Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Writing My Way Out

In college I struggled with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) because my diet was terrible and I tended to skip meals. I would get shaky, light-headed, tired, and then start to retreat into myself and shut down. I would go numb inside, sitting and staring at nothing for hours if left unchecked, not caring that I was getting worse, not caring that all I needed was a little food to make the numbness go away. (This continued into my marriage, embarrassingly enough, and it took many long months for John to figure out that the cure for his new bride's glassy-eyed funks was a large tablespoon of peanut butter.)

That's when I first learned how fickle feelings could be. If a crappy granola bar could make the sun shine again and life seem worth living, then how could I trust *anything* I was feeling?

Worse, I later realized that one of the biggest problems with feelings - or at least the crappy ones - is how permanent they always seem. When we feel bad it feels like we're going to feel bad forever. Time just stops, drops, and wallows in all the sadness, listlessness, anger, guilt, etc, and no matter how we try, we can't even imagine a time when the awfulness will fade. It's the world's worst magic trick, a malevolent ghost in the machine. It's the conviction born of a half-remembered nightmare, but one we don't question, because it feels like the truth.

Those are the times we have to hang on with blind faith, trusting in the very treachery of our own nature. Because the devastating, hope-affirming truth is, our feelings are rotten lying bastards.

I still remember my sense of betrayal the first time I had a little too much booze and the room wobbled. I hated the fact that something besides me was making me feel this way. I vowed to never give that kind of control to any drink, any drug. I wanted to feel the truth, not be lied to and manipulated by so many artificial shifting sands.

So these days, when I can chart my days of funks and fatigue and "don't you DARE talk to me"s like clockwork on the calendar, I again feel betrayed - but by my own body. I hate having my moods dictated by some extraneous organ spewing hormones. I hate being listless and sad when I have STUFF to do. I hate when John discounts my discontent because "it's just your grumpy day, babe," and then I yell back that it is NOT that time yet so no it is NOT my 'grumpy day', and then I really REALLY hate it when I check the calendar and John's right. Again.

On the bright(er) side, I've come to see my anxiety and agoraphobia in the same light: as simply more treacherous, fickle feelings that can never be trusted. They whisper, "forever," but they lie. They, too, are artificial shifting sands, the byproduct of something broken - something that I hope one day to fix.

But when I feel happy, and proud of something I've done, or grateful or peaceful or in awe of something beautiful, when I feel inspired and hopeful, when I laugh 'til I leak, or when I'm just cozy in the warmth of John's arms, I choose to believe that those are the times I feel the truth. If life really is what we make of it, then those are the foundations I will cling to.

I can't always control how I feel. Heck, I'm not convinced I can ever control how I feel. What I can control is how I interpret these ever-shifting sands, and how I channel them. I can control who and what I trust, and who and what I believe. I can choose to wait through the darkness, and trust that the light is coming. I can choose to wallow in the good, when I have it, as much as the bad.

I can choose to write everything down, and remember this feeling isn't forever.

I write these things to remind myself, because I need reminding pretty often. Maybe you do, too. Maybe the whole reason you found Epbot - if you believe in that kind of thing - is because you needed these words today. Maybe I'm only posting for you today. If so, then I think I speak for everyone here when I say: WORTH IT. Come wallow with us. We got your back.



77 comments:

  1. Write everything down as far you can see, and one day you'll look up and the whole internet will have its eye on you. :)

    Beautiful as always, Jen. Thank you for your honesty. It helps me understand people so much better to hear your candor.

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  2. Thank you for this! It's beautiful, and it IS what I needed xx

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  3. one thing that helped me through these dark times (and yes, i know them all too well) is something i read don't ask me where: every emotional pain only lasts for about 12 minutes, everything longer than that is only your brain lingering on that pain, reliving it. Maybe that is'nt very scienticially based, but it helps me a lot to live through these phases (and yes, that's exactly what i tell myself: it's only a phase..)

    oh and also the Litany Against Fear (Dune) is the same kind of help:

    "I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

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    1. It also helps if you picture Peter Puppy from 'Earthworm Jim' reciting it:
      https://youtu.be/FML9u0W8G98

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  4. I needed to hear this as well, very well stated!

