Someone to Care

I often times find myself uncaring.  I don’t care about anything, but more like I have lost my ability to care. I just want everything to go away. I wish I could care but I can’t find and don’t have the energy to and I can’t find the motivation to care about anything. When you’re at this point, no one understands that you’re just trying to care about yourself, even a little bit and you can’t.

It’s like you go numb and you can’t feel anything. You can’t feel pleasure but you also can’t feel pain. The only thing you can do at this point is exist; you can only survive. You hope for the days when you feel better; when you don’t feel as numb. And you hate the days of continuing numbness because they feel like they will never end.

Sometimes I just need someone to care for me when I can’t. Sometimes I need someone to show my that I am important. I need to be shown that I am loved and cared for. It’s scary when you can’t feel anything; when you can’t even care about yourself. Sometimes I need someone to tell me that I am important and that I have a purpose.

Lately, I’ve been feeling less uncaring. Lately, I have found my passion and my purpose. Right now, I am letting this drive me because I know that if I didn’t, I would end up back in that circle of uncaring. So find your passion and let it drive you. Use it as your strength and know that someone does care for you. I might not know you, but I care for you and I empathize with your journey because it is not an easy one. But you will get through it and you will get better; just stick with it and remember, I care.

The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee

I mentioned learning about The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee or IBSC in my last post. Here is a poem I wrote describing the IBSC.

The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee by Talia Malon

There is a little committee in my mind
Which always, always likes to find
The pieces inside of me to hate
The broken pieces that seem to late
to fix, to mend, they’re broken too soon
these pieces of me will have to do.

This Itty Bitty Shitty Committee
Likes to tell me what to think
It likes to watch me fall and sink
Into the darkness, into the gloom
this committee likes to tell me what to do
It lies and lies and lies again
I can’t ever seem to find the end

The struggle inside of my mind
goes on and on until I cry
I cry for it all to end
I cry because I have no friends
This committee pushes people away
they always go, they never stay

I hate the way I think and feel
This committee, I know is not real
I fight to make it go away
I fight to live another day
I will win this war, or fall instead
I will win this war, it’s all I have

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness month. So I am trying my best to make that awareness known. I am excited to be speaking to three church congregations about my journey and how they can help those with mental illness. I’m also extremely nervous to start public speaking but I’m hoping that these first three speeches will lead to bigger and better things. As Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I guess speaking could be considered a second step, with this blog being the first.

Mental health is a serious matter, whether you suffer from an illness or not. It is always good to care for your mental state and your emotions. Being aware of your feelings and emotions makes you more in tune with yourself.

So in honor of mental health month, I’m going to ask you to wear a green ribbon whether it’s your mental health or in honor of a friend or family member. And when asked about it, explain why you wear that ribbon. There is no shame in mental health. Spread the word!!

May Mental Health Month Slideshow Final_0

To My Parents

To my Parents:

I write this after having blown up at you and accusing you of not caring about my mental health on Easter. I am sorry that this occurred on a holiday. Especially a holiday spent with the family, but I have to acknowledge that it is something that would have occurred sooner or later.

Often times, I feel like you don’t care about my mental health. And honestly, the fact that I haven’t heard from you since that day, after accusing you of not caring, only reinforces that opinion.  I’m struggling all by myself and it feels like you have no idea, nor do you care what I’m going through. You don’t realize that the smallest thing could trigger me, like it did on Easter.

Lately, I have been feeling like you’ve only been taking my mental health halfway seriously. It frustrates me because you can’t or you refuse to see what I’m struggling with daily. It bothers me when you make fun of me for doing my dishes for the first time in over a month, because I look at that as a positive. Yes, I should be doing my dishes daily, but right now that’s not a goal I can convincingly set for myself, so in all reality, I’m very proud of the fact that I did my dishes despite wanting to just lay in bed. Many days I have to be proud of the fact that I even managed to get out of bed.

I wish you would/could understand what I’m going through and where I’m coming from. Sometimes my brain is not my own. It is often taken over and controlled by my depression and all I can do is try my hardest to fight something that’s been deeply ingrained in myself for so long. I am trying to change. I am trying to use my coping skills and learn how to redirect my thoughts, but something that’s been so natural for me and so repetitively taught for years, will take years to undo.

