But it’s ALWAYS.

I found Heather Armstrong the day she posted about Leta’s birth. It was just another link on a page leading to another blog in a string I’d read that day.

I read that post three times then immediately switched over to her archive where I started to read from the beginning. Every single post became better than the last. It was the first time that I had ever seen anybody write the way I think.

Single simple sentences.

Then long rambling fields of words that I just knew poured out of her fingers and directly onto the screen in front of me exactly as they had left her brain. Frantic and disjointed but also logical. I used to see people criticize her writing and I’d be jealous because I knew those people didn’t live with the IMMUTABLE WORDS FOREVER RACING THROUGH THEIR BROKEN MINDS. IN ALL CAPS.

For almost 20 years I devoured everything she wrote. Every blog post. Every article. Every book. Every Tweet. Every Instagram caption. All of it.

When I couldn’t get my daughter to understand just how engulfing and sometimes debilitating my depression felt, I handed her It Sucked And Then I Cried. Trusting Heather’s words would be enough to get her to understand.

She understood.

I’ve been a lot less vocal about my struggles. Partly it’s because I feel like mental health struggles aren’t as uncommon as they were back then. Not uncommon, that’s not it. Aren’t as unacceptable. And also because I know there are so many people out there that are far better at expressing something I have never felt I’ve adequately explained.

Last Friday I took the day off so I could drive down to Bakersfield and spend the night with Cassidy leading up to a long weekend ahead. Thursday night I’d still not packed. I was being sucked into a black hole and all I needed to do to catapult free was pack a bag.

I did everything else I could think of EXCEPT pack a bag.

Then on Friday morning, bag still unpacked, Ben asked me what time I would be leaving. I told him I didn’t think I was going to go till Saturday.

This is what my depression looked like. The complete inability to physically put clothing into a suitcase to take a trip and do something I’d been looking forward to for three years.

I was going to allow myself to vanish into the void because that was less painful and tiring than the stress of packing a suitcase.

Later, Ben asked me if everything was okay. It was the 3rd time he’d asked me that day which is always my indication that everything is, in fact, NOT okay with me.

“No. It’s not. I want to sit in a corner and cry. For no reason. Actually? I feel like I want to just cancel this entire thing. I’m GOING TO GO. I’m going to go spend an amazing weekend with my daughter and my best friend. But I just want to fucking cry. And this feeling is SO FRUSTRATING and stupid and I hate it.”

Ben smiles and nods. He knows I just need a breath.

“I am GOING TO GO. I just need a day to… feel this. Then tomorrow I’m going to drive down to Bakersfield. I’m going to have SO MUCH FUN. Today? I’m allowing myself to be sad. To FEEL sad. For no reason.”

So that’s what I did. Finally at around 8:00PM I forced myself to put things in my suitcase. No list, no thought, just started. I ended up with as much packed for this 2 night stay as I did for 10 nights in Mexico because my mindset was: Just get something, ANYTHING, in the fucking bag.

And I had AN AMAZING TIME. I laughed till my cheeks hurt. I ate delicious food. I got my ass kicked by Julie twice at the bowling ally. I got to watch Cassidy’s excitement about getting my old Prius which is a big upgrade for her. Got to laugh again with Jeannine and Mike.

It was perfect. But I REALLY did not want to go. I wanted to let a chemical imbalance ruin it all. So here we are. 20 years after reading that first blog post about Leta, and I’m still fighting.

But Heather is not.

And being honest, it scares me that somebody as privileged as Heather wasn’t able to get the help she really needed. Because what does that mean for the rest of us?

Today felt like a really big punch in the gut. I’m reminded that mental illness isn’t temporary. It isn’t EVER cured. It’s getting better or it’s getting worse.

But it’s ALWAYS.

Till the end.

My heart goes out to Leta, to Marlo, and to the rest of Heather’s family.

Because brains are DUMB.

Survivors Guilt

Pandemic survivor guilt makes me feel like an asshole. Just wanting to blog about this makes me feel like an asshole for complaining about feeling like an asshole.

I lie in bed at night and I think about this and I feel like I need to purge it from my brain and when I tell people about it I don’t want to trauma dump on them so I just kind of gloss over the topic while hiding the fact it causes me so much anxiety that I want to crawl out of my skin and run away.

