If Only Pandora Had a Creativity Box

It’s interesting to write a post like this on a day when I am so incredibly happy and full of energy. But I think this is also the perfect time to write such a post about a time when I was maybe not so happy, and just living in the world felt overwhelming.

Depression, anxiety, and all its root causes have been mostly missing from my life as of late, but when they do appear, I must remember days like today. I must remember that tomorrow is worth it.

On most days, it’s hard to remember how I ever got to that place before. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a chemical imbalance, hormonal changes, or blood sugar instability that sets me down that blue path. But when it does happen, it’s why I cherish days like today, for the mere fact that they exist. Continue reading


Are We Special? A Millennial Year in DC

Today a doctor put a scalpel to the skin beneath my left bicep. She removed another birth control method, the last I will try for a while. And although the implant was the best I’ve had, after about six months, it interfered with a cycle that should come natural, and the consequences no longer seemed worth it.

Oh the things we women must endure.

But this isn’t just about reproductive rights for women. It’s about the child I am not ready to bring into this world. I am a Type 1 diabetic. I would not take reproduction lightly normally, but with a chronic disease that could do irreparable developmental damage if I’m not monitoring it carefully enough, I especially do not take it lightly.

After the application of a burning numbing agent, the doctor pierced my skin and opened the wound. I watched with a side view anxious to have this hole repaired. I knew I was making the right decision for myself and my body but I couldn’t help but be abhorred by the whole procedure. What was I doing to myself?

She used her gloved fingers to dig around beneath the skin, and what seemed like seconds turned into minutes. How big is this thing? She asked for help from her assistant. Is it stuck inside me? Will I never be free of this thing that can’t be more than the size of a blunt razor blade? But then I realized she was removing scar tissue from the implant. After all, it had been in my body for almost a year.

And then it was out. As thin as a paper clip, it was no bigger than my pinky finger. And to think of all the hassle that tiny strip caused. Incredible. Continue reading

Just Be Brave

I’ve been in a bit of a reflective mood lately. Could be because I just returned from vacation, am preparing to move apartments, or the fact I recently bought an adult coloring book (which oh my god I love! how did it take me so long to invest in one of these?). Anyway often when life changes are happening and I’m feeling particularly doubtful, I look back to an old post I wrote back in 2013 when I was commuting five hours a day from Baltimore to Bethesda and nearing the end of a four-year relationship.

I never published it but I feel the sentiments ring true. Just like tonight when I was coloring inside these insanely detailed lines from my new coloring book, my fingers started to hurt but I kept coloring because I needed to see my ideas visualized and because I knew however hard it was it would make me happy.


Just Be Brave (December 2013)

I retweeted a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday that went something like this: “Met a woman tonight who said, ‘Just because a decision makes you sad doesn’t mean it was the wrong one.’ Things I wish I’d known at 25 …” Continue reading

What’s It Like Living With Depression?

Personally I know when the depression is about to hit. I can feel this immense amount of sadness for no apparent reason, and I suddenly don’t have any purpose to my life. I just go through the motions and want to cry at every little thing. There’s no reason for me to be sad. Maybe there was a trigger? Maybe there was a moment that just led me down a bad path?

But usually I can prevent those triggers. Usually I can prevent myself from going down that path. But sometimes it just happens. Sometimes you can’t foresee it, and your mind goes to dark places. It starts to reason things it would never reason before. And it starts to believe in the insecurities you’ve worked so hard to overcome.

You know it’s not true. You know your rational mind doesn’t justify it. But you can’t help but feel this way. Usually when I get to this point I just detach myself from the world and push everyone away. I don’t even want to talk about it. I’m thankful I can at least write about it. That I want to write about it. Because I haven’t felt this way in a while.

I thought I had found some defense mechanism to keep myself from getting to this point. But depression is a lifelong battle. No matter how hard I try it will always be there, itching to get back under my skin. And it could be hormones right now that’s making me so glum and down. I don’t know. But I know there’s no getting out of it, not until the fog lifts.

The best I can do is go through the motions, keep myself active, keep myself moving, and sleep through the worst of it. That’s always been my defense mechanism. I don’t know how else to overcome it. When I try to explain it to others, they don’t understand. And I’m tired of trying to explain. So I just take a step back for a while. And hope when I come out on the other side they will still be my friends. Continue reading

Failing DC

There have been various reasons I have been a little absent from this blog.

I don’t want to talk about diabetes because it still befuddles me and all my recent insurance hassles and doctor visits just make me upset. I don’t want to talk about dating because I’m tired of being disappointed. I don’t want to talk about work because I’m tired of it taking up most of my life and stressing me out like no other. I don’t want to talk about DC because I still have no close friends in proximity to me and it depresses me to hell (sometimes). I don’t want to talk about Norm, my cat, because well, he’s had a rough month, too, and no one wants to hear about a miserable kitty.

But more than all of that, I haven’t written on this blog because up until a week ago, I was pretty sure I had utterly and despicably failed in DC, and I was pretty devastated by this realization. I thought it might be time to consider moving on, maybe even move back to Kentucky for a while. Why did I think I had failed? Here are a few speculations: Continue reading

Looking Back From 1993

I’ve never seen anyone jump in front of a Metro train, but it seems to happen more frequently in the DC area than I would like to admit. And most times when it does, people grumble about the delays and inconvenience, myself included.

Sometimes, I think of what was going through that person’s mind. And when I walk down the stairs to the platform, and then along the raised, bumped edge to get through the crowd, I think how easy it would be to just fall or jump to my right. In a split second, I would be no more.

But then I think about the train driver – how they can see the entire scene play out, and there’s nothing they can do about it. If they try to brake, it may only put the passengers at risk, whereas the jumper knew the consequence of their actions. And even though the driver is not responsible, that is something they must take with them for the rest of their life.