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  5. My cardiologist took me off my anxiety meds 3 weeks ago. I seriously identify with this: "...one of the biggest problems with feelings - or at least the crappy ones - is how permanent they always seem. When we feel bad it feels like we're going to feel bad forever. Time just stops, drops, and wallows in all the sadness, listlessness, anger, guilt, etc, and no matter how we try, we can't even imagine a time when the awfulness will fade. It's the world's worst magic trick, a malevolent ghost in the machine. It's the conviction born of a half-remembered nightmare, but one we don't question, because it feels like the truth."

    On Saturday, my grumpy day, I actually screamed "stop telling me what to do!" at my phone for the "bing" reminder of an appointment I was already on my way to. GAH! Why can't this be easier?! I'm hanging in, too. Faith is what I need to cling to. In addition to the non-things that freak me out, my husband's business is struggling and paychecks are not guaranteed. I'm on the edge of a melt down a LOT these days. Thanks for being willing to share your struggles so the rest of us will remember we're not alone, even when our feelings are lying to us telling us that we are.

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    1. I'm always telling my SO's GPS to "stop telling me what to do!" I feel you <3

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  6. Yes, I did need it today, thanks. I can't talk yet about why but I'm hurting. Thanks for the rays of hope that this isn't forever. It sure feels like it.

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  7. I developed a fear of dogs almost two years ago, when I adopted a four year old St. Bernard, who liked me fine, but decided he didn't trust my husband, and snapped at him right in front of me (and all because my husband dared to walk into a room the dog and I were already in). I panicked about that dog being there with my husband, and had to return him to the shelter I adopted him from (he was quickly adopted out again, and by all accounts was happy with his three female owners). We tried to adopt another dog a month or so after the St. Bernard, but I panicked again. I was unable to eat or drink anything, and had diarrhea for five days in a row - I ended up in the hospital. That dog had to go back, too. In September of last year, we adopted a very sweet little West Highland White Terrier. I thought I'd be fine, that enough time had passed, but I've been fighting feelings of fear and anxiety on and off the whole time. The only fully relaxed day I've had was last week when the dog was at daycare, and my husband and I were home without him.

    I am slowly getting better. I never had a fear of dogs before that St. Bernard, and logically I know the fears I have about our current dog are baseless. But the dark thoughts are still there, even when I'm outwardly calm. "What if the dog growls at my husband? What if he bites him? What if he reacts negatively because my husband is doing normal activity A, B or C?" It's constant.

    But I do hope that it will end. I hope that I'm working through the fear and driving it out. But I know what you're saying about your mind lingering on it. I find myself focusing on it even when there's no reason. And I tell myself that someday it will be over. I'll conquer this fear (or the dog will die of old age and free me from it - whichever comes first - he is nine years old, so that's not as far off as if he were a puppy, although obviously I'm hoping to get over it before that happens). Reading your entries about your anxieties helps, in a way. I know I'm not the only one out there fearing things that other people don't understand. So thanks for writing so honestly in here. :)

    And yes, the fears are worse when I'm hormonal. And I'm pre-menopausal, so there seem to be more of those days than there ever were before! It makes life a real trial. Thank goodness my husband is so understanding and comforting!

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    1. Wow, can I just say how impressed I am that you both adopted *and kept* another dog? That's the best thing for exposure therapy, so if you hang in there & work on creating happy memories with your pup, I'm sure it will (eventually) get easier. Either way, I'm inspired by your strength, so kudos & hugs.

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    2. Thank you Jen! I hope every day that it will get easier as time passes. I do sometimes think that I'm happy the dog is there, but those times are far outnumbered by the days I wish he wasn't there at all. Honestly, the fact that that we still have him is a testament to how much I love my husband, who loves dogs and was devastated when I had to take back the dog we adopted after that St. Bernard. He supported me, but he didn't understand why I couldn't handle that sweet dog being in our house. If I lived alone at this point, I'd just never have another dog again. But dogs are important to my husband, and they always used to be important to me, so I'm trying to face the fear and conquer it. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, though. (Well, next to surviving the loss of my mother, but that's a world of hurt all to itself.)

