Accepting Depression

I’ve been dealing with depression off and on since the 8th grade. At least, that’s the first instance of it that I can remember. It’s the first time I recall feeling so sad that nothing could save me, but also feeling so many things that my skin couldn’t hold them in. The only thing that kept my head above water was music. That was the year I started listening to Janet and Velvet Rope was the first album that I felt touch my heart and calm it. 
Over the years I’ve found various ways to deal when those feelings came up again. Music has always been a go to, with just the voices of certain artists being able to soothe the hurt like a balm. There was years of dance of course, which saved me over and over again. And then there were the countless times that I ignored it. 

I would pretend I was fine or blame it on a circumstance, thinking that if only I could fix this one aspect of my life, I would feel okay again. 

The latest was leaving Indiana. A large part of it was a life long dream, yes. But part of it was also to get away from the suffocating depression I was experiencing. Surely being in a new place, with new air, and new people, would make it easier, though I never expected it to go away altogether. 

I guess I just also didn’t expect it to still be so present. I underestimated its ability to knock me on my ass no matter where I am geographically or not matter how well I’m progressing in my life. 

It might sound stupidly obvious to some of you, but it took my being 1,000 miles away from home to realize that the depression is in me. It’s not something I can ever run away from. Running away isn’t going to be anything but a temporary solution and for some reason that gives me so much comfort. 

Maybe it’s because now I know that I’m not doing anything wrong. That it isn’t the choices I’ve made in life or the abundance or lack of success in various parts of my life. It’s a chemical glitch that will always be there. And there’s a certain peace I’ve gained from realizing that and knowing that now, all I need to do is learn to live with it when it shows up, to never listen to its lies, and to let it rest when it’s gone. 

Its not always going to be easy, I mean hell this week alone has been gut wrenching and painful in itself, but my heart is at peace because I know it will pass. And in the meantime, I’ll bury myself in stories and poems and music that keeps me above water. 

“I’m a Little Bit On Fire Inside..”

My old pointe shoes

I feel too much. I always have. It’s hard to describe it but it’s like this ball of emotion that sits in my chest, demanding my attention, demanding that I do something to sate it. 

I’ve tried so many things to get rid of it; ignoring myself, self care techniques, even changing my life to counteract it. But it follows me everywhere. It followed me 1,000 miles to TX. There’s no escaping it. 

And then, out of no where, it hit me. This is the same feeling I used to have as a kid and a teenager. But I didn’t remember it torturing me like it does now, and I realized that’s because I had an outlet for it. I poured that over abundance of feelings and passion into dance. It kept me going, it kept me alive. 


Since I stopped dancing, a part of me has felt lost, ungrounded. Since I stopped dancing, I felt that ball of emotion in my chest trying to claw its way out, and I tried to make it go away. Whatever passion I had as a kid with dance, I thought was gone, forever. I thought I’d lost my motivation, my purpose for life. 

Then it hit me tonight. This ball of feeling, this screaming vortex of emotion, IS my motivation. It IS that burning ball of passion that used to drive me as a kid. And I do have an outlet for it, I just haven’t been using it. 

Because when I write, that knot disintegrates. It spills out of me onto the page, and I’m able to use it to write what I need to say and then leave it behind. Writing keeps me alive, and my feelings have been telling me this whole damn time when I need to do it, when I most need that outlet, and I haven’t been listening. 

But here, alone, in TX, away from everything I know and love, I can hear it so clearly. And I can use it again to light a fire under what I love and reignite my life and mind. 

Trying to edit a book with a cat on my lap

I can’t believe it took me so long to figure this out, but I’m really fucking glad I did. THIS is what I came here for, to figure out what I wasn’t seeing about myself when I was comfortable and in a familiar place. 

Staying Afloat. 

I’ve had a lot of things going on in my head lately, a lot of feelings that I haven’t really had anyone to share with. I know when it starts to become too much because it’s like I can feel my body and mind start to fill up and threaten to overflow. Sometimes I think I feel too much, but that doesn’t really help because either way, I need an outlet. 

Being in TX, and now being mostly alone in TX, has been hard. Like, really hard. But I’m trying to think of it as a retreat of some sort, a period of time I can use to grow and challenge myself and learn things about myself that wouldn’t have otherwise surfaced. 

