Stop

Do you ever try so fucking hard to do something and just fail miserably?

I tried so hard to have a positive mindset today. I got up. I got dressed. I sat at my desk. I focused on positives. I tracked what I ate.

Didn’t matter. By the middle of the day I wanted to curl in a ball and sleep. At dinner I ate my meal and could only think about how hungry I was. By 8 I was wishing I would fall asleep because I was so lonely I had just been staring aimlessly at the wall. My 10:30 I caved and ate some toast. I never eat fucking toast and I went and killed any chance of staying under my calorie count in the span of minutes.

Some days it’s hard to find the point. I’m still alone. Still sad. Still impossible to love. Still fat. Still not good enough. Still bored. Still miserable.

I’m thinking if I just embrace it and lean into it this time, maybe I’ll come back from it better than I have because what I’m doing hasn’t worked. I deleted my social media apps on my phone and now I’m finally going to see just how little interaction I have if I don’t desperately grasp at straws on the Internet for the world to see, hoping someone will give me a like or a comment I can cling to. I’m going to just embrace the darkness and let it take me under and stop caring because even when I do all this exhausting work, I still end up here anyway.

Here’s to sleeping when I want to sleep, eating when I want to eat, and embracing the loneliness that haunts me every day by isolating myself even further from reality.

See you on the other side. Hopefully.

My Best Self

This is an open letter to everyone in my life right now. It’s not an apology, so to speak, but rather an explanation of sorts based on a realization I’ve had over the course of the last few days. I’ve been incredibly introspective as I’ve spiraled these last couple days so as usual, here is a blog about my feelings for no one in particular to read.

We are still living through a pandemic, and regardless of how you feel about that politically, economically whatever – it’s still a reality of what we’re all experiencing day to day. We’re now 6 months into quarantine and 6 months into work from home and 6 months into limited social interaction and I’ve realized just how much that has taken a toll on who I am as a person and I think I need to explain myself in some way for the version of myself I’m giving others right now.

I am a career driven person. I’ve spent the better part of the last decade solely focused on my educational and career goals and none of those things ever included finding a way to work from home as a permanent option. I am a social being by nature and I do my best work when surrounded by like-minded individuals all working towards common goals. Am I a homebody at heart who prefers game nights with friends to going out to bars? SURE AM! But I didn’t realize how much of my social interaction was dependent upon going to work everyday to interact with my coworkers and just how much that fed the loneliness in me. Not having the option to just audibly talk through scenarios with people around me has significantly decreased my happiness with my work and my effectiveness overall and I often feel like I have to force myself just to make it through the work day.

I am a lonely person by nature – we know this. Just ready any of my Facebook statuses or blog posts and you’ll be certain of that fact. Six months of isolation has really taken a toll on me and I am just not able to function at my best self right now. I miss people. I miss laughter. I miss feeling connected to anyone over anything. I had blood work done yesterday and I was so thankful for the small talk I had with the nice phlebotomist taking my blood because it made me feel connected to someone for the first time in days and literally improved my mood ten-fold. (Side note: this pandemic has made me so appreciative of people and their ability to be kind, but that’s another blog) The small doses of interaction I’m getting just aren’t able to sustain me long enough to be a full-functioning adult right now and I need to remember that ITS OKAY THAT IM NOT MY BEST RIGHT NOW.

I am not a lazy person. I am hard-working, capable, driven, passionate, enthusiastic and at times highly entertaining individual. I have worked my ass off to achieve everything I have in life, by myself, without being told, because I care and I have goals. But right now, six months into working from home and never venturing outside my house, I am struggling to have even the most basic of routines. My sleep schedule is erratic and non-existent at times, some days I don’t even get dressed and when I do it’s often workout clothes, I barely leave my bedroom and if I do it’s only to go into my living room or kitchen, both filled with nothing new and no people to interact with. This lack of structure is making me less productive as a worker, as a person, and less engaged as a friend and family member.

So this is where the apology part kicks in – because I just need to tell people that I’m sorry you’re not getting the best version of me right now. I’m just not physically and mentally capable of being my best. I’m not sorry that it’s happening because it’s not in my control, but I am sorry that I’m not able to be better for others right now.

God help me as I try and navigate dating during a pandemic, which is in and of itself a whole cluster fuck of problematic, but then I have to manage the shame I feel being this shell of a person who can’t get her shit together and go to bed at normal times but like – I promise, I’m worth the time if you look past all that? 🤣 Getting to know people is difficult enough but it’s like skipping a thousand steps to be like hi, this is me during an intense depressive episode that never ends because our world is shit and I’m already attention deprived being someone who’s perpetually lonely and has been single forever but now I’ve been in isolation for six months so my need for attention is on overdrive but like I promise I’m not clingy and I can actually be a normal adult with characteristics that are appealing! (Did you breathe while reading that because I didn’t while writing it). 🙃

Anyway – to my coworkers, my friends, family members and anyone else who interacts with me and feels like it’s just not the same or there’s something going on – you’re right, it’s not the same, and I am not functioning as the person I know I’m capable of being. I’m working hard to try and work out and be healthier but the reality is that every other moment I have is spent laying in bed wishing I could see my friends or go into work again. I miss structure, I miss people and I miss having reasons to WANT to get out of bed.

