On Mental Health

Hello, and what the fuck is going on.

What is transitioning back to “regular/real life (??)”

And do I even want it???

I am not speaking for the collective we, because I know some people did fuck all during the pandemic to “slow the spread” (I fully expect to see my future fifth grade child make some awful history unit diorama on the 2020 pandemic with a little clay man holding a sign that says this).

I am just speaking for me.

I spent over a year inside. I spent almost 400 days seeing the same 4 people (with tiny treats seeing anyone else and I was BEYOND privileged to get to do that). I binge-watched every episode of The Crown, plowed my way through Michael Douglas and Al Pacino’s oeuvres, cooked fancy meals, defrosted tater tots, stopped eating, worked five days a week while mass chaos ensued, called my therapist, went for long walks around the neighborhood, had family die, continued to do every day that wasn’t Sunday, drifted apart from friends, stopped working, called my Grandma more than I ever have in my life, went further into debt than I ever have in my life, still had to work, learned how to give myself a fucking fantastic manicure, gave up on laundry, filled my apartment with plants, acted as a therapist to my parents, got in fights with my sister, drove down PCH blasting showtunes with my boyfriend and convinced and unconvinced myself that I should get a dog like 15 different times.

And now, New York is back, baby!

Or so I’ve heard.

I don’t fucking live there.

But over here in LA life is resuming too. People are going into the office. Or at the very least, going to indoor malls. We’re seeing our friends again. We are going to bars. Some of us are finally going on vacation and posting bikini pics WITHOUT a caption to justify the action!

So why does the whole thing kind of feel like shit?

I’m delighted that I get to see more of my friends again. I can actually go see my grandma and worry less that I am going to kill her! I’ve started taking pilates classes (with a mask on) and on June 15 the mask is coming off.

But a lot of things look and feel different to me and it’s making me fucking uncomfortable to pretend that I am eager to enjoy them.

I’m scared, dude!!!!

I grieved my 2019 existence for over a year. What am I supposed to do now? Dig it up out of its grave and dust it off? That version of me died and didn’t get a funeral (like my step Grandma!) and I’ve been struggling to make up for the loss.

I had a social life and now I’m at square one. I was having fun and now I’m at square one. I felt secure with what I wanted my life to look like and now I’m at square one.

It doesn’t help that this shit started when I was 26 and now I am going to be 28.

The only good thing about being 27 was that I survived.

But I also don’t have the same wants that I did when I was 26 (naturally). However, I also don’t have the same wants that I did when it seemed like the 5 second rule applied to dropping food on a table.

Now it’s like, how the fuck did I ever eat food that I dropped on a public table that hadn’t been cleaned?? That other people sneezed on or wiped their ass on (idk what people do, I’m just saying)???

Like what the fuck, who was that and why did she not fear for her life then???

Someone hit the play button on the world (LOL just the U.S.) and it’s all so loud and fast.

I feel 10000000 steps behind and at this point I can’t tell if I want to try to keep up or just quit.

I’d start a new life and move to the desert but I don’t think the man I live with and love very much would appreciate that.

This was traumatic. 2020 through now. The world has PTSD. Why are we just moving forward and not dealing with it?

Logically, I know I have the choice to opt out. I could sit at home and do more therapy and see people in little bits and work my way up to something sort of like comfortability.

But life will blast past me.

I will feel even more steps behind.

I could throw up.

I don’t even know really why I am writing this. I guess to see if anyone else feels this way? If anyone wants to talk about it? Just so someone knows that they are not alone. Including me.

If you spent the pandemic doing everything that you could and it fucked your mental health and now you feel painfully emotionally slow while everyone is blasting past you to enjoy life and you feel like you can’t or don’t….I am right here with you.

2021 doesn’t have to be a botch if we treat ourselves right. We just have to figure out what that means. And I won’t make any more depressing posts. I swear. (Maybe.)

Hopefully we can add some cham to all our pain….

like champagne

get it?

that was stupid.

Anyway

see you on the bull at Saddle Ranch!

x

Vitality

Like probably most people you’ve ever met (whether you know it or not), I too struggle with mental health issues.

