Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Some Of You Tell Me This Helps, So Here Goes

Content Warning: Depression, self-harm. This is a doozy, y'all.


I'm really struggling with my mental health right now, and my natural tendency is to hide that. I figured I just wouldn't post for a little while, 'til I get my head right.



But yesterday in my latest batch of snail mail I got some Valentines saying what so many of you have told me over the years: That what helps the most out of all my pictures and stories and projects is my being real about the hard times. I've even had people say, "If Jen from Epbot struggles with self-hate and panic and depression, then I guess it's OK that I do, too." That is both humbling and mind-blowing to me, but I want to honor that, and honor you.

So now when I hit an especially low point, I try to take it as a sign that some of you are struggling, too. That you need someone to see you and drag this shared pain out into the light, where we can look at it and just acknowledge it together.

Deep breaths, love. Here goes.

You know I've hated my face for years, but these past weeks I've started hating myself. Me, the one inside. I feel pathetic, unworthy, unlovable, and hopelessly self-absorbed with problems I have no right to complain about. I can't control my sleep schedule, I eat too many sweets, I waste so much time thinking about all the time I waste. I ignore my friends, drift from my family, and create a burden for John. In my heart all I want is to help others, to be of use, but in practice I feel I'm a shattered, useless mess. 

Our Project:Epbot jobs are on hold, because more people we know caught Covid. Fortunately John & I tested negative after a close call, and our friends have since recovered, but that's been another reminder of the virtual wolf outside the door, and left us looking for a project to keep us - or at least me - going.

A week or two ago I foolishly stopped taking the thing that helps my depression, because I didn't feel depressed. (I swear that made sense at the time.) Then I started skipping meals and bingeing junk food, which made my gut feel awful. Then I stopped sleeping... or I slept way too much. I bounced from 13 hours to 3 and back again. Combined with my lack of projects and overall feeling of restless uselessness, it all just snowballed.

Last night I was so angry at myself, so filled with grief and disgust, that I snapped. I started hurting myself, and quickly reached a point so violent that - mercifully - it scared me out of the spiral. I sat there looking down that dark familiar road, the one that gave me bleeding scratches and scars back in my late teens, and I practiced my breathing and eventually managed to still my hands. But it was hard, y'all, because the pain felt right. Like control. Like justice.

If you're concerned reading this, you should be. My brain and emotions are lying to me, and after another 15 hours in bed today, I can see that. I've started taking my meds again, I'm backing off the sweets and trying to eat real food, and I'm letting myself just be while I watch funny shows with John. I'm seeing my therapist tomorrow. In the meantime I'm reminding myself this will get better, and I'm looking at all these sweet Valentines y'all have sent, which I've hung in my office. I'm giving myself permission to believe the things you wrote, even when they don't feel true:


That's my game plan. That's my road out of here.

What's yours?

There's no quick fix for this battle, but I can tell you I already feel much better, more clear-headed. It took every tool I've learned so far, though: identifying the lies, talking back to the accuser, breathing exercises, basic things like food and sleep, and trusting John to nudge me in the next right direction when I didn't trust myself.

This past year we've all been tossed into a raging sea, and even the strongest swimmers are getting tired. That's ok. Heck, that's to be expected. Isolation, fear, uncertainty, grief, we're all swimming in it. Some of us are drowning in it. And just like waves, we're going to have highs and lows. So hold on. If you're down here in the depths with me, trust that another wave is coming to lift us up again. It will get better. 'Til then let's gather up our tool kits, keep our support people close, make a plan, maybe say a prayer, and just keep fighting.

I will if you will. 
 
In fact, can we make that a pact? Leave me a comment, here or on FB, and say "I'm here, too" if you're in this battle with me. Let's show the ones feeling the most alone just how many of us are out here, still here, still hanging on, still fighting.

Also remember I love you, because I do. If I have to be this broken and raw in front of 10,000 strangers to convince even one of you that you are loved beyond your own imagining - by me and by so many others - then it will have been worth it.

307 comments:

  1. I'm here. I'm making cute things and trying to be present for my kiddos, and it's hard every day. Breaking down in tears is an almost daily occurrence. Still, I think we're gonna make it, eventually.

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  2. ❤️❤️❤️
    ❤️Jen❤️
    ❤️❤️❤️

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  3. I'm here, too.

    Thank you for being open and honest with us, Jen. It helps more than you know.
    Sending light and happiness your direction.

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  4. I’m here too. ❤️ This past year has been so rough.

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  5. I'm here, too #great big hugs to all who need them#

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  6. So sorry you've hit a low point. But we're there for you, and spring is coming. Someday this will all pass and we will move on to better (and greener!) things. Take care of yourself.

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  7. I’m here too. This has just been such a difficult year for EVERYONE. And it’s so hard even for people who are on paper “doing ok”. My husband and I work from home, we have been healthy, we haven’t lost anyone to COVID specifically, we live in the suburbs so when the weather was nice we were able to walk and kayak still. But it’s still exhausting just dealing with the isolation, all the terrible things going on, feeling like there’s nothing to look forward to. And I know we both struggle with feeling like jerks for being sad and miserable because we know how much worse people we know have it. But the discord movie nights have really helped, giving us SOMETHING to look forward to. The community is also really great, all through the week. Every bit of connection helps in all this isolation. So thank you for being here, and thank you for creating great communities. We live you, even when you have a hard time loving yourself <3

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  8. I'm here too. I've been feeling low and stressed and oh so very tired. I feel like I may be coming out of the fog (yay for longer day length and slightly warmer temperatures) but it's still hard to get up and put one foot in front of the other every day. I'm glad you're here and seeking help and that you're willing to put your own story out there so we can commiserate together. Sending you some mental peace as you work back through everything <3

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  9. I'm here too. You're not alone. You are safe. You are loved. You are enough.

