Depression is like a heavy, ill fitting coat. The kind of coat that encompasses you, hangs off your arms, comes down over your hands, and feels too heavy on your shoulders. It’s not comfortable, it doesn’t provide warmth, it doesn’t do the things that a coat should do, but it’s there anyway, pressing down, smothering, forcing itself into your personal space without any sort of permission. Depression is the kind of coat that never matches the weather and it takes your entire life force to take it off, if you can at all. Even when it’s warm outside, even when it’s not raining. Depression says it’s always raining.

But, what do you have to be so sad about?
Why aren’t you happy?
Look at how much you have!
You don’t know real struggle.
You should just be grateful.
Just get over it.
Make yourself be happy.
Stop thinking about it.
I don’t see that there’s even that much of a problem with you.
Just chill out.
Stop being such a baby.
Your life is so good, it doesn’t make sense!

That’s the thing. Depression doesn’t make sense. Depression doesn’t respect the fact that I have a wonderful life, a great family, supportive friends, an amazing boyfriend, or a secure job. And if that’s frustrating to you and you think YOU don’t understand, imagine feeling it. Imagine living it. Imagine knowing all of the great things about your life and still not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to interact, unending restlessness, irritability for little reason, and just general unhappiness. Imagine the spiral of feeling ashamed and ungrateful, inarticulate and closed off, and knowing with any shred of logic you possess that you have reasons you shouldn’t feel the way you do, but you feel it anyway. You feel it anyway, and you feel it deep, you feel it permeate through your bones and you ache in your very core, in places you’re not sure you’ll ever be able to reach.

I can write about this today because I feel relatively clear and honest. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the way to work and I smiled. I liked the way my hair looked and the shirt I’m wearing today. Today doesn’t feel enormous and insurmountable. That doesn’t mean that it won’t, but at this moment, I’m okay. I prayed on the way to work and asked God to give me patience and grace, and sometimes I just simply pray for God to help me be happy. Help me find the positives, help me see the good, help me smile, and help me get through the day. Sometimes, that’s really all you can ask for anyway.

Loving me isn’t easy. Depression, for me, manifests in some of the most unfortunate ways. I withdraw, I shut down, my emotions and reactions default to anger, or I’m either completely indifferent. Sometimes, I don’t care if it snows oats. Other times, I would like to watch the world burn. My mood swings are debilitating, my irritability more than any one person should bear. My Mom has dealt with it for years, my brother and sister understand it, so do my closest friends, and now Chad knows. They know not to take me to heart when I say I hate everything, when I sleep for what seems like days, when I’m cranky about living, and when I push so hard that they can barely hang on. I make myself sad when I think about it, because I can’t imagine how much these people must really love me to put up with me like this. I don’t feel worthy. I’m probably not worthy. I just tell myself that my good days must be incredibly rewarding and hope that I’m not always miserable to be around.

Some days are worse than others. Giving up my Grandmother has obviously been a trigger. The change of seasons and colder weather kills me. Working in customer service is a cornucopia of anxiety. Honestly, I have more good days than bad anymore, but I still wanted to write about this. I’ve wanted to write about it for a long time and the words were never there. Because even though I have more good than bad, the bad is still there and it’s still a tremendous struggle. I thought maybe someone could read this and find comfort in knowing it’s not just them going through the motions, it’s not just them smiling and cracking jokes and trying to get through the day.

It’s not just you with the unfortunate, too big, cumbersome coat.

It’s me, too.

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Dusting this thing off.

So, we’ve taken on a new title and a new look here on the ol’ blog.  Don’t fret, I am still a mess, and this is still my blog about it, but I have chosen to change the name for a number of reasons.  Mostly because that title was silly (well, this one is as well) and I couldn’t think of anything better, so I gave up.  But also, because under that name, this blog was very much about the ins and outs of my single life.  While I am still technically single in terms of marriage, I am (and have been) in a relationship.  Some poor fella finally took the bait, you guys.  I like him a little bit.  It’s kinda gross.

As I suspected, life and it’s purpose did not magically come to fruition when I started dating Chad.  Previously, it was always my goal to give you something funny (always at my own expense) to read, and an opportunity to get to know me on a more personal level.  That goal remains the same.  I love writing, it is the most honest and expressive I can ever be, and that isn’t something I should take for granted.  I realize that I go MONTHS between posts, and I always say that I hope to change that, but I really do.  My intentions are always good.  Anyway, so no, the clouds did not part and a scroll did not float from Heaven revealing life’s true meaning now that I am in a relationship.  I knew myself before this, I was confident in the person I was, in my choices, in my faith, in my life.  A man didn’t validate any of that, because it wasn’t necessary.  That being said, he is really awesome and I am ridiculously excited about our relationship and where it is right now.  It’s a whole lot fun.  Spoiler alert:  I’m still not romantic, I’m still not good at feelings, and I am actually worse at being in a relationship than I thought I would be, so I really have no idea if he thinks it is ‘a whole lot of fun’.  I can be a real turd, man.  But, I’m working on it.

