Wednesdays are for Writing

“It’s not avoidance if you actively plan to pursue it. Someday.”

T.J. Klune

Welp, that was fun, wasn’t it?

2020 was a year.
That’s it. Just a year.
The end. G o o d b y e .
I hated it and I’m sure you did, too.
This year hasn’t started off much better; 2021 feels a bit like coming out of an abusive relationship: cautious, not quite ready to be optimistic, still reeling from a year full of trauma (and I’m quite certain I will be canceled for that statement, goodbye again). 2021 has already proven itself to be less-than-worthy for my optimism or hope; I gave up on this year halfway through last year, to be quite frank. All jokes aside (totally not joking), one thing remains a true and constant thought: it can’t get any worse and it can absolutely totally most certainly get so much worse.

My expectation bar can’t go much further into the ground than I’ve already buried it. It’s really incapable of going much lower. I feel like only the best possible outcome can occur from this setup. If you expect the worse, you are far more prepared for when it’s shitty. And when it’s not shitty? I’m not sure how that’s a bad outcome. I really don’t expect much from this year. I don’t expect anything to go very well. I don’t expect I will learn anything new, or progress in any way I should. I imagine that similar to last year, halfway through this year I will lose time and advance a year, aging myself one year unknowingly, so that come December, whilst prepping for my January birthday, I will be so absolutely dumbfoundedly (it’s a word now) confused that I will be forced to do math several times in order to convince myself of my true age. That is my only true expectation of this year. The true deterioration of my brain functions. Brain cells? Mental capacity? See, it’s already diminishing. Check.

I decided before I began writing this post that it would be a rather short one. Brief. A summary of sorts. There are things I had decided long ago when I was quite literally (but actually figuratively) drowning in the avoidance of writing anything because I knew, I JUST KNEW, what had to come next. There is this very obvious post that has to come next and I. JUST. CAN’T. FUCKING. DO. IT. So, I’ve been avoiding it. As one does.

Some really terrible shit happened last year. But, some really good shit happened, too. And I honestly felt like I had managed fairly. There were times I felt genuine happiness. But, my heart also genuinely smashed into a gazillion pieces and I am really struggling in picking up those pieces. I still can’t find many of them and I legitimately believe there are full sections of my heart that will never fully recover.

In all honesty, I should have known.
That feeling of elation, pure happiness, absolute contentment—it would not last. Perhaps I had hoped my circumstances had changed enough for the years of trauma, depression, and anxiety I keep stashed away in the deepest internal crevices of my Being to suddenly melt away as if they never existed. I’ve lived through enough of my own ebbs and flows to know that this honeymoon stage of “new home, new life” would eventually dissolve, forcing me to directly face all the things I so happily and willingly avoided when I was floating on clouds for the past several months.

Ebbs and flows.
Twenty days ago I felt like I was drowning.
I was back at that place again. again. again. again. The same old story. The grey meh. I’m sure you know it by now. I don’t need to go into depth about it every time it happens. My brain is sick. I have an illness. This thing happens. I’m not just sad because I remembered a sad day and I don’t have control over when it comes and when it goes. I can’t just make myself feel better by thinking of sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes I can do everything “right,” and one day I will wake up not wanting to exist anymore. I can’t just “think happy thoughts” and everything will get better. And if you are someone who thinks this is how depression works, please educate yourself. For your loved ones, because I’m sure there is someone you know who is suffering in silence right now and they could probably use a little understanding, empathy, and love.

Even though I don’t have control over when the grey meh comes and goes, I do still have control over large aspects of my life. And I realized that there were certain things I needed to change in order for me to not be a complete waste of space and —just, ugh— fucking absolutely miserable for the rest of my existence. For about a week I had contemplated just walking away. Like, literally wandering off into a field and never returning. I don’t know where I would have ended up. We had sub-zero temps around that same time. And honestly, with my experience walking around these parts, I imagine I wouldn’t have gotten far before some Friendly pulled over and asked if I was okay and needed a ride.

(Before you get all freaky-deaky, it was a passing thought. Fleeting. I have them often, but it’s been a good 17 years since I felt terrible enough to actually act, and I blame that on a certain prescription medication. It works for some people and I will not demean anyone for their choices in what best helps their mental health. Therapy works best for me. Medication—not so much.)

