A Love Letter to all the Fierce Women in my Life

“She held a mirror so her friend could see the funny, smart, kind, courageous, and loving woman she truly was. And her friend did the same for her.”

“I believe that the circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we’re weak and sing with us when we’re strong. Let’s lean back and let the arms of women’s friendships carry us and help us to know ourselves better, and live our lives together.”

One of the things I am most thankful for in my life is the group of strong, hardworking, totally badass women that I am surrounded by on the daily. The way that they lift me up and love me. The way that they support me. The way they help me to see myself through their eyes and not through my broken ones.

In the last couple of years I have met some of the most amazing and supportive women. Women who have wiped away years of emotional scars and deep down distrust and hurt feelings associated with women from my past. Women who have helped to carry me through the hardest time in my life just by being here and loving me. Women who have held me and wiped away my tears. Women who have told me it is okay to not be okay. Women who have taught me I am enough. Women who have helped me pick up the pieces of my shattered heart. Women who have strengthened and empowered me. Women who have loved me exactly as I am. Women who are family to me.

I am so glad that I met these women. I am so glad they have showed me how truly strong and beautiful women friendships can be. I am so glad that they shattered the bullshit narrative that I was taught and bought into; that women are bitchy, and catty, and jealous and will do nothing but tear you down. I am so glad that they have helped me heal.

Let’s all be the strong beautiful women that lift each other up. The kind of women that help each other to see the beauty and strength and wonder in each other. The kind of women that listen and hear and understand and love. The kind of women that take care of each other when everything just feels too hard. The kind of women that I am lucky enough to have in my life every single day.

We all need these kinds of women. They make the world a better and more beautiful place. The kind of place that I wouldn’t mind sticking around to enjoy for a little longer.

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”

Happy Birthday (Seriously what is the deal with special occasions?) to Me.

Today I am exhausted. The kind of exhausted that can only come after a couple of days of pretty high level anxiety. Tired in my bones and unable to focus on anything exhaustion. Ready to curl up under the covers and try to hide from all of my problems exhaustion.  “There’s no way I can physically make it through the next 5 minutes; half hour; hour; day” exhaustion. Tired in my soul exhaustion.

Anxiety really takes it out of you in a way that is difficult to explain. When your brain is going full speed like crazy for a extended period of time reminding you of all the ways you are a failing, stupid, awful, undeserving human it takes a toll. When your mind races about all the things that are about to go wrong and tells you there is nothing you can possibly do to stop it. When you can’t stop fidgeting, moving, tapping, feeling completely wound up for hours at a time. When your whole body is wound so tight you don’t even realize it but you are clenching almost every single muscle because you are physically unable to relax from the sheer stress. When you haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in days because you are laying up feeling worried, guilty, awful, replaying things in your head and thinking about how you should have done so much better. The pure undiluted fear and worry. Being so utterly overwhelmed that you can do nothing but go sit in the bathroom at work for 15 minutes just to be alone and try to not break apart into a million pieces. Feeling all of these things all together along with worrying to the point of physical illness drains you.

The worst part of anxiety for me is that it is always caused by uncertainty. Things I cannot control or change. So there is no way to really “fix” it. The only thing I can do is manage my expectations and work on the way I respond and react to these triggers. Right now the only thing I want to do is lie in bed with the covers over my head and hide from my problems. Not the best solution but it is where I am in this moment. It will get better.

Most of the time anxiety leads to depression for me. It drains me both mentally and physically and all of my defense mechanisms fall to the wayside. I stop self care. Depression is a bigger problem for me so I have to try to stop the spiral before it gets out of control. That is what I am working on right now. In this moment. I have a checklist. My “needs” that I have to make sure I am meeting. Ways to slow the spiral. Am I eating right? Nope, just ate a slice of leftover birthday cake for dinner. Am I getting exercise? Yes, I ran tonight and have yoga tomorrow. Am I talking to someone? I guess this blog post can count. Sleep? Not so much, maybe tonight will be better. Alone time? Everything has just been too busy lately.

