet-depressed white bitch and I hate myself.

Ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything.

Ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything.

Ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything. Also something about safety pins?

Okay. Thanks for listening. Now let’s do some shit.

Planned Parenthood Donation Link

ACLU Donation Link

Southern Poverty Law Center Donation Link

I told you the post would end okay!!

 

 

 

Orlando, Guns, and Love: I’ve had wine so here we go

FYI: If you think it’s totally okay for private citizens to be able to purchase semi-automatic assault rifles easily in the United States, you might as well go find another blog post to read because you will not like this one. Have fun!

Okay.

So here we are again. The worst mass shooting in modern American history. At least 50 dead, dozens more injured, countless families destroyed, law enforcement in Orlando stretched so thin they can barely handle it, endless twitter and facebook posts with prayers for the dead and injured, Presidential speeches and political rants.

Prayers and thoughts are nice, but they aren’t keeping AR-15s out of the hands of evil assholes, misogynists, terrorists, and homophobes like this asshole who did this today. They aren’t teaching our children to resolve feelings of anger and hatred in therapy instead of with violence, or to see all humans as worthy of respect and life even if they are different from them.

Here’s some shit I am doing now in light of this and other mass shootings. If you think that human life is more important than some asshole’s need to carry his AR-15 to the Chipotle or some douchebag’s discomfort at possibly having to pee in a shitty Target bathroom next to someone whose birth certificate says a different gender than the one they currently identify with or some religious fanatic’s fear of the power and value inherent in women and LGBT individuals’ existences, I hope you’ll do some of it, too.

  • Donate: I’ve just donated a small amount each to these two organizations:
    • Fund for Victims of Pulse Shooting via Equality Florida (
      GoFundMe): https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund. Equality is the official LGBT civil rights org in Florida and they’ll be working with their attorneys and other organizations to distribute these funds to the victims and their families.
    • The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence: a decades-old organization dedicated to common sense gun control and ending gun violence! http://csgv.org/
    • Obviously there are other organizations as well, but these are just a couple, so if you have a spare $1 or $10 or $100 give to groups who are fighting common-sense gun control.
  • Read/get informed: 
    • I followed @igorvolsky on Twitter; he is the Deputy Director for the Center for American Progess action fund. He is tweeting the names of members of Congress who have accepted money from the NRA so you know who NOT to vote for in November or future elections if you care about stopping these mass shootings regardless of motivation.
    • This article also details the members of Congress (mostly Republicans, but some Dems in there too!) who voted AGAINST the act to include perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disabilities as protected classes under existing federal hate crimes law. The law passed, but not easily. If your Senator or Representative is on this list, and you give a shit about LGBT and disabled people, do not vote for these asshats in the future, and call them up and tell them why!
  • Vote based on this information: 
    • This Fall, I’m voting for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States, not only because she is NOT a giant sentient Cheeto with a yellow wig who spews racist bullshit on Twitter every 3.5 hours and wants to have sex with its daughter, but because I strongly agree with her on many issues- especially women’s reproductive rights and gun control. She has an F rating from the NRA, which is the best failing grade someone can get if you ask me!
    • I’m a California voter, and so will also be voting in the Fall for Democrat Kamala D. Harris for US Senator to replace retiring Senator Barbara Boxer. Her opponent in the race is also a Democrat, Loretta Sanchez, but Sanchez voted in 2005 FOR a bill that would shield gun manufacturers from responsibility in some lawsuits when gun sales result in tragedy. Sorry, Sanchez, that was one mistake you’re not gonna live down with this voter!
    • That’s just me; whatever state or district you live in, use the information in the section above and your own research to vote for candidates who support making and enforcing laws that will keep assault rifles, which are, you know, for ASSAULTING PEOPLE and not to hunt quails or whatever because COME ON, out of the hands of dangerous people. Also vote for candidates who speak of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender/gender orientation, sexual preference, age, etc. with respect. People don’t pick up an assault rifle, a pistol, a knife, or even their fists in a vacuum. The Planned Parenthood Shooter spoke of “baby parts” after storming a Colorado PP and killing three people, including a police officer; according to some reports, the piece of shit who murdered fifty people this morning was angered by seeing two men kiss in Miami months ago and had a history of domestic violence. That kind of homophobia and misogyny and anger isn’t all innate; these messages are reinforced by both private figures in our lives and, yes, public figures, too. What our elected officials say matters. When someone insinuates that all gay people are evil sinners, or all abortion providers are murderers, or all Mexicans are rapists, or all black people are thugs, or all Muslims are terrorists–people listen to this shit, and it poisons them. We can’t control what a given individual learns in their home growing up or from their friends or their place of worship, but we can control, to a certain extent, what our elected officials say to their constituents and their children. Vote for people who don’t say racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or other terrible shit.

