How To: Inpatient Stay

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Inpatient care for mental illness is beyond stigmatized. It is almost demonized, at least where I come from.

When I was told I was being to a behavioral health center following my first overdose, I went into full panic mode. Every alarm was going off in my head and all I could say was no.

If you ever talk to Mariah, she’ll tell you how I clung to her so hard that I nearly pulled her shirt off. She can tell you all about how I sobbed and begged not to go. This was my worst nightmare coming to life.

I was transported by ambulance with an officer in attendance. I was very blunt with him about my distaste for his presence, but he told me something that saw me through my time in the hospital. When we arrived, I was a sobbing, shaking, anxiety-riddled mess.

He looked at me and said very softly and seriously, “Grab your blanket and pull it together. You are here to get better. Take advantage of it.”

So, I listened to someone else for the first time in weeks. I wrapped my green, fleece blanket around my shoulders and followed him inside. He said goodbye to me at the front desk when a psych tech came to escort me, and I watched him go, filled with panic. The psych tech – Mike, I think – walked me back to my unit and that is the moment I discovered a whole new world.

Here is my advice for your time in inpatient care:

  1. Pay attention to level systems – Most treatment programs assign level privileges based on behavior and participation. By attending my groups and complying with my treatment plan, I was able to work my way up from eating meals on the unit, to the cafeteria, going to rec. therapy, and then eventually I was moved to the more progressive unit.
  2. Go to groups – You’ll learn so much, I promise. Some will be boring and there will be times you honestly just want to stay in bed. If you go, though, you’ll start developing coping skills you need to function outside the hospital. The doctors will also take note and this was can help speed up your discharge date.
  3. Make a friend – Hell, make ten friends. The hospital can be a lonely place and no one knows this better than your fellow patients. Visiting hours are often odd and short, so it may be difficult to see family or friends. In order to help yourself and others, talk to other patients. I learned more from them than some of the doctors.
  4. Relax – the world outside the hospital walls does not matter right now. You are in this place to get better. Don’t fret over bills or social obligations. Allow yourself this time to get better.
  5. Color –  I spent the majority of my second hospitalization coloring. It kept my hands and and my mind occupied and kept me out in the common area rather than isolated in my room. It lightened my mood and even gave me a goal some days. It sounds silly, but it really works.

I know it seems daunting, but take it from someone who not only once was a patient in the psych ward, but now works in one. This will be good. You will learn and grow in ways you can’t outside of the hospital. If you need this level of care, don’t be ashamed. It exists for a reason and those of us working in these hospitals want nothing more than to help.

Be brave, speak up if you need help. Don’t be afraid. You will be just fine.

Head above water, okay? Remember, it’s okay to use floaties to stay up.

Emma.

Life After (attempted) Death

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When I woke up in the ICU after my second suicide attempt, I looked up at the ceiling tiles and just wondered…how?

How could I possibly live my life after this? I hadn’t planned for after because there wasn’t supposed to be one. I wish someone had told me then that there was a whole world waiting for me.

In the months following, I have moved to another state, landed a job I thought I would never be qualified for, and made the scary leap back into dating. I run primarily on tacos and pop-tarts, and I don’t sleep a whole lot. The side effects of the overdose are still prevalent, but I’ve learned to live with them. The nightmares haven’t stopped, but I’ve developed coping skills to handle them. Life is by no means perfect, but it is more beautiful now because I looked death in the face. Before I passed out, everything in me was screaming with regret. But…I’m alive, and I’m living, and life has gone on.

People ask questions and undoubtedly make judgments, but I try to face them as bravely as I can. I am honest when asked about my numb, shaking hands and mixed up speech. I give the most appropriate explanation possible for my scars. I don’t cower when spoken to or hide in my apartment.

My life has gone on, even after I attempted death.

Yours will too.

Whatever tragedy or illness or heartbreak has set you back, I promise it is not your ultimate end. There is more. Don’t give up. You will find a purpose in each day if you just search for it.

Keep your head above water and carry on.

You’re so brave.

Emma

The Difference

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On the left, you can see what a bad day looks like for me with my lungs. On the right, you’ll find what it looks like on a bad day with my mental illness.

The difference? One is being treated with a mask and inhaled medication, and the other with my emotional support animal and anti-anxiety pills.

And that should be the only difference.

