Get Rid of the Stigma

My world has recently been shaken by some upsetting news. Someone I know, or rather knew, killed himself. He had been struggling for years,  but thought that he didn’t need any help because he was a man. Being in the south means that there’s an expectation to live up to, being the man of the house, being the bread winner, be the stable rock for everyone else.

I can’t explain why he did what he did. I can’t explain his reasons because I don’t know. There was no note that we’re aware of yet. He didn’t get the help he needed because it’s so stigmatized and seen as such a negative thing, a man needing help emotionally. I still don’t know how to process it, but that’s what’s been happening.

About a year ago, the man who lived across the street sent his wife out to the grocery store so that when she was gone, he committed suicide. I can’t imagine it. Well, I can. I’ve been suicidal in the past. I’ve literally held a gun in one hand and a phone in the other. Because I knew how it would affect people I loved, I used the phone and reached out for help. There’s still a stigma, even with women, but I think it’s worse for a man.

If you’re reading this and you feel like ending your life is your only solution, I’m here to tell you it’s not. I don’t know what you’re going through, but I know what I went through and am still going through. I know that it’s hard and some days you don’t want to get out of bed or even open your eyes because that moment between dreaming and waking when the world is nothing but black is better than real life. I know what that’s like. You might think that no one cares about you or will miss you, but there is someone out there who does and who will. Even if that doesn’t convince you, reach out for help anyway because it can’t really get worse, can it?

Call the national suicide hotline (US): 1-800-273-8255

If you can’t actually talk about it, try texting CONNECT to 741741 to talk to someone for free.

Just try it. It won’t hurt. Before you do anything, talk to someone, anyone, because this world needs YOU. You just don’t know how yet. Seeking out help doesn’t make you less of a man, less of a woman, or less of a person. Seeking help is that first little brick of inner strength. We all have it if you dig down deep enough. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Talk to someone. You never know how it’ll help.

I can’t help but think that if there was less stigma around suicide and mental health, that the two people I mentioned (not including my own family members) would still be here today and would be able to reach out and help others by sharing their story. So share yours. Talk to someone.

Valentine’s Day

…is over and no complaints here! Because you know what that means!? The sappy movies are over on TV and all that candy is on sale!

But seriously… I spent my Valentine’s Day waiting in a doctor’s office. How fun is that? Let me tell you. None. No fun at all, but it is what it is. It had to be done and I’m glad it’s over with. Maybe it would’ve been nice to have someone to share Valentine’s with, I don’t really know. All I know is that despite everything and all the work I’m doing on myself right now, my anxiety lets me do hardly anything at all.

Anyone else like that? You imagine yourself doing something, can picture it so clearly in your mind and are excited and happy about it, but then when it comes right up to it, you chicken out? That’s me.

This year, I plan on forcing myself to do something different, something I haven’t done in a long time. And I plan on doing it and writing about it on here, so that’s me holding myself accountable. I will be going to a Mardi Gras parade. At some point. In 2019.

Because it’s Mardi Gras time and the king cakes are out for sale now! 

So yum! I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve always kind of wondered about king cakes and like where the tradition came from. Maybe I’ll do a little research and do a post on it! What do y’all think? Interested?

Warning: Long Post Ahead

A bead of sweat rolls down the back of my neck. I’m in the New York country side. It’s supposed be cool! I left the south for a break from the heat, not to bring it with me with no AC! Yet, here it is. I’m sweating waiting for the elementary band to come marching down the main street of this small town’s 4th of July parade. I can hear the drums and the cheers of the very small crowd from down the street.  It’s not a very big parade from a two-street town, but it is cute and they do throw some candy. There are horses and most of the “floats” are actually different kinds of tractors. It lasts less than an hour before the entire parade has passed us by.

The whole family is together, and it’ll probably be the one and only time that we’re all together like this at my grandmother’s house. She’s 88 this year and not getting around like she used to, but still all there. So there are eight of us in a three bedroom house. We’ve rented an RV for extra beds, but with this heat and lack of AC it’s not much fun to sleep in a, for all intents and purposes, a tin can with other sweating bodies. The only thing is that it cools down at night. That’s the saving grace. I enjoy the heat of the south – that sticky, sweaty humid air that makes your hair curl – but I do like being able to come inside into the AC. It’s refreshing.

It’s been a few days since I wrote the above, but the internet here is a little spotty so it didn’t post. I’m just going to add to it.

My bipolar-ness showed just before this trip, and I bought a thousand dollar camera that I don’t actually need. It was on sale, but it was still expensive. I justified it by saying I’d be using it to make a movie of this trip because it’ll never happen again.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a separate room away from everyone. People are outside playing croquet, drinking and laughing. Others are in the kitchen helping to prepare dinner (that I’ve been smelling all day and it’s making my mouth water with anticipation). With eight people in this house, things have gotten a little intimate and there’s no place to go to be alone. With my issues, I need my alone time. It’s like recharging my batteries. Not only is there the eight of us, but we have other family members coming over to eat and play games. It’s fun, but it’s also overwhelming. Things get to be too much – noises too loud, lights too bright. It kind of sends me over the edge, so I’ve got to find the time where I can to be on my own. Hiding before dinner seems to be the only time I can.