When I call you, it’s often not because I want to talk to my ‘parent’. I’m 24 and live on my own, and while I often would like advice from your vast experiences, I will ask when I want advice. I may still be your daughter, but I also have my own life now. When I call you now, it’s because I want to talk to you. It’s because I need to talk to someone and because I have only one friend, I know I can turn to you for support and care.

Right now, I don’t need a parent. Right now, what I need and want is a friend. I will always be your ‘little’ girl, but I’m not so little anymore. I want you to look at me and be proud of what I’ve become and what I’ve done in my life so far. I know it’s not what we originally thought would happen, but as you believe, ‘all things happen for a reason’.

I need you to realize that I’m not the person I was, but I’m hoping to become a stronger person than I am. All I want is your support and it frustrates me that you say things in family sessions but then don’t follow through Some things will never change, and in some ways, I’m still that little girl who needs her parents, but in another I’m a grown up who has taken control of her own life. All I ask is for patience, understanding and support.

Despite the fact that you don’t understand and don’t know how to react to the person I am currently, I love you.

Prove It

Another’s Perspective

I must preface this post by saying it is written by my best friend. He’s the one who has been there for me through everything. So here is his perspective on my (Talia’s) mental illness.

I have never been diagnosed with depression.  I don’t believe I am a true depressive.  In fact I consider myself a relatively happy person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my bad days.  We all have our bad days.  I may not be a depressive, but I am the friend that Talia has described as her supporter.  While I do not claim to have an understanding of what it is like to suffer from depression, I do feel like Talia has taught me a lot on her journey.  Recently, I’ve had a string of bad days and I felt like getting my thoughts onto paper may just help.

I don’t know exactly what it’s like to wake up every day and struggle to find the motivation to get out of bed.  I don’t know what it’s like to look at a situation and have an uncontrollable part of my brain make me think the absolute worst thing about it.  I don’t often question to myself what the point of trying is.  I don’t have this mental illness that consumes the logical part of my brain and spreads like a cancer, telling me I’m worthless and things will never get better.  I know the “string of bad days” that I have aren’t anywhere near what true depression is and that scares the HELL out of me.  I feel terrible as I write this and can’t even imagine what I would feel like if I did have depression.  I respect and love anyone who has to deal with these feelings everyday of their lives and that’s why I’ve remained loyal to and supportive of Talia.  No matter how many scientific articles you read, or how many stories you hear, a non-depressive will never be able to fully understand exactly what it’s like.  But they can get a decent knowledge and that could just lead you to be the supporter of a depressive.

For me, it’s a weird journey.  I have a lot of “normal” days.  I wake up, shower, get dressed and go to work.  I do the humanly thing and say “I don’t want to go to work today,” but that seems like nothing other than social expectations anymore.  Despite the fact that I do have a lot to be thankful for, such as breath in my lungs, a roof over my head or food on the table, it’s easy to find myself in a string of “bad days.”  The last two weeks have been a string for the ages.  I took a two day trip to St. Louis and had a ball, but when I returned to work the figurative snow started to fall.  I manage a store and am responsible for making sure it operates as it should to conduct business.  My first day back, I had a clerk call off due to a sick child.  We are a small store and she was the only one scheduled that day so I was forced to work by myself from 4 AM until 3 PM.  It wasn’t all that bad, but it was enough to get a little stressed.  That was when the figurative snowball was first packed.  I worked a 14 hour shift the next day.  That was when the figurative snowball was gently pushed over the edge of the hill.  Another clerk called off the following day and I was forced to work by myself again.  That figurative snowball was gaining momentum and it just kept going.  By Friday, five days after returning from St. Louis, the original clerk had her other child get sick.  So it was another day working by myself.  The weekend didn’t bring any improvements.  Three of my five staff were off due to requests that had been approved before we had lost a person.  To reward their work, I felt the need to fulfill their requests not knowing that the week was going to be hell.  Things at work just kept piling up and before I knew it, I had worked at least 12 hours for 10 straight days.

