The mighty meh

the mighty

I truly am doing my best to keep my head above water and not to succumb to this depression. According to Ms. Therapist I’m doing well at it but to me it feels like I’m putting up with a “pile of shit”, to borrow from the creative genius of Drop Dead Fred.

 

Sure I’m going to work, seeing friends, doing laundry, did my taxes, painting, eating, breathing, talking to humans like a normal human, and I even went to the gym with a personal trainer. . . but it all feels like a stupid charade. I think it’s the distance that being medicated for the past few years has given me that’s allowing me to see just how ridiculous it is.

I talked to Ms. Therapist about this depression and although I know a portion of my current status is chemically caused, she pointed out that it’s also likely environmentally seeing as how there are a lot of things in the “pile of shit” category right now. I brought up how I usually fell into a depression then because it’s easier to process something when there’s a reason I would ASSIGN reasons to what was genuinely just a brain chemistry thing. Already in my week or so of depression I’ve gone through the handy list of: my job is unfulfilling, I’m single, my BFFs live far away, there are too many things to do, my dad’s death, the current political climate, my house that may never actually go through, being overweight with an eating disorder, the mortality of loved ones, and just a laundry list of reasons that combined – yes, do contribute.

In short, I’m tired emotionally and physically because of the mighty meh. I want it to be gone. I have living to do and happiness to feel. If it could just kindly show itself the door and get lost, that would be swell.

99 Coping Skills – Weekly Therapy Takeaways No. 02

good-luck

Happy Thursday! I’ve been swamped with life stuff while also feeling the drag of depression nagging at me (“the blob” as I call it) so this’ll be short and sweet. 

While explaining my depression to Ms. Therapist and telling her even painting wasn’t helping because it was “too much” she pulled out this handy dandy list of 99 coping skills from some group that I’m assuming is religious. While I’m not religious I thought I’d share it because there are some good ones on this list like building a pillow fort, drawing on yourself with markers, watching fish, and looking at pretty things. 

I hope some of them resonate and can help you too!

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Even the Medicated Get Melancholy

I’ve started scheduling blog posts so there’s already one that I wrote a few days ago but scheduled to post for today published. 

However. . .

I am feeling frustratingly empty right now to the point of tears and I’m practicing opening up – so here’s me sharing. 

The blessing of being medicated is finally going through life with only small shifts in the currents of my moods rather than the turbulent tides I was used to a few years ago. You happily forget what it’s like to feel depression – to feel like you want nothing more than to exist as a blob wrapped in blankets doing nothing, saying nothing, and trying your hardest to think nothing. That’s what my depression looks like. 

Where did this come from? I’m taking my meds, going to therapy, painting, hanging out with friends sometimes (probably not as much as I could), avoiding negative news, and trying to appreciate the positives. So what gives? 

I feel like I’m never going to find love, I’m never going to figure out my full potential, I’m never going to fit in anywhere, I’m never going to manage my bad habits, I’m never going to lose the weight I want to and thus never look how I want to and thus never attract my partner in crime, I’m never going to want to leave this bed.

Seriously, where did this come from? I hate it. I also hate opening up and feeling vulnerable so all of those thoughts – while they’ve been active – have never been expressed before. 

Depression is so fucking tricky because it’s your brain lying to you and convincing you that who you think you are on the good days is the lie, rather than it being the lie itself. 

I hate this. I’m just going to go to sleep and hope I wake up feeling like myself again. I’ve got an exciting meeting tomorrow and if depressed Jessie is the one who wakes up it’s gonna be a tough day of maintaining the facade of being fine. 

Art Therapy

Here in the US we’re going through a bit of a crisis. Well, those of us who are more liberal minded and concern ourselves with causes like social justice seem to be in a state of crisis at least. I think as a country we became complacent with the status quo then for myself personally, I saw in Bernie Sanders a real opportunity to put social issues at the forefront of policy changes should he have been the Democratic candidate to go up against trump. But. . . due to a series of suspiciously unfortunate events he was elected to be our Democratic candidate or even an independent candidate and thus we have landed our country in a position to be mocked across the globe and with absolute reason.