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  10. I'm here too. Jen, we don't know each other, I can't go to the meetups, I don't even have Facebook, I just enjoy reading your blog here, and I'm crying because I hate that you feel this way. You're such a ray of sunshine, the world needs you, your kind heart, your smile, your voice, and your light. Thank you for your honesty. I'm so glad you're able to recognize this feeling for what it is: temporary. Please feel better soon. Lots of love from this internet stranger.

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  11. I am here, too. You are not alone. We will win this war together, battles will be lost but more will be won.

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  12. Times have been rough for everyone and especially those with mental health issues. Good for you for taking control :)

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  13. I'm here too.

    You are not alone.

    You are never alone.

    You are enough.

    That is enough.

    I've fallen into the "I feel fine, so I don't need to take my meds!" trap a few times. I'm now older (definitely) and wiser (maybe?) and know I cannot trust that feeling and MUST keep taking them. They're the reason WHY the depressed feeling isn't there. It's OK to fall. You just have to force yourself back up and start again. It's always OK. It's always enough. You're not alone. <3

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  14. I'm here too *hugs*
    Don't believe that lie your brain tells you that you don't need the meds anymore. If you're taking stuff that HELPS you, keep taking it even when you feel like you don't need it anymore... because I think that's when you need it the most.

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  15. I'm here, too. You're not alone. You are safe. You are loved. You are enough.

    This is the truth, and it is stronger than all the lies <3

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  16. I'm so sorry to that you are dealing with these feelings right now. All FOE's are here for you, fight for better days, you can do it

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  17. I’m here too. I have an appointment with a new psychiatrist to help me fix my meds on Thursday. Your depression is an evil creature that doesn’t want you to get better. It will convince you that you are faking it. “You don’t actually have depression. You are a fraud. Just wanting attention. Don’t take meds. It’s for people who are really sick.” But that’s the depression and why it’s so insidious. Much love from my couch. I’m here too.

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  18. I'm here too! So right here! I was so gone that something that shouldn't have bothered me sent me into a dark spiral on Friday. It took time to work through that and remind myself I can climb back out.

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  19. Me too. My doctor was so nice today that I cried. It's hard times.

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  20. I'm here too. Today i'll start taking meds, and tomorrow i'm going to talk to a therapist. Through the phone. Because i'm still terrified of being sick with this horrible covid, and my country (Brazil) is maybe the worst place on the planet in terms of dealing with the pandemic. heck, i'm REALLY terrified of making my husband sick. I'm so depressed and anxious and things are so dark right now. Thank you for the courage to write what you did. I'm going to ask for help. I hope you get good help too.

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  21. I'm here too. I've been waiting for months to get my doctor's appointment and right now I'm anxious as anything that another snow day might take the light at the end of the tunnel away from me on Thursday. Honestly the discord is getting me through a lot of the stressful points but the insomnia, binge eating, and self destructive choices are feeling really comfortable bright now.

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  22. Also here. Thank-you for your honesty about your struggles. It always makes me feel a bit less alone. <3

    For what its worth, anti-depressant withdrawal is a thing and can make you feel pretty terrible. If you or anyone else feels ready to stop taking meds, I think its really worth talking to your doctor first, and coming up with a slow and steady plan.

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  23. I'm here, too. Trying to learn to manage new autoimmune issues that mimic Covid enough to keep me from getting care, and having found the balance to successfully teach school virtually, but now unable to pass the screener to get into school for face to face learning. Struggling so hard but feeling loved and included in your every post. Keep going, you are not alone.

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  24. I'm here. Especially with the sleep, and I've been fighting a motivation battle I really thought I had put in the past. I've got so much to do around the house that it's almost debilitating. But tonight I'm determined to COOK dinner not just heat up random things, and to do that I have to load the dishwasher and clean the counter so I have room to do so. So that's 2 things done. And tomorrow, I'll get 2 more things done.

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  25. Thank you for sharing. This pandemic isolation has been so hard, and in July of last year my husband and I got a huge surprise- an accidental unplanned pregnancy. I have never wanted kids but both my bc and his vasectomy failed, apparently the same week as a full-moon lunar eclipse. I'm due in five weeks and really struggling - I can't take my usual meds while pregnant. I'm one heck of an introvert but even I miss people right now. I know it will get better eventually, and I'm sure I will love our little surprise, but this has been such a wild uncomfortable ride that I'm ready to get off. It really helps to know that people I love and admire are in the same struggle boat. ❤

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  26. I know it's hard to believe the words sometimes Jen but you have so much strength to get through this, you carry us along with you too <3

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  27. I'm here, too. I was just about to fall off of my low-GI diet that was finally making me feel better because "who the hell cares?" Thanks for stopping me. You are loved.

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  28. I'm here too. C-PTSD from an abusive, now exhusband. raising my son by myself. 2nd divorce. wondering what am i doing wrong only to keep being told, none of its my fault. trying to believe that, on a few different meds myself and hating that I have to take them and can't just "snap out of it" or "get over it" like so many people think I should. I have started trying to do more for myself, I joined Noom. Not just for weight loss but I did something I had to pay for, to keep me motivated to do it. I don't want to spend money for nothing. I am learning things through it though, making decisions with thought..still slipping, still not there but at least I feel like im climbing up out of the ditch now... will keep you in my prayers, and all those here and ones too afraid to say they are..

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  29. I'm here too. I'm mad at my colleagues even as we are all overwhelmed with the tidal wave of suffering . We are just trying to help eachother through it

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  30. I’m here, too.
    I don’t have the words to tell you what joy and hope you have given me over the years. I have spent years and years struggling, and like everyone else it’s especially hard right now. I’m just. So. Tired. I don’t want to go on. Somehow I do.
    I’m so very grateful for you. For Epbot and Cakewrecks and FoE. And some days that’s all I hang on to: those really awesome and nice strangers online.