I was mentally drained.  That figurative snowball I mentioned previously had grown.  All it took was that one call-off to set things in motion.  At a point, my niece asked why the CD I was trying to play in the car kept getting spit back out.  As I told her that the CD player was just worn out and starting to lose function, the thought of having to replace my car soon entered my head.  I got this car my senior year of high school, twelve years ago.  It’s beginning its last leg.  I currently live with my sister, unable to afford my own place at 29 years old due to a crippling amount of student loan debt for a degree I may never use.  I’ve been working hard at paying down my other bills and saving money to free up funds to afford other life necessities, such as my own place.  Soon, I’ll have to make the decision of getting a new car or moving out on my own.  Of course it’s not really a choice at all; the car would win out and I’d be left living with my sister and her family.  I sit here writing this after day thirteen in a row at work, missing four days off over the course of the last two weeks and the thoughts just keep piling up.  I’m not content with where I’m at in life and I don’t feel as though the opportunities to correct it are there.  I can’t find a job worth leaving my current one, I can’t seem to find anyone to date and I don’t get to enjoy time off.

The point I wanted to make with that story is that we all have our “tough times”.  Have you ever missed a promotion at work?  Ever gotten called in on your day off? You feel helpless and let yourself get down.  Multiply that feeling by ten and you’d know how I feel right now, knowing why I feel terrible about myself.  Now take that feeling and multiply it by a million and you might just see what a depressive feels like EVERY day of their lives without having a clue as to why.  So take a moment before you make a comment to somebody suffering from depression.  It’s not quite as easy as “brushing it off.”  I’m having trouble picking myself up and I know why I’m down.  A depressive can’t fathom what it will take to bring them back and have no clue where to start.

I support Talia fully, no matter what.  Even though I have feelings similar to that of hers, I still have trouble remembering that her thoughts of worst case scenario are not by choice.  I get frustrated talking with her.  I get angry sometimes and just want to explode.  But I take a moment to remember how I’ve felt and how she must feel; a million times worse.  I take solace in knowing that I can be there for her.  No matter what.

If you know someone with depression, take the time to educate yourself.  Listen to them, no matter how frustrating it can be, and give them a shoulder to cry on.  Don’t bother asking them what’s wrong because they probably don’t know.  Just let them talk.  Be their supporter.  You could be the only motivation they have to do anything.

Love

How can anyone love me? What is there to love? I can’t even like myself. How can someone like me, care for me, love me, when I can’t even love myself? What do they see in me that I can’t find? Do I even deserve love?

These are questions that I wrestle with daily. I had great examples of functioning relationships while growing up. My grandparents, family members, but especially my parents showed me what a working, functioning relationship should look like. I know that life isn’t about riding off into the sunset after the wedding and I know that happy endings are always happy every day, but no relationship is perfect and you have to be willing to work to maintain a relationship.

Is it because I’m too hard on myself?

This is another question I wrestle with. I know in my head that I am a pretty awesome person. I have great ideas and plans. I am a nice person and I’m always willing to help others, but knowing and believing are two very different things. I have a hard time believing in myself and I’ve had enough situations occur where I’ve felt unwanted that today it baffles me when someone shows an interest in me.

What do they see that so many others can’t?

I have the hardest time making friends, so it’s difficult for me to believe that someone could fall in love with me. My dad used to say that he would say “good luck” to any guy that asks for my hand in marriage. And while I understand why he would say that, because I know I can be a handful, it still hurts to hear him say it.

I want love. I want a husband, a family and a home. I want to be able to come home to someone who loves me for me and I want to feel life grow inside me. And I struggle with the question who would want me, because there are days, often many of them, when I don’t even want myself because I have this little voice in my head that tells me that I’m not good enough for anyone or anything.

Right now, I have to focus on myself. If I don’t, I’ll never have a healthy relationship with someone else. I have to be more comfortable with me and everything that entails. I have to be comfortable knowing that I’ll have my good days and my bad but that it doesn’t change who I am. I just have to remember that I am an awesome, caring, giving person who has so much to offer the world and the people who want to be in my life. And I would also like to share that with others.

I know this isn't true and I know that I will be everything one day to someone, but often I feel like I'm not enough for anyone.
I know this isn’t true and I know that I will be everything one day to someone, but often I feel like I’m not enough for anyone.

“Hey! How are you?”