The thing is, most people can’t see it that way. If I post a picture on social media of me getting a breathing treatment, the immediate response is support and well wishes. However, if I post a picture of me curled up with my ESA, eyes bloodshot from obvious tears, the reaction is very different. It becomes something to mock or laugh at or judge or label.

The thing is, though, both have the power to keep me in bed for days. They are both capable of landing me in the hospital – as both have. They’re both significantly debilitating in their own ways. On bad days with both, I find myself exhausted and resistant to the idea of company, dependent on medication, and potentially in need of additional medical help. It’s just two different organs malfunctioning – that’s it. My airways swell, or the chemicals in my brain misfire, and I can’t control either one. I can treat them, but I can’t cure them.

So, why is one so heavily stigmatized over the other? Why do my poor lungs warrant more compassion than my struggle with bipolar or PTSD? Why are flowers sent and shifts at work covered when I struggle to breathe, but I am avoided and gossiped about when I can’t think clearly?

It shouldn’t be this way – not for anyone. We shouldn’t be so ashamed to admit when we’re having a bad mental health day. It doesn’t mean you’re weak – not in the slightest. You’re brave – so incredibly brave, no matter what anyone else says. Whether you’re facing a physical or a mental illness, you are doing incredibly well and no one else gets to judge you for it.

Keep your head above water. You’re stronger than you think.

Emma.

Post-Atom Bomb

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Hey you,

Stop.

For just a moment, pause and take a deep breath.

I know what’s happening in your head right now. You can call BS on that, but I’m telling you honestly, I get it. It’s like an atom bomb has gone off. There’s been a massive explosion of emotion and it’s devastated all clarity and rationality in its path. You may be still suffering the blast, or sitting in the wake of its destruction. Everything – every thought, every feeling – is spiraling. Your nerves are completely frayed. The only way out that you can see is down.

Look up – I am begging you, look up.

Don’t give into that voice that is telling you that hurting yourself or offing yourself is the only solution. It’s lying – it wants you to hurt and to suffer and to give up.

Maybe you’ve already slipped into that numb stage of acceptance. You might have minimized all remaining emotion, crammed it into a box, and buried the stupid thing. You might already feel at peace with your decision to be through with it all. Just take a moment and listen to your body. It doesn’t want to die or hurt anymore than it has to. There’s a small part of you that is reeling with anxiety over this decision – find it. Hold onto it. Survive tonight because of it.

You might still be in the midst of the explosion. The waves may be slamming into you, over and over again, each worse than the last. Your mind is hardly functioning – it’s crossed the threshold of chaos and gone into oblivion. All you can do is hyperventilate and shake and watch your tears hit the ground. Breathe, darling. It’ll pass. It hurts – holy hell, it hurts – and the panic is all-consuming. You can survive this, though. It will end. Just brace yourself. Weather the storm. You will resurface stronger than ever.

I want you alive – I need you alive. This world needs you. There’s still so much you have yet to experience and oh my love, you deserve so much more than you have now. Please, don’t allow this to crush you before you’ve truly lived.

I have so much faith in you. I do. I wish I could be right there next to you, holding you and crying with you and promising that everything will be okay. But the thing is, I can’t. I’m here and you’re there and that’s what life has dealt us. That does not, however, mean that you are alone. Not in the slightest. In mind and in spirit and in heart, I am with you until the bitter end. I am thinking of you, praying for you, pleading for you.

Just stop. Stop what you’re doing right now and allow yourself to know that I love you. Whoever you are, wherever you are, you mean the world to me. Please, don’t go.

Survive tonight – hold onto me and survive one more night. I promise morning will bring something so much better.

All my love,

Emma

Survive

img_3920.pngI am a survivor of things most people will never face and will never understand.

I have been pinned down, struck, mocked, lied to, shared, and traumatized. I have looked into the eyes of men who felt nothing but pleasure as they took what was mine. I have iced bruises and fat lips, soaked in hot baths to ease unmentionable pain, and covered scars to keep them hidden from my loved ones.

I have forgiven those men time and time again, without question, because at my core I know that surviving this hell comes by maintaining who I am as a human being. I have wounded myself more than once in my own fight to allow only myself to hurt and no one else, not even them.

I have survived two overdoses, and an attempt at cutting my wrists, abusive relationships, assault, 4 mental illnesses, and the very bloody death of my mother.

