Today is my 27th day of getting punched in the noggin with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation which means I have only 9 days of treatment left until I’m completely cured!
About being cured, I mean. There’s no permanent cure for mental illness yet but I have hopes because this shit seems like it’s sort of working. I still have dark days and fatigue and brain fog and all that jazz but I also have bright days…lots of them. More than I’ve had in longer than I can remember. And I have enough energy to go to treatment every single day and at this point that is sort of amazing.
My last visit with my shrinks went well (I’m seeing one at the psych unit and my old one as well) and one of them told me that when you finally get into remission from depression you are 350% more likely to stay in remission if you exercise 30 minutes a day for 6 times a week. Spellcheck tried to correct “exercise” to “excessive” and I agree, spellcheck, but I’m trying it anyway. I’m also sleeping better (which is the first response from TMS for most patients) and that helps with feeling better and that means I have more energy to exercise and suddenly I’m almost a healthy person if you don’t look at all the bacon and vodka I’m consuming.
Overall it’s good and I’m relieved and scared that it will stop working but there’s another issue I hadn’t counted on, and that’s guilt. A little is guilt for not doing it sooner (although if I had done it when it was first recommended they wouldn’t have treated both sides of my brain so it worked out well that I waited) but mainly it’s guilt over using my time for such self-indulgent things. Rationally I know I shouldn’t feel this way but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel like I’m being selfish. It adds up…the hour I spent driving to TMS, the hour I spend in the chair having magnets punch me, the half hour I walk or swim, the hours I sleep instead of work or worry. It feels like cheating. That’s wrong. I know it’s wrong. But knowing and feeling are different things. I know that time given to yourself to make yourself healthier is good for you and for everyone around you. I know that it takes time and effort for some of us to stay sane. I know that I’m worth the work and that I should feel grateful that I can take care of myself without feeling guilty. So the next step is moving from knowing to feeling.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think so many of us struggle with the thought that it’s okay to take care of ourselves, and it’s strange that it’s a struggle to treat ourselves as kindly as we treat the dog. The dog needs walks, and healthy choices and water and play and sleep and naps and bacon and more naps. And love.
I need that too. And so do you.
It’s not just a gift we give to ourselves…it’s a duty.
I’ll remind you if you remind me.
247 thoughts on “I have less time to be crazy”
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This is amazing. I am so glad you are doing well. Thank you for the reminder to take better care of myself. I have been slacking so bad and I feel like shit.
I’m so happy to hear that this is working for you. It’s great that you are able to get the help and follow the recommended treatment. I know what you mean about the difference between knowing and feeling for sure. <3
You’re doing great and I am so proud of you. Take time to be well. It really is a gift that keeps on giving you know.
Depression or not, this is something everyone should remember. Taking care of ourselves is never self-indulgent. It gives us the power to move forward from where we are.
This is absolutely amazing.
YES!! We must take care of ourselves – it’s our most important job! (and it’s no one else job but our own) So very glad you’re doing this and feeling better! Whatever helps each of us live in what often feels like a very hard world is good. xoxox
Does the bacon and vodka have to be consumed together? Do they taste better that way?
You are giving me the strength I need to look into this science fiction “cure”. It’s been suggested to me, but I haven’t followed up cuz that shit is scary. But, here I go to Google it.
you deserve to be the best you that you can be. no guilt needed. truly believing that I deserved love and happiness etc etc etc was I think the hardest part of therapy for me. my mantra during that time was “Every day, in every way, I get better and better”. Try it! It helps!
I would love to hear how you and your therapist came to the conclusion about getting the TMS treatments. Following your journey has been fascinating and encouraging, and I’m wanting to do the same more every day!
I love this so much…especially about treating ourselves as well as we treat our pets! And I am delighted to hear that it’s working well for you. There may not be a cure for our mental illnesses but there ARE treatments and it’s NOT SELFISH to take advantage of that.
Depression tells us we aren’t worth it, the “time.” But recognizing that all depression currently has on you is guilt means that it’s desperate and failing for the moment, maybe. Guilt means depression is getting weak, and that you question Guilt means you’ve got upper hand? Maybe? Self care is the middle finger to Guilt. So FLIP IT THE BIRD, SISTER! XOXO
the kick in the pants I needed to do my meditation today!
You’d feel guilt about being stuck in depression and the strain it puts on your family if you didn’t do this. So… really, you are just trading it for healthier guilt. It’s like eating turkey bacon. You wonder why you are doing it, but it tastes good and you get a self righteous feeling out of it.
I am so happy for you, Jenny! I’ve teared up reading your posts about this treatment. You’ve been such an inspiration to me — and so many others! I was worried that it would take away some of the parts that we all love about you, but I truly think this is enhancing them. I hope and pray this continues to work for you, and I am thrilled you were able to get it done, even if your insurance were tests for a bit. Keep being you. You’re good people.
I totally get you. I feel guilty when I’m taking care of myself, whether it’s going to bed early or doing something that lifts my spirit. My husband points out that I wouldn’t feel guilty if I were going to chemotherapy for cancer ( which I have done and it’s as much fun as you’d think), and this is the same thing. Its caring for yourself and your illness. Which totally makes sense. Keep on taking care of yourself. We love you.
Yes to all of this. I call it the oxygen mask approach. First put the mask on yourself and then help others – you can’t help them if you’re gasping for air. I try to apply the same to emotional and physical energy and self care. Truth be told, I’m better at telling other people to do it than not feeling guilty when I do it, but I’m getting there.
Guilt is a bitch. Even those of us who are not struggling with diagnosed issues that make our brains kick our asses non-stop fall prey to guilt. Just yesterday, when my brain felt like cotton balls and I wanted to lay down and cry, I felt guilty because I had intended to get up and exercise but I was just too tired. Cue guilt because of the vicious cycle I’ve found myself in and I’m not the mother or wife I need to be. I’m trying. It’s hard, and it’s resulted in far too much wine and chocolate for me, but it takes baby steps. Thank you for being honest about your guilt, because it makes me feel less alone in my own guilt. hugs
Another way to think of it is that if you don’t take the time now and end up slowly losing the battle, you and your family will be robbed of time later. My husband likes to remind me that if I don’t take the time to secure my own oxygen first, then I will die and then won’t be any good to my kids. Morbid but it’s a good analogy. I need to help myself first or I can’t help them. Hang in there. It’s hard not to have mom guilt but it’s better to face it head on than to have regret later.
Autocorrect changed “twats” to “tests,” and now my somewhat brilliant comment makes me look dumb. Bastages!
This is awesome news. You’ve got this!
I’m so happy you’re doing all this for you. Because it doesn’t just affect you. Everything we do, think and feel in this life causes ripple effects like in a pond. It’s better if those ripple effects are positive because we feel good, happy and positive. 🙂
It’s especially hard when you’re depressed and can’t make yourself Do Stuff. I once was a candidate for ECT, but found a new med just before it was to start. I sometimes wonder, though, what I would be like now if I had done it.
You are such a generous soul. Please don’t feel guilty. What other famous author would read my essay? You deserve all the happiness in the world for the laughs and love you give to us. Question, does this treatment work for bipolar?
(Insurance doesn’t usually cover it for bipolar yet but my doctor has done it with success on bipolar patients so he thinks soon it’ll get approval. ~ Jenny)
No guilt. No regrets. We can only change our present and our future, not our past. You’re doing what you need to do for yourself AND for those around you. And for all of us who come to read you when we need a lift.
Embrace this now.
Regarding guilt: Think about all the time you spent worrying, being so full of anxiety you couldn’t function, and all the days that were so dark you didn’t participate in life. I am sure the hours you spend getting treated so you can live a better life don’t compare to the hours you spent feeling alone. This treatment seems to be better for you AND those that love you. There is nothing to feel guilty about. In fact, you should feel proud that you are doing something that will benefit your whole family.
Keep it up! You’re doing great!
I’m so happy to hear it’s going well! Also the lighting in that picture is perfect.
You are spot on with the importance of self care. And also, my dog has lots of treats and snacks, so I think it’s probably a good idea to get myself lots of treats and snacks.
When you put it in dog terms, suddenly I completely get it. I’m so glad you’re feeling better.