So, I had a breakdown. I did a lot of crying/sobbing/blubbering and a lot of reflecting. As I’ve written in quite a few, if not all, of my serious posts, I recognize that it is essential I return to therapy. But… (like most of my posts, this one also has a theme!)

Avoidance. Because I am so so so so so good at it. I have my reasons. Good reasons. Therapy can be expensive if you are super messed up and you have really awful insurance because you are poor. Like, seriously, our health care system is so jacked up. SO JACKED. I’m honestly not sure if I currently reside in this category because I have avoided looking into the mental health options my insurance provides. *awkward smile* Also, I had not-so-great-experiences with therapy when I was younger and it put a bad taste in my mouth. HOWEVER, in my early thirties, I finally found the most amazing therapist to ever grace my life and he (bless his heart) stayed in my life up until three years ago when we moved states. I was devastated. And now I am absolutely terrified to even try beginning the process of finding someone new. Finding that connection is difficult. It’s scary. And if it’s not a good fit, you have to start all over again.

I can see the comments streaming in now. “Megan, we just went through a global pandemic. Everything went online. Everything is virtual now. You could do virtual sessions with your old therapist! Problem solved!” Yes. But, no. I could. I actually have looked into it. However, a thing: insurance. We are in different states and they don’t accept my current insurance. I could pay out of pocket and have fewer sessions, but unfortunately, I cannot afford that. I also know for a damn fact that if I contacted him, he would absolutely try to work something out so that I could be seen. And that’s the thing I’m afraid of. He is the kindest heart and the greatest soul and he already bent over backward for me before I even moved. At my last therapy session before moving, we were discussing my insurance (I was on Medicaid) or something and he mentioned how he had to do these recertifications after so many sessions to tell the state that yeah, I still needed therapy. They only allowed a certain number of sessions per year and it was a big hassle to do the paperwork. So the entire last year of my therapy he did pro bono. Because he knew each session was important and that I was making progress. Never told me. Are you fucking kidding me? *sobbing emoji x 3* He also allowed Markie Mark to join in almost all of my sessions for free because having Mark there was beneficial to my progress and learning. See? The man has already done enough for me. It’s time for me to grow a pair and just figure it out on my own.

Light bulb. As soon as I realized that my old therapist wasn’t going to be an option (I wouldn’t allow it) and that it would take some time for me to do research and, honestly, find the motivation to search for a new therapist, I got up and walked over to a scrap paper on my dresser and wrote: Help your own damn self. No one is going to do it for you. I know it’s not the most positive or motivational of messages a depressed person should be writing to themselves, but it kind of did the trick (even though Markie Mark has been screaming this stuff at me for years, sometimes you have to figure it out on your own). I knew that in order to change my situation and avoid dying of hypothermia when I walk out to the middle of a field in -21 degree weather (super duper side note: when I told Mark about this fleeting thought, his response was, “But I would miss you.” *heart exploded* ), I had to start making myself the priority. I needed to stop caring so much about the opinions of others. I needed to start establishing boundaries and actually keep them, no more wishy-washy bullshit of bending over backward for people as soon as I’m asked to cross that boundary I had already established. Be direct and assertive. Stop being afraid to say NO, stop this crap of feeling guilty for taking time for myself. I AM THE BIGGEST PRIORITY IN MY OWN LIFE. There is nothing wrong with wanting to help others, but if you don’t take care of yourself first, you aren’t going to be around to help others. I should never feel guilty for putting myself first, and I will no longer feel obligated to do anything I don’t want to. And I’m not gonna feel bad about it. Periodt.

Easier said than done, amirite? If you are the type of person who already lives your life this way, congratulations! For me, I have to lube it up and ease it in gently, so I started with one day a week: Wednesday.

Wednesdays are for Writing (bet you were starting to wonder about that title, huh? I gotchoo, Boo). It’s my personal day where I have obligations to no one except myself. Did we run out of bread? Oh well, no bread today! Dinner? Fend for your damn self. Work meeting? Sorry, can’t make it. At some point during my deep dark days of January and early February, during my periodic bursts of flailing around in murky grey waters while gasping for air, I realized I’ve been having trouble scheduling and prioritizing stuff because I’m the type of person who always puts themselves last. My writing is important to me, and I’ve been trying to make time for it, but because of the way I am, everything else gets prioritized before writing. Hence, one of the reasons why I haven’t made a fucking post since September (ONE of the reasons. We’ve already established the other is avoidance. I’m so good at avoidance). Wednesdays are my personal day and I can do whatever the fuck I want, as long as at some point during the day I work on an actual blog post. I don’t have to post every Wednesday, I just have to write. Actual writing. Scheduled. Prioritized. More than meaningless thought jargon in my phone’s Notes app. I already do that daily.

