The Trainwreck Express

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I was originally planning to talk about lonliness. But when I was looking for a quote/photo, I found this. And I had to share it.

I’m a mess. I have been for years, probably for longer than I realize. And you wanna know a secret? I hate it. I hate always feeling like the screw up of the family, or the charity case. I hate having to ask for help, because I’m a burden on everyone else. I don’t deserve to ask for anything.

The hardest part of being a total mess is knowing you deserve to be okay. You deserve to be happy. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it. And it is okay to accept that help, guilt free. I’m not there yet. I’m slowly coming to grips that I need others for support. And that means physical, tangible things as well as emotional.

Emotional support and love is one of the things I need the most. I know I have friends and family who want to be supportive in this shitty setback (transition?) I’m stuck in the middle of. But how do you show a loved one that you’re there for them? Just remember that every word and action is analyzed a thousand times. Someone who’s depressed or struggling automatically assumes you hate them as much as they hate themselves. They’re going to jump to the conclusion that you’re disappointed or angry or frustrated with them because those are the feelings they are dwelling on inside. And for me, it makes me feel isolated. I’ll start to withdraw from everyone. And sometimes I just need to be alone. It’s part of being an introvert and having anxiety. Sometimes people are just too much! But communicating clearly, giving your friend space and just doing your best to support them is all we ask.

Just please don’t remind us we’re a trainwreck. We know.

the never ending fight

My name is Logan and I have depression.

I don’t know how long I’ve had depression. The truth is, it’s just always been there. It took a different shape and form when I was younger, being really sad when school ended every summer and not feeling like I fit in with the other kids. Was that clinical depression? Maybe not. By high school, my self esteem was tattered at best. I remember people calling me fat and a whore, among other things. I remember desperately wanting to feel like I fit in and feel at ease. I recall lounging in bed on Saturday afternoons, wondering what my family would think if they found me dead? Would they cry over me? Would my friends from school come to my funeral?

I first knew something was wrong shortly after leaving high school. I knew it couldn’t be normal to lay in bed for days at a time crying, to go without a shower for a week or more. I made an appointment with my GP, who said “Oh you’re just depressed.” He wrote me a $100 prescription for a month of antidepressants and sent me on my way. No referral to a psychiatrist, no follow up with him, just a pat on the head and a good luck. Things didn’t get better.

Fast forward to about 6 years later. I had my dream job that I loved, a husband, a child… Things couldn’t be any better. Except, inside, I was still the same defective person I always had been. I still had bouts of depression, but things overall were okay. But I am a self-sabotager. I had a wonderful thing going, but I made some bad choices that would ruin everything.

In October of 2013, I found myself on suicide watch in my local hospital, waiting to be moved to a psych ward. I had voluntarily admitted myself after having strong suicidal urges all evening. I wanted to die. I would stay in the psych ward for a week, too much of a danger to myself to eat with plastic cutlery, and sleeping next to a girl who screamed and bit in her sleep.

Depression is a sneaky illness. I bet a lot of people in my life never knew I attempted suicide multiple times. Those of us with depression are pretty good at one thing: fake smiles. We’re great at being the life of the party or charming coworkers, but inside we’re slowly dying, screaming for someone to help us. And when we are brave enough to confide in someone about our illness, too often we’re met with crushing reaponses. Just snap out of it. Oh things aren’t THAT bad. Well at least you aren’t —-. Nobody would tell a cancer patient to snap out of it. Nobody would tell someone with HIV at least it isn’t AIDS.

Robin Williams passed away one year ago today from suicide. While I obviously never knew him, it was a loss that always felt very personal. It still breaks my heart knowing he’s gone. Maybe it’s odd to feel so personally connected to a celebrity, but I did. I do. Depression is blind. It doesn’t care if you are rich, famous, successful, attractive… It doesn’t care if you’re white or black, young or old.

With so many people struggling with mental and mood disorders, there are supportive communities if you look for them. So to anyone who reads this, I will ask this of you: If this sounds like you, please tell someone. Find someone you can trust and tell them what you’re feeling. Because you are worth the help. You are so strong, having carried this weight by yourself for so long. Let someone share it with you.

Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Resources:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Annonymous Depression Chat Room

Review: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

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From the book jacket:

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends–her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.

Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.

This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

This novel is only 170 pages, and I read it over the course of one afternoon. A blurb on the back of the book by Chris Crutcher warns you that you will have to put Living Dead Girl down, though not for long, and he’s right.

As a mother of a little girl, not much younger than Alice when she was taken, this novel was a tough read. It does not shy away from the physical and sexual domination Ray employs. Mothers, survivors, and those triggered by rape and abuse may want to skip this one.

Scott writes this gripping novel from Alice’s view and it truly feels like you’re in the teen’s head. The writing can blur and become sloppy, as Alice’s thoughts race and muddle. This can be difficult to read if you, like me, find your pulse pounding and eyes flying too fast across the page.

Living Dead Girl is a terrifyingly realistic walk through the dark stuff of Lifetime movies. It will leave you wanting to hold your loved one a little bit closer tonight. Get it here.

Review: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

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An excerpt from the book jacket:

In Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one’s way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself in a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and, most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told.

