3 Ways Social Media Makes My Depression Worse

Social Media addict

I am not trendy.

I know, when it comes to social media, a lot of millennials love to hate it. It’s cool to bash Facebook and take “breaks” or swear it off altogether. (Yeah right, Karen. See you back here posting in a week.)

I get into Snapchat and Instagram, too- I’m not completely unhip. But I’m not as cool as my younger friends and family who don’t even need a Facebook page, who may barely ever check my hilarious Snaps of my cat (their loss!), who post one perfect selfie #ootd Insta a week, with an inspirational quote here and there to mix it up.

I still use emojis when I should be using a little person that looks like me and makes the proper expressions, according to my 13 year old step-daughter. (An avatar, maybe? I just imagine myself all blue having weird hair sex…)

Social media suits me. I’ve moved to six different states. I’ve lived the actor’s life of having a “show family” you love with all your heart that you may never, ever see again. I travel for work. I also “network” for work (UGH).

Here is my point- I need to, and enjoy, keeping in touch with great people I meet all over. I LOVE knowing what my family in Indiana is up to and how everyone is without making thirty phone calls a day. I like getting updates on college acceptances, post-op progress, and finally getting to see when your baby goes from “gross alien you love anyway” to “cute!”  Continue reading

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Why Sharing Our Mental Health Stories is SO Important

I’m writing this blog from the side of the road. Seriously. I was listening to NPR, a piece about a shortage of psychologists. Turns out the baby boomers need mental health care just like they need regular health care, and the increased population means there aren’t enough psychiatrists and psychologists to go around at the moment.

Side note- if you’re looking into these fields, apparently you will find yourself quite employable!

I was sort of half listening when the guest said something that caught my ear. (Definitely half listening, or I would have some name or title more specific than “the guest” to share with you….) He mentioned how mental health discussions are so often buried under the rug, explaining that if you have a surgery, as an example, people bring flowers and you post updates on social media and everyone is very supportive.

If you have a panic attack, however, we don’t share or handle it the same way, and we don’t expect people to react with unbridled support, either.

This kills me, and goes back to a point I’ve reiterated so many times on the blog you may be sick of hearing it, but it is worth repeating:

We HAVE to share our mental health stories in order to slowly chip away at the stigma surrounding these issues.

After all, doesn’t someone suffering a severe bout of depression deserve just as much support as someone who broke their leg? Might it even go further with the person struggling with the point of life in general? Continue reading

Eating Disorders, Anxiety, and Facing Ourselves Honestly

I’m taking a class on Anxiety Disorders right now, and it’s absolutely fascinating. It’s an online class from Universal Class. If you like to learn, I highly recommend checking out that site. Some libraries offer free tuition to cardholders, as I know the LA library system does, and there are hundreds of classes on a variety of topics.

Tip of the day, I guess? 🙂

Anyway, I’ve noticed that “eating disorders” is actually listed as a form of anxiety, which I would have balked at before I started recovery, but it’s amazing how true it is! Whenever I’m in a high-pressure situation for a sustained amount of time, I either want to binge or starve, depending on where my mind is at that time. Thinking of it this way, as anxiety, minimizes the problem to me in a good way.

This might not speak to everyone, but for me, it’s helping.

If I can think of my eating disorder as being in the same category as my OCD or social anxiety, then it just feels like another little annoying thing that I can overcome. It feels like something I can take a few deep breaths through, something that will wane after a few days of yoga and good sleep.  Continue reading

Great Podcast: Finding Comedy in Tragedy and Mental Illness

Marc Maron

I had to take a second to share this amazing podcast I just finished! As someone who has navigated depression (even back when it was called MMD), anxiety, and an eating disorder most of my life, I consider myself pretty well educated on the subject, if only by necessity. One topic I’m just starting to learn more about is Borderline Personality Disorder, also known as BPD.

If you’ve never listened to the “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast, it’s worth checking out even if you don’t care about this stuff. He interviews a diverse group of incredibly interesting people, and I always find myself laughing and learning a lot. It’s the kind of podcast where you start to drive home more slowly just to be sure you have time to finish it, stopping at yellow lights, that kind of thing.