My point in this introduction is that I want to explain how soul crushing this past month has been thanks to “45” (it’s what I’ll call the current president because his name is too triggery) being an uneducated and boisterous child with concern only for attention and money. The emboldened racists and misogynists who are gaining confidence in the acceptability of their beliefs now that they have a PRESIDENT who shares their views are becoming louder than those of us who believe in equality and justice for all. It’s terrifying. Almost paralyzing. Some days I want to shut down and the reason isn’t my chemical depression – it can be traced back to ONE MAN running for PRESIDENT OF A FREE COUNTRY. That sentence is so upsetting and frustrating and makes me feel powerless.

Thus, I have been painting a lot lately to supplement my weekly therapy. And by a lot I mean every other day. . . at LEAST. I have nowhere to put my paintings I’ve painted so many.

I cannot express in words how therapeutic I find smooshing a bunch of bright, pretty paint around a fresh white canvas. I suppose it’s a release similar to what people who are obsessed with running feel? I’m not sure, I loathe running. I sit in my little apartment’s living room with some movie on in the background (no cable or internet so it’s just the DVDs I own), in a crappy lawn chair (I never bought a couch or moved in my real chair – never wanted to haul it upstairs), surrounded by my rainbow explosion of paint tubes and paint 1-5 canvases in one night. All of my angst is gone for those 1-6 hours. All of it. No facebook news feed, no racism, no hate, none of my rights being taken away, just me and my creativity.

Now, I know this is not a long term solution and I by no means see it as such. This has been my escape for the month of February. I told myself I could have the month of February to ignore everything and focus on myself. I am no good to my community if I’m a mess. Now that it’s March, I’m already in full swing activist mode – more on that later. For now, here’s a sampling of my paintings! Just keep in mind, these are THERAPEUTIC – not artistic – so be gentle on the judging!

 

Random grouping that gives you an idea of my style
Rainbow birch bark series
Trying to not use the entire canvas
One of my favorites!
Another favorite – I like lots of bright colors
Rainbows!

Respond not React – Weekly Therapy Takeaways No. 01

Safe space honesty time. . . I’m a little defensive. Ok, super safe space real talk time. . . I’m super defensive. Like, all the time. I take things personally that have nothing to do with ME as a person. A recent example: I’m buying a house and it’s in a neighborhood that some people find uncomfortable – that’s a whole deal of its own – and I was explaining this to someone who was asking where I live. Rather than simply explaining where my house will be I started becoming defensive (this was via messenger) and my tone was combative as if where my house was WAS ME.

The person I was messaging didn’t respond for a bit and I had a chance to read back through what I had hastily written then wrote one more message: “not that I’m defensive or anything”

A lot of my recent efforts in my personal growth have been recognizing where I am being less than a stellar human being. My defensiveness is definitely off-putting which pushes people away and rightfully so. I believe it’s another one of my attempts at keeping myself behind a wall of self-preservation so that no one can hurt me. Not a good thing if I ever want to find my partner in crime.

I brought this up with Ms. Therapist yesterday and she had some wisdom to share that I’d like to pass on to you!

A few things. . .

 

Don’t Take it Personally

Seriously, if my group of friends decide to go to a restaurant other than the one I suggested, this has NOTHING TO DO WITH ME! That thought is paranoid and self-centered (my critique, not Ms. Therapist’s). If I’m talking to someone about my house, I am talking about my HOUSE and not me. These seem like super obvious statements but alas, not to my brain. I will be working on this. Within relationships I realize that I would take feedback from partners personally – when truly their feedback is on my BEHAVIOR and not on me. Really, that just feels like getting my head out my ass and being a grownup – which I believe I’ve been getting better at. (maybe?)

 

Respond NOT React

When I’m in a situation or a conversation that has the potential for me to take something personally I will try to respond to what comes up rather than react. A response is something that is thought out after a momentary pause. A reaction is an immediate kneejerk blurting out of whatever is coming out of my brain first. If I know that my brain is (for the time) wired to fire off a defensive reaction then I can put the effort in to retrain my brain to pause for a minute, ignore that defensive voice, and formulate an appropriate response.

 

Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.

I’m pretty sure there are elementary school teachers with this saying on a motivational poster hanging up in their classroom somewhere. I can be REALLY mean. When I REACT (rather than responding) I can go low which is something I am not proud of and aim to improve in myself. In the heat of an argument (which is all reaction and seldom ever response) mean things are said that cannot be un-said. In the last long-term relationship I was in I did VERY well with biting my tongue during arguments because for once it was my partner who had the loudest issues and they were the one reacting so I had to be the one responding so that it didn’t turn into a shouting match. This sentence of sage advice is a skill for sure though – I know we’re taught the Golden Rule and all but I think a lot of kids forget that once they hit middle school and it’s “bully or be bullied” (I was the one being bullied).

