Category Archives: more than meets the eye

Ow. My heart.

Today is Hailey’s birthday.  She’s now officially a teenager, which seems wrong because this was her yesterday:

Seven years ago today. Happy birthday, sweet girl.

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Or maybe it was seven years ago. Feels like yesterday.

Except yesterday she was still a pre-teen and two days ago I tucked her in like I did when she was still little and I pulled out a book to read her a story. And Hailey thought I was crazy but she went along with it. And I cried a little. And then she asked me to read her another one. And then she cried a little.

And then I kissed her on the head and she said I could still read her bedtime stories, sometimes…if I really wanted to.

It was a nice present. For both of us.

Happy birthday, Hailey. You may be a teenager, but to me you will always be my little girl.

And then I blinked, and suddenly she was a teenager.

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Surviving September

There’s something about September that wants to eat you.

I wrote that years ago and it’s still just as true today.  In fact, every September for years and years I’ve written a post about how – for me at least – September brings a sneaking depression with it.  This September has been similar, but in a way it’s a comfort to look back at my blog posts and see that the fear and dread is seasonal…and that it passes.  That I’ve survived every September so far, and that’s a good record to remind myself of.  And if you’re reading this?  So have you.

I was going to write a longer post but I sort of think the best thing I can do today is to read a book and take a walk and do something nice for myself.  And so should you. Make a plan right now to do something lovely to celebrate being alive.  And instead of writing a long post I’m going to post what I wrote last year because it makes me happy, and maybe it’ll make you happy too:

September is an asshole.  I don’t why.  Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight or the end of summer or some sort of ancient curse, but regardless, it’s always a hard month to survive if you have depression.  I’ve pulled out my light therapy magic box but it’s not entirely enough so yesterday we went to the pet store so I could cover myself in medicinal ferrets. Unfortunately this pet store knows me so they were like, “ONE FERRET AT A TIME, LADY” and “WE WILL FRISK YOU WHEN YOU LEAVE” but one was enough to kickstart the happy.  It wasn’t quite strong enough though so we went to one of those zoos that’s not really a zoo because the animals are running around free and you just drive through and throw food at them.  It is one of my favorite things ever and not just because it’s hilarious to see Victor get mad about a traffic jam that consists entirely of ostriches who don’t give a fuck about where you have to go.

zebras

Even better, Victor isn’t entirely trusting of large wild animals so he yells, “OTHER SIDE OF THE CAR, FRANK.  I DON’T SUPPORT YOUR PANHANDLING” (he thinks they will listen better if he uses names) or “GET AWAY WITH YOUR BLACK DEMON EYES, LARRY.  I KNOW YOUR GAMES” as Hailey and I feed them and assure them he really doesn’t mean it.  Then he yells “I MEAN IT, LARRY.  AND I WANT MY SOUL BACK.”  But then eventually he’ll see some sort of animal with a limp or a missing horn and he’ll get all mushy and feed it and yell at the other animals about how awesome this broken animal is so that it will feel better about itself.  It’s basically how he wooed me and it totally worked.

"He's not missing a horn, Larry. HE'S A UNICORN." ~ Victor

“He’s not missing a horn, Larry. HE’S A DAMN UNICORN.” ~ Victor

We went at the end of the day so most of the animals were already full and sleepy but I did have an encounter with a zebra who was terrifying, derpy and noble all at once.

“Hey.”

"Knock knock motherfucker." This zebra has NO chill.

“Knock knock motherfucker.” This zebra has NO chill.

JESUS.

JESUS.

If you squint, his snout looks like a black panther, which is probably a very good defense if lions attack during the night.

We also met an emu (I think?) who reminded me that birds are our closest relations to dinosaurs and I fed him out of the bag while Victor reminded me that the almost-velociraptor probably wanted my meat sausages (which I thought was a gross because I don’t have a bag of penises, Victor, but then I figured out that he meant my delicious fingers) but I totally would have let this guy chew on my fingers because the smiles he gave me were worth everything.  And I’m sharing it with you because LOOK AT THIS FACE.

"Hello. I'm from the Dark Crystal. I'll just live in your nightmares from now on."

“Hello. I’m from the Dark Crystal. I’ll just live in your nightmares from now on.”

"JUST KIDDING! GIVE ME FOOD IN MY MOUTH HOLE PLEASE!"