It is not going well. But I know what is lacking and I can work on it. I have the tools that I have gained from therapy. Plus experience has taught me that it WILL get better. I have hope.

I guess the point is that you can have a really long string of good days and sort of forget how bad it can get and then anxiety starts knocking on your door like “Hey girl hey, remember me? Oh my gosh can you believe how much you fucked up that thing today? Also that thing you said to that person? They totally know you are whackadoo cray. Hey let’s stay up all night and think about that. I bet tomorrow is going to be even worse.”

Lots of good days doesn’t mean you won’t still have bad days. Days with migraines and anxiety attacks and crying in the bathroom at work (I really thought those days were over).  But you can learn how to deal with those bad days and bounce back a little faster. You know that the bad days won’t last and you don’t let them consume you. You don’t let them take over and cause you to think this thing called life might not be worth trying anymore. You remember that IT GETS BETTER. And you can work and wait and hope. Because you know it’s worth it.

I’m going to wake up tomorrow and keep working. I am not going to spiral.  I am going to remember the good days and know they are just around the corner. I’m going to keep hoping. Because I am worth it.

Thank for reading this. And thanks for being here on this journey with me ❤

Find Your Tribe

Today at work 2  friends of mine brought me a gift. Swear word socks from Blue Q (my favorite thing) and a couple of other thoughtful things along with a hilarious card. It was a congratulations for graduating therapy gift. Last night my best friend took me to dinner and we talked about how awesome I am and ate delicious food to celebrate. I have had so many other people reach out with kind words of support. You guys this is what it is all about. Community.

I have struggled with deep bouts of depression before and it was so hard to get out of. The thing about this time was that even though it was the worst bout ever and I was the lowest I’ve ever been it seemed a little easier to get out. Not faster by any means, but a little less work. There was one big difference. This time I had people.  I had support. I was not alone.

This time I didn’t do it all on my own, hiding my struggle pretending I was okay while I was secretly dying inside. This time I put it all out there and that made all the difference. On the worst days I could share my struggles and find real love and support. I had people reach out and say, “I’ve done this before and I know how hard it is. You are strong. You can do this. We need you.” And even though it didn’t make it better it did make me feel less alone and that alone feeling is the one that usually pushes me over the edge. That alone feeling is the one that makes me lose hope.

Part of the power of depression is its ability to make you feel alone. To make you feel isolated. To get in our head and make us think that nobody would even care if we weren’t here. Sharing our struggles and finding a strong support system can take some of that power away.

There is nothing wrong with struggling. It happens to so many people. The thing that is bad is when we think there is something wrong with us because of it. When we think we are less than. When we think we are weak. When we believe we are failing because this doesn’t happen to everyone else. When we start to believe that little voice in our brain that tells us the world would be better without us. The support of others in our struggles can quiet that voice.

If you are struggling I encourage you to share it with someone. You don’t have to be crazy like me and spread it all over the interwebs for all to see. But find some people. Find a community of people that will love and support you without judgment. You will be surprised at how many people in your circle have struggled just like you. And you will be surprised at who steps up for you. There are so many people out there ready to support you and love you through this. Find your tribe guys. Because it is worth it. And so are you ❤

Let’s smash the shit out of this stigma.20180212_165807

The Magic of Meds

I went to pick up a refill of my meds today and I realized I have officially been medicated for 4 months. It made me spend a little while reflecting on what these last four months have been like and how the meds have affected my life in a positive way.

Just over 4 months ago I hit the most absolute rock bottom I have ever been in my whole life of dealing with depression. I have had a few crisis -like times in my life and I thought I had hit my lowest a few months previous but this time was different. I had no desire to live. I wished more than anything in the world that I was dead. I was sure that I was a burden to everyone around me, a drain on their energy, their lives, convinced they would be better without me. I was completely devoid of happiness and unable to find any joy, any color in life or the world around me. Everything felt so gray and cold. Hopeless. I was a completely hollowed out empty shell. I was ready to end it.

