Weight is just a number… so why does it bother me so much???

The highest number I remember seeing is 164.

I was living by myself, had just finished grad school, and was teaching full time. Maybe a year before this point I had finally cleared out the closet, donating all of the pants that no longer fit, all of the shirts that pulled across my back, and resigned myself to the new me.

“So, I guess I’m just this size, and this is the size I’m supposed to be. Fuck it. There are worse things.”

And I almost believed it.

I went out and bought new pants that didn’t leave creases in my skin and shirts that allowed me to drive with both hands on the wheel.

The lowest number I ever saw was 122.

I was married, had the kids, still teaching full time. The number came kind of slowly, a pound one week, two pounds the next. And this number was bittersweet. I loved feeling my pelvic bones jut out when I laid on my back. I could take off my jeans without unbuttoning them. I bought size small, 2 and 4. But it wasn’t right.

“Why the hell am I losing all this weight? Fuck.”

I wasn’t even trying. I stopped running. My period stopped. Food looked gross, felt gross, tasted gross. It was months later when I was found out that the anti-migraine medicine I was on had a side effect my doctor never mentioned or monitored– anorexia.

And now here I am, weighing 157.

And I feel gross, and ugly, and unattractive.

Last year I kind of gave myself a pass because of all of the emotional upheaval and new meds. My weight crept up, but I was always going to lose it, so I wore the pants I could and filled in with leggings because, as most women have told themselves, this is temporary, it’s not ME, so why buy new clothes?

So this was the summer I was going to do it– start running again, lift weights, trim my diet and fit back into all of those work clothes hanging in my closet. Plus, we had a big hiking vacation planned and I had to get in shape for that, right???

Except it didn’t happen. I thought I was trying and avoided the scale. Sure, I had ice cream, but not every night, and my back went out, so I couldn’t run, but I walked, and yeah weight training never happened, but I read a lot, re-did my son’s room, traveled a lot, so no big deal, right?

Until I had a doctor’s appointment and had to get on the scale.

What. The. Fuck.

And the number shouldn’t matter, so WHY DOES IT MATTER?!?!?

Why does an arbitrary number that could change within the day have such an effect on my sense of worth? Sense of self? What the hell is that?

Nothing else has changed. I didn’t murder someone, or kick a puppy, or go apeshit on someone, but I’m bummed out all the same and I HATE IT.

So that’s why I’m doing something that makes me uncomfortable and revealing my number to you. Because I need to verify that it is JUST a number and doesn’t define me positively or negatively as a person.


Now I need to get some work pants…

I want to be the good. You in?

I went off the grid for almost two weeks and returned to the dumpster fire that is the daily news cycle.

And damn, does it get me angry, frustrated and down.

It’s so overwhelming. I mean what can you do?

I mean, yes, I can scroll We Rate Dogs, the Dodo, and look at my photo library.

But the relief doesn’t last very long.

While I wish I could visit and comfort all kids who have been forcibly separated from their parents, send Epstein’s money and unlimited counseling services to all of his victims, tell all of the political pundits to shut the fuck up until a month before the election, house every endangered animal species and make sure they’re safe, and bitch slap every misogynist, racist, classist, homophobic asshole, I have to understand that I can’t.

And fuck, that’s frustrating.

But instead of getting more pissed and angry, I realize that I need to focus on what I CAN do to counter all of the negative words, actions and deeds that get the attention of the media.

I can take my little corner of the world and make it as positive a place to be as I possibly can.

I can say hello and smile to people while I walk my dogs. I can show my kids unconditional love. I can offer an egg, a lift, a helping hand to the people around me. I can be an emotional support at work. I can demonstrate politeness, respect and courtesy. I can model generosity and humor.

And I’m not so jaded yet to think that I am one of few.

So when I find them, I will do my best to befriend them. We will weave our histories, intertwine our beliefs, share our visions and creeds.

We’ll establish a network. Connected through love, passion, reason, generosity, compassion, altruism. And the bond will be so strong that nothing can break it. When one falls, we will pick her up. When another falters, we will rally to support him.

Although it seems like these beliefs are outdated and on the threshold of extinction, I know we are out there.

I know you are out there.

Will you join?

This might be rambly but it’s been a while

Today was a pretty sucky day. It’s been a couple of sucky weeks.

And I haven’t posted or written anything in a long time.

And there’s a reason for that.

My last post… just sucked. Really sucked. It’s ok, I knew it when I was writing it and I knew it when I posted it, but I did it anyway because, let’s face it, last year this time was an incredibly huge black hole for me, but then I crawled out with the help of a shit ton of support and work and felt like I owed people something humorous after being in the dark for so long.

And yeah, there were a few things I liked, but most of it was totally over the top and it rang hollow.



So I stopped writing for a while. Because if I have to be a fake me while writing this, then I shouldn’t be writing at all.

So why am I writing now?

After I scratched my way back from the brink, I really, really thrived. And there were a lot of factors that helped with that.

Work was the best it had been in a while. There were, again, a lot of reasons for that, but overall I felt respected and relished connecting with my students. Even when a curveball was thrown during second semester and I was given two new classes to teach, it was invigorating to design units and lessons that I thought the kids would enjoy and learn from. I had an excellent group of kids overall.

I didn’t even go into the May panic (well, not too much) that comes with art shows, awards nights, field days, field trips and spring sports. I truly felt that I was handling things as well as I could.

And then the last two weeks.

Our summer slowed way down. I had a lot of time to work on summer projects, read, relax, and get ready for our big family vacation.

It should be great, right?

But it hasn’t been. And that scares the shit out of me.

The thing with depression and anxiety is that there is no diagnostic test to let you know if it’s coming back.

There’s no blood test, no CT scan, no MRI. Just a random check list of symptoms that could apply to so many situations.

Fatigue? Hell yes. It’s summer vacation, right? Eating more or less? Uh yeah. Can anyone say, ice cream?

Last week I had anxiety over our vacation. Bill and I work really hard and his vacation time is sacred. Usually we head to a beach and just re-energize and re-connect with each other and the kids. But this year, I planned a trip out west— the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Vegas– with lots of hikes and car rides to get from place to place.

And then anxiety walked into my ear.

No WiFi