I’m so happy that this is working for you, Jenny. I’ve been a reader of your blog since early 2013, and I’ve read every one of your books (and am looking forward to your next releases, too!). You helped me recognize the anxiety I have in my own life, and I’ve been working on getting that under control. I’ve been through three bouts of depression (I actually found the suicide notes I wrote a few years ago, and everything in them seems to silly now), and I’ve managed to pull myself out of every one of them. I wish I had the support system you have, but know that every single one of us is rooting for you, and are so happy that this treatment is working and you’re feeling better.
Don’t feel guilty about doing things for yourself. Sometimes you do just need to take a break.
Hugs hugs hugs. I’ve been dealing with guilt for years because my RA wasn’t as serious as most others so pushed myself, judged myself, didn’t let myself get treatment for my anxiety and depression. Now I’m slowly working with a counselor to kind to myself like I do with others. Breathe and try to enjoy. Hugs
absolutely we all struggle with this. if you consider me as the royal we, which i like to do.
My favorite thing with depression is finding something that works and feeling better (like swimming), so I quit doing what makes me feel better because I don’t need it any more, right? I am so happy that this brain bonking is working for you!!!
Okay. I’ll remind you.
Thanks for this post. I just finished two hours of yard work (moving small rocks & then mowing) and my first thought was to be disappointed that I needed significant knee braces to do so. I keep comparing what I used to be able to do with what I can now – or can’t – or what I need to help me do what I used to (braces, those long grabby sticks, rest periods during the day…). I’ve had four knee surgeries (two meniscus repairs, then a full replacement & then a revision full replacement) and I’m not happy that after all that I still need knee braces (the long, velcro, strappy kind) to be able to walk without wanting to sit down and cry from the pain and disability. I feel like I’ve let myself down somehow for not being one of those chirpy smiley people in the knee surgery brochures who blather on about how they are better than ever! Even though I did all the pre-op PT and prep and then kicked my own ass doing the post-op PT, I still ran into bad doctors and bad luck. Instead of going easy on myself, my inclination is to chide or scold myself for not being ________. I don’t know. Not enough? Not smart enough to see a bad doctor beforehand? Not worthy enough for bad luck to veer around me? I don’t know.
Why in the world are we – humans? Americans? – so hard on ourselves instead of accepting what happens and then moving on, doing what we can to adapt and accept?
Thanks again for the post & the reminder. You remind me. I’ll remind you.
I seriously comment more on this blog than any other because you always get me right in the feels. I recently started doing a challenge for myself (because heck yes self care is a challenge for me) where I take 15 minutes every day to do something kind for myself. There’s a couple of yoga terms thrown in there but the core of it is being nice to myself. Then I post the picture on my instagram and share it with only the random people who stumble upon it (which has been quite the strange crowd of what I believe to be robots). The thing is, I think it’s working. Of course I can’t really tell because my emotional stability is nill, but I like telling myself it’s working. It also makes me a lot more conscious of being kind to myself, which is nice because I’m pretty bad at that. And if you take all that and look at you, you’re clearly winning the challenge even if you’re not in it. So thanks for reminding me that I’m not a terrible person, because I needed that too.
Wonderful news! You’re right about treating the critters better than ourselves. I am totally guilty of that. And other things, too, but that is up to the FBI to figure out. Exercise is a major factor in staying well, both mentally and physically. I can attest to that if you need a testimonial which I am sure you don’t.
taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give your daughter. Witnessing you putting in the time, investing in yourself, and working to be the best you possible will all make a positive impression on her that she will carry with her out into the world. She will understand that she is 100% worth taking care of and that is a major gift.
Okay, look, Jenny … have you ever put together a 1,000 piece puzzle? Because you’re spending less time total on the TMS than you did on that, unless you’re some kind of puzzle savant, and THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE DOING FOR YOURSELF, putting together pieces so things fit together better. Did I say for yourself? No. For your family and for everyone whose life you touch. Not just you. So the giving part cancels out the guilt. When you take care of you, you take care of your own. And yes, it’s a thing that kind of has to sink in, and that takes time. Give that the time it deserves, too. And you have paid, my dear. Oh, how you have paid. No guilt. None. Full steam ahead.
If we don’t take care of ourselves we won’t e here to take care of anyone else…. <3
Yes, you are worth it. Yes, I am worth it — I think. Feeling it is, as you say, a whole other level. I believe that is because we were programmed as kids to see laziness behind every bit of r & r. Every last little thing, until the only way to get time out was to get sick. Some clever kids learned well how to pretend illness — not me. But once I was sick, if not too seriously, I enjoyed (guiltily) the ability to stay in bed, read, rest… (As an adult I read Noel Coward’s poem, “To Have Been A Little Ill” with understanding.) I think I am off on a tangent, but I still think we are programmed, sometimes consciously (after all I have, your mother/father has, done for you. etc.), sometimes more subtly… I hope you are remaining hopeful. Also a friend once told me that even after we KNOW something,our nerves still need time to heal and get with the program. You are with the program, and I thank you for reminding us that self-care is not a deadly sin (sloth, greed, etc.)
The difference between knowing and feeling…..After a life time of treatment for depression, which actually turns out to be complex PTSD, I had a breathtakingly powerful breakthrough. At the age of 58, for the first time in my life, I FELT loved. I had always “known” that I was loved, but had never felt it. It was stunning. I literally gasped when I felt it. Unless you’ve lived through the “know vs feel” thing I don’t think you can ever really imagine it. Welcome to the world of the feeling. I am so happy for you.
I’m a pastor and fully understand the guilt of self-care. I’ve learned over the years that it is essential to my ministry. When I eat well, exercise, sleep, and (gasp!) rest when I’m sick, I have more energy to give others. And that’s what people in our lives need. They want our time, yes, but the energy we bring is what they need. So the treatments aren’t selfish, nor is the exercise. It is actually loving yourself and others. The head-to-heart transfer can take time so be patient and gentle with yourself.
So happy for you Jenny!! You deserve this. AND, you’re right, taking care of yourself is so important and only flourishes for you as you accept it.
I always go back to what they tell you on the airplane – put your oxygen mask on first before trying to help others.
I love every single thing about you, Jenny Lawson. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
I wish I could remember this too–I take care of everyone, including the pets, more than I take care of myself. I’m always last even in my own mind and it shouldn’t be that way.
If your guilt makes you need to, then tell yourself that you feeling better means you being able to be there more for your family and everyone else you care about. But kick that guilt in the ass. Actually kick it anywhere, because guilt is just one giant ass so you can’t miss.
Remember that all of these things are allowing you the ability to show your daughter THE WORLD. That you are doing things with her and she is proud and happy that you CAN BE WITH HER NOW. If being present for her is selfish, then the world is wrong. You’re taking care of you to be better for your family.
Jenny, you’re leading by example! You have this platform to spread the word about this treatment that could do so much good for others! Just by being brave and posting you can’t imagine the hope you are giving!
Um, you are not being self indulgent because you are doing this for the people who love you. Your family. It’s not so much about you as it is about being there and being the best for THEM because the need you and their lives would be forever devastated if they lost you to this disease.
I totally get it. Giving out love/support/care to others can often be easier than giving that same love/support/care to ourselves. And when we DO give ourselves that level of care (finally), it can feel selfish (as you’ve described). BUT you know that… so I guess all I’m saying is, take care of you. You deserve it!
Wonderful wonderful. and self care is SO important, and yet so hard to do.
“But knowing and feeling are different things.”
SO WELL SAID! I refer to this as the “cognition to emotion delay.” Sometimes it feels not just delayed, but that it’ll never happen!
“I’ll remind you if you remind me.”
agreed! I’m glad you’re feeling better & thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Would you recommend this treatment? I am meeting with my doctor on Monday to discuss this. I am just so torn as to what to do. I have tried so many different medications and they all stop working or I have crazy side effects. I guess what I am scared of the most is that I feel like this is my last option. It is so expensive and I don’t want it not to work…
So happy things are continuing to work for you! Just remember – if you had a broken leg or some bizarre surgical problem no one would begrudge you the time you need and this is no different. Seeing you smile is a wonderful thing and I’ll bet your family would tell you to spend 10X the time needed for you to do this! I’m finally feeling well enough to do the barn chores at night and that’s my exercise – at least that’s what my fitbit is telling me, and I do feel better for it. Keep up the great work and hopefully more great embroidery!