The last 6 months have been some of the most challenging of my life in terms of learning, growing up, and facing myself.  A few days before I turned 27, I moved out of my Mama’s house for the first time.  Sure, I’d gone to college, but I came home every single weekend, even when I lived in a townhouse with several good friends.  Also, I had never lived completely alone, being the only person responsible for rent, food, utilities, gas, car payment, you know, being completely self sufficient.  It was terrifying.  The Saturday I left Mom’s, I cried semi-hysterically for the duration of my 30 minute drive to my new apartment.  See, I’ve been all but surgically attached to my Mother since birth, and the thought of not living with her destroyed me emotionally, but I knew it was something good and something I needed.  Now, almost 4 months later, I have this really cute one bedroom apartment, and I love living alone.  I miss my Mommy, you guys.  I can’t even lie.  I miss my brother (I haven’t lived with my sister for almost 18 years, but I love you, Andi!).  There’s something to be said of having something of your own and all of your own space.  It’s really nice.  Plus, texting allows me to check in and talk to them every single day.  So, that’s pretty awesome.

Needless to say, a lot happened since your last visit here. Here’s a quick rundown; The day that I wrote my last blog about how I would never change for anyone to make them want to be with me, Chad asked me on a date.  We went out for the first time after knowing each other for nearly a year, and it was the kind of first date that you leave knowing there will be a second, and a third, and fourth, and eventually you’ll lose count.  I lost count.  I became a Kentucky Basketball season ticket holder (SO AWESOME!!).  I moved out and into my own apartment and turned 27 five days later.  I started cooking!  I didn’t suck at it.  I went on a great trip.  Thanksgiving and Christmas.  A New Year.  I adopted a little sister for Sophie named Sadie.  I finally watched Back To The Future (I and II, at least).  Alex Poythress became a monster!  I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother and I’m incredibly grateful for that.  A million and one things happened since July 24, 2013.  A whole lot of good things, very little downright bad, and some difficult things.

So, here I am, asking you to have me back.  Scan my words, crack a smile, and keep reading.  I’ve spent a lot of time going through blogs that I really like and it is my goal to remain inspired to share my thoughts and life with you.

You know, so says me.  I’m sure my next blog will be written June 7, 2014 and the first line will be, “Lolz sorry I haven’t written anything in so long….” because me.

Edited: 744 words about absolutely nothing.

I’ve never been a relationship girl.  Anyone that knows me, knows that I’ve had one serious boyfriend and a gaggle of first and second dates, but rarely thirds.  I’m picky (I can say that, you can’t), I’m hard to please, I’m stubborn, and I can only assume that it’s all a defense mechanism to prevent people from getting too close.  Truth is, I don’t love relationships and I’m not great at them.  I like doing my own thing, I like my own time, and getting older only seems to exacerbate those feelings.  I’m not particularly romantic, I find most everything cheesy, and sometimes I get really sad when I think about any guy trying to get around all of my neuroses and quirks.  I’m not really looking for sympathy or ways to fix it, I happen to really like myself.  I’m just talking.  Or blogging.  Or whatever.

I fancy myself an intelligent woman.  I enjoy reading, I like to write, I’m fairly well spoken (specifically in text), and I usually have a pretty good grasp on current events.  That being said, I have the mental capacity of a 3 year old when it comes to men.  I have a penchant for gravitating toward the most emotionally unavailable human beings that have ever existed.  The guys that are actually interested in me (God bless your sweet, unassuming soul(s?)), I’m rarely ever interested  in (not always :/) because they’re probably decent guys and I am subconsciously (and perhaps consciously) an absolute idiot.  It’s not like I do it on purpose, but still, it has to be something I can control, right?  Can you control who you’re interested in, who you’re attracted to, who you ‘click’ with?  Absolutely not, but one could probably be smarter.  I could probably be smarter.  Please, Lord, tell me I can start being smarter.

If we’re sitting here digging into stuff and things, I re-read that first paragraph and kind of laughed.  It’s funny because in talking about defense mechanisms, it kind of hit me as to why I do what I do.  It’s not even because it’s so big and scary to get close to someone, because it isn’t, it’s big and scary to get close to someone and have them choose someone else.  That’s consistent, man.  I can name so many guys off the top of my head that I’ve had a couple of dates with, or talked to for a bit, who have moved on to super serious relationships and even marriage after me.   Heck, it doesn’t even have to be serious, but it always doesn’t involve me.  I’ve been dating for about ten years now, and it’s pretty hard to not start blaming yourself with that sort of track record.  If you’re reading this and we’ve casually dated or gone out a few times and you’re saying, “Good Lord, Alena, sometimes it just doesn’t work out..” I agree with you.  However, there’s only one common denominator in all 3493724723947239423 of those situations.  Don’t feel bad, because it’s really not you.  It’s me.  Oh well.