The day I went to the doctor to talk about meds they went through the regular questions to assess my mental health risk. My answers were terrifying as I heard them but what was even scarier was that I lied. If I had answered truthfully I would have been admitted to the emergency room that day. Had I been able to feel anything at that point I would have felt some pretty deep fear but instead I felt numb. I don’t know why I decided to try this one more thing, but I did, and for that I am glad.

I went home with my prescription. Along with the numbness and deep penetrating hopelessness I also felt like a failure. I couldn’t believe that it had come to this. But at the same time I had no energy left to try anything else so I decided this was it. Sort of a last ditch effort at life I guess.

I took my pills every day and slowly… so slowly… things started to change. My constant anxiety dulled. It didn’t go away but the meds took the edge off. And that was enough to give me just a little bit of energy to deal with life. My compulsion to control every single thing, in my life and all around me, dulled. I didn’t feel the constant need for perfection in every facet of my life. I was able to let shit go. Little tiny things at first but then bigger things. I started sleeping better, feeling rested. Slowly the colors started coming back to my life. The numbness faded and the feeling came back. I felt like I was waking up after a long, restless sleep. Things were not fixed by any means but they were just a little bit easier and that was enough.

This process with meds took months and I was lucky because the first one I tried worked well with no terrible side effects. There was other work that went into me feeling better but ultimately, I would not be here today for my husband and kids if I had not taken that step to talk to my doctor about meds. If I had not gone home and taken them every day. If I had not fought my broken brain. If I had not fought the negative stigma and feeling of failure that is so closely associated with mental health and medication.

There is no shame in medication for depression and anxiety. It is chemistry plain and simple. Your brain is unable to produce what it needs for you to feel happy or it is actively blocking the chemicals that make you happy. That is an oversimplification of course because we all know depression is not feeling unhappy. It is so much darker and scarier than that. But sometimes some brains need help. You take medication when your body is sick so why would you not take it when your brain is sick? Nobody deserves to feel the way that I felt. The way that so many other people feel. Nobody should ever feel so hopeless that the only way they can find to end the pain is to stop existing. We are so lucky to have access to these life-saving medications and we should not feel even one minute of hesitation in taking advantage of them to live a life of normalcy and maybe even occasional happiness.

So if you feel hopeless get some help. Talk to a friend. Talk to your doctor. Find a therapist. GET MEDICATED. The one thing you shouldn’t do is feel bad or guilty or like a failure. Not for one damn second. You are loved. Probably by many, even though you can’t see it. And we need you. This world, your friends, your family, me. We all need you. And you are worth it. I am so glad I was able to see that and make the decision to get help. And if me telling my story can help even one other person to get the help they need then it is worth it.

If you need to talk to someone right now please call 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to chat with someone. You are worth it.

Graduation Day

I had therapy yesterday. We talked about a lot of things. The latest self-help book I read and what I learned from that. The tough relationships I am dealing with. Feelings and progress and challenges.

The last couple of times I have gone my therapist has had to do less talking and we have done a lot more highlighting my progress. I have had less challenges and nothing that has felt like a crisis.

At the end of my appointment when we usually talk about setting up my next appointment my therapist asked if I felt like I really needed to set up a “next” appointment. We talked about how well I am doing with the tools I have gained. We talked about how proud she was of me and all the work I have put in to my recovery and the amazing success I have had. She told me that in her opinion I have accomplished most of the goals I set when I came to her and in her opinion I was ready to graduate.

Wow. I did not expect this to happen so soon. But when I evaluate how I am doing things now compared to months ago it is incredibly different. It is more healthy. I feel good. I am managing. And it is time.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still so much work to do. I have some big, big issues that I am not ready to move past and tackle yet and things will never be easy for me. Things that are easy for normal people like self care, self love, internal validation, not seeking outside approval, accepting compliments, over-responsibility, self-blame for everything in the entire world, control, and a million other things will always take 100 times more work for me than for other people. But I have the tools and I am doing the work. And it is a little less exhausting than it was in the beginning.

