I Celebrate Little Victories

When people think of Washington State, they think of mountains, evergreen trees, and rain. While all of these things are true, Washington has a dark side. We are the state with the highest rates of suicide and depression. Rates of diagnosis for depression are on the rise, here, too. Most of these come from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, which is another name for Seasonal Depression, and describes a time every year that depression arises.

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I love living in Washington State. It’s full of color and beauty in ways you’ll never see in other states. We have desert, rainforest, plains, mountains, and pretty much every biome of which you can think. Last summer, I had breakfast by a river; lunch by a glacier lake; and a sunset dinner on the beach with my toes in the sand. It’s an amazing places to live, but can be trying.

My family is riddled with Clinical Depression, also known as Major Depression. It’s different from Seasonal Depression because it is constant and, while we have good days, it isn’t something that goes away for the majority of the year.¬†Winter and fall do make clinical depression worse for us, though, so there are elements of SAD in that I can handle it most of the year. Then the sun goes away. That’s the biggest issue is that the sun goes away, so I try to take vitamin D3 and eat better (besides the holidays), but it still happens.

There are days where I can function perfectly, but all I can think about is hanging myself. Don’t freak, don’t panic. I don’t need sympathy, I’m just trying to put what I’m trying to say in perspective. I want you to know where my mind is.

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The days when I can function perfectly normally an still think about suicide on repeat are considered good days. Bad days are very bad. Bad days may mean I don’t feed myself because a small part of my mind hopes I’ll just starve. It may mean I won’t talk to anybody for weeks, if I can. My anxiety makes it worse, too, by causing me to throw up when I’m stressed so I wake up to a really bad day and I begin to lose weight.

So I have Little Victories. Small things I can do each day to make myself feel less like a failure. Posting here can be a little victory sometimes. Sometimes they’re even smaller, like getting out of bed, doing my makeup, taking a damn shower. Now, I don’t text my mom each time like, “MAMA I AATE TODAY!”. No. But it helps ME get up and actually accomplish the shit I need to get out and do.

I hope that makes sense. Little, personal victories to keep you going are very healthy if you have a mental illness. As somebody with Depression, anxiety, and PTSD, my victories are sometimes very small. I’m not trying to whine or get attention or anything, I just want somebody, anybody, to feel a little better and that they’re not alone.

I hope you all keep yourself well this upcoming rainy season.

HS!

LH

 

I’m Depressed

Don’t worry, it’s okay, I’m not here for sympathy. I want to, instead, just talk about it and maybe make depression seem a little less scary.

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Me looking dope as shit paying RockBand

There are many reasons I could point to as to why I’m depressed, but the biggest one is biology and chemistry. My Dad suffers from depression and so does my grandma on my mom’s side. Actually, a lot of people on my mom’s side have a lot of issues. Basically, this was the way I was made and I have to live with it, which is exactly what I do. I live. I don’t mean this in the basic sense of the word such as simply breathing and eating, but I do what I enjoy and try to see life as positive– something I’m really bad at when I’m not medicated.

Oh yeah, I totally need medication. This is also, by the way, okay, because it means that you are taking the steps needed in order to focus your energy on more productive projects such as making art, furthering your career, spending more time with your family, or whatever it is you enjoy doing. If I don’t have it, I think about awful things like crashing my car into a tree on the freeway. I don’t really want to, but I think about it.

I also have anxiety. This manifests itself in the super fun way of making me sick. I finally figured out a morning/night regiment off medication that allows me to avoid getting sick usually, but it does still happen if I’m really stressed out. Basically, I wake up and just vomit for about ten minutes. It got to be so normal that I scheduled it into my routine.

Another way the anxiety and depression affects my life is through insomnia. I sometimes only get three to five hours of sleep each night, feeling exhausted all through the day, before finally waking up at night and not being able to fall asleep until three in the morning. In order to help myself fall asleep, I eat a bowl of oatmeal, have a small drink, and watch some Bob Ross. It may sound hokey, but it works for me.

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Crazy Hair Day in… 5th grade?

If I do end up being able to fall asleep, I may end up waking up in the middle of the night due to night terrors from PTSD. Here’s the basic rundown of that: My mom and dad met and got pregnant with me so they got married, had me, and divorced. Dad had many girlfriends but never remarried. Mom didn’t either but she only had one really longterm partner. Let’s call him Greg. Greg is the father of my little brother and little sister, both half siblings, and I love them so much it hurts. Well, he mentally, physically, and emotionally abused me for 17 years. After my Dad moved back to Washington from Wyoming, Mom left Greg (not because of this, just a happy accident). My Mom and Dad, after a long few years of drama with Greg, including Greg causing my Dad to get fired, my parents got remarried. It sounds great, but it’s been strange and we are all still learning.

All in all, my life hasn’t been easy, but damn it could make a movie. I’m not sad about anything that happened in my life, nor would I change anything, and I think that may be one of the reasons I’m a Satanist. I use my hardships to create strength and knowledge. I want to change the world because of what I went through. Mental Health is really important to me because I’ve been unable to access it before and life was really hard to get through. But I did it.

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My first MySpace profile picture vs Now

But look at me now! I’m a teacher and a professional lighting designer who just turned 24 years old. I am living with the love of my life and have two cats who are as dear to me as children. I have crazy hair! I have a loving family and a bed to sleep in and food to eat, should I ever get off the couch today.

I wouldn’t change a thing about my past, or anything about me, because I like who I am now, and that’s all that matters.

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Always remember…

HS!

LH

PS. I’m always here when you need me.