Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Fresh Mindset

I love food.
“Unfortunately,” says my out of shape body.
Let’s be honest. Food is delicious. I don’t like making assumptions or “speaking for everyone” without their consent, but seriously, everyone loves food. The majority of America, specifically, has surplus food and can enjoy it. They don’t have to scrounge around for it to survive. While most people enjoy consuming food, not everyone enjoys making it. Not everyone knows how to make it.
I didn’t grow up cooking or baking or even caring about doing kitchen stuff. I’ve never been sexist about it, either. As a kid I’d always see my dad doing things in the kitchen. He typically did the baking, while my mom did more of the cooking. I don’t know when I got involved with culinary activities, but whenever it started, I was hooked.
I remember getting on a cooking spree back while taking an Independent Living class in high school. We learned how to make stir fry, gravy, cookies, and all kinds of wonderful things. At some point, late on a Friday night, I decided to make an egg souffle. I’d been told over and over that souffles were difficult to make. But some part of me longed to do it. I’d never made a souffle before, but I whipped out a recipe book, acquired the ingredients, and started right in. It was a huge success and went much better than I’d anticipated. Something inside me wanted to accomplish making that souffle. Perhaps it was because I kept hearing how hard it was to make. Perhaps I thought an egg souffle sounded delicious at that moment. But mostly, I think I did it because of the voice in my head that makes me do stuff I care about.
I attribute that inner desire to the same unseen force that drives me to write, make music, and engage other creative outlets. When I see something that intrigues me, I want to do it too. I love reading. So, I write poetry and stories. I love music. So I taught myself to play guitar. I love food, so I cook.
I guess when I want to create something I’m passionate enough about, I just do it. I don’t ask any questions. It’s something I must do. That isn’t meant to sound like a braggy little shit, but it’s true. Other people get hyped about cleaning or numbers or other crap that I don’t do. But I’ve found that trying my hand at piano or homemade alfredo sauce is more than learning the skill. And being comfortable in the kitchen is more than making food. It’s about confidence. It’s about jumping into something with the possibility of it absolutely flopping.
When I’m cooking something new, it’s like the front part of my brain already sees the finished product. It doesn’t believe in failure. It doesn’t consider quitting. It doesn’t ask why I started. Then there’s a tiny part in the back of my head that reminds me things could fall apart, but I keep him quiet.
I’m learning to implement this mindset away from the stove too: the ability to walk headlong into something thinking only about success. My negative talking and doubt and fear and worry have been more damaging than I could have imagined. Here I am, falling face first into something new or nothing at all. Gallup is done. Medication has begun. I’m trying hard to save sinking grades. I’m fighting to shake the devil’s foothold. Somehow things feel upside down, but something better is utterly, undoubtedly in progress.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Give me storm clouds
Give me snow
Let me have the willingness to grow
Give me a chilly wind
Give me falling leaves
Let me hear crunching beneath my feet
Give me hot coffee
Give me just a hug
Let me hold you and it will be enough
Give me simple pleasures
Give me a peaceful death
Let me love each day, each breath

Monday, November 5, 2012

Safe Haven

It feels like nowadays I always have a lot to say all the time. There's so much running through my head. Questions, concerns, worries, ideas, hopes, and all that crap. Of course there are the stressors, as I mentioned and discussed, but I think I should address and put another issue out there.

As my blog blatantly displays, I've struggled with depression since high school. This summer I started seeking counseling for it because it has grown into a bigger, badder storm cloud this past year. And now in the past month, everything has felt so monstrous - the stress, the depression, the unknowns - that it has been affecting my routines. Keeping me from work, class, and even enjoying time with friends.

I've been talking with my counselor for some time about this and what to do about it. If you've ever seen a counselor/therapist and begin making progress, you realize that a single one hour session per week never feels like enough. Every week I look forward to Fridays. First of all, it's Friday, duh. Secondly though, my time with Dr. Brown is usually helpful and I come away feeling like I accomplished something.

As my mental rain cloud has worsened, and kept me from work and school, friends and family have recommended I think about medication. Of course, they don't want me to rely on such things. And I don't wish to be placed on meds. But if it's between me feeling this dark empty dread all day long and taking a pill to assist my brain in feeling better, I'll go with the latter.

I talked to my counselor and asked if he thought it'd be wise to see a psychiatrist. He explained his philosophy on meds and when he felt people should seek medicinal assistance.

"If a patient's condition is causing their lives to fall apart, losing job, failing school, losing friends and family, it might be time for some pills. The one exception I make is if a person's depression has hung on so long and it has worn a patient down because of its longevity." He asked me if any of this sounded applicable.