Excuse my language, but holy shit, I should not be alive. The odds of me walking away from all of those things relatively unscathed, still capable of going to school and working a full time job, had to have been so slim.

But look, universe, look what I have done.

I want you to know something very important – you are a survivor, too. I don’t know what your battles are or what your war is. I don’t know what demons you lie down with at night and what nightmares you face.

What I do know is this…

You have come this far. There have been nights you have sobbed yourself to sleep. You have lost people along the way. You bear scars both seen and unseen. You are human. You struggle and you fight and sometimes you fall down. You’ve been hurt and you’ve hurt and things aren’t always black and white. Maybe something very important was stolen from you, too. Maybe you’re feeling lost right now, or alone and afraid.

You are a survivor, though. Don’t forget that. When the waves feel like they’re pushing you down and it’s like you can’t breathe, think of all the times you swore you couldn’t go on and how you’re still alive today.

I have faith in you – more faith than I ever had in myself. Keep pushing and keep fighting. Keep your head above water because dammit, you are the storm – not them, not it, not work, not him, not her…you are. 

Emma.

Dear Mom

holding-handsMom,

This April will mark six years since we said goodbye.

I have a hard time grasping that, because in my head, we’re still in the backseat of the car on the way to the hospital. You’re crying and I’m singing our lullaby and trying to stop all of the bleeding. You can’t move very much because you’re in so much pain. Dad is still driving as fast as he reasonably can in Sunday traffic, and I think we all know that this is it.

You’re still beautiful, though. Your eyes are that dark green that just kind of stops time if you stare for too long. The little hair you have is soft and that pretty blonde I always envied. I’m learning to look past the blood in this memory. I’m learning how to remember you and not the scary parts.

See, mom, I’ve had a really hard time forgiving myself. I’ve felt like this was all my fault since the day it happened. I was supposed to be right behind you; supposed to catch you..but I wasn’t and I didn’t. I’ve allowed that guilt to consume me and fuel 90% of my choices since that day. I know that’s not what you would want for me, though.

So, I’m making a choice – to stop running, to stop being afraid, to stop doubting. Since I felt your heart stop, I’ve been running. I haven’t stopped. From person to person, home to school, apartment to apartment, and city to city. I haven’t paused for more than a moment  because when I do, that’s when I have to start caring again and that’s when the hurt comes back. I’ve been so afraid to get close to anyone, and that’s not your fault, but I need to get out of the back of that car. I need to wash the blood off my hands and move forward. I need to stop doubting everything I’m capable of because the fact that I am alive still seems to be a miracle to me.

I love you, mom. I love you so much, and I miss you every day. I’m sorry that I couldn’t do more.

In my mind now, though, it’s you and me and no one else and nothing else. It’s nine in the morning and we’re laying in your bed holding hands, talking about life, like we always did. You’re not sick and I’m not scared. It’s just us.

I love you, and I hope that wherever you are, you hear that.

Always,

Emma

I Know

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I know what it looks like.

When you see the hundreds of scars on my shoulders, back, and arms – whether it is for the first time or the fiftieth.

When you hear the stories of me being so manic that they found me on some train tracks, barefoot, in the middle of winter, with no idea how I got there.

When people warn you about not one, but two of my overdoses.

When you figure out that the scar on my wrist was intended to end my life.

When you find me curled up on the bathroom floor, crying or screaming or shaking, because this mood swing is consuming me.

I know what that looks like.

Crazy, uncontrolled, scary, unacceptable, insane, desperate…

The thing is, I also know what it feels like.

When I was hurting so bad, and trapped by my own mind, that a razor seemed like the only way out.

When my mind told me I had all of the energy in the world, so I went exploring in places people typically don’t, and simply forgot my shoes because there was so much to see.

When I was trapped in an all-consuming mood swing, simultaneously wanting so badly to die and also to live a totally different life, so I turned to medication to shut it all off.

When I was so thoroughly convinced that the world was better off without me, that I was nothing but a burden, so I tried to remove myself.

When I cannot function beyond the level of simply existing because the chemicals in my brain are at war with each other and it feels as if my mind is imploding.

I know what that feels like.

Painful, terrifying, confusing, hopeless, lonely…

I know that you hate seeing me suffer. You ask isn’t there another medication to try? Can’t you just try going to the gym when you’re upset? What about calling someone?