Because I can do whatever I want on my personal day, I have tried to make it as productive and conducive as possible. The last two Wednesdays, I’ve started completing tasks that I’ve been avoiding (see?) for quite some time. I have a giant list of “Avoidables/To-Do” on my phone, and I have instructed myself to choose a minimum of three things to accomplish from this list per day. One item must be an Avoidable, and the other two can be reoccurring weekly tasks like cleaning, etc. Obviously, I add to it frequently, so the list is constantly growing and ever-changing. You know, the things I think about doing every day and say begrudgingly, “I don’t want to [insert random avoidable task].” I’m supposed to do this every day, but I don’t. Most days I ignore it because I can. But, I’ve noticed that on my personal day, I’m taking my daily task list a bit more seriously. And Avoidables? They gettin’ crushed.

Today, I washed plastic bags (it was, in fact, Wednesday when I wrote that sentence. Now it’s Friday. I may post this semi-Wednesday-related article not on Wednesday simply because I can. And also because I. DON’T. FUCKING. CARE. *wink*). I avoid it because it’s such a dumb task. Seriously. I’m all for helping save the planet and reusing shit, but I just really dislike washing plastic bags. Last week, I made phone calls. If you know me, phone calls are extremely difficult for me, so they are a top-priority Avoidable. I would rather lose my pinky finger. Oh my god stop being so dramatic, Megan. Receiving phone calls are also anxiety producers, far less-so if I am prepared and I know in advance that the call is coming and who is on the other end. But for some reason, making a phone call is absolutely terrifying. For funsies, I kept an eye on the heart-rate monitor on my watch to see the effect dialing and such would have on my heart rate, and NO JOKE, it jumped from 68bpm to 130bpm just simply from dialing the number. But, I survived. The world did not end. The first call went great and all my teeth didn’t fall out of my mouth as I was talking, so that left me with great confidence to make the second phone call. My heart clearly didn’t give two shits about my newfound confidence, but we prevailed. However, as soon as the girl on the other end answered, my brain immediately disintegrated into a pile of useless pink mush and I forgot how to use words. It was a huge struggle and my newly acquired phone confidence immediately retreated back to wherever confidence hides when you hate yourself. Anyway, now I’m back to never wanting to use the phone again.

This, uh, has become so much more than the “summary of sorts” I had established early on when I first began writing it. But I dig it. Basically, last year sucked and I’m still recovering, I’m trying to hold my head above water the best I can, depression will always linger no matter how happy I am, and the simple change to making myself a priority once a week has had a much greater and more significant impact on my life than I initially thought it would. My original hope and intention with establishing Wednesdays are for Writing was, obviously, to get back here regularly, on the blog, but in roughly two weeks it has already grown into so much more. I’m accomplishing more daily, I’m more productive and more motivated, even when I don’t mentally feel great. I actually feel like I’m more in control of my life than I have been in quite some time. I don’t feel burdened or guilty. I allow myself space and time to exist and breathe and fuck-off on Instagram for an hour or two if I need some brain-dead activity at night. I’m getting up at 7:30 every morning even though I don’t need to, and I recently started waking up even earlier, automatically, as my internal clock has apparently, finally, caught up from all the years of me shitting on it. I definitely still have days where my body hates me, but I generally feel more energized and less like I’m completely dying from the inside out. I’m almost a full month into a completely dairy-free diet and my hormonal acne has finally started to clear up (after 8 hellish years). I’m uncertain at this point if the two are related so I won’t go there (yet) and yell about how rude dairy is (it is though, change my mind). I bought a bidet and now I have a sparkling clean butthole pretty much all the time, plus a refreshing splash for the lady bits, too! It’s wonderful and everyone should own one (I will never change my mind). I’m working on this happiness side gig of spreading joy around anonymously or through the art of surprise (with the help of an artist friend) and uh, it’s pretty fun. And even though I know things aren’t perfect, and they are most certainly well on their way back to ohmygodthisissofuckingshitty, I feel like I have finally been able to shed this thick, heavy, crusty skin that has built up over years of self-neglect. So, in closing, my blog lesson: peel that skin, clean that butthole, stop neglecting yourself. Establish those boundaries and make yourself a goddamn priority once in a while. No one else is going to do it for you.