“JUST KIDDING! I LOVE YOU GUYS!  PUT FOOD IN MY MOUTH HOLE PLEASE!”

thebloggessbird

And then I felt better.  And I’m sharing it so you will too.  Just remember that as dark as September gets there are ridiculous near-dinosaurs waiting to smile enormously as you hand-feed them.  And that’s worth sticking around for.

PS. You know when a guy is trying to be all suave and he lights two cigarettes for him and his honey?  Not as cool as you think it looks:

cigars

The things we leave behind.

Last month my sister and I were talking about libraries and we suddenly both looked at each other and said, “REMEMBER THAT TURTLE WE USED TO SIT IN?” and our kids sort of looked at each other like we were crazy, and we are, but not about this.

I think everyone has at least one thing that they loved as a child and that they wish they could find again, always searching for it at thrift shops but never finding it.  For us, it’s the yellow turtle.

We spent hours each week in school libraries and on bookmobiles but twice a month our mom would take us downtown to the big library in the next town.  It was enormous and the children’s section was a large room in the corner that smelled of old books and new bindings and cellophane, and it was quieter than any other place on earth.  It had a muffled, reverent silence like a church and it made everyone speak in a whisper even without knowing it.  But that wasn’t the best part of the library.  The best part was the turtle.

Technically the children’s library section had several animals present, all made to sit on while you read.  All shaped out of a hard hollow plastic.  The second best animal was the giraffe (the size of a baby giraffe) that had a hollowed out space in its backside where you could sit and read and rest your head against the neck of the beast and your swinging feet became it’s tail.  But the best was the turtle.  It was low to the floor but enormous (to a child’s mind anyway.)  In my head it’s as big as a boat but probably it was 3 or 4 feet long and only a foot or so off the ground.  It was made to perch on top of as you read (like a giant mushroom with no stem) but we discovered that the underside of the turtle was concave, so we would flip it over on it’s back, crawl inside the turtle, and rock while we read.  I can still hear the welcoming thud that the turtle made when it flipped over and I can feel the smooth, cool surface of the underside and the bumpy textured surface of the shell, and the gentle motion of rocking as if I was safe in a cocoon…in a ship that cradled me, amid a sea of stories and of quiet that beckoned you to read.

I wasn’t surprised that Lisa remembered the turtle but I was surprised to find that both of us had been looking for one for years.  Presumably for our kids, but deep down I think we both would have bought it for ourselves.  We’re too big now to comfortably hide in the deep recesses of the turtle with a book but we still feel it beckon us.  And perhaps the memory is enough.  Maybe finding it would ruin the magic.  But I suspect we’ll both keep searching.

It made me wonder if everyone is like this.  If everyone has a thing they search for…something from childhood that they never got, or want to recapture.  A physical thing…like a book long out of print, or a toy a neighbor had that you always wanted, or a song that you knew but now you can’t remember, or a silk blanket that your grandmother had that you loved and that disappeared and you never found another blanket that comfortable or comforting again.

I have lots.  Some books that I’ve found again at thrift shops and now treasure.  Some that I still can’t even identify enough to search for them.  Some songs that I’ve found.  Some that are lost.  Some things that were better in my memory, as things often are.  Some things that are talismans that take me back in time.  But still I search for the turtle..carrying the memory of it inside me just as it once cradled me.

Mother’s Day is complicated.

Mother’s Day is filled with conflicting emotions for a lot of us.  I’m incredibly lucky that I have a mother who I adore.  I’m enormously thankful that after lots of miscarriages and hundreds of injections I ended up with a small miracle in my daughter.  I’m one of the lucky ones.  But here’s the thing…Mother’s Day isn’t just about being mom or having a mom.  It’s also about celebrating the mother figures that come into your life.  And they do come in strange and wonderful ways that we don’t always recognize.

Like my little sister who helps me with work and always has my back because she’s naturally nurturing.  Or my friend Maile who literally carried me to the hospital last month and stayed with me the entire time, watching over me even when I was passing out and ridiculous.  Or my friends who check in with me, and who don’t get mad when I don’t always answer back because they love me enough to forgive me before even getting upset.  Or my daughter when she reminds me to take my medicine or my husband when he tells me to go to sleep and that everything will be okay, or the neighbor who yells at you for not wearing a coat outside because “are you trying to get a cold?” or the stranger at the store who quietly tells you that your skirt is tucked in to your underwear.  Or you guys…who support me when I’m up or down and who celebrate my successes with the pride of a mom, and worry about me and send me articles about eating right and who sometimes even hang up my drawings on your refrigerator.  Being a great mother isn’t necessarily about having a child or being older or even gender…it’s about caring for others beyond expectation…and today I celebrate every one of you who have gone beyond the necessary to so show kindness, love, gentle education, and even criticism when needed.  It makes the world a better place.