Throw in the political climate and the bigoted shit show I see on social media every day from the dehydrated orange peel we have as a president and his supporters and sometimes it’s just a lot and I’m not able to do much. I always say “there’s no reason for me to be depressed right now, I don’t know what’s happening” but the truth is there are a lot of reasons for me to feel this way right now and I’ve just gotten so used to them being a normal , every day occurrence, that I’ve blocked them from my mind as a reasoning.

I’ll end this by saying that if you’re feeling similar things, on a smaller or larger scale, that’s completely valid and absolutely okay. People are still gonna expect shit from you like nothing is going on and the world isn’t crumbling around you because we’re selfishly motivated and just as a whole a society full of greedy, economically driven ass-hats, but fuck the world and fuck everyone’s expectations. At the end of the day, you can’t give people what you don’t have and if you need to lay in bed just to get through to the next day right now – do it. The important thing is that you get there. The rest will work itself out in time.

Love to all of you beautiful people who take the time to read this shit show of my thoughts. I appreciate you and I miss you all.

Imposter

I can start to feel it happening now; that moment where I start to slowly retreat inside myself and succumb to the unrelenting self-doubt and disgust. I’ve had so many good days lately that I almost forgot that my “normal” consists of a constant cycle of self-deprecation and disappointment.

It’s hard sometimes, wanting to be transparent with your mental health struggles while simultaneously being hyper aware that your honesty could strain your relationships or skew others perceptions of yourself. I strive to champion people with mental health concerns and lift them up for being honest and open, but I face the same fears most everyone else does when they happen to me. I worry that if I’m honest about how frequently I feel so negative, I’ll lose people because they’re afraid to drown with me. I worry that if I acknowledge my feelings and admit that I struggle finding balance I’ll be perceived as weak or lazy. I worry that if I admit I feel lonely and disconnected others will think I don’t genuinely feel happy or connected in moments i have with them. I think people often have a misguided understanding of my confidence level because I’m so public with this blog but the truth is, I don’t write these because I’m comfortable with people reading them. I write them because they help me process the cyclone in my head and the idea that someone might read them scares me just enough that I tell myself I have to keep my head above water enough that someone won’t think I’m totally drowning and call me out on it.

I don’t think that last bit makes much sense, but in my head it’s enough to get me through to the next moment so that’s all I really need. It’s been a rough couple days for me and I’ve felt myself spiraling downward but I’ve been unable to really stop it and i realized at this point I might as well full out embrace it because otherwise it’s going to explode sooner or later. So even though I’ve been on this quest to lose weight and work out every day, I’m going to take the night off and try not to be too upset about it. I didn’t want to work out yesterday and I made myself do it and it was horrible and it made me more frustrated in myself for not being capable of getting through it as easily as I would have liked or know I’m capable of. That just led to me questioning myself, beating myself up mentally, and waking up today already defeated ready to deep dive into a full blown pity party.

I have imposter syndrome as much as the next person and I just hope one day I can be as kind to myself as I am to others who I often provide support to when they’re feeling low. I claim to be this transparent person, unafraid of sharing emotions without shame, but the truth is I worry about it constantly. I hope that I learn to come to a place where I can be honest and transparent about how I’m feeling without this shame spiral surrounding those feelings and constantly worrying about how the world will view me if i admit that I’m just not in a good headspace. I wish I could have some minor set backs and not spend the rest of my time criticizing myself for falling off the path and just get back up and keep moving.

Here’s hoping that tomorrow brings a new day and a new mindset.

106 Days

I really hate how rapidly depression can turn your mood around.

I’ve had some really good days recently. Days where I was able to cook a full meal, go the entire day without self deprecating thoughts. Days where I actually tangibly noticed I felt happy (without the aid of outside people or influences) for the first time in what feels like an eternity.

But right now it feels like I’m drowning.

Nothings happened – nothings changed to cause this shift in mood but maybe that’s the whole problem right? 106 days of the same. 106 days trapped in my own head trying desperately not to go insane. To be fair, the last two weeks I have been able to spend some time with friends and family in person, and I’ve even gone on a date, but for the most part I still spend 97% of my time completely alone with my thoughts.

In some ways the moments of interaction were almost a tease. Spending time with loved ones is just a reminder of how lonely it is to come back home to no one. Going out in masks and dining at tables with booths taped off just feels like an eerily dark dream of what life used to be like instead of reality. It’s all a lot to take in.