“You don’t have to love yourself in muttered whispers while loving everyone else with a megaphone.” 

Jasmine Farrell, Release: YOU

The Unknown

I haven’t wanted to write. The Grey Meh has consumed me and I spent the majority of the day sitting in front of a black computer screen, staring at dust particles having a dance party in a beam of sunlight. Have you ever done that? In all honesty, I do that a lot. Perhaps not specifically involving dust particles in sunlight, but just sitting and staring… and thinking. Many times there’s this blankness in my mind and I just observe my surroundings. I zone out a lot. It’s this tricky little thing that makes me look like I’m thinking, but I’m really not. There are thoughts ping-ponging around in my brain, but I’m so zoned out, gaze locked entirely on this Cheez-It box, that I don’t even know what those thoughts are. It’s tricky… and I know it’s tricky because I trick people constantly with it. I’ll find some place to direct my eyes, do this nervous tic where I either rub my thumbnail or my lips with my index finger, and someone will ask me what I’m thinking about. Ha! Nothing! Fool. So, a lot of that bullshit going on today.

Here’s why: I got a job. Three weeks to the day of being unemployed and I got not one, but two, job offers from the only two places I had applied. Seriously, life? Like, I have three dogs that are on death’s doorstep, I’m finally starting to get into the swing of this whole blogging thing, I still have a million things I need to accomplish at home that I’ve put off for two years, and I’m potentially moving at some point in the very near future. Not potentially… I WILL be moving. The thing is… it’s very much a giant hideous unknown. Like, so unknown there’s literally no guesstimate. Could be a month, or two, or four, or six, or a year! SO FUCKING UNKNOWN. How am I supposed to plan anything with this or be expected to get a job? How unfair is that to an employer if it does end up being two months? And if it is two months, I would have much rather stayed unemployed. And if it ends up being a year, well then I guess it’s a good fucking thing I got a job, huh?

I was fine with the unknown and going with the flow when I was at my last job. I was settled in, I had been honest and communicated this unknown with my manager (which killed me in the end, but lesson learned I guess), and I was happy working day to day until there was a known. But now, I have to start all over and it just seems very unfair. Plus, I’m either honest and potentially lose the opportunity, or I’m not honest and continue feeling like a guilty piece of garbage. So, I’ve been spending a lot of time sitting and staring and wondering what the fuck I’m doing with my life.

Also, who am I? Like, seriously, I don’t even know. You know when people ask you to describe yourself, all I can ever come up with are things I like or what I’ve heard other people say. Describe yourself: I like dogs and I’m smart. (I don’t actually think I am smart, but for some reason, others do.) What is my honest opinion of myself? How do I describe someone I don’t like in an unbiased way? Why am I like this? Why do I hate this post so much? I really miss therapy and I hate myself for not getting back into it immediately when we moved to Montana. Bad move.

I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I feel like I’m slipping. Grey is turning darker and everything is getting muddy. The hole is getting deeper. I had this brief glimpse of something that could have been and now I have made this decision to turn around and go back to the same shit I’ve been trying to escape for years. It may only be temporary… but why? Why do I make these dumb decisions? I could have sat on it. I could have waited. He gave me that option. I could have been honest and told him the unknown. I’m not sure where any of my decisions have gotten me except sunk further into the mud. And now things are getting tight and it’s getting harder to breathe. And I did this to myself.

There is a high probability I am overthinking everything and nothing will be as bad as I am making it out to be. I will start to feel like I am suffocating in depression mud, I will start working, and then realize it’s not that fucking bad. Or the opposite will happen and I will be totally correct in all of my anxiety, everything will suck, I will get completely engulfed in depression mud, and you will never hear from me again. I dunno… I guess we’ll see.

God, what am I even doing with my life?

*I’m not sorry for this post. I know, it sucks, but I told you… you get the bad with the good. And sometimes you just gotta write a shitty post to clear your head, ya know? Also, I wrote this post yesterday and sat on it for a day. I still hate it, but I don’t hate it enough not to post it. Now I’m going to write about something better, like baby mice.

Hysterical Sadness and The Grey Meh

“Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.” 