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  31. I'm here too. Winter always gets me down anyway but all of *gestures at world* is making it so much harder. Thank you for being so real and willing to share. ❤

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  32. I'm here too. I finally got a new therapist just this month and am being honest with her (and myself) for the first time ever. It's hard. It's scary. But I know it's for the best. I have two amazing kids I need to be here for and I try so hard to remember that. And to take my meds. I had to learn self talk years ago... I wouldn't tell my diabetic friend to stop taking insulin because she feels ok. I need to take my meds if it's a good day or a bad day. It's an illness. And I deserve to be the best me I can be.

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  33. I'm here too. OOOF. Felt this one at a cellular level.

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  34. I'm here too ❤️

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  35. I'm here, too. Also appreciate that my music player cued up Silverchair's Abuse Me while I read this.

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  36. I'm here too. I generally do not have feelings of depression or anxiety or worthlessness. But, these past months have been very hard. I've lost two friends - one to cancer, the other to heart disease. My sister-in-law is fighting cancer - this cancer has a 15% rate of survival. the second anniversary of my parents' deaths are coming soon. I was really down on myself the other evening. So, I took myself for a walk and deliberately chose to start praising the Lord Jesus. I listened to music, and I sang. It helped a lot. I know it isn't the answer for everyone, but it was for me. Life is hard. But, there is so much good in it - I am learning to practice intentional gratitude - looking for something that is good, and thinking on it. Focusing on the positive. No, I don't deal with what a lot of you are struggling with. Even as mild as mine was, I could feel the power the darkness has. You all are a lot stronger than you think you are.

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  37. I'm here, too! Since husband died in October, I've been trying to find my way out of the feeling of being overwhelmed. Time does heal - but slowly. I'm finally eating better these days, crying less, and starting some creative projects again. I think it's the projects that give me a better feeling of self worth, and spark joy (as Marie Condo might say). Hang in there, my friend!!

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  38. Everyone is starting to fray around the edges. Wallowing in it for a while is OK but know that you have the strength (and support) to climb back out. Epbot and Cakewrecks bring joy and fun and creativity to so many. They are my 'go to' places for inspiration and laughter. You and John are gems and I am grateful to have found ya'll. Sending you great big (virtual) hugs.

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  39. I’m not under the waves like you are, but I’m sure getting tired from swimming. I’ll keep going, and you’ll keep going, and one day we’ll make it to the shore and sunbathe.

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  40. Im here too. Exhausted, but here

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  41. I'm here too.

    And I'm now sitting here in ugly tears, because I'm trying so hard not to be - trying to be upbeat if I post to social media, overly kind to my sister who struggles on a regular basis, trying to be a good (new!) employee working from home and taking care of other employees remotely.

    Trying to find the kickass *me* that was there before all of this isolation, and trying to be kind to myself and letting myself rest when I can't seem to find her.

    So far, the only thing that seems to work is reaching out to people I know may also be struggling, and just...talking to them. Not asking how they are, not asking what they're working on - just a "Hey, I was thinking of you today and thought I'd say hello"

    And then, however they respond is what we talk about. And it helps me feel like a real person, for at least a little while.

    So that's my little life ring, when I feel myself struggling the most. I don't know if it might help anyone else out there, but there it is. Because it allows me to tell myself that I am not *actually* alone, even if it feels like I am. That it will eventually get better, even though it doesn't feel like it right now.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Jen. And thank you for being you.

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  42. I'm here too. I have so much shame and self-hatred I'm battling right now. I'm still functioning, but exhausted...and ashamed.

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  43. I'm here, also exhausted but continuing on

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  44. I'm only here on the site intermittently because I'm here in depression land and sometimes reading blogs feels like too much effort. But I'm here, too <3

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  45. "I feel pathetic, unworthy, unlovable, and hopelessly self-absorbed with problems I have no right to complain about." This is me. I hate myself. I refuse to be in photos. I can't sleep because my brain won't turn off. I can't stop thinking, worrying. I can't go anywhere because of driving anxiety. I've started throwing things away, my art, awards. They don't mean anything, aren't worth anything. But then I enjoy cakewrecks and epbot. I see there are people out there like me, that like the things I like. Who wouldn't belittle me and tell me that's childish and to grow up. But then those people are far away, only online, and I'm still alone.

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  46. I'm here too.
    Some days life is harder than others. Please know that you have made a difference to so many of us. You are loved by a whole community of people that you have brought together by being nothing more than your amazing self - thank you for that.

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  47. yup, I'm here also...I am good at the moment, but I struggle a lot. Your blog helps tremendously, thank you for always being so generous, kind, and fun. Love you kiddo. Do what you need to do to feel good again -we're hear rooting you on!

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  48. I am here, too. The never ending stress of the pandemic plus the pressure to perform well at my job to achieve tenure, is all weighing me down.

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  49. I’m here!
    I hit the lowest I’ve been in 14 years on Saturday. It came out of nowhere. And now I feel like I’m trying to claw out of a slippery hole. But I’m here.
    Sending you so much love.

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  50. My 15 year old is here and it is the most frightening thing I have ever ever faced. The first med was a fail and made things so much worse. Praying the second will bring relief and allow for healing to start. In the meantime, I am now having panic attacks and escalating blood pressure. I was prescribed meds for the latter and given an appointment to discuss the first in 3 weeks. 3 weeks feels like forever when you feel like your heart is going to explode from sheer terror. Why am I even sharing this here? Because for the first time since I got on this roller coaster (and I hate roller coasters!) I feel like someone else actually gets it and we are not alone. Please hang on. Because you are precious.

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  51. Jen (and everyone else) you are loved and I am so glad you are here. I have my low days too, and knowing you are there to share your good and bad days helps me get through my bad days. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing. I know you are helping mental health be a normal discussion and you have no idea how much that makes me happy.

