I’m Not Depression (Reblogged from Courtney’s Voice)

I absolutely love this post. I’m amazed that someone five years younger than me could write something like this. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing by any means. I guess I just didn’t expect something like it because I’d never seen something similar before.

I have never really understood why we as humans find the need to label each other, as if names weren’t enough. No, we have to describe and attempt to define every individual we meet.

Personally, I can be defined as a sister, a daughter, a friend, a writer, an advocate. Maybe some would define me as a poet or an artist. But then there are other who would define me using the term “mentally ill.”

For years, I have loathed that term. Mental illness. How it is so quick to roll of people’s tongue as if saying it would suddenly make them catch the foul diseases I possess. Fear lies in that term. Fear of what it means to be mentally ill from both the ill and the spectators who believe they understand what is going on.

But, I am not my illness.

I am Courtney. A human being, who happens to suffer from PTSD and major depression.

Under no circumstance am I depression. I am not PTSD. There is more to me than an illness I have no control over. Why must others attempt to define me based on an illness they don’t truly understand?

Because there is so much more to me that mental illness. I’m a writer who can not stand to read her own writings unless someone else reads it first. An artist who prefers her art be private than out there for the world to see. I’m a teenager who loves music from before my time, like Cinderella. A girl who always dreamed of being a princess, simply so she could have a chance to change the world. Blue is my favorite color but I hate navy because in certain lights it looks black.

I am a complex individual.

Yes, my life is greatly affected by mental illness, but there is so much more to me than just PTSD or depression.

Hi, I'm Courtney

BOOKS (& coffee, of course)

I love being friends with an author. Well, technically I’m friends with three authors – Sarah FaderAllie Burke, and JC Hannigan. JC has a group on Facebook where those of us who have read her books where we can talk about pretty much whatever we want. So the other night I made my first post In the group. Yea, I’ve commented on other posts, but this is different. Joining in a discussion someone else started isn’t scary, whereas starting your own and hoping people say something is scary. I got lucky – people started talking. Yea, only like 3-4 of them, but that’s better than no one.

I asked if anyone else had read anything by Jodi Picoult. Her books walk the line about touchy subjects, but they’re written beautifully. One of my favorites was “House Rules.” Another favorite is the one she co-wrote with her daughter, “Between the Lines.” I tries to read “Plain Truth,” but I couldn’t make myself finish it because of the topic. It just made me really uncomfortable.

Currently I’m reading the 10th book in the CoffeeHouse Mystery series, written by Cleo Coyle. They’re set in New York in Greenwich Village where Clare Cosi, the main character, manages a coffee shop called the Village Blend. There’s a slew of other characters throughout the series, but the main ones who stick around are Matt (her ex-husband), Madame Blanche Dreyfus Allegro Dubois (Matt’s mother, and owner of the Village Blend), Mike Quinn (her boyfriend), Joy (her daughter), and her baristas (Tuck, Esther, and Dante stick around longest). The books are a little difficult for me to explain since I’ve read over half the series now, so watch this trailer created by the author briefly explaining what they’re about.

I’m also reading a beta copy of a book, that’s due to come out soon, by JC Hannigan. It’s so awesome to have author friends who will let you read copies of their books before they’re released. Even if it is just because they know you’re having a shitty day and they’re sending it to you to try and cheer you up. (Just for the record, it worked JC.)

It’s also really cool being able to help with having a more authentic perspective in a book. I know it seems like something small, but I’m excited about it. I honestly just love the idea that I’m helping someone with making a character in their book more believable. Maybe I’ll get mentioned in the acknowledgements lol.

Lexapro – 10mg – month
Lexapro – 20mg – month
Welbutrin – 150mg – week
Welbutrin – 300mg – 3 weeks
Lamictal – 25mg – < 2 weeks
Abilify – 5mg – new

Trying to find the right medication is truly a process of trial-and-error. It’s time-consuming and incredibly frustrating. I’m on my fourth different medication in three and a half months. I feel like of like a guinea pig with all the meds I’ve taken. The side effects are probably what I hate the most. Especially when I was on the Lamictal. I had taken it two years ago and had no issues, so the fact that I had issues this time didn’t make sense to me. I had chest pain and shortness of breath, so my doctor told me to go to the ER on Friday afternoon.