I think what scares me most these days is how I’m not getting better. Over the last year no one could blame me for feeling depressed, I’ve had horrible things piled on me one right after the other – my aunt got cancer, then died, my entire world shattered, then my brother got cancer and I had to watch him endure chemotherapy and a transplant and accept the fact that I couldn’t stop to grieve – I had to keep going, I had to keep working, I had to keep waking up because life just doesn’t stop when you want it to.

But he got better. Thankfully, miraculously, he is in remission. My aunt is gone and can’t come back, but time and life move on and now I’m left here waiting for the moment when I go back to being a functioning person again because I SHOULDNT be so depressed anymore. But regardless, I find myself having nights like this more often than not. I can’t sleep, I have nightmares when I do, and I’m constantly exhausted from this pit of nothing I feel. And I still have to keep going because life doesn’t stop… but I wish sometimes it would.

I just wish I could be this person who takes the negative things in their life and uses them to motivate them to be better; I wish I could exercise and eat less and run so I could lose weight and love my body more and be more attractive so I could have more confidence and find someone who wants to spend their life with me so I’m not so lonely and sad all the time. But instead – I bust my ass trying to motivate myself to workout 30 mins a day and constantly fall off track two weeks in every time – or I eat myself into oblivion because I’m stressed and don’t know how else to cope. Or I cry because I’m lonely and make depressing public blogs about my feelings ruining my chances of ever convincing anyone I’m worth loving or getting to know.

And I sit and stare. God, so much of my time is spent in my bed staring at NOTHING. No music, not tv, not even my phone. Just me, here, wishing things could be better. Getting lost inside my chaotic headspace and losing track of time until suddenly it’s already past 10 and I’ve done nothing with my day and I’m already dreading tomorrow.

And that dread turns into anxiety that keeps me awake until I finally succumb to sleep in the early hours of the morning just to drearily wake up and force myself to make it through another day tomorrow.

There’s just so many things depression takes from you and gives you in their place. Instead of happiness I am empty. Instead of relationships I have questions about why I’m never good enough. Instead of sleep I have nightmares. Instead of laughter I have tears. Instead of drive I have exhaustion. My mind is just a constant loop of all the scenarios in my life I wish could have gone differently and it feels like one day I’m going to get trapped inside and never be able to get out.

And, as always, I’m so lonely.

You don’t think about it but human touch is something that can provide so much healing without words or anything additional. Just a hug. A shoulder to lean on. Not having that, for my god, 8 years now, is just really. Really. Fucking. Hard. And it sucks.

I just wonder how many more days I’ll have to wait and pretend I have the strength to endure this all alone.

Float on

Sometimes I fear how people would think of me if they knew just how dark it was inside my head.

I drown inside my mind but constantly bring myself to bring my head above water because I’m scared that if I let myself truly feel the depth of the pain that I’m in it would ruin everything I’ve worked for. I’ve built this dam around my mind, constantly shutting it away for the sake of my job, my family, my friends – occasionally letting it slip through the cracks, but always patching it up before the waves get too big and I lose control.

If my thoughts spilled out the way they rage inside my head, they’d wash away my credibility as an employee, a leader, and a worker and the career I’ve worked so hard to build would collapse. If my feelings poured out in the torrential storm that fills my head I’d destroy the few relationships I have left that mean anything to me.

The world wants to claim mental health is important and pretends to combat stigma but the truth is we’re ill equipped to love those who struggle without condition; we justify, label and scrutinize the pain others feel putting bandaids on deep wounds. If you’re honest about your reality, you’re just seeking attention. If you’re honest about your thought process you just have a negative mindset. If you’re honest about how often things torment you, you’re annoying and people stop listening.

So I continue to patch the dam, plugging the holes in hopes that today won’t be the day everything gets flooded by the tsunami in my mind. If I’m honest I’d rather just drown – I’d rather get caught in the waves and let the current carry me away because I’m really tired and I don’t know how else to stay afloat. I don’t want to die, I just want to be carried away to somewhere better… somewhere I don’t feel this torrent of emotions all the time. Somewhere I’m safe and loved and people choose me.

But I love my job and I can’t risk what would happen if I were to drown.

And I love my friends and I don’t want them to feel like their love isn’t enough.

And I love my family and I can’t burden them with having to deal with me on top of everything else.

So I’ll continue to patch the dam I’ve built around my mind and hope that this time it lasts longer before the next leak creeps in.

But I wish I could show people how dark it is in here. I wish I could let go and float away and come out somewhere new.

Day 24 or so

“Someone will love you when you love yourself”

Whenever I’m feeling like this – depressed, lonely, worthless, ugly – I always think of that stupid phrase because it’s the first thing everyone says to you next to “omg you’re amazing! You just haven’t met the right person yet” and I just want to publicly say that it’s complete bullshit.

