Dear Mom & Dad,

hank you for everything you’ve done for me.  I hope you know and can understand that I try so very hard to make you happy, and that it is tough for me to believe and know that I have made you proud.  I love you both very much, and will always be thankful for having such supportive and loving parents.  It takes a special person to be patient and supportive and strong for a child who is sick, and while you may not believe that I am sick all the time, you do try to understand me.  It’s just unfortunate that when a person’s mind is broken, it is a lot harder to tell (and to treat) than if say, their leg was broken.

All I ask is to please be patient and to continue to support me on this journey.  I am trying to understand and strengthen who I am, and what I am living for.   I pushed myself at 300 mph for 3 years, and so I am slowing down and trying to live at a normal speed.  To do that, I had to slow down to about 5 mph to recover… but am now getting better, and able to slowly handle more again.

I want you to know and to say thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for me.  From meals, to letting me move in, to paying for the vacation to florida, to allowing me to work a little less this summer to focus on my mental health, to driving a battery all the way out to me in minneapolis, to taking me to restaurants and theme parks, and giving me things to try at work… it never ends.  And I am forever grateful.

I have such supporting parents, and sometimes it kills me.  I want to be the perfect child.  I want to make you happy, and never disappoint you, and never make a wrong decision, and never fail, and always have you proud of me… but I’m learning that that just isn’t possible.  I’m learning that It’s ok to cry sometimes and to feel helpless.  I’m learning that sometimes you need to ask for help, and I’m sorry that the people I most trust to ask for help are also the ones that have already helped me so much.  It’s hard for me to ask for help (and to appreciate those who have helped me). But I’m trying.  Your support matters, and I am thankful everyday for it.  I’m trying my hardest so that you don’t have to be annoyed to support me anymore.  I’m Trying To feel comfortable on my own two feet… and I think I’m getting there.   Day by day, week by week.

I love you both, so very much.  I hope you know that.  I am trying, I really am.  I wish there was a better way to show it… but please know – I so appreciate everything you do.

Love you.

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Fabulous Travels

I love to travel.  And not to just experience new places and cultures, but to meet new people.  And, part of it is honestly because I think I’m one of the luckiest people ever when going to the airport.  In the last 2 years I have never waited longer than 5-10 minutes in the he security line, and have had so many close calls it’s scary to count.  A few times I’ve been extremely late to the airport, only to find out my flight is delayed too.  Granted, I’ve had a few struggles, but tonight was a wonderful one.

I got to my gate about an hour and a half early and decided to sit at the bar like I always do when I’m early for a flight (or on-time when I fly through security during those close-calls, haha).  I relaxed and calmed down after a busy day at work for about 45 minutes.  Then ran into this really cute guy who sat right next to me and used to work at the bar.  He was really cool and had some fun stories.  Then across the bar I see Alicia, whom I went to both college and high school with.  And she happens to be talking with a friend who is headed to Orlando too.  And this friend happens to be dating a cousin of one of my friends… and those two guys happen to be meeting up for a beer tonight too.  What a freaking small world.

I love travel because of the fabulous people I meet.  Though the world seems so huge and so many things yet to be discovered, I continue to learn how small this world is.  Alicia said she’d talked to a few people who tied me to our college… crazy!! Guess quite a few people knew who I was there!

Anyway, it’s important to try to live in the present to appreciate the small things. Especially after a those stressful days at work… somehow airports spell adventure… and seem to help you forget some of your worries. It’s nice to step out of that comfort zone once in awhile and be surprised by life.  It’s absolutely fabulous out there, and I’m glad I’m starting to feel better. 

Life, love & fabulous y’all.  Happy Thanksgiving.

5 Ways to Explain Depression to Loved Ones

Thanks to “Virtually Free” blog for the content of this post.  Check them out – they’ve got a lot of great advice.  They’ve helped me prepare for this conversarion with my parents.  Here they propose 5 different ways to explain depression to loved ones:

1. I’m not complaining; I’m depressed.

Situational sadness and clinical depression are different. Whilst the first one is usually triggered by external events (such as a grief or sorrow), the second comes from within us and is the result of a change in the mood networks in our brain. We’ve all heard the typical sentence of “how can he be depressed, he’s got everything one could ever wish for”. Unfortunately, clinical depression can affect anyone, sometimes without any triggers if the person is particularly vulnerable to it.

