Explaining Bipolar Disorder in Two Easy Steps!

Were you recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and you’re not sure how to explain it to your friends and family? Or maybe you’ve been managing your bipolar disorder successfully for some time now but you find you’ve got to tell your new romantic partner why you’re bringing a bag full o’ prescription bottles on your first mini vacay together. Whatever your super fun circumstance, you’ve found yourself inadvertently in a “mental illness closet” and you need to get out! Help!

Don’t worry, I’ve been there and done that. I’ve got your back though, because explaining your bipolar disorder can be easy peasy with these two simple steps!

(please tell me the sarcasm is reading and y’all don’t think I’m just being a complete ass hole. . .)

 

single

 

  1. Tell your friends to do their own damn research online! It’s called Google! Yes, there’s tons of misinformation out there, but you can nudge them in the right direction. I recently asked my boo to check out the following because I felt they most accurately described my particular experiences with bipolar.

    – A helpful gathering of responses from people with bipolar disorder trying their best to explain it on themighty.com
    – A similar list from buzzfeed.com, yeah yeah, I know, it’s buzzfeed – but it really is helpful!
    – And this one I used personally to explain to the boo my occasional tendency to latch onto an irrational thought and convince myself that it’s true (see: this post, side note – we’re still going good!)

  2. Have a sit down chat with your friends after they’ve done their internet digging so they can ask you any and all questions about your bipolar – like a real, live FAQ page. Because your bipolar disorder is not like mine, or anyone else’s,

 

Ok, ok, I’m sorry to have used a very click-baity title for this post. And I’m sorry if I sound a little bitter / sarcastic but “coming out of the mental health closet” and worrying about losing peoples’ respect has gotten OLD. Going into a depressive spell and not having friends understand why you JUST CAN’T (like literally just can’t, not even the joke “can’t even”, the real “I’m staring at my phone trying to text you back but my brain chemistry won’t let me do anything other than stare right now” kind of even) is getting old. Having to explain that you don’t want to smile (when you’re usually the one who’s smiling and excited) simply because you feel nothing – and then watching as the person who asked quickly regrets ever talking to you.

Truly though, bipolar disorder is a health condition – there shouldn’t be shame associated. Friends and families of those with mental health conditions should do what they can to educate themselves, take the burden off of us. Then come to us with questions, help us break down assumptions and stigmas together.

 

Oh and ya know, sorry about not writing in forever, I promise I’m getting my poop in a group! But hey, that’s why this blog is Jessiedoeslife and not Jessiemasteredlifeandhasherpoopinagroup100percent. You get the behind-the-scenes hot-messery that is me dealing with my bipolar disorder and trying to take on the world!

Cheers,
Jessie

 

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He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not – Either Way, It’s All in My Head

I feel like those of us with mental health issues are constantly chasing normalcy – in whatever form comes quickest at times. Sometimes we really buckle in and do the hard work through therapists and psychiatrists – but sometimes we’re weak, or we get laid off and our health benefits expire. Ya know, fucking life.

I’ve chased “normalcy” through temporary fixes like drinking, “carving” (my version of “cutting”), eating disorders (usually binge eating), a weirdly satisfying addiction to the gym for a short bit (I was so happy with how I looked – but in an unhealthy fixation kind of way), and then there was always my natural state of mania that sent me into my typical two week high of insane self-esteem and destructive behaviors that can only come from a confidence that is completely unfounded.

I recently lost my job. I had already asked my boo to move in before that. It had been a roller coaster ride of depression and giving in on the low swings up to determination and being set on kicking ass when on the up swings. Now, he’s moved in.

On the outside it’s going relatively well. On the inside I cannot shut my brain off. It’s so infuriating. My thoughts are destructive and illogical. I KNOW this. These unfounded and ridiculous thoughts serve no purpose other than ruining something good while destroying my own self esteem. And yet I can’t stop them from popping up every few hours. And then I have to BATTLE them. It’s so fucking absurd! Knowing they’re illogical and having to fight my own brain to shut them out with facts and reasoning makes it feel like I’m an exhausted parent trying to tell a screaming child there is most certainly not a monster in the closet and to GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP. Ugh.