I know the suggestions are well-intentioned. From my family, and my friends, I know that you just want me to be healthy, but there is something you don’t know and can’t understand. You don’t know what it’s like to live in a head in which four serious mental illnesses coexist. You don’t know what it’s like to look at rain, see a hurricane, and be expected to behave as if nothing is happening. You don’t understand what it’s like to feel your heart slamming against your ribcage because everything inside you is telling you that if you just swallow another handful of pills, everything will be better.

You don’t know, but I do.

So please, give me some mercy. Grant me the same kindness you would to any other person dealing with a serious illness and try to understand why I can’t get out of bed somedays.

It’ll be okay.

Remember, you need to keep your head above water, too.

Emma.

 

How to Save a Life

sad-girlI’ve been told on many occasions that I am an inspiration. People have told me how brave I am, how they look up to me, and how they can’t imagine facing these things themselves.

I’ve been told that I am a lifesaver. I’ve been thanked for my empathy and patience. I’ve been the shoulder to support many.

I don’t say any of this to brag or make a conceited point.

I say it because I am conceding to all of this thanks with the simple statement that I am not strong, I am struggling, and I have been terrified every step of the way.

Today, I am laying in bed, a shaking mess. Caught in a mood swing, with no way to communicate just how it feels, I have isolated myself once again. I tried to reach out for help yesterday when I felt the true chaos erupting and was met with hostility. I couldn’t form the right words, couldn’t tell this person what I needed, and ultimately was left on my own.

I’ve felt this mood swing coming on for days. No one knows.

I don’t know what to do at this point. With everyone in my life, I simultaneously want to pull them close and push them 1,000 miles away. I don’t know how to communicate that, though. I don’t know how to say I love you, but please leave me alone for an indefinite amount of time, or at least until I reach out, probably crying.

I feel like I did during those first two days in BHC. I want to curl up in bed and never speak to anyone again, but I also need to be held and told, repeatedly, that I am loved and worthy of love. I can’t ask for this, though – I can’t physically make those words leave my lips, so instead I cry and get angry and hide.

I have flashbacks to holding my mom’s head in my hands, wondering why brains are actually gray and not pink. I look down and suddenly I’m covered in her blood again. I keep hearing her bones shatter on the concrete. And then, it overlaps with him. I’m underneath him. I can hear his breathing.

My mind is going a thousand miles per hour at this point, and I can’t make it slow down. I work with patients going through this same thing, and I can’t bring myself back to this current moment to look them in the eye and say it will get easier.

I chose psychology because I wanted to save people. I wanted to give the people like me a voice and a second chance and everything I had to fight for entirely on my own. I chose this career because I wanted to save lives that were slipping through cracks no one realizes even exist.

I thought I knew how to save a life like mine. I keep listening to the doubters, though, the ones who question what I am capable of. How can you help them when you can’t even help  yourself?

I don’t know. I really don’t.

But I have to try.

Keep your head above water, k?

Emma.

Being Borderline: You’re Not Damned

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When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I thought my whole world had ended.

But, it hadn’t.

A year and a half later, when I was given the dual diagnosis including borderline personality disorder, I thought my entire identity was a lie.

But, it’s not.

I have spent a copious amount of time researching BPD. I’ve watched so many videos in which BPD sufferers are demonized and others in which they are defended. It seems people have trouble reconciling the idea that people with personality disorders are still very much human.

I can’t change everyone’s minds – I know that a simple blog post will not alter the opinions of so many that can only see evil in someone with a personality disorder. However, I want to at least do my part in adding my voice to the others that are trying so hard to erase the stigma surrounding this particular mental illness. So, I’ll share with you my personal experience with it.


According to the DSM, there are nine clinical criteria for the diagnosis of BPD.

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

      I struggled immensely with this for years. The manifestation of my BPD began when I was about 12 years old, when my mother spent a year in another state receiving cancer treatment. During this year, I also watched my dad leave on multiple short-term deployments. Three years later, I not only watched, but felt my mom die. I held her in the backseat of the car on the way to the hospital, covered in her blood. I then held her hand in her hospital bed as life support was disconnected.