 

So there you have it. This week’s takeaways from therapy. And look, it didn’t even cost you a copay!

good-luck

I’m Seeing Someone. . . My Therapist

You guys! I’ve been going to weekly mental health counseling for the past 5 weeks and I have never felt better. I’ve also been avoiding the news and social media which helps a lot too.

I went to a therapist who my psychiatrist recommended and so far, we’ve been doing very well. She’s around my age, I think (I’m awful at guessing age), and she’s got Gumpy Cat chotchkies in her office which I consider to be a good sign. It’s like the modern version of the old school “Hang in there, baby!” kitten on a tree limb poster. These days nobody has the time or patience to sugarcoat things sometimes so it’s just a big fat NOPE. I like to think of it as a motivational NOPE though.

hang-in-there

So far Ms. Therapist has helped me calm down about the way that I’m usually torn and paralyzed by the amount of goals I have. I’ve realized that although I really do want to get my masters in psychology it isn’t going to help on my immediate goals and therefore it’s ok to put on the back burner and not feel guilty about “ignoring it”. I even created worksheets so that I can track the planning and success of individual goals! Have I filled them out yet? Noooo. . . But shh. . . that leads to my next therapy-driven revelation.

I am trying to stop saying “I should”. I know, it seems like a trivial little action to have an impact on my mental health but holy Hannah it has helped! Because I’m prone to juggling 5 goals at once I have usually been guilt-ridden at my lack of action toward all of them- even when making steps toward achieving one or two of them I would negative self-talk about how I SHOULD be doing a million other things. Even just now thinking about it I’m getting an anxious feeling. But now, I’m training myself to say “I will” which helps to relieve that self-imposed pressure. Like, I should be working on my She Should Run incubator material. But. . . and reference my point in the above paragraph. . . that is not my immediate goal and one day I WILL complete it. BAM! Such a tiny change creates such a grand shift in my emotional state.

I also went on a date last week (ok, I’m not entirely sure if it was like a double date or a chaperoned date or just hanging out with a someone and another couple – I have no idea – this is being single at 32 apparently) and that led my therapist and I into a discussion about relationships and where I’m at with what I want. It was nice to talk about that with someone other than a friend because of course my friends are going to say nice things, meanwhile my therapist asks probing questions to help me figure out what I’m looking for exactly.

She has also helped a TREMENDOUS amount in my house-buying adventures. And by adventures I mean like hiking a really difficult mountain with an overcast sky so that the view’s not even worth the struggle yet. I’m hoping that my struggle will pay off soon. . . March 14th to be exact but apparently this whole house buying game is unpredictable even when there are contracts involved. My therapist has helped put my stress in perspective and appreciate how much I’m doing/progressing. BOOM! Yeah, you’re right Ms. Therapist, I am doing a lot of big things and learning from them!!!

So there you have it, a brief synopsis of the first five sessions with my new therapist.

Hilarious moment from my first appointment – as I’m leaving our session she tells me to check out with the front desk and asks:

Ms. Therapist: You can schedule your next appointment with her. How often were you thinking of coming?
Me: I was thinking like every week.
Ms. Therapist: Yeah, I think that’s a good idea.

Hahahaha, yes yes, I am in need of weekly mental health tune-ups because ya know what? I’ve been neglecting myself for far too long and it’ll take some time to get my poop in a group (a friend of mine’s replacement for “get your shit straight” when she’s around her kids).

The Midwife of Mental Health

In a very surreal moment, the kind you only see in movies or on TV, I was sitting cross-legged on the floor of my across-the-alley neighbor’s apartment telling her boyfriend to shut his mouth as I tried to soothe her during a panic attack. I had just hung up her phone from calling her mom and realized I should probably call her best friend back, I had got off the phone with her just a few moments ago and left her likely quite confused.