One of the easiest phrases people use today is, “Hey! How are you?”. But when it comes to this question, they aren’t actually looking for a serious, honest answer. For them it’s a formality, a courtesy to get out of the way before either moving on with the conversation or walking away. For those of us with depression, ‘how are you?’, is a loaded question. Do we answer honestly? Or do we follow formality and courtesy and just say fine, all while hiding how we really feel?

Asking ‘how are you’ is the easiest question, but can actually mean so much to a person if you’re asking it honestly. Maybe you won’t like to hear the answer that they aren’t feeling well, or mentally they are struggling, but they’ll feel so much better being able to tell you the truth instead of hiding how they feel. But there are good and bad ways to ask someone if they are ok.

The first step is to ask the question, “Are you ok?” or “How are you?”. Be honest, and try to get the person to open up. Sometimes they need to talk, but don’t know what to say when confronted with the question, “how are you?”. Continue asking questions about them, and their life. You may have to work a little to earn their trust so that they will open up to you. This may be one of the hardest steps, especially if they don’t know how to respond, but it is also the most important one. It starts a conversation about the person’s mental well-being.

The second step is to listen without judgement. The first sign that the person feels like they are being judged, they will shut down and you have completely lost their trust. Don’t give advice, just listen. Just like you occasionally need to vent to someone about work, life, etc, so do they, especially because they have a disease that makes it difficult for them to be happy or see the good in their life. Also, don’t try to solve their problems. While that might be easier for you, it could be detrimental to their recovery. Depressed people have to face their problems if they’re going to get better. And let them know that you’re there for them whenever they need to talk.

The third step is to encourage action. Ask them what steps they’re taking to get better. Encourage them to see a doctor, psychiatrist, and/or therapist, if they are not already. Ask them if they need help with anything. Don’t let them become fully reliant on you for everything but help them when they’re stuck in a certain situation, environment or dilemma.

The final step is to follow up with them. Depressive people often have a hard time following through with actions that have been put in place. Try to make time for them, not so much that it interferes with your life, but enough so that they know you are thinking about them and hoping that they are taking the right steps to work through their depression.

These steps can be taken face to face, over the phone, over text or even over social media. When you are talking to them, make sure that they are the center of your attention for that moment. Take any threats of suicide seriously and get them to seek help immediately. Think carefully about what you post, or say about that person to others. It will often be seen as a breach of trust and at the very least make that person uncomfortable, especially if they haven’t gone public with their illness.

These steps are good for talking to anyone, not just a depressive or mentally ill person. So next time you say “Hey! How are you?” to someone, be genuinely interested in their answer. You never know how much of a difference that could make.

Facebook Page for R U Ok Day

R U Ok? Organization

Worthlessness

Worthlessness. This is another overwhelming feeling that many people with depression have. You feel insignificant, unloved and unvalued. This feeling is directly related to depression and your self-esteem or self worth. The writing that follows come from a journaling I did on a particularly difficult day during therapy. I wrote this while sitting in group therapy. Nothing specific triggered this feeling.

I feel worthless, like I’m not worth people’s time and attention that my problems don’t matter and aren’t worth talking about.

I don’t feel like my dream is worthwhile or that it will ever get off the ground. I feel like it’s pointless.

I don’t like myself. I don’t even know how to like myself. How can I like myself, when other people don’t even like me? I hate my life. It feels like it’s never going to change. Like things are never going to change and I’m going to be stuck like this forever. Stuck at a dead end job, with no friends, no life, nothing to look forward to. What kind of life is that? Not one that is worth living.

I want to be a priority to someone. I loved the way my one friend treated me when we hung out the other day. He was rubbing my back, putting his arm around me, and pulling me down to cuddle with him. (All of which he didn’t do when we were dating.) I’m not usually a cuddler, but perhaps that has changed. I just wish I had that all of the time. Having someone constantly in my life would be amazing, but I can’t even keep friends in my life. I just want to be cherished, loved, wanted, etc. Everything that I don’t feel now.

I want a husband, family, kids, life, etc. Despite being unconventional, I want the traditional. But I don’t feel like I’m worth it, like I deserve it. And everytime I get rejected, whether by a man or woman, it just confirms that belief. That I’m not worth time, attention, priority. And I feel like I’m never going to have what I want. I don’t have any friends except you. How am I suppose to find someone who would want to be with me? Who would actually want to be with me?