“I feel GUILTY that people are out of work, they’re struggling so much, they’ve lost so much, people are DYING. This pandemic has brought me to the dream point of working from home permanently. I never lost a single hour of pay, as a matter of fact in the last year I’ve been given a raise and a promotion. People in my family have gotten sick, but nobody has died or is suffering any kind of long term complication.”


It’s so hard… no, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to rectify in my brain that I’m just LUCKY. I didn’t do anything extraordinarily amazing or worthy of being in life where I am in life post 2020. I don’t have a degree. I didn’t have to overcome some hardship to get to where I am. I was born into a white middle class family and went to private schools where I fucked off to the point of being expelled. I literally never took school seriously till I was raising another human being who was in school.

I ended up with a great job that I’ve been saying for years could only get better if I didn’t have to drive 2.5 hours per day to get to it. Now I have that forever. I didn’t have to work for it, it was just handed to me. People lost their jobs and all of their income but I got a pay raise and didn’t have to put on a bra for almost an entire year.

This is dumb. It’s so dumb to feel this way. There’s no logical reason to for it. Feeling this way doesn’t solve anything and it doesn’t make me a better person.

Maybe because I’ve been reading so much about race and privilege in an attempt to be a better person, I’m just now realizing the dumb luck of being born white and middle class is why 2020 didn’t suck for me like it did for a lot of people. And even as I type this out I realize the privilege in that feeling like an asshole is the hardest hurdle I face currently.

So I lay in bed at night and feel guilty. Because brains are DUMB. Imposter Syndrome is even more dumb.

The end.

We are now 348 days into quarantine.

We are now 348 days into quarantine.

And somehow I’m, like, okay.

I thought at first it was because we gradually went to work from home. We started with 3 days a week at home. Then we went to only going in once a week so we could stagger days. Now only one person from each part of our team comes in once a week so we go about 8 weeks between office visits. It was a weird adjustment but I’m kind of glad we had the slow crossover. It kind of slowly lowered me into the burning building of COVID rather than tossing me in directly after dousing it with gasoline.

When it looked more and more like this was going to be an extended time away from friends, away from coworkers, and away from family, I had a conversation with Ben letting him know that I was worried about my mental health. Not that I was in a bad place THEN, but that I expected a crash to happen.


At some point.

I was going to crash.

Except… I never did. And to be 100% honest, I DO NOT FUCKING GET IT.

Long time followers know that I’ve been very open about my battle with depression. I love that when I’m raw and real about it I get comments and messages saying thank you for putting into words how they are feeling. For normalizing the mental illness. For being an advocate. And I have to tell you, I have felt some significant guilt for NOT doing that. For NOT feeling that way. For NOT being that support for others.

But it just… never happened. Maybe it’s the Lexapro? Maybe it’s that I get to sleep longer every day now that I don’t have an hour commute in the morning and have to put like 5% of the effort into getting ready every day. Maybe it’s the feeling of INCREDIBLE PRIVILEGE to have a stable and steady income through a time when a lot of people are really struggling.

I don’t know what it is but I’m ready to stop second guessing it and start trying to process it. In a private friends Facebook group we sometime ask for a mental health check in. A place to sound off, judgement free, letting it all out. I described being really shocked that I am okay. But also that some nights I can’t fall asleep and lie away wondering when the crash is going to happen. What trigger is going to set it off? What random chemical imbalance is going to suddenly trick me into believing that sleeping all day is the only way to stay alive. I haven’t even TAKEN A NAP in months, let alone a depression nap.

I know how lucky I am right now. I had a long conversation with a friend the other day that is not okay. I was able to listen to her and tell her that I know where she is and that I understand how she feels. And I told her that I know there is nothing I can do to fix it, but I promise you, I understand and you are not alone.

If you are there, if your brain is missing the chemicals you need, please know that I am safe harbor. I GET it. I KNOW where you are. I can’t fix you, I know better than to try, but I can HEAR you. Shit still really sucks right now and I don’t know when it’s going to get better and I also know that even when everything is going perfectly in your life, you can still be There. In that shitty dark place where your brain tells you lies.

I hope you’re all okay. Wear your masks. Wash your hands. Stay the fuck away from people that don’t live with you. And take care of yourself and your mental health in the best ways that work for you.