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A story about resilience and gratitude.

Posted by on Feb 22, 2014 in acceptance, coping, depression, featured, resilience | 15 comments

Every once in a while, I’m struck by how difficult my life is. I sink deep down into a murky pool. I recall all the abuse I’ve experienced. The violence. The loss. I consider my body, and wonder at how I’m able to function, how I can get up every morning and work, play, live. Sometimes the pain is so much I feel like my heart will burst. Sometimes the fatigue makes standing up from the couch seem like a miracle. Often, no matter how much my rational mind fights, my lizard brain tells me I am alone. That I am worthless, a burden to others in my life. That I won’t achieve the goals I’ve set for myself. That ultimately, I will fail. That I am broken. That I am not worth loving. That this cause is pointless. You’ve been here, right? I know so many of you have. More and more, I’m able to pull out of the dive. I have tools, resources, a support team of friends and loved ones, colleagues and total strangers, who help me remember the truth: That I am resilient, that all things pass, and that I am exceptional and SO worth loving. Some days it’s not so easy. I’ve learned to accept that some days are just like that. Occasionally on those days—more and more often, lately—a small voice pipes up in the back of my mind. She remembers everything; she sees all. Today this is the story she told me: Do you remember when you were 16, and you were spending the day alone with a friend at her family’s apartment…after you cooked, she was cleaning up and you noticed she was running scalding water and hand-washing everything. Her hands were bright red. Her face was pinched with pain. “Why are you doing that?” you asked, and she replied with tears in her eyes: “This is the way my stepmom says I have to wash dishes.” “But she’s not here,” you said, turning the faucet down and handing her some kitchen gloves. “You don’t have to do that when she’s not here.” “But she is,” your friend said. “She’s always here, even when she’s not.” And she turned on the hot water again.  Your friend couldn’t see it yet, but you could: She was worth loving. She could fight back in even the smallest ways. You were fighting back in your own life, quietly resisting and refusing to be beaten down. You wished the same for her. You silently willed her to be stronger, more resilient. To love herself enough to withstand the pain until she could make her own circumstances better, until she could be free. You can do...

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AWAP Wednesday: How do we survive winter?

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in coping, depression, featured, practicalities | 17 comments

Winter is relentless this year. Across the U.S., we’re all being pummeled by unusual weather that disrupts most features of our daily lives. BLURGH. I’m usually a pretty upbeat person but THIS WINTER? No thanks. I feel like the usual tricks I use to survive aren’t working anymore. So this week, instead of answering your questions, I have one of my own: How do YOU survive winter? (Spoiler: I actually list about 10 of my own fave tips.) So now I’m putting my fate in your hands: Can you help me survive the rest of this winter? Share your tips and tricks below. I CAN’T WAIT to hear your strategies. Thanks, babelicious! Did you like this video? Then please “like” it on YouTube, Facebook, and any other social media platform you did. (And please share it with your friends!) Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has more than two hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers. Until we meet again: Be AWAP!...

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AWAP Wednesday: How do I beat the winter blues?

Posted by on Feb 5, 2014 in coping, depression, featured | 19 comments

This morning I woke up to another few inches of snow, blowing snow, big snow drifts…SNOW SNOW SNOW. I’m feeling super-cooped-up and ready for some heat. Alas: It is only February, and I live in Chicago. So how do I beat the winter blues, when the weather just seems to want me to lie inside on the couch all day? A voicemail from a friend yesterday gave me a few ideas to share with you. You’ll have to watch the video for the story: I would LOVE to hear what YOU do to stay upbeat through the darkest, dullest part of winter. What little routines have you created, or phone trees, or visual cues, or ways to stay connected that help you? Share your lovely ideas in the comments below. Hooray! Did you like this video? Then please “like” it on YouTube, Facebook, and any other social media platform you did. (And please share it with your friends!) Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has more than two hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers. Until we meet again: Be AWAP!...

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So it turns out, it’s REALLY important to ask for help.

Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in Affordable Care Act, coping, depression, featured, Health Care Reform | 6 comments

Ha! News flash, right? Durrr… I always tell people that it’s essential to ask for help, but sometimes I have a hard time asking for it myself. Good thing some of the people in my life are proactive and reach out to me. Here’s a prime example: I’m struggling with ObamaCare. I love love love the idea of it, but the execution has been a total fiasco. My own application is being held up half-way through processing, and it’s been agony to even get that far. And man, is it hard to watch friends zip through the process with no issues! I want them to be successful, but…I’m also a bit jealous. So the other day I had gone through hours and hours of struggle and I posted a somewhat sad-sack photo to Facebook and Twitter. And honestly, I just hermitted at home for a few hours after that. Curled up on the couch and numbed my mind with goofy sitcom action. Cried a bunch more. Wished I could talk to someone who was going through the same thing, a friend or family member who would understand. But I felt so alone. Nearly all of my friends are either married and get their partner’s benefits, or get insurance through their employer, so they’re not dealing with this process. (Yet.) When I try to explain it to them, I feel like I’m re-living all the stress and frustration all over again! And that gets old. Amirite? So I was very much feeling sorry for myself, wishing for a solution. And basically, I just called that day a wash and tried to start the next day fresh. Then a couple days later, my sister called. The one with two kids, one of whom is a baby. The one who just started a new job. You know, the one who is just SLAMMED right now. She called. “I saw your Facebook post, and was wondering what’s going on. Can you talk about it now?” she asked. A flood of tears. A long explanation. A sense of relief. She heard me out, and sympathized. That’s all I needed: Someone who knows me, who understands me, who knows how hard I’ve fought to be well in spite of so many obstacles. She really understood. And I felt so supported and loved in that moment. Since then, every time I’m on the phone with support, I remember my sister being supportive and awesome and it makes the process a little easier. It’s crazy how much a 15-minute conversation can make a difference! I texted her the day after she called, thanking her and telling her how much it means to have her support. “I...

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Depression is the worstest thing evah.

Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in depression | 42 comments

There’s no sexy way to say this: I’m depressed. No, I’m not sad because my favorite show didn’t get an Emmy. Or because I broke a favorite bottle of nail polish. I am depressed. Chemicals in my brain are swarming, telling me that I’m ugly, fat, incapable. That all my friends secretly think I’m uncool. That I’ll never be successful at life. That I should stay indoors, under the covers, because the thought of facing people is mind-crushing. That it’s no use to shower or brush my hair. It’s the suck. The suckiest suck. Most of the time, my depression is really well-managed. I’m able to live a very busy, very full life—and I’m very happy. But some days, forces collide. They can be outside forces, like things happening with clients or friends or family. They can be inside forces, like chemical imbalance that my meds aren’t managing well enough. Sometimes it’s all of that and more. Sometimes it’s all of that and then the computer malfunctions and then the berries are frost-bitten and then the sky is cloudy and, well, I’m done for. So I’ve done a few things the past few days to help get back on track. Here’s a short list: I visited my BFF and played with her kids and made applesauce I took a walk outside in the sun I let my BF convince me that it was a good idea to go see a park dedication with live jazz and soul food (Damn, he was right. It’s amazing what perfectly fried catfish can do for your soul) I meditated I did yoga I told friends what was going on so they would understand why I was behaving weirdly I scaled back work as much as possible I ate (relatively) healthy (I mean, besides the fried catfish) I listened to music I read a book I watched sci-fi I ate a spicy tuna roll I’m sure not all of these are prescribed anti-depressants. But I know they work for me. I’ve been on this fucking merry-go-round enough times that I know the drill. So today I’m feeling better. Not best. Not cured. (Don’t think I’ll ever be.) Not 100% Not even 50%. But I’m better. And hopefully you understand that talking about my depression openly is another way for me to take good care of myself. It keeps me accountable, and it helps me know that maybe I’m making a difference, because someone out there will read this and feel like they’re not alone. XO, Editrix...

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