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  52. I’m here, too! I used to get the bright idea that since I was doing great, I didn’t need my antidepressants. After running into that same lousy spiral one time too many, my hubby asked me to do something simple: tell him before I changed or stopped any meds. Every time I’ve started to do it, just talking to him reminds me... this never ends well. And, as such, no spirals in about 3 years. Maybe John can help that way, too. And, please remember, as I say so often to my patients, it’s not a burden to the ones you love for you to be sick. It’s a burden for you to be GONE. Let them help when you struggle.

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  53. I'm here, too. You (and anyone else reading this. Even if you don't think I mean you, I mean you) are not a burden. I promise. No matter how little you've done or how much help you've needed. You are not a burden. Also, I love you and I'm in your corner no matter what <3

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  54. I'm here. <3 And I know I'm fighting some trauma from all that lockdowns and isolation have left me. But THIS - our community - makes things SO much better.

    Jen, I am SO thankful for you. In a totally non-weird, non-stalkery way, you are my friend, and I would totally don PPE and a hazmat suit if it meant I could come give you a hug and take you for a dole whip (is that allowed on low fodmap?). And please politely tell yourself from me that I think you are beautiful, and lovely, and creative and just plain awesome. :D

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  55. I'm here, too. This community is amazing. Jen, thanks for creating a safe space and for sharing.

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  56. I'm here, too. The past year has been very trying for all of us. Sometimes I feel like I'm hanging on by a thread. Epbot and Fans of Epbot are two of the brightest spots in my days. Thank you for that.

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  57. I'm here too. Step by step, day by day.

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  58. I'm here, too. And I just have to say, "Thank you." Thank you for sharing this openly with us, I know how hard it is to speak up when we spiral. I have that fight myself. I will tell you the same thing that I tell myself when I manage to make the words get past my mouth (or fingers) and actual say "I'm not okay and I need help." I am proud of you. It's such a hard thing to do. You are an amazingly bright spark in this world, and I know it is hard to see our own light. So thank you for being you, and thank you for sharing as you do. Know that it does help, and you really do make a difference. Sending you and John so much love. <3

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  59. im here too. im sorry its so hard.

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  60. We're with you, Jen.
    Thank you for bravely sharing your story.

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  61. I'm here too. You don't know me and I don't usually post on the fb group because I can't join the group with my page which has my preferred name (and fb won't let me change it on my personal profile so I only have my preferred identity on my fb page) but I read all your posts and you are loved (in a platonic non creepy way) and needed. I understand why not being able to seem 'useful' pushes you into this when you have to stop your projects. I'm the same way, I feel like I have to justify my existance by helping people or doing something useful, not just stuff for myself. Being a parent now has made this easier in some ways, because I'm automatically useful in that capacity for now, but harder in other ways, because I can't do all the things. One thing I can do is teach my kid the self-care lessons I've learned so hopefully they wont get to the points I've gotten to in the past with depression and self-harm, but will learn better coping. The basics are so important, if one goes down the foundation collapses: going outside in the sunlight, even just a few minutes a day. Even just getting some fresh air in general when there's no sunlight (too much sunlight is a problem for me too). Nutritious food (yes it's usually mixed in with junk food and I generally don't have energy to cook). Physical activity, even if all I can do that day is forcing myself to walk out to the road to get the mail or in the back yard. Adequate sleep, even if my schedule is all messed up again and I have to do it at weird times of day or take time off work JUST to catch up sleep. Doing something I'm good at, something productive. Even a little bit of success. Positive social interaction. Even as introverted as I am it's hard during these times, especially since you can't just *be* with people, you have to have some sort of purposeful contact to connect with them during covid and small talk isn't my strong suit and it just reminds me that I haven't actually *done* much during this past year or whenever we last got together in person so I have even less to talk about. And finally for me, doing creative stuff. Anything creative. It fulfills some need in me and when I do it I feel more me, and that's important in the struggle. It does get better. When the times are bad I remind myself of other times that they got bad but then they got better again when I rebalanced, when my health wasn't as bad, when I did the bare minimum of the basics even. I wish I could connect to more people in my local community but the epbot community is the next best thing.

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  62. I'm here too. Thank you for sharing and helping me and all of us know we aren't struggling alone. I think this is the first time I've commented here, but I've been a reader since day one and you (and John) bring such joy, and life, and humanity, and depth to my life (not to mention cats!).

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  63. I'm here, too. A boss told me once — it was about work, but I feel like it applies to other situations, including relationships: "If you ever feel like you don't deserve to be here, remember that you didn't get here on your own. Other people had to believe in you to make this happen."

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  64. I'm here, too. This has been a tough year for a lot of people, and I'm sorry that the last few weeks have been especially hard on you.

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  66. I'm struggling deeply. My chronic illnesses (psoriatic arthritis and daily intractable migraine) are out of control because my meds aren't working, my hair is falling out, I've put on 30lb and weigh more than I did 9 months pregnant with my son. I'm in deep physical pain constantly, and have to leave the chores and childcare to my husband, who is overwhelmed and exhausted. I am short tempered and yell at my kids who don't deserve it, and I'm not well enough to do anything with them. I hate me too.

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  67. Jen, I'm here too. I have been self-harming as well, although not physically. Instead, I've spent a ton of money I don't have and watched the money that should have gone to bills go to overdraft fees instead. Then there's the whole shame spiral because I have a full-time job I love while people are struggling to pay bills and feed their families.

    Earlier today I decided I need to go back to therapy, that meds can't fix it all. Then I come home, get online and see this post. Sometimes the universe is not subtle.

    I'm here, I love you, I needed this. Thank you, Jen

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  68. Oh honey. I'm so sorry you've had an attack of the brain weasels. They are little lying JERKS. I think a lot of people are experiencing the same spiral. I know I was hoping we'd be on the road to a more normal year by now and instead, we're all still trapped at home. And when even homebodies like me are feeling trapped, it has to be way worse for others.
    I wish I had advice or something I thought would help, but I don't. So I'm just sending you lots of love and some virtual hugs.

