Saturday, March 10, 2018

This Day


On this day a year ago I was in Hawaii having a lovely day, 6 hours later I tried to kill myself.

I realized this yesterday and spent the day in bed crying and sleeping, because that's what you do when you're depressed and sad... or at least that's what I do. 

Why? Many of you won't like this answer, many of you may judge me, pity me, or be angry at me. That's your choice but my life is my choice. My choice a year ago was to end my life.

I couldn't take the pain of having a migraine every day anymore, I couldn't look into the future and see hospital visit after hospital visit for the rest of my life. Just to spend the little amount of time walking in the botanical gardens above was torture. 

Also, the time I spent in Hawaii is probably the happiest, or most at peace, I ever felt. I realized how depressed I was. How unhappy my marriage was and I didn't see an end to that either. You don't wake up not having a mental illness and I felt I was doing everything I could to save my marriage. 

I just felt like that was as far as I wanted to go in life, really and truly. Here's the part of the story you won't like.

Unfortunately for me my roommate is/was a firefighter and paramedic. She found me and took me to the hospital. 

The following year has unraveled quickly for me. I decided I had to make some decisions to make changes in my life. I'm getting a new treatment that has improved my migraines for the last year. It's been really amazing but I am at the hospital all the time and it's very expensive. I also gave my husband an ultimatum about our marriage and now I'm getting divorced. It's not the outcome I was expecting. 

So in the last year do I wish things had happened differently? I can still honestly say that I do. I still wish I had died. I thought I had lost everything but it turns out there's always more to lose. I don't care about losing stuff in the divorce, I care about losing my person. I'm grateful that so far my migraines are under control but nobody knows how long that will last and I can't indefinitely afford it.  I applied for two different organizations that do compassionate release but chronic migraines are not considered a terminal disease. 

But it's so much more than what you can put practically on paper. I tried to explain it to a friend recently. I think it's years of trauma, abuse, neglect, pain and mental illness. I hurt on the inside so deeply that I think I must be broken. The highs and the happy days don't matter anymore because the hurt is so strong. There's a tear and I can feel it ripping every day and sometimes I might get a few stitches but then they get ripped away and it hurts just as much again. There is no pain tolerance in your heart and soul, at least not in mine. 

So I spent all day crying and sleeping. 

Where does that leave me now? I don't know. I'm paralyzed. I don't know where to go now, I don't know how to properly adult, I feel more lost that ever. I am frozen. I just try to get out of bed everyday, eat, go for a walk and take care of my basic needs. That's a spectacular day for me now. I've become my own ghost.

And that's the most depressing thing I can think of. 

So why write this post? Because you can never judge someone by the photo's that they post, or the funny quips that they write as their status updates. Mental Health Awareness can mean that not all of us want to be saved but we don't always want to feel so alone either. Mental Illness and depression is a continuum over time. You don't all of a sudden get better because you didn't die and we don't forget. My life remains a choice.

If you are thinking of suicide and you need someone to talk to you, you can always call the National Suicide Hotline

Call 1-800-273-8255

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Today is my first Valentine’s Day as a single person since I was 19. It’s given me a lot to think about. I guess I spend a majority of the time trying to understand the nature of love now. I suppose I’m in good company since philosophers, writers and scholars have been doing the same thing for thousands of years.

My end conclusion is that love is like being bipolar, truly. Put in these terms I think anyone can be able to understand how we, said bipolar population, feel all the time. Not just when we’re falling in or out of love. It also seems that there’s not a big difference between falling in or out. Love is straight up painful.

So how do I describe this? Very slowly I think, so stay with me!

1. The bipolar person feels things more deeply, as does the person falling in or out of love
2. The bipolar person makes bad choices based on these overwhelming feelings, as does the person falling in or out of love. For example, drunk texting (for good or evil) I’m sure you can think of others.
3. The bipolar person can have severe mood swings, I don’t need to say anymore do I?
4. The bipolar person rarely feels in control over their own life, I have yet to meet anyone falling in or out of love that seems in control
5. The bipolar person has trouble concentrating and we all know love isn’t good for that either
6. The bipolar person can feel physical pain from their depression, the pain of heartbreak can be real
7. The bipolar person rarely feels secure, but falling in and out of love is the most insecure feeling out there
8. The bipolar person is a big liar (I’m fine),  it’s exactly the same for love (no really...)
9. The bipolar person can either be depressed or manic, that pretty much sums up anyone falling in or out of love
10. The bipolar person has trouble sleeping, you got it...