2. I’m not moody, it’s my brain!

Depression also causes changes in the brain that result in changes in behaviour.  People affected can cry for no reason, isolate themselves and have no energy to do anything at all. You need to make sure your loved ones understand you don’t do these things for attention, it’s the direct result of the changes the condition causes in the brain. Some patience and understanding is the best help you can get.

3 Do not judge me, don’t feel sorry, just listen to me.

Depression causes something called a ‘negative cognitive bias’. Sounds like a bit of a mouthful, but it means the brain will ignore anything good that happens and remember a catastrophic version of anything remotely bad that takes place. Little can be done about this apart from relying on someone who will listen without judging.  Loved ones can help sometimes reframe events in a more positive light or help combat this ‘negative cognitive bias’ by helping to take note and remember some good things. It’s very important to do this without being patronising.

4. I know I’m loved, I’m clever, I’m not to blame. I just need time to get myself together.

Depression gets better with time and treatment, but those affected need a lot of support. It’s always good knowing that someone is there even when the person suffering from depression tries to push them away; someone who doesn’t give up. There will be bad days and good days, but knowing that a person is there no matter what, can help make recovery quicker.

5. Keep me busy and engaged, even if I want to give up. Or stay with me if I can’t make it.

There will be times when those affected will just want to dig themselves deeper into their own grief. At those times they will need someone to help them keep socialising and engaged. Ask your friend/partner/relative to understand your reasons to avoid social situations, but still try to pull you into it and be understanding as well if you just can’t make it one day. You will feel less lonely when you realise that someone cares about you and wants to spend quality time together.

Don’t be embarrassed to be open about your condition. If after making the effort to explain it, someone fails to understand your illness, stay calm and give them time. Some people feel fear or rejection towards topics that are new to them, and they might just need some time to come to terms with it. If after that time they still don’t understand, remember the problem is theirs, not yours!

Rock Bottom

I think it takes a huge loss for someone to realize they’ve hit rock bottom… no… it’s beyond that… you have to fall several feet below rock bottom.  Depression – it’s like you’ve gone below rock bottom, then you have to be kicked about 4 times while laying below rock bottom.. and then you reach your hand out for help, only to have no one grab it.

And it’s at that point you realize.

No one can live your life but you. 

No one will love you or see the value in you until you love yourself first. 

So you pick your ass up off that dirty cement and you do the only thing you can at that moment – you try to tell someone that you’ve got an issue.  You somehow, in your own way, try to tell them that you’re stuck, and you’re not happy.  It’s the equivalent of feeling as though every single bone in your body is broken except one… and there is only one person who can prevent that last one from breaking…. your mind has become so broken, so twisted… its so hard to explain.  But if you’re lucky – that person you turn to –  they’ll help you figure out where to go.

And if you are lucky enough to be that person for someone, I hope you know what to do.  I hope you listen.  I hope you give them hope.  Give them a hand. You can’t solve all their problems – please know that.  But if you point them to the right place… you will forever have saved their life.

Tired Rantings

(so sorry – there is a bit of swearing in this post) I’m so tired of this job – I’m just exhausted from feeling guilty about not working 80 hour weeks, from not working on the weekends.  I’m tired of feeling guilty and like I’m disappointing people when I can’t finish something within a day or two.  I’m tired of trying not to fail.  I’m tired of walking alone to lunch or eating lunch at my desk.  I’m tired of browsing the web and pretending to work while here at the office because I can’t concentrate and because if I’m not in the office, “I’m not working”.  I’m tired of having to get every single, fucking thing approved before sending it out.  I’m tired of being told one thing and then something else happens.  I’m tired of getting a budget and then having to explain every fucking thing on it.