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  69. I'm here too. Cancelled on [virtual] plans this evening because it was all Too Much. I was actually honest with my friend about why I cancelled, instead of lying or pushing through and making it worse. And I have a dog I love very much. In the very simplest sense, I consider that a win for today.

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  70. While I don't struggle with depression, I just wanted to say how much I love you, John, and Epbot. Please keep fighting and hanging on. You are amazing; depression lies! Wishing you all the best, and praying for you and John as well!

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  71. I'm here, too. And my husband was just discharged from a hospital psych unit last week so he is DEFINITELY here. All we can do is just keep treading water.

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  72. I’m here too. I know I need to speak to a therapist, but I’m so afraid to do it, yet I just keep spiraling. Thank you for the reminder that I’m not alone.

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  73. I'm here. I've lurked for years, because I'm not good at sharing myself. But I'm so sorry you are hurting and I wanted to say I've been there, too. You are not alone.

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  74. I'm here too. Reading this from the depths. Keep swimming through those waves. I will too. You are loved, just as you are.

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  75. I'm here too. Thanks for being a safe place.

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  76. I'm here too. And a number of my clients are right there with us.

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  77. I'm here, too. And YOU- sharing all the things so many of us struggle with but try to hide, creating a safe and uplifting community online- have helped me reach a stronger place than I was in a year ago. So THANK YOU.

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  78. I'm here, too. And truly glad you are here. Epbot, you and John, and the FoEs have been instrumental in keeping me going through all of this.

    Lotsa socially distanced hugs coming at you!

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  79. I am lucky that I have never struggled with depression, but even I am getting so tired of being stuck inside where it’s so cold and snowy that even if Covid wasn’t a worry, I still wouldn’t go outside. I can’t imagine what it’s like to deal with the world right now on top of struggling with mental health. Just remember that we love you too, and if we could, we would all give you a big hug and whatever you need to feel safe. I’m so sorry you are going through this. I wish we could fix it for you!

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  80. I’m here too!

    This has been such a difficult time for me too. Hugs and everything positive. We can and will swim through this.

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  81. I'm here too. Thank you for having the courage to show us this. It definitely helps to know I'm not alone.

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  82. I'm here, too. I went on meds to help my ADHD/Depression/ Anxiety in October, and they just aren't working well, and causing weight gain. Plus the dr who prescribed is more interested in talking about my pilot husband than me. So here I am, trying to find a new dr, stopping the meds that aren't working, and feeling guilty as heck about the burden I am on my sweet hubby. Big hugs from someone fighting hard, as well! We're loved, and worthy of love, even in our darkest moments!

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  83. I'm here too. I've also had that moment where I was 'fine' and stopped taking the medication. Maybe that works for some, but it most certainly did not for me. Many virtual hugs, and for what it is worth: when I feel myself slipping at times and need a smile / inspiration / words from someone who struggles like me... I come here. You give me great happiness and smiles when I think I just can't. I've sent you so many good wishes in the ephemeral (wooOOOOooo!) and send more now. All the best to you, and John (and the cats ;) )

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  84. I'm here, too. And so is my daughter. We are lucky to have each other to keep us both treading water.

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  85. I don't comment often, Jen, but I have been here, on your blog, with you in life, for years. I love your face, your outfits, your creativity, and your humor. You make me laugh and share beautiful things I never would have found or seen without you. You matter. Your struggles are what they are, but you are loved just for being you. No one expects any more from you-- you're enough. Take care of yourself and be as kind to you as you are to us. Even if you never posted another thing ever, I would still remember you and care about you. We all would. It will get better.

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  86. I'm here, too. But there's a "but." Believe it or not, you know what has been pulling me out? I didn't know you had this second blog until just a few weeks ago, and I've been working my way backwards steadily, while keeping up with new ones. It has changed my life. It found me right at this point, this "here," in fact, when on top of life being life, yet another medication did something wrong and sent me down a hole I'm trying to crawl out of. This blog has been a lifeline for me, no joke...I have so many resources for all weird now, good and bad; I feel like life force is returning to my toes for the first time in a long while. I'm *not* wired too wrong for this planet. I have new things to try, and a group of people I'm working up the courage to join. I've felt like I found a family member I didn't know I had in so many ways, I was in the mental process of drafting you a letter, not even knowing how to send it yet. (You'll know who this is once I've done it justice and get over the fact I'm actually sending it, if that makes sense.) I feel like you get me in my littlest corners without me ever having to explain. I've literally thanked every $Deity that you exist since coming here, so to know you're in this hole here, I've cried wishing I could do something for you...any fraction of what you've done for me by just being here and being you. I leave it open to the Universe that somehow someday I'll have a way.

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  87. Wow. This brought tears to my eyes, even before I saw just how many comments there were from others who know the dark place. I almost don't want to say that I'm not there, since so many are, but I definitely was last year. I'm not even sure how I got out; I just know that I did. At one point I was so far down, I wasn't sure I'd see light again.

    My coworker deals with depression and anxiety, among other things. She and I talk a lot; I can sense when she's having a bad day. I've had to tell her that her brain lies to her. That kind of surprised her, but she understood. I have to tell myself that, too.

    There are also times that the things I want to do least, like be around people, are actually what I most need when I'm in the hole. Being around people and doing things gets me out of my head, so that when it's at its most yelly, I have other things that occupy me and turn down the screaming.

    All I can say is just keep plugging along. One foot in front of the other. Jen, by saying something, you have reached into the hole to grab someone who is lower than you. In turn, I'm reaching out my hand. We're all here in a chain, helping each other out.