Although I am incredibly happy for the people who have said that 2020 and the slow beginnings of 2021 have been “the best year of their lives,” I do not feel this way. Maybe I am fooling myself, but I feel like most people do not feel this way? And the people who are saying this are people who extremely needed a break from something in their lives and used this time where the world slowed down to take it.

For me, it was full of suffering.

JK

But actually. It sucked. My mental health has sucked. I had JUST started seeing a new therapist before the pandemic hit and before we could even get to the mashed potato brains of it all, I felt like I needed to talk about my fears with the pandemic 99% of the time before the real stuff even got addressed.

This year and a half I have felt fragile and weak and unsafe and at sea with myself.

I’ve rarely been alone.

I can’t imagine how this must have been for people who feel like I have been feeling and have been alone.

And yes, there are millions of people who have had it much, much worse.

During a recent conversation with my therapist, we discussed finding vitality in everyday life and what it means— or could mean, to me.

For all the time that I have spent feeling like I was actively breaking apart, I want to find resilience again in the dawn of….something. I want my post-pandemic world independence to be focused on activities that do not drain me but rather fill me with strength.

I just googled the definition of “vitality.”

It means: the state of being strong and active; energy.

Similarly: the power giving continuance of life, present in all living things.

My therapist gave me an example from her own life. She said that having a cup of coffee with milk every morning gives her a sense of vitality.

My two coffees-a-day habit has had me feeling extra jittery as of late and after a recent doctor’s visit, I was advised to no longer consume dairy! So there goes that example.

But I digress.

At the risk of sounding like that “every day I put on my silly little outfit and do my silly little tasks” meme, here are the things that give me a sense of vitality:

(Editor’s note: most of these things sound simple but I don’t think things that give you a sense of strength and energy necessarily need to always be hard. Also, everyone’s can be different. These thoughts are my own.)

  • Being prepared. Nothing fills me with a greater sense of self care than having a jacket in the car for when it’s cold, sunscreen on my body whenever I step outside of my house, tampons at the ready in my bathroom at LEAST a week before. Showing myself love like this makes me feel strong.
  • Walking in the sun. I feel healthy and good when I am outside taking steps in the daylight.
  • Having clean sheets and pillow cases on the bed every week.
  • Going to yoga on the beach every Saturday. It hit me the third week of going how much I love this weekly activity and how much it replenishes my spirit. I was in a pose where my heart was cracked open towards the water and I couldn’t help but think of the Kurt Vonnegut quote, “if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
  • Doing my makeup. I am not a woman who feels better bare-faced. Surviving a global pandemic did not change this. I don’t hate my face. I love my face! Painting it with makeup feels like appreciating it. It’s like putting the “Happy Birthday” icing on a cake to me. The ritual application of products with brushes is also soooo soothing.
  • Reading in the morning instead of looking at my phone.
  • Cooking my boyfriend and I a nice dinner. This makes me feel cozy and good. However, sometimes I am too tired to cook. So, I am learning to appreciate the days where I feel up to this.
  • Traveling by myself. I have been writing little iPhone notes to myself with trip ideas. Last night I decided that this fall I want to go leaf-peeping on the east coast and stay in a cozy little hotel. In my future visions I am wearing a down vest and a flannel. I know this might seem silly. I told my boyfriend about it and he laughed. I used to travel all the time and it made me feel independent and whole. Once upon a time, in another life, someone very close to me made the keen observation that I don’t like staying put for very long. I have a curiosity for the world around me. I think part of the reason I have felt so stir-crazy is because I have been physically confined to Los Angeles and not allowed myself to travel (and for good reason! it’s not like I was denying myself cross country trips just for fun). But in the coming months/years/decades/whatever, traveling more is something I know will give me hope/energy.

I am sure there are more tiny little things like this that make me feel strong. Things that throughout my days hopefully I will notice and realize that they contribute to my soul’s growing resilience.

I want to close this by saying, it is okay to feel weak sometimes. It is okay to feel unmoored. You are still strong. Find little things that anchor you. Find small joys in every day life that contribute to your sense of well-being and vitality.

You can do it.

I trust you.

xx