Learning Each Other

Today is a 2/10 day. Not a surprise, it’s that kind of week for me, but the way Zach and I are handling it is really great.

I could tell that was tired and feeling grumpy, I could tell that I was irritable and was going to start a fight, so I went to bed instead. Woke up yesterday morning feeling better, although not like, super amazing great, but more friendly toward the world.

Last night, again, not feeling so great, and Zach didn’t tease me or give me a hard time about stuff, he just listened and took me out and let me talk at him, and it made me feel better.

This might seem like small stuff, but for us, it’s a subtle sign of how much better we have gotten, together. Both of us have learned how to watch for the signs of depression, and to be a little kinder to each other when it starts to creep up.

The good thing is that, neither of us is doing anything crazy… my therapist doesn’t want me to be “the sick one” in the relationship, and I don’t think we are treating it like that. I think we are just getting better at being kinder to each other when I’m feeling bad. We should be kind to each other all the time, if possible, LOL, but the fact that I can pinpoint my depression as causing me to be irritable and go to bed instead of picking a fight is pretty impressive for me.

There has been some good stuff happening and some disappointing stuff. But my writing is still going well, now 23k words deep into my third novel, have reached the dreaded middle, but am taking it one scene at a time. Also been doing a lot of flash, just so I can write something that I can finish! Because novels are a beast.

Work is going surprisingly well, seems as if the ship has mostly righted itself, and I actually like going! Crazy. Never thought I would say that. My schedule is so flexible, everyone at work is so friendly, and I listen to music/audiobooks/podcasts all day and am able to send a few texts back and forth at work, it’s turned out to be really perfect. I’m glad I stuck it out.

My stomach is getting better, I am working on my diet and weaning off sugar as best I can right now (IT’S HARD) and not taking any pain meds 🙁 for anything. So we will see how that works when Aunt Flo comes into town next… boo. No pain meds is a bitch.

Zach’s YouTube channel is going great! It’s really fun to film them with him. And we may do more this weekend, the first in awhile where we haven’t had anything planned, and I’m looking forward to not doing anything! Yay!

Mental Health Insurance RANT

Isn’t it crazy that there are so little services offered for people with mental health issues. Maybe you have different insurance than I do, but I have had to JUMP through hoops to figure out what is covered by our insurance (I’ll give you a hint: nothing).

As if it isn’t hard enough to deal with a mental health illness. Our “main” insurance said my therapist was covered. Go to therapy and come to find out that our “main” insurance doesn’t actually cover any mental health at all, and it’s outsourced to our “secondary” insurance. Worst part is, my therapist is out of network with them. Heavy eye roll. They ONLY reason we picked this plan is because they said he was covered. I could dump all my other doctors. Therapy is the most important. Go figure.

Luckily, we are able to afford my sessions, as I only go 4-6 times a year. But what if we couldn’t? I’d have to find a new therapist, right?

Jokes on you, they don’t cover that either!

Zach was like, “oh yeah they have a mental health illness program where you can get 8 visits a year” so I looked into that.

That program ONLY covers short term care, and ONLY for “new” issues. So, I couldn’t use it for my depression since I’m already getting treated for that. And even if I could, it would only cover a short program.

They offer full, free coverage, for people who need a little bit of help, and NO coverage for people with ongoing mental health issues? Um, hello?! Doesn’t that seem a bit effin’ backward?

And the most stressful part is that they tout these programs and coverage like you’ll be all set, and then when you sign up and go to use it, you have to call 400 people to find out that the fine print says you actually aren’t covered in any way that you thought you were. ;LMEA;LKRJAWERKJ;ELRKAJWERL;KJ

If we hit our deductible? We still pay out of pocket. Cue another eye roll.

Mental health illness has been in the news a lot lately… a LOT. What with tragedies that are happening, people are focusing on why tragedies happen. Yet we don’t amend gun control laws, and we don’t make it easy for mentally unstable people to get help?!?! HELLO?!

Health insurance is not a simple thing. Do I believe the legislation needs to be fixed so it’s better? Yes. Do I believe insurance companies suck a big donkey dick? Even more so yes. Do I want there to be universal health care for everyone? HELL yes.

Should we get into a long drawn out political and economical fight about taxes and healthcare? Probably not. Is this a cherry picked article to prove my point? Definitely. Correlation and causation and all that… Would I happily pay higher taxes to make our country and overall better place to live (universal health care, maternity/paternity leave, paid vacations omg!)? You bet I would. But this isn’t about that.