I am not recovered. I am not “better”. But I am better than I was. I am healthier. I am stronger. I am happier. And I am proud of myself. After a lifetime of never feeling “good enough” and a total inability to feel pride I feel it today. This is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life and something I thought was impossible. I feel so good about this. And optimistic for the future. And a tiny bit terrified that she thinks I can do this on my own now 😉

Mental health is a never ending journey and the process of recovery is multi-faceted and difficult. For me it has involved so many things I never thought I would do. I will continue with my meds, I will take care of myself, I will be prepared for setbacks, I will let my therapist know when I am ready to tackle the next big scary things, and I will openly share my struggles to help stop the stigma surrounding mental health. But for today I will revel in my progress and take a minute to be proud of myself because that is a feeling that I have not been able to feel before. And I have worked SO. DAMN. HARD for it. And it feels really fucking good. ❤

The Year the Music Died

Music. It has the power to make you smile or make you cry. It can transport you to another time conjuring memories of all sorts of things. It can immediately remind you of certain people or times in your life. Of happy days or sad days. Of trivial things and monumentally important moments in your life. It has power. And it has long been one of my favorite things in life.


Music can offer comfort when you feel pain. It can give you an outlet for pain or rage. It can be a mindless distraction. It can help you focus. It can do all of these things and more but mostly it can make you feel.


I was raised around music. A constant stream of different genres and artists and albums playing in the car and at home. We often played name that tune together as a family and I had a great and varied musical education and an appreciation for all types of music. It was woven into every memory I have. It was a thing I needed and loved in my life. It was important to me in so many ways.


I am constantly listening to music or just singing. I often make up my own songs or hum or whistle along to whatever task I am doing like a constant soundtrack to my life. I played 3 instruments in high school and belonged to the choir and participated in musicals. My dream was to move to New York and perform on Broadway. On my last birthday back in March my family bought me a drum kit because learning to drum has been a dream of mine for a long time. To say music is a part of my life is not giving it enough credit. Music is a part of me. It is woven into every fiber of my being. My life has never felt complete without it.


Until this year.


When my depression and anxiety started getting really bad I found myself turning off the music. I no longer listened to it at my desk at work. I didn’t listen to it at home. I even turned the radio off in the car. It all sounded like noise in my head. It annoyed me and made me at times angry. It made my anxiety worse. It made me jittery and unable to focus and I just felt deep down bad when it was on. Even in the background. I stopped singing. I stopped whistling. I stopped drumming.


My life became pretty silent.


I don’t know why this happened. If it was the memories? After all I am working through some pretty heavy shit from my growing-up years and maybe music is so interconnected with that time in my life that I can’t separate it. Or maybe it is just the way that depression takes all of the joy out of your life. I know how much I love music and it brings me happiness so maybe my brain was trying to take that away. Depression is a savage bitch sometimes. It doesn’t just make you feel “sad” but it  also takes away all of the coping mechanisms and things in your life that bring you joy and make you feel good. It leaves you empty. It turns out the music and leaves everything silent.


There are so many things that used to bring me joy that depression has ruined in the last year. Running, exercise, outdoors, nature, time with my family, just the beauty of the world around me. It has dulled my light and muted the colors and turned down the volume of the song in my heart. It is one of the worst things about depression. You can no longer do the things that bring you happiness. And you spiral down into the dark with nothing to lift you up out of it.


Lately, though, the volume has started to turn up again. Little by little I am turning the radio on. At first it was in the car. Then sometimes around the house and even occasionally at work. Little baby steps. Just like all of the other little things that used to make my heart sing. The other day I even caught myself whistling as I walked down the hallway at work. It actually startled me at first but then brought a smile to my face.


Depression is tough. It is dark and cold and scary as hell. But when you start to come out of it is a beautiful feeling. Like spring in Minnesota. It starts so slowly it is almost imperceptible. A little tiny thaw. Then a little more and a little more until things start greening up and you notice the sun has been shining for awhile now. I have felt the first trickle of that thaw and noticed a little more sunshine. I hope it keeps shining. Because I sure as hell missed it.


If you are struggling keep holding on. Spring is coming. Maybe not soon but eventually. So keep doing the hard work. It is worth it. You are worth it. And we need you ❤

Do (Some of) the Things!