Jasmine Warga, My Heart and Other Black Holes

For the majority of the day, I have struggled with motivation. It’s not that I don’t want to write, or that I have anything better to do, or even that I don’t know what to write about. I have plenty of material. In fact, right now I feel like I struggle with having too much material. Currently, I’m in a state of trying to figure out the best way to get everything out into the world, in its best form, where everything flows nicely and it doesn’t come off as just a bunch of random word vomit.

But there are also things I struggle with on a personal level. I’d like this blog to be a happy place of joyous silly stories, and it will be. But it’s also going to have the other side, as well. Because that’s me. You can’t have one part without the other. Right?

I’ve been wanting to write about these tiny spiders that are in my bedroom (and really just my obsession with spiders, in general) since the birth of this blog. And something happened in the night that makes me really want to write about them now, however, I just feel like the spiders need a big dedicated post of their own… and today is just not that day. Plus, I have to dig around for pictures and put up trigger warnings for people that don’t like spiders (Jackie, I’m looking at you) and crap like that. You know.

Today I woke up feeling very grey. That grey middle feeling similar to indifference. It’s like sadness, but you don’t really know what you are sad about. I’ve been officially unemployed for two weeks tomorrow. I have been productive every. single. day. since I got laid off. Cleaning my house, taking care of my elderly dogs (ages 14, 15, 16), searching/applying for jobs, taking the dogs on a daily drive, working on this website and blog, and trying to stay positive. It’s been good. Yesterday, I felt great. Today, I woke up feeling like a completely different person. I literally could not bring myself to do anything. Typing these words hurt. Physically. My body hurts, my mind hurts, my emotions hurt.

I’m massively sleep deprived. My 15 year old dog has kidney disease and with that, has had multiple UTIs since December. With the kidney disease plus the UTIs… she has to pee every two hours – on the dot. It’s almost like clockwork. And don’t @ me about getting a doggie door. Yes, it would be extremely helpful in this situation. No, we aren’t getting one. They have an issue where they eat dirt and do other naughty things outside and I would rather them not have free range to go out whenever they damn please, so yes… I will die of sleep deprivation until she dies of kidney failure. I love her and that’s what I will do for her. We did try pee pads but she still wakes me up, regardless. It’s fine. I’m just tired. And because I’m tired and emotional, my old friend depression thinks he can just come back and fuck up my shit again.

I recently read an Instagram post where a women opened up about her vulnerabilities in being addicted to negativity and pain. She described how there was this heaviness that lives inside her, preventing her from loving herself. No amount of positivity or greatness in her life would allow her to let go of this. She calls it “hysterical sadness.” Going into a dark place, being completely blinded by it, and not being able to escape. Holding onto the past, memories, and people that are no longer healthy and probably weren’t in the first place. Yet, not being able to explain why. Feeling stuck. And even with all the internal work, not getting any closer to letting the darkness go.

As I was reading her words, my chest began to tighten up. I’ve never been very good at analyzing myself. I have spent a good amount of time in therapy in my life, and I always found it difficult to figure out why I did certain things. The majority of the time, I made educated guesses based on what others had said about me or sat in silence until the therapist gave me a hint at what he thought. But her words… they spoke to me in a way that allowed me to see a side of myself that had been hidden in darkness. Don’t get me wrong, though… I have no idea what to do with this information. It was relieving, in a way, to find out that I wasn’t the only person in the world who struggled with this. It was comforting to know that I could relate to a complete stranger on the internet on this level. There are other broken brains in the world! But as comforting as it is to know I’m not alone, it’s not going to do anything to help clear the weight, or ease the pain, or allow myself to just be who I need to be and love who I am. But who am I? How do I figure that out?

I had always referred to my hysterical sadness as a shadow. This darkness that follows me around wherever I go. It prevents me from truly ever feeling joy or being happy, at least the way other people experience it. It’s always there and I can never escape it. I still feel joy and I can still be happy… but I don’t think I experience it the way most people do. The best way I can describe it would be a hot sauce packet. When doing something you really love or are really excited about, most people would feel “hot” or “spicy,” and the most I ever get is about “mild-medium.” Maybe. It’s on the lower scale. I used to use the term “indifferent” a lot, because I thought that best described the state in how I felt most of the time. Until I realized a state of indifference isn’t that great. So then I started using the term “grey” and I think that more accurately describes the “meh” feeling. That’s what the shadow does… it turns you into a Grey Meh. And that is what I am today, which is why I did not write about baby spiders.