10 compelling reason that being bipolar is the same as love but there’s one difference. I can take my meds and control my symptoms. There are no medications to prevent love. If there were would you want one? You can try all you want not to have feelings but in the end your heart is like a cat, it does what it wants, and it hurts. Even though you have the amazing highs that come with love, I think I would take the medication because my tender heart wasn’t made for falling in and out of love. It just wants to love all the time. To me it’s infinitely harder to deal with love than my bipolar disorder. So if you had to choose one or the other, I say go with mental illness. At least you have a good excuse for acting a bit off and taking a lot of medication. Cheers to you lovers!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Safe and Sound

I recently heard the song Safe and Sound by Capital Cities. Here’s the lyrics...

I could lift you up
I could show you what you want to see
And take you where you want to be
You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we'll be safe and sound
We're safe and sound
I could fill your cup
You know my river won't evaporate
This world we still appreciate
You could be my luck
Even in a hurricane of frowns
I know that we'll be safe and sound (safe and sound)
We're safe and sound (safe and sound)
We're safe and sound (Hold your ground)
We're safe and sound (safe and sound)
I could show you love
In a tidal wave of mystery
You'll still be standing next to me
You could be my luck
Even if we're six feet underground
I know that we'll be safe and sound
We're safe and sound
I could lift you up
I could show you what you want to see
And take you where you want to be
You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we'll be safe and sound
I could lift you up
I could show you what you want to see
And take you where you want to be

This is how I felt when I was married. I always felt safe. I didn’t think my husband would choose divorce over counseling. I knew he’d be a good husband because he’d always taken care of me  I feel like people don’t really get the grief that occurs when you’ve lost someone you love and was hoping to make it work. He’s right though, I think this is best for him and in many ways he’s still taking care of me and I’m grateful because he’s a good person. We just had too many challenges. I still hope that we both find a relationship that’s right for us. I didn’t realize how much I gave up of myself. I’m pretty useless as an adult. We had been together since I was 23.  I want to be an optimist but given my background it’s very hard to feel safe and sound. 

This has been brutally shown to me as I’ve changed my emergency contacts. I don’t have any. No one local, no one I’m comfortable asking and honestly I don’t care if I have one. You have to sign certain paperwork in this situation, which I’ve done. If I feel the need and have the ability to contact someone, then I will, otherwise my cats will not be helpful. 

I always trusted my husband 200% in any decision. It’s hard to trust. I hardly trust myself! I tried trusting again and I immediately got burnt. No one can make me safe and sound except me, and possibly Daniel Craig. I guess my husband and I weren’t each other’s luck but maybe I’ll be someone else’s if I’m not too afraid of myself. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

New Frontiers

It's almost 2018 and I'm so grateful to be putting 2017 behind me. It's easily been the hardest year of my life, which I think is saying something. I know that just because it's a new year doesn't automaticlly just make everything start fresh and clean but I'm determined to pick myself up and dust myself off the best I can in 2018.

I haven't made Resolutions for New Years in a long time (refer to the post Evolutions) but this year I'm going to give myself some guidelines. I keep saying I need a real adult to help me adult my very scary world right now but that isn't how life works. I have huge decisions to make and I feel like it's going to be very important to take care of myself so that I can build a vision for my future and make some much needed changes for personal growth.

I've been reading a lot of different articles on how to stay motivated this year and I found one I really liked in The Mighty about 12 months of self care. I changed it a little to suit my purposes but this is what it looks like and I think anyone could do it.

January: Feed Your Soul
Eating right! This is something I'm already working on by carefully learning how to cook and staying on the Purium Plan but I think January is always a good time for a detox, so I've ordered my Purium Detox kit. I lost 50 pounds in 2017 and I'm hoping to lose the remaining 15 in 2018.

February: Routine
I know it sounds boring but for me it's so important to have a routine. A regular bedtime, eating schedule, exercise schedule. I didn't realize how much until this winter. It's helped my seasonal depression enormously. Even a grocery shopping schedule helps keep me on track with eating better. It's a good time to get back on track.