My family can be loud. We can be angry. We can be hilarious. But mostly what I feel, or rather don’t feel, is a bond. There isn’t a strong bond between all of us like I’ve witnessed in other families who actually enjoy being together and want to and make time to spend together. It’s something I’ve always wanted and am only recently learning to accept.

Another thing I’m learning to accept is that my grandmother has no filter from her brain to her mouth. I’ve got to take everything she says in stride because I can’t yell at an 88-year old woman. I learned also that other people have noticed that my grandmother isn’t particularly nice to me. Of my siblings, I’m the only one who isn’t married. I’m in my mid-twenties and by my age, my siblings (all older) were married or in a serious relationship (which led to marriage). I’m not dating anyone. I have no “prospects” either. I’d like to shout at her, “How am I supposed to be in a relationship when men still scare/anger me?!” Issues from being raped still reverberate through my life. It isn’t something that just happens and you eventually move on. You never move on, you just learn how to live with it. So while she calls me a spinster, she also calls me a brat. My parents help me out a lot because with my issues it’s hard to keep and maintain a job. I can’t yet finish school because of my anxiety, but I want to. She thinks I’m spoiled. She lets me know where I rank in her estimation of her grandchildren, but I can’t tell her why I am the way I am. I have to bite my tongue and turn the other cheek and pretend she doesn’t hurt my feelings or say what I already think about myself out loud. And it’s really hard. I mean really really hard. She doesn’t get it.

This post was supposed to be a happy one about the 4th of July and the fun side of this trip, but I’ve managed to turn it into a whining rant, so if you’ve read this far I’m sorry. I’m not going to change it because it’s cathartic knowing I’m putting it out there and someone, anyone is “listening” to me. It’s therapeutic. But dinner’s ready now, other family members have arrived and I’ve got to do my best to smile and be sociable when all I want is to take a plate into a separate room and eat silently.

Anyway, thank you for reading this far and I hope you had an awesome, safe 4th of July!

Why I don’t like therapy

I’m not at all saying, “Don’t go your therapist anymore.” If you have one and it helps that’s awesome. I’m real happy for you. But I’ve had a different experience. Isn’t therapy a place where you go to be heard? I felt like my psychologist wasn’t hearing me. That made me feel like I just spent $240 to whine to someone. Which I’m pretty sure isn’t how therapy is supposed to work.

So maybe this is my therapy – writing to you, both of us anonymous. Doesn’t that make things easier? Isn’t it easier to be yourself because whoever is judging you still doesn’t know who you are. Sure, it makes it easier to bully and troll people too, but that’s easily taken care of by deleting and blocking users. We’re both anonymous. We can’t see each other. We might even pass each other in the street or driving on the road, but we’ll never know. That’s what I like about this. Anonymity. The good and the bad.

My therapist wanted me to use my writing to re-write the event over and over until it was easier. But some things can never be made easier and she wasn’t listening to me when I told her how uncomfortable that was – not just because it was emotionally difficult to do, but because it wasn’t going to help me. It really wasn’t. I knew it before the exercise and knew it afterwards. That’s what made me stop going. She was having me re-live this trauma again and again without getting any kind of result other than re-traumatizing me.

I guess my point is traditional therapy isn’t for everyone. I tried equine therapy that focused on my PTSD and it helped me more than anything I’d ever done. It helps that I like animals already, even though I’d never been around a horse in my life. If therapy isn’t working for you, don’t give up on it entirely. Try to find someone somewhere who does something different. I’d never been around horses but I was willing to try and it helped me so much. Don’t be scared to try something different if you can! It may surprise you.

tl;dr I’m Back, Crappy and all!

It’s been a while. Why? Life. Life just gets in the way of these kinds of things doesn’t it? We get so busy, so wrapped up in appointments and other obligations that the things we enjoy doing fade away.

Two members of my family are currently on a trip to France, so I’m house-sitting/pet-sitting for them. This basically means that I get a vacation. Now, I had planned on being able to lay out by the pool, swim when it got too hot. Unfortunately, the weather has other plans. It’s stormy and not ideal by the pool weather. So I’m vacationing inside. I didn’t bring a lot to do inside and I’ve run out of other things. Then, I remembered I had this blog!