      I appreciate your words of encouragement. Thanks. :)

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  8. I can't even tell you how much this post resonated with me. I've always found it hard to explain why even a tiny bit of 'darkness' can send me spiraling into a deep depression. Because even though I can *imagine*, theoretically, things getting better, I can't really believe it. It's as if the logical, practical side of me is quietly saying "This isn't that bad, you'll get through it", while the (much bigger, stronger, more powerful) emotional side is screaming "THIS IS THE WORST DAY EVER! NOTHING WILL EVER BE GOOD AGAIN!!" And I feel so betrayed by my own brain, if that's even possible. I do have a suggestion for any woman adversely affected by her 'grumpy days': talk to your doctor about using birth control (pills, ring, patch, etc.) so that you have fewer periods (if you can/wish to take contraceptives). I currently take 4 straight months of regular birth control pills (3 weeks of active pills each month) back to back, so that I only have a period every 3 months, and it's been fantastic. If your insurance covers it (mine doesn't) you can take the kind that's specifically designed to be used like this. And, apparently, other forms of birth control (the ring, the patch, injections) have been approved for extended use as well. Search "extended or continuous cycle contraceptive" (without quotes). It's been a lifesaver for me. But of course, you're throwing more/new hormones into your body with this method, so this might not work for everyone. Anyway, Jen, thanks for writing this, it really moved me.

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  9. Thank you so much for this. Yesterday was a tough emotional (depression valley) day & this helped remind me (like every month) that we aren't alone in our wallowing.

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  10. Jen, I have read your blogs (both Cakewrecks and Epbot) for years now, but this is my first time commenting, so hello *awkward wave*. I have thoroughly enjoyed many of your posts and I admire your talent, your humor, and your vulnerability so much. You have given me so much hope in my own struggles by sharing yours, and it's posts like this one that help remind me to focus on the good in life. Thank you so much for all you share here and the way you work to build everyone up. It means a lot. :)
    Cheers!
    ~ An internet-shy friend
    "Above all shadows rides the Sun."- Samwise Gamgee, The Return of the King

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  11. In the least creepy way imaginable, I just love you. I am so grateful that you are willing to let a bunch of strangers (really, just not-friends-yet) into your life. I avidly read both of your blogs and you bring laughter and camaraderie into my life. Thanks.

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  12. Love you and what you do for this awesome little tribe you've attracted. Just yesterday I told my husband I could feel myself on the brink of going down into a funk... It's frustrating to have some tools (I can identify that this is happening) but not all of them (now, how do I stop it.) You did write this for me didn't you?

    I'm pretty convinced your last post was for me too since being at EPCOT during the flower and garden festival was one of my favorite experiences ever! Thanks for being a ray of sun and hope.

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  13. I needed this. I read an article today earlier today and both that article and your blog post have reminded me not to trust the lies in my head. I may need to make a sign or poster that I can stare at when all I hear in my head are lies. I think you really need that outside sign not to trust those thoughts or feelings that are simply NOT TRUE. I hope sharing an article is ok, because if it helped me, it might help someone else: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/03/23/i-told-the-truth-in-my-sisters-obituary-so-that-others-might-choose-to-live/ (**Trigger warning: the author's sister committed suicide because of depression. The author has many wonderful positive words and overall an uplifting message but if you can't read about a suicide right now, please avoid.**)

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  14. I can choose to wait through the darkness, and trust that the light is coming. Yes. This.

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  15. I am not good with words like you Jen and I always read without commenting because I *know* nobody will have any interest in my post. Today though, I feel the need to say thanks for this article. It feels like you got into my head somehow and untangled all the messed up thoughts.

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  16. I love this. Thank you.

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  17. Beautiful writing, Jen, and gorgeous photo. When did you get to see cherry trees in bloom, you lucky duck? That's on my must-see list.

    I can relate to this entire post, and I thank you for it. I'm so grateful for everything you do, but especially for destigmatizing anxiety and depression, for giving us hope and support, and for showing us that we're not alone in our struggles.

    Wishing everyone peace and comfort on their darkest days and the strength to find joy in the simplest moments.

    KW

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    1. Thanks, Kate; you always make the comment section a better place.

      That photo is an ancient shot I stumbled across in iPhoto this week. It's from DC, one of my all-time favorite places. I've been lucky enough to see the cherry blossoms bloom there 2 or 3 times now, and it's positively dream-like, it's so beautiful.