Earlier today I asked a good guy friend of mine if I could complain about something to him and he said, “You can always complain to me. Unless it’s a complaint about how it sucks to be a young, attractive woman.” and it made me think about this whole thing that I’ve written.  I started this several days ago and completed a few lines here and there across an array of interesting moods and feelings.  Most of you will read this and think ‘boo hoo’ and then some of you will actually get my humor and know that I’m really just poking fun at myself.  I can’t say my feelings don’t get hurt and my self esteem doesn’t take a blow from time to time, I won’t tell you that I don’t feel inferior to other women for a myriad of reasons that all start and end with the same thing, but hey.  I can’t change who and what I am and I wouldn’t anyway.

So, maybe it is me.  Maybe I’m a big ol’ intimidating monster, maybe I’m too loud, maybe I’m too smart, maybe I’m too independent, maybe I don’t fit the social norms around here, maybe my sense of humor is too weird, maybe I’m too complicated, and maybe I just scare you to death.  That’s fine.  I’ll stay all of those things, because a few things I’ll never be are simple, easy, and available.

Help me out, will ya?

My last blog felt nice.  It felt real nice.

I got a lot of really great feedback and you don’t know how much I appreciate anyone taking the time to read anything I write, let alone respond with their own experience or words of encouragement.  It is equal parts spectacular and humbling. I love the rush I feel when I hit “publish” and I know that someone, even just one person, is reading what I wrote.  It’s special.

Writing is not easy.  Not the kind of writing that I want to do, anyway.  It’s not easy to always get in touch with that honest side of yourself and not care what other people think when they read it.  It’s not easy to write anything and make it sound good enough to post publicly.   My honesty toes the line of going too far when I write about personal experiences, and I know that.  I’m not trying to be the Taylor Swift of blogging or anything, I’m just writing what comes to me because it makes me feel better and helps me gain much-needed perspective.

Writing is scary.  Much like what happened with my last blog, that perspective leads to examining feelings and parts of myself that I typically keep under lock and key.  It doesn’t always have to be that serious, though.

So many people said to me, “You need to blog more often” and I would love to.  Consistency is great!  However, I’m never sure what to write about.  I hit and miss on dating, lack of dating, and all of the ins and outs that come with that, but I don’t always know what to write about beyond that.  I don’t want to write about sports, because that’s not what this is about.  Here’s where you come in…

Brainstorm!  Throw any and all topics at me.  Privately, in comments on Facebook, in @replies on twitter, or in the comments section here on the blog.  If you build it, I can write it.  I’m just kidding, I just need a little push to help me along.

 

I can’t imagine a scenario where I don’t regret posting this.

There’s already so much about this year that I wish I could change.  That’s an interesting place to be in May.  People always say, “Don’t regret anything because it taught you something.” or some flowery garbage like that, but I don’t know if that’s true.  Some things, some situations, I’m not sure they teach you anything other than the fact that you probably should’ve been smarter.  So, I guess that’s something?  However, I don’t know that I’d consider it ‘being taught’ when I already knew it in the first place.  I should’ve been smarter, I should’ve been more guarded, I should’ve done a lot of things differently.  Hindsight, you know.

I’m not good at feelings.  I’m good at sports (I mean, not literally…), I’m good at laughing, I’m good at embarrassing myself, I’m good at being sarcastic, I’m good at being angry, I’m good at being silly, but I’m not good at serious anything, especially feelings.  For all the things I can do with words, expressing myself seriously is not often one of those things.  I’m not even talking about romantic crap, because God knows that doesn’t exist in my life, I’m just saying in general.  There are so few people that get those serious admissions, and even then, I know I’m a mess. I guess that has everything to do with not knowing how to let people in, getting worn down, and then getting burnt.

But, everyone gets burnt.  Everyone.  There’s not one person in friendships, in relationships, in life that hasn’t been hurt at the hands of another human being.  We use that as an excuse to not get close to someone, to not let others in.  One of the points I always make is that I hardly ever let people in, and when I do, it always comes back to bite me.  But, is that good enough?  Is that enough to make a person stop seeking friendships, stop trusting people, and to stop trying?  Do those poor experiences outweigh the positive experiences? Do they outweigh the people who have been the exception and not the rule?  I don’t want to feel that way about it anymore.  I’m not saying to trust people blindly because that’s just silly, but if someone gives you reason to believe they’re legitimate, maybe you should.  Maybe I should.

Maybe I should’ve been smarter, but maybe it’s okay that I wasn’t.  And maybe I’m better at serious feelings than I thought.

This is awful and I’m okay with that.

