Sleep Walking

These past couple months almost feel like they never even happened. It’s like a dream. A recurring one. I remember it well enough, but it’s still fuzzy around the edges. I feel like I’ve been asleep since last June. Nothing I’ve done was really real or mattered, even though it did and it does.

I suppose that’s what depression is. Sleep walking through life. Sometimes you have nightmares. Sometimes you have beautiful golden dreams—only to realize that they were clouds on the wind. But mostly it’s just dark and grey. And you can never quite pinpoint where you got there or just how long you’ve been there.

Waking up hurts so bad. It is a deep and painful ache that finds its way from your lungs to your fingertips. It is the worst part. But if you remember to stretch your atrophied limbs and walk off the numbness in your hips—you can find the vividity and veritude of waking life. It might not be the golden dream of a sleep walker, but it’s real and awake.

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An Open Letter to my Friends, Family, Colleagues and Peers

I am withdrawing from the semester.

For some of you this may come as a shock, others a disappointment, and a few may have seen this coming.

While I am very close to graduating this semester, (as many of you have been so obnoxiously reminding me) my grades have suffered because of my battle with depression and anxiety. It got to the point where not only did I not feel capable of salvaging my grades, but I no longer had the motivation to try.

That’s the thing with depression. Motivation and excitement and desire dry up. I lost 10 lbs in two weeks. The majority of my caloric intake was alcohol.  I got sicker and smaller, forgetting the people and things I used to love. This was my February.

I would like to say for the record, that even though this crisis was triggered by a break up, I was depressed long before I met that person. I do not blame him for my depression and anxiety. We crossed paths at a very fragile time. It could have been anyone and I would have shattered just as sharply. I wish him the best.

Making the choice to withdraw from the semester has been one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever made. It was not one that was made lightly. This is not me giving up on school—this is me recognizing that I am important. My mental health is more important than graduating on time. Sure, I could try and finish out the semester—but at what cost?

Before I made this choice I hoped that I would get hit by a car every day so that I would have a “legitimate” excuse to withdraw. After deciding to withdraw, I’m able to get out of bed. My anxiety is gone. I am no longer paralyzed because I have control over my future again. I have a feeling that my depression will never leave me completely, but it’s like a buzzing sound—one that I’m able to tune out after hearing it for so long. Now that I’m sitting here writing, the buzz has begun to fade into the distance.

Now, since I’ve started telling people that I’m withdrawing I’ve gotten some of the same questions over and over again so here’s a quick FAQ section:

Q: Are you sure????

A: Yes. I have discussed this decision with multiple counselors through UHS, two advisors and an academic dean. This is not a severe case of Senoritis.

Q: Are you dropping out?

A: No. I will be returning in the fall to finish my degree.

Q: Are you going back to LA for the summer until next fall?

A: No. I will be staying in Madison for the remainder of the semester and through the summer.

Q: What will you be doing instead of class?

A: I’m looking for a job in Madison. I’ll let you know when I get one. Other than that, I’ve been writing a lot (submitting to ThoughtCatalog.com), learning ukulele with my main girl Alana, and even learning a bit of code through Codeacademy.com.

Q: How can I support you?

A: 1) Please don’t question my choice to withdraw, trust my ability to make  decisions for myself. 2) Talk to me, if you feel comfortable doing so. Even if it’s just a text, lunch or catching up over coffee. Spending time with people I care about makes me feel much, much better. 3) If you’re uncomfortable with my decision, or think that you’ve got too much on your own plate to have me involved in your life, please take care of yourself. I won’t be offended.

Last but not least, I would like to ask that everyone remember that mental illnesses are legitimate ailments and that we treat them as such.

For my sisters, brothers, and otherwise identified siblings who are experiencing mental illness, remember that you are important. And that I believe in you.

 UHS Mental Health Crisis Line: 608-265-5600

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

-Hailey

How do you deal with the dirty secret of mental illness in a memoir?

Awesome article about disclosure. I think the advice in this piece extends beyond the limits of writing.

Live to Write - Write to Live

Mental illness, these days it runs rife in all of our lives, if not most of our families and for some of us, it might even be a way of life. While it may be charming to write about Aunt Dot’s confusing a hat stand for a man, or mom’s forgetting for the second time that day where she left her keys (that would be me) it’s not really fun to document a person’s slide into the deep dark pits of mental illness.

A twisted road  Photo credit: Marc Nozell A twisted road
Photo credit: Marc Nozell

Where days are spent under covers and when thoughts go to slicing through delicate wrist tissue.

Who wants to hear about that, right? Unless, of course, there is a message we can learn from it.

And yet, if, IF, there is a rise above that mental illness, we can often find ourselves with a new hero. Case in point, the…

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Beyond the Blog: Developing Your Online Presence as a Writer

The Daily Post

We recently highlighted ways that some of you integrate Tumblr into your online routine and use this platform to complement your work on WordPress.com, which is your online hub. Since the internet is a very big playground, let’s talk about other ways to develop your web presence and personal brand strategically, as well as use WordPress.com to promote your writing in a way that makes sense for you.