The other day I got home from work and I did a little knitting, watched a TV show, prepared breakfast for the next morning and got the coffee ready to brew in the morning. It doesn’t sound like much but I did all of this without even thinking about it. I didn’t have to pep talk myself or force myself. I didn’t feel an overwhelming sense of guilt that made me do it. I just did it because these are things that I needed to do or wanted to do. I haven’t felt this way in so long I can’t even remember.


The last few months or maybe even year I have been so deep in the trenches of depression that I have had no energy or will to do anything but just survive. I wake up in the morning and the only thing I have in my mind is to make it to the end of the day so I can go back to bed and I mostly just have the goal of surviving this one day. I can’t even consider the next day. I have no other concrete goal and I enjoy almost nothing. But beyond that I have no desire to do anything.  And so I have done almost nothing. I have pretty much checked out of daily life. There is a reason my kids call it crippling depression. I mean, who in the world can’t even find the motivation to turn on the TV while sitting on the couch and watch a show?


I wake up each day, go through the bare minimum motions of life, spend a lot of my time on the couch doing nothing, and go back to bed. I barely help with household chores, I don’t have any desire to do any activities and find no joy in anything. Every single action at work, at home, with my family has required a pep talk and an enormous inner guilt trip to motivate me. I have to make a conscious effort to do even the smallest most mundane thing. The amount of thinking that goes into each and every action is exhausting. And it is no way to live.


It is crazy how this “surviving” becomes a way of life. It happens over time and you hardly notice it but you sort of get used to it. You actually start to forget that this is not normal life. There is supposed to be joy or at least not total misery. Everything is not supposed to feel so hard.


But lately that is changing a little.  I am slowly getting over the feelings of dread associated with any activity that takes me out of the house or places me among other humans. I have even started making plans again. For the last few months all planning has fallen to my husband because I cannot even bring myself to think about later in the day let alone a future date. I cannot commit to doing something in the future when I don’t even know if I am going to make it to that future because everything just hurts so damn much.  It is a pretty great feeling to think I can commit to doing something a few days from now because I think maybe I might still be around. I think that might be the most primitive form of hope.


I have a long way to go but for now this tiny inkling of hope is enough. It reminds me of what life used to feel like before my brain started wanting to kill me. It reminds me that it hasn’t always been so bad and so damn hard because I was honestly starting to lose that memory.  That maybe, just maybe I will be “normal”-ish again. That is enough.


If you are in the deep, deep trenches of crippling depression remember that it gets better. I know right now you might not believe it and you probably can’t remember it but I hope that reading this can help you find a little hope. You can do hard things. After all you probably get out of bed most mornings and is there really anything harder than that? You can do it. And you should. Because trust me, you are worth it. And we need you ❤

Here Comes the Sun

You know that feeling you get when the weather has been bad for weeks and you haven’t seen the sun for so long and you are starting to feel downright despondent and then one morning you wake up and there it is… the sun… all big and bright and beautiful in the sky and everything feels so much better; happier; more hopeful? I had that feeling yesterday.

After weeks of just faking it. Of just trying to get through this day, then the next one. Of setting my sights on getting past the next impossible task and processing the next impossible emotion. Of day after day of hard work. Of basically just surviving. Of triage. I felt something different that I didn’t even recognize at first.

Yesterday for the first time in so long I could hardly remember I felt happy. Real honest to god happiness. I felt like a giant black cloud had lifted and the sun was streaming down on my face it felt so fucking good I don’t even have words for it. It felt warm and hopeful and new. In fact it felt so good that I actually made plans. My husband Dana and I had a night just the two of us and I made a plan for a date night. One that involved going out of the house and doing something. He didn’t even have to talk me into it. It was not guilt motivated. I came up with it on my own and suggested it and actually WANTED to do it. It felt crazy and foreign and awesome.

Aside from that I thought about the upcoming new year with hope. I thought of things I wanted to do. Goals. I haven’t set a goal aside from getting out of bed each morning and surviving the day in months. But I thought of a few things I wouldn’t mind actually accomplishing this year. It felt good.