Continue reading

When You Feel You’re “Missing Out” on the Bigger Things

Being the age

I dropped out of college after about two and a half years. I say “about” because I sort of just stopped showing up somewhere during my fifth semester. I wasn’t being lazy or giving up- quite the contrary. I was working several jobs to make ends meet, so when I started booking paid acting and modeling work, I didn’t have time to fit in everything. I figured I didn’t need a theatre degree for my career as an actor if I was working as an actor, so I let the need to finish school go.

(Side note- I am not advocating the idea that one should take dropping out of school lightly. However, I also don’t think anyone should finish college and get up their eyeballs in debt if it doesn’t make sense for their lives. Another blog post for another day.)

Since I left school before most people I knew at the time who were pursuing the acting life, I suddenly had this feeling that I was a little bit “ahead.” Not as a person, or an actor, definitely not in experience or financially, but just as far as time was concerned. It was like I had two “free years”, where all acting credits and experience were “bonus”, where I could slack off or not, and it didn’t matter. Continue reading

Open Letter To My Husband, Who Lives With Both Me and My Depression

 

Dear S,

I should start by making two things clear. One- you are a wonderful, kind, supportive, loving man, and I hope to be married to you forever. I pinch myself when I think about how lucky I am to have found a husband like you. You set the bar very high in our relationship.

Two- I know you can’t possibly understand what it is to live with depression. I know that. You can learn about it, listen to me talk about it, read about it, study all you can. But you’ll never really know. You just can’t. You’ve come a long way when it comes to being sensitive and knowledgeable on the topic. (Remember when you used to say things like, “I understand, I felt depressed when I went through this or that”?) You simply can’t know because unless you experience it, you just won’t.

I could not be more thrilled about this, actually, because I wouldn’t wish these feelings on anyone, let alone the man I love most on this planet. My heart nearly bounces with joy knowing that you’ll never go through an episode like this. Yes, you will have times of pain, of grief, of heartache, of deep sadness. I can’t stop that. I wish I could, but that’s life.

However, I’m happy to know you won’t have to wake up some days and just want to die, even though you were perfectly happy the day before. You won’t sit down on the couch under the weight of a soul crushing sadness that leaks out through your tear ducts and literally not be able to rise up under the weight of it. You won’t lash out for no reason, after spending days feeling terrified of nothing at all, snapping because you can’t take that pain a minute longer.

You won’t lose days of your life without realizing the time has passed. You won’t know what it is to fall to the bottom of an emotional well and not even want to climb out because the light at the top doesn’t seem remotely worth it somehow. You won’t spend hours and days and weeks feeling worthless for no reason and wondering what the point of all of this is, anyway.

You won’t do that. You are as you should be, as I love seeing you. Full of life. Full of joy. You wake up each day ready to take it on. You’re a nonstop ball of energy, a source of light, an Accomplisher of All Things Necessary.  You’re an extrovert, a dad who plays on the floor with the kids, a husband who works sixty hours a week and still finds time to travel and do half the housework.

I’m in awe of you. Continue reading

A Good Cause & A Sad Fact

https://www.gofundme.com/bretts-treatment-fund

So, I don’t know the above people. I clicked on the link because a good Facebook friend shared it, and I usually find myself caring about causes dear to my friends’ hearts.

Normally I simply donate what I can, click to share on Twitter, and move on with my day.

Today, a line from this page hit me so hard, and I had to write about it for a minute.

This campaign is to help a woman struggling with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, who recently had a situation requiring serious hospitalization and needs help. Of course, she has to fight and beg and plead with her insurance to help cover the cost of this treatment, because health insurance has a long way to go in the treatment of mental illnesses. Which is a whole separate blog post in itself. (Sigh.)

But this is the line that stabbed me in the heart:

“Brett’s very nervous for a lot of reasons–not the least of all because depression can make you believe you don’t deserve help.” Continue reading