Yes. Everything you said. I grew up with a sibling that required constant care and any time I spent doing anything for myself drew comments from my mother like “You’re so lazy.” “Stop wasting time on frivolous stuff.” “You don’t have time to____, I need you to help me.” That thinking is a part of me now and I have to consciously battle it every day.
I think I will always feel guilty for taking mental health days when I need them. But I’ve learned to ignore the guilt because in the long run it makes me a healthier human being and a better employee. That being said, it doesn’t get rid of the guilt. You’re not alone in that. Just tell the guilt it’s an ass and that you are worth it. I tell myself that every time–I figure I’ll believe it eventually. And if I don’t, well…at least I’m to a place where it doesn’t stop me from doing what I need.
Good luck. <3
Just remember that all our thoughts are little neurons marching down connective pathways in our brains. The more they March down the same paths, the easier it is to continue down those paths, those paths get wider and soon they are roads that make the trip easier and quicker. This makes it so easy to continue thinking the same way you’ve always thought. Change happens when we challenge those thoughts. When we walk off the beaten path and March to a different beat. At first those those new thoughts will be uncomfortable, full of branches that get stuck in your hair and claw at your skin, making it difficult to keep going, there isn’t even a line in the grass to tell you that you’re going the right way. You’ll want to turn around and take the well formed road that you can drive on autopilot. But it is so worth it. And maybe, just maybe, those old paths will start to crumble. Maybe the exit onto those paths get overgrown. Every once and a while you stop and look down the old road and remember how easy it was to get to that dark place and you will be thankful that you made the effort to forge ahead and create new ways of getting to where you need to be.
This is where CBT comes in. Rationally, you know there is no reason to feel guilty. Your daughter (and Victor) need you to be as healthy as you can be. Therefore taking the time to take care of yourself is waaaaay better for everyone.
Hang in there. Fucked up neurochemistry really sucks.
You can’t care for others effectively if you don’t care for yourself. You’re doing the right thing.
Repeat it until you believe. Leave it on a post-it on the bathroom mirror to remind yourself. Just put some L’Oreal or Alicia Keys up there if you need to make it snarky. Just repeat it until you believe it!
When I was getting out of my last major depressive episode, I had these feelings, too. Since depression turns my brain against me to use every argument I know will work against me, after a minute I realized this feeling for what is was: depression’s last ditch effort to hold onto me. It knew it was losing, that I was leaving it behind and it didn’t want me to be free. It’s like a really terrible boyfriend that just wants you to stay with him while he treats you like shit because he can’t handle other people knowing that you are stronger, that you could walk away. Kick that bastard on your way out, you phoenix.
You wouldn’t feel guilty if it dialysis, or radiation treatments–what you’re doing to treat your medical issue is just as legitimate. Glad that it seems to be working–you look great, crooked glasses and all!
Reclaim the word “selfish.” Its all about you, kiddo. To start with the guilt, think of it as a gift to Hailey and Victor and us.
I will point out that very few people with cancer feel guilty about going to their appointments, taking their meds, etc. And here you are treating the biggest most important organ in your whole body!
Strongly recommend “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker. Experimental data driven explanation of and conclusions about sleep, and sleep’s importance – quantity and quality – to mental and physical health. No BS. No pop-psych.
I agree with you completely. Knowing something rationally and accepting it are two totally different things. Very interesting on the exercise part, but it’s such a cycle. When I was coming out of remission and into another depressive episode, my motivation to shower was nil, much less to exercise. And at that point, I had been training for a half marathon. Now that I have my brain back somewhat, my runs are humbling to say the least. It’s like starting from zero.
Self care is needed to allow you to take care of all of the people and animals in your life. When you feel guilt, just remember the energy benefits that allow you to be present with and for those loved ones. Hugs.
Sounds a little like a form of survivor’s guilt, no? I know how that is. Let me just say that as a person who struggles every single day to keep anxiety and depression at bay, and who worries so much about her children becoming victims someday, your willingness to try this treatment and share your experiences give me HOPE. When people are willing to try new treatments, science can learn more about treating these insidious illnesses. You may be saving lives by going through this.
Maybe it will help if you remind yourself that you are taking care of yourself not only for you but also and equally for Victor and Hailey. Think how happy Hailey was with the day you were able to spend with her going places, and how proud she was that you did so well with it. think how many more of those days will probably be in the future for you and your family, and suddenly your doing what you need to take care of yourself is really selfless rather than selfish. Not just saying this…it’s true and you know it.
Love you, Jenny ♥
One of the hardest things they tell you in Weight Watchers is to rebrand the way you talk to yourself. And instead of berating yourself for cheating on the diet you should accept it. They say we ‘probably’ wouldn’t talk to our friends the way we talk to ourselves. Okay I added the probably. But the point is the guilt and the hanging on to mistakes lowers self esteem and makes it harder to get healthy and stay healthy. So guilt is also a lying bastard and don’t believe it!
My therapist recommended the book Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff to me. I just finished reading it and I found it really helpful. I think it could definitely help you reframe some of the guilt you’re feeling.
Thank you for the reminder that caring for ourselves is not a luxury! I’ve always treated my pets way better than I treat myself too, and there’s just no need… Glad you’re realizing it and sharing it with us.
I had chemo, surgery and radiation in 2015. It took SO MUCH TIME. I didn’t feel guilty. It’s exactly the same.
Cheating on depression = Happiness Slut
I’m following The Depression Cure by Stephen Ilardi (I don’t want meds or doctors). I hit desperation and thought WTF, I’ll try this. He recommended 30 minutes of exercise 3 days a week….knowing that I can’t function without a routine, I started walking 30 minutes every day (and I’m doing most of the other things he recommends) and I’ll be damned if I haven’t actually felt human almost every day since I started (6 weeks). The hardest part has been looking at the clock, realizing that 500 things need to happen, but that it is time for MY walk…no dogs, no dinner, no whatever, time to drop everything and take care of ME. I’m trying to let go of that feeling (which I suppose is grounded in guilt) of being pulled in all the directions and being so very “selfish” that I put myself at the top of the list. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.
I definitely struggle with being okay with the time I spend on self-care. I feel a little bit better knowing that other people have this same struggle too! So happy to hear that your treatment is working. ❤️
It’s also a gift you’re giving your daughter and husband. Especially your daughter because you’re teaching her it’s ok for her to take care of herself also.
You had me at bacon.
It took me years to figure out how to look after myself and not just everyone else but I finally figured it out. I have lost about 110 lbs in the past year and I exercise most days by running or walking or doing yoga and I feel so much better. About myself and my overall well-being. Plus my quality of life has significantly improved. I’m still on a journey but I’ve been able to throw away the guilt too. I love how I look and feel and I decided I wouldn’t have been ready to make the commitment to myself if I had started my journey any earlier. So, I get what you’re feeling and I love that you’re doing this for you.
If you sleep better and feel better, you will be able to do your work better and care for your family better and more efficiently because your body and mind can do it more efficiently. You are not wasting time. In making time for yourself, you improve the lives of everyone around you. So you’re still being selfless. So pull that guilt out of your butt and …well, just leave it on the side of the road somewhere and drive off really fast
Jenny, I can’t tell you enough how happy I am that this treatment is helping! No one deserves this more than you, regardless of what that lying liar depression is telling you. Keep up the good work, and have you considered bacon-flavored vodka?
I’m so glad that this is helping. One thing that I struggled with while undergoing ECT was the speed and magnitude of the changes it made in me. When you’re used to meds, which can take 4-6 weeks to affect some kind of change, having things change nearly immediately is jarring and kind of frightening. Maybe something to talk about with your family and support team. Keep kicking butt, regardless.
I needed this thought today. I’m so glad for you, and grateful that you continue to remind us all that we are worth it.
I hate the guilt. Not only am I dealing with the depression some days, but also the guilt that I’m not doing stuff. I am SOOOOOOOOO happy that you are feeling better. So happy that the dark days are less than the bright ones. Keep taking care of you. You will be a better mom, wife, daughter, friend if you are healthy. Plan lots of treats. Kitten snuggles, bacon and vodka. Maybe even a massage.