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  18. I, too, get SO ANGRY when I hit those monthly (for me, actually, every three weeks even with bc) grumpy days. I feel so out of control on those days and HATE that my family has to go through it, too. I get almost panicky when I think about the fact that I'm not that far off from menopause and that this might very well get worse. So, thank you so much for this reminder that I'm not alone and that I can get through this. You have no idea how much it means to me that you're willing to share these feelings.

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  19. Thanks for the reminder, Jen. I do the same with both words and photos and, while I'm in a very good place right now (the best in so very long), it helps to remember that I'll still need to work past those moments of doubt that return from time to time. Keep fighting and writing.

    http://homeonthefrontrange.blogspot.com/2014/08/evidence.html

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  20. My first pregnancy was most pregnant women's worst nightmare: Every ultrasound revealed yet another thing was wrong, and we went from the local hospital to the regional hospital to the biggest hospital in the country, because it was just that complicated and in the end our baby didn't make it. BUT!

    One sunny day in May we were going to see my in-laws, we hadn't got any hospital appointments scheduled for three weeks and I had a very tasty popsicle. When we went by a stream with a lovely grassy slope I practically yelled at my husband: "Stop! You need to take a picture *right now*! This is how I want to remember!"

    And you know what? That is what I remember. My huge belly with the baby bouncing inside and the taste of that popsicle and that it was sunny and that we were so, so happy. And I'm so grateful that we got to spend most of that May together just the three of us.

    I'm not sure if we can control how we feel in the moment - but I absolutely know that we get to decide what we take with us, and how we feel about it later.

    When everything's crappy I remind myself that tomorrow there's one day less until it gets better again.

    Thank you for sharing (both to you, Jen, and to all the other commenters)

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    1. Your optimism is beautiful and courageous - thank you for sharing. A wise woman on the internet said, “There will be islands of joy in this pain, that you can climb onto and rest before you have to slip back into the deep waters.” May you have less pain and more joy in the days ahead.

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  21. Thank you. Love you, Jen. You're why there's an Internet.

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  22. Thanks for writing this. I think we all get those days where nothing seems to be going right and everything's too much, etc. That was yesterday for me. I was coming off of three days of lots of people and stuff happening and basically no down time (ie. an introvert's worst nightmare) and then I found myself in the middle of a fight with my sister and friend and I wound up having a bit of a meltdown. We did eventually talk things through and ended the day on a positive note, but I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling drained and fighting off a migraine. I couldn't even go to the barn and get a bit of horse therapy (my usual go-to when I'm not doing so well), which kind of made things worse. But, like you, I'm learning to trust that "this too shall pass" and that those bad feelings won't last forever. And today was a good day, even if my horse was a little hyper. I don't know what tomorrow's going to be like, but I won't worry about it today. :)

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  23. I think you've mentioned attending church so you might appreciate a bible verse. Your essay reminded me of this verse from James: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
    James 1:17 NIV
    http://bible.com/111/jas.1.17.NIV

    Thank you so much for sharing what you wrote today. I've been feeling particularly defeated by my insomnia and depression of late. Your words about defiance in the face of gloom are very encouraging. Be strong, my friend.

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  24. Sharing this because it's so true and so well-written. Love you.

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  26. Holy guacamole, I needed this...

    I was sick a couple of weeks ago with a nasty chest cold. I had that feeling, which I think everyone does when they're physically ill, that I would never feel better/normal again. Now that's usually silly poppycock, but in the moment, I thought of it as true.

    Mentally, I've been down on myself as a "failure" for a few _years_. (Not sharing what triggered it, but I do know) I've wallowed waaaaaaay too long in it. I think, Jen, you just gave me a loving kick in the bottom to get out of the mud.

    This post is now bookmarked for when I'm having a bad day.

    Thank you, Jen.

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  27. belblue (bb occasionally)March 23, 2016 at 6:42 PM

    It's kind of funny...went through the entire gamut yesterday and yep, feels like it will last forever and once the freakout ends, looking back is more like really, where the heck did that come from/complete overreaction over something minor (at the risk of overshare, hormones have a major impact...they are actially a better indicator than the calendar although being frustrated to the point of stomping off and quitting is certainly less pleasant for all involved). The last 8 or so months have been all-out and I have to keep reminding myself that a day spent in my pjs reading (or video games or something not work) is a must (heck, don't have my work with me tonight and it feels like I am forgetting something). On the plus side, I never seem to make it to the grocery store in peak hours, so less of the whole claustrophobic around people which is nice.