One of things that has become my greatest life raft are stories. I find myself intentionally drowning in them, consuming them, and creating them, at a rate I haven’t experienced since I was a child. When things are too much, when I don’t have anything else to do, I read or write. I lose myself in another world or I challenge myself to take out the pen and build a new around me. It’s beautiful and it gives me hope. It keeps me alive, and I couldn’t be more grateful. If I go back home with only this love rekindled, reinforced, then I will consider this experiment a success. 

But that is still months away, and even then not set in stone. So I’ll keep waking up every day and trying to get everything out of it that I can. I’ll keep working at the bookstore that I love, enjoying to time I have with the couple of friends I do know here, and challenging myself to take advantage of every new opportunity that comes my way. 

Shit now I actually have to figure out my life. 

Pic found at We Heart It ( I do not own this image)

So there are a couple of things I’ve learned this week or am in the process of learning…

1. Drivers in Austin are dicks. Seriously, the worst. 

2. It is the weirdest feeling to me to live in a place where people voluntarily go to visit. Like on vacation and stuff. They come here. On purpose. I run into tourists constantly, especially while driving for Lyft and it still boggles my mind. No one goes to Indiana for vacation. They go to visit family or for a job or some other random reason. Other than that, no one is planning their dream vacation and saving their money to go to Indiana. So that’s definitely an adjustment. 

3. Now that filming has finished up, I’m back to a “normal” type of schedule. Except I’m in a new city and have yet to actually establish a standard for normal. So that’s the biggest thing I’ve been learning, how to meet new people, deciding where I want to work and what schedule would be best, which meet ups I’d like to join, etc. I’m basically figuring out how to build a life from scratch, which is both intimidating and really exciting. I have the freedom right now to form a life that I actually enjoy and it’s an opportunity a lot of people don’t get in their lives. So, I’m trying to take advantage of it and make myself proud.

Community. 

When someone finds out I’m moving, they often ask me “why” or “what’s in Texas?” And I haven’t been able to give much of an answer outside of “it’s not Indiana” or “I’ve always wanted to live somewhere else.”

The closer the move gets too, I find myself checking and double checking my reasons for wanting to go so badly. It isn’t like being in a new state, in a new city, is going to solve my depression. It isn’t like it’ll be easy or that I know that many people there, or all of my Trump anxieties will disappear. So why do it? What am I hoping to find there that I haven’t been able to get here? 

The answer is community. A support system of some sort. Friends. Human connections that have evaded me in so many ways in the life I live in Indiana. 

The times in my life when I have been the happiest and the most fulfilled, besides when writing of course, were times when I belonged to a group or had a small network of friends. When I was part of a dance company. When I was a youth at IYG after I came out. When I accidentally stumbled upon two great people who eventually became close friends. When I’m surrounded by friends and family at my second family’s house. When I was unofficially adopted into a big loud family that loved me as much as I loved them. 

People come and go, I know that as well as anyone, and because I know it so well, I have a hard time trusting people. For instance, I have friends in TX, but already I’m afraid of burdening them, of wanting to hang out too much or saying the wrong thing or just not being good enough in general. I’m already anticipating the day when our friendship ends. I’m already anticipating the day I form a new group of friends I haven’t met yet that then will at some point also dissolve and leave me right back where I started. By myself. 

I’ve done everything in power over the past 3 years to make sure I can survive with only myself to count on. Now I know I can. But I also know that being that alone, that lonely, changes something in a person. We are solitary creatures by nature. We, I, need to feel like I have support and a sense of belonging to thrive. 

So that’s what I’m looking for. Maybe I’ll find it, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ve been alone too long already and broke the part of me that used to relate to people and therefore will have to live like this forever. I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t know if that’s something I can do. But there’s no reason to worry about that yet. 

I have to go down there first.

I have to at least try. 

A Light. 

I think I decided not to break today…

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the way stories, movies, books, music, etc can make us feel, and I don’t think it’s something I ever want to get used to. 

I hope that it never ceases to amaze me when I pick up just the right book, or the perfect song for the moment comes on. For me, to survive, I need there to always be movies that can bring forth emotions and revelations that I’ve been ignoring or pushing down in my day to day life. 

Today, for the first time in a long time, because of a movie, I started thinking about the future again. About the possibility of my future and what it can be and what I want it to be. For so long I’ve been living day to day, struggling to get through it all and hoping it passes quickly and painlessly. 

But it’s been killing me. 

Sure there’s the plan to move to Texas, this Hail Mary jump into the unknown to jumpstart my life after it came to a screeching halt almost 4 years ago. But it never felt real. And even when it started to, I was still so much in the dark that I didn’t think anything could save me, even that, and I didn’t know if I wanted it to. 