Honestly, though, where do people think self esteem issues come from? If enough people tell you that you suck, and enough people reject you for long enough you start to realize that there’s SOMETHING about you that isn’t worth everyone’s time. I mean, I love a lot of things about myself – I am funny, I’m pretty talented for your average person, I try to be caring when I’m not overwhelmed with my responsibilities, I would argue I’m more resilient than most people you’ll meet, I’m intelligent and goal oriented and I like to think that I am good at making my partners feel loved. That’s a lot of things that I love about myself. So where is this person who’s supposed to love me?

The problem with the idea that people will love us when we love ourselves is that it’s putting this notion that we have the ability to alter the way others think of us, just by changing how we think of ourselves but the reality is that’s just not true. I literally cannot control how another person sees/thinks/ feels about me. If I could,Harry Styles and I would be married and isolated together in our English palace right now. I can put positive vibes into the universe and attract positivity back, but that still doesn’t give me the ability to change someone’s perception of me.

And I will admit that it’s never attractive to see someone constantly complain or put themselves down – I will give everyone that – but also, what the hell do you think happens when every time you put your heart out into the world – vulnerable, bare and ready to be loved – and the person you try to give it to is like NAH, HARD PASS but like, I think you’re awesome and we should be friends and stuff. Or worse, they say nothing at all, ghost your ass and date someone else. Or my favorite combo – friendzone you, date someone else, then complain about that person because they’re not really that compatible but they hot AF.

It just sucks – a pandemic is terrifying enough, but going through this shit alone, LITERALLY, is fucking terrible. Like I want someone to talk to when I’m bored, or feeling sad or scared or happy or anxious or depressed and I don’t have that. Friends are great and I’m lucky to have the ones I have, but it’s a different kind of connection when you have a partner. And it’s especially hard to experience never ending solitude not knowing if you’re going to ever see anyone again and if you’ll die alone with your braces and your cat.

Worse than even that is having people you want to text, people you’re drawn to on a weird, deep level that you can’t explain, and knowing you can’t. Knowing that it sucks for you to stay silent but literally just doesn’t bother them, their life is literally no different, and you’re drowning. Human emotions are the worst, and I hate that I can’t control how I feel about people even when I want to. I can’t turn off my own feelings, which is why it makes it so much harder to know that I definitely can’t make them turn theirs on. And then you’re stuck in a vicious time loop of thoughts and emotions that go unanswered and your heart is racing and before you know it you’re having a panic attack because you care so much about something or someone that you shouldn’t and you feel like an insane person and you just want to SCREAM.

I wish I knew why I wasn’t attractive to people – and I don’t mean that necessarily in a physical sense- I just mean in general, why am I not worth a relationship? What is it that stops people from considering me worthy of intimacy and deeming me just worth friendship? Sometimes I think that’s the most frustrating part of all because then you spend all your time wondering what’s wrong with you and how you could change yourself to be better all while never really knowing the answer.

And yes, I know, “I’m amazing, I’ll find him! He’s out there” but honestly, I’m not saying that I’m not amazing – I’m saying that I am and still, no one wants me and I don’t get it. And I’m sorry but it’s been 7 — yes 7 YEARS – since my last relationship. That’s a long time to be alone. Before you tell me how I’ll find someone, ask yourself if you’ve been alone for 7 years first – it’s fucking terrible.

Also, how is it possible for me to connect so deeply with all these people all the time and have literally no reciprocated feelings on their end!? Like that is the biggest mindfuck – am I making this shit up? Am I romanticizing things that aren’t there? How can something seem so obvious and right and make so much sense on my side and then be totally fucking nothing of note on the other side? Like honestly – HOW? I have a horrific pattern of doing this so I’m thinking this is my issue here but I’m just baffled by how I can feel a connection so deeply while the other person could give a shit if I was around or not. It’s insane.

I know everyone will roll their eyes and brush this off as a girl being ridiculous and once again, Kayla’s sad and complaining – I’m not unaware of the person I am, trust me – but I’m alone, and I’m sad, and I’m crying, and I want to talk to someone but I can’t, and I don’t wanna talk to friends because I feel stupid (but don’t! — I know, that’s what you’ll say, “don’t you can always talk to me!” But I really just wanna talk to one person and that’s not gonna change by talking to a friend) and sometimes writing on here makes me feel like maybe I’ll be okay If people know how I feel and I don’t have to “look them in the eye” as I say it, so to speak because even though I’m vocal about my depression I’m actually deeply embarrassed by it and I don’t really like talking to people about myself directly because no one knows what to say and I end up just saying things to make them feel better and change the subject.