    I don't know...just rambling and I usually just lurk here and cakewrecks, but everything you and John are willing to share with the world is certainly appreciated and I've probably not expressed my gratitude often enough for those posts that seem to be exactly what I needed to see or the feeling of community that admittedly I haven't figured out how to create in the real world (heck, bought my house almost 7 years ago and still don't know most of my neighbors that I don't work with).

    In any case, thank you so much for what you do.

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  28. Oh, Jen, thank you. Thank you for being you and thank you for being there for all of us.

    I appreciate you so much. This means so much to me.

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  29. Thanks. Yeah. That's how I feel too.

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  30. Thank you for this lovely vision of truth and hope. My husband had a very significant health scare a few weeks ago and I have been a mess ever since. He is doing better, but it could return...or not. He is going back to work tomorrow and I can feel my anxiety slowly climbing. He travels a lot for work. What if he gets sick again and I can't get to him? What is he is too far away from a hospital? The crazy little demon in the back of my brain tells me that if I worry enough about bad things, I can stop them from happening. But of course, that is a lie. Stressing myself out will not make him any stronger or healthier. It will just make me weaker and less healthy. Your post today is helping me to block out the crazy demon and focus on truth and hope. The truth is that none of us has control over bad things. But we can savor the good things. Husband is healthy for now and very happy to return to his job, which he loves.

    Did I just smell cherry blossoms on the wind?

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  31. Thank you, this is so well put and exactly what I needed to read today. I have been struggling a lot recently and starting to feel like I would never be happy again, thanks for reminding me that I can and will be happy again. Thanks for reminding me that these feelings of inadequacy are not true. I am enough! Jen you are amazing and you inspire me to try harder, thank you.

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  32. Wow, Jen, I needed to read this today. After a couple long, stressful weeks, I finally hit a snapping point today. High on stress and anxiety and low on sleep, I snapped at some labmates and spent the rest of the day withdrawn and sad and trying to avoid everyone so that I wouldn't take it out on people who don't deserve it. Always helpful to remember that everyone has highs and lows, ups and downs, and not only do we need to remember the happy times, I think we need to remember that the people who care about us will remember those too. :-)

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  33. This post meant so much to me today. Almost a year ago I was ran off the highway and almost died on my way to work. Thankfully I'm fine physically. I still flinch when a white vehicle comes up on my left side. There were other things going on at the same time and it was a horrible situation for a few months. Every since I have felt like there is a ball of dread sitting in my chest. I worry about things like losing my job even though I know it's an unfounded worry. I have good days where that ball has seemingly disappeared. Then something happens and it's right back, wrecking my sleep and generally making each day more difficult than it needs to be.

    Because you have been so open and honest with us all I finally have begun to realize that I am anxious. I am scared. This is a frightening thought in and of itself, but I will get better. There are countless others who feel the same and have found a way to live their lives. Thank you, Jen and John for sharing your lives with us. It means the world to me and I feel as if you're a dear friend even though we've never met. Thank you for giving me the courage to finally contact the doctor and a counselor to get myself fixed. You mean the world to me!

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    1. I'm so proud of you, Stephenie!!

      While you're waiting for that first doctor appt, you might check out "Hope And Help For Your Nerves" from the library. It's an old, tiny little book (pay no attention to the reference to electric shocks...), but the tips I learned there were a major turning point in getting me through my anxiety attacks.

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    2. I will most definitely look for that book! Thank you for being so helpful and giving to us all! <3

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    3. Thank you for sharing so much about your life and being so brave to say you need more help. You may not realize it, but by telling someone else you are doing it, you are surely inspiring someone else - “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.” ― Anne Lamott May your dawn comes soon and you begin to feel better!

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    4. Thanks for you lovely words, Annette! If I can help someone else start their own path of healing then this time of trial will be worth it. I really like that quote. I had never seen it before and it speaks to me deeply.

