Depression Revisited

I’ve talked about it before, how depression lies to you, how it makes you feel that retreating from the things you enjoy, the people your love, the moments that bring you joy, will make you feel better. It tells you that the cocoon of  your bed will keep you safe. If you just sleep a little bit more it’ll be tomorrow and all of this will be over. It tells you that taking risks and putting yourself out there will only increase the pain, so you should stay on the couch watching Storage Wars. Depression is deviously insidious by making you feel unworthy of even a fleeting moment of comfort in the presence of other people.  It has fooled the majority of the population into thinking phrases like, “cheer up” and “get over it” will make it go away.

Depression is a mental illness and like most mental illnesses, some people can function normally with it, others need medication, some fight tooth and nail every single day to keep going, and yet others lose the battle. There should be no shame in treating an illness.  Yet, so many who suffer from depression are too ashamed to take anti-depressants or see a therapist that they don’t seek help. They avoid taking the medication, they feel like they’re all alone.

For a long time I was unhappy. Then a series of events crashed down on me making that unhappiness something worse. I was not just unhappy, not blue, not “down in the dumps”, but really severely depressed. I suspect I had always suffered from depression. But the fact that it was my “normal” state I created coping mechanisms to keep going. But all the events that happened within a 3 year span caused me to spiral into a depressive state where even food could not reach. I was walking in the grocery store and found myself on the edge of crumbling into a crying blubbering sobbing wailing mess. My knees felt like they were about to buckle and  I had to walk out without any groceries.

In spite of all this there was a tiny piece of me inside that was clawing it’s way out of the abyss. That piece knew that if I didn’t get help I’d be lost. I knew I did not have to suffer alone. Help wasn’t instant, there was no magic pill. It was a long hard journey that took about 5 years just to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I took medication, I saw a therapist. It didn’t cause me to go into debt either.
I didn’t let it take control of me. I know that even though I feel better now, that depression could come back and take over again. But I can’t live my life in fear. I focus on the good things in front of me, right now. When I come across people who I can see are struggling. I want so badly to help them. To teach them what I’ve learned. But you can’t help people if they don’t want help. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength and love.  Love yourself enough to let the people in your life love you and help you.

You are not alone, don’t let depression win.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Moving forward with a quick look back.

These last two weeks of November usually suck hard for me. This year it’s the 21st anniversary of my Mom’s death and the 17th anniversary of my Dad’s.  I never got to know them as an adult. I may have been in my early 20s, but as many of us know that’s not even remotely adult knowledge of life much less seeing that your parents as people.  I  still have that slightly jaded child view of who my parents were. Even with my adult knowledge of life, it’s hard not to see them that way.

I sometimes think about where I would be if they were alive. If they were still alive today, my life would be totally different. I’m certain I wouldn’t know most of the amazing people I know today. I have no idea if I’d have a career or just a “job”.  Would they approve of my choices? Would we have had some kind of blow-out fight and stopped talking?

I try not to dwell on the loss but instead look at what I learned and how that experience shaped me and made me who I am today.  This way I can keep moving forward and embrace the love we shared.

This year has been so much less sucky for me. I attribute that to all the new and amazing friends I’ve made in the past 21 years as well as the ones I’ve kept for 21+ years.

So, with Thanksgiving around the corner, here is what I am thankful for:

  • Each and every person who has come and gone from my life.
  • The amazing people who have seen right through my shit and loved me anyway.
  • Everyone who has called me out on my shit.
  • Those who helped me move forward, when all I wanted to do was fall down and never get up.
  • All of you who have pushed me to realize I can do and have more.
  • All of you who have laughed and cried with me.
  • Each and every one of you who have hugged me.

In short, I’m thankful for everyone who has loved me and treated me as my parents would have.

Thank you.

Look what I got!

I’ve been interested in tattoos for the past 20 years. At first I figured I’d never get one because I didn’t want to be the old lady in the nursing home with tattoos. But then I started thinking what I’d really want as a tattoo. I wanted something meaningful, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted. Over the years I’d look at tattoo pictures online, from super nerdy things to incredibly artistic ones. I’d see folks on the CTA covered in tats and I’d admire them debating if it was an image I’d want on me forever.

Pattie's Tat-in-Progress

Finally, about a month or two ago, I came across a tumblr of tattoos and while paging through them an idea hit me. And the imagery was exactly perfect. I wanted a phoenix. The past few years of my life have been total shit. But I’ve survived and I’ve managed to rise from the ashes that had become my life. Once I made that decision I realized I needed to find someone who could bring that image to life.  I started doing my research to figure out where to get this done, and by who. After looking through a pile of portfolios and reading online reviews, I decided on Heath Rave at Speakeasy Custom Tattoo. Heath has that traditional style of tattooing that I pictured in my head. But also, I just like all the stuff he’s done.

Pattie's Tat-in-Progress

I emailed Heath and he was immediately responsive, asking me to come in for a consultation. He was concerned that I’d want some other kind of phoenix than what he had in his head. I guess some people think phoenix and see a bird on fire.  But I was all, “Oh yeah, no… I want the Asian style phoenix…like a REAL phoenix.” He was pleased that we were on the same page. We scheduled an appointment to begin and then about a week later he emailed me to reschedule. Apparently both of us missed that Riot Fest was the weekend of our appointment. So it was a good thing we rescheduled.  Then the next appointment approached and Heath emailed me to reschedule again. (I LOVE EMAIL! I’m not kidding I’m all about emailing people.) He was recovering from a respiratory infection. I’ve been there, multiple times, it sucks. So we ended up with an appointment after work.