I just wish I could hug the people I want to hug and fall asleep with someone or be able to know that I’m not bothering people and feel like I matter to anyone at all and that someone out there wants to do all those things with me too. It’s so heartbreaking when you don’t get back the love that you desperately want to give.

I’m so lonely.

Ugh.

Late Night Reminiscing

About a month ago, I went to my Little’s house for Friendsgiving with my sorority sisters and she had gotten out her yearbooks to look at her and another of my sisters old photos and senior quotes and things. I was hoping her husbands’ yearbooks were there because he and I went to school together and I was curious about mine. They weren’t and I had forgotten about it by the time I’d gotten home. Yesterday, my friend was moving and his wife had found our high school year books and so I decided to take out mine and laugh along with them, states away, at our horrible pictures and stupid messages.

Looking at my year book is always an emotional rollercoaster for me because I look back so fondly and wish I could relive those days but when I really think about it, I don’t know that I’d love reliving them. I hated myself so much back then and I just remember not eating, crying over boys and mean girls and just drama, drama, drama.

I was curious to see what I wrote in my senior yearbook for my goals, memories and advice and honestly I was a little surprised by what I had to say.

My hopes for the future: go to college, become a writer, get married, be happy.

This was shocking to me because if you asked me now what I thought I’d written I would have assumed it was something about becoming the best in my career or whatever – I knew I wanted to be a writer out of college – but I became so career obsessed over the last 10 years that I was a bit surprised to see I had such simple hopes for the future.

I’ve accomplished only one of my hopes and that’s a little disheartening, especially considering it’s been 12 years. It made me self reflect to see that even 12 years ago, my hope for myself was to just share my life with someone and be happy. I think somewhere along the line in college I really lost that ambition and became this hardened person who tried to find ways to escape my relationships whenever they felt like they were headed towards marriage or the possibility of sharing “too much” with someone. Granted, I haven’t been in a relationship in almost 7 years so who’s to say how I’d react these days. I can’t even fathom anyone wanting to be in a relationship with me, let alone pushing that away but, I digress.

If I look back at my last 4 relationships, I ended all of them. I left Andrew because I didn’t want him to lose his goals and dreams to be closer to me, I left James because I lost sight of every aspect with myself when we were together, I left frank because he cared about me so much more than I could care about him and he deserved to be loved better than I could love him, and I left Jason because at the heart of our relationship I felt empty because of how it all began and never felt like we ever really connected over anything outside of Greek life and the college experience.

Now, throw in a dump truck load of trauma and toss it around through out the years of those relationships and that will fill in the holes of my timelines and ultimately become the bumper cars that pushed me towards bad relationships or away from good ones, but at the heart of everything, it was always me leaving and always me craving something else, something better.

I think that idea of craving something better is a theme in my life because I look at this beautiful, beautiful girl who I feel so distant from, who absolutely hated herself and her body, and I wish I could shake her and make her realize how much happiness and love and beauty she had. Even then, even in high school when I was a size 8 and cared about my appearance, I couldn’t find happiness. I couldn’t find a way to love myself or my situation. That feeling stayed with me, every day, and just grew and grew, as I grew, and now I’m this shell of a person incapable of loving myself, incapable of believing someone could love me, and so overweight and disconnected I can barely look in a mirror.

Sometimes it makes me wonder what I ever thought happiness should look like.

My memories: things that made me smile and inside jokes with my friends, one for each year of high school, but my very last one was “time spent with the boys”

This one made my heart smile. I think it’s easy for me to romanticize the relationship I have with them now that we’re adults because we have truly known each other since we were kids and we still try to make time for each other, as best we can, even now — not to mention everyone’s married and working on babies – but sometimes I wonder if I romanticized too much and sort of “made up” the friendship I had with them in my head like we were closer than we really were. I do that pretty easily, and friendships that last 20+ years are incredibly rare so it’s easy to question that sort of stuff, but seeing it written there, in 2007, affirmed for me that I’m not necessarily the crazy girl who made these boys up that I sometimes feel I am.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I definitely loved them more than they loved me back then. My pages are filled with messages of “sorry we always make fun of you, but not really” and various jokes that are probably borderline cruel (maybe not even borderline) but boys love differently so it makes me smile looking back on it. To look back and see that even then, they were my final thought, makes me happy. They are the memory that stuck out the most to me – the people who shaped my heart and taught me how to really, truly, come to love friends as though they’re family. It also retroactively justifies the buckets of tears I cried at Mullets wedding just thinking about how far we’ve come.

Anyway – I’ve gotten off track a bit.

My advice: love the friends you have and befriend the ones you don’t.