I have not yet once talked to this neighbor in the last 9 months that I have lived in my apartment. I’ve said maybe 12 words to her boyfriend on two separate occasions – he smokes out on their stairwell so I see him in passing. I was leaving to meet up with a friend at a set time and as I was dragging my stuff out of my place I noticed that my neighbors were arguing – very loudly – I just figured it was the 20-30 something typical couple’s fight of whatever and yeah, yelling’s ok to some people. It didn’t seem to be abusive and I couldn’t make out anything. As I came back out for a second round of my stuff to take to my car it had escalated, I could tell she was sobbing and he was shouting orders about standing up and breathing. He stormed out and I heard him on his phone talking about how she was having a panic attack and he couldn’t handle it. Then she was screaming after him to help her – then she screamed “somebody help me!”

So. . . fuck. . . I gotta do something. The boyfriend was being a dick. I can understand both sides of it because I’ve been on both sides. I’ve had bipolar breakdowns and flipped my shit on a partner before – something which at the time I could not control and was an absolutely horrendous mess. I suppose as a test of if I had learned the lesson life was trying to teach me, I have had the same out-lash inflicted on me. I’ve also had a panic attack and witnessed others try to help me with logic then watched their frustration escalate as their logic or “solution suggesting” failed to improve my condition – which can sometimes even further escalate their reaction to anger.

I believe this boyfriend reverted to the “suggest solutions” then “use logic” and once those two things didn’t work and he didn’t understand why – he flipped and started yelling.

Let’s get something clear. You DO NOT YELL OR ESCALATE when someone is having a panic attack.

If you know someone who has a history of panic attacks, it would be very kind of you to ask them what works FOR THEM when they are having an attack. If they prefer to be left alone – then you leave them alone. If they say they prefer to be left alone when they’re not in a panicked state then once the attack hits and they decide they want you by their side – you go be by their side.

I’ve learned these things (through research and experience) and as a completely unrelated bystander I was much better suited to help.

I knocked on their door – kind of terrified actually – and the boyfriend automatically started talking about whatever whatever at me but I went straight over to her, she was slumped over on the floor, leaning against the couch. I shushed him as he kept trying to explain her panic attack – I DID NOT need him to mansplain HER panic attack – I also didn’t need to escalate or assume anything so I just shushed him and focused on her.

I don’t really do touchy-feely stuff unless I’m in a relationship with someone. Even my BFF gets hugs but like, not all the time. This poor girl though, I just instinctively started rubbing the back shoulder blade area and I might have called her sweetie? I never use names like that. She was hyperventilating and asking to call her mom – she was on the phone with her best friend but hung up. I called her best friend back and explained who I was, and decided to call her mom. I assured her best friend that I wasn’t leaving until her mom arrived. Meanwhile the boyfriend was still talking at us – I don’t know their situation and I’m sure he meant to be helpful but no! I did ask her if she wanted water and when she said yes he went and got her ice water, so that was very nice.

I called her mom and explained who I was (this was so incredibly surreal – “Hi, I’m Jessie, your daughter’s neighbor. She’s having a panic attack. Can you come over? She’s asking for you. How far away do you live? Ok, I’ll wait here with her until you get here.”

It took her mom about 15 minutes to get there. In that time I called my neighbor’s best friend back and told her what was happening, I met the neighbors’ cats and learned that they all (the neighbors and the girl’s best friend) think my cat is very pretty (I’m assuming they see her in the window all the time), the boyfriend is bipolar (it was his excuse for not handling the attack well, I said NOPE! I’m bipolar too and that’s no excuse not to put your own shit on hold to help your partner), and I was remarkably composed for such a weird situation.

When I was rubbing her back I was gently saying that panic attacks, and mental health, are not things we can control and are not our fault. I might have given the boyfriend the stink eye some. But he chimed in with his excuses for not handling it well and how he’s had a panic attack once but then he researched it so he would never have one again. I calmly explained that – there is no logic in a panic attack, you as the partner are there to support the person and get them through it. Talk about solutions for the NEXT TIME when this one has passed.

A very very sweet moment where I felt oddly, proudly helpful – I asked her if she had a blanket or a pillow or some stuffed animal that really comforted her that she’d like to have. She didn’t really respond but her boyfriend hopped to and asked if she wanted her squishy pillow to which she perked up and he quickly went to their bedroom and got it for her. He poofed it up and helped put it under her head. It felt like he was finally calming down, listening, and maybe picking up on how this whole deescalation thing works.

As I recounted this story to my mom I blurted out that I felt like a “mental health midwife” and that’s exactly what it was. I filled a temporary need, pulling resources together, sharing information that will hopefully stick, and then left when the real players came in to really do the healing work.

