Happy Bookiversary

Today marks eight years since my dad died. Every since, this time of year is difficult. Something akin to Seasonal Affective Disorder but not. Is Death Anniversary Affective Disorder a thing? Maybe PDDSD/post-dad-dying stress disorder? I don't know. I just know that I don't sleep very well, develop a very blahsy case of the blahs, and really, REALLY don't feel like talking about it, at all, with anybody, thank you very much. But this year I DID sack up and talk about it to my therapist, and not just in a dismissive, hand-wavy "oh, I'll seriously feel fine by April 1, nothing to worry about" way, but in a solution-focused "I need March to not suck so hard every year forever" kind of way. She advised me to find a way to untangle the Bad and the Sad and the Everything Else from today, and instead mark the day with something linked to the good and happy memories. She asked me to name one. Books. I remember his books. Hundreds and hundred of books, lining the hallways, his study, the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the living room. My own bookcase, packed to overflowing, because he would never, ever say no to... Read more →


Get Her Done

Here's a thing I didn't know about depression recovery: Your to-do list is INSANE. (I suppose I should avoid using words like INSANE as a hyperbolic adjective as we all attempt to de-stigmatize mental health disorders, but that would mean I'd also have to avoid words like CRAZYPANTS or BONKERSVILLE or ZIPPITY HUMMINGBIRD BRAIN and I just don't think I can do that. I am just a girl, with GAD and a CAPS LOCK key, doing what she can.) Anyway. I've been busy. There's a lot of catching up to do and holes to fill and bridges to un-burn. You have to figure out how to prove yourself as an un-shit employee and friend, make a lot of appointments and phone calls that should've happened six months ago...or maybe just look at a piece of fuzz on the floor and think to yourself, "I am going to pick up that piece of fuzz on the floor today." And then you pick it up. And allow yourself a brief moment of pride over this perfectly mundane and tiny task, because congratulations! You're officially human-ing at a baseline level again. Tremble before me, o fearsome floor fuzz! Begone, both u and the... Read more →


i Not Robot

Now that we're up to five humans, three dogs and two cats (plus two hibernating patio toads and hopefully some patio babies), it seemed like a good time to add yet another new member to the household. This is bObi, which Ezra and Ike decided is a girl because "we need more girls for it to be fair around here." They enjoy chasing after her and feeding her various bits of trash. Noah simply calls it the Chore Robot (as in, "Chore Robot! Over here! I dropped the pencil sharpener again"), so between that and all the demands/verbal abuse our poor Alexa suffers, I am growing vaguely concerned about the patriarchal/anti-feminist future of our robot overlords. Maybe I should lend them my pussy hat. ANYWAY, you can probably imagine the pet hair situation around here, plus my children all constantly shed, but instead of hair it's just straight-up dirt. They bathe and shower nightly, we take our shoes off inside, and yet the path leading away from Backpack Mountain and Discarded Coat Canyon (aka our foyer) always looks like a goddamn dust bowl just blew through. And for the first time in a long time, it's something I 1) notice,... Read more →


Amalah Casts a Pod

In an attempt to understand the Kids Today, what with their YooToobs and SnapToks and all that jazz, I did a podcast! Do you "do" a podcast, though? I didn't record a podcast, because I just talked and other people recorded it, and it wasn't my podcast, it was my dear dear friend Amy S. Bridges' podcast, We Are Still Hungry. Amy is better known here on ye olde blob as the person responsible for That Time I Shared Fried Calamari With The Late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, back when my life was probably a lot more interesting and blob-worthy. Oh, and it was also Amy's friend Paula's podcast, who is now my friend because I spilled wine all over her kitchen table in an Essential Tremor-y fit and she didn't care at all, or at least was gracious enough to pretend she didn't. She also owns enviable kitchen towels and an adorable wee doggo. Anyway, we got very real about mental illness and suicidal ideations, and what it's like to live your life after attempting to end it. Also: feminism and boy children, because you know I can't go a full hour without being a radical liberal commie... Read more →


Depression Hair

I cut this off the back of my head yesterday. Depression doesn't have a lot of visible symptoms, but that right there is one of mine. Day after day of unwashed, uncombed hair, convinced that no one will notice if I just pull it up and cover my greasy, knotty tracks with a head band and messy bun and the tried-and-true aesthetic of "I AM WEARING WORKOUT CLOTHES SO THEREFORE I MUST HAVE COME FROM THE GYM, CAN YOU NOT FEEL MY BURN?" Between the amount of time I spend piling on the dry shampoo and extra hair spray, getting the shower and actually washing my goddamn hair would probably be a timesaver, but then I'd have to fully confront all my other self-care failures: the weight gain, the muscle loss, the unshaven...everything, my neglected skin and nails. And I'd have to argue with the mean little voice berating me for spending money on nice shampoo. I could shave my legs if I changed out the razor blade, I think, and the voice immediately tells me "you don't even deserve a new razor blade." And so another day, another ponytail. I went to brush my hair yesterday because -- oh... Read more →


