Depression

You asked me how depression feels, and this is all I could come up with.

It feels like I’m walking upstream through a current strong enough to pull me under four times.

There are others with me but they are walking along the banks telling me to “just get out of the water.” But instead of extending me a hand in help, they just move along and leave me behind.

Every once in a while I find a rock that is strong enough for me to lean on, and I can rest for a bit.

But the rock always gets tired of holding me up, and when they let go, I’m left drowning, thrown 50 ft back again.

And nothing is harder than standing up in that current, when everything in you is telling you how much easier things would be if you just let yourself get dragged under.

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Imagine it like this. It’s cold and rainy outside. You’re in the middle of nowhere. You’ve got a convertible. The top’s down. The battery’s dead. You can’t put the top up, you can’t go anywhere, you don’t know when the rain is gonna end. It’s gonna take a toll on your mood, your outlook, even if just temporarily.

Depression does that same thing, but it’s not so nicely temporary. And it burrows its way in deeper than just your mood.

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Sweetheart, depression hurts. It hurts bad. Some days are worse than others, and some are intolerable. Especially when I’m all alone and I want so strongly to do something, but my brain tells me to stay where I am and be sad instead.

It’s even worse when I have someone I love worrying about me and trying their best to help, but I just can’t. Leaving the house? Impossible. Taking a shower? Forget it. Putting on actual clothes (that aren’t pajamas)? I can’t imagine it. Admit I need help? Ha, you’re funny.

I have next to no attention span (unless I’m watching one of my three shows). I rarely have energy to do more than I have to. I feel like I’m doing things wrong. I feel like I’m stuck and can’t go anywhere. I frequently see the potential negative aspects of situations. I have so much trouble falling asleep at night. Even when I got enough sleep at night I’m still tired during the day. I snap at people for the smallest things. I constantly fidget. I’m pushing myself to read and write so I’m not just doing nothing all day. I don’t want to have sex. My eating goes to one extreme or the other. My head hurts. My stomach keeps cramping I’ve got a knot in my shoulder that won’t go away. My emotions tend to level out pretty low. I constantly feel down, or I don’t feel much of anything. I’ve thought about suicide, albeit not recently, and had a couple dreams about it, but I’ve never made an attempt to do anything.

The times I do force myself to leave the house, I end up pasting a fake smile on my face and acting like I’m okay. Doing that kills me, but it keeps things less complicated with people who don’t know that I was diagnosed. Or at least I can’t remember if they know that I was. Keeping people in the dark is so much more often easier than to let them into this world. But dragging someone into it would mean letting them past the walls that I’ve worked so hard to build in order to keep people out.

I know it probably seems strange to call depression its own world, but it honestly is. Functioning in reality isn’t something that those who suffer from mental illness can do with ease most times. Whether it be because of asshole neurotransmitters in your brain telling you that you should just stay home because you’re worthless, or because of crippling anxiety, or paranoia, or whatever the reason may be. It’s not something that everyone understand, and yet we try to make people understand. Even if they’re not willing, or don’t believe it unless it’s something that they can see.

Unfortunately, for most of us, mental illness isn’t something that others can physically see just by looking at our bodies. It’s mental. It’s inside our minds. Yes, they may be physical manifestations but they’re not always obvious. Shallow breathing that comes with anxiety/panic attacks? It’s not exactly easily seen, but it pains the body as well as zaps your energy and strength. Shaking/trembling hands? It can be hidden with hands in pockets or bracing hands against something.

The racing thoughts, the stomach knots, the walls closing in, the deathly need to flee. None of these things are visible, but they come with living daily with a mental illness. When it comes to facing every day, we have two choices: 1) just get through the day and know that you have another chance to fight harder tomorrow and 2) push yourself to do what you don’t really want to do but need to. The second option is going to leave you drained, both emotionally and probably physically, but it’s going to make tomorrow just a little easier.

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Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

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January 2nd, I was nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award by Amy, who writes over at Under the Surface. Her nomination actually came at a good time for me because I’m hoping to get back into blogging in 2016. I’m currently working on a guest post for this blog, and I can’t wait to hopefully have more guest posts up here on CoffeeTattoos this year.