So that’s what I’m doing and thinking. What are you doing? Seriously, if there are major things I’m missing, please tell me, because I want to do more. I’m sort of tipsy from drinking anger-wine tonight to dull the pain of this shitty world, but I’m fired up and want to do things because I am sick of this. I don’t even know if I’m going to have kids, but if I do, I want them to grow up in a better country and world. I also know there’s a huge mental health angle to all this, but it’s something that’s hard for me to tackle because I HAVE a mental illness and there’s so much to unpack with that all I can say for now is that the vast majority of people with mental illness do not hurt anyone and are non-violent (the same way that the vast majority of Muslims or white guys or anti-abortion people do not ever hurt anyone). That being said, it’s still something to discuss–I just don’t know how to do it tonight. If anyone has any resources, I would love to read them.

Finally, I’m just so, so, so sorry for the victims in Orlando and their families and friends, and for the global LGBT community. I love you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

 

I Want To Be These Sunbathing Turtles

Friday morning, I took my usual walking route in Golden Gate Park around Stow Lake, and there was a great deal of #nature happening. I was particularly impressed by the minimum twenty-five (possibly more) sunbathing turtles I saw every ten feet or so around the edge of the lake:

 

It was an unusually sunny morning, and these turtles were OWNING life. They just sat on or next to each other, motionless, and soaked up the sun, completely oblivious to the crowds of tourists snapping pictures of them. They were basically a posse of Victoria’s Secret models on a beach vacation with Leo DiCaprio, but less narcissistic and more sober.  There were also flowers and a fountain in the park, and it was overall just a gorgeous day.

Then came Sunday, which was Bay to Breakers. B2B is San Francisco’s annual footrace/drunken walking orgy. It is like Halloween on crack, and when I went to the local market to buy cucumbers (I ran out, and I really like them, OKAY?), there were so many people on the streets in varying degrees of undress and intoxication and body-painted-ness that I started having a major panic attack and barely managed to stumble home, shaking, in time to take a xanax. I passed out, and when I woke up several hours later, I immediately thought back to last Friday and those turtles, and how calm and zen they made me feel. Those turtles have life DOWN, you know? I mean, the sun comes out, and they just swim over to the nearest available log or stone and chill out with their buddies. Why can’t I be like that?  Well, I guess I don’t live in a man-made lake in a protective shell, and, like, I am a sentient life form who requires income to survive, but you get what I mean. Why can’t I just take a page from their leathery, slow-moving book of turtle-y life and chill out once in a while?

Anxiety, alas, does not that work that way. We all need some degree of anxiety to survive–even the turtles must experience something akin to a fear response when a turtle predator, like…a lion (???) approaches–but for those of us whose anxiety is triggered more easily by a variety of factors, it can be a huge liability.

I’m lucky, though–my anxiety is mostly manageable with therapy, drugs, sleep, drugs, exercise, and the support of family and friends…and drugs. I know many of you fight the good fight with these and all the other tools you can muster, and I salute you. I wish for you and for myself that, in the midst of all the nuttiness that daily life throws at us, every once and a while we get to be these sunbathing turtles, posing for tourists on a log, our reptilian faces turned craned up towards the sky. Happy Monday, Turtles!