March: Physical Fitness
By March I should have been doing physical therapy for my back, coming back strong from swimming every day in Hawaii and I'm already up to walking 5 days a week (which is something I couldn't do a year ago) I'm hoping by this month I can try to start running again or maybe start doing yoga again. If I'm unable to go up in intensity at least really join a gym with a pool to keep swimming.

April:Treat YoSelf
It's my birthday month! I think I should get my rare pedicure, massage and whatever else seems good to me. I'm just going to do things that feel luxurious that I never treat myself to.

May: Meditation Challenge
I'm pretty good about doing this before bed but it's never a bad idea to work on meditation. It decreases stress and improves your move. I may be moving in the spring and it's always stressful. There are some really great apps you can use if you are a beginner.

June: Helping Others
I've taken a lot of time off from my volunteer work and I miss it a lot. I hope by June that my back situation is under control and that I'm settled in whatever new community I might be in and I'd love to get back to helping the community.

July: Journaling
I'm always on the fence about this. I'm pretty bad at keeping a journal but when I do I usually find out some pretty interesting things about myself. I worked on it briefly last winter in Hawaii and it was an interesting thought experiment. I'll have a lot of changes in 2018 so it might be a good habit to form.

August: The Hobbiest
Try something new! I don't know what that is or what it could be but it never hurts to cultivate new hobbies. This will be a tough one for me because I've run out of the hobby phase in life but it's important to keep learning.

September: Social Butterfly
I get stuck in these ruts of not leaving the house or hiding from people. I feel let down and I feel like I"m letting down but I still need to put myself out there because I cannot live on cat friendships alone! I'll be working on putting myself in all those awkward social situations.

November: NanoWriMo
Thankfully November challenges me with National Novel Writers Month every year. I did complete this year and I am having my completed novel being read by beta readers currently. Do I have another novel in me? Only time will tell.

December: Mindfulness
Be mindful of one thing everyday that is amazing. That shouldn't be too hard, should it?

I also downloaded a book called 365 Daily Do Its: Organizing Tips and Challenges to Help You Get Organized. My house is quite large and it's very daunting on where to get started on how to pack it and after I pack it up where do I go. I'm formulating a type of plan in my mind but I'm not sure if it's the right plan.

Obviously, I'm trying to start my travel plans for the year but I have a lot of unknowns between moving and extra Stanford visits but that's always part of my ongoing planning.

If you asked my what my Resolutions were I'd say to be happy and healthy, then in my mind I'd add to be loved deeply. Call me a romantic but I think I've finally found a peace in myself where I could allow myself to feel loved. I met a wonderful man recently who made me think it could be possible to find my own version of a fairy tale, sadly for me he wasn't my prince but I bet there must be one out there for me. I have so much love in me to give that it would feel so wonderful to share it with someone.

Until then I'll keep making myself a better human being and be satisfied with being happy and healthy. I got this!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Miles and Miles of Milestones

It's my migraine anniversary again. On December 14, 2014 I got a migraine that never went away. This blog has documented my struggle living with Chronic Migraines, Cluster Headaches and Bipolar Depression. Every year I can't help but remember how far my life veered off course but I try to look back and see what's changed, what's working and what I've learned.

Let's jump back a year, at the end of last year I was having a nervous break from too much stress and my migraines were out of control. My psychiatrist thought I either needed to be in the hospital or a long vacation. Since my husband was going to be away working most of the winter I opted to head to Hawaii. I meant to spend a month there but I ended up being there for about four. 

It was an amazingly peaceful time, despite the ongoing migraines and a brief stay in the psychiatric ward in Kona, refer to the post Going Dark. I did find this alleged thing called happiness that most people find so easily. I'm very grateful to my Hawaiian Ohana/Family for taking care of me.

I did also finish traveling though Utah and Colorado with my husband in the motorhome, getting to see my family and oldest friends. I took my 14 year old niece to Alaska in the summer for a nice change, where I saw all my best friends. My 22 year old sister and I had an amazing adventure in Napa that I think we should do yearly and an awesome trip to meet an internet friend  in Kansas City! I took some fun local trips to see friends as well, and I was able to drive by myself!