I’ve told you before that you inspire me, and today is no different. I’ve been avoiding/stalling on calling a doctor and starting to explore treatment again…today, I’m committing to myself (and anyone who sees this comment), that I am going to try again. I had given up on the idea that I could be BETTER…that life could be better. Thanks for taking care of yourself and reminding us to do the same.
Your paragraph on guilt really spoke to me. I don’t bat an eye at taking care of my husband or my kids, or making sure they have what they need. But then it doesn’t occur to me to do the same for myself. That’s so weird, right? I’m going to print out that paragraph and put it where I’ll see it frequently.
Remember, by taking care of yourself, you ARE taking care of everyone involved in your life, so it’s like Buy one, Get one Free! I know you’re all about a good sale! Besides, think of all the time you will have writting about this experence. Come on, I need another book from you……. You don’t realize (or maybe you do) how many people you are helping every, SINGLE day! I travel much and find myself laughing out loud in planes, and people just look like i’m so crazy, but I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry, because they have no idea on how happy you make me, and could do the same for them if I share the story. Sometimes I do, and others, well, it’s just a secret between you and me! Peace out!
such perfect timing…I’m stealing your quote: ” I think so many of us struggle with the thought that it’s okay to take care of ourselves, and it’s strange that it’s a struggle to treat ourselves as kindly as we treat the dog. The dog needs walks, and healthy choices and water and play and sleep and naps and bacon and more naps. And love.
I need that too. And so do you.
It’s not just a gift we give to ourselves…it’s a duty.
I’ll remind you if you remind me.” ….of course giving you full credit. <3
Better an hour spent driving to therapy or doing yoga to get better than an hour in bed not being better.
Sleep is a gift from the gods. You soak up every minute of it, darlin. Glad things are looking up. Also, may I suggest getting some of that exercise out in nature? It’s magical.
I’m really glad this is working for you! Let’s hope the trend continues!
I am SO stoked that this is working for you! I’m a data nerd so I looked up their clinical trial results – I thought they looked pretty good. Regarding guilt, I suppose you could just tell yourself that all this time you’re spending on yourself now is to make up for all the time you previously spent curled in a ball and feeling crappy – unable to do anything for yourself. You deserve this, and I’m hopeful you’ll soon be able to feel like that’s true.
Yes!! The guilt thing is so real – and the analogy to taking care of the dog cracks me up because I talk myself through it just like this. I don’t know what happens in our brains that trains us to think we’re not worth the time and effort, but I’m so happy for you that you’re taking the time to do this and that it’s working so well for you. You are such a huge inspiration.
Delighted that things are still working. I think what you’re describing is almost the same as survivor’s guilt, like someone who has made it through a disaster when other’s didn’t. You feel lucky to be alive but sad that others didn’t make it, so you almost don’t want to celebrate your own achievement. It’s a hard one to get over but get over it you must (said Yoda). It’s an important part of the process in my opinion.
Celebrate YOU, Jenny. You’ve gone through a lot of shit and now that you’re in the home stretch, it’s time for the party. Maybe figuratively, maybe literally. The thing is, you’re doing fantastic and it looks like this is going to be the permanent solution you’ve been hoping for, so survivor’s guilt or not, you’ve made it and you have nothing to feel guilty for. You deserve every good feeling you’re having…you’ve been through the war and come out the other side alive. And that’s all you or anyone else can hope for!
Sending love and appreciation for your honesty!
You’re not just doing this for you, you’re doing this for all of us, too.
A life-long friend visited me recently. This friend has always had difficulty with her weight, but she is now obese and chronically ill. It broke my heart to see her like this; so please, please take the time to take care of yourself. Your health (mental and physical) is worth it!
So glad that you’re feeling better! I know guilty feelings can’t just disappear into the ether like that, but it sure would be nice if they could. You deserve good things!
I am on my own path to wellness and exercise is a part of that. I told myself I am allowed to hate it and say that I hate it, as long as I do it. I acknowledge that it is hard but I am doing it for my health not for fun, and some how that makes it easier. I am with you on this journey. Keep going.
You deserve all the amazing things in life andnot to feel guilty for getting them. Everyone on here deserves to be happy and healthy. That’s my wish and dream for everyone one her.
Was it the Buddha who said, the best thing we can do is heal ourselves? Love to you, Jenny.
So, I recently read something in line with what you are talking about. It’s not an indulgence when working towards making yourself better, but it is an investment. I’m heavily paraphrasing this… but the message is the same, you’re going to gain so much more from this than lose! Even the hours you invest now will come back to you with bright days to do the things you’ve had to put aside to make the change.
I can’t tell you to not feel guilty, feelings can’t be easily changed. But looking forward to good times ahead may help 🙂
Thank you Jenny. I’ve taken a month off work to intensively deal with my anxiety and panic issues and was feeling pretty guilty until I read this and all the amazing comments. You have a lot of special, caring people in your tribe who know what they’re talking about! You’re doing exactly what you need to do for you right now and so am I. I think. Lol, I’m still working on it…😏
I know I’m just a stranger on the internet to you, but I’m so freaking happy for you. You’ve worked your butt off fighting depression and finally found a treatment that’s giving you results. And it kind of gives me hope for my own issues (depression, anxiety, etc). This country is notorious for encouraging people to not take care of themselves until it finally becomes an emergency, and to not take mental health seriously. You seriously rock, and you continue to do so.
I am so, so glad that you are getting some relief! I agree with all the comments here that self-care is critical, even though it feels selfish when I do it, too. I want good things for you. You deserve it.
If it helps with the guilt, remember that you are taking all of us on this trip with you. You are actually providing a public service that benefits hundreds of other people! See – it is actually altruistic for you to take the time to take care of yourself!!!
Self care is critical! We can’t care for others if we ourselves are not functioning. Take all the time you need!
You hang in there dear, and thanks for the insightful reminders about self care!
Your next needlepoint needs to say, “I deserve this.”
I’ve been doing guided meditation, and it talks about distancing myself from my thoughts and feelings, which I try to do when they’re being assholes. “Ah, I see that guilt about taking time to sleep. Okay, I acknowledge that. Now I let it go.” Then I am less likely to feel guilty ABOUT FEELING GUILTY. Just acknowledge that’s a feeling I feel and move on. Of course, this has to happen a million times because the same thoughts and feelings keep coming up, but it has helped me. You’re doing so many good things. Sometimes you feel guilt about that. It’s just a feeling. It doesn’t have much power. You’re just going to acknowledge that feeling and keep doing all the good things for yourself. (This makes sense in my brain. Sorry if it doesn’t when I try to articulate it.)
(That sounds pretty awesome. ~ Jenny)
I suspect making time to care for yourself is a universal issue. We all need to love ourselves a little more perhaps.
Thanks for sharing your journey. My son is dealing with depression and you’ve helped me to understand some of the things he can’t put into words yet.
Love ya, honey! Anything that makes you feel better makes me happy.
I totally relate to this. The guilt is just another lie though. Congrats on the success so far and keep it up!
that…step? long, long, walk? from knowing to feeling is immense. i’m not there yet either. but i’m right there with you.
It’s very hard to not feel guilty doing something good for yourself. It’s even harder if your brains is trying to tell you that you don’t deserve it. Keep up the good fight Jenny!!! Thank you for be hilariously inspiring.
You have to put your oxygen mask on first, then you can help others. Self care is not something we should feel guilty about.
I so needed to hear the bit about taking time for myself not being selfish (or it is selfish but in a good way?). This is my challenge right now and I appreciate the reminder that knowing is not the same as feeling. It may take some time to feel okay with self-care, but we’ll all get there.
Also, thank you so very much for sharing your experience with the TMS treatment; I have family members with depression and bipolar disorder that might benefit from something like this someday so it is so nice to have anecdotal info about what it’s like and how it’s helped.
Self-care is the lesson I struggle to learn every.damn.day. Why is it so hard for me to understand? I keep trying to think of the whole “put your oxygen mask on before you try to put masks on your fellow travelers”, but it’s hard.
I am so thrilled, excited, and happy for you! ❤️
You deserve all the joy and bacon in the world. Do you find that TMS helps more with depression than anxiety or does it help with both equally?
(Both. I have treatment for depression on one side of my brain and then they move to the other side. I still have depression and anxiety but it’s less. I was having a hard time just leaving the house and now my reclusiveness is more just severe introversion. It feels very different. ~ Jenny)
You can’t pour from an empty cup! Take care of yourself, and you will be better equipped to take care of those around you! So glad are feeling results!