Lena Dunham, of HBO’s Girls fame, gives us insight into the sometimes funny, but always cogent events of her life. Much like her character Hannah on Girls, many of us feel we can relate to Dunham. We are a part of the millennial club! We all have shared experiences! (Well, maybe we haven’t won two Golden Globes as Dunham has…)

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As Dunham walks us through her life, focusing on sex and body issues, friendship, work life, and the “big picture”, I can’t help but to relate to her narrative. Not in the sense that I grew up in New York or had artists for parents. Quite to the contrary, I grew up in a small town with conservative parents with boring 9-5 jobs. But the struggles Dunham writes about transcend geography and economic status.

From the first line of the introduction (“I am twenty years old and I hate myself. My hair, my face, the curve of my stomach.”) I feel like this woman gets me. I have a long, tangled history of hating myself. For close to two decades, I have walked in a shadow of self consciousness. I’m too fat, or too awkward, not smart enough, not good enough.

I won’t give away any of her tales, you’ll have to read them for yourself, but I guarantee you’ll walk away with a sense of camaraderie with our generation. From learning to accept yourself and all your flaws, to looking for love and contentment in life, we’re all in this crazy world together.

You can get the book here and follow Lena Dunham on Twitter.

What’s for dinner?

I can follow a recipe, but I’m not a great cook. There’s a reason I married a chef! But sometimes you just make a really tasty meal and you’re proud of yourself! I do a lot of budget meals, and the key to that is flexibility. This meal, like most I make, is easily adapted to your tastes. So what did we have? Teriyaki chicken with onions and pineapple over homemade fried rice! Did I mention the chicken was done in the crock pot for a super easy meal? Uh, yeah.

In said crock pot, I added 4 chicken thighs, a sliced red onion, a can of sliced pineapple with juice, and about a half cup of teriyaki sauce. I let that hang out on low for 4 hours. My slow cooker runs hot, so adjust accordingly.

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When the masses were ready to eat, I started the fried rice. I made instant brown rice (4 servings) as directed on the box. In a frying pan, I melted 2T of butter and scrambled an egg on medium-high heat. Then I added about a cup of thawed green peas and heat through.

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Next, I added back the rice into the frying pan with a little bit of teriyaki sauce and mixed it all around until it was some happy fried rice.

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Then there’s nothing left to do but throw it on a plate and get to business! (*Note: I am not a skilled food photographer! Be merciful!)

Both the husband and the kid were a big fan of this one. And I love versitle meals. You could easily change out the veggies in the rice, swap chicken thighs for breasts or pork chops, skip pineapple or onions… I’ve taken the contents of the crock pot, wrapped them in individual aluminum foil pouches, and tossed em on the grill. The world is your oyster (…if you’re into them).

Also, while sitting at the dinner table, my 6 year old daughter asks me what a female dog is called. My husband practically falls over laughing. This is my life.

New books!

With two books of The Magicians series (by Lev Grossman) down, I’m stepping away from Quentin and Fillory for a bit before I move to the third book.

Naturally, I hit the library for my next stack of reads! Does anyone else struggle with checking out books faster than you can read them? Earlier in the week, I picked up the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Today, I stopped in to pick up my latest on my hold list: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott and Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham.

I’m pretty excited to tackle my latest acquisitions! I’ll certainly have a full weekend. Luckily, I just picked up some coffee grounds to keep the iced coffees coming!

Anyone else have some awesome bookworm weekend plans?

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Challenge Accepted!

This past week, I found a pretty cool reading challenge on Pinterest. Now, I find tons of stuff on there and file it away for future use, but it all gets buried in the Supernatural gifs. Hey, what can I say? Half naked demon hunters…

Anyway, this reading challenge really grabbed my attention. I tweeted it out to my fellow book nerds (follow me on Twitter @MamaOwl_Kirby!) but it’s still rolling around my mind. So what’s a girl to do? Well, conquer that god damned reading challenge!

Real talk: I’ve always liked a good book. But after high school, I became an occasional reader. I have a shelf of half-read and never-read books. It was only after we moved to South Carolina and I felt so completely alone that I rediscovered my love of reading. I make weekly trips to the public library and let the novels I find take me to far off lands. The characters become my friends and family that keep me company.

Back to the challenge. The point is, I’ve been reading quite a bit over the last few months. So I’m cheating a little and using some of my recent reads to start checking off my list. Only a very few are from as far back as the spring.

Technically, the reading challenge is for 2015. Since it’s already August, can I finish it all by December? Stay tuned. Any fellow bookworms up for the challenge with me? Not a big reader? Maybe pick a few things from the list that you wouldn’t normally read and try something new! Have a favorite book or author that meets any of the list items? Share them in the comments!

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and the wisdom to know the difference

Control. It’s one of the things I desperately cling to, but I never really have a firm grasp on. For years, I have felt so many facets of my life spiraling out of control. My weight has ballooned. I have stopped and started college more times than should be humanly possible. My house has never been clean for more than five minutes… I can’t stand when I am not in control of everything in my life. But I’m not really in control of any of it.

What can I truly take charge of, that is mine to dictate? Myself. My body, my attitude, and eventually my future. Are there external forces that will oppose me at every turn? Sure. But at the end of the day, I can lose weight. I can focus on the positive rather than the negative. We all hold the potential for a happy, fulfilling life. What matters is what we do with that potential.

When I worked at the drug and alcohol rehab, we recited the Serenity Prayer ad nauseam. But you know what? The old prayer offers some pretty sound advice. I can’t change everything in my life that I’m unhappy with. And I have to learn to be okay with that.