So Happy Mother’s Day to you…no matter who you are.

PS. If you want, feel free to share a comment about anyone in you life who has been there for you in a way that made you remember that in a way we are all each other’s mothers sometimes.

*******

And now…time for the weekly wrap-up!

 

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

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This is a dangerous post to write.

Updated 4-24-17:  Holy crap, y’all.  I love you.  Not only did you listen but you gave me honest advice and reminded me how incredibly difficult but also how worthwhile it is to keep looking for the unique treatment that works for each person.  You also reminded me that I’m not alone in continuing to search for tools that will make my mental illness more manageable, and sometimes it’s enough to know that so many of us are fighting this battle together, even if it seems we’re doing it alone.  Here is my plan as of today:  I saw my doctor and this afternoon I had many vials of blood taken to rule out hormonal issues, deficiencies, etc.  If nothing physical turns up then I’ll try to get my insurance to cover TMS and see if it works.  From what I can see the overall verdict is that it depends on the person and that it’s either incredibly helpful when it works, or it doesn’t work at all, or sometimes it works for a while but not forever, which is sort of the exact same verdict I’ve had with every other medication and therapy I’ve ever tried, so I suppose I should be used to it at this point.  Nevertheless, thank you.  I will always feel broken but you continue to remind me that I am so not alone.  I’ll keep you posted.

Original post:

This is a dangerous post to write, mostly because I’m opening myself up to something that every person who deals with mental illness dreads…well-meaning advice from others.  But this is specific and I’d really like to hear from you.  Not about how I should “just cheer up” or “stop eating anything but air” or similar.  What I want to know is this…have you ever had Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and if so, did it work for you?  My doctor has been recommending that I do it for years but I’ve always been worried about the side-effects.  It’s supposed to be a good option for people like me with major depressive disorder who have tried multiple antidepressants but still have long periods of depression.

I’m lucky because, as a writer, I can often work around the schedule my depression sets for me…sometimes working long days and nights full of inspiration and sometimes just surviving weeks where my mind is a fog and I can’t get out of bed.  I have a support system of family and of strangers-who-are-like-family around the world.  I could probably continue to live like this for the rest of my life, and I’m prepared to.  Although depression can be hell and I know that it lies and I could continue to live through the bad weeks waiting for the good to inevitably come back.

But what if TMS works?  It’s not as invasive as electroconvulsive therapy.  Some people my shrink has treated with it have been able to get completely off their meds, which is something I can’t even imagine. I’ve been on so many different medications, regimens, vitamins, compounds, injections, therapies, etc. and some were helpful and some weren’t and some were until they weren’t.  Some saved my life and others made it miserable.  That’s the thing about treating chronic illness…different things work for different people and the exhausting process of finding a cure for your symptoms usually never completely goes away.  So after this latest bout of depression I’ve been thinking more about trying TMS.  Victor is not a fan but he respects that it’s my decision ultimately.  I still need to research more and to make sure my insurance will cover at least some of it but I thought maybe one of my first steps should be to ask here.  Have you had it?  Did it work?  Was it worth it?

And if you haven’t and you just want to share something that actually did work in treating your mental illness feel free to.  I know that just medication and therapy aren’t enough.  Music, meditation, exercise, sun, vitamins, sleep…they all can make a difference.  If something in particular makes a difference for you, share.  (But if you tell me to stop taking meds and take up jogging I will find you and punch you in the junk with a cactus.  Just saying.)

PS. Turnabout is fair play, so here’s a small tool that I use when I’m feeling anxious.  It’s just a gif.  But whatever works, right?

Thanks.

Sometimes you can go home again.

This weekend Victor had to work so Hailey and I drove to my parent’s house where my sister and her kids were visiting from California.  And it was lovely and funny and weird and exhausting and fabulous – all the things you want when you go home again.

My parents house was busting with eight people sleeping under one roof, but in a good sort of way where everywhere you turn you see people cooking or helping or playing or laughing, and every spare minute was filled with games and exploring caves or camping.  My sister Lisa and I had gently laughed at Hailey exclaiming how much better the air was in the country (as we reminded her that we were within smelling distance of a pig farm, a taxidermy studio, and a rendering plant) but at night we’d go out and look at the stars in a sky that is never as big or bright as it is outside the home we grew up in, and we breathed in and reluctantly agreed that there was a sweetness to the air that didn’t exist anywhere else.