 

Please leave your thoughts in the comments, especially if you are a turtle, because your perspective would really be appreciated here and also it would be pretty cool if you guys learned how to use the internet. 🐢

Medication Frustration

This is the top drawer of my bedside table, a.k.a. the “med drawer”:

wp-1455301318667.jpg

This is where I keep the stuff that most folks organize neatly in a medicine cabinet. Mostly, it’s full of your typical and over-the-counter remedies: ibuprofen, pepto bismol, benadryl, cold medicine. It’s also where I keep my meds for anxiety, depression, and migraines. It’s a necessary, if messy, drawer. Usually, I open this drawer at night to take my daily medications without so much as a thought; it’s automatic, an action I’ve taken every night for years.

Sometimes, however, I really fucking hate opening that drawer. This week is one of those times.

I’ve been on some sort of daily medication to treat anxiety and depression pretty consistently since I was sixteen, which makes fifteen years of me opening this drawer (or its previous incarnations at my parents’ house and other apartments and dorms) every night. I’m incredibly grateful for this drawer, for the drugs in it (which have changed over the years several times–if you want to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of prozac vs. zoloft vs. lamictal vs. lexapro vs. a couple others I don’t remember at this point, I’m your gal) and for the doctors and therapists and friends and family members who have helped me get my shit together and get the help and medication I need to treat my anxiety and depression.

And yet, right now, I really hate that fucking drawer.

I hate that I have to cut my lexapro doses into little quarters as I wean off a higher “winter” dose to treat SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I hate the bitter taste of the pill residue that gets caught in my throat sometimes when I don’t cut the pills perfectly. I hate the fact that that higher dose made me incredibly drowsy in the afternoons for two months and eliminated my libido. I hate that these pills make it hard for me to lose weight and even, sometimes, to experience joy. I hate the fact that I rely, to some extent, on a pill to make myself “normal,” if there is such a thing.

I know that these feelings are valid–and likely temporary. I also know that there are alternatives to medication that I may try down the road in addition to my current therapy regimen. I also know that if I decide to try those methods and they work, that’s great. I also know that if I decide to try those methods and they don’t work, that’s okay, too, and meds will still be there and probably still be able to help me from falling into a non-functional depressive black hole.

I sincerely hope no one thinks that I’m saying meds are inherently bad or that no one should take them; I don’t think that at all. If you are feeling low, and especially if you are thinking of harming yourself, please go get help, and if a doctor or therapist thinks meds will help, consider their advice seriously. I’m also not advocating that anyone take meds if they truly feel they aren’t working for them. Basically, I’m the non-judgmental ninja over here, promise!

All I’m doing is sharing with you that, for whatever reason, this week I’m just tired of the process. I’m tired of opening that drawer. I think it’s okay to be tired sometimes. It’s okay to hate the drawer and to feel grateful for it at the same time. I hope, if you have a drawer, you know that, too.

 

 

Jackie’s Foolproof Process for Furniture Assembly and Losing Your Soul

Occasionally, despite my college education and now 31+ years of experience living as a Human on the Planet Earth, I make a Life Errorso gargantuan that it shakes the very fiber of my being and makes me doubt whether I am worthy of success, happiness, or love.

I order self-assembly furniture online.

I know, I know, but it wasn’t my fault! I am A WRITER, DAMN IT, and writers need desks. I could write while sitting at my kitchen table, but it’s cold in the kitchen. I can also go to a coffee shop, but a coffee is two bucks MINIMUM and it’s much cheaper to just make coffee at home. The obvious solution was a small-ish desk that fits into the bay window nook in my warm-ish bedroom with the cheap homemade coffee only feet away!

So I went on Wayfair and ordered a desk. Five days later, the desk arrived. And thus began my descent to the ninth level of hell, where I joined Brutus, Judas, and…Cassius (is he the third guy? too lazy to google) in being chewed in the giant maw of Satan.