I don’t have a therapist any more – thanks to losing my health insurance and not wanting to pay out of pocket costs. Even if I did though, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to admit any of this to my therapist – I was doing so well!!! So here, on the internet of anonymity, I bare all. Here, where I know there are others like me, I feel safe.

I’m sad because I feel like it’s only a matter of time until he realizes how defective I am and decides I’m not worth it. It really should be clear that I’m a lot of work – I don’t know if I’m truly worth it.

I’m mad because he, and almost everyone else, seem so ok, so functional, and why can’t I just be that way?

I feel insecure because I’m not who I think/know I am all the time. And when I’m not feeling like myself, I ask for reassurance that “we’re ok” which I’m sure is exhausting to him. Because he’s not in my head – he doesn’t understand it’s just to shut up this little voice that I know has little validity – but it NAGS at me until I get that completely pointless confirmation. So it’s this stupid vicious cycle of obsessing over it. Maybe I should add OCD to my co-morbid diagnosis. I just cannot shut my brain off.

And the thing is, I’m 90% sure he absolutely loves me. My brain won’t even let me say 100% despite the fact that he fucking moved in, spends almost all of his free time with me, shows me affection, makes future plans with me, and is constantly making me laugh. That illogical part of my brain is debating every single one of those points with some stupid nonsensical point though! It’s like a tug-of-war over a daisy doing “he loves me, he loves me not” where both the number of flower petals and how he actually feels/acts toward me/makes me feel are COMPLETELY irrelevant! What in the actual fuck, brain???

Anyway, I just had to get this all out.

I’ve got a new job! And I’m painting again! So I’ve got to get back to painting before I leave for work.

Fuck this mental illness bullshit. I’m over it.

Edit:

Here’s the painting! It’s the one on the bottom. I did the one on the top last night.

Redirecting Negative Thinking – 10 Questions to Challenge Your Inner Negative Nancy

FRIDAY, FRIDAY, FRIDAY!!! The fight of the year! Negative Nancy vs Logical Linda!!!

You’ve been there, we’ve all been there, faced with a situation that truly could go any which way yet our brain immediately imagines the worst and off we go into the depths of despair. Now, how often has this situation ended up in that worst case scenario you imagined then brooded on for hours, maybe even days? Very rarely.

I know I’m guilty of letting my internal Negative Nancy take the wheel while Logical Linda and Positive Paula are pushed to the backseat (sometimes even locked in the trunk, that Nancy can be wicked). These negative thought patterns usually happen when a supervisor asks to speak with me (always at a LATER time. . . why???) or my partner is constantly texting someone else while we’re together one afternoon (it HAS to be another woman, it simply can’t be that they’re coordinating something with their family), or even when someone just compliments my new hair color (do they REALLY like it black, did they HATE it brown, or what are they really after here?). My Negative Nancy’s current internal monologue: I won’t be able to find another job, I’m under-qualified for the jobs I really want, over-qualified for the ones that I can get just to pay my mortgage, I won’t be able to “sell” myself as a valuable employee, SWEET BABY MOSES I WILL BE UNEMPLOYED FOREVER!!!

It’s toxic. It’s pointless. It’s a little embarrassing to be honest.

Let’s not dwell on that though (you shush it, Nancy, I’m busy channeling the good vibes right now), let’s get to work changing our mindset so we can deal with these thoughts productively. The next time you find yourself spiraling into a negative thought pattern try asking yourself these 10 questions to redirect your inner Negative Nancy and let logic (maybe even positivity!) have a go at the wheel.

 

10 Questions to Challenge Your Inner Negative Nancy

1. What am I saying to myself?

How am I evaluating the current situation? What story am I telling myself? Am I seeing it from all sides?