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who gave you the award and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 10 questions given to you
  • Nominate 10 bloggers for the award
  • Write 10 questions for your nominees to answer
  • Display the award on your blog or post

My Answers

How do you like to write? (Include the environment you like to be in, the mood you like to be in and any extras you like to have such as a mug of tea and a blanket…)

When I blog, I tend to be in my bedroom. Usually I’m sitting on my bed with my computer sitting on a lap desk. Generally it’s late at night when I do most of my writing. Often, because I do my writing at night, I’m quite lonely; however, being lonely gives me a different perspective on things and allows me to be a little more honest about what I’m feeling.
As for extras I like to have with me when I’m writing, there aren’t really any staples. Although I do like to listen to music (this is one of my favorite playlists) while I’m working. 

Where do you find the topics you write about?

I know that some people have certain theme for their blogs – like they’re a music, a beauty, or a fashion blogger – but that’s not something that I think I could commit myself to. So that means that my topics come from wherever I find them. I do tend to write about my mental health journey often however. But as for my other topics, there’s no rhyme or reason as to where I find them.

What are your blogging pet peeves?

  • People who do nothing but product reviews
  • People who try to push their opinion on others
  • People who argue with their readers in the comments when they disagree with them

What draws your attention to find a blog and makes you want to follow it?

There really isn’t anything in specific that draws my attention to a blog. I read all posts on a range of topics.
I mean, yes, one of my favorite bloggers (Sarcastica) blogs a good bit about her kids, but she also do posts about other things – like her writing or MHE (you can find some of her posts about it here) or her depression and anxiety. That’s one of my favorite things about her, she doesn’t limit herself to one thing.
If you’re looking to get me to subscribe to/follow your blog, just give me some time to look through what you’ve posted in the past and make my decision.

If there was something you could change in your blogging past, what would it be and why?

Honestly, I hate how people always ask this question. As much as I would love to analyze my blogging history and give you a precise answer about what I would change, I can’t. Because I don’t that think I would be the same blogger I am today if I went back and changed something in my past.
It’s just like life, if you went back to your past and changed something, everything in the future would change as a result of that and you would no longer be the same person you are today.

What is the main thing that keeps you blogging regularly?

Since I started this blog in December 2013, I haven’t really had a set schedule for when I blog. I would just post whenever I felt like I had something to say, however frequently or infrequently that was.
Now that CoffeeTattoos is two years old, and I put up a post the past two Fridays, I’m hoping that I can continue to push myself to expand my writing skills by finding things to post every Friday.
It may not always be much of a post, but I promise that I will do my best to post every week.

In two years time where would you like your blog to be?

I don’t think I have a dream of where my blog will end up going. I used to think that it was important to have a blog that hundreds, or thousands, of people read, but I’ve realized in the last couple years that that’s really not important.
I just want my blog

  • to continue to be a creative outlet for me
  • to be a place for me to connect with my readers
  • to be a way to reach out and get to know other bloggers

Do you share your blog with people you know in real life or is it all online only?

I am selective with who I share my blog with. There are people in real life who know about my blog (my aunt saw me typing and asked if she was allowed to read it). However, there are more people online who know about it. But when I really stop and think about it, my online friends are also my friends in real life – so the answer is both.

What’s your favorite ways to connect with other writers/bloggers?

This is a awful thing to say, but I rarely comment on other blog posts. It’s not that I don’t like connecting with other blogger, but I just don’t really know what to say in response to what they’ve written.
I guess, this year I should make a point of doing better to respond to blog posts others have written.

Do you have any tips you would like to share with fellow bloggers?

The only two pieces of advice I have for fellow bloggers is something that Rachel Thompson said:

  • Give yourself permission to write on ANY topic (even if it will ruffle feathers)
  • Write what scares you

My Nominees

  1. Sarah Fader (Old School/New School Mom)
  2. Jess Davis (Sarcastica)
  3. Marisa Lancing (Mad Girl’s Lament)
  4. Sarah Comerford (The Real Sarah C)
  5. Nicole Lyons (The Lithium Chronicles)
  6. Allie Burke (Organic Coffee, Haphazardly)
  7. Jessica Scarlett (Dabbling in Food Porn)
  8. Courtney Keesee (Courtney’s Voice)
  9. Bipolar On Fire
  10. Kelley (Free of Her Cage)