The process began auspiciously when the FedEx guy cheerfully offered to haul the giant desk-containing box up three floors to my apartment. I immediately set out to assemble the desk, whereby I rediscovered Jackie’s Foolproof Process for Furniture Assembly and Losing Your Soul:

  1. Using a knife, cut through the tape along the edges of the box.
  2. Attempt to open box, and discover that there are apparently three more layers of taped-up cardboard between you and the desk.
  3. Hack through these layers while dripping sweat everywhere. Finally remove all the cardboard to discover the furniture is encased in a sarcophagus of styrofoam, which is all stuck together with a kind of tape that is probably used to seal airlocks on the International Space Station.
  4. Hack at the styrofoam, getting bits of it all over your apartment and inhaling a good 20% of it into your lungs.
  5. After 30 minutes of chopping at styrofoam, reveal the desk. Take a water and stretch break and realize that if you can’t open a box without getting breathless that you might want to sign up for the gym.
  6. Using the included mini toolkit, attach the four legs to the desk. Easy peasy! You’re 90% done- the last step is attach the knobs to the two little drawers that are built into the desk.
  7. You go to pull out the drawer. The drawer falls apart in your hand:wp-1452825930873.jpg 
  8. Ok, you can fix it! Get out your hammer and nails to see if you can cobble the drawer back together.
  9. OH MY FUCKING GOD HOW DID I HAMMER THREE FINGERS ON MY RIGHT HAND ALL AT ONCE OH GOD OH GOD IT HURTS AGHHHHH!!
  10. Breathe through the pain, breathe through it. Ok. You’ve got this.
  11. Go down the block to the local hardware store and buy superglue. Return home, glue the drawer back together, let it set for 20 minutes per instructions. Huzzah! It looks great! YOU ARE A GODDESS!
  12. Lightly touch the drawer with one finger to test the strength of the superglue. The drawer explodes.
  13. A single tear escapes your right eye. You remove the drawer and put the desk right-side up. The desk leg lands awkwardly and stubs your right toe.
  14. You burst into tears because ARE YOU KIDDING ME I WENT TO YALE I SHOULD BE ABLE TO PUT TOGETHER A FUCKING BUCK FIFTY DESK AND MY HAND HURTS AND MY FOOT HURTS AND I’M SWEATY AND IT’S RAINING AND THERE’S STYROFOAM ALL OVER MY APARTMENT AND I’VE BREATHED FIVE POUNDS OF IT IN AND NOW I’M GOING TO DIE OF STYROFOAM LUNG CANCER WHY AM I EVEN TRYING TO BE ALIVE IF I’M TOO STUPID TO SCREW TOGETHER A FUCKING WAYFAIR DESK sob sob sob.
  15. Call your mom, who is bewildered but manages to calm you down.
  16. Ashamed at your outburst, you try to go online to request replacement drawers for your desk, only to discover that the new Comcast set-top box that Infinity made you install earlier that day has DESTROYED THE INTERNET and the only network in range is called “We Can Hear You Have Sex” but it’s fucking PASSWORD PROTECTED.
  17. Cry.
  18. Remember that your phone has internet, and use that to request the parts. Ok, they’ll be here in a few days. It’s all good.
  19. Go out to a friend’s open bar birthday party to destress and consume three of these:
    wp-1453430097079.jpg
    Yeah, that’s a shot that gets poured into it in addition to the rum.

     

  20. Go home and vomit up everything you ever ate or drank, but because you’re an IDIOT you throw up in the shower and not the toilet, and so when you wake up at 3 am and go in the bathroom you discover that you have to clean up a hell of a mess. You go back to bed and at 6 am you clean up and hydrate and go to the laundromat when it opens to wash your vomity clothes. Call Comcast, fix the internet, and wait for your replacement drawers as you recover your dignity.
  21. A few days later, the drawers arrive, in perfect condition! You replace them and the desk looks GREAT! HUZZAH! WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WOOOOOORRRLD! wp-1453430169027.jpg
  22. Decide to take a walk to celebrate. Pull out your headphones so you can listen to some TUNEZ while you traipse through the park.
  23. FUCK
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Ain’t it always the way?

 

 

Last. Self-assembly. Desk. Ever.

The Thirty-First Year of the Jackie

So, it turns out that–despite the existence of alcohol and chocolate–I have made it to my thirty-first birthday. A year ago today, I was in a sort-of-impressive-sounding corporate job with a four-hour round-trip daily commute and an email addiction. I was really depressed, and so, shortly after turning thirty, I took a leave of absence which ultimately led to me quitting my job. It was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life, with the possible exception of going into that super gross hot tub at Myrtle Beach during our senior trip in college (those flesh-eating viruses are NO JOKE).