2.What unhelpful behaviors am I engaging in?

Recognize the actual behaviors. Are you doubting yourself, expressing low self esteem, worrying, acting differently in your personal relationships as a result of these thoughts?

3. What is the evidence FOR my evaluation?

Be sure to consider if the evidence is an actual fact, or opinion? If you’re making this a written exercise draw out two columns, one for the FOR and one for the AGAINST. Only include facts if you can. If you’re like me, however, I feel better after writing EVERYTHING out so be sure if you write out opinions you clearly mark them as such. You might even end up with a nice visual of 10 opinions in this column to 2 facts. . .

4. What is the evidence AGAINST my evaluation?

Just like your “Evidence For” column, be sure differentiate between facts and opinions. Don’t favor your Negative Nancy just because she’s your loudest voice right now, try to give Logical Linda some room to talk.

5. How much do I believe my evaluation of the situation (0-100%)?

Spend some time and really think about this one and assign a hard number. If you think you’re getting fired, what is the exact percentage of that likelihood? How did you come up with it? Do you think your beau is being unfaithful? Is that 75% likely or 95% likely? What makes the 20 point difference? Write it out in a sentence. If writing out “I am 95% certain that my partner is cheating” seems like a ridiculous thing to do, perhaps you aren’t 95% certain that thought is valid.

World Blood Donor Day 2017

6. How is it helpful for me to think this way?

What is your current thought process gaining you? Where is it getting you? How is it helping the situation?

7. How else could I view the situation? What other perspectives are there?

Think of all the different ways that you could interpret what’s going on. The boss wants to talk this afternoon. . . Maybe you’re getting a raise, you’re getting fired, the company is merging, you’re being given the opportunity to move up, the boss just wants to check in with you, you’re being given more responsibilities, the boss is leaving the company, you’re being reprimanded for never making more coffee, you’re hard work is being acknowledged. . . The list could go on. Whatever your situation, I’m guessing your list could be infinitely creative as well. Think about it and let your mind wander to possibilities on all sides of the + / – scale.

8. What advice would I give to a friend in the same situation?

This one is my favorite. I am constantly giving people advice, even when they don’t ask for it. So if my best friend came to me and said she thought her husband was cheating because he was texting a lot, or spending time away, I know a MILLION potential reasons why that might be because I know them both and I know her husband’s a good guy and she’s likely having a moment of doubt for an underlying reason. Now, if I was doubting my partner, wouldn’t it be easy to do the same after thinking like that? It’s easy to see the positive paths in other peoples’ lives when ours can be cloudy. Practice getting outside of your own head for a minute then reflect that back on your own thoughts.

9. What are healthier thoughts/behaviors I can respond with?

Be honest. Call yourself out on the negative thought patterns and then “treat yo self” by replacing those with healthier thought patterns. If you’ve been acting out because of perceived slights against you, think about how you can rectify that and move on with healthier behaviors. If the situation is with someone you’re close with, talk to them and bring them in to the solution stage for helpful input if you’re comfortable with it.

10. A healthier evaluation of the situation is:

And now we bring it full circle. Considering the previous 9 questions, what is a healthier thought pattern to follow in this situation? What is the most probable reality of the situation and how best should you react to it? Even if the “most probably reality” is a perceived negative one, like a massive company-wide lay off that’s been looming for months, the best reaction is probably not to fret over it for weeks and lose focus at work. Think and respond with a healthy dose of logic and positivity – if you’re facing a potential lay off you can clean up your resume, keep up the good work on the clock (having those references is important!), save up some money, and/or consider possible new career moves. Don’t just spend your time worrying, drinking, showing up late to work, neglecting to prepare for the worst case scenario – that will bite you in the butt.