I’m tired of being treated like a child, of not being trusted that some of my decisions might actually be good.  I’m tired of making suggestions and coming up with ideas and then only being able to follow through on those ideas 6 months later when someone else says it.  I’m tired of never being able to complain about work with colleagues.  I’m the boss’ daughter – no one wants to tell me anything. I’m tired of having 2 bosses.  I’m burned out.   I get angry because it’s the same fucking fight every time.  I try to keep up with the fucking status report that is usually 2 pages long by the end of the week.  But it doesn’t convey how long some shit takes…. Or how long it even takes to do the fucking status report.  I’m tired of micro-management.  I just wish I could make a decision, and if it sucks, well I learned and I won’t do it again.  But nope.  I’m tired of being told that marketing needs to do more, so that sales increase.  Yet production can’t keep up.  And I’m not allowed to try any of those new things I want to try – or they’re critiqued heavily if we do try them.  I’m tired of trying to explain the importance of adwords.  I’m tired of having to use old-school marketing tactics in a new-school world.

I’m tired of having that same argument – the one talking about how it’s actually better to NOT work hundreds of hours a week.  That one gets more done if they take a little time off.  I’m tired of trying to explain why it might be ok to offer the ability to work from home.  Or to leave early once in awhile.  I’m tired of being in crisis mode every day.  We keep putting band-aids over problems and wondering why the same problems keep coming back.  I’m tired of so many new people in the office all the time.   I’m tired of making shit money, being in crazy debt and listening to my parents talk about their spending habits, and how the company is spending too much.  I’m tired of hearing about what everyone else is doing wrong, and what they should have done.  It just makes me more afraid to fail or make even tiny mistakes.  I’m overwhelmed with working here – no wonder food seems overwhelming.  It was the only thing I could control for awhile there.  And the less I ate, the less emotions would pop up, the harder I would work and the more shit I would get done – thus the vicious cycle started.  I’m tired of feeling like I’ve disappointed the team because I’m not doing as much as I used to.  I’m tired of being the “boss’ daughter” and everything that comes with that.  I just want to be normal – struggling to pay rent in an apartment with friends, working in the real world.  I don’t want to depend on  my parents anymore.  I don’t want to depend on their approval.

 

I’m tired of never being good enough. I’m exhausted that we never take time to celebrate the victories, and be proud of each other.  I’m sick of watching my dad work 100 hours a week. It’s not good for his health, for his marriage, for the business.  I don’t ever want to be like that.  I want to work, and be successful, but I don’t want it to sacrifice my health, or my family life.  My brother and I grew up while our parents worked their asses off.  And we were criticized for not doing the same.  Now my little bro has gotten away (Japan actually!) and he’s happy.  I need to get away too.  And hopefully the biggest step will be to get out of the family business.  I can’t do this anymore.  When I tell people how much stuff I do at work and what is expected of me, they’re always shocked.  The list of tasks and the timelines to complete them in is ridiculous.  It’s maybe what a normal person’s busy day or week could look like.  But not every fucking day… of the entire fucking year.  People are shocked by what I’m responsible for, and don’t believe I can do that much.  But I do, and I did.  And look where I ended up.  Intensive treatment.  Fuck, I’m exhausted.  I think things are getting better – my need for perfectionism is dying down a bit.  And I’m becoming ok with coming into work a little later, and not staying as late – though my parents still stay pretty late.  I still work around 60 hours a week or so, but I can only hope to get a different job and slow down a little.  It was nice to hear from several people this week that where I’m working, what I’m working in, isn’t normal.  It’s just so hard to continue to watch my parents work this much and think it’s ok.  I worry about them.  But I guess at this point I only have enough worry in my system to worry about my mental health and my job hunt.  At least I’ve gotten a bit better at eating…

Marketing Has Ruined the World

old ads2Let me start this post by saying that I’m a Marketing Manager.  I actually love my job and thoroughly enjoy trying to figure out the best ways to promote the products and services that I work with to the right target market of people that will want to buy them.  However, at the risk of making a sweeping comparison… I’m going to do it anyway.

In the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, cigarette advertising was extremely prominent.  It proved to work, and hooked thousands – no millions – of Americans on them.  Years later, we would learn about their dangerous affects and how awful they were to our health.  To this day, states are still enacting rules to ban them as they continue to take thousands – no millions – of lives. My grandma and grandpa passed away because of them.