I no longer remember how I found you on the interwebs all those years ago…but I am damn sure glad I did. So there.
Your posts are always so wonderful and I’m encouraged by your progress. Hang in there. You help so many people.
I’ve never heard a patient say they feel guilty for wasting so much time with chemotherapy or dialysis. Time is the price we pay to stay alive and healthy; some of us have more time-expensive meat sacks carrying us around. Take care of yourself so all this time and effort and sci-fi magic can do its job. I have so much hope for you.
Do you find that it has any effect on the number of severity of headaches you have, specifically migraines? I, too, deal with rheumatoid arthritis and clinical depression, but I also have chronic migraine. (!!%*(@@#$@!!), so I am a little afraid to thump my brain. Thoughts?
(I did have headaches the first week but only one was really bad. My head aches for awhile after each treatment but it’s more on the outside than a real headache. I’ve heard that it can help with migraines but I’m not sure how exactly. ~ Jenny)
OMG Just you just invent bacon infused vodka?!? Invest in yourself & it will benefit everyone who cares about you. 😎
I really needed to be reminded of this today. Thank you Jenny <3
Knowing you’re not alone is so VERY powerful. Thank you, Jenny. ❤️🌹
I feel like this ALL OF THE TIME NOW. But, it’s because I am finally doing things for myself. I never put myself first before, and that lead me to A LOT of bad places. I constantly feel guilty for the choices I’ve made to spend time doing things that I love, and we should not feel guilty for this, especially when it is part of what is making us better. That is what I have to remind myself every day; that this is part of what is making me “better.” And I do, I feel WAY BETTER, usually.
“what is good for us is good for others”
I look at all the time you spend to get to TMS, have the treatment, and get back home as you WORKING. You are working so you can be able to engage with Victor and Haley more, engage with the world more, engage with your readers more (“Yay!” I say selfishly!), and you are WORKING to give other people hope. You are hard at work- it exhausted me just typing all the ways you’re working. Good job! Now go do something fun, or take a nap, you deserve it!
It’s hard being a survivor but it also makes us feel strong! You go girl!
My husband had chronic daily migraines and because his main trigger is barometric pressure changes, his neuro recommended that we move to San Diego because it has the most stable pressure in the continental US. We ignored it for years until my husband was nearly an invalid. He didn’t have a single migraine during our test visit 3 years ago so within 6 months we had moved from Virginia to CA. I miss my family and friends, but we have our lives back (because, yes, everyone in the family is affected by chronic health issues) 350+ migraines per year to 3 or 4 and fewer toxic medicines.
I’ve recently realized that self-care is purpose.
I was raised to take care of others first. That was a mistake when I didn’t even put myself on the list. It is hard to undo all those years of putting myself on the bottom, but I am working on it. I’m 58 so there is a lot to change. Good for you to do this. I am standing up and cheering for you. Can you hear me???
Yup. I need to take better care of myself, too! I feel guilty when I don’t, and I feel guilty when I take time for myself because I should be taking care of all the other things! Someone once said that the definition of parenthood is feeling guilty all the time because of something you could be doing better. Feel free to punch that guilt in the throat.
I’m so, so glad you are feeling better than before. And maybe in a place you can maintain your feeling-better-ness! That is super awesome.
Hurray! It’s working and you’re feeling better! I totally get the guilt thing. Maybe it will help to think about taking the time to do the TMS, exercise, and generally care for yourself as an investment in your ability to not only take good care of yourself but also of your family, your writing, and all the chores of daily life that become so difficult when depression pulls you under. As you feel better, it will start to make more feeling sense to you that giving yourself the same care you give to your family and your furry family is deserved, necessary, and will help you in the short and long terms.
Yea for you! So, so proud of you! ❤️
I get the guilt. I need to see someone about my anxiety and depression issues but I have only gone as far as looking at who takes my insurance because I feel like the time I am in therapy is taking time away from home.
” I think so many of us struggle with the thought that it’s okay to take care of ourselves, and it’s strange that it’s a struggle to treat ourselves as kindly as we treat the dog. ”
Something that helped me was to ask myself how I would react if it was my friend doing or thinking or feeling instead of me. And if I wouldn’t judge a friend for it, I gave myself permission to do it without feeling guilty. Doesn’t always help, but sometimes makes it easier.
Love you Jenny, and so grateful for every time that I find new stuff from you. 🙂
It’s funny, I was just thinking about what obstacles are in the way of self-care. In general, for people. Is it that we don’t feel worthy? It’s an interesting topic to explore. I would in fact say that self care is essential to wellbeing.
Exercise Jenny, keep moving.
I feel guilty about doing things for myself since I became a mum. I feel guilty about doing yoga, seeing friends, writing, about working, about enjoying my work. I told my husband I feel like I’m too much of a person still. I know how crazy that sounds.
I believe the equation goes as follows:
Time spent being depressed and missing out on things due to anxiety – time spent on self care= You don’t have to feel guilty you’re way fucking ahead!
Better than ECT. Believe it works and live that way. I’m an LCSW, I’ve seen it
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GUILT. If you were in a 12-step program, a lot of people would cheerfully point out “That’s your disease talking!” and then urge you to “Keep coming back.” Their point, that one is not the disease or disorder and that it has merely impinged on the person, is really really helpful. The illnesses and addictions make people seem the same. They even seem to tell the same stories. As they recover, their unique humanity and gifts begin to shine.
Just as you are finding with your own regimen, when one can get distance from the thing- turn and look at it, see it receding- it feels like a miracle.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I learn from it. The exercise tip is timely.
You’re a mom, Jenny. Does your daughter deserve medical care? Even if it means driving her 2 hours a day for weeks upon weeks? She should definitely get it, and you’d move heaven and earth to get it for her. Does she deserve naps when she’s tired? Does she deserve play, and fun, and games? Does she deserve to go shopping without anxiety, or go to school without feeling numb and exhausted? Does she deserve love, and empathy, and hope, and joy? You, her mom, tell me, does she deserve those things?
Of course she does!! And you do too. So do I, and I need to remind myself of it every day. Life is NOT just about suffering. Less suffering doesn’t mean we are selfish. It means we are finally living life the way every person deserves to (not everyone can, and that sucks, and I try very hard to do what I can to make this world better, so more people can have the joy of life we all deserve).
Guilt is such a uniquely human emotion. We need to take a page out of the doggy handbook and just revel in the walks, naps and bacon!
This is so timely. I put my big girl panties on the other day, and for my own mental well being, gave a flat, no excuses, no compromises, “no” to an seriously unreasonable “request” (more like a demand and automatic assumption that I’d jump to it) from family for the first time I can remember. Enter the guilt… That I’m not a “good person” for not saying yes, that I’m “ungrateful” (even though that family member has done nothing for me in my life but damage and indifference, and I own them NOTHING) That little voice is a right bastard, but I am SO proud of myself that I can finally recognize that fact, and that I stood up for my own health.
Thank you Jenny. What you said here brought tears to my eyes. This post met me right where I’m at today, especially since I needed something to nourish my spirit because I have to go get my knee looked at after a coworker walked into me at work yesterday.
Wishing you many bright days into the future.
When I got to the part of your post about guilt, all I could think was, if you had something like cancer or an actual disease, and you had to spend all this time getting treatment for that, I bet you wouldn’t feel so guilty. That’s the bitch of mental illness. But you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing something that might give you and your family some significantly better quality of life. I know my saying so doesn’t make it so, but I hope you can cut yourself a break.
Very, very happy for you. Thank you for sharing, and giving hope and a sense of normalcy to others!
I’m so glad to hear your treatments are working. My husband has suffered with depression and anxiety for…well..too many years to count. Medications either didn’t work at all, or quit working after awhile. It was the never ending story, with no relief in sight. Recently his psychiatrist suggested a series of 9 ECT, Electroconvulsive Treatments. He is in the process of getting his heart doctor’s approval, and then we will be all set. Fingers crossed that they will be as successful for him as those are for you.
I want bacon and vodka and love. You take care of you!!!
Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your success! So pleased to hear you are doing well. When the guilt kicks in remember, if you needed insulin to be well you would not feel guilty about it. Treatment for mental illness is no different, be it self-treatment (exercise, meditation) or professionally administered (therapy, magnets, meds) you do what you must to be well. Wishing you long lasting success and wellness.
I will remind you every single day if you would like. I would bet, if you asked Victor his opinion, he would be more than happy to tell you that you are least selfish person in the world and how overwhelmingly happy is that you have done this thing for YOU. Also your daughter is almost 13 (sob) and I think you have chosen exactly the right time for this. You are showing her that it is important to take care of yourself because that also helps you take care of others and this change in you will always be something she remembers.
Hang in there, Jenny! I’m sending you good Karma. My friends and I are eagerly anticipating your next books.
someone once told me that if you don’t look after yourself you won’t have the energy to look after anyone else. So take your time now and then you can help others later. Glad you are feeling better.
Big hugs to you. You are strong and brave and a great writer.
I want to say more things than I am capable of, so I’m just going to say thank you.
“I know that it takes time and effort for some of us to stay sane.”
Jenny, I have a sneaky suspicion that it takes time and effort for EVERYONE to stay sane, but
sane people just do it naturally and don’t even realize it. I am not sure because I don’t think I have ever been one of the sane people. I am proud to be one of your tribe and won’t ever resign no matter how sane I get. Probably proof of membership right there.
I am so happy to see your happy showing on your face and it is wonderful that every good thing from your therapy just leads to another good thing like sleep and energy. Thank you for being you.
I’m getting TMS done too! I had my 3rd treatment today. I really hope it works! I’m following your experience.
You’re simply charging up your batteries … to do something fantabulous! Charge away woman … charge away !!!
My nursing lecturer said having a mental illness is like having a part time job. So it makes sense that you need to spend this time on your part time job to be able to be healthy and able to do all your jobs. Also a counselor I went to said we need to stop using the word ‘selfish’. Use the word ‘self-full ‘ instead. We (and our families) are worth it.
I wish you wouldn’t feel that way (I’m referring to the guilty, not the better, the latter makes me happy). What makes me angry is that this feeling of guilt is something that especially people with mental health issues seem to have. Nobody would ever feel guilty because they spent time getting chemotherapy, would they? This is just wrong. You deserve every bit of time, of energy of good care spent for yourself and you wellbeing!
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You would never feel like that if it was chemo, would you? It makes me angry that even us people with mental health issues don’t accept our illness for what it is and what needs to be done to cure it. You deserve every bit of time, energy and self care that makes you feel better!
I’m so happy things (knock on wood) seem to be working for you Jenny. You give so much hope and help to us, there is no shame in taking care of yourself. I actually have a question for you and for the community- what is your advice for handling the six to eight weeks before meds kick in? I’m just barely managing to hide my emotions at work and shower and keep a tiny bit of food down, but it’s so hard to not want to give up.
Congratulations, Jenny. So happy for you. https://possumscatsthingsgnawingatme.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/little-adventures-shimmies-for-kitties/
Jenny, Maybe you should just tell yourself that this time is to help your family. This treatment will benefit them even more than it does you!
So much love. You taking care of yourself makes me happy, so you are unintentionally multitasking in the best way possible.
Is it normal for you to feel guilty? Maybe you need to try doing the opposite.
Knowing and feeling are two different things. I’ve told my friends this MANY times.
It’s never wrong to take care of yourself. So happy you’re doing better!
Glad the TMS is working right now! Woo Hoo! Just like on a plane, gotta put your oxygen mask on first before you can help anyone else. 🙂
Put it another way: the time you take to ‘heal’, to make yourself feel better, is a payback for all the effort your family and friends have made to help you struggle to get this far. If you had a broken leg, would you feel guily because it was broken and you had to have a cast on it?
You’ve done a very difficult thing, and done it with grace and humor and a hell of a lot of courage. I can hear the cheering from here.
Some things, as you so aptly put it, happen when they do, and are better for the wait. By waiting you got the full treatment instead of bits and pieces.
And taking care of yourself is, in a way, taking care of your family. It’s a package deal, after all.
You’re a light in the darkness for a lot of us! If you become magneto – maybe we can too!
You are WORTHY! Love yourself like your life depends on it by Kamal Ravikant is a good read. It helped me greatly and I’ve passed the notion on to my adult children.
Dear, dear Jenny, this is my first post ever, and maybe my only one ever. When we live with mental illness, we usually have an out-of-kilter sense of what “healthy” and “normal” are. Treatment and feeling well and enough exercise and all the time those take are your new normal and they are a good normal. You have suffered enough. Take whatever time you need to enjoy your good, new normal. The feeling that it is self-indulgent and cheating — I don’t have to tell you that that is the depression talking. You have a new gift. Open it, hold it to your face and breathe in. Sending you all love.
This is my last week on the high stress job that I have loved for the last 14 years. I need to care for my Mom while she goes through some serious health issues for a couple of months. I have been stretched to the limit for years trying to care for everyone around me and I do NOT take care of myself. I decided to quit working all together during this so I can have the time and energy to take care of myself while Mom goes through this – otherwise I think I may break. It is awful and freeing and exciting and financially daft! This will be the first time in almost two decades I take care of myself though
Helloooo guilt soul sista! I feel you 1000%! The way I assuage the guilt about self care is to remind myself that if I do it, I have 1000% more ability to help other people and can also stop being a DRAG on them. I also treat it like a job, because guilt ridden people feel less guilty when they are WORKING. Thus, exercise is A JOB I have to do. This works some of the time. I have also just learned that I have a guilt monster in my soul, and I just let it be there, but I don’t let it be in charge.
“…the hours I sleep instead of work or worry. ” Wow, that hit home. Why do I treat myself that way? Much to ponder. Thank you. I am so glad to hear you are having more good days.
Thank you for this reminder and for the hope that there is stuff out there that helps. This post is such a good reminder that we need to love on ourselves and that is ok. I love you without even knowing you
You travel a lot, right? Do you know why they tell you that if you’re traveling with a child and the cabin pressure drops, you need to put on your own oxygen mask before helping your child with theirs? Because it will do your child NO GOOD if you pass out from oxygen deprivation before either of you has your masks on. You have a whole mess of children in this tribe you created. You’re not just allowed to put your own mask on first. You HAVE to. Self care is necessary.
Proud of you. Fill up your bucket so you can pour into others’. We all struggle with this. Sometimes I dream if I go to heaven or whatever, my spouse feels like I feel inside myself, just for a day. It can be so lonely and I’m happy for the healing you are experiencing.
I’m so glad it’s working for you. It gives me so much hope. Your next assignment is practicing kindness to yourself. Maybe if you treat it like homework, you won’t feel guilty about it?
Heard. Tonight will be my 91st day of yoga—in a row. I’m not that person: disciplined, organized, routined. And I’ve never practiced yoga until now. But I feel better on many levels. And I’m not young, like you. More importantly, I love your writing. !!! Gonna check out your books, like, really soon.
Totally know the struggle to not feel guilty when I take time for myself. I’ve got this article saved to remind me to be joyous whenever I damn well please, and it helps whenever I reread it. 🙂 https://tinybuddha.com/blog/brings-joy-not-wasting-time/
Love you Jenny. Thank you for sharing this and reminding us we are worth it.
Love you Jenny. Thank you for sharing this and reminding us we are worth it.
<3 <3 <3 IDK if guilt is a feeling, but if so, it’s just another feeling that’s returning. Think of it that way. And the bacon & naps thing – that’s good too.
When a person has felt like shit on a shingle for a long, long time, it is entirely normal to feel guilty about feeling good when it finally happens. It’s a reflex that wants to get things “back to normal”, i.e., feeling depressed. Don’t fall for it. Eat some cake, little sister, THAT’S what you deserve! And please don’t look around for another dark hole to fall down – stay up where the sun shines.
Thank you for taking us all along on this journey with you, every single post you make about TMS makes me more and more hopeful for the future, both for you and for everyone else with a mental illness.