Asking yourself these 10 questions when under the duress of a stressful situation can seem like a big ask, but if you practice and have patience with yourself you’ll find it gets easier and you can eventually learn to replace your instinctively negative thought patterns with more constructive ones. I’m not saying Positive Paula is going to take over and make you some giant ball of sunshine or anything, I’m just saying that training yourself to take the time to reflect is an invaluable skill that will save your (and probably your loved ones’) sanity!

 

*The infographic has my new (and not even remotely developed) website listed instead of this one. Jessiedoeslife will move into a more personal blog and Offbeat Endeavors will be my new foray into coaching! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Farewell, 2017, you were. . . you just were. (part I)

Dear 2017. . .

Where do I even start with you?

You brought us number 45 which has been a dark circus of epic proportions.

wishing you a very

January. . .
I started mental health therapy because I wanted to try to start dating again and I had some baggage I needed to work through. I was also doing physical therapy after months of chiropractic care for a car accident in 2016 wasn’t helping. Physical therapy helped throughout the year but holy crap my back and neck will never be the same and realizing that SUCKS. I was looking to buy a house because my landlord sold my apartments at the end of 2016 and that woke me up then made me dream of owning my own place. I started the search – which was fun. . . at first. I went to the Women’s March in DC! It was a last minute opportunity so I hopped on a bus with a bunch of (admittedly predominantly white) women and sat for hours on end on a bus from Florida to the capitol to help tell the world to fuck off if they think we’re cool with a locker room talking pussy-grabber being the figure head of our country. It felt pretty good. I started a six month fellowship for young progressives – taking up one weekend of each month from January to June of 2017. Each weekend would teach me more about how to help change the world through leadership and policy change – while connecting me with my fellowship class (they are AMAZING people) and local leaders who have helped me SO MUCH this year. January was a weekend of opening up to 24 of my peers more than I’d opened up even to ex’s – within a 48 hour period. It was fantastic. It reignited my passion to launch an art studio/community space/creative incubator/store front for local creators. I saw Lala Land, which ok, yes, it’s like the most basic movie ever but I freaking love it. I admit it. I watched it a bunch (I had free movie coupons!) and now I own it on DVD. Judge away, you judgers!

February. . .
I had the weirdest encounter with my neighbors across the way where I intervened on a boyfriend treating a girlfriend super shitty while she was having a panic attack. I ended up on the floor of their apartment with her, telling him what to do (and not do) and talking to her parents on the phone to get them to come over. So surreal. I also ended up at a surrealist art exhibit later that day so ya know, fitting. I started going to local activism events for Black Lives Matter and local Muslim mosques thanks to my fellowship fellows. I signed papers on a house that fell through – this would be a recurring thing.

March. . .
I grew impatient with the house buying because something would come up then quickly fall through. I had been doing well in therapy and then was waiting on a house to go through so I could start dating but then. . . I got bored one night and signed up on some apps and then started swiping and one thing led to another and I just kind of started dating. Dating on apps is kind of terrible. Thanks to my fellowship I was meeting more helpful connections in my community and getting even more traction with my studio plotting.

April. . .
I started closing on the house of my dreams in the neighborhood I wanted and within my price range!!!! Then it dragged on. . . and on. . . and closing dates changed. . . and changed. . . and changed. . . I packed and lived in a half-packed apartment unsure of where I’d be living from day to day. I started going on actual real life dates! With real life people! In fact, I went on like 4 dates in one week! With 4 different people!!! GO ME! I ended up going on a date that would lead to a relationship that I’m still in today (also, go me!). I attended a women’s conference in Florida with my ma – it was pretty alright.