Coming back to the home I grew up in is a luxury most people don’t get.  My parents are still alive.  The land and house has changed over the years but the people in it are still the same.  And at night when I stand on their porch and look up at the stars I feel a deep, physical healing.  I suspect it’s like other people feel when they go to a spa or take a vacation, but the raw feeling of being there is like having my heart wrapped up in new, tight bandages…pulling back together the parts that have started to fall away.

My family knows that my mental and physical issues cause chronic exhaustion so often I’d have to go to bed just when the night got exciting, but that’s just a part of being me and I’ve come to accept that if I push myself too hard I might end up in a pit too deep to come out of.  And it was fine.  Disappointing, of course, but fine.  Until Easter Sunday when I woke up and realized that I had no spoons left.  Hailey and I got dressed in our new Easter dresses and I helped my nieces get ready but already I could tell that I could either go to my uncle’s for Easter and visit with a giant house full of dozens of people I love, or I could safely stay awake for the hours I would be driving back home that day.  But not both.  So as I helped my family load up into their cars I told them I had to leave.  And they understood instantly and supported my decision as only people who truly love you can do.  And I felt so lucky.  And so unlucky.  And sad for Hailey whose Easter dress would go to waste and who was so sad but so instantly understanding when I explained that I just didn’t have it in me to do something that normal people could do without thinking.

My family drove to my uncle’s and Hailey and I drove the opposite way, starting our long drive home.  We stopped along the way so I could stay alert and awake.  We stopped at family graves. We picked flowers at a rest stop.  We ate Easter dinner at the Dairy Queen drive thru.  And we stopped at an ancient farm house I’ve seen a million times.  We always pass it on the way home and it’s been abandoned since before I was born.  I’ve always wondered of its history, imagining the ghosts that cling to it and wondering if I’d lived there in a former life because it was the only way I could ever explain my intense fascination with it.  It’s begun a steady decline in the past few years and now part of the roof has collapsed and the old windmill is teetering dangerously.

I realized that this might be the last time I see it so Hailey and I pulled over and stood silently in the shadow of the beautiful decay.

I was pleased to see that Hailey was just as drawn to the place, and although we couldn’t get too close (because it wasn’t stable enough to safely explore) we talked about how strange it was that a broken, ruined thing could be so beautiful.  That sometimes ruin beckons you more than magnificence, telling a story more interesting and important and provocative than you could imagine.  That sometimes broken can be lovely, and that the collapsed roof could be seen as ugly, but it also let the light in in such a fragile and brilliant way, allowing doves to build nests in the unexpected skylight.

I took a few pictures to capture it in case it’s gone the next time I pass it and I whispered a thanks to whoever had built it and to whoever still watches over it.  It’s still important and breathtaking, even if it’s come undone.  It’s just a shell, but with the right eyes it’s so much more.

I think we’re all that way sometimes.

We got back in the car and drove on, and I felt the familiar crack I always get in my chest when I’m driving away from my childhood town.  It always hurts.  It’s always the same.  But the pain – while almost unbearable for a second – is less than the healing I get from returning.  I wish I could do it backward…have the pain first and the healing after…but that’s not how life works, and I remind myself that I still leave with more than I came with.

I am broken.  I am healed.  I am ruined.  I am beautiful.  I am abandoned.  I am beloved.  I am a house that is no longer a house.  I am better and worse all at the same time.  I breathe deeply and smile at my daughter, who smiles back at me.  She tells me that this is a very strange Easter, but she likes it.

A dove flies out of the collapsed roof and catches the sunlight, unaware that its home is anything other than perfect.

Welcome to 2017…The Year of The Pillow Fort.

Hello, and welcome to 2017.  This year is going to be good.  Sometimes.  Sometimes it’s going to suck.  But I’m in a good place about it in that way where you’ve broken up with someone and you’re finally feeling okay until a sad song comes on and suddenly you’re doing the ugly cry and drinking too much and calling your girlfriends who later think maybe they should have an intervention but then don’t because your fucked-up life is a very entertaining thing to talk about and it’s keeping the gang all together.  Wait.  I forgot what I was talking about.

Oh!  Right.  2017.

So I am proclaiming this year The Year of The Pillow Fort because I am officially insulating myself from the pointless bullshit of life as much as possible.  And while I’m in the pillow fort I’m going to do some things to make life better.  Things like heroin.  Wait, no.  Not that.