I related to the depression hanging on for a long time. The first part, I somewhat understood what he was saying. I knew that I needed to bleed out any honesty that I hadn't yet revealed.

"I can't keep going through each day dreading each moment I'm alive. Which is what I've been feeling. I sit at work boxed into a building, boxed into a cubicle, stuck inside a phone talking to people. I feel like I'm just going to explode. I'm on the brink all the time."

Something about what I said hadn't come through in previous sessions. I told him how when I come in for counseling, I feels like a wall immediately comes up in my mind. It blocks out all the things I planned on talking about and wanted to say. We discussed about how it's normal to have that mental barrier even though I feel comfortable being open and honest. My body and mind just don't agree with me, I guess. At the end of the session, Dr. Brown handed me a card referring me to a psychiatrist to seek further help for depression as well as ADD. I have an appointment on Wednesday.

Last night I dreamed that I got put on medication and it caused me to see the devil. I think a part of me is nervous. The other part is hopeful that maybe I'll get the help I need to function better.

As of now, I'm focusing on helping CVA with their play. I think it's healthy for me. I need to do it. I don't know what else to do. I didn't work much last week, not yesterday, and not today. I feel like I'm free falling out of everything normal and stable. The medications will not be my answers. I keep looking to Jesus. He and I talk, not enough maybe, but something is happening. I think He's pulling me to where I need to be. Somehow things are working out. I feel them. Maybe that safe place isn't working at Gallup or going to Union or living in Lincoln. What I do know is that He wants me to live and not to die. Death isn't my safe haven like I sometimes think it is.

Pray for me if you think of it. Thank you to all my readers, my friends, family, and adults that have rallied around me these past few weeks.


I've kept busy writing, though not on my blog obviously. Random pieces of poetry and song lyrics flow abundantly, but they haven't turned into a lot of completed products. I'm in an editing class where we write and edit our peers' work. We've all written articles for either Guide or Insight magazine. Now we're working on writing, editing, and designing the February edition of Outlook magazine. It's pretty exciting. Unfortunately, my dumb ass slept through the class where we decide who writes about what topics. The topic I suggested in a previous class was taken from me and I got stuck with a topic that another student threw out there. "Marketing the Church". Tis far from my topic on how to spiritually relate to left brained scientifically minded individuals. But whatever.

I'm also a writer for the ClockTower at Union. I'm one of two "on campus" writers. Basically I'm supposed to interview people and write about the interview. Not my strong point. At all. Why. Did. I. Sign. Up. For. This. I ask myself this every single day. This is one of the big stressors in my life and I'm considering quitting because it's taking such a toll on my mental wellbeing. Which doesn't need assistance to be negative. The big issue for me is that I don't do these articles well. Partly because I have to interview people and I don't thrive with people. Since beginning college, I’ve developed some sort of social anxiety. It drives me nuts. Also, when I do conduct decent interviews, the word limit is 350, which causes me to cut many of the transitions that make the writing flow smoothly.
The ClockTower is published every week and because I can't dedicate long periods of time to working on it, the work suffers, and I worry that it represents me poorly. Aside from the articles themselves, I'm not fond of my editor. There have been problems in communication, disappointing editing work, and other small things that have built up unhealthily in my mind. I had a dream last night with him in it and I was extremely angry and might have even attacked or killed him (0.o). That's either really bad, or I'm just super passionate about my writing. I'd like to believe the latter.
However, I did have a productive talk with my editor and we hashed out that my writing style is quite different from reporting/journalism writing. He explained that that’s why some of the editing work has appeared shoddy. I understood and came to terms with some of the things we discussed. Once again, I was reminded that holding onto my frustration and angst isn’t healthy. Like Noah Gundersen says, “hatred/anger is a sharp knife held by the blade.” So true. I walked out of the newspaper office, conflicted. They were the same feelings I felt when I wanted to spill hot coffee on my McDonald’s manager and we ended up reaching resolution.
Another stressor has been my job. Perhaps I dislike my job because I dislike other areas of my life. But sometimes I wonder why I’m doing this work. I know I’m not at a stage in life where I can pick and choose what I want to do, but there are days that I absolutely dread walking into the building. The idea of going to work -sitting in a cubicle and making calls for hours- grows into a big steel ball inside my chest. It pulls everything inside me down farther. It has even yanked out tears.
Then there are my school finances. It feels like I work quite a bit, though it’s only about twenty hours a week. But, that money still doesn’t come near enough to cover monthly school payments along with phone and car insurance. Holy hell. If money problems come up in my mind, it’s a huge stress. Something else to consider; My spending habits are very sad. If I had all the money I’ve ever spent on pop, coffee, and fast food, I’d... have a lot of money.
So there are the things punching my brain on a regular basis.