    --Yet Another Jen

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  88. I'm here too! Keep up the good fight and make a good sandwich; watch Soul again and take pleasure in the tiny things that we all miss when we get all up in our own heads! *BIG INTERNET HUG* *tiny internet shoulder squeeze too*

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  89. I'm here too. This breaks my heart, but mostly because how deeply I understand. Love you, Jen.
    - e

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  90. I'm here too. I had a particularly hard day right after the election that just happened to be the same day as an appointment with a new Dr... and long story short- I can never go back there again. The good thing is that telling people how bad that appointment went was immediately funny and actually helped me climb out of the hole. I think we are all here together. And we love you for your honesty anand willingness to share. Your bravery helps us be brave too. Thank you.

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  91. I'm here, too.

    This is the first time I'm admitting how overwhelmed I am -- in writing, in person, ANYWHERE.

    My husband has been fighting cancer since the fall of last year. He's hanging in, but he's SO sick and he has to go to these appointments and have all these scary conversations with his doctors ALONE because of COVID protocol. It makes me feel like I have no right to complain, when he clearly has it much worse... you know?

    If you can share this on the internet, it makes me feel like maybe *I* can share how I'm feeling with the people in my life. We cheer on our loved ones fighting physical illnesses, so I shouldn't feel so guilty for needing help for my mental one.

    Thank you so much. <3

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  92. It LIES honey. It lies (as my mother would say) like a rug.

    How you feel is how You feel and there's no law that says you are required to be happy all the time. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be useful, productive, helpful...

    One of my favorite posts you've written was when you said that sometimes it was okay that your big accomplishment was putting polish on your toes.

    So give yourself a break. And we'll all try to do the same.
    Hugs

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  93. I’m here too.

    I had to increase my brain meds at the start of the pandemic. I tried to go back to pre-pandemic levels last summer, and made it a whole 3 1/2 weeks before I realized I was alternating between mindless scrolling, sleeping, and yelling at everyone around me. Once I connected the dots, I went right back up to my pandemic levels of meds. I have days where I feel like I’m riding a roller coaster with insufficient lap bar and using every inch of my back and legs to cling to the seat. All hail therapy, meds, a wonderful partner helping me to cope, and knowing that I’m not alone.

    Much love and empathy and hope to us all.

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  94. I’m here too. This past year has broken me and I fear I won’t repair. But I’m here. Thank you for being vulnerable. You are so loved and cherished. Prayer for you.

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  95. I'm here too. It feels like I hit a wall and everything I accomplish is taking extra long... and accomplish is stretching it. I am doing good to get to work, shop for groceries, and come home. School is on hold except for work training / school. None of my to do list is getting crossed off and another month of masks is in front of me. I have also gained back what I lost (almost to my heaviest weight).

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  96. I'm here, too. I've been back on meds since April, for the first time in 15 years. My normal coping methods weren't doing it. I needed another tool from my mental health toolbox. Love to everyone here

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  97. I'm here. Sometimes I get so disgusted with myself for not doing the things I know will help get me right--and then I end up punishing myself by, again, NOT doing the things that will help me, because maybe I don't deserve to feel right, and maybe I don't *want* to be responsible for my too-big feelings, and maybe I just want to stay in bed all day and numb myself with FB and ice cream and let my emptiness and anxieties be someone *else's* problem to fix.

    But I always pull out of it eventually because I don't really want it, and once I stop numbing long enough to feel it and exist in it, I find the motivation--not to fix everything all in one go, but to do one right thing, one good thing, one maker-joy or word-play thing at a time until I find my balance again.

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  98. I'm here, too, and I really appreciate your posting this, though I'm sad you're having such a rough time. I had been just sitting here, thinking how I haven't felt this overwhelmed by depression in a long time. And then I read your post, and it reminded me that so many people are also struggling right now. (And now I'm going to be getting in touch with my therapist soon too, so thanks for that!) I've never met you in person, but I wish I could hug you right now. Just know that you too have value, and you are worthy of love and care. I'm glad you're able to recognize the need for help. We will all get past the hard times. We have chosen to stay and fight, and we'll come through this stronger than ever!

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  99. Not there now. But been there. To quote Winston Churchill, WHEN YOU ARE GOING THROUGH HELL, KEEP GOING! You have to push on, or you stay where you are. Hugs, hugs, hugs. Please be kind to yourself, you deserve it for getting this far.

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  100. i'm here, too. Grateful for Epbot & Cakewrecks. Grateful for meeting you twice at Dragoncon (Samurai Hello Kitty). Grateful for your candor and educating me on mental health. My burden isn't as heavy as yours. Mine is classic melancholy and what the Japanese call Mono-No-Aware or "the pity of things" or just a sadness for everything. Keep those who know and love you close.

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  101. I'm here, too. You send out a lot of light, and those valentines and all these comments posted here are that light being reflected and amplified and sent back to you. Also, what stuck me as being really important in your post is that you recognized what you were doing and you stopped yourself. You used the tools you learned and practiced. And they worked. That is something to be so very proud of yourself for. As for me, there have been a bunch of worse days lately, but I figure there are no style points for surviving a pandemic. The important thing is to survive.

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    1. "...There are no style points for surviving a pandemic" really resonates with me (not that I consider myself to be stylish in any sense of the word). Surviving is what matters, not being shiny/happy/pretty while you're pushing through.

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  102. I’m here, as our my students. We’re all riding this out together.

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  103. I'm here too, full of love and reminded how much I am loved.

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  104. I'm here too.

    Thank you for bringing it into the light. Thank you for showing us that we're not alone in this. Your post is the wave lifting me today.

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  105. I'm here, too. I also tend to try hiding when things are bad and while I thankfully haven't gotten as bad as I've been before, I'm certainly struggling. I rarely comment because my anxiety usually gets the better of me, but I want to thank you for this blog, it makes me and so many others feel so much less alone and is such a genuine bright spot on the internet.