Pattie's Tat-in-Progress Naturally the day of my appointment was incredibly slow, until about 4pm when I was wanting to be wrapping up to leave. Luckily Heath once again emailed me to push back the time a half hour. I was so relieved. Others may have gotten annoyed with the constant changes, but I  had no problem with it. It all worked out to my advantage.

So I know you’re biggest question is, did it hurt?

Well, yes… it hurts. You’re creating a wound on your body. A needle is electronically being jammed into your skin depositing ink there. Some people told me it was like a bee sting.But I’ve never been stung by a bee so I can’t really talk to that. I’d say it’s more like an electronic, vibrating cat scratch, over and over. In some places it’s not so bad, but in other places it’s kinda like you want to rip the dude’s eyes out of his head.

I know you’re next question is “But WHY?”

Well, I like the look of tattoos. And for about 20 years I’ve wanted one but I’ve held off. Good thing to or I’d be covered in dolphins, Tigger, kittens and skulls.  It’s important to make sure you get something you can live with forever. If you’ve got any hesitation, don’t do it. The minute that buzzing needle hits your skin, you’ve got something that will be there forever. Make sure you’re cool with it.

I’m commemorating overcoming something that could easily have ripped me apart. Nearly five years of being beat down.  I figure a few hours of pain is the price to pay to have this beautiful outcome. Exactly what has happened for me now, I’ve landed on my feet and risen from the ashes.

I manged to survive the hour and a half it took for him to outline the phoenix. Now I’m waiting for that to heal so I can go back and get the coloring and shading. I keep getting questions about what colors… I don’t know. I’m leaving it up to the professional artist. He knows what’s going to look good. I’m not trying to match this thing to my eyes or hair. It’ll be whatever color it needs to be to look bad ass. I think it already looks pretty damned bad ass as is.

Pattie's Tat-in-Progress

Why are people jerks?

Seinfeld_Jerk_Store_Black_ShirtI went to the eye doctor yesterday. Everything was lovely all the people were nice to me. I was friendly to all of them. Then, as I was picking out frames this woman came in. The girl went to speak to the doctor and the woman sat down in a chair. She was visibly pregnant.

The girl came out of the doctor’s office and spoke to the woman.

“What do you mean? I have to get to work”

“I’m sorry….”

“NO it’s FINE. I’ll just keep putting these old things in my eyes and RUIN THEM!”

And she stormed out.

I was aghast and I was just another customer. I looked at the girl helping me, “Wow, some people feel incredibly entitled. If you work at a place that wont even let you take time for the eye doctor, then maybe you shouldn’t work there.”

Apparently this woman was looking for some kind of “filler space” type contact lenses until she had the baby and could get a full exam. Well, she had waited 3 years so the eye doctor wasn’t willing to give her these contacts without checking her eyes first.  I fail to see how this was the doctor’s fault. You waited a very long time between exams. You’ve obviously been wearing contacts for a long time to know how this works. Why did you wait so long? Maybe when you found out you were pregnant you should have had this eye exam taken care of and it is perfectly OK to go to the eye doctor when you’re pregnant. So what was this woman’s problem? Well, she’s a jerk. She thinks her problems are more important than anyone else’s problems in all the world. Everyone should bow down to her so that she can have things exactly the way she wants. Being snippy and storming out of the place was exactly the answer in that situation </sarcasm>

Sorry lady, the world doesn’t work that way. Your job and your situation doesn’t make you any better than the girls working in that eye care store. Your superiority over everyone didn’t help you get what you wanted. Maybe if she visited them more than once every 3 years she’d have a better relationship with the employees and they’d be nice and help work something out. Like, if she’s so important at work, maybe they’d fit her in after hours….if she was nice. But piss poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine, or the employees of the eye care store.

Working at Starbucks I get a lot of jerks too. Since my store is in a train station the biggest one is the jerk who can’t wait the 2 minutes it takes to make his drink because he “has to catch the train.”  Look buddy, EVERYONE HERE IS CATCHING A TRAIN. The difference is, the people in front of you gave themselves enough time to stop and get their drink. And don’t be a dick and order a frackin’ Frappuccino expecting that to take me two seconds.

If we all just slowed the pace a little, gave ourselves a bit more time to be kind to each other, to treat one another with the same respect we would like to be given this world might not be so full of anger and hatred. Maybe the idea of forgiveness wouldn’t be so foreign to so many people.

Mabel will be missed


My sweet Mabel died some time after midnight on Sunday. By my guess she was at least 17 years old. I got her in 1998 and they guess she was about 2 when I got her. When I got up for work on Monday morning, I found her lying on the floor under my desk. She was getting thinner and thinner of the past few months. I switched to canned food and she seemed to be eating without vomiting but last Friday when I woke up she was clearly not well and I rushed her to the vet.  He examined her and suspected she had a large tumor in her stomach. We opted to try treating her with medication. As the weekend progressed though, she deteriorated. By Sunday evening her hind legs weren’t working and she was sleeping in the carrier that she had always avoided.

I was able to sit with her and hold her and comfort her as best I could. Now she and Bijou are together again, saving the world like Xena and Gabrielle.