This is about… why is it so hard for people who’s brains attack them to get help? Why. I believe, partly, because there is still such a huge stigma. People don’t really think that mental health is a “thing.” They think I can just “think happier thoughts.” No one talks about it. Too hush hush. We suffer in silence, and we suffer because help is expensive.

And it’s bullshit.

/rant.

Workaholicism & Saying “No”

Hello!

Wow, have I been up to stuff! Lots of stuff! I started working with a producer to record audiobooks and have already landed my first book contract 🙂 very exciting! It’s a royalty share program which means once the book is done I will get some of the royalties from all the audiobooks sold, which is cool. It’s also lots of performing, and an interesting challenge that I’ve never faced before. Recording audiobooks is tiring! I can only do about 2 hours before I have to stop.

I also have been writing my new novel, I’m about 8000 words in. And, this month I’ve been working on a short film. Busy!

Which brings me to what I’ve been thinking about this morning, and that is, workaholics. I feel like there is such a “thing” in our society to see who can be the busiest, who can work harder, who is stretched the thinnest. It’s like this competition to say “oh I’ve barely slept this week I’m just soooo busy,” and I hate that.

Why am I supposed to be impressed that you’re working 10 – 12 hour days every day? Why am I supposed to be impressed that you haven’t had a day off in 2 weeks? Or that you’re so stressed from all you have to do, and you win the “most miserable” competition? There are a lot of different ideas here, but overall, it seems like a lot of America is working too much and too proud of that.

“I’ll sleep when I die” or “while you sleep I WORK” or “#grind” … I need to sleep. Sorry not sorry. I aim for 8 hours a night. And that is weird to people! They “just can’t do that.” Arguably, I am more productive in an hour, after 8 hours of sleep, than you are in 2 hours after 5. Right? I think so. I get up early and I get my work done.

This is minimalism leaking into my life. I want to do LESS. I want to focus myself. Right now writing novels is my #1. Audiobooks is my #2 (unless I hate it). This blog… well… if you can’t tell… it’s pretty low on my list LOL. I do like to blog, but the value I get out of it isn’t worth the effort of a more strict schedule. Maybe it will be someday, but right now I want to focus on my two main goals. And that means writing one page a day no matter what. And that also means a lot of reading and time in the studio.

I had 3 auditions and got 2 of the books. We looked at the projects, and ended up turning on down because it was a looooong book. I was anxious to do that, because I’m just starting out! But objectively, it didn’t make sense to commit to that project. It’s okay to say no. Now I can focus on making my first book the BEST it can be. And there will be more after.

Is there something you can cut out of your life? Something that you’ve been hanging onto for whatever reason… afraid to say no, afraid to lose it as part of your identity, afraid to have more time? Something that if you let it go (or someone) you’d have more time for the things you love? Things that would make you happier?

Today, I worked on my book and some of my other goals and then I spent the afternoon with two good friends doing a puzzle. Socializing. Talking. And now I am doing a little more work, but I’m not cramming my schedule full because I want space to breathe and think and be. If you try to compete with me for who is the busiest YOU WIN and you can have the prize because I don’t want it.

Sometimes it’s hard to let things go, but once we do, we realize that we’re soooo much better off… yah… think about that 🙂

Better Overall, Worse Episodes

I’m finding that I’m better in the long run when it comes to my depression – I have gotten better at apologizing for mistakes and accepting that I’m just one person and I’m not perfect… Better being a relative word because overall it’s still really hard for me. I also stopped doing reckless things like binge drinking and dating a bunch of losers/mean guys.

So, I’m better, right?

Kinda. Because I find now… that I’m not numb to the pain… now that I’m aware of WHY I feel like this… it can make the times I do have an episode worse.

For example, from 22-26 I was severely depressed and super reckless, drinking, partying, dating the wrong guys, staying up late, watching TV all day, late for work, bad eating habits, all of it. I was in a lot of pain. But I had no idea, in a way. I was numbing it all, mostly with booze and excessive sleep, but I was unaware the depth of my depression.

Ignorance is “bliss” if you will.