My 10 Questions

  1. If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? Why? What would you talk about?
  2. What are your blogging goals for 2016?
  3. How are you feeling, emotionally, about the year ahead?
  4. When do you think people should have to decide what they want to do with their life? Is 18 too young?
  5. Why do you think there is so much stigma surrounding mental illness, admitting that you need help, and getting said help?
  6. Do you believe in love at first sight or soulmates?
  7. Is there anything you want to write about on your blog but you’re afraid to? If so, I think you should write about that for one of your next posts.
  8. When it comes to kids wanting to dye their hair (any color) or pierce their cartilage or nose when they’re in middle or high school, would you let your child do that? Why or why not?
  9. When it comes to planners, what do you do? Do you use a bullet journal, Erin Condren, Filofax, etc? Or if you don’t use one of those, take a few minutes to research them all and tell me what you would like to start using.
  10. What was your favorite nonfiction book that you read in 2015? How did you find it? Who wrote it? What was it about?

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I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know about my blogging life and history. I can’t wait to hear your answers to my questions!

Blogging… Why?

Everyone seems to love writing about why they started blogging. That’s not what I’m doing here. I want to talk with you about why I continue blogging. Why I haven’t stopped yet.


I look back at dates when posts have gone up, and I feel as though I’ve failed my readers.

I haven’t really had true posts of my own go up, with any regularity, in quite a while. Anything of worth that went up, was probably from someone else. Or it was part of a challenge that someone tagged me in. So I’m feeling a bit like I’ve neglected this blog. In reality, I was overwhelmed with schoolwork and simply didn’t had the time to sit down and put the effort that I wanted to into posts.

But now that it’s Winter Break, and I’ve decided that I’m taking a break from school because I want to figure things out with my wrist, hopefully I can do some post planning and get things rolling again. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I will have posts go up every Thursday or something like that, because there are going to be things that get in the way. I don’t want to tell you that and then break the “promise” within a few weeks.


Over the years, blogging became a form of self-therapy for me. I tend to come back and write my way through things when they they get overwhelming or stressful. I haven’t done that too much recently, but hopefully that’ll change in the new year.

Because I sometimes post about what I’m going through with my mental illness, it lets people know that they’re not alone. I know that if I was in a position where I had just been given a mental illness diagnosis, I would probably be searching for other people who are in my same shoes so I could see how they’re handling everything.

Blogging gives me a chance to meet and connect with other people. Sometimes those people are in other countries. One of my good friends, who has guest posted here on CoffeeTattoos, is in Australia. Another wonderful girl that I have connected with over blogging is in the UK. This is something that can connect you with people all over the place. You don’t have to be within driving distance of your blogger friends. It’s great!

By occasionally writing and posting about different topics, I have the chance to explore different perspectives , both through my research and through other people leaving comments. It’s something that can be eye-opening – if it’s something you hadn’t thought about, to it can be irritating/angering – if someone is so set in their opinion that they’re just telling you you’re wrong, or it can spark a debate – when someone comments with their opinion just to share what they believe.

One of the last reasons that I love blogging so much is that it gives me a chance to explore different topics for

That’s Not What I Want to Hear…

About a week ago I went to my doctor, and I was told that I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CT). This diagnosis has kind of brought me down, because it’s one of the leading causes that interpreters leave the field.

There’s a surgery that can be done, but I have people at church giving me conflicting opinions about it. Some are telling me to go do it, that both of them did it and it’s been fantastic. Someone else told me that their wife did it a couple years ago and hasn’t had an issue since. Then I went back later the same day for handbells, talked to other people about it, and was told to absolutely not do it, do everything I can do avoid the surgery.

Because of those conflicting opinions, I’ve been struggling with what I’m going to do.

The ladies at handbells told me to soak my arm, up to my elbow, in ice. Well, I tried that… And I can definitively say, that is NOT something that I ever want to do again! I don’t understand how it can be good for me. I might love interpreting, but I don’t love it that much…

So, because CT is one of the biggest things that pushes interpreters out of the field, I came up with a back-up plan.

If I feel that I have to back out of interpreting, I will likely do something in the administrative/secretarial field. My mom has done work like that for longer than I have been alive. I have seen the things that she does, and I can do a lot of the same things. I’m good at them, and it’s not something that I feel like I would easily get bored of doing.