So what's changed? This year I started getting regular DHE infusions in the hospital over the period of 5 days and it's done amazing things. I still get migraines, but they aren't as strong and don't last more than a few days. I mostly live in a permanent crushing headache state but I'll take it! It's given me more freedom. I've even been able to start exercising again, it's not swimming in the ocean every day but it will keep me in shape until I go back in January. I've also put the cryoablations on hold for the time being. I feel like the botox with the DHE seem to be doing pretty good.

Sadly, my marriage fell apart this year as well as did many of my relationships. It's really too difficult to write about currently. 

Also this post is the final "chapter" in a book I wrote this month for NaNoWriMo. It's a compilation of my blog posts threaded together with my current outlook. Given that November was a really difficult month for me I expect I may have some editing to do after this.

So what did I learn this year?
1. No one has your back
2. When you wait you're making a decision
3. Progress is possible

A hard learning year to be sure. I don't know exactly what I want but I feel like maybe I'm getting closer now that I can think. I'm so beaten up from this year that I'm not sure if I'll sail through next year or just shut down entirely but most days now I get to wake up and make that choice. If that's not one thing to hold on to I don't know what is.

Friday, November 17, 2017


It's the holiday season and for more people than you might think this is not the happiest time of the year. The holidays can be stressful and cause anxiety for many but more so if you suffer from depression already and you sprinkle a little Seasonal Affective Disorder on top. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays, leaving people feeling isolated from the majority and not everyone has friends and family to share them with. Which is a little bit of how I'm feeling this year.

I read an article yesterday about how to prepare your mental health for the holidays. Much of the advice I thought was sound but some was a bit impractical and it made me think of the things I do to prepare. I always do and this year more than ever. The holidays are also anniversaries for me, the anniversary of when my husband and I started dating and the anniversary of when he proposed. He doesn't believe in anniversaries so I doubt he's thinking about them but I do. This would be our 22 year together and the same age of my youngest sister, literally a lifetime together. I can already feel my heart squeezing.

The number one thing I do is make plans! Get things on my calendar! Whether it's weekend trip or lunch with a friend. It doesn't matter if it gets rescheduled the important thing is to plan it. It will give you small things to look forward to. A couple things that I planned for myself was trying to get my book group back together. I chose a fun book and a December date. The other thing I planned was to go back to doing NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writers Month, which is writing 50,000 words in the month of November. So I had a book to read and a book to write. I did have other small things that I planned but these were some bigger things I had to work towards every day.

The second thing I do is to try something new! For example, I'm not big on cooking at all. My husband was the fan of cooking but he's not here and it looks like I'm going to have to feed myself from now on. I'm trying to eat healthy because I'm still working on shedding that weight from my med changes last year so I've been teaching myself how to cook. There's a lot involved in that! Meal planning for the week, grocery shopping for food that isn't frozen and in a box and then attempting to make said meals. I've discovered some things are very easy and adding them into my basket and other things I'll try again on a day of great boredom. Other things I've done is pick a book I've always wanted to read but be intimidated by (I'm a big reader) or travel (but I try to do that as much as possible anyway).  You get my drift, you might want to try journaling or joining a very lazy book club.

Connect with your people! If you don't have friends or family near you make phone dates to talk to them. I find that by making a call date with someone I'm far more likely to talk to them than if I just call them randomly. Lets face it, texting only gets you so far if your depressed. If you do have people nearby see the number one thing, make plans! Anything you can do to stay connected.

This is an easy one, do something that requires you to come back tomorrow, or a goal! This can be binge watching Suits, choosing books that will keep you reading every day, some type of challenge (for example, this year I'm doing the Plank Challenge to get my core muscles in shape so my back will stop fritzing out like I'm 80), starting a craft project like learning to knit (it's super easy). You can do these things on days it's hard to get out of bed.

Something my doctor always says and I've always ignored her until this year is staying active! Because I get exercise induced migraines I tend to be cautious about exercise but since I've been feeling a bit better and recently acquired a treadmill, I've added that into my new daily routine and it does help. It's easier to get moving and I feel like I've done something, even if that's all I did. I've even ventured outside to walk and am really enjoying the feeling. Who knew?!