Following this trauma, I’ve developed a massive fear of being abandoned. As a child, my young mind couldn’t process all of it and neuro pathways were formed in such a way to protect me from it. Constantly, I wonder when the next person will die or leave or just disappear. With therapy, however, I’ve learned how to manage it. While the anxiety is still there and sometimes the behaviors creep up, I know now how to better control the chaos.

2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

   I was barely seventeen when the sexual abuse began, carried out by someone I considered to be a close friend. It lasted for months. I didn’t know what to do or who to tell. There were moments in which I could believe it was okay – that he wasn’t hurting me. However, they were often overturned by a deep repulsion and fear. The abuse finally ended after I was assaulted by a mutual friend. I don’t know why it ended – maybe because that was when I finally erupted into a swirling mass of emotions and anger.

I see the impact of that trauma in my life every day, though. I may meet someone and absolutely adore them, swear every bit of my loyalty to them, and then the next day want absolutely nothing to do with them. I may have an extremely hostile conversation on the phone with my dad, full of yelling and crying, and then two hours later just want to call him to discuss the weather. Through therapy and personal reflection, I’ve found that my most stable relationships have very clear boundaries. Emotions are kept in check, triggers are minded, and no one pushes to get too close. It’s not detachment, but it’s a healthy amount of privacy and respect.

3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

    This one is trickier. I’ve always been one to maintain several social groups at once, never letting them overlap if I can avoid it. In high school, I had friends in every circle from theater to football. While I maintained my own personality, I found that I behaved differently around each group of people. Once I entered college, I became more capable of keeping a firm grasp on my own identity, but I do notice shifts in perception and behavior in certain social situations.

I think the most alarming part of this symptom is experiencing loss or a breakup. When I lose someone that I consider an important part of my life, it is like losing a part of myself. The behaviors I picked up from them become painful reminders of a loss I always feared, and I may feel unstable until I can reconcile the pieces of myself without the pieces of them. However, I have become remarkably more capable of handling loss in even the last few months thanks to therapy like DBT.

4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). This does not include suicidal or self-harming behavior.

     This isn’t one I’ve had a terrible time managing. It is actually difficult to identify since these behaviors overlap with those of a manic episode. It takes at least two days to work out whether my impulsivity is a result of BPD or bipolar disorder, as one lasts longer than the other and carries with it a myriad of other symptoms. However, those behaviors were previously a pattern in my life that I was able to eliminate through treatment.

5. Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.

This is the most crippling aspect of BPD for me, personally. I have multiple suicide attempts in my past and my arms are covered in scars from self-harm. Let me be very clear in stating that these were not, are not, and never have been for attention.

Cutting was a coping mechanism I picked up when I was only 14 years old. I kept it a secret from almost everyone in my life. I never flaunted the injuries for attention – I hid them as best as I could. I still try to cover the scars around new people and in public. Sometimes, I am brave and don’t mind the stares or the questions, but the judgement is often too harsh for me to manage.

Trying to kill myself? I did not want anyone involved in that. I just wanted it to end. I can’t even put into words the all-consuming desperation to die. It just hurt so bad and I wanted it to be over. The only reason I am still alive is because there are miraculous people in my life that want me to still be here. I reached out for help not for myself, but for them. I can’t deny the idea crosses my mind still in my worst moments, but I am learning how to cope with it.

6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood – intense feelings that can last from a few hours to a few days.

This on top of the mood swings that accompany bipolar disorder is the biggest headache of all. I can’t even tell you how difficult it is to maintain a poker face when it feels like you’re about to explode. Little things can affect your mood just as greatly as big things.

That does not make you evil.

Never apologize for having emotions. That is something I have had to work at. I can’t change the fact that the chemicals in my brain are wired to implode when something goes wrong, however through treatment I’ve learned how to manage the mood swings. I have more coping skills that help me to quell anger, stop tears, soothe panic, and enforce positivity. They are not 100% foolproof, but they help.

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.

This symptom didn’t really rear its ugly head until I went to college. There are times I find myself seriously questioning my purpose. I look at my schoolwork, my career, and even my relationships and wonder what they’re worth. A lot of people have told me, and will tell you, that you can’t rely on others to find your purpose or your happiness. However, you can allow them to help you reinforce the idea that your life and your work, no matter how small, is valuable. If I didn’t have people to consistently remind me that I am important, I would have offed myself years ago.