I got there, signed in, and waited for maybe ten minutes. They called me back and took me into triage. They did an EKG – which I assume was fine because nothing was said otherwise. They did a chest x-ray – which I assume was clean because they didn’t say anything. They also did a blood clot test – which came back negative.

A random guy tried to hit on me while I was there too. He was only kinda cute. It would’ve been better if the doctor had tried to hit on me cause he was actually pretty cute. And he didn’t look like he was much over 30. They did the blood clot test after the chest x-ray. When I sat back down, a nurse called my name. I picked my head up and said, “yes?” She smirked at me and replied, “I’m coming to get you.” All the staff in the ER were nice enough, and they were trying to be funny about stuff too.

In the end, they basically chalked it up to the Lamictal I had been taking. However, they also gave me a prescription for an antacid, in case that was the issue, and a stronger pain reliever than you can get OTC.

When I take everything at once, like I’m pretty much supposed to, I wind up feeling a little loopy. I’m wondering how severely it’s going to affect me in classes this week. I’m hoping it’s not too bad, but I’m honestly not crossing any fingers about it cause there’s just now way of knowing.

Support? And Stigma Fighters

A lot of times, when I go to a friend to rant about something that’s bothering me, they try to fix the problem for me. But that’s not what I want.

I just want them to listen to me. That’s it!

If I want their help, I’ll ask for it. But when it’s just pushed on me, I get kind of offended. It’s not their fault, because their intentions are good. I just feel like I want to do things in my own time and on my own, that when others try too hard, it’s just … wrong.

I love my friends, I really do. I just wish that some of them would understand this.

Being part of Stigma Fighters has given me people to talk to who understand what it’s like, what I’m dealing with. They don’t push help on me. They’ll give me advice and their sympathy/empathy, but they can’t force anything on me. It’s kind of nice.

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How did I get involved in Stigma Fighters? There’s a, kind of fun, story behind that.

I’m not sure how I found the website to begin with, but I thought it was a really cool concept. So I wrote up my essay and emailed it to Sarah. A few weeks later, she asked me if I wanted to write something for her. I told her I had, but apparently she’d never gotten it – there was an issue with her email. So I sent it again, and it went up on the blog. Then about three or so months later, I sent her another piece – this time anonymously. After that we started talking more. In December, I had another post go up, my anniversary post.

Around that same time, I’d also had the idea of turning the blog into a book. I pitched it to Sarah and she loved it. So she put me in charge of pulling all the essays together as people said yes, and editing them. I only did that for a few weeks, before it was sent off to an editor at Booktrope.

But before it was sent off to the official editor, I got an email from Allie Burke asking if I would like to be the executive assistant for Stigma Fighters. It took me by surprise. I hadn’t expected that at all. I mean, I knew that Sarah had gotten all the paperwork done for Stigma Fighters to officially become a nonprofit, but I didn’t know that I would end up working for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, it was just a huge shock. I did accept the position.

So now I’m doing tasks here and there for Allie and Sarah when I can as I’m adjusting to my new medication (I’ll put up another post about that later – date TBD) and the new school semester.

Hello 2015 … What Do You Have For Me?

I haven’t written anything yet this year. I don’t really have an answer as to why. But I don’t have to. This is my blog, and I’ll update it on my schedule.

The deadline for the Stigma Fighters book came and went on New Year’s Day. I think I’ve got something like 4 essays in it.  We have a legit publisher so it’s going to be an e-book and in print.

Today I was asked to be the Executive Assistant for Stigma Fighters. It came as a total shock. I didn’t expect it at all. I let it sink in for a little before making a decision. I did accept the job.

Since Stigma Fighters is a non-profit in its first stages of growth, the position is currently uncompensated. But that’s okay. I’m not doing this for the money. I’m doing it because I truly believe in the cause. We need to end the stigma surrounding mental health. People need a place to safely tell their story and find support from those who know what it’s like to deal with these things.

Things are busy for me because I’m trying to get things set for school, but there’s an issue with a class so I’m stuck in a holding pattern till I can get in touch with the assistant dean of the ASL department. I need her to approve me to take the level 4 class over again. Otherwise I can’t continue toward the Interpreting program. I need to be taking level 5 when I’m in the program, and I can’t do that until I successfully complete level 4. But things aren’t working the way they should.