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  34. ...or your life could just generally, actually be terrible, with the best days being the ones where youtube or video games can distract you from having no friends, no family, no skills, no potential, no nothing... and suicidal moods went from novel, to terrifying, to normal, to-not-even-worth-paying-attention-to, to just-put-on-a-song. All without ever coming out of "not existing or living would be really, really nice." Or the default mood besides suicidal is a passive nihilistic misanthropy. Not to mention having these moods provoked by the drop of a hat... well, really, just a couple really common triggers.

    ...Sorry. I know I'm being really negative- probably destructively so (to you guys). It's just... In hate the "it's just your perspective" argument, as it comes across as "just feel happy!!!"

    And I do have an anxiety disorder... but it's always.turned.on. It's just a matter of degree- from passive monitoring of everything around me, to full-on mental breakdown. And nothing in the world can stop it, or help it... the only thing I can do is try to drown it out.

    I'll rephrase. Good days are when I'm not consciously aware of having to always be aware and on edge. Most days aren't like that...

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    1. Hugs! (if you are ok with hugs :/)

      I totally understand the whole "suicide is just another day" feeling. Don't take any of this as "just feel happy" (which always makes me want to stab someone - kind of ironic really) but as "you will feel better in the future".

      Right now your brain and your life are being an a**hole to you. And they are really, really good at that kind of thing. So good you want to get the heck out. Who wouldn't?

      But Jen's point is that your brain is a lying little bastard. As much as you feel like nothing, you are not. You are worth everything. And as much as it feels like forever, it isn't. You can't change things right this minute, you can't make yourself happy, but you can believe the future will be different.

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    2. I feel you, Wildstar. I can't say I fully understand, or even that I've been where you are, but I believe you in a visceral way, if that makes sense.

      I can't imagine having my broken parts broken so long that I forget what it's like to have a reprieve. Nothing I can say will make that feel better, because, again, *lying bastard feelings.* In your case, though, I truly believe this is the lie your body is feeding you: "...nothing in the world can stop it, or help... the only thing I can do is try to drown it out."

      Please don't give up hope and believe this lie. Something out there - something you haven't heard of yet or tried or read or tweaked the dosage of - SOMETHING can help. I believe this for myself, and for everyone. It is definitely NOT "just your perspective" - it's that your quest is a helluva lot harder than ours, and you have to work so much harder just to keep breathing.

      I'm amazed and proud and inspired that you're still here. Every day you open your eyes is a victory; you are an epic warrior goddess slaying monsters most of have never SEEN. So please keep fighting - even when the "fight" means watching videos all day to drown out the monsters. Choose to believe something out there will help, even if everything in you screams this is a lie. Because one day - and maybe sooner than you think - it won't be a lie. Promise.

      {hugs}

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    3. Keep hanging on - your story brought me to tears! Every day you wake up and decide to be here is a victory, even if you cannot see it. Please reach out to someone where you live even if it hasn't worked in the past. A virtual hug and a prayer for today have been a good day - and if not, know that there is more than one person who is grateful that you are still here, telling your story and being part of our world.

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    4. Wildstar _ I haven't walked your path but so many of the things you said resonated with me. I lived with deep depression and anxiety for about 10 or so years. When I was young I was abused at home and bullied at school. This led to me being so damaged I could only ever feel emotional pain and fear. It was constant all consuming with only a few reprieves that I can remember. For that time and for many years after, I would analyze rooms, people, look for escape routes, make sure my back always faced a wall.... and I HATED anyone standing behind me.
      I wanted death so many times in those years. I took each day as it was and just hoped I made it to the next one and maybe one day of those days I would feel things the way everyone else did... until I did. The day I started to feel different emotions than the ones I had lived with so long was the day I actually thought "this it it I'm dying". But I made it through, I made it to a place where I can enjoy my life & actually experience joy.
      So - I won't tell you to just be happy. I just want you to have hope, to take that hope through days where if nothing else you think tomorrow will be better... until you have fewer of those bad days. Depression is a lying thieving cancer that destroys your soul - I want you to have hope and fight it

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  35. Aaaaaaand I just burst into tears. And now the cat is glaring at me. And I feel... better. Thanks, Jen. Like a lot of other commenters, I think this was just what I needed. Here's hoping this is all what you need!