Things like finishing the book that I’ve been staring at with anxious paralysis whenever I start to doubt myself.  Things like making one good decision a day.  Things like walking away when someone on the internet is wrong.  Things like waking up before noon and seeing the glorious, ridiculous and fantastic things that are happening all around.  Like yesterday I saw this kite stuck in a tree and I thought, “Wow.  That’s…really pretty.  And probably it super-sucked for someone but look at this lovely accidental art installation that was created from utter disaster.”  Then I decided to take a picture of it to remind me that fuck-ups can be beautiful and so I got out of my car to take a picture but while I was doing it this dog ran past me really fast and it scared me so I turned around and apparently he was being chased by this other dog and I accidentally kicked that dog in the face.  Then I felt really bad and I was like, “OH MY GOD.  I AM SO SORRY.  COME HERE AND LET ME PET YOU BETTER” but he just glared at me and kept chasing the other dog so I guess he was okay.  This story doesn’t wrap up well.  I should have stopped before the dog-kicking stuff.

bloggess-kite

Long story short, I’m still going to be a total fuck-up but I plan on being a slightly different version of fucked up and if things get scary I’m going to hide in my pillow fort.  The one in my mind.  And also in living room most of the time.  And you are invited too.  And when things get scary, and they will, you can come hide with me in the pillow fort of my mind.  It’s going to be messy and crowded and there are gonna be a lot of animals and books and leftover chinese food in there but there is always room for you.  Come on over.

Welcome to 2017 you beautiful, broken things.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-1-35-31-pm

 

Stay afraid. But do it anyway.

So…Carrie Fisher has gone to the great beyond.  And I’m sad.  But also happy.

Let me explain.

Carrie Fisher wrote honestly about her battles with mental illness and inspired me to do the same.  She was strange and funny and kookie and weird and broken and fascinating and I was always following her.  Literally and figuratively.

When I’m on book tour I spend a lot of time with drivers who take me from airports to bookstores to hotels to new cities.  They usually work for the book companies and they see all sorts of interesting people in their work so I always ask them, “Who is the best person you’ve ever driven?” and “Who is the worst?”  I always promise not to share the worst but frankly there should be an entire book written by drivers who have seen entirely too much of the worst of people (because it is fascinating) but my favorite stories are always the ones about the best people.  I’ve probably asked over 100 drivers who their favorite person they spent time with was and so far only a single person has been mentioned more than once…Carrie Fisher.  She’s a favorite of a lot of them and every time I hear her name I settle back for a wonderful and strange tale.  Each driver had a different story.  Some were entertained by her wild personality and crazy tales.  Some were taken on bewildering and wonderful adventures with her pointing the way to some strange place she wanted them both to go.  Some found themselves revealing personal and difficult stories to her because she really wanted to know and didn’t have a filter when it came to asking questions.  One driver told me she asked him to bring sacks and sacks of barbecue to her hotel room at midnight and then wouldn’t let him leave until he’d visited with her and the other people she’d picked up along the way…hotel maids, taxi drivers, old friends.  Then when she’d had enough she wasn’t afraid to say, “DONE.  I need sleep now.  Everyone out.”

The Carrie Fisher stories were my favorite.  And every time I heard them I’d lean back onto the same seat she’d ridden in and think about how one day I’d tell her what she meant to me.  I never did, and now it’s too late.  But I know she knew how much she touched others, and maybe she heard stories about me from those same drivers…about the odd girl with the dead animals on the covers of her books who loved hearing the Carrie Fisher stories because Carrie was always blazing a trail that made it so much easier to follow and speak out.  She never lost her battle with mental illness.  She lived a life.  A good one.  Flawed and honest and inspiring and filled with mistakes and lessons learned and shared.

That phrase.  “Blazing a trail.”  In real life it referred to pioneers marking paths with “blazes”, notches and arrows carved on trees to point the way.  But in my head it’s different.  Carrie Fisher blazed a trail by setting fire to everything blocking her path, to all the debris and overgrowth that stood in her way, leaving open ground behind her that made those of us following behind her so much easier.  She blazed and burned and lit the way for others.  She lived fully and touched many.

She burned brightly and I’m so happy I was able to see her fire….even if it was from a distance.

Image via fusion

Image via fusion

Thank you, Carrie.  For carrying the torch and for using it so brilliantly.

Hey. Do you need something?