Weekend Updates

UPDATE #1: I folded the laundry! All of the laundry! I guess I should've taken a photo to better communicate just how much laundry we were talking about, but it was too embarrassing. Even depressed people are entitled to some small slice of vanity, right? Anyway, it's all put away now, and I even tackled the spring/summer closet changeover to fall/winter. Then I took a nap. UPDATE #2: Speaking of the changing of the seasons, our patio toads have left us to hibernate for winter. I will miss them terribly and hope they'll be back next year. Maybe I'll register them as emotional support toads and let them loose on an airplane! UPDATE #3: Ike's IEP meeting...happened. Given the glacial pace of assessment testing (since the independent assessments we paid for didn't line up 100% with the district's standards, aaaaaaahhhhhhhdjvojfohfvoiwehfgpeh), Ike will be lucky to get formal supports and services in place by...Christmas. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhdjvojfohfvoiwehfgpeh times eleventy. So we are very, very relieved we jumped on the ONE OPEN SPOT his reading program offered us and didn't dick around any longer. He loves going, and while it's not an overnight fix or anything, I can already see some confidence creeping back... Read more →


Ladders & Chutes

The first sign of trouble was that I stopped washing my face. Some days I'd go to bed with my makeup on, and just...smear away the raccoon streaks with my fingers the next morning. I knew this wasn't great self-care, so just I stopped wearing makeup most days. But I still didn't wash my face. Other bad habits crept in after that. The laundry went unfolded. My hair went unwashed. Texts went unanswered. Work deadlines were stretched to the absolute limit, and I started working from bed again. I gained more weight, so I rarely changed out of my pajamas because I couldn't face my actual clothes. I was tired -- so, so unbelievably tired all the time, and I would regularly sleep through most of the afternoon. I told myself it was just fatigue from my antidepressant. That there was nothing wrong with wanting to work while nice and cozy and curled up with the cats. That I'd get to the laundry that afternoon, that night, that weekend. And then one night, it was there again. That flash of inevitability, a hopeless swirly thought of no other way out. So...it's been a rough few weeks. I was fine, and... Read more →


Then ; Now

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States. I no longer recognize that version of myself. The version from the hospital, from the bathroom floor, and from long before the bathroom floor. The version who was sloooooowly being crushed under the weight of her anxiety, the one who walked around with a pained, twisted smile pretending to enjoy a conversation or activity but who was more than likely too preoccupied with arguing with some corner of her brain hissing thoughts like run, panic, window, glass, goodbye. The version who wanted to stay home, to stay in bed. For whom Jason would cautiously lock up all the Tylenol and Advil before leaving her alone. That particular safeguard started happening just over a year ago; we didn't get there overnight. The descent is slow and sneaky. I blamed my work stress, household stress, the election, that fucking garbage-haired racist buffoon, my period. There was always something I could point at and blame for why I was feeling so unsettled and unbearably anxious. (The depression, on the other... Read more →


Better Now

Quick question. No, wait. Two questions. 1) WHYYYYYY DID I BUY THEM THIS 2) How long before the batteries die a malicious early death and I can claim that oh, sorry, those are SPECIAL batteries that we don't have and need to be special-ordered and delivered via yak from Malaysia, meanwhile, why don't you leave Simon with me and also, bring me a hammer. For reasons. Unrelated. Other than the beep-borping-insanity brought on by that damn thing, I'm doing pretty well. I still hit the occasional rough patch where either the depression or anxiety spike, but since I finally have the ability to know what life feels like WITHOUT those dueling bastards, I can actually stop and recognize that okay, time for some self-care or mindfulness or deep breathing or sunshine or whatever the fuck. It's been a really, really long time since I could even tell the difference. The kids are doing really well too -- they're all such funny, matter-of-fact sorts who are just like, okay, Mom was sick but now she's getting better. She takes medicine and goes to a lot of doctor's appointments to stay better and out of the hospital. Yay Mom! I'm hoping that... Read more →


On Hope & Helping

Someone I love very much called me over the weekend. It wasn't the first time they've called, but it was the first time I answered in years, due to their struggles with addiction and mental health issues. You just didn't know which version of this person you'd end up talking to. But they'd tried to call several times after finding out What Happened, and their voicemails and texts seemed to be coming from the good version. The kind and loving version, the version I desperately miss. So I answered. It was the other version. They were very, very drunk and immediately started talking about suicide. About a bottle of pills and balconies and being in possession of a gun. Maybe it was a super misguided attempt to empathize, but it only made me cry and beg them to stop stop stop. No no no. Jason grabbed the phone out of my hand and hung up, alarmed at my hysterics and well-versed in this particular person's abuse and manipulation. "Why did you even answer?" he asked as I sobbed. Because I thought they were better. I thought they deserved to hear from me that I was better. I thought we could... Read more →