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  36. I... I can't tell you how much this resonated with me right now. This was poetic, poignant, and managed to convey what I have been feeling for a while now. Thank you.

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  37. Jen, thanks for this. I've never "officially" commented before, but I've wanted to. Thank you for being so vulnerable and truthful. My favorite line: "Our feelings are rotten lying bastards." So true, yet so hard to believe in the midst of things. Reminders are always welcome. You are so blessed to have such an understanding husband in John. I wish my husband were half so perceptive. :-)

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  38. Thank you for writing this! I have GAD and depression and you put into words what I could never explain. This week has been really tough so I especially appreciate your timing.

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  39. I have a mantra. No thoughts, only feelings. If you think thoughts you will make decisions based on your feelings. When they are lying feelings you might make big mistakes. I would probably give up on everything in my life if I made decisions during the feeling times.

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  40. I'm so glad you wrote this. I only recently learned my feelings have been lying to me, and that wasn't until after I'd earned myself a big helping of bad karma with a side order of irony. I too need the reminders, and your blog is such a huge help with that, even though reading this made me cry! You really are awesome. :)

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  41. <3 <3 <3 I don't know what to say, but know that I started reading Epbot at the beginning when it was all crafty and DIY, and I still love those posts, but I stay because it is good knowing I'm not alone with my grumpy days. Thank you for continuing to be so open about yourself. <3<3<3

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  42. I love this post so much! You have no idea how true it is and how very apt. Yesterday I had my bad day and this just gives me hope that I am not on my own when it comes to these things. For so long it has felt as if I am the only one, thank you so much for writing this and making me feel like I am not so alone. You are a real inspiration!

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  43. It is so wonderful knowing that I'm not alone in feeling like this, and it's great to know that I'm *not* my feelings, and a bad day is just a bad day. There will always be sunshine on the other side of the cloud. Thanks Jen for your thoughts - quirky, funny or truth - I always appreciate what you have to say. <3 :)

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  44. Once again this blog and Wil Wheaton's have given me a little insight to what various family members struggle with. Thank you for explaining this silent, hidden disease.

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  45. You are writing for me today. Thank you so much.

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  46. Sometimes writing is a cure-all. I'm glad you can get your thoughts down on paper. It can be a powerful tool for both the writer and the reader. I've had my dark days (as we all have), and I know there will be more, and I've found it helpful to write down what I'm feeling, even if the words aren't exactly right.

    Going back now and reading the past stuff I've written is almost frightening. But I can sit here and say, "If I can make it through that, I can make it through today."
    Write down positives.
    Write down negatives.
    Write it down. Get it out.

    -P

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  47. Thanks for this. My husband struggles to understand why sometimes (it can be for only a day or last for months, really) I just can't see past the darkness- and this explains it perfectly. I haven't yet gotten to the point where I can recognize that it is just a phase- but this helps. Thank you.

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  48. I think by the shear number of comments here, it is obvious that this post was thoughtful, moving, and truly resonated with so many people-including myself.

    I have suffered from anxiety and depression my entire life. I have been on different depression medications for the past 16 years. However, something that worked for me is Whole30. Has anyone heard of it/tried it? Since August 2015, I stopped eating sugar, gluten, soy, and "frakenfoods" and now only eat vegetables, fruit, meats, and healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil. For the first time in 16 years, I have been able to wean off and completely stop my medication!!! Eating healthy foods has helped me so much with my anxiety and depression, it's just mind-boggling. I would highly recommend trying a diet switch when dealing with these issues. I just wanted to share and hope this may help someone!

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  49. Thank you Jen. I've been going through more difficult than usual times the past few weeks, and this post was exactly what I needed.

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  50. I have nothing to say that hasn't already been said by others, but wanted to give you some genuine, from the cockles of my heart, kinda-but-not-really-weird-because-I-don't-really-know-you LOVE. I hope you can see what you've done here...it seems to me that you are some people's salvation, and that should make you proud.

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  51. Your story is interesting. I had the opposite response. I remember the day when I discovered that my thyroid problems followed the calendar. I was soooo happy... now I had a grip on why today was so hard when last week was so easy.

    Also, my herbalist fixed me up with St. John's Wort to balance my mood and hormones... amazing stuff.

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  52. This made me cry, in a good way. Thank you. So much.