I have not yet been back to my apartment today. I’m hopeful that they won’t be embarrassed or weirded out or anything when we run into each other next. This morning was not the time to tell them that it’s my own personal mission to end the stigma of mental health, but I did try to make them feel like I was a judgement-free zone.

And there you have it. A very bizarre Saturday indeed.

 

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Also, just now researching it I feel like “psych doula” should be a thing – so I totally just registered that as a web domain and shall determine the feasibility of inventing it. I imagine it may be much like a life coach. A supplement to legitimate LMHC or psychiatric counseling. #bam

My Vision Statement – She Should Run

Hello everyone!

I’ve been immersed in several useless wastes of energy lately that I’ll be struggling to wrangle into order so that I can start 2017 off right. Fuck 2016, amirite?

One very cool thing that I’ve started is the She Should Run online incubator which is one of the most exciting things to come of 2016.

Lesson 1: Develop Your Vision for Making an Impact

I wrote about 6 versions of this before finally just releasing it into the ether of the internets. I had to let it go in order to move on. I wanted to share what I came up with though because it applies to my blog (it mentions my blog!) and I spoke from my heart 100% – as I feel I do in this here space as well. Please feel free to read at your leisure and comment if you can suggest any edits that may make this vision statement more powerful for a political campaign-type purpose (I’m not running any time soon or anything, but I might as well start getting feedback now!).

 

In 2014 suicide was listed as the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10 to 24 and 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness.*

In 1999 at the age of 15 I attempted suicide because I could see no escape from the emotions that I felt trapped within for over 4 years. Because of this attempt I was committed to a psychiatric facility where instead of taking the opportunity to heal I continued to lie to my family, my treatment team, and worst of all, myself as I stood my ground in declaring that I was perfectly fine; there was nothing wrong with me. I grew up in a middle class nuclear family with as much privilege as you would imagine a Caucasian girl in the suburbs would have. Because I was aware of this privilege I struggled with asking for help when I needed it. Who was I, someone who had two working parents and a decent path to college to cry over what seemed like nothing at all? Who was I to refuse to get out of bed every morning when I had a bed in a good neighborhood? Who was I to be sad when I had nothing justifiable to be sad about? I felt so much shame not only for harboring a mental illness but also shame for not wanting to exist when I had so many more reasons that I should be grateful and not miserable.

I suffered my bipolar disorder for 8 years after that suicide attempt before I would admit to a licensed professional that I might need help. That was 8 years of quitting jobs abruptly, arguing with partners over nothing on any given day, losing the respect of my friends, and allowing my self-worth to wan and wax with the cycles of my bipolar; all because of the shame and stigma that went with it in our culture. At 23 I began seeing a therapist and psychiatrist but it still wasn’t until another 4 years later that I actually took my mental health care seriously.  Finally, at the age of 27 I started treating my bipolar like a diabetic would their diabetes; monitoring my medications and my reactions to them, checking in regularly with my physicians, I recruited my close friends to be my support team, recording my symptoms and how they change, and taking it seriously as a life and death matter because it truly can be.

I didn’t talk openly about my bipolar to my friends, family, and previous partner until 3 years ago after I had sought out serious treatment. I was embarrassed that I knew something was wrong that entire time and had failed to do anything about it. I was embarrassed that I had a “mental illness”. I felt like I was now certifiably defective. In reality I had played into all of the damaging stigmas of mental illness and because of that I suffered needlessly for far too many years. It has taken me a very long time to embrace who I am, to openly admit my mental health struggles, and to say that I have something of value to offer my community because of these things.

In November of 2015 I joined Toastmasters in an effort to learn to speak publicly about mental health so that I can help make this a topic that we aren’t ashamed of. I want someone who is struggling at the age of 15 to identify their feelings of total apathy and emptiness as possible depression and be comfortable talking to their school counselor about it. I want us to have conversations about mental health just as we do about physical health, because there should be as much shame about anxiety as there is about a broken arm, which is to say none.

In this past year I’ve shared my story through social media and on a blog that I write somewhat regularly. I’ve been messaged, retweeted, tagged, emailed, and continue to received heartfelt comments expressing gratitude for my candid approach to discussing my own struggles with mental health. There are people all over the world who have not yet found a way to get over the stigma of mental illness and so they continue self-medicating or hide their emotions. I was recently messaged by a reader who said that I inspired them to become more open about their issues with anxiety, and that despite their worries of being negatively received they’ve gotten nothing but love and support from the people they’ve opened up to.