I’m supposed to be going to see an orthopedist in January about my CT. I just want to see what his opinion is, and what he thinks I should be doing. This is because I want an opinion of a doctor who has dealt with something like this in more detail than just a physician’s assistant at my primary car’s office, and because of the conflicting opinions I’ve gotten at church.

When I have more information, I will update you all. But for now, I’m just pushing forward with a brace on my wrist and hope that things will get better.

Feeling Quite Overwhelmed

As I think I’ve said before, I’m majoring in American Sign Language Interpreting. Really I’ve been saying that for several years now. But as of this semester, I’m actually in the Interpreting program at my school. And being in the program has presented me with more work than I’m used to.

I have chapters to read and a paragraph to read due every Monday for J. I have video assignments due every Tuesday, and I have chapter papers/videos due every Thursday for KT. And I have work for another class that’s due on Thursdays for N – that stuff I haven’t even looked at yet because that teacher isn’t being strict about deadlines yet. So I’m planning to start that work this weekend. I also have the sporadic projects for L that have to get done. One of which she assigned when she cancelled class on Tuesday and was due on Wednesday before midnight.

I’m trying to figure out how to juggle all the work that I have to get it done by due dates. Especially because KT and N (and I think L) can be strict about them. J said she practically hands them out like candy – you just have to ask. 

I honestly haven’t carried a true full course load since my very first semester in college. I forgot how freaking difficult it is. Many nights, I’m looking at my planner at all the work I have to do and I start feeling like I can’t do it all. For an outsider to look at it, it probably doesn’t look to bad. But I know how much time is required to get everything done. Just to do have of one assignment for KT’s class took me and a friend hours longer than it probably should have.

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This is what we looked like after staying up wayyy too late working on interpreting homework

The work is decidedly more intense now than it has been in the past. There so much that I have to keep track of that I had to assign each class a different color (as seen above) so I can see what’s what.

The chapter’s for J’s class are interesting – or at least one of the books doesn’t make me want to fall asleep.
The video assignments for KT’s class are time-consuming, but I do feel better about myself when I finally understand what the signer said.
The chapter’s for KT’s class are better than they could be. It just becomes difficult when we have to record a 3-4 minute video rather than write a 3-4 page paper.
The video work for N’s class is similar to to the video assignments for KT’s class, except that they’re done in spoken English rather than in ASL.
The work for L’s class is different than the others. It’s less time-consuming, in some aspects. There are projects to do, homework videos to film, and Deaf events that we have to go to – but they aren’t handed out every single class.

I have a paper to write this semester where I have to interview an interpreter about their mental and linguistic processes when interpreting for N’s class. For that paper I’m interviewing the on-campus interpreter who teaches linguistics which I took this past spring semester. She’s phenomenal! I have a paper to write for J’s class about which we can choose our own topic – I want to do the requirements and certifications for interpreters in different states since I know two interpreters in states aside from mine, one in TN and one in HI.

M&J fear quote

Even though I’m overwhelmed with work and scared that I’ll never be as skilled as I want to be, I’m not going to give up and quit the interpreting program. I’m absolutely not doing that. I know that there’s a desperate need for interpreters, and I want to help – although I can’t every say that to a Deaf person (but that’s a possible post for another day). It’s just overwhelmingly difficult and work-heavy right now. Granted, that probably won’t change in the near future, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t adjust to it in time. It’s going to take time to get to where I’m actually able to interpret.

Preventing Bipolar Relapse – Necessary Adjustments to Daily Life with Bipolar Disorder

So, I have this book called Preventing Bipolar Relapse.

There are tons of tips and tricks in the book and ideas and suggestions of things to do in your daily routine that can help ‘prevent bipolar relapse’. I don’t know that I would say I’m at the point that I’m trying to prevent relapse right now so much as manage my bipolar disorder. But the book is still helpful nonetheless.

There are different types of medications:

  • mood stabilizers
  • sleep medications
  • anti-depressants
  • anti-convulsants
  • anti-psychotics

I take Seroquel, which is an (atypical) anti-psychotic (according to a google search).