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  53. While I have always felt bad about your anxiety issues, I couldn't really relate. UNTIL SUNDAY that is. I was freaking out...home alone...and so anxious about stupid stuff that I was scared and unable to function, and not doing anything but trying to breathe. WOW! I think I finally figured out why I was having the anxiety and haven't experienced it again, but now I can relate. I love this post and it helps me also understand what you and others go through on a regular basis. (My husband has anxiety/depression attacks sometimes too and while I just hold him and try to comfort him, now I understand better what it does to him).

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  54. You are a remarkable human being, Jen! You've articulated part of the foundation of being human - and it such a beautiful way! Please keep writing and posting! It means so much to so many people. I think that a lot of our tendencies to grab onto the negative is built-in: it's the most basic survival instinct that's hard wired in our nervous systems. Once a upon a time, a common shared ancestor of ours ate something that made it sick and it remembered because its survival depended on remembering. We're made up of layers and layers of brain lobes and functions, our highest cognitive functions are overlaid on top of very ancient wiring - it's no wonder so much makes no sense! But, there is a much wiser part of us, deep within us, that we have to learn to listen to. The fear, the anxiety, all of the shadowy moody parts of us are just another facet of ourselves that we have to learn to embrace. I am, again and always, so glad to have found your blog! Thank you! You are remarkable, Jen!

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  55. I gave up sugar a month ago and was so amazed at the feelings withdraw induced in me. I was so miserable, I thought I would never be happy again. I mourned my lost substance. I felt empty. I felt hopeless. And I knew all it would take would be a snickers bar to make me feel like a million bucks. It started to even out and then, after throwing a dinner party, I decided to just finish off the cake instead of finding room in the fridge. I can not begin to explain the horrors. I did feel good, real good, until I was jittering around the house with the walls spinning. When I crashed, my husband asked in a panicked voice if he should take me to the ER, because I was sprawled across the floor sobbing and twitching.

    Because of a food!

    Good heavens! I suffer from a lot of health issues, and each carries its good and bad days, but to be reduced to that left me feeling really betrayed by my body. So in other words, I get you. I also suggest taking birth control year round, going off the pill once or twice. It's really helped with my pms.

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  56. rotten lying bastards. Yes. thank you.

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  57. Thank you Jen for sharing what many of us are afraid to say out loud. Life isn't always going to be easy but it is especially bad when our feeling lie to us and we believe them. We need to acknowledge out loud that life stinks yet find the courage to find some spark that brings us joy. Nothing is ever permanent - joy and peace are fleeting but it can be found. We are responsible for our own happiness and inner peace. Hugs and prayers to everyone who needs them.

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  58. I really, really needed the reminder that feelings aren't permanent just this very minute. Thank you, oh wise one!

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  59. I'm not trying to sell you on Xstianity here. Really not. (I feel like the Amway salesman who just happens to have the thing that will get the wine stain out of your cream suede skirt (Yo! Amway-vians: if you do have that product, get in touch.)

    That said: The story is that Joy is real. Love is real. All the bits that tear you down, the bits where you tear yourself down none of that was neant to be.

    I'm not sure how to write this sans full-stop evangelising, but I'll try: Don't believe the fools trying to sell you on the ideas that the worst bits are "authentic" and anything horriffic, depressing, or demoralising is Really Real.

    Bollocks.

    If someone told you that the really most real thing about Miss Tonks was the litter-box ean-ups, the hair-chewing whatsits--? Would you believe them? After all, they're not wrong. Those things exist. They matter. You have to deal with them. But you KNOW her.

    Yeah.

    Well it isn't true about you, either.

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  60. Depression Lies. Anxiety Lies. Feelings Lie. Sometimes it feels good to believe the lies. Sometimes it feels awful. It's hard to remember that any of it is our choice, because then we feel doubly awful, because not only does the horrible feeling exist, but we're doing it to ourselves, as though masochistic to the highest degree.

    There is something heavy holding me down lately. I don't know if I'll have the strength to fight it, but I've finally begun to understand that it's there -- that it's fightable. That it doesn't necessarily have to be this way.

    Thank you for your bravery and your compassion, Jen. You're a remarkable human being.

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  61. Really beautiful. I suffer from panic disorder and agoraphobia and understand.

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