Happy bright spring flowers. (xo, O)

There’s a new post on my other blog – xo, O!

I’ve been thinking about consolidating my two blogs together but I feel they serve different purposes so I will let things remain as they will and continue to post updates of my other blog here.

Feel free to subscribe to both/either blog(s)!

Muchas nachos for reading!

One-way ticket to Vulnerability City.

Did you know I have another blog where I spill my heart and guts out navigating through and processing my love life? Yep! And there are two new posts:

A safe space where only (s)he and I can go.

Break-up, make-up; repeat.

Feel free to subscribe to xo, O while you’re there! 

 

New blog: xo, O.

I have launched a new blog called, “xo, O”. I will be pouring out my insides in pursuit of love. If you want to know what wonderful and messy things happen in this woman’s world, please subscribe!

Learn more about my new blog here.

We deserve the best of we.

In December, I decided to take a break from my counseling internship to focus on me, my health. I want to be a therapist. I want to be as present and supportive and attentive to people as possible. When meeting with clients last quarter (my first quarter of internship), I realized that I had so much going on personally. (And on top of everything, I have depression and anxiety, so those were being triggered big time). Too much going on. When my clients talked about their thoughts, emotions, frustrations, dreams, fears…I thought about mine.

With one client, I wanted to commiserate. “Yes! I feel that way too!” She would say, “I feel like I’m not worthy, like I don’t deserve what I’ve been given.” My intent ‘therapist’ self would counter with questions and reflections to assist in guiding her to see that she has earned, (and was not simply given), the admirable and hard-won things in her life. She is worthy. She doesn’t believe she does, but she has so much value.

All the while, my non-therapist voice would say, “Fraud. You know exactly what she’s feeling and you feel that way too.” I just wanted to talk to her as a friend. Share my struggles so she didn’t feel so alone. I wanted to vent and get things off my chest. Share a bottle of wine with her. But that’s not what therapists are trained to do. That’s not what therapists are paid to do.

So I chose to take a step back. Figure things out a bit more and build patterned behaviors and skills to better position myself to be the most effective and supportive therapist I can be. Because every person deserves that. Myself included. I deserve to treat myself well so that I can be with others when I am at my best, or at least, when I know I am more ready and capable than I was. Because I’m capable. I’m definitely capable. That’s not a question. I’m just human. And I have things to work on. And that takes time. And I’m taking it. For me. And for whomever else ends up on the other end of the sessions I can’t wait to have with people. They deserve the best of me. I deserve the best of me.

 

 

 

Happy new year, 2015.

Well, 2015. This is it. It’s been a year, hasn’t it? I’m not gonna lie. You’ve been difficult. A real bitch at times. Cancelled wedding. Death of a friend. Moving away from Meowster Thumbs McGee. Endings of relationships in so many ways… and tumbled and tangled betwixt all of that, depression and anxiety visited. They’re good at that – visiting. Those loyal old friends.

2015, as you bid your farewells, I realize how suffocated I’ve felt throughout the year. Looking back, it seems like I spent the year gasping for air and grasping for respite in deep, calming breaths. Some days, it felt as though, with each step, I sank steadily into a sandpit sludge of shame, guilt, insecurity, disappointment, fear, and quadruple-guessing. (Though, this unsettling swirl of emotions also loomed on the many days I lay supine – taking actual steps not necessary.)

But, as time ticks on, 2015. I am thankful. Thank you for kicking my ass when I needed it. Thank you for encouraging me to continue to learn and to grow. Thank you for putting me first.

You never invited in hopelessness. You offered up pain as a platter of opportunity for gaining wisdom. You inspired me to seek alternate perspectives. You told me to trust my gut, especially when it felt ‘wrong’ (translation: unfamiliar or different, not wrong or right). You inspired me to seek out more of myself and to honor the process of seeking. You reminded me that you are a friend and that you want the best for me, as each year does. I trust your friendship. Thank you for trusting mine.

I’ll give 2016 your regards and we’ll talk about you fondly over a bubbly, sparkling flute of champagne. Thank you, 2015. And Happy New Year.

Inside and inside out.

I fucked up. I made mistakes. I regret them. I am learning from them. I am losing from them. I am dying inside from them. Inside and inside out.

I thought I had figured out more about myself than I have. I thought I had figured out more about you than I have. All of you. But mostly you.

I look for the silver lining without getting carried away. There are shiny things to reach for and hold onto. Forgivenesses wrapped in all the things you don’t want done to you, all the things you don’t want to do to others.

I wade in the sludge of the black inside the silver lines. Before any changes can be made.

Perfect plastic limbs.

the place i thought was just a dream. a bad one. the place i thought that’d shut its gates. rusted shut. encrusted in messy overgrowth. the place i thought that wasted away. recessed past the gray. matter-of-fact. place that i can’t touch. don’t want to touch. that hurts to touch. has extended its pricks and pins and needles. to pierce my flesh. again.

here is dark. here is an empty heavy lofty dark. no laws. no ditches. no perfect plastic limbs. no juicy sweet. no salted rims. no cataclysmic jellyfish. to wrap and tangle. strangle. choke. giving you a Heimlich. to upchuck the wicked sticky ball of reality. that tries to kill you. kill you slowly. as it makes its way up.