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  106. I'm here too <3
    I don't talk about it hardly at all because it still makes me sad and I don't feel like being a burden to anyone, but getting divorced and then covid happening shortly after and having to work from home alone for a year has taken a massive toll. One day at a time though, I miss seeing you guys!

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  107. I'm here. I've lurked on Cakewrecks for years, and then started lurking around here.. but I'm here.
    I'm absolutely one of those people who has looked at a poo cake or pretty arty things, and wished there was a way to say "this was the first thing that has made me smile this week" without sounding like a complete weirdo.. guess the public comment section was my first choice.
    You have a lot of love in all of these comments... I hope you read them and feel every bit of it. <3

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  108. I'm here too. And I love you too. Your honesty inspired me to be honest with the people I love and led me to getting help. I appreciate you and understand the times when you need to step away.

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  109. I'm here, too. e-hugs to all who need and want them: [[[[[[[[[[FOEs]]]]]]]]]]

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  110. I am here too. You are so loved by your peeps! I am usually a very optimistic person, but this last year has been very, very difficult! Hugs.

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  111. Jen, this is the very first time I've commented online *anywhere* and I want to say I'm very sorry to learn how awful you - and so many of the people who have commented - have been feeling lately. Not just lately but more acutely now than before. With all that's happening due to the pandemic, life crises and just everyday stuff, it's no wonder. I think everyone feels overwhelmed to some degree. But don't forget there are also physical factors in mental health which you haven't much control over. There is so much new information about how the brain's hard wiring and chemistry and even bacteria in our guts (yes! really!) can affect mental health! Taking control of what you can (meds and diet for example) is a good start to climbing out of that bad place. Bravo!!
    I admire you a great deal for sharing your own struggles and successes with your mental and physical health. That takes courage. Sharing and letting others know they are not alone in facing health problems really does help...and you yourself are clearly not alone as all these comments show! From reading comments on this and older posts, I know that you have made a positive difference for many people. You matter to more people than you can imagine, including me far away in Canada.
    I was a nurse for many years on a mother-baby and high risk antenatal unit and often recommended Cakewrecks to my high risk patients who were stuck in hospital, usually on bed rest, as a sort of mini vacation from the stress of their situations. I still tell people about Cakewrecks and about Epbot, too, for your (yours and John's) creative ideas and tutorials and for the posts in which you support people who are facing criticism, bullying or worse just because they march to the beat of their own drum. And for the posts like this one, where you share but never whine about your problems. I feel like I've gotten to know both you and John through Epbot and Cakewrecks. I'm glad for you both that you have each other. You are truly fine people. The world needs more people like you!

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    1. So beautifuully said. I share Cakewrecks with everyone and Epbot with the nerdy ones, too.

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  112. Girl, I'm so Here, I totally forgot what There even looks like.

    I've always wanted to ask you, sincerely and without a whisper of shade: Who lied to you, so hard and so badly? Who were they that their messed up opinion about you still matters this much to this day? It can't be John, who tells/shows you every day how awesome you are. Somebody was enough of a shithead to you that they fried a wire in your head or something, and I'd like a word with them.

    Your Pal,

    Storm the Klingon

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  113. It took a while to get to the bottom of the comments using the scroll button. I think that's the best thing I could have seen today. It's 3:54 AM and I have no business being up this late. The sad fact of it is that I'm down here with you. I'm still taking my meds, though I've paused the anti-anxiety ones, so that is keeping me going. I'm so very alone. My daughter, my only child, has stopped communicating with me from afar. She's having some mental health issues I don't think she knows, or wants to know, she's having. I haven't seen most of the few friends I've got in over a year. All the supports are gone. Some forever. But you're here and I'm here and allllll those people above me are here. And that's enough for me. To be very honest with you, I hope you never make it to my post, because there are so many more like me that posted before me that you'll never make it. And that warms my heart. You're loved, Jenn, so very much. You have a gift and we're very lucky you're sharing it with us. I just turned 63 yesterday (alone) and one thing I have learned: there's way too much stuff in life left to see that is so beautiful and good. I can't think of not trying my best to see it. We'll all end up in the same place and, in time, 99% of us will be completely forgotten. That sounds bad, but I've gotten a new persepective. It's not the other people in our lives who make our lives matter. It's us and what we do with it. I may have no one and maybe that will never change, but I have my drawing, my inquiring mind and beautiful nature to keep me fully engaged. And I have wonderful, wonderul you that I'm so glad I've found. Do what you have to. It's not "bad" to stay in bed once in a while. It's not bad to succumb to the sweet tooth when we need to. We have different chemistry, sister. It's the voices in our heads that have the woulda, shoulda, couldas. My favorite psychiatrist once responded when I said "I can't get out of bed" in a tearful, guilt filled voice: "Then don't." Trying to cure ourselves is the worst form of mental abuse we do. Just loving and coddling ourselves is the best form of self love we can do. Treat yourself like you'd treat the person you love the most in the world. And then make yourself the person you love most in the world.

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  114. I'm here, too!

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  115. I'm here too. Feeling down and feeling like I don't have the right to feel down because I have so much which I don't deserve.

    I know you may not believe the words but I'll say them because they may sink in. I love you. You are a beacon, an inspiration. The love you give out to the world shows you deserve all the love you get back. I know it can be hard to hear this about you, to read it too, but please read it.

    You have sparked a wonderful, loving community which is only as wonderful as it is because we take inspiration from you. The community is a reflection of your personality, use it as a mirror, look in it and see the love and goodness within yourself.