 

I will stretch a bit and venture to say that the next big challenge to our health is the “look” of being skinnier that we have been sold to for years now by marketers.  It’s the sunliminal belief that has been pounded into our minds for years that to be successful, one must be skinny.  To be sexy, beautiful, seen as smart, important, high profile… anythjng… one must be skinny. When was the last time someone ‘normal’ has been featured in an ad.  Someone whose thighs touched when they walk?  How about a girl who has hips?  Cuz fuck, we all have hips!  I’m not asking for ads with women who are pounds overweight, but one who is normal.   One with 20%-ish of body fat and is portrayed as strong, and beautiful.  Isn’t that what everyone wants to see anyway?

old adsI feel like eating disorders are on the rise.  The amount of girls who feel low self-esteem, feel inadequate, and don’t practice self-love continues to drop every year.  And while I won’t blame it all on marketing and the media, (some can be blamed on the social media, constantly online culture – but that’s a topic for another time), it’s not helping.  I hope that someday we can teach girls to love themselves without needing new clothes, or to be Uber skinny – their flaws, imperfections and all.  Is all of this wishing and believing for a better life and a better image leading to increased depression?  Maybe we just need to have a more open discussion about mental health.  Maybe the US should be just as open and understanding about mental health as they have been in the last year or two with gay marriage.  When someone breaks their leg, we can see it, and are able to watch it heal… but why, when someone’s mind is broken, do we not talk about it?  We allow them to continue going about life, like nothing is wrong.  Can you imagine walking around with a bone sticking out of your leg and pretending everything is fine for years?  WTF?!  Let’s make it talk to talk about these things so that those that need help can get it and so that everyone can talk about how fucker up it is to have a sticks and bones model promote how amazing cigarettes are for you.

What is a “Normal” Day, Anyway?

Could it be possible that I’ve been seeing life as so darned black and white that I can’t even stand to have a “normal” day?

But what is a normal day?  I feel like I’ve lived life for so long trying to make each day awesome, trying to make sure I do *something* every day, just so it doesn’t feel “wasted”.  For so long I’ve tried to live life to the fullest all the time, and thought of each day as either “good” or “bad”.  But what about those days that are just, “meh.”  Are those normal?

I feel as though this online culture has forced us to become so familiar and demanding that something is either “good” or “bad”.  We either get a ton of text messages and facebook messages and snapchats (“good” day because things are happening) or we have a day where we don’t get a lot of messages (“bad” day).  Isn’t that ok to have days like that though?  I feel like we are becoming conditioned to reach out somehow on those “bad” days.  But is that really a “bad” day?  No!  It’s just a “meh” day.  Why can’t we just be ok with the fact that most days are “meh” days?

I’m trying to figure out a “new normal” for myself – and am definitely struggling.  For so long (my entire life) I was in school, then after-school activities, then sports, then would come home, crash, and do it all over again.  On the weekends I would always have to be doing something, all day every day, and would need to report it to my parents at the end of the weekend.  This followed all the way through college, and into work after college.  I didn’t know what to do with myself if I got home earlier than when it was time to go to bed.  What would have happened if I had just laid there?  If I had just relaxed for a weekend? I would have gotten a disappointed pause, and a lecture on all the things I could have/ should have done.  Yes, my family was (and still is) very driven.  But only until my body and my mind hit a breaking point.  Now, going through recovery it’s so hard to judge whether I’m having a “normal” day, or a “meh” day.  I definitely know which days are the “good” and “bad” days – but the days in between? I feel guilty and ashamed that nothing much happens in them.  But I would venture to guess that that is normal.  That is what happens when you slow down in life, and attempt to notice yourself.  It’s darn terrifying, and confusing, and difficult.

Some days I feel so boring.  But maybe that’s a good thing?  Maybe “boring” and “meh” are exactly what’s needed right now to help me recover.  I just don’t want “boring” to be my new normal.  Perhaps I experienced so much in my life already that nothings left but to feel a little jaded and tired.  That may sound awful to say, but could it be true?