This brings me to why I’m here with She Should Run; I want to help give a voice to those who don’t feel strong or confident enough to be their own voice yet. I want to empower those who feel they don’t have a say to realize that they have much more than they know right now and they have the power to use it for the benefit of everyone in our community. I want to speak up for the homeless, the prison population, the addicts, and the veterans who might not realize that a part of their suffering could come from mental illness. I want to be a part of the governing body that decides to allocate resources to help repair this. I want to fight to end youth suicide due to mental illness with comprehensive mental health programs, especially in at-risk areas. I want to use whatever privilege I have to help those who have less.

 

* Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

My #SecretAnxiety – the Unmastered Frontier

I’m fairly open about my bipolar – the depression and hypo-mania, and I’m beginning to theorize that this level of comfort correlates to a level of mastery I believe I’ve gained over it in the past few years. I’m theorizing this because I’m experiencing something new and I find it embarrassing when I know I absolutely should not. 

I’ve recently been introduced to a whole new mental health issue that I have not yet experienced. I’m currently battling anxiety. Anxiety is a beast. It has been endlessly lashing out at me for the past few months, chasing me into corner after corner until I break. I meditate, I bike, I see my friends and have quality conversations with them, I try to think positively, I understand this is a physiological response and yet I can’t control it. And I know I shouldn’t expect myself to – but somehow I do. I manage my bipolar, why can’t I manage this anxiety? 

I feel ashamed. 

My anxiety comes out by way of compulsively and uncontrollably itchy skin on the upper outer part of my arms and the upper part of my legs. It’s usually triggered while getting ready for work and it’s gotten to the point that I’ve made myself bleed if I leave my legs uncovered, or give myself tiny bruises if I put on tights. I can’t not scratch. It’s the most driving itch I’ve ever felt in my life.

I sought the help of my psychiatrist because getting in as a new patient at a therapist is months out. I got anti-anxiety medication. I’m trying to control my thoughts better but it’s not easy. 

I feel embarrassed. 

I don’t want others to feel this way though. I know I’m not alone but it truly can feel so incredibly lonely when you go through things like this on your own. 

I suppose I’m writing to remind myself and others that it’s human to experience these trials. We’re not alone. We don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be perfect. I am not perfect. And it’s ok. 

It’s easier to pretend it’s ok sometimes.

Perspective: Entitlement vs Gratitude

Here’s how I’m seeing things currently: 

My apartment does not have central AC in Florida, I don’t get paid what I deserve, I was just told by my landlady that she’s selling my place, I have to take medications every day to be at a base level of happy, I go to bed alone, I’m stuck working an 8-5 and trying to figure out a side hustle for the foreseeable future because: bills, I have a car payment now after an accident totaled the car I nearly paid off and loved, I miss my dad, and my level of physical fitness is sad. 

Those are the things I think. 
Here’s what I am constantly encouraging myself to replace those thoughts with: 

I have an apartment that I can afford in a place that I like and enough income to buy fans, I enjoy the work that I do and the people I work with – plus I just spoke up about my rate so I’ve said my belief to the person who matters and we’ll see what happens, there are always housing options – they may not be perfect but they might just be even better, I don’t have to take medications to stay alive – I have learned coping mechanisms and have a support system – it would just be a decrease in quality of life, my bed is empty because I’m waiting for my perfect partner in crime and am done settling (let me tell you it took an embarrassing amount of time to learn that) – plus I have my new kitty Ellie who likes to sleep at my feet, I can see there’s a way out of the corporate grind and I am working my way toward it – in the meantime I don’t HATE my job like most people do, I survived two car accidents in the span of a month – suck it up, I have a mom and a brother that I love and I have so so many good memories of my dad, and DAMMIT JESSIE – you have no right to complain if you choose cupcakes over bike rides – quit making excuses! 
So that’s my little internal monologue of practicing gratitude rather than negative entitlement. 

Put my best foot forward and I’m bound to get SOMEWHERE. 

Right?

Also, here’s my kitty, Ellie, she makes me smile. Even when she interrupts my reading. And my one AC unit, it makes me happy too.