Now, one year into this journey off the beaten high-achiever path that I’ve dutifully followed for most of my life, I’ve achieved a new milestone: being proud of myself on my birthday.

This may not sound like a big deal, but for me, it really is. Once I was legally able to drink, I stopped enjoying my birthday. Every January 5th brought on a contemplative funk during which I lamented my lack of achievement and progress during the previous year: “Some people my age are olympic medalists! Half my friends have graduate degrees! Look at that guy; he’s only twenty-three and he makes so much more money than I do! Look at that girl; she’s only twenty-five and she’s married with a baby!  What have I done? Look at how worthless I am!”

I once expressed this attitude to one of my coworkers at Google a few years back. She was a pretty cool chick and refreshingly honest, and she was baffled by my view of aging. She’d lost a close family member at a young age and birthdays inspired gratitude in her–she was always happy and relieved to make it another year. I remember nodding and chastising myself internally for not being grateful enough for my birthdays and for not having cancer or losing an arm to that Myrtle beach hot tub, and then going right back to dreading early January and berating myself.

This year, however, is different. When it comes to traditional measures of success, this year certainly hasn’t touched most of those that preceded it. I can’t say that I work at a fancy company. I can’t say my salary is XYZ bucks per week. I can’t talk about awards or kudos or performance scores at work, or drop the name of any executives I work with.

What I can say, however, and what I’m proud of, is that I’ve had the most new experiences in the past year of my life than in the previous eight put together. These experiences ranged from good to bad to everything in between, but they made me think (and blog) about myself and the world deeply, and in different ways than I have before.

I experienced the joy of realizing that I could write, and write well(ish), and write enough words and sentences and paragraphs to make a whole book-type document that people might want to read. I experienced the excitement of getting an agent, and the subsequent anxiety and boredom of submitting to publishers.

I experienced the love of my family, and the grief of saying goodbye to a family member, albeit a furry one. I also experienced the excitement of welcoming a new love into my life, though this created drama with my old love, which was iced coffee (sorry bae).

I experienced the stress and exhilaration of travel, from people-watching the crazy costume-clad nerds of San Diego Comic Con to getting knocked up by food in Florence and trudging through the rain in Paris in super ugly shoes and seeing Britney dance way worse than when I saw her on tour when I was sixteen.

I witnessed two amazing couples get married on opposite-ish sides of the country and cried my eyes out both times because I AM A SAP, OK?

I experienced breakdowns and bad nights, and discovered new coping mechanisms to pick myself up when I fall or when the world seems too much to handle.

In short, I experienced life, and I had the time to really take it in, as opposed to watching it all pass me by. And, for the first time since I was a little kid, I’m proud of myself for that fact alone. I’m proud of myself for trying to live well, and I’m grateful to all those people (both IRL and on this blog) who have come along on the journey with me this year.

So, here’s to the thirty-first year of the Jackie! May the thirty-second be just as interesting, and may you still be interested enough to tune in and read about it once in a while 🙂

Love,

The Birthday Girl

 

 

How to remain sane in a crazy world

I haven’t blogged in over a week, and there are several reasons for this:

  1. I became engaged to Iced Coffee and have been spending a lot of time planning our wedding (wedding planning is no joke, especially when your fiancé is a chilled caffeinated beverage and also SO EFFING NEEDY AND YES HONEY THE WEDDING WILL BE IN A REFRIGERATED ENVIRONMENT CHILL OUT – WELL, CHILL OUT MORE, OK?).

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.26.22 PM2.  I had like actual editing/writing things to do which took actual time because I AM A PROFESSIONAL WRITER NOW OK?

3.  I may or may not have started reading Twilight Reimagined and then cried because I spent twelve bucks on a CTRL-F name/gender replacement of a book I didn’t like too much to begin with it because I thought it might be mildly interesting, and, you know, an actual new, original book (Lies.  All lies).

4.  The world SUCKS.

This last one has been the biggest reason for my radio silence.