This dark cloud following me around has been my best friend for longer than I can remember. It’s started to consume me, to put thoughts in my head that I know aren’t coming from me. Not only that, but I’ve been scared of the way our world is changing and how quickly it’s all happening. I’ve been torn between wanting to fight and wanting to hide. 

But today I realized that, first and foremost, I want to live. 

And not more than 3 seconds after that realization hit me, Sia’s “Reaper” started to play and I started to feel like maybe things are going to get better. Maybe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel after all. 

“You came to take me away

So close I was to heaven’s gates

But, no, baby, no, baby, not today

Oh, you tried to track me down

You followed me like the darkest cloud

Oh, reaper….

So come back when I’m good and old
I got drinks to drink, and men to hold

I got good things to do with my life, yeah

Oh, I wanna dance in the open breeze

Feel the wind in my hair, hear the ocean sing

I got good things to feel in my life,…

Don’t come for me today

I’m feeling good, let me savour it….” -Reaper-Sia 

Just Random Thoughts

Alright folks, I’m only 18 days away from being free from my lease and moving out of the apartment I’ve lived in for the past 3 years! Next stop is crashing in a room at my brother’s house until mid to late April (I have to stick around for a wedding and baby shower).
And then…I’m out. It’s so close but still too far away and the excitement is really starting to creep in. So, yay!

I’m not sure what’s going to come next yet, I’m just taking it a day at a time right now; working, packing, and saving as much money as possible. To be honest, I feel like this move is kind of a Hail Mary for me. Things have been so dark and difficult lately that the only way out right now is to make a drastic change and completely remove myself from my comfort zone.
So, here goes nothing.

Also, I’ve been having a hard time writing lately. It’s a destructive cycle too because when I don’t write I feel listless, unfulfilled, and lazy, and when I do write I feel accomplished, happy, content. And yet there are so many times when no matter how much I want to write, I can’t bring myself to sit down and do it. So I guess that’s something I want to work on this year, maybe setting a schedule that I can stick to in order to train myself to sit down and write more often.
Either way I need to step up my game in a lot of areas in my life, because I turn 30 this year and while I’m not anxious or upset about it, there are a lot of things I want to do before that day comes.

Deep Breaths.

Planning to move 1,000 miles again is hard.
Planning to move 1,000 miles away with depression riding piggy back style on your shoulders sometimes feels impossible.
I’m currently planning to move from Indianapolis to Austin, TX and my emotions are constantly oscillating from productive, motivated, and excited, to so overwhelmed I want to sit in my closet until they kick me out of my apartment at the end of my lease.

My biggest fear is that I’ll make this huge change, go on this huge journey, and nothing will be any different. I’m scared I won’t find any friends or make any connections, and I’ll be left just as alone and isolated as I feel here. And I’m scared of what would happen to me if that fear was realized.

Luckily, thanks to one of my favorite authors and bloggers, Jenny Lawson, I know that DEPRESSION LIES. So I’m doing what I can to keep my head above water and not let the bad thoughts win.

It may seem silly, and of course everyone is different in how they handle self-care, but here are some of the things I do when I feel like the darkness creeping in and need to push through it for just one more day:
1. I listen to or watch stand up comedy. – It’s impossible to stay in a bad mood while laughing hysterically….some of my favorites are Kevin Hart, Jen Kirkman, Sarah Colonna, and Jim Gaffigan.

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2. I read things by people who understand what I’m going through. – My go-to books on anything mental health related that can also make me smile are Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson and Agorafabulous, by Sara Benincasa.

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3. I do something that makes me smile. – This is a little more broad and can be anything from going to see the new Fantastic Beasts movie to exercising my petty side and putting “Love Trumps Hate” notes in all of the Ann Coulter books at Barnes and Noble.

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4. I reach out. – I’m still not very good at this one. Depression tells you that you’re not good enough or important enough to talk to others. It makes you think no one cares and tells you that you’re burdening these “normal” people with your messed up brain. But that isn’t the case. There are people out there, that genuinely care about you and want to help you through what you’re dealing with. I am lucky enough to have two people who know exactly what I’m going through. I can talk to them about my darkest thoughts or my silliest ideas, and they know they can do the same with me.

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5. I cuddle with a dog or one of my two cats. – Because, I mean, come on. They’re fluffy AF.

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