View original post 1,051 more words

Post-Break Up Facebook Etiquette for the Emotionally Impaired

facebook-break-up

We’ve all been there. Break-up tunes blasting from our Spotify (*cough*Alanis Morissette*cough*), empty boxes of tissues all around, best friends on speed dial and anti-love/relationship tumblr reblogs for miles.

You’re hurt, then you’re lonely, then…sometimes, you’re pissed. And in our wonderful world of social media there are so many passive aggressive ways to get back at our new found exes and to air out all the B.S. they put you through (because obviously you’re a saint and did absolutely nothing wrong to contribute to the split).

First—you have to be tactful about removing your relationship status from your timeline, because who really wants all those WHAT?!?!?!‘s or I’m so sorry!‘s flooding your pity party wall. Although, you’ll admit it would be nice to get a couple Finally you ditched that loser!‘s. But publicly posting your new relationship status on FB is much like dumping your beau very loudly and dramatically at a large party full of all your closest friends, family, acquaintances and everyone you’ve ever made eye contact with at a house party : It’s kind of embarrassing for all of us to watch. We’re not so much sorry for you as we are embarrassed that you shared your shitty relationship drama with us. So be smart friends! Change your ship status to private before making the good ol’ click from happier than a fuckin’ clam to lonely son of a Mumford.

The people who care about supporting you are not the people who would comment on that update. Need help? Call your best friend—they haven’t heard from you since the last time you changed your relationship status on FB. I’m sure they’d like to know that you’re still breathing.

Second—you’re allowed to post one or two sad/sentimental songs to your wall to “subtly” display your despair/anger/joy at severing all ties to the person you were closest to for a long dickin’ time. But no more than that. Okay? You can post She Fuckin’ Hates Me by Puddle Of Mudd or Grow  A Pear by Ke$ha but then you need to recall that no one on fb gives a shit that your world is falling apart. And if you’re ex hasn’t deleted you off facebook, you can be sure that they are aware of your mental state.

Or can you?

This brings me to NUMBER THREE—Do Not Post Pictures of You Together UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. You just broke up with them, now is not the time to reminisce about all the wonderful times you had together in a public forum. Because trust me, the last thing they wanna see scrolling down their feed is a picture of y’all out to dinner with their family. They’re probably sad/angry/lonely and seeing things that remind them of your relationship will only make things worse. And if you have a shred of decency or care for that person, you should probably refrain from rubbing salt in the wound.

And last, but definitely not least—Don’t post an article about break-up etiquette that is actually a thinly veiled, passive aggressive jab at your exes lack of empathy and courtesy on your blog that links to your facebook.

Or on second thought, scratch that last one.

Paradigm Shift

Hey all—

Recently I’ve had what I’m starting to call a ‘paradigm shift’ in my life.

Woke up Monday morning and saw my life through a completely different set of eyes, with an incredibly new perspective on my actions, relationships, daily choices and goals.

Part of that is I’ve realized that in these moments I have the most to say—so that’s why I’m coming back to my 30 day challenge, in the hopes of actually completing it.

Thanks for your patience, and you should be hearing from me soon.

-Hailey

I’m done hiding my emotions.

My day’s been a little long, with training at work and just generally getting back in the swing of concentrating on things that aren’t Netflix for multiple hours. But we did an activity called True Colors in which I found out that I, along with one other SOLer, was almost completely “blue.” According to this personality test I’m very likely to have the following traits:

Sensitive to the needs of others; Sincere; Expresses appreciation; Cooperative; Collaborative; Creative; Caring; People person; Engages others; Inclusive; Intuitive; Romantic; Loyal; Seeks harmony; Caretaker.

One of the “negative” traits that blue people have is emotional.

Now, this really fucking bugs me. Why is being emotional a weakness? I know how I feel about things, and I relate to others on a very deep level. I have emotional needs that I have to have met to feel adequately appreciated in relationships. And for a very, very long time I’ve been told to hide or try to change that fact. But after seeing that at least approximately 25% of other people are characterized as emotional that people should just start fucking dealing with it, and respecting my needs as a person.

No, I’m not going to hide it anymore when I’m hurt. I don’t care if my emotions make you uncomfortable, and I’m done apologizing for getting upset. You think you feel like you’re walking on eggshells around me? Try swallowing every single thing that hurts me so that you won’t think that I’m crazy and overly emotional. It boils and rots in my psyche because you don’t realize that these are things that genuinely hurt me, and then when I snap you’re fucking surprised.

I am done hiding this shit because I deserve people who are conscious of my emotions and who are genuinely concerned with my well being.

*drops the mic and walks away*