There’s also something called non-adherence. It’s not something that I’ve had to deal with yet, but it can look like:

  • not re-/filling a prescription
  • stopping medication during treatment or against doctor recommendation
  • taking more/less of a medication than is prescribed
  • taking a medication with contraindicated substances
  • taking a dose of medication at the wrong time

There are ways to overcome issues that you have with your medication:

  • simplify your medication regimen
  • use reminder strategies
  • reduce your pill burden
  • involve your support system
  • manage side effects
  • always have medication on hand
  • talk to your mental health care providers

There are also things called triggers which can affect your mood.

  • alcohol
  • sleep deprivation
  • caffeine/tobacco
  • irregular daily schedule
  • illicit substances
  • medications
  • missing doses/misusing
  • lack of exercise

There are also triggers which are environmental and circumstantial:

  • excessive stimulation
  • high stress
  • season changes

Major life events:

  • relationship difficulty
  • marriage
  • going off to college
  • death
  • financial difficulties
  • changes in employment
  • moving
  • divorce/break-up
  • birth/illness of a child
  • school/work problems

Mixed states are also something that people with bipolar disorder sometimes encounter. They often feel like agitation or irritability mixed with feelings of sadness

Your sleep can also be affected. Insomnia is a frequent issue:

  • daytime sleepiness
  • worry/frustration about sleep
  • cognitive impairment
  • extreme mood changes/irritability
  • lack of energy/motivation
  • poor performance at school/work
  • tension headaches/stomachaches

Some frequent causes of insomnia:

  • too much activity before bedtime
  • doing other activities in bed other than sleeping
  • using substances that disturb your sleep
  • taking naps

There are ways of beating insomnia:

  • keeping regular hours
  • creating a restful sleep environment
  • making sure you’re in a comfy bed
  • exercise regularly
  • less caffeine
  • don’t overindulge
  • don’t smoke
  • relax before going to bed
  • write away your worries
  • don’t worry in bed

Nutrition is also a big thing when dealing with bipolar disorder. Some things to keep in mind:

  • balance calories
  • enjoy your food but eat less
  • avoid oversized portions
  • eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains
  • make half your plate fruits and veggies
  • switch to low-fat dairy products
  • make half your grains whole grains
  • minimize your intake of solid fats, added sugars, and salt
  • compare sodium in foods
  • drink water instead of sugary drinks

Activity is also a big thing. There are lots of excuses:

  • lack of time
  • lack of energy
  • lack of enjoyment
  • lack of money
  • lack of child care
  • lack of company
  • lack of success
  • bipolar symptoms

However, there are simple ways of increasing your activity level:

  • park further from the door when running errands
  • take the stairs not the elevator
  • longer dog walks
  • walking/marching in place during commercials
  • use out-of-the-way bathroom, copier, or watercooler
  • take 10-15 minute walk breaks every hour or two
  • do errands on foot/bike
  • wash your car yourself
  • learn to do DIY projects at home

When it comes to people, there are different kinds of support:

  • Emotional
  • Group
  • Material
  • Treatment
  • Financial
  • Employer
  • Crisis

When it comes to asking for help, there are seven steps to remember:

  1. Choose whom to ask for help by considering each person’s ability to provide what you need
  2. Do it in a quiet place at a time when you’re not likely to be distracted
  3. Explain your position with statements beginning with “I need” or “I feel”
  4. Be specific about what you need
  5. Give the person the opportunity to ask questions
  6. If the person is willing to help, thank him/her for the offer
    If not, thank him/her for giving it some consideration
  7. Remember to thank the person or people who helped you

The two kind of support that are the most important to me are:

  • Emotional
    • Someone who understand you well, understands bipolar disorder, and will not judge you for needing support. Having someone to call in the middle of the night when you’re feeling anxious or afraid or simply cannot sleep is what having good emotional support looks like.
  • Treatment
    • Encouragement to follow your treatment plan as outlined by your mental health care provider, as well as encouragement to follow the recommendations regarding sleep, nutrition, and activity in the book.

I have a friend who is new to this whole thing and is still trying to get a grasp on it. So I gave them these notes to look over. When they had finished I told them what I wanted/needed from them in terms of support. All I’m asking of them is to be someone to talk to when I need an ear; but if it’s a bad time, or they’re busy, I need them to tell me “not right now” or ask “can we do this later/when I get home?” When it comes to treatment, if they know I had a bad day, just double check with me that I took my meds at night. And also to follow up with me after I have appointments so that they’re aware of any medication changes.