May. . .
After I was supposed to close on the 5th on my very own 1925 bungalow version of Barbie’s dream house. . . that day came and went. . . AGAIN. It wouldn’t be until the 17th that I would sign my life away and get the keys to my FREAKING HOUSE. MY HOUSE. I LIVE IN A HOUSE NOW WHERE I PAY A MORTGAGE AND NOT RENT. I also pay every time the AC craps out, so ya know, there’s that. I continued going to therapy weekly. I was dating a couple guys when a moment of “you’re not a ‘fuck yes’, are you?” with the current boo ended in me saying “If I’m not a fuck yes for you, you’re a no for me” and that was over – for almost a week. Then he texted and we talked and I cut things off with the other guys and now, he and I are doing well! *swoon!* Oh, and in May there was a super fun company picnic that I had the super fun task of planning and running and I ended up crying and having to call the cops because the people who took over the pavilion I reserved at a park wouldn’t leave. SUPER FUN.

June. . .
I learned that the company I had been working for was merging our Florida operations in July. That was stressful news but I figured I had been there longer than the other admin staff in my office so I’d be ok. I turned 33! Apparently that’s your “Jesus year” – you know, when he did all of his miracles and helping people and stuff. I don’t know. I “graduated” my fellowship program! I didn’t FINISH my business plan but I put together a good presentation and felt pretty good about it. I still don’t technically have a plan but I’m a work in progress. I’m ok with that.

July. . .
The month started off with my housewarming party. It was actually a lot of fun – I had stressed a lot about it leading up (surprise!). I pressured myself to have everything ready – which it definitely was NOT. I got a lot done and it looked good – including a PILLOW FORT ROOM. No lie. I’m a 33 year homeowner with a pillow fort room. My fellowship fellows showed up en masse as well as my new boo, AND! My mom and my brother were there! It was a bit awkward at first to have all of my groups collide but it ended up perfectly alright. Phew! I got to attend a political campaign bootcamp – it was an intense weekend-long shebang and I survived.

 

And that wraps up the part I of my not-really-epic saga of 2017. I’m hoping 2018 brings more friendships, successes, the kind of failures I can learn from, love, learning, and GOOD TIMES. And yeah, a dash of world domination would be rad too.

The Last 97 Days of Jessie Doing Life

Ohhhhh heeeyyyyy, guyyyyssss. . .

It’s been 97 days since my last post! That’s almost 1/4 of the entire year of 2017. A lot’s been going on and I definitely have tons to write about (and have been getting on myself for NOT posting about!) but ya know what? I’ve been living! And thanks to my weekly therapy with Ms. Therapist I learned and have been applying the super solid advice of not getting on myself about “should” or “need to” but instead emphasizing “want to” or “will”.

doinglife

Jessie buys a house

So. . . I bought a house (closed in March after 3 months of a soul-crushing back and forth with the seller – a seller who remained in the house until the morning of the close – cool, right??), obsessed over getting it as ready as possible for public viewing, then hosted a housewarming party where my different groups of friends came together, along with my mom and brother, AND new boyfriend. That was intense. My house is still unfinished and I’m trying not to let it make me twitchy (again, I WILL, not I should. . .).

 

Jessie does dating

I went on 3 first dates in the last week of April (I was supposed to have 4 but I bailed on one guy last minute). The first first date, on a Tuesday, ended with both of us ghosting each other afterward, oddly satisfying. The second first date was like meeting a friend at some chain restaurant and talking about weird things but feeling no chemistry. That ended in an exchange of texts where he asked how I thought it went (I put it gently that I had fun but didn’t feel a spark) and he proceeded to tell me “yeah, I didn’t feel a spark” – THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE??? Gah! But whatevs. Friday I had the traditional dinner and drink date with a guy who seemed super nervous but was funny and easy to talk to, I was pretty sure he was wearing bowling shoes though. He and I said we’d hang out again (no kiss on the first date). Then the following Sunday night I had a date with a guy I thought was the most promising out of the 4 eligible bachelors I had been texting (via Sideline, a single gal’s best friend for using fake digits while dating!). We got along fine, he was funny and nice and flattering, then as it turned out he was going to the same show I was the next night. I was going solo so we agreed to go together. He walked me to my car and we kissed, not too shabby! Anyway, this all was 3 months ago and fast forward to now, the nervous guy with bowling shoes from the Friday date and I are officially boyfriend/girlfriend and it’s super healthy and awesome. Legit, he’s fantastic. And legit, our relationship so far is my favorite. I may write more about it, or I might leave that entirely private, I’m not sure yet. But it’s a big component of my happiness for now so there’s that! Yay!