Now that I’ve been diagnosed and treated, I’ve stopped a lot of my bad habits. But then, I’m not numb anymore. It’s like waking up in the middle of a surgery. I am acutely aware of the pain in my episodes, and aware of the depression that bogs me down, and aware, very very aware, that this is an illness that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. And sometimes that makes me feel really, really bad.

Depression is so mean, and when you’re feeling depressed and you know it’s because of your depression it can be meaner! It makes me feel like life is unfair. That I will always be struggling with my brain. It makes me think I shouldn’t have children, if I risk passing this to them. It makes me feel like… what’s the point in fighting this, if it’s going to happen again and again.

I have found that my “thoughts of death” have increased since I learned about my depression. Thoughts of death are different than suicidal thoughts – I have never planned out a suicide. I also know that committing suicide is too scary to me and also that I would never, ever, ever, be able to do that to my family and friends, mostly because if you kill yourself there’s a high chance yOU PASS YOUR DEPRESSION TO THEM FUCKKKK I would never want to do that!

Thoughts of death are more like, not wanting to be alive, or dreading the fact that you know you are only 1/4 the way through a normal human lifespan, things like that.

When I was numb, I just drank and slept and went through life disconnected. Now that I’m not, I’m like… can I really do this for the REST OF MY LIFE?!?!?! And WHY THE FUCK DO I HAVE TO. WHY. ME. WHY ME. WHY??? Fuck. It’s like, everyone is trying to climb up the ladder but you’re wearing weights. It’s hard enough around, why you gotta weigh me down!?

I may see a post or hear about someone who lost a loved one to suicide. They are always hurting, and usually can’t understand WHY someone would do that. But I do. I completely understand. Sometimes, I want to reach out and say… “the depth of their pain was something you most likely will never understand, but if you ever spent a day with depression, you would know. You would get it. Because it’s not you anymore… your brain is a monster that attacks you, and there is seemingly no other way to stop it.”

But I don’t say that, because that is a weird thing to say to people who are grieving a suicide.

LET ME SAY THIS: PLEASE DO NOT KILL YOURSELF. PLEASE. DO NOT. KILL YOURSELF. I do NOT advocate suicide AT ALL. YOUR SUICIDAL THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOU! I know you know that!!!!! Tell someone, anyone, what is happening. There are drugs and therapists that CAN help, I know they can, even if it’s hard.

If you are feeling suicidal call the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255

And know this. I KNOW how you feel. I am also struggling. And I am still here. And I will continue to fight. Because there is stuff in life worth living for, even if in this moment it doesn’t feel like that at all. If it’s really bad, go to bed and sleep, give your brain a break from the pain and try again to get help when you wake up. And know that you are not alone, my brain is a monster too.

Where Have I Been?! 0/10

OMG! I bet you’re like, hEY LAURA WHERE YOU AT GIRL?

Yah, I know, but I been busy yo. Real busy. Work has been slammed, we got a new manager, AGAIN. I started my next book… two pages in as of right now, about to write the third. And… I GOT CAST WOO!

I started auditioning for film roles in the area and it has been going really, really well. I should have known. I’ve never had a lot of success onstage, but damn, they love me in front of a camera.

It’s called “Fear to be Brave” a post-apocalyptic indie movie set in the Raleigh-Durham area. No pay, nothing fancy, but I’m on camera again and I’m so pumped. I also happen to be in the murderous faction with the bad guys, and am the main villain’s sidekick and get to learn fight choreography and beat the crap out of people onscreen, so, yeah, it’s going to be REAL fun.

That means my schedule is crammed. I work half the day and audition/film half the day. Oh man.

I also am working on my first book review for Run Spot Run, where I will be publishing monthly, and I’m so excited about that! A great way for me to get my name out there, and build a platform with my writing.

I was worried that I need to take down the site. I don’t know how people are going to react if they are trying to cast me and see it. That sucks. There’s still a stigma, and that makes me want to hide what I’m talking about. Man.

Will I be here posting often? Probably not this month. Taking the break was really nice, and not having to think about the blog expanded room for other projects to start. My depression was rough a couple weeks ago. It’s always the same, coming and going in a cycle. There is a chance I need to change/up my medicine. I may be adjusting to it, so it’s not working as well… we’ll see.

This was a lot of rambling, but I’m pretty tired and have been doing a lot today. Hopefully I can post again with updates on the film.

I’m always hoping that I never have another episode again, but that’s an unrealistic dream.