Again – honestly surprised at seeing this. I think I’ve gone through so much of an identity crisis lately that this helped me understand that the core of who I am has always been about loving my friends. Sometimes I don’t know how I survive everything I’ve been through – losing a sibling to Suicide, car accidents, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual assault, family members with addiction, an eating disorder, losing my aunt to cancer, caring for my brother with cancer – it’s all honestly too much to take in sometimes and I think the thread that has helped hold me to this world, to my last shred of sanity, has always been the love I have for my friends and how grateful I am for the relationships I have.

People hear about “the boys” and they genuinely question why I speak to them but the truth is – they are a part of the makeup of my soul. They are in my DNA, for better or worse, and I think having that friendship to look at and cherish over the years has honestly kept me tethered to reality when I’ve wanted to slip away. So many times I have wanted to give up but when I look at our memories and the lives they’re living now I’m just filled with happiness enough to push through. They have taught me so much pain, but also so much forgiveness and love.

My sorority sisters helped me survive losing my brother and kept me alive when I struggled with depression in college (though it may have also introduced me to some easily accessible bad coping mechanisms, but that’s another story) I can remember my heart swelling when my sisters came to his funeral, only having known me a few months, and holding me when I cried the night he died. My sisters who’ve walked in on me self harming and held me and loved me. Meeting my little gave me a love so pure I would go through all the drama of college again, just to meet her. My little connected two halves of my heart and married my Mullet and brought me some of the purest joy I’ve ever experienced

My friendship with Danielle and her family loving and accepting me helped me survive some of the most difficult times I’ve experienced with my own family and walking away from a friendship that had turned toxic and detrimental to my health. Having her family become my extended family was the only thing that got me through so many days where I felt like I had nothing else to live for.

My work friends at brockport helped me survive some of the most stressful work I’ve ever done, made me laugh every single day, and supported me when I had tragedies or health scares of my own. They’ve continued to believe in me, even after I lost everything I thought I knew when I had to leave student affairs and continue to make me laugh, despite our distance. (Sarah, Im grouping you in this group here just an FYI)

My friendship with my cousin and her friend group helped me get through losing my job, my career and my way of life after coming back home. Having friends that feel more like family with every passing year made it easier to come home and not regret that decision. And they make it easier to tolerate work now that half of them work there too 😉

Now, it’s 3am and I may be romanticizing again, but I don’t think I am. I think that for as deeply as I feel this depression I am in, I also feel other emotions deeply, like gratitude and love for my friends.

While I’m grateful I am able to feel this deeply about friendships, I just wish I could feel this way about myself. I wish I could see my world for what it was in the moment, rather than looking back 12 years later and seeing the happiness I was blind to then. It makes me wonder all the things I’ve missed these last few years, and all the things I’m missing now, because I can’t recognize happiness for what it is.

In college, I took a class called self in society and there was a moment where someone told me I was beautiful and I full out sobbed because I hated myself so much and just couldn’t see what she saw and it felt so genuine that I was forced to believe her and it shook me to my core. That’s how engrained my self-hatred really is. That moment was a defining moment for me and sometimes I think i spend a lot of time chasing that feeling. I look back at the girl I was in high school and I feel so sad that I couldn’t see what I see in her now – someone so beautiful, who loved so deeply, and was full of life. If I could write my hopes for the future now, I’d say that I hoped to become that girl again, because I can see how beautiful she was, but I should probably wish to be able to love myself for who I am now.

I feel like so much of who I’ve become is the physical manifestation of the hatred and disgust I’ve had for myself over the years and I just wish I could learn how to embrace who I am and believe I’m worth someone loving me the way I love others – because I do love others, a lot, and I think that’s always been the person I was at my core, even when I didn’t know it.

When you donate to a cancer benefit…

Kevin’s benefit is almost here and I’m honestly dreading it. It seems like yesterday I was doing my aunts makeup getting her ready to attend her own cancer benefit with all our family and friends. To think that in the past year I’ve watched her die and watched my brother get diagnosed and battle cancer too is almost too much for me to handle. One year – two benefits.

It’s hard for me to put into words how exhausting this past year has been but I want to try and help people understand what you’re donating to when you donate to an event like this. At various moments throughout this process I’ve tried to document it through photos because sometimes I can’t believe it’s even real. I specifically took a photo of how i felt at my lowest point when Kevin got his diagnosis so I can hopefully look back when he beats this and remind myself what it feels like so I can help others who have to face this same feeling in the future.

If I didn’t have to experience this first hand I’d have no idea how much goes into caring for someone battling this kind of disease. It takes every ounce of your being and leaves you drained emotionally, physically, and financially. And you’re the lucky one because you’re not the one getting poked, prodded, tested, drugged, and basically tortured just to cure the sickness that’s already draining you.

When you donate to cancer benefits, you’re helping a family who’s battling the worst moments of their life. You’re helping to supplement hours of missed work that go unpaid to drive to hospitals, pay for gas, pay for endless parking passes and meals for the hours spent at the hospital, and help pay for copays and equipment needed at the house to help keep your loved one comfortable.