Lastly, develop a daily routine if you can. If there's anytime of the year you should try to have a good routine it's during the holidays. It will keep your mind busy... most of the time. Just remember to be gentle with yourself and don't go overboard, which is what my OCD wants to do. If you need a mental health day in bed to watch all the Harry Potter movies then you should do it! You know you.

Make these things as basic or as ambitious as you want them to be. Remember this is about taking care of your mental health during the holiday season and that's definitely the gift you want to give yourself. 

Leading me to an important take away from the article I read that I hadn't thought of before is set boundaries! I don't really have to do this during the holidays but certainly people with children, full time work, full time health issues, family and mental health issues needs to set holiday boundaries. If you can't do everything it's ok. It will get done. I'm just a big advocate for boundaries all the time. I didn't have any choice after I became a full time walking migraine. 

If you must be The Grinch at the holidays try to be the Grinch after his heart grew three sizes too large. It's easy to say, I know, but from one sufferer to another I know we can get through this holiday season together!

Saturday, November 11, 2017


I feel like it's time to join this conversation. If you follow my blog then you've already read my history with sexual assault, refer to the post titled Terror. I don't think anyone could have predicted the events that would trickle down from Harvey Weinstein's fall, and like most women I applaud the accusers that came forward. It's not an easy thing to do. I never did. So why the post?

I'm starting to feel a little unsettled. Everyday there are new allegations, not that this surprises me in any way but I feel like the topic of sexual harassment and sexual assault are looming around me all the time. I'm having nightmares every night, I'm back to seeing men as predators instead of just people. I'm acutely aware of my surroundings everywhere I go because rape culture is already at an all time high. I don't feel safe and my PTSD has been triggered.

Let me rewind a little bit to give you some history, I grew up with a physically abusive father and a totally passive mother. My fourth grade teacher broke my arm, my fifth grade teacher sexually abused me. When I was 15 the first three times I had sex was date rape. I was sexually harassed through out high school because of this imagined reputation. I never even had sex with anyone until my college boyfriend and we had a mutually physically abusive relationship. After we broke up I had a series of men attempt to have sex with me when I was asleep. I learned some great fake snoring techniques. As an adult I was sexually harassed most days at work in an industry where I was working with powerful men and then finally the sexual assault in my home 8 years ago. After that I just shut down and locked myself in my house for 4 years. Even now I still get unsolicited pictures or advances from men of all ages. 

This is what I find scary, it's so common. Even among the rich and famous. No woman escapes this. I think the statistics on sexual abuse are dead wrong. In fact, some of this is so normal that it's not even considered a form of sexual abuse. Even my teenage nieces are subject to it, at 13! I'll add that I think it's also more common for men than is let on as well but I can only speak for women. 

I know that for some women it's important to come forward and name their accusers. I imagine in Hollywood that might be more important when trying to protect other women. I've never been able to do that. Was it because the female doctor at the emergency room doing my rape kit told me she didn't believe me? Was it because I didn't want to hurt family members of the person that hurt me? Was it because I was scared? It was all of those reasons and more. It's not like I can forget what happened to me but I want to move forward. I want to think about my male friends, or men I walk past, normally. My husband healed me of so much of that but he's not here anymore either. Back to the beginning to the part where I don't feel safe anymore.

I wonder if other women like me are feeling triggered and uneasy, that's why I wrote this. I can't be the only one. So what do we do ladies? Take yet another social media break? As if 2017 hasn't been the worst already. I'm tired of feeling like the fear always gets the upper hand (I almost typed men). I feel like a whole gender hates me and it doesn't feel good. 

Here are things I'm trying to keep in mind when I see these allegations in the news
1. It's not shocking news
2. Some of it may not be true
3. Other women feel like I do
4. I do know lots of good men
5. My dreams are not my reality

What are you doing to take care of yourself? Because I think all of this will get worse before it gets better, from accusations in Hollywood to push back in the culture of fear created by the current government. If there's anytime for "survivors" to stay strong is now and I don't want to let a younger generation grow up and live through what I've lived through. We all have voices, I may not be using mine to punish but I am trying to use mine to find out how to heal ourselves. Join me!