There’s something freeing about having this blog, remaining anonymous. It’s like the masks on Mardi Gras. You can be whoever you want, or you can be the real you and take off the other mask you wear every day (like me). Having a blog means you need to be able to write. Well. Not sure I’ve got that bit down, but I’m trying and I’ve heard that the more you do it the better you get at it. Fingers crossed for me and for you, if you’re still reading this far (thanks). Another thing is that you have to have something to write about. That either forces you to go out and have a life, or be thoughtful and write something deep and meaningful after thinking about something for a long time and actually have something worth sharing, anonymous or not.

I guess it’s possible to just have a really crappy blog (like mine, currently). I’ve got to get better at using the computer (this site specifically), writing, and having a life. My anxiety or my PTSD or both make it very difficult to go out and do things. That means saying no to your friends until they just stop asking. I don’t mean to whine because this isn’t a blog about me whining. It’s going to mean something…eventually. Actually, it’ll probably just be like my brain whose focus bounces around like a wild ping-pong ball.

I apologize in advance if you’ve read this far. I also thank you. Next post will be me actually saying something, not just typing words about typing words.

Getting Things Done

Every day I wake up and think, “I hope I don’t waste this day too.” I know that life is short, anything can happen, you never know when your number’s up, yada, yada. I think about it quite a bit lately (I think because my step-grandmother just passed – no condolences necessary). So I wake up with the intention on accomplishing something that day.

But then my meds kick in and make me sleepy, or my anxiety crushes me, or I dissociate, or I can’t even make it out of the neighborhood because there happens to be a car behind me but they might be following so I race through the neighborhood like a madman to get home without being seen thanks to my paranoia and PTSD.

Finding something that I can do at home is good because almost none of those issues pop up! My Etsy shop has been up for about a year but I haven’t been using it. Now that I’ve got more listings up I find myself motivated and excited to do more. That is such a good feeling, and rare for me. I want to make more things to sell. Usually, I just give things away as a gift or keep it for myself. Selling them gives me an opportunity to make some money (to balance out how much I’ve spent on the supplies) and something to do. It’s more than me being able to say, “I washed the dishes and vacuumed the house.” To other people, that doesn’t seem like a big deal. They do all those things and go to work. I can’t. I wish I could. I wish it so much and I’m trying to get better, but it isn’t easy.

When I meet someone new (because I’ve taken a risk and went to a new church meeting thing once a week at night and it turned out I liked it so I’m going back), they’ve always asked my name and what I do. The last time I was around new people the questions were my name, my major, where I’m from (college). What can I say to those answers now? What do I do for a living? Nothing. Sorry. I’m a mooch. I come off as lazy and privileged. I know I’m lucky and that there are so many people in my situation who aren’t as lucky and don’t have the support system I do. Being able to answer them, “I run an Etsy shop,” makes me feel so good! Even if it doesn’t seem like much to them and no I’m no where near making a living off it, it’s still something other than permanently imbedding myself in the couch and burning my eyes out on TV.

tl;dr   Getting my Etsy shop going has gotten me going and I’m that real kind of happy that’s deep happy.

(Yes, I’m linking myself again. Sure, I’d love it if you bought something. But if you don’t, I’d be just as happy getting views on my “stats” dashboard. My standards are low.)

Etsy Shop

You may (or may not) have noticed the new widget in the sidebar for my Etsy shop, Emi’s Jewelry Studio. I’ve had the store for just over a year now and haven’t been very active. It’s hard to stay creative and on top of things when the depression kicks in and I’m just trying to keep my head above water.

Today is different. Right now I’m feeling crafty. So I’ve got some bracelets going and some rings. I haven’t actually posted the listings yet, but I am working on it. I want to put up a lot because it’s getting close to Christmas. I want them to available ASAP.

The problem is I have a tendency to make something that I love and I want to keep it. Several rings and bracelets have been made for the shop that I end up keeping. It’s gotten to the point though that I’ve got too many to wear and I don’t go out enough to wear everything. So anyway, I’m making lots of things to post before Christmas. I only ship within the US (because international shipping/fees is too much work, sorry).

This is shameless self-promoting. If you’re looking for something casual or a simple gift for someone, click on the badge! It’ll take you straight to my shop. Not a lot is up yet and it isn’t quite Christmas time, but keep me in mind! Be on the look out for bracelets, rings, and earrings! Some day soon I’ll have the right supplies to take the best pictures I can (because let’s be real, a good picture is the number one reason for even looking at a product online)!

Who knows? Maybe I’ll post a discount code on here for y’all! 😉

edit: just posted earrings and a bracelet for Halloween!

What a day…

So, I have a big yard. I’ve been alone for the hurricane and after and normally I’m not. I was gathering up all the branches from the back and dragging them out to the street for the pick ups. I basically bathed in bug spray because mosquitoes were so terrible outside. It was awful and I wasn’t drinking enough (I realize after I collapse against a tree and the mailman asks if I’m okay).