    Hugs and love.
    Jen

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  116. I`m here too.. I'm feeling so helpless. My youngest daughter (she just turned 15) can't cope. She stays in bed all day, doesn't go to online class and is on a waiting list to see a psychiatrist. She cuts herself and has suicidal thoughts. We try to support her and school has been very accommadating. I myself struggle with depression and I know I should make an appointment with my doctor to go back on meds but I can't make myself. I`m scared and feel useless. I don't have a job, my husband is the sole provider. He is wonderful but not very sensitive. He takes care of things, that's his coping mechanism while I feel numb and afraid. I want to be usefull and help people but I do nothing instead. Thanks for listening.

    Love,

    Dorieke

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  117. I'm here, too. My husband has been on a steep slope downwards with his health and hit a crisis this weekend. I look like I am nice and strong, but I really a quivering blob of terror, fury, and despair. And exhaustion. What do I do? I try to remind myself of Truth, get enough sleep (ha!), and eat vegetables. The chocolate feels better at first, but later just makes me ache more. Hugs, dear Jen. (And anyone else accepting hugs.). You are dearly loved.

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  118. I'm here too. The lowest ever. My husband is of no support for my mental and physical health issues, so my job is my place to feel important. I take time each day to walk in nature, and hope that something changes one day. Thank you for reaching out, for you and for me.

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  119. I'm here too. Treading water and trying to keep my head above the waves... it's exhausting but we can do it.

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  120. I'm here, too... actually, I'm up here today. Maybe tomorrow I'll be down there. But yes, we're just in a little dingy riding the waves, just knowing it'll keep moving. Been up and down here with you Jen for over a decade now...

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  121. I'm here too, and I'm here hard!

    Its been such a hard year, and we aren't through it yet - but one day, we will be! In the mean time, its just about keeping on keeping on!

    Thank you for sharing your struggles, and for creating such an amazing community (If I didn't have FOE i'd be in much bigger trouble!)

    We love you!

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  122. I'm here too. 2 years ago my partner died unexpectedly. I was just beginning to think maybe I could start going to Cons and Steampunk meetings again when the pandemic happened. I'm with you, I should be grateful for so much, and most of the time I am, but there are those days when you just wonder. I love your posts Jen and the fact that you are brave enough to share how you really feel gives me courage. Bless you both. Thank you. Hugs.

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  123. I'm here too. Struggling with joint pain, which leaves me with nothing to do with my hands, which then lets me sit with my anxiety and makes me hate myself. Things are getting better after a few weeks of icing and rest, but it's hard to just let myself be. I think a lot of people are in a similar place, and it heartens me to see I'm not the only one having a difficult time. Take care of yourself, Jen ♥

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  124. I'm here too. Thank you for being open and honest.

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  125. I'm here too, working my way through as so many others are too. Love you Jenn and John!!

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  126. I'm here too. In a way I've never experienced before. This is new for me and it's awful. Sending all of you virtual hugs.

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  127. I'm here too. Recovery takes so much courage and work... but we'll get there, one step at a time.*
    *If you can't walk, dragging yourself is ok too:)

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  128. I'm Here Too! Thank you for being here also

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  129. I’m here too, wish I wasn’t, wish you weren’t, wish we all were better. Your encouragement means so much to me.

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  130. Sweetie, this pandemic is trashing everyone. Even those of us who support family member battling the big liar, depression.Hard as it is, take the meds, they really do work. Look at the diet, set aside 1 night to binge and then stop. Understand we all are having Cabin Fever and YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Cuddle the cats - it helps. Know we all wish we could give you a real hug.

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  131. Thank you Jen. when you started your cake wrecks journey you probably never guessed you'd be saving lives by giving hope and keeping it real and providing bright spots during a global pandemic.

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  132. I am SO here, too. I could write pages trying to capture all the stuff that's banging around in my head, but the bottom line is really just that: I'm here.

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  133. Ugh. Love and virtual hugs. Been a rough week here too. I am sure someday we will all see the light again, but today seems dark. Hold on to the love you have and know we are all here.

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  134. I'm here too. I tried to get off of my meds maybe three times. After each time, my reaction wasn't immediate, but slowly my world would get smaller and smaller until eventually I was scared to leave my house. And then I'd go back. For the longest time I felt like medication was a weakness I could overcome, but it's not. It's what my brain needs to function like other brains. I'm not sick or ill, I'm just differently-brained. I'm so proud of you for taking steps in the right direction. THAT is the hardest and you're my hero for doing so. I am STRUGGLING every day because of this dumb pandemic and I am medicated. So, take care, take your meds, snuggle cats, snuggle husbands, and just let yourself "be" for AWHILE.

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  135. Dammit now I'm crying. I'm here, too, and dealing with the shame of my own spiral. Thank you for being honest and true and vulnerable and brave in sharing your own story. It really does mean so very much.

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  136. I'm sure I'm about the trillionth person to say this, but I could NOT do half the stuff you do. I would literally rather die than keep my house clean let alone do cute decorating stuff. Most days I don't even change my underwear, tbh. And I'm not even depressed, I just can't be bothered to gaf. You have no reason to feel bad about yourself, honestly. Just compare yourself to me and smile!

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  137. Sometimes it is so easy to believe the lies, please don't! As you said we are all struggling and understanding that and feeling that are different things. I feel you girl! All the love.

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  138. I'm here too. Bad time of year, bad mental state. It's a struggle just to get basic chores done, and none of my usual hobbies are engaging at all. But one bright spot, my husband got his first vaccination Monday! I wept with relief (literally burst into sobs) when he got the email saying he was eligible.

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  139. I'm here, too. ❤❤❤

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  140. I’m here, you’re loved and you’re safe.

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  141. I could have written this, down to my husband named John. Except I didn't stop taking my meds and don't have a way out.

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  142. I'm here too, and we all love you both x

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  143. I'm here, too! Let me just add to the encouragement, so that maybe the sheer volume of people saying it can overwhelm the doubt: You are amazing. You are inspiring. You are helping thousands of people. You are loved. And you are more than worth it. <3

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