I haven’t written anything of value in almost two months.  The most annoying part of my writing drought is the fact that I’ve opened blank documents and stared aimlessly, the cursor blinking and mocking me without a shred of mercy, more times than I even care to admit.  My preferred medium is words, and I just can’t produce.  It’s not because I don’t have anything to say, in fact, it’s probably the exact opposite.

2013 is already hilarious.  And a roller coaster.  And fun.  And interesting.  You get the point.  The last 27 days have translated into what feels like 3 months to me.  At the same time, I can’t believe the first month of the year is basically over.  I realize how contradictory all of that was, but you just have no idea.  Wonderful things have happened, heartbreaking things have happened, unexpected things have happened.  I’ve felt the most intense and insane rush of emotions and I’ve felt the lowest, most painful rush of emotions, all in 27 days.  I am equal parts nervous and excited for the next 338 days.  I’m also a little thankful that January didn’t force me to seek professional help, no matter how hard it tried.

With all of that said, I’m sitting here on this Sunday night and I feel oddly grounded and inexplicably stable (again, 2013, you are hilarious. Me? Stable? Ha!).  I honestly can’t surmise why, other than the fact that I’ve accepted all of the things that have happened this month and I’ve stopped asking questions.  I’m trying to stop asking questions.  That’s always, always been my problem.  I always want answers, I always want a resolution, and sometimes things just aren’t black and white.  Sometimes there isn’t an answer.  I have actively worked against myself my entire life and ultimately eliminated the most beautiful shades of gray, and I’m not doing that this time.  I’m finally okay with whatever happens with pretty much everything across the board. Whatever it is, I’ll learn from it and be better for it.

What’s really ironic is the fact that I just wrote a paragraph about feeling stable on a blog with “I’m a mess” in the title.  I can’t even touch that, nor do I want to.  I’m just glad my cursor isn’t violently blinking at me from a blank page.  Breaking the drought isn’t easy and the first product may not be that good, but at least it’s something.  Something is always better than nothing.  Even so, I really don’t want to click “create post” on this — but I’m gonna. Because who cares?  That’s why.

31

I hate the entire “Futures” album by Jimmy Eat World (and by hate, I clearly mean love and am obsessed with).  It’s ridiculous how a song can trigger every single memory and emotion you’ve ever had in your entire life.  It’s also ridiculous how you can love a song (Hello, “Work”) and then it ultimately becomes your life.  If you haven’t heard of this band, shame on you.  If you haven’t heard this album, shame on you twice.  If you don’t like it after listening to it, shame on me for being friends with you.

Yesterday, I updated my Facebook status with something like, “Sometimes there’s not enough Wellbutrin in the entire universe.” and you just have no idea how true that is. Do you ever just inexplicably feel depression pressing down so hard that it makes your chest ache?  Just out of no where, you know?  I think there’s plenty of merit to the idea of Seasonal Affective Disorder and the winter blues.  All I want to do is go home, put on comfortable clothes, and sleep.  And eat.  I always want to eat.  But, I’m trying to make myself do better, make myself work out, make myself visit friends, as opposed to going home and tapping out.

December always brings those reflective posts about the months before and the promise of a new year, with new goals that will ultimately be thrown away by January 17th.  Oh, and a million people posting the lyric, “A long December and there’s reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last…” which is a great song, but if you’re posting it every single year, then you’re probably doing life wrong.  Not that I’m not doing life wrong, but I’ll point at you before I point at myself.  The human condition obsesses with the promise and hope of something new, something different, and nothing marks that like the start of a new year.  All of the shortcomings of 2012 wont chase you into 2013, right?  Probably not right.

With 31 days left, I can tell you that 2012 was good.  I love even numbered years because I’m weird like that, but 2012 really was pretty sweet.  Not that anything spectacular happened in my personal life, because God knows that might call for a parade, but lots of cool things happened.  One of my best friends got married to a great man, then fought breast cancer and won, a sweet baby boy made it through heart surgery like a champ, my Daddy is beating prostate cancer, my family is still intact, my friends and their families are doing great, I’ve met and become close with some really great new people, and… well, Kentucky won the National Championship and I got to see it with my own eyes and cry like a baby in the Superdome.  There are definitely more things, but I’m just naming the first things that cross my mind.

That being said, I think I’m ready for 2013.  I don’t know if it will really make a difference, I don’t know if anything will change (I don’t know if I want anything to change?), but I’m ready for whatever happens.  I don’t have any specific goals set, I just want to continue to better myself.  I’d like to be kinder, talk less, listen more, be more in control of my emotions, be more generous, and stop worrying about things that I have absolutely no control over.  Well, maybe I do have some specific goals?  Regardless, I know that I’ve surrounded myself with all the right people, that I have the right job, and that although sometimes I feel incredibly lost and a little bit broken, I’m doing a lot of things right.

At least that’s how I feel today.