When you donate to cancer benefits your paying for cleaning supplies that help to clean up the surprise nose bleeds you come home to from the chemo therapy treatments they need…

When you donate to a cancer benefit you’re donating to help lift a financial burden off of family members who are trying to come to terms with watching a loved one continuously suffer through constant throwing up, getting painful biopsies, endless blood draws, having to administer shots, giving them IVs and endure all the horrible things we take for granted when we don’t have to deal with them.

So I want to say thank you, to anyone who’s donated or offered to help with this benefit. Every day I watch my step dad care for my brother around the clock and It breaks my heart that I’m just not able to do more for both of them. This benefit will help to get more help for Kevin and get some relief for Tim. I can’t get paid family leave to care for him because siblings aren’t covered and I’m so thankful for my job that has been so flexible but any time off I take is unpaid. Dealing with the financial burden only adds to the emotional and physical toll this disease takes on our family so your donations mean so very much to us.

Cancer has taken so much from me already, but the generosity you’ve all shown my family gives me hope for the future and keeps me going when things get too hard. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Who am I?

I honestly don’t even know who I am anymore.

In my entire life I don’t think depression has ever hit me so hard as it has lately. Every single time I take a shower I end up sobbing uncontrollably, with little to no trigger to set me off. I go to bed every night praying that I will be rested so i want to wake up. I wake up every morning dreading having to go to work. Two weeks ago I had to leave work because I was on the verge of tears with no explanation. I’ve self harmed. I can’t sleep or I sleep for what feels like eternity.

I spent most of the reception at my best friends wedding outside crying because I can’t even be at a function with my best friends without feeling miserable, without missing my aunt, without feeling utterly alone, without wanting to go and cry and go to sleep.

I went to a bonfire tonight and I had to force myself to talk, to laugh, to interact, when all I wanted to do was sit in silence or go home. I skip parties, I skip invites to do things. I struggle finding motivation to shower, to cook, to clean, to do anything anymore.

What’s happening to me? When did it get so bad? When is it going to stop?

I miss my aunt so much. It’s been months and it feels like hurts more now than it did when she died. I feel like such a failure to my brother because I’m not doing as much to help him as I should because I spend all of my time crying in my room or sleeping. My poor stepfather has been the only reason my brother has made it through his treatment so far and he does so much more than he should ever have to.

I’m so angry and I’m so sad and I’m so utterly lonely that I feel like my heart is going to explode and I’m just waiting for the moment it happens.

I don’t even know what I need or want or what can help because I don’t know who I am anymore or how I ended up here. But I really, really wish it could stop.

Big Girls Don’t Cry

My heart hurts so much lately.

 

Sometimes I feel selfish because amidst watching my brother battle cancer, I’m wallowing in my own self-pity. It’s a never-ending battle for me to remember I am lucky not to have to face the things he’s facing right now versus feeling sorry for myself for so many reasons. Nevertheless, I’ve never been very strong, and I’ve often viewed myself as selfish, so here we are.

I hate having to face all this stuff alone.

Loneliness is the best depressant I know. Now, I know that most of you are going to respond by saying “You’re not alone! I’m always here! Just call me!” and I know and appreciate that fact. But the loneliness I’m referring to is not having a partner to share my life and subsequent sorrow with. Having to come home and cry silently to myself on the couch or in my bedroom because there’s no one there to talk to or just hold me until I fall asleep from exhaustion. The loneliness that haunts and breaks my heart day after day, never ceasing.

I have this innate need to care for other people and my whole life I’ve clung to those who needed me in some capacity to fill a void. I enjoy being the rock that others can stand on for support. I have never needed to be cared for myself, so much as I do right now. I just wish I had someone who wanted to be there for me. Someone who loved and cared for and chose me. It utterly breaks my heart not having someone, now more than ever. I worry so much that because of my weight, because of my depression, because of my inner impulse towards self-destruction, and attraction to men who will never want me, that I will end up alone, forever.

I’ll pause here briefly to say – I know. “No one can love you before you love yourself” or “It will happen when it’s meant to happen”. These are nice sentiments, and they may be true, but that doesn’t take the ache away. That does nothing to help me get through the next night that I cry myself to sleep or the next time I attend a friend’s wedding alone, watching everyone I know find their forever partners.

I think some of my fear stems from the fact that my aunt has been my biggest role model my entire life. I’ve never met someone I admired so much as her. I am an asshole and I find fault with everyone relatively easily and it was always hard to find with her. Most of the faults I found in her were selfishly driven — things like, she didn’t spend enough time with me or prioritize my graduations over her church functions. They were never about her character. She was such a strong, confident, genuine, LOVING, and truly special woman. Like me, she had been overweight her entire life, but I had never known anyone more beautiful than her. I used to love watching her get ready, curling her hair, doing her nails and makeup. I was captivated by her and everything she did.