I hate feeling invisible, worthless, like I’m just a problem that no one wants to deal with. I feel like I’m just a problem that everyone wants to pretend doesn’t exist. A problem that is just swept under the rug and forgotten about. No one knows what to do with me. It’s like they just want me to go away and disappear. To not be an issue.

I hate feeling this way, but I don’t know how to fix it. I feel like these coping skills aren’t going to help. I’m trying them but I don’t feel like they’re going to make a difference when I am no longer in this program.

I guess I want things to change immediately. I want to feel different but I don’t. I still feel miserable, depressed, worthless, etc. I feel like that’s never going to change.

I feel like my problems aren’t worth talking about. It seems like the group can’t ever get to me. That my issues aren’t worth talking about and I feel like I can’t get a word in edgewise. I don’t want to interrupt and I feel like I’m just not important. Not worth talking about.

I’m not worth time, attention, priority, friends…. I’m not worth anything.

Worthless

A ‘Me’ Centric World

Today, I didn’t have the best of experiences at work. Functioning on a major lack of sleep (over 24 hours), that no medication can seem to penetrate, my mood has been very low today and my depression is definitely winning today’s fight.

My experience at work today wasn’t anything specific and nothing one wouldn’t expect from working in the customer service field, but it got me thinking. This world is so ‘me’ centric. It’s not that everyone is deliberately looking out for number one or even that it’s something that they are conscious of, but it’s an issue of today’s world in any case. It’s all about me. What I need, what I want, what is affecting me. Why are we this way? Where we raised to believe that the world revolved around ourselves or is it a personality trait that developed after years of social living?

We don’t think about others. In some aspects, we don’t care what others feel, how they feel, what they think and in other aspects, we care too much about what others think of us. In this case, I’m talking about everyday living. I’m talking about taking into consideration the issues that could be affecting other people.

Walking down the street, we don’t know that the man with the torn and baggy clothes just got the news that he has incurable cancer. We only notice that he looks sloppy and unclean. Or we don’t know that the woman who is crying on the subway just lost her husband. We’re judging her for showing a major display of emotion. We don’t know that the boy at the park is being bullied at school for his weight or that the girl walking down the street is a foster kid.

Everyone has a background story, most of which is invisible at a single glance. But most of us judge people with just that single glance. We make split second decisions about that person without speaking a word to them, without knowing them at all.

We need to consider each person’s possible background situations. After all, your history is what defines you today. It’s what has made you into the person you are right now. And who but your closest friends and family know what that history is? I certainly don’t.

All I’m asking is that you take a moment and realize that the cashier you’re yelling at because of mispriced item, might be dealing with other issues at home and that they might not have control over the fact that an item was mispriced or misplaced within the store. That the customer service rep who is trying to figure out the specific situation that has you upset is just trying to do their job. They can’t read your mind and they might not know exactly why you called, but (for the most part), they are trying to help.

I actually ran into this situation the other day at the pharmacy. I was waiting to place my order so they could fill the prescription while I shopped. I was tired, it had been a long day and I was ready to go to sleep. Suddenly, a lady stepped in front of me and asked the pharmacy assistant what the hold up was. Why wasn’t her prescription filled yet? The assistant tried to patiently explain that there were over 100 prescriptions that they were trying to fill in the queue. The lady looked at the pick up line and replied, “while why don’t you fill the prescriptions of those waiting in line first”. The assistant tried to explain that the queue was filled not only from drop-offs, but also from faxes and automated systems, so it was filled in that order but the lady got huffy and left.

I had overheard the entire conversation and while I sympathized with the lady waiting in line, I also sympathized with the pharmacy technician who had to deal with multiple people like this daily. She was just trying to do her job and while I wanted to get in and out, I smiled at her and joked with her about the situation, trying to show empathy and understanding. After all, I have been in this very situation before myself.

While rude, apathetic people will always exist in this world that doesn’t mean that it should be the norm. If more people had empathy and understanding, the world would be a nicer place. And personally, I would prefer to live in a world where people smiled at each other a little bit more. Wouldn’t you?