Mental health, an often overlooked sector of health care, is so important to surviving the daily grind. It is why we shouldn’t take for granted that someone won’t jump in front of that train. And we should always ask why. When the mind starts to reason ending life, then it can reason a lot of things. Continue reading

Scrambled Eggs

In light of recent conversations on mental health, I thought it might be appropriate to reflect on a period of my life when I questioned that life. Even though I had everything going for me, I, like so many others, struggled with the mental and physical realities of my worth. What difference could I make? What impact could I have? Whether I lived or not, the Earth would keep revolving. I didn’t think things could get better. I also didn’t think they could get worse. This was two years before I met diabetes.

June 16, 2007

The most recent typed edition of my second working novel is scattered across the blue carpet of my bedroom floor. I write today’s date on a folded piece of looseleaf paper and set it aside. I just took eight over-the-counter IB Profen pills. They’re the most potent pills I could find in the medicine cabinet. Unfortunately, my parents do not take prescription sleeping pills (that I’m aware of).

I have no idea what overdosing on anti-inflammatory medication will do to me, but I can’t imagine it’s good. I think I’m playing with my life. But I am determined to finish my second working novel before the medicine kicks in. I only have two more chapters to write.

I look at myself in the shattered mirror of my closet door. My parents are in their bedroom across from mine. I’ve locked my door. They know about my depression, and they’ve supported me in the past two years as I made the transition from home to college and old and new friends. They know that I started taking anti-depressants. They know I was seeing a therapist at the university health center. They know I’ve run out of anti-depressants. Continue reading

Emotional Reasoning

I haven’t always listened to my emotions. In fact, there was a time I suppressed them.

I grew up in a household of boys, my poor mother and I alone in the chaos of male destruction. But as much as I revere my mother, I was a daddy’s girl. Besides the whole Oedipus complex, I’m starting to understand why. My mom was rational, and my dad, like me, was emotional. But since he was a man’s man, he never showed it except when he became angry. My dad was the type of man to have teary eyes at the end of movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and Armageddon, but only if he was alone.

The first time I saw my dad cry was when I was ten. I followed him into the basement. We had just returned from vacation, and we came home to a dead dog. The Yorkshire Terrier was 12 years old and had gotten his collar stuck in the holes of our picnic table in the backyard and choked himself to death. His name was Tiger, and he had been my dad’s wedding gift to my mom. My mom had wanted to put the dog in a kennel while we went camping, but my dad decided to keep him at home and have a friend come by after work each day and take care of him. When we came home to a funeral (the dog was rather loved among our extended family), my dad felt responsible.

So when I went downstairs and saw Tiger’s motionless body in a cardboard box, I couldn’t make the connection. This wasn’t Tiger. It was just a stuffed animal that looked like Tiger. But when my dad saw the dog, his guilt overcame him, and he started choking on his own sobs. I ran back up the stairs then, terrified. I’d never seen my dad lose it like that, and I vowed I would never do the same. Continue reading

Sister, Sister

It seems to be staring at me, although I don’t see a face. I only see its black rectangular body and a few mechanical buttons that I suppose could be eyes – they are my life source. It’s buzzing at me, but I ignore its demand for attention.

There was a time I didn’t need you.

It doesn’t hear me. It doesn’t seem to respond, but it moves across my desk, as if inching closer to my exhausted body.

You are gray and ugly, and I don’t want you … but I need you.

I have a weird relationship with my insulin pump. If we were on Facebook, it would read, “It’s complicated with Gizmo.” Yes, I’ve named it Gizmo. I figure if it’s going to share my bed, it should have a name.

In approaching the holidays, I realize even though Gizmo has only been with me for two years, diabetes has been in my life for almost five. That’s not a lot considering most people with Type 1 were diagnosed when they were seven. What was I doing when I was seven? Oh yeah, playing beneath the Maple trees of Kentucky and going to church with my family every Sunday.

When I was in college and realized the brain doesn’t fully develop until we’re 20 or 25, I considered this might be why childhood seemed like the happiest years of my short life. I hadn’t met reason yet. I didn’t think about the horrible atrocities happening in the world or feel stressed about how quickly my next paycheck would disappear.

No, I lived in the present – my only concern was what fun things I could do with my day. My brother, two years younger than me, and I used to make lists during the summertime and then vote on the items on that list, planning out our free time and deducing what activities we would engage in that day.

We built Lego cities in the basement, played “house” in the church parking lot across the street, and pretended to be sisters. One time my father came home and found my brother dressed in a witch costume, answering to the name of “Susan.” I don’t know why he liked that name so much, but when we played “Sister, Sister,” I always let him choose his female name. To be fair, we also played “Brother, Brother,” but after my dad found my brother wearing a dress, we never played sisters again. Continue reading

Falling Like Flies

Sometimes, I look at everything I worry about, and I laugh.

Sometimes, I want to be happy for the sake of being happy so that if I died tomorrow, I would enjoy this one moment of life.

Sometimes, I wish people bothered me less. Why do you need to say “hello” every time I pass you on the street? Why do you feel the need to smile and call me “gorgeous” and when I don’t respond, keep talking like it’s my loss.

Sometimes, I wish people bothered me more.

Just yesterday, a friend of mine found out her landlord passed away from cancer. She was diagnosed a few months ago, complaining of stomach pains, but by then, the cancer was already at an advanced stage.

Just this past week, a colleague of mine doubled over in stomach pain and made it to the hospital. He’s been on bedrest ever since and has lost 10 pounds in the past week. He’s over 90 so the stakes aren’t looking good.

On this day, four and a half years ago, I was admitted to the hospital, having seen the doctor for a severe yeast infection. I came out with diabetes. Continue reading