She was not alone in the world and she had a husband who she loved with every part of her soul. I remember times that I would cry over boys who didn’t love me, and she’d tell me that God would give me someone, just like he gave her husband to her. She’d comfort me telling me how similar we were and that she knew what it was like to be overweight, but she knew how much her husband loved her. I think even though I’ve pretty much disliked her husband my entire life, I wanted to believe that could be true for me too because she was the person I wanted to become when I was older. I watched their marriage for years as an example of someone who looked like me finding “true love” and happiness.

To sit here now, a mere 7 months after she has died, and see that her husband has totally rid himself of her memory, their marriage, her belongings, their home – I’m left feeling so hollow. She passed away in January and I got a phone call in April that my uncle had feelings for another woman. He spent 45 minutes trying to convince me this was ordained by God and asked me to still love him, and I said maybe 4 words on the phone before he hung up. He hasn’t spoken to me since that day. A few days later, he left his wedding albums and my aunts wedding dress on my uncles’ doorstep without a word to anyone. He’s since become “Facebook official” with his new girlfriend, a woman who was not only married, but knew my aunt and called her a friend, and has plans to marry her from what I’m told.

What makes this all worse is to hear him speak about my aunt now. He has told her best friends that this all stems from the fact that he’s a man and he has sexual urges and because of the issues my aunt had (her cancer was originally some type of cervical/pelvic/ovarian cancer, though thanks to his manipulation and censorship I still don’t truly know which one) it had been a while since they had sex and so he needed to move on to fulfill that need. He would later go on to tell her friends that he only slept with my aunt of “duty as her husband”, not attraction.

To hear these things come from the man I watched my aunt devote her entire life and heart to is so painful I don’t know that I can even describe it with words. The love I have for this perfect woman knows no end and I am breaking apart to think of how she would feel if she heard him say these things. It’s sickening and beyond appalling. This is a man who claimed to be devoted to her, called her precious, and had the world convinced he found her to be beautiful and loved her. Here he is now, speaking the truth of his ugly, manipulative ways and showing the deceit that these words were.

Aside from the anger and pure heartbreak this gives me, it leaves me with fear and sadness for myself. If my aunt, someone so perfect, kind and beautiful, inside and out, could be fooled and discarded this way, what does that leave for me? People have told me to look up to her as an example, including herself, because of the love she shared with her husband, so what am I supposed to do now? Is this what overweight women deserve? Someone settling for us because of where we can take them in the world. To be discarded when we’re through providing service to a man who never really loved us but used us for what we gave?

When I think of everything that’s happened since her death, I am just left so defeated. I have never liked my uncle, and he wouldn’t be shocked to hear that. I’ve always found him to be arrogant and self-serving, and his views about people and the world have always gone against what I know to be true in my heart. But I loved my aunt, greatly, and I saw him as a father figure because she has and always will be the mother I didn’t deserve. It’s hard to explain how it’s possible to hate someone and love them at the same time, but I did, and his behavior hurts me as the daughter he referred to me as when he spoke about me in public. I’m not sure I ever believed that he thought of me that way – I think so much of what he said was a lie – but even as a niece, to watch your uncle discard your family so quickly is painful. Maybe it’s selfish or dramatic to extrapolate this situation into my own self-pity or sorrow, but I can’t pretend that it doesn’t have an impact on me and my view of the world. It’s a crushing blow and I’m running on empty lately,.

So, I’m sitting here tonight. Sad and angry and alone. I’m making plans to visit friends in October for their wedding and though I’m so excited for them, I teeter on the edge of trying to run away from going because I don’t want to have to go alone, again, to another wedding, and watch everyone with their partners and pretend like I’m happy. I’m not happy. I’m terrified that if I don’t lose weight, I will spend the rest of my life alone or left with someone who settles for me and chooses me out of duty, not love. I am scared that I will always be second choice for someone. I have feelings for someone who isn’t married, or my best friend, or horrible for me for the first time in what feels like a lifetime and they weren’t interested in me and found someone else. I sit and wonder how much of that is because of my outward appearance? It seems like I always have such great personal chemistry with people but I’m never the girl they choose. I wish I knew why  – why am I never the one people want to love? Why am I always the one people want to talk to or laugh with, but never, ever, love.

When I think about this, I’m just so overwhelmed with emotion and everything else going on. I am scared for my brother’s future and wish I could hug my aunt and ask her how to get through it all. I am tired and broken and so incredibly alone for all of it.

And I know, I have the best friends in the world, who support and love me despite all my depressing posts and words. I have parents who’ve helped me move and take care of my brother and co-workers who’ve done so much for me.

 

But despite it all, I cannot escape the loneliness.