For the first time in a long time there was no grief in my heart. I did not think about the losses I have suffered this year. I did not weep about the things that aren’t. I did not long for those that do not value me. I felt peace in the present. Hope for the future. I felt “enough.”

And when I talked to a friend at work about seeing her next year we both agreed that next year was going to be okay. Because you can’t have more than 2 years in a row that are total dumpster fires. Those odds are just too bad. And I believed it.

The holidays this year felt impossible. I didn’t know if I could make it through, but I did. I am finally on the other side of that shit show and I know I made it through. I can breathe. I can enjoy the view from the other side. And it’s not awful. It is actually, in this moment, beautiful.

I don’t know how long this feeling will last. Sometimes it is just a day and sometimes it is much longer. I guess people who struggle with depression never really know when those clouds will roll back in. But we do the best we can with the sunshine while it is here. We have to try to live in the present and not think about the future because we know that darkness will be back eventually. It always comes back. But it’s not here now and that is good. It’s enough. I hope that this time the sun stays around a little longer.

I hope. And that is a thing I haven’t done in a while.

Pillows of Peace

I spent a pretty big chunk of Saturday and Sunday crying. Not really the spirit of joy most people have during the holidays. The problem is that once the tears started on Saturday they just wouldn’t stop. Even when I was done ugly crying the tears continued streaming down my face for another 30 minutes as I went about doing dishes and making lunch. And they continued well into Sunday. Off and on, but often.

To be honest I felt relieved. I haven’t cried much since I started my meds back in October. I am an intensely emotional human. I am quick to cry at something as silly as a commercial but nothing has really brought tears lately. I was kind of worried the meds were numbing me a little but at the same time I don’t know if that is really a bad thing. After all, I have cried more tears in the last year than most people do in a lifetime and it felt kind of nice to have a break from them.

The tears were weird on Saturday though. We were watching TV and I started to cry and I just couldn’t stop. I don’t even know why. It was my sister’s birthday and normally that would be hard but I didn’t feel particularly sad about it. I didn’t feel any kind of catalyst or feeling at all. I actually felt pretty disconnected but the tears didn’t end. When you don’t know why you are even crying it makes it difficult to stop. So I just kept crying. For about an hour and a half. Then again later that night and the next day too. There was no warning when it would start, it just did. And once it started it seemed like I would never be able to stop.

In hindsight there are so many reasons for the tears. So many kinds of grief in my life right now that are especially present at this holiday time. I realize that now, but in the moment all I could feel was guilt. I felt like a disappointment. I have ruined this Christmas for everyone in my family. With my ever present sadness. With my tears and depression. With my inability to find joy in all the beauty and happiness around me. For my children and my husband who love this time of year. Who have given so much to me this year. Who must be so tired of this bullshit. I felt despondent. I felt low. I hated myself and I felt right back to where I was in October. Thinking that everyone else would be much better off without me.

I received a card on Saturday in the mail from my dear sweet friend Kathy. I didn’t read it right away because I know her cards are always full of beautiful, kind, compassionate words and they always make me cry and I was not in a spot to read it. So I glanced at it and set it aside. I continued crying my tears but later on Sunday I went back to it and it said this:

’The tears… they streamed down and I let them flow as freely as they would, making of them a pillow for my heart… and upon them it rested’ -St Augustine
Thinking of you Beth… praying for you. May your sweet and tender heart be given moments of rest during this season. Pillows of Peace to you my friend. I love you.”

I had never heard that quote before but it stopped me. That sentiment is so perfect. I was thinking today that I have gone through a lot in the last few weeks and I haven’t shed any tears. And oh did I need to. I have lost people I love deeply. I have struggled with darkness and hopelessness. I have spent a holiday away from my family for the first time ever. So much loss. Tears for me have always been cathartic. When I let go it is sometimes terrifying the intensity with which I feel but it brings with it a kind of peace. After all the tears and crying and feeling I am left feeling cleansed and also exhausted. The tears truly do make a pillow for my heart and I finally get some rest.