 

Jessie does her job. . . ish

I feel like my job/office is a disaster at this point in my career. It’s such a mess that I’ve permanently got this ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ deal going on. I’ve adopted repeating the mantra “stress is the difference between expectation and reality” so I remind myself that by having no expectations, I don’t really get disappointed by reality! Woooooohooooo lowering expectations! I’m also doing more to work on my business plan for world domination. That’ll be a while and I’m not about to put that in my SHOULD pile, I WANT to and I WILL put that together and rock it.

 

Jessie does political stuffs

I’m super duper excited to be the Co-Curriculum Chair for my local chapter of the New Leaders Council for 2018. Training future progressive leaders and helping them make connections so that they can be the change in our community, that makes my heart so happy. I attended an intense bootcamp-type deal last weekend for campaign staff training, that was exhausting and neat. I learned that with my thin skin and desire to spread sparkles I could be best suited as a campaign candidate’s “Scheduler” – we’ll see if that career path is in my future. . .

 

Jessie does life. . . well. . .

I’ve battled with binge eating for 25 years. I use therapy to try to work on it currently but I haven’t found much help in talking about it. I considered going to a local overeaters anonymous group but that has yet to happen. However, I have been rather successfully sticking to tracking what I eat on an app called MyNetDiary and working on a 30 day exercise challenge (another app!) with my boyfriend and good friend as accountabilibuddies helping keep me on track. It’s been two weeks and I’m getting comments from friends, coworkers, and my family that I’m looking good (even Ms. Therapist commented before I told her what I was doing! – yaaassssssss!!). I only have one body and if I treat this one like crap I won’t be enjoying life very much except from a couch – and eff that jazz.

 

And there you have it! At least everything I can think of right now. . . Hopefully I’ll be posting more! I WANT to! But I won’t be telling myself I SHOULD!

You Have Value

A friend from college posted on the Facebooks today asking for friends to share a memory they have with her – something positive, because she’s having a tough time. This woman was a bad ass in college; she was a sorority sister of mine who was a known local DJ and even though she was popular she never let it go to her head and she was always very genuine. Shortly after college her and her boyfriend were in an accident where they were hit by a drunk driver. Her boyfriend did not survive the accident and she was left with severe brain damage. She had to relearn how to speak while she grieved the loss of her boyfriend – while she was in her early 20’s. In her late 20’s she fought hard and ended up going to Purdue and getting a masters degree. So yeah, she’s still a complete bad ass. But, even bad assess forget who they are and need a boost from friends from time to time.

I commented on her wall that I thought then and still think now that she’s a bad ass, for being strong enough to get through that obstacle and strong enough to ask for help now – which is just as important if not more. She’s someone I’ve loosely kept up with through Facebook and have messaged her with my support – letting her know that I can understand mental health struggles.

Recently I’ve forgotten my own value. I don’t feel valued at work, a recent “rejection” of sorts with my ma has me feeling dejected, I’ve been eating like crap (valuing myself very little), and this house limbo bullshit has me on edge. I haven’t been in a relationship since March of last year – June if you count that super painfully awkward debacle with Nice Guy. I’ve been talking to my therapist about waiting to move into the house, get healthy habits established for a while, then signing up on some dating site and see what’s out there for me. I think I should really wait for the time to be right, for ME to be right, before I try to find a partner.

Well, with the news that the house closing was being pushed ANOTHER week, I said “Nope! Screw that, I ain’t waiting!” and reactivated my account on a dating app just for funsies – to see what’s out there.