This is not a woe is me.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a mood disorder. If an inpatient stay has been scribbled in your record. If your suicide attempts have been clinically documented. It doesn’t matter how long ago these things happened. It doesn’t matter that you’re in a different space now. That you’ve been treated. That you’re in treatment. That those records don’t resemble your life now. That they are historical medical notes and a part of your history. They are your past.

The most stellar of stellar letters of recommendation or opinions are weightless. Professional decrees of support don’t matter. A formulaic combination of notes in your record add up to shoving you in a box. A box of “you’re not capable”.

I’ve been denied opportunities because of my medical history. I’ve been denied the option of volunteering in a particular program as a result of my medical history.  I’ve been mistreated because of my medical history. I’ve been forced in to following a punitive system intended to address behavioral and performance issues. A system that runs under the guise of counsel and support. News flash: depression is not a voluntary behavior. The impact of depression on ‘performance’ is symptomatic. And temporary. They are not performance issues as defined by the system. Punishment is not support. Allowing no room for medical context in the conversation is not counsel. Corrective action is detrimental and does not foster improvement or compassion.

As PC as we strive to be, bureaucracy dictates who passes, who’s allowed, and who doesn’t fit in to the mold.   {one of these things is not like the other}   The majority of our public systems is rife with rules and policies fortified by judgement and discrimination. You’re not aware of this until you or someone you know has run up against it. You can’t understand the impact unless you’ve been cornered into deciding whether to retaliate and muscle through the consequences or jump in to the box and just get through it. To steer these injustices toward a system that truly supports, these conditions must be made visible. By fists with pens. By a phalanx of words. To snuff out the stigma suffocating our basic human rights.

 

Know you will.

The length and frequency of depressive episodes, phases, bouts. Are different for every body. And the nature and course of these episodes, phases, bouts. Change over time. (Just to keep things spicy.)

Of the 15+ years I’ve had depression, I have not experienced the quick and frequent transitions between ‘depressed’ and ‘not depressed’ states as I have over the past year or so (note: just so you know, the experience of depression is not binary, though it may seem that way to the depressed person at times):

2 weeks: OK. 4 days: not OK. in bed. SLEEP. 8 days: Great! showering. brushing teeth. hanging with friends. 2 days: Heavy limbs. heavy eyelids. heavy blinds. dark dark dark. don’t speak. SLEEP… Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Making these transitions. Adjusting to the social waking life after days of sleep in an isolated cotton sarcophagus. Up/down. Down/up. Physically/mentally/emotionally. Down/up. Down/up. Over and over again.
It’s tiring. It can be disheartening. It’s f*cking frustrating! But it’s doable. And worth it. It’s worth it to keep fighting until you get to a place where – you know you will. and believe you can – always pull through. You put that stronger-then-hope in your pocket. and you keep fighting the good fight.

A couple of my writings to illustrate these f*cking frustrating and worth it experiences.

***

Is this a slow slithery descent toward depression? My feeling tank an empty canister. They’re silo-ed somewhere for my feelings to feel again. Why do they play hide-and-seek with me? I want to play hide-and-seek with the world. I want to keep my mouth shut from words and smiles. When I’m like this, they don’t make sense. They’re phony and lacquered in obvious forcefulness [everyone can see]. What do we do? Among consistently consistent social beings? What do we do in times like these?

Written Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 @ Smith.

***

It’s a good thing that I don’t remember the feeling of waking multiple times throughout the day. To drawn blinds. Sounds of daily life outside. and sheets and clothes dampened by days of sleepy sedentary sweat.
I’m glad for walking sidewalks at night, but especially when I need sunglasses drawn to cut the sun from my daily activity. It’s me. Upright. And walking.
There are point A’s and point B’s. There are deadlines and other sides of conversations to retrieve. There are tasks to knock out or add to the list. check boxes that breath until after my wakeful mind and pen-ready hand lasso them in and grasp them by their boxy necks.

Check. Done. Check.

Written Thursday, September 13th, 2012 @ Smith. 
(Edited 9.20.12 and 11.29.12.)

 ***

Sugar toupée.

I’m pretty. OK. I’m nice. True. I’ll listen. And answer. And maybe I’ll put your dick in my mouth. If you pay for drinks. And tell me I’m pretty. And respond to my provocative and desperate texts. I’m a mess. and mislead. I believe what I want. And believe what I don’t see. I’m free to be ignorant and shallow and what I want to be.
Free to decide if this is OK. or right. or second best. or meaningless. or impulsive. and stupid. and let’s forget it even happened. It didn’t. it’s all. cotton candy. constructed and molded in a hot metal bowl. A sugar toupée that can be forgotten because it’s sweet. and pink. and blue. a sugary goo when it hits your tongue. when you commit to the plastic ridiculousness of webbed hair on a stick. edible. forgettable.
forgettable.

Written Sunday, November 4th, 2012 @ Smith.

***

Photo taken Thursday, April 15th, 201o, in the U District, Seattle, WA.