I totally get that feeling of guilt, I get that every single time I decide to stay home from work because I know I’m not mentally well enough to actually be helpful at work (actually had to do that today…). You look at the time you are ‘wasting’ and automatically think of a dozen things that could be getting done instead. I think a lot of people feel that way sometimes. The thing I try to remember, everyone I know wants me to take that time for myself. My friends and family want me to take that time for myself because they love me and want me to be happy/better/healthy. My coworkers and boss want me to take that time for myself because frankly I’m much more useful when I’m not bursting into tears every 15 minutes (and yeah, they really do care about me as well). I’m not just doing these things for me, I’m doing it for every single person in my life. So it’s not actually selfish. (Not that there is anything wrong with being selfish when it comes to your health!!)
You are exactly right about the importance of taking care of yourself. I have an idea, get one of those standing desks with a treadmill, then you can work and exercise at the same time!!
Please please please keep taking care of yourself. Please keep going to your treatments, getting enough sleep, getting exercise. You are the only person who can take care of you this way and you 200% deserve this level of care. Heck you might even deserve to drink less vodka or eat less bacon, but one step at a time.
Thank you for writing you account about your journey through this. I just had someone berating me last night..what is wrong with you? Why are you acting this way? You should be happy? etc etc etc. Yet …. I have no answers, because my thouhgts are so jumbled up that I can’t even sort it out for myself. We are leaving on vacation on the 31st….something I used to live for, but since my breakdown 16 years ago…yeah, not so much. That was the time my body betrayed me with the biggest panic attack I ever had, and I collapsed at work. Rather than being scared I was filled with embarrassment. It was only then I was officially diagnosed with Panic and anxiety. Depression not as much, but it lurks in the distance, and comes a knocking when the anxiety is out of control. My pysychiatrist dropped me as a patient as I no longer filled his criteria and it is an 8 month waiting list to get in to see a new one, and that is if you even feel comfortable with that person. I take my meds, and try to exercise, but right now, it is peaking at an alarming rate. It doesn’t help that I fell and fractured my elbow and looked like a clutzy idiot laying on the ground when my client answered the door. And now I am in continued pain. So sorry to go on and on…..I just wanted to thank you for posting your story. As much as it appears that this may hurt, I really must look into it. I’m in Canada, and not sure if it is available here, but it is worth a try. Thank you so much…..I don’t feel quite as along right now.
This resonates so much today. I feel guilty for reaching out for help from friends and family during a pretty dark time. They don’t need my drama on top of any of their own problems. I’m glad you’re getting help and hope to be able to tell myself the same soon! You are an inspiration to so many
I don’t know you, Jenny, but you are one of my favourite people in the world. You do what you need to do because, your voice has touched and saved countless many, and you deserve this for you. So very much you do.
Yes, yes, and yes. Yes to it all. Especially the naps and bacon.
The sparkle in your eyes shows such hope. That’s so wonderful for you.
The best gift you can give your children is to model good self-care and ensure that you are healthy and healed. Suck on that, Guilt.
Bacon and vodka are food groups, along with cake frosting, chocolate and cookie dough. Ok, not “official” official but in my head canon they are.
YEA for science working, even if we don’t quite understand it. On the guilt thing, I get it. There are parts of my job that I feel guilty doing because they are easier and more enjoyable. I feel like I should be spending all my time on the hard parts. But think of it this way. All of these treatments are to help you be more efficient at all your jobs. Your job as a blogger, a writer, and artist, a mom, a wife, and on and on. With these treatments you can work at these jobs everyday and not lose some to the black hole. And if you are more efficient you will also be better at all these jobs, and that means actually getting more done in the long run! And we all know that efficiency is the ultimate business buzzword! So there you go, a business based justification that has nothing to do with maintaining your health for yourself.
I’m thrilled to hear this! Is it weird to say I think I can SEE a difference? I’ve had anxiety my whole life and my face is always doing SOMETHING that reflects all that inner turmoil. But in this picture you look so relaxed! (Is it even possible to be relaxed while getting your brain punched by magnets? I guess if it’s working it IS possible, right??)
I’m so happy for you and grateful that you share this journey with us.
Thanks for the reminder to do self care and bacon…and naps with bacon.
You are an inspiration! Seriously. When I was a 19-20 year old I suffered from agoraphobia and serious panic attacks. Seeking treatment was the BEST thing I could have done for myself. Before therapy I was stranded in my house for over a year. I couldn’t even walk to the end of the driveway to get the mail. Your blog is so needed, if only I’d had that when I was a young woman I wouldn’t have felt like a freak. I’m 61 now (gasp! cuz in my mind I’m 35) and enjoying life, even the days were I feel fearful or like panic will creep up on me, I know what to do. YOU are taking serious steps to fight. While I can say don’t feel guilty (I did too back in the day) – feel it, let it pass, and enjoy where you are. Each and every step is forward progress…exciting, scary, moving, brilliant…YOU ARE DOING IT BRAVE, FIERCE, and COURAGEOUS one. Keep up the fabulousness that is you!!
You have been suffering for such a long time, you really do deserve the things that can get you to a better place. And if not for you, because I know the guilt, then for your daughter. She will be happier when you are happier. And no, that doesn’t mean that you were making her miserable before. But the happy spreads. The happy, or the “normal” or whatever. The not depression. It’s good for all of you. And it’s giving hope and joy to this whole community right now! We’re happy for you!
I am so grateful to my book club especially our wonderful leader and librarian for introducing me to you,through your books. I was always told by my father that reading a book or doing something for myself was selfish and lazy. As an adult I know that it is not,in fact it makes me so Happy to lose myself in a book. Thank you for being you,and sharing your thoughts about everything with us. I’m so truly happy your treatment is working,not only for you but for your husband and daughter!
Thank you for the reminder Jenny 🙂
So glad the treatments seem to be working for you!
The guilt thing: I think a lot of us who struggle with these things are just to damn used to not having the time or energy to “waste” on taking care of ourselves, we forget what that’s like. We spend what time and energy we have on the rest of our world (family, work, the dog, the cat, whatever) and just get kind of resigned to the fact that there’s nothing left for me. Then, when we find something like these treatments you are doing that give you back some of that time and energy, your habit kicks in and you feel that you should be using that time for all those other things, just like you always did. You are so right when you say there is a big difference between knowing and feeling. Keep working on the feeling part. It gets better. Not every day, not all the time, but there will be moments. Hang in there. You’re doing awesome, and we all love you for sharing yourself so much.
exercising while working towards remission and continuing EVERY SINGLE DAY once in remission is sooooooooooooooo important. I have little slips of depression, but I still concern myself in remission, but if i take 4-5 small walks every day (its what works for my schedule: Walk the dog in the morning and the evening, then walk on each of my 3 breaks at work.). Plus drink water everyday, forgive myself everyday and eat veggies every single day. My depression is management and doesn’t override my body.
You’re doing amazing! Congrats on everything.
For the guilt, I say fake it till you make it on forgiving yourself everyday. We are harder on ourselves than everyone else would ever be to us. Not just words, these are facts. Once we truly believe that our actions have value and our mistakes aren’t a big deal. The time it takes me to heal from each word slip up get shorter. The stupidest thing that helped me with self forgiveness was telling myself to get over my own ego. No one cares, no one remembers and you need to live in the moment and not the past.
Thank you Jenny. Love you girl!
I haven’t kept up with your blog lately but I’m glad to see you are finding this therapy helpful. I have considered it but may have found a med that works for now in Rexalti. I’m also supposed to exercise but have a hard time doing it. My legs and arm still feel really heavy and fatigued much of the time.
You deserve to feel good. Just feeling guilty is a symptom of being (somewhat) normal ‘cos that’s what if feels like if you spend any time on yourself no matter how short that time is. It shows that you are starting to spread out of yourself and into the world. I remember my mother apologizing for buying underwear for herself instead of spending it on us! (On the other hand we would have looked really stupid in her underwear…)
I promise! My therapist used a great analogy- “You know when you are on an airplane and they tell you that you should put your own oxygen mask on before helping others? That applies in all facets of life. You need to take care of yourself to be able to take care of everyone else”.
I wanted to let you know that I have been through two series of ECT. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make. Everyone was so scared. Including me. But 5 years of endless depression was awful and I really felt I had no other alternative. I had been through so much therapy and pharmaceuticals my brain was just exhausted. I haven’t needed to go back for 6 years. I’ve had some down times but been able to work through them and I just started with an EMDR therapist. I’ve been following your TMS progress. I know the depression is still out there. But it’s a comforting thing to remind oneself that there are tools that may be able to help me should I fall in again. hugs.
