Friday, January 27, 2012

Honest O'Clock on Friday

My pal Mike has this concept that he introduced me to several years ago.  He says that at every party, after all the initial fun is starting to wear off, when the levels of drunkenness are starting to run high, when people are starting to get to that moment where they are at their most raw, it becomes Honest O'Clock.

It's the time when you are likely to tell your friends about something you adore or despise about them.  It's when real, often ugly, truths come out.  It is wise for most party guests to start leaving after Honest O'Clock.

So it's been a little while since I wrote a blog post, and it feels like it's Honest O'Clock here, dear readers.  I want to blog.  I want to blog more.  I want to write, and it's just not coming out right now.  In fact, a lot of things that I want to do right now aren't getting done.

I'm stressed.  I'm depressed.  I'm pretty serious about finding myself a therapist, probably in the next week.

Writing is one of my favorite hobbies.  It's something I still hope I can translate into a new career one day.  Right now, I can barely do any of it.  I'll be honest and say recently, it's been tough trying to be my own fan, trying to support what still makes me happy, trying to remember that (hey, Clairol), I'm worth it.  You know what?  People seem to think that all poets are depressed, and that's why their poetry is good.  When this poet is depressed, she writes no poetry.  That's even sadder than depression itself!

I want to dance and do arts & crafts and enjoy life again.  Every day.  Believe me, I am still hanging in there, I am still doing okay.  I went to an excellent concert last weekend.  I've got two events tonight I'm looking forward to.  I am excited for the CWD Focus on Technology in a few weeks.  I just want there to be fewer days in between the fun stuff where I don't feel like leaving my house.  I want there to be more days where I feel like I'm not floating through my workday, having difficulty remembering what to work on. 

I've talked about my depression here before, briefly.  Honestly, if you read that post, this may all sound like nothing new, except I am less than a month away from turning 30.  I have some help already in the form of medication, but I am at the point where whatever is troubling me is more than an imbalance of brain chemicals. 

I want to start feeling better so I can get this blog back into shape.  So I can get my career back into shape.  So I can write some damn poetry.  So I can be 100% me again.  I'm pretty sure depression is 100% cureable, just like diabetes. (See what I did there?  With the joking?  OMG Google will surely put me under listings for depression cures now.)

It's just the feeling that something is very wrong.  It's time to make it right. 

Do you struggle with mental health?  Got any tips for finding a therapist?  Let's talk and share.  There's no shame to be had here.  Let's get honest, because really?  When you look back on the party, you should remember the fun stuff.  Honest O'Clock is over for now.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Greetings from Virustown

Oh my gosh, you guys.

I am sick.

I have been sick since last Thursday, when all of this was just a baby sore throat.

It went on to develop into a post-nasal-drippy, sniffly, coughy, are-my-tonsils-swelling? kind of horrible week. 

Other co-workers have been sick too, but they all seem to be bouncing back a lot more quickly.  Clearly nobody else has what I've got, which seems to be the HellVirus. 

Waking up three different times this week in the middle of the night to cry because my throat hurt so badly that the pain radiated into my teeth and my ears?  Oh yeah, I've been there. 

Having a non-stop sticky mouth so that I'm not sure whether my blood sugar is normal or skyrocketing?  Yep, I'm there. 

Going to the doctor again today just to make sure I don't have ebola or mad cow or something?  Guilty as charged.

Photo from
Anybody else out there suffering the woes of winter illness this week?  Anybody else ill-advisedly checking symptoms on WebMD and thinking they have either a hidden dental abscess or mono or the bird flu?  

I have popped so many Advil that I am pretty sure next week I will be popping Pepcid to fix my stomach.  It's happened before.  I'm picturing my immune system playing Dr. Mario on the hard levels.  It's that kind of a day.  Let's hope all the pill colors get matched correctly. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012: I Have New Resolve

In my free time, I like playing around with art supplies and crafts.  This is a fact I forget far too often.  Last summer, a friend of mine led a watercolor workshop, and it was so relaxing, liberating in some small way to let that paintbrush draw wavy lines, leaves, a wash of color in the background.

Writing is the art I am most passionate about, the one where I will scrutinize every punctuation mark and word choice.  I might not let you see a poem if it's not finished.  If you look over my shoulder while I doodle, I may be distracted, but I'm never really ashamed.  I'm just having fun, so if the outcome is good, that's great.  If it's not, great.  I can always start over with a fresh sheet of paper. 

2011 was a year of ups and downs with a relatively negative undercurrent.  This is a fact I almost missed until a couple of weeks ago when I started reflecting on my year.  Too often, I kept coming back to things I should have done.  There were too many moments in my mind of, "Why didn't I...?" and "I really wish I had..." and "There was no reason for [xyz thing] to happen/not happen except for me."  While standing on the precipice of thirty, twenty-nine looked so daunting.  Sure, I may have climbed a mountain, but standing near the top doesn't feel so great when all you can see are the jagged rocks below. 

Over the holidays, there was a moment of clarity.  Sitting in my mother-in-law's dining room, I was drawing with a new set of Prismacolor markers I'd received, just making patterns, figuring out what colors were in my set.  Her husband's granddaughter (my...step-niece?  Is that a thing?) plopped down next to me with a pen, a notebook and a bag of crayons.

"Whatcha drawin'?" she asked me.

"I'm not really sure yet," I replied.  "It's been a long time since I drew anything."

"Draw a dog!" she suggested.

"Well, I'll give it a try," I told her.  "I don't think I've ever drawn a dog before."  I squinted at the paper and frowned and sighed.  I took a deep breath, thinking This isn't going to be that great.  This kid is probably expecting some professionally-drawn cartoon character.  I'm just not that good.

I slowly made a cartoony head with some Snoopy-ish ears.  I drew some eyes, a nose, started drawing some spots and a tail.  The feet were kind of a mess, but they were clearly paws.

"That's really good!" she said. "My mom draws a dog and it looks funny."

And it hit me a few days later.  Every time I'm down on myself, every time I think that something in 2011 was a terrible loss, something I did will never be good enough, something I write will never get recognized, anything like that, what I need to do is look at it through new eyes.  Yeah, a lot of bad stuff happened last year.  But there was a lot of good.  And so much of the bad can be changed by just working on myself or by having a little confidence in my abilities.

Much like making art for fun, I will always be my own worst critic.  In 2012, I hope that I can remember to strive for something beyond myself.  Less negative self-talk this year.  Maybe a little bit more of tooting my own horn.  Just a bit.