Really, I’m not asking very much of this person. And what I am asking of them can honestly be done completely over text messages when necessary. Obviously seeing them will be needed sometimes, but not on a constant basis.

I’m Enjoying Myself Right Now.. Am I Really Depressed?

I’22f4637m struggling.

There… I said it.

Getting up out of bed isn’t easy.
Getting dressed isn’t easy.
Reminding myself to eat isn’t easy.
Functioning like a normal person isn’t easy.

I don’t like this. I want to fight it off, but I can’t. I don’t have the energy for it. I’ve been like this for longer than want to admit. I don’t tell anyone because I don’t want to be a burden on them. I don’t tell people because I don’t like the feeling of knowing that people are worried about me.

I pretend to be okay all day long. I don’t want people to think there’s something wrong with me.

sad_emoticon_cryBut when I’m alone at night, when I know that everyone else has gone to bed. That’s when I take off the mask. That’s when I give up on trying to keep it together. Most nights I cry. I couldn’t tell you why if you asked. I just know that something’s wrong and I can’t do anything but cry.

I lay awake in my bed, under my blanket, unable to sleep. I turn on Netflix and find something to watch. Just to pass the time. I really don’t want to spend half the night just staring at the ceiling. I would rather have something to focus on than letting the thoughts roll around in my head. That can get to be dangerous. Especially because I start thinking about what would happen if I relapsed to self-harm.

The other night I was absolutely miserable. I was pretty sure that I was going to cry myself to sleep. I text a couple friends (one in NC and one in AL) but only one responded. So she and I talked for probably over an hour. I was telling her about how I basically don’t get hugs from anyone anymore. And I feel awkward asking for them, so most times I just keep my mouth shut and go without human contact. Which for me isn’t exactly easy, or comfortable. I was convinced that there’s something wrong with me. She kept telling me that there isn’t. I don’t think I ever fully believed her, or even do now.

That’s the thing when I’m struggling. I don’t believe things that people tell me. Even if somewhere inside me I know that they’re right.

I’m sinking back into myself. Isolating myself more and more. Completely faking it when I’m around people. Pretending like I’m enjoying myself. Laughing when I’m supposed to. It’s almost like I have to think about it. It’s more than the very minimal functioning that I want to do. The minimal functioning that I can get through and not feel completely exhausted.

resized_all-the-things-meme-generator-participate-in-all-the-class-discussions-f2ee6bSure, I have my moments where I really do enjoy myself. Like in my comparative linguistics class at school. The teacher is hilarious and down to earth, and all the other students come from all kinds of backgrounds so they have different perspectives. It’s so much fun to listen to the discussions even if I don’t really have anything to add. I chime in here and there, and discussions keep going.

It’s those moments when I question if I’m just making everything up. All the negative stuff that I’m dealing with. Is it all read? Or am I just imagining it? I mean, if I really am enjoying myself and having fun and laughing right now, is it seriously possible that I’m depressed?

Yes, it is. I’m what I like to call functionally depressed. I can still function, but I have my moments when I just can’t. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Everybody’s different. I have to keep reminding myself of that. There is no one uniform look for any mental illness. It’s possible to enjoy myself in a certain situation and be miserable half an hour later when I’m not there anymore.

I’m walking my path, not anyone else’s. What I go through is real. I can’t deny that. My story is my own. And I need to own that, however difficult it may be.

Hope: Guest Post by @jcahannigan

I remember watching Hope Floats over and over again when I was sixteen. I’d just had a surgery on my hip, knee, and ankle. My parents had moved my bed to the family room so I wouldn’t have to do the stairs; I couldn’t walk and it was summer time. In hindsight, I was likely a little depressed about having to take time out of my busy schedule as a teenager to recover from yet another surgery.

So, I watched Hope Floats, emerging myself in the plot and the characters, crying with them and hurting with them…absorbing these little lessons that I couldn’t understand back then and barely understand now. I must have watched that video a hundred times that summer.