I accidentally took two days of meds on one day so the second day I didn’t take anything. Long story short, my meds were all kinds of messed up. I’m being eaten alive by mosquitoes, I’m getting all kinds of scratches cleaning up the yard, near fainting, and the whole time I’m mumbling to myself that I’m not grumbling or complaining (Philippians 2:14)…

I was just a train wreck. Then I hear my neighbor through the fence (who I haven’t met yet) asking someone, “Hey, do you hear her?” And I just really wished I had a pool so I could jump into it and stay under as long as possible.

It was embarrassing and pathetic. Now, after some time, I think it was ridiculous and a little funny. Medicine is important!

And now you know. I hope it made someone smile!

Nate wasn’t so bad…

At my house, there was a lot of rain and a lot of wind. That was it. But we never lost power, only cable and internet (Uverse) for a few minutes and then everything was fine. I woke up with power and didn’t have anything to worry about. I had trouble falling asleep worried that if the power went out then so would the alarm system. So I slept with a loaded gun on my bedside table. I’m glad I didn’t need to use it (though it did help me sleep)! I’d already moved anything that could blow away inside the garage or shed. Anything that didn’t fit (furniture) was all tied together in the middle of the yard.

I woke up yesterday morning and found everything was fine! There was no major damage to anything at my house or any of my friends’ houses or my brothers. There were a lot of new branches down to pick up which I started bright and early yesterday while it was still breezy out. But it wasn’t too long before it was back to hot and the air was so muggy it was like breathing through a wet blanket so I gave up. I got the front yard done and that’s enough for now.

While I was out working though, my neighbor was walking her dog and she asked if we had power. I told her that we did and she informed me that she didn’t. She only lives three houses down. Last night I looked to see who had lights on and who didn’t. Most of our little court was dark and that was when I noticed that noise I’d been hearing all day was a generator going.

Our street is in a weird location. It’s right at the cross sections of power grids and school zone districts and all kinds of stuff (but only those two have ever really had an effect). Normally when there’s a storm and the power is out it’s our house that loses the power and the other two or three houses with us. It’s always been frustrating. Especially after Katrina. No one had power for a week. Then the houses at the end of the street (not my end) had power and two or three days later we did.

But Nate wasn’t Katrina by far. Everyone has power this morning. So I’m thankful that the hurricane wasn’t too bad for us and we didn’t have any issues. I know my grandmother owns a condo over in Gulf Shores. If you weren’t aware Jim Cantore was only a few miles down in Orange Beach. And if Jim Cantore’s there, that’s exactly where you don’t want to be.

We’re lucky. The elevator is out but she’s high up on the fourth floor and isn’t there currently so she won’t have to be going up and down all those flights. Most of the building is rental. A few of my friends lost power in the early hours of the morning, but by last night they had it back.

So all in all, Nate wasn’t that bad for my area. I hope it wasn’t bad for anyone else’s (I haven’t been keeping up with it outside of anywhere where my “people” live.

I hope everyone else was safe through the storm. If you’re in a flooded area I really hope it gets settled soon and the things you really love aren’t ruined! Everyone affected is still in my prayers.

Treat yourself!

I’ve been absent for a while because I’ve been visiting my sister, cleaning the house, and cleaning out the house. There are a lot of things in my life that I’m ready to let go of so that I can move on with my life. I can’t stay living in the past. Also, taking care of two wild, rambunctious dogs who like to eat things they shouldn’t all day can be exhausting. But I didn’t really mind. It was too much fun seeing them happy with each other.

There’s a hurricane on its way. I’m betting it’ll be more like a storm rather than Irma and Harvey. While at the grocery store today though my phone and everyone’s around me went off with the emergency alert that there was a hurricane coming. And the store was packed. I’ve never seen it so full. Nearly every aisle was blocked. Then I got stuck in the check out line with an elderly man who was asking me if my husband sent me here to buy the groceries (not married), “well you’ve got a pretty enough smile. you should get a man to take care of.” I did my best to smile and thank him for the “compliment,” even though I really wanted to tell him to stop talking.

It was unbelievably awkward. My anxiety was already through the roof because of the amount of people and being outside my house. Then worse because he’s hard of hearing so he’s practically shouting this all at me and everyone around us can hear! If I hadn’t been in such desperate need of food, I would’ve turned around in the parking lot and left at the amount of cars. But my fridge was empty and everything in the pantry was things that needed to be made with other ingredients that I didn’t have. Now I do. And then some, because I was hungry and moving quickly, not really thinking, and grabbing myself some rewards for managing my anxiety.

Always do that! It makes things so much nicer, to plan a reward for yourself when you do something you really don’t want to do. I try to do that a lot. Just little things. A milkshake, a new book, sometimes just a drive down to the shore with the windows down and some feel good music playing. It’s little things that make the days go by easier, faster. Even naps. So I think I’m going to reward myself today with a nice nap!