You are so absolutely right about having a hard time convincing ourselves that it’s ok to take care of ourselves. I find it harder when I have a significant other who needs time to take care of himself and a three year old who just needs to be taken care of, period. (Talk about guilt.) We’ll all keep each other accountable.
Action and … perseverance.
It is a duty. Self-care is vitally important to be healthy. And I found those fantastic socks in a cute store in Manhattan.
What you’re talking about here is self care. The phrase ‘self care’ has become a trendy thing in our culture and people think it means getting mani-pedis and massages. IT IS NOT. Self care is parenting yourself, just like you parent your beautiful daughter. Getting adequate sleep, exercise, and medical intervention for your illness is self care – absolutely NOT SELFISH. So glad you’re feeling better.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear”-Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha)
Thanks for the heads up. I am on day 18 of TMS and I am scared shitless that it is not working. How can I tell if it is or it isn’t? My oh so observant husband says he doesn’t see a difference in me. Should I be dancing and singing or is it more subtle? Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.
Women in particular are bad about caring for ourselves… everyone else (including the dogs!) comes ahead of us and we run out of hours in the day. I’m working on remembering to take time for myself (more than just going to the toilet for heavens sake!); we all should. Heck, I’m cradle Catholic too, I feel you on the guilt thing. Have another vodka.
“Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid.”
They’ll be safe in the nation we’ve made
I wanna sit under my own vine and fig tree
A moment alone in the shade
At home in this nation we’ve made
So glad you’re feeling better – and while that reads ‘trite cubed’ I truly mean it. I found that for me, changing the way I think about things changes the way I feel about them. So acknowledge the feeling, and then consciously catch yourself when the guilts start and change your thinking. Practice as you’re exercising. You are so worth this! We love you!!!
You’re not a cheater, you’re a trailblazer! You’re a pathfinder! You’re the person running ahead of everyone into the darkness, carrying the lantern, saying “wait I think this might be ok, try going this way!” A lot of people are scared by new thing, or strange things, or new strange things. You’re lighting the way for those people to think that maybe this new strange thing might be safe & ok & worth trying. Thank you.
I’ve been haunted by my earlier post. No way do I intend to imply that one can change feelings by changing thinking in cases of true depression and mental illness – which is how that came off. Massive apologies to all. Mental illness is serious business, and not for sissies! Love you Jenny!
I’m so happy for you! And I completely relate to the knowing vs feeling thing. The two therapists I’ve had both have told me that I know cognitively the info and the truth, but I can’t seem to feel it or believe it to be true for myself. If you figure out how to move from knowing to feeling, I’d love to read more about it! It’s a huge struggle for me.
Duuude. I have a really hard time with taking care of myself. I promise you deserve it. And, my hat is off to you for doing it. Keep on keepin’ on friend.
I just found this cool artist that I need to share with you because the felted cats with glass eyes look so lifelike. Like your kind of stuffed animals. http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/07/uncanny-portraits-of-cats-by-wakuneco/
When I start to think that taking time to exercise is selfish I recall the speech they give you on the airplane about how you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can start to help others. If you don’t take care of yourself, and really you are talking about basic necessities like medical treatment and exercise, then you aren’t going to be able to help anyone else. Taking care of yourself may seem selfish, but it’s selfless because it means you will be able to help take care of others.
Thank you. For this post, for your books, for your blog, etc. and for being so open. I am going to start therapy sessions again after a long hiatus and your books have really helped me see that taking that time (and money) for myself is vital – to then truly be there for my friends and family when they need me. Thank you for being a light in this world.
If you spend 1-hour driving to get the treatment – 1-hour having the treatment – and 1/2-hour exercising – that is less than 10% of your 24-hour day. That leaves plenty of time for napping, eating bacon and drinking vodka! Enjoy!
Yes to all of this. Yes to the fact that you’re starting to see improvement. Yes to self-care. Yes to knowing vs feeling and trying to close the gap in between.
Will you make a necklace charm like the “Depression Lies” (or a bracelet or something) that says “knowing and feeling are two different things.” I need it. My mom needs it. The world needs it.
Thank you so much for your books and blogs !!! I suffer from depression, but when I listen to you read your books…I can actually smile. You are some powerful medicine, girl! I thank God for you!!!!!!
Re-reading your post, I wonder if we can’t treat this guilt as a kind of fart in our brains. Smile, giggle and wave it away.
The way out is the way through, my friend would say.
that’s how they get you – try to make you feel guilty about taking care of yourself instead of spending all your time taking care of others. Silly because you can’t really take care of anyone if you don’t start with yourself.
and more important – vodka and exercise are NOT mutually exclusive, I’m walking (ellipticalling, weight lifting, guzzling) proof of that
I’ve been trying for months to motivate myself to exercise. Your shrink’s info that you’re 350% more likely to stay un-depressed if you exercise helps SO MUCH!! I just came out of a months-long depression so I want to stay that way. Also the bit about taking care of oneself, I struggle with the guilt on that one. Thank you!
Thank you Jenny!! Sometimes you are the only person in this world that makes me remember that I’m not totally broken. And I don’t even know you! I wish I did because I can tell you are an amazing spirit to simply be around. But thank you for putting your world out here so people like me can feel comfort that I’m not really alone with my struggles. 🙂
You inspired me to talk to my doc about TMS. I didn’t even know that was an option. I just talked to one of the people in charge of treatments today, and I hope they accept me because I’m tired of being crazy.
I hope you continue to feel better 🙂 Thank you, Jenny!
Oh my gosh. I feel you on the self care guilt. Bc I’m a single mother of 3 who had to take my children and flee a domestic violence situation last year and there is just so terrifyingly much that needs to happen and my to do list only gets longer and I’ve had a really hard time getting a handle on this anxiety and we are finally getting closer to a med combo that actually works and now I have to take better care of me bc after a year if treating my anxiety with food I’m so fluffy I’ll be lucky not to die of a heart attack. So now I get to pay the piper and bond w the gym like it’s my job and really it is bc if I die …. the father of my child cannot have her. That’s not an option. He’s in prison for hurting her. So I have to be healthy. I have to be well. And that means spending all this time working out and menu planning and meal prepping and seeing all the doctors. But that all takes time away from the to do list and from quality time with my kids. But I don’t have a choice and me dead is way worse so it’s not selfish even if it feels like it is. And I repeat this to myself so, so many times a day….
You are right, you deserve the time and investment in yourself. As someone who is bipolar and was clinically depressed until a few months ago, I relate to the guilt of investing in my mental health – specially if you have even one person in your circle who cannot fathom what the big deal is or relate/empathize with your situation.
I was financially dependent on my partner and we had a baby, thats when I broke down completely. For the sake of our child, I thought the best thing for me to do is start therapy. It was hard – really hard. I come from a background where mental illness is a taboo and my partner thought I was acting out. It took me four years to acknowledge, accept and raise myself to identify as human being from the human scum I believed I was all my life.
Last year again I broke down. It was the worst break down in ever. Panic attacks, very well thought out suicide ideation and just uncontrollable crying bouts that went on for days. I had no support what so ever. That is when I sought out medical help finally. Its been 6 months since then and I feel like a person for the first time in my 33 years on this planet. I still have my moments, some as intense as the last breakdown others mild, but at least I have developed a voice inside me that says I am a person, flawed and all, just like everyone else and I owe it to myself and no one else to give me a chance.
You, Jenny, found your strength. I believe everything happens at exactly the moment it is suppose to happen. This moment in which you are getting treatment is the right moment in the space time continuum for you to do so. We deserve your presence and optimism and you our support. You will be victorious. Have faith.
I love the way the white, half-circle, plastic piece looks like a little cap you are tipping to us. The cap informing us that you’re America’s Neuro ⭐️ makes it that much more awesome. Perhaps you should consider turning this experience into a reality/game show ?!?!?!
Like Dr Phil says, you can’t give what you don’t have. Think about it that way. You have to fill your cup up to have anything to give to your family out of it…. And he is Dr Phil, so you can’t argue.
It is a hard but necessary lesson to learn.
I really love hats and I wish I had one of these magnet gizmos to wear around town. It looks frightening and stylish all at the same time. I’d really be great for Halloween. It would also reinforce my contention that we are all cyborgs and will soon be more machine than person.