8. Inappropriate intense anger or difficulty controlling anger.

Hahaha my dad might actually be the better one to discuss this one. I was quite the teenager. I could get worked up in about .5 seconds and have steam pouring out my ears before anyone knew what was happening. I actually started boxing so that I had a healthy outlet for the anger I didn’t understand or maybe didn’t know how to control.

As an adult, I’ve found that this anger has lessened. It rears its head on occasion, but I know better now when it is justified and when it is not. I know better how to calm myself down and not act on impulse.

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideas or severe dissociative symptoms.

    Oooh, I hate this one! It’s like anxiety on crack. When I get super stressed, my mind makes it look like the whole world is ending. I’ve really, really struggled with this one this year. Something may go wrong and, suddenly, rain looks like a hurricane.

I’ve only dissociated a handful of times, and two of those were the times I overdosed. It is a scary situation when you dissociate. It’s terrifying for not only you, but the people around you. This is something that may require medication in conjunction with therapy to manage. I know that my bipolar medication has also helped to ease these symptoms.


I know that I am not a terrible, manipulative person. It is so frustrating when a stigmatized label demonizes someone that is actually suffering. I did not ask for borderline personality disorder – no one ever has. It is one of those battles you have to fight every day. It is a battle in your own mind. There are losses and there are victories, but as long as you don’t let it claim you, you’re still in the game.

Borderline personality disorder may be a part of you, but it is not all of you. Don’t let others define you by it and define yourself by it. You can learn to manage it and have a healthy, successful life. I promise.

Keep your head above water. This is not the end.

Emma.

 

Have a Very Mentally Ill Christmas

screen-shot-2013-12-09-at-6-40-18-pmI hope you’ll forgive me for any cynicism in this post. I’m trying really, really hard to be positive and use every coping skill I ever picked in counseling. DBT, ACT, etc. I’m running through all of them in my head, remembering mindfulness, and working really hard to take things 30 minutes at a time.

I’m alone this Christmas. Very, very alone.

And my medication isn’t working, and my mood swings are very near out of control, and I genuinely do not want to exist tonight. I don’t want to die – there are far too many good things coming my way next month – but, tonight and tomorrow, I don’t want to exist in any form.

My dad, who is the only real family I have left, is 7 hours away. Every conversation we have on the phone swings dramatically from nostalgic to hostile within about 10 minutes. I’m trying to be someone he knows, but this f******g borderline personality disorder is threatening to catapult me back into total isolation. I’m angry and I’m sad and I can’t even find the words to express how badly it hurts.

I can’t sleep, which is what I typically do during depressive episodes. Instead, I lay awake and stare out the window as the snow comes down. I’m restless in the most exhausted way possible. I don’t want to eat or get out of bed, but I am fortunate enough to have an emotional service animal that doesn’t allow me to stay in one place for too long. He brings me a toy to throw or jumps on my chest or runs in circles to get my attention. I’ve admitted this only a handful of times, but this dog is the only reason I’m still alive. Those big, brown eyes are so heartbroken every time I walk out the door. He needs me as much as I need him, and so every time the thought of suicide crosses my mind, I think of him and how I am all he has.Screen Shot 2016-12-24 at 6.50.58 PM.png

That keeps me hanging on tonight.

This holiday season – hell, this year – has been my absolute nightmare. The new year, hopefully, brings some relief. Maybe moving, getting a new job, and taking my classes online is just what I need. Maybe leaving this state, and the people in it, behind is the best thing I can do for myself.

I don’t know, though. I don’t have the answers tonight. I just know that 30 minutes at a time is all I can take. For now, I’ll listen to music and write and color and do small things to stay occupied. After that, maybe I’ll take Bear outside and let him run in the snow for awhile. Whatever helps. Whatever gets me through the next 24 hours.

I hope that you’re having a good Christmas, at the very least. If you’re struggling, know that you are very much not alone. Depression worsens around the holidays for a lot of people. There are others laying under their blankets tonight, holding back tears or perhaps full on sobbing, and fighting a battle no one else can see. You aren’t fighting alone. I promise.

I’m sorry this is all over the place, but that’s where I am at this point. 30 minutes at a time. Maybe Monday will bring relief.

Until then, I’m keeping my head above water and I hope you are, too.

Merry Christmas.

All my love,

Emma