Okay.  Next week we’re doing the  7th Annual James Garfield Miracle.  Every year I think it will be the last and every year the people who were helped in the past ask me if it’s going on again because they’re now back on their feet and they want a chance to give back and this year is no exception, so technically I blame you.  But in a good way.  (In case you’re new, the James Garfield Miracle is when we get together and help give toys, blankets, and books to homeless children or to children whose parents are seriously struggling during the holidays.  It’s done anonymously in this community without any sponsors and it is a great joy to watch.)  If you want to help someone, or if you’re unable to buy a toy for your kid this holiday then watch this blog next week and I’ll set it up with all the instructions then.  It is awesome and exhausting and THIS IS NOT THAT.

Today’s post is just a small way to say thank you to everyone here who has been so amazing and supportive.  Because of the sponsors on the sidebars we’re able to keep this blog going without losing money.  Because of the people who buy things using my affiliate links I’m able to give back that money during the James Garfield Miracle.  Because you’ve been so incredibly supportive with my writing I now have two #1 NYT bestsellers and can spend my time creating ridiculous things that somehow help others.  That’s pretty amazing and I am so incredibly lucky.

As a small ‘thank you’ I decided that it would be nice to give back in some way so I pulled out a stack of my books that I usually drop off at Little Free Libraries and I’m going to give them away to the first people who say that they really need one.  Maybe you haven’t been able to afford one of them yet, or maybe you know someone who needs one, or maybe you’re in a bad place and you just need a reminder that someone cares…whatever.  Just leave a comment (with an email address!) telling me if you want Let’s Pretend This Never Happened in hard cover, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened on CD, Furiously Happy in hardcover, or Furiously Happy on CD.  If YOU ARE HERE was finished I’d give it away too but we have a couple more months before it’s done.  I’ll email you for your mailing address so make sure you check your email today.

Additionally, I know there are a lot of people during the holiday seasons who feel alone so I thought maybe I would set up an open thread on my Facebook page if any of you want to become friends or exchange info to send cards or to find someone struggling with similar things to have someone to talk to.  I have no idea if this is a good idea or not, but what the hell.  Click here if you want to find friends in the community.

And now, comments are open.  Let me know if you are in need of a book and be sure to specify which book and which format because it’s first-asked, first served.

Things to give away today. Dorothy Barker not included.

Things to give away today. Dorothy Barker not included.

 

UPDATED: Holy crap, that went fast.  I gave away the 35 copies I had and I’m going to check the closets to see if I have any more.  I think I have a box of Let’s Pretend copies somewhere if I can find them.  I left comments on all the comments that I could fill and I’ve already been told that some people are contacting others to pass on their copy or buy one for others.  I love you people so hard.  If I find more books and email you but someone else has bought it for you since I’ve written this then just let me know and I’ll move on to the next person.  Thank you for being you.

PS. I’m not sure how safe it is to have your email address in a comment so I’ll probably go back and delete them in a day or two so they don’t get used for spam or something.  Also, if you want to buy someone a copy but don’t want to ask for their physical address you can just confirm that the email works and then send them an electronic gift card.  I trust everyone in this community but I’m just throwing it out there just in case.

PS. Thank you.

 

I’m still alive in here.

The last year has been hard for me.  I have glimmers of myself.  I have hours each day when I can smile.  Some days I come out of the fog and feel the terrific relief from coming out of the underwater of depression or whatever it is that haunts me.

I struggle through the day until sunshine comes back.  Sometimes I get my child off to school and then go back to bed until she comes home.  When my husband travels I feel relief that I can hide without shame, but the shame is still there.  But I know a part of me remains because I miss them when they’re gone, and if I can feel that then I know I’m still alive.

It seems strange.  How sometimes I can be normal and functional and my head and body will let me live like people are supposed to live, and then the next day I’ll plunge back into that halfway space where I’m asleep, either physically or emotionally.  I remind myself that depression lies…that I’ll come back again.  That the hollowness is temporary and could disappear any moment.  I kill the day with sleep.  I struggle to write, feeling such incredible relief on those days when my head works again and can put words together in a way that makes sense to anyone other than me.  I write small notes to myself for the book I’ll finish when the hungry ghost that lives inside me is full, or spent…whatever she needs to do to leave.

And when I can’t write my words on the paper I draw them by hand…symbols and images and strange things from dreams.  I draw and erase and draw and erase, and make and unmake myself.  I hunch over my sketch book and find myself leaving images to prove I was here…even when I’m scared that I’ve gone missing.

I’m still here, even when I’m not me.  I’m still me even when I come out of this spell.  I’m me.  And I am unpredictable even to myself.

I’m still alive in here.

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