Awkward things I’ll definitely do at my support group

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As a young millennial who’s tried several different ways to find help for their anxiety/depression/suicidal tendencies, and has yet to find an effective and affordable solution, finding a support group has both induced relief and anxiety, because there’s not much else beyond this. This has to be it.

But what’s the worst that could happen? Instead of thinking of ways I could get in my own way in this respect, I’m mostly just worried about making a fool of myself.

I’m going to smile uncomfortably while speaking.giphy

I’m going to cry during someone else’s share and try to hide it.giphy (1)

I’m going to want to hug a stranger, but will ask first.giphy (2)

Can I bring doughnuts? Not just for myself, but for everyone.

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I’m going to fight feeling terrible about my pathetic story after hearing someone’s really powerful one.

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I’m going to be self-conscious talking about suicide with my husband in the room.giphy (4)

I’m going to want to flake out and not attend one, or multiple nights, but I’ll go anyway.giphy (5)

It’s going to be aggravating, embarrassing and painful, but no matter how much awkward or how much derp I am, it has to work.

More reactions to everyday sexism

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I just returned from an interview as part of my job as a reporter, to which I’d decided to walk, because it was only a 10-minute walk and it’s spring. But of course, I experienced what I was raised to expect and tolerate; assholes.

In a short 10-minute walk, I experienced an entire list of things that are way too common for anyone to have asked for it.

1.When you feel like you HAVE to say hi to a guy when they say hi to you, even when they definitely aren’t making eye contact.

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2. When you can feel your skin crawl while some old guy who probably has children stares at you.

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3. When you start to question your definitely-not-come-hither outfit just because some pervert hooted at you.

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4. When you Google Maps directions to walk somewhere, and rethink going because the directions take you off heavily-trafficked streets.

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5. When you make the conscious decision not to make eye contact with anyone, because that may be too inviting.

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6. When you’re walking down the street alone, in broad daylight, but still feel the need to walk  closer to another person so you aren’t singled out… again.

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7. When you’re relieved to see other women.

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8. When you have to clench your fist not to flip a cat caller off because you’re alone, and he’s a man.

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9. When you realize part of the reason you loved this haircut was because you thought it wouldn’t attract pigs, and you were wrong.

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10. When you realize the moment you get back to work/home/a familiar place that you were clenching your teeth the entire time you were outside.

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6 amusing things about depression

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In honor of stopping my pills and feeling semi-normal for the first time in a while, here are the things I’ve just embraced about depression, and even find somewhat amusing.

When you know you’re only getting compliments because people don’t know how else to talk to you.

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When your mom says “your self esteem” in reference to your mental illness.

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When someone tries to talk to you while you’re working through an anxiety attack.

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“How are you doing?”

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When someone can relate to your brain.

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When you finally relax and your body handles it by twitching.

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Things you learn after you learn you have depression

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Like a lot of people, I have anxiety and depression, which is basically just a huge contradiction.

But being diagnosed and seeking help has allowed me to learn more about this condition and what it means for me.

It’s OK to tell yourself to smile, for non-sexist reasons. It really does help to lift your mood.giphy1

The meds are working, that’s why you feel like you don’t need them.giphy2

Working through an anxiety attack on your own is basically like winning a UFC championship. Going from zero to 60, and then slowly working your way back is exhausting, and gratifying to the point of earning that milkshake if it happens in a diner (hypothetically, of course).giphy3

Just because your spouse is frustrated, doesn’t mean they don’t care. It’s like when you try to make them feel better during a cold and nothing’s helping.giphy4

Mental illness makes your friends and family uncomfortable, and that’s not your problem.giphy5

It’s going to take a while to figure this out, and that’s fine.giphy6

I’d planned to die before turning 25

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Note: This post has graphic language about death and suicide and will be uncomfortable for certain readers.

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I think the simplest way to phrase it would be that I’d grown accustomed to treating my life as a carton of milk; doing what I wanted with it while it while I had it, knowing I would get rid of it at some point, because it wasn’t meant to last. I wasn’t wholly aware of the expiration date, but knew it would be sooner rather than later. I’d planned for it to be sooner rather than later.

I didn’t have a specific date picked out per se, but I didn’t plan to last much longer than 25 years. I’d toyed with the “magical” idea of joining the 27 club, but realized that was a crock, as I was a civilian who didn’t get out much, and the only person to acknowledge my induction into that sort of morbid club would be me. And that’s just awkward.

Sure, plenty of people hit a certain age that induces panic and a realization that some day they’ll die. But I’m talking about getting to a certain age after beginning medication and realizing I’m not going to (allow myself to) die anytime soon.

Now I’m dealing with a can of beans. My life is a can of beans, and I’m learning to think of it as such. That stuff doesn’t have any real expiration date. That’s the stuff you donate at food drives, because it’s been in your cupboard since ‘Nam.