Murder, rape, bigotry, mayhem, climate change, gross pictures of Justin Bieber’s naked body – these are just some of the atrocities we are bombarded with on TV, in the newspaper, and on the internet on a daily basis.  However, the shooting last week in Roseburg, Oregon kicked off such a week of complete and utter world stress shit that it shut me down, including but not limited to: the Kunduz bombing, presidential candidates saying more ridiculous shit about how victims of gun violence are somehow at fault for their own deaths (?), that new Muppets show, and another TWO school shootings in the last two days alone.

So I did what you sometimes have to do to remain sane in a crazy world: I hid.  I hid in work, and long walks, and HGTV (David won on Love It or List It and it was NOT OK), and long talks with my mother on the phone, and even in that new Twilight book (seriously, though, guys, just don’t buy it).  And all of that was ok, because it made me more ready to face the world again.

So I decided today was the day to jump back in, starting with this post.  Ironically, I found out from Twitter that today, my day of jumping back in, is actually designated as World Mental Health Day.  What a great day to acknowledge that I needed a break from this imperfect, stressful, often sick world, and that there’s no shame in that.  What a great day to remember the things I’m grateful for – things like family, and friends, and my new fiancé Iced Coffee (love you bae), and humor, and art, and all the people who work so hard to fix everything wrong with the world.  What a great day to celebrate the necessity and beauty of self-care.  What a great day to remember that I’m not alone.  What a great day to go get some more iced coffee.

I wish for you, dear reader, the ability and time to step away from the world when you need to, so that you can rejoin it stronger and ready to help make it better in your own way 🙂 ❤

Fall and SADness: When the SAD Pumpkin Gets You Down

sad pumpkin

I don’t know about you all, but I LOVE Fall.  There’s a perky chill in the air, everything has pumpkin spice in it (even those things that really, REALLY shouldn’t have pumpkin spice in them), HALLOWEEEEEEENNN!  It’s a time for apple picking, and haunted hayrides, and sweatshirts.  Unfortunately, it can also be a time for depression.

Most people have heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.  It can really suck.  It can especially suck if you have baseline depression that you’re already managing with medication and therapy, because it’s like an extra depression garnish your body decides to add on to the soup bowl of your general malaise.

sad soup
The green stuff is SAD, in case you didn’t get the metaphor.  The soup is general depression.  This soup actually looks pretty good.  Now I want soup, but I don’t have any 😦

I generally don’t get SAD until the holidays/January (which is also my birthday), but for some reason I’ve been feeling a bit of it these last two weeks.  Part of it was being SO COMPLETELY ILL with an awful stomach flu last week, but today, which was a rainy (which is actually great as we’re in a drought) and chilly day in San Francisco, seemed to sap the energy out of me and make me an irritable, anxious mess.  It was hard to get out of bed or force myself to be productive.  Today, I doubt EVERYTHING I do and every decision I make, from my writing to social engagements to what to eat for lunch.  The demon voice in the back of my head telling me that I am a useless failure who is most definitely going to die alone in a pumpkin spice-colored van down by the river is piping up more than usual.

Now, I KNOW that I am NOT a useless failure.  I KNOW that while I maybe didn’t exactly need those chips with my sandwich yesterday, I am not a disgusting blob person who deserves to die alone.  I KNOW that I am making progress with writing and other professional endeavors.  But the SAD Pumpkin of Fall is trying to make me forget what I know.

I’m going to monitor things over the next couple of days, and if I need extra help I’ll ask for it.  I’m going to try to exercise every day, structure my work time more efficiently, and eat well and do fun things to try to stave off the SAD Pumpkin.

I’m sure there are many of you out there dealing with the same thing, and I wish you luck – and remember, when the SAD Pumpkin gets you down, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends, family, medical professionals, therapists, or even (ha!) the internet.  It’s not something we have to go through without support – just because it’s seasonal doesn’t mean it’s something we just have to put up with until days start lengthening again in the New Year.

Love you all, and remember – the SAD Pumpkin always rots, if he’s not smashed to death by neighborhood punks in the dead of night – so keep truckin’!

smashed pumpkin
Bye, SAD Pumpkin!