That movie wasn’t new: it was  VHS. You remember those, right? The kind you had to rewind before watching. I kept watching it over and over again for that one line, when Sandra Bullock’s character says: “Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that sounds. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.”

That resonated with me, and it stays with me even now. Just give hope a chance to float. And it will. I haven’t watched that movie since that summer of recovery, I no longer remember at what point she says it (maybe at the county fair during the last five minutes?), but I can still hear the words echoing in my mind. I can still relate to it.

If you’ve never seen Hope Floats before, you’ve missed out on something. I can still vaguely remember the plot: a woman finds out that not only is her husband cheating on her, but he’s cheating on her with her best friend. She finds this out while on national television, in front of their daughter. So, she returns home with her daughter to live with her mom. A variety of things happen to her, some more traumatic than others, and she struggles to keep hope. It’s so easy for us to fall victim to our circumstances and become bitter and jaded. Sandra’s character could have easily become bitter and jaded, but in the end she walks alway with the knowledge that hope floats.

When I’m struggling, when things feel so impossible and heavy..I think about that movie, that line, and I cling to it. Hope makes me feel better. Hope lifts me up with the darkness tries to consume me. I don’t let myself become bitter and jaded.

I have hope that I won’t always struggle. I have hope that the hard day will end and dawn will come with a new day and new possibilities. Each day is a new beginning, a new chapter. You don’t have to give into the fear and anxiety of the unknown; if you have faith, if you let hope float, you’ll come out alright.

I try to start out each day with a clean slate by saying; I have hope that today will be incredible. It usually works, and when it doesn’t…I take comfort in the knowledge that tomorrow is a new day. It’s not fool proof by any mean, but having hope helps. I try to to live in the sadness and slights of yesterday.

Hope is easy to have, you know. We are guilty of trying to stomp out our hope because it “isn’t practical”; but hope is practical. it’s natural. You just close your eyes and reach out a little to feel it. Sometimes, if you’ve been stomping out your hope for a while, it takes a little more stretching to reach…but it’s there. This is why disappointment weights heavy on our minds and hearts; because you had hope, and it didn’t work out the way you wanted. But that doesn’t mean you should stop hoping.

So keep hope; and the easiest way to keep hope is let go, close your eyes, reach out and feel it. Open your eyes to beauty and goodness and know that the sun rises each morning, just as surely as it sets in the evening; darkness is only temporary.

Jessie DavisBIO: J.C. Hanging lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, their two sons and two dogs. She writes new adult romance, through which she brings to light awareness of mental health and social challenges. Like any good Canadian, she loves hiking and carbs. Collide is her first novel.

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Update + My Thoughts

I finally have an appointment with a psychiatrist! Even better is that it’s the one I really wanted to see. Granted the appointment isn’t for a couple weeks, I still got in. And that’s the point.

I now have time to pull together all the medications I’ve been on, thev dosages, the side effects, etc.

I’ve also started a mood journal at the suggestion of a friend in Canada who’s also bipolar. She dates and times all her entries. Date totally makes sense because otherwise you’d have no clue when anything was written. Time can come in handy because certain moods may be more common at certain times of day.

I also want to be able to keep track of my moods so that when I go in for my pdoc appt, I have a record of things to show him.

It’ll make me look like I care about what’s happening to me. And it’s proactive. Meaning I did it without a doctor telling me to.

I’ve also started taking magnesium and fish oil pills in addition to my Seroquel. Hopefully the magnesium will help, alongside the Seroquel, in stabilizing my mood. The fish oil is something that can help control feelings of depression.

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I guess I’m just starting to be more proactive about everything related to my mental health in general. Which is a good thing. No one knows what kind of things I’m going through except me, so I have to be the one to speak up.

It’s also important that I pay attention to what’s happening to me, emotionally and physically, because, again, no one else knows but me. Amd looking back I can also “attempt” to analyze what was happening in my head at the time. It seems like it’ll work so long as I can keep up with it. These two weeks are a trial for me in a sense. To see if I can do it. To see what it takes to keep this mood journal going. Hopefully it’s something, that like Nicole of The Lithium Chronicles, I can keep going successfully.

For now, I’m just trying to keep things organized and under control the best that I can. So please cross your fingers, and pray, and send good thoughts my way. Thank you.