Again, just like the previous foray into dating apps, I was overwhelmed pretty quickly with the amount of “no, thank you though” guys that were messaging me. I just don’t respond well to “Hey beautiful.” But there were a few that messaged me that I thought were cute, they were “my type”, and they didn’t say anything offensive (yay!). I was heading to the annual business women’s conference with my ma this week so I gave the few eligible bachelors my Sideline number (fantastic app where you can have another phone number that routes to your actual one) and disabled my dating app account for the weekend.

I know my self-value should come from within. Most of the time it does. But sometimes, my self-value crumbles from the weight of all the bullshit of the exterior world and usually, as a serial monogamist, I’ve got my partner in crime to help pick me up when I’m down. Being single though, I have my cat – who’s super cute and all, but she mostly likes me when I’m feeding her or giving her exactly 3 pets and 5 scratches behind the ears – NO MORE, NO LESS! Well, messaging these 3 strangers for the past 3 days has made me feel valuable again. No, they didn’t say anything about how amazing I am or try to flatter me to death – nothing over the top like that. But they’ve SEEN me. Texting with them I’ve been myself and they’ve responded enthusiastically. I feel attractive again. (no, no nudes were involved) I feel like I CAN attract my partner in crime.

It’s painful to admit that I haven’t felt that way in a long time. It’s also embarrassing to admit that I haven’t been able to find that from within myself – I’ve found it through three strangers on a dating app.

I’m trying not to analyze this too much or judge myself too harshly, just embrace it and help it grow. Ok, so I briefly forgot my bad ass-ness but I think this glimmer of it is enough to hold onto and build it up like an epic snowball that I can just keep rolling around until it’s big enough to knock down a skyscraper.

Yeah. . . I’m not really sure where I was going with that.

Anyway. I feel a little better today and I’m going to embrace that. Embrace it and NURTURE it.

 

Judgement-free zone!

It’s a Process – Weekly Therapy Takeaways No. 05

good-luck

Oh Geez, you guys, it’s been a doozy lately. Work has been a mess, packing up to move (maybe?) in two weeks has been a mess, closing on a house when my realtor is a mess and the seller is a mess has been. . . a MESS, working on a business plan for a dream I’ve been doubting for over a decade has been a mess, and my eating habits have been a mess. All of this leads to my life feeling like I’m constantly worrying about a tornado that could come at any time, then in the worrying I cause a tornado myself somehow.

I’ve been talking to Ms. Therapist about a combination of this MESS and my childhood a lot lately. It’s brought up a LOT of shit and while we’ve worked through some of it together, there’s a lot of it left that I’ll be working on for a good, long while.

Mental health isn’t something you can just slap a band-aid on and call yourself cured – despite how much I’m sure we all wish it was. Though I’m happy to have started on this journey I’m sometimes overwhelmed with the viewpoint I’ve got from here. It’s like being stuck on the top of a hill in a traffic jam and you can see below you that there’s at least another 20 miles of bumper to bumper traffic between you and your destination. If you’re doing well your gas gauge is reading at least half-full, your AC is in good working order, and you’ve got some good jams or podcasts to keep you company (or an actual person/furry friend in the copilot seat). If things are a mess, everyone’s horns are blaring, your windows are down for any relief from the heat, and the only thing that works on your stereo is the tape player which has had Hanson’s MMM Bop single stuck in there since the 90’s – it’s ALL you can listen to. I’m somewhere in between those two traffic jam rides right now. I’m hopeful that this house will go through and within 3 weeks I’ll be cruising at a moderate speed with some uplifting episode of “Modern Love” playing and I dunno, if I’m dreaming big, getting a text from a cute new boo.

Anyway, times are stressful right now and I’m incredibly thankful to have a therapist there to remind me that I’m ok. I’m working on myself and my life – this is a PROCESS and I need to give myself credit and patience to work through it all.

Sometimes I just gotta tell myself to hug it out. With my cat. Ellie. (for now!)