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Somehow or another, my coworkers and I recently talked about our views and approach to dealing with death. Well, they did most of the talking. I just listened, because, as they were talking about any sort of fear of their own deaths or the death of loved ones, I could only relate to fearing someone else dying. I could only think of being an 11-year-old in the passenger seat of my mom’s car, and hoping we’d get in an accident that would kill me, not her.

On my medicine, this is a total bummer to talk about, and I realize now how much that line of thinking isn’t healthy or fair. And I’m so incredibly lucky to have a privileged life stacked with people who love and care for me, and who’ve stayed with me all this time.

So now, I’m trying to figure out how I feel about death, and trying to appreciate that, on the threshold of turning 25, the fact that I haven’t offed myself is something to celebrate, and not be surprised about.

I just don’t know how to thank the people who saw past my crazy and realized that, while that mentality is a huge part of my life, it’s not me. Those people helped me help myself, and told me it would be OK. And that means more than they’ll ever know.

If someone you know mentions wanting to harm themselves, don’t ignore it. Don’t judge them or shrug it off. Talk to them about it, and help them. They’re not just telling you for attention, they’re asking for help.

 

Actually, we don’t have to have children

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“We don’t have to have children.”

My husband told me this after we’d had an argument recently. I can’t remember what brought it up, but I remember feeling a huge relief that I’d never felt before. It may have mostly been because the argument was over, and we were walking back through what went wrong and how we can avoid it in the future and apologizing to each other.

But I’m almost positive that a lot of the relief came from that single sentence – and I’d never really considered that there was tension or expectation from either one of us when it came to procreating.

Of course we’d talked about having kids – how many we wanted, how we’d discipline them, how we’d talk about the tough things like death and sex – but we’d never talked about not having kids. At least not really. Not seriously.

To a certain extent, I think there was a subconscious pang of guilt to even consider not having children when so many people wanted to experience it, but for many reasons couldn’t. So, if we were capable of making humans, why shouldn’t we? It’s like there’s this unspoken contract among able-bodied couples to raise children, personal preferences or beliefs be damned, because there are a million people out there who would kill to have your ovaries.

Trust me, if I could do an ovary transplant with someone who knows without a doubt that they want to use mine to responsibly birth and raise children, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Really. No one should be denied that if they’re fully capable and not an idiot.

My face crumpled and I looked at my husband. He wants children. He’s an amazing man who would make the best father. And here he was, honestly willing to not do any of that. Because he knows that a couple can’t be the parents a child deserves if one person isn’t all in.

So why shouldn’t I want to be a parent? My partner is supportive and we’re an amazing team. We’re both healthy and of sound mind. We don’t have much money, but tons of people with next to nothing to their name make it work.

1. I’m 24 years old. To me, that’s young. That’s really young. I can’t even rent a car. I’ve spent more of my life racking up other people’s bills than paying my own. What do I know about teaching someone to be an adult when I’m still learning what that means? And while all I need to do is look at my parents or scroll through my Facebook feed to see people younger than me doing a fantastic job at parenting, I’m not them.

2. Depression is hereditary. This, along with the fact that I’d have to stop taking depression and anxiety meds while trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy, is the toughest part. How can I possibly be the best parent my child deserves if I can’t keep my mood in check or muster enough energy to play with them or teach them something after a tough day? It would be so selfish to have a child and then not be able to take care of either of us. It would be selfish to saddle my partner with taking care of two depressed loved ones.

3. Journalism. All my fellow MMAJ majors are already like

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because journalism does not pay. And while all you need is love, you also need to be able to feed and clothe your child. Like, by law. The standards to which I hold myself in terms of being able to bring a child into this world include not living paycheck to paycheck, being able to give my child their own bedroom and being able to feed them more than the 4 for $4 at Wendy’s. None of those are feasible at this moment, and there’s really no relief in sight. No, money absolutely is not everything. But it is the key to a functioning toilet and electricity.

4. Because of all this, it doesn’t really matter if I want children. All logic and responsible common sense says that it’s not in the cards right now, and may never be. Wanting children shouldn’t automatically lead to having them and hoping it all works out. I want to be able to give my children everything those who can’t physically have children could give them in every other sense. So if I can’t give them those things, why should I be a parent? Also, by that logic, surrogacy is totes on the table. So there’s that.

It hurts having to consider that, no matter what we may want, we shouldn’t have kids. But I think, in a roundabout, really messed up way, that’s our way of being good parents – by not being them.

10 times I realized I’m Dee Reynolds

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1. When I start to think about planning a honeymoon.

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2. The morning after I test my new wine glass that claims to be able to hold a bottle of wine… and it wasn’t lying.

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3. That time I ordered a Quarter Pounder with cheese, and they forgot the cheese.

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4. Every time Beyonce comes on.

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5. When I get paid and automatically have to pay my loans.

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6. When someone reminds me of my soft voice/quiet tendencies.

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7. “When are you going to have kids?”

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8. When my husband tries to talk to me before I’m ready to wake up.

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9. When my friends and I go to Target.

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10. When I try to drink like I used to in college.

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