I haven’t been sleeping again. A common thing when my depression and anxiety get worse which leads to exhaustion and feeds my depression and anxiety even more. But after all the tears this weekend I finally had a decent night of sleep. I didn’t lay in bed and replay conversations in my mind. I didn’t imagine different outcomes to things that were already done and can’t be changed. I felt peace. And I had some rest. Not enough to catch up but a start and for today that felt like enough. It feels like a place to start recovering again.

I hope that I can remember my need for tears. My need for this beautiful cleansing ritual. That I can get past my shame and guilt and remember how important the tears can be for healing. For moving on. I hope that I can teach my children all of these things so they will never feel that familiar to me guilt and shame. Tears are holy and important. Just like your feelings. And there is nothing wrong with either of those things. So feel deeply. Cry often if you need to. And may you find peace for your hurting heart if you need it right now. It is okay to not be okay friends. Pillows of peace to you in your struggles ❤

The Most Horrible Time of the Year

This time of year is the perfect storm for a mental health setback and I am struggling right now. The holidays are historically a terrible time for me to begin with due to grief issues and this year I have had a few additional setbacks to add to it. Some more grief to add to the pile.

My sister died many years ago after a short battle with cancer. She was 16. We were very close. You never get over that kind of grief and it haunts you at the holidays especially. It is so tough to be missing a little piece of your heart at a time of year when everyone is so happy. It doesn’t help that her birthday is December 23rd. An extra layer of grief added to the equation. The holidays were her favorite time and I am reminded of her daily by any number of things. The memories are happy but make me long for her nonetheless. Everything is tinged with “I wish Melissa was here”. Happy times are sometimes made less than happy by that thought. Everything feels just a little darker and my heart always feels like it is missing a little something that it can never get back.

My childhood wasn’t awesome and I have a lot of very bad memories from growing up. Things I have been confronting and dealing with in therapy. The holidays are a time that you are bombarded with images of happy families. I am currently grieving a lot of the things I didn’t have at a time in my life when I needed it more than ever and this time of year is one big reminder of that pain and grief. Pretty much on the daily.

I have lost 2 of my closest most trusted friends recently which were a big part of my support system. They are friends that I still see often in my daily life but they are no longer here for me in the capacity they used to be and it has hurt me so much. I grieve the closeness and love that I used to have there and having to see them often makes things even harder because “what used to be” is right there in my face all the time. I’ve talked before about the way that I love fiercely and without limits and that adds to the hurt I experienced in both of these situations. I loved these 2 people so much that when the were able to just let go of what I considered 2 of my most important relationships it feels like a slap in the face, like they must not have ever cared for me in the same way I cared for them. It has left another little hole in my heart.

So I am left with layers of grief. I told my husband the other day that I just feel like I have lost so much this year. At the beginning of the year I was massively depressed and didn’t want to live but I had the closest friends I have ever had. A strong support system and a lot of love. A family, albeit not a healthy one. Losing so much of that in such a short amount of time has been an enormous hit to my heart and my self confidence. Christmas is already a time that I associate with loss and to add this on top of it all seems impossibly hard. December is a time of reflection and evaluation for so many and to me 2017 feels like one gigantic dumpster fire. I just need to get through the holidays and this shit storm of a year and try to find the energy on the other side to rebuild.

So then the guilt comes. Ever present in my life for so many reasons but brought on even more at this time of year. Seeing people happy and never feeling that way; wondering what is so wrong with me. Watching my kids light up and knowing I am just trying to “make it through”. Feeling like there is something so wrong with me for not feeling the joy that is everywhere this time of year. So much guilt.

I don’t have any words of wisdom for you if you are struggling my friends but I can tell you this: You are not alone. There are many of us just trying to just make it through. For many of us this is not “the most wonderful time of the year”. It is a slow hard uphill slog through trenches of shit. It is an uncontrolled garbage fire. And we are just trying to survive. Maybe that can make you feel a little less guilty. Or at least a little less alone. We will make it through like we have so many times before. And eventually it will feel a little less shitty. And if you need some help because it all feels a little too hard please try to find some. And if you can’t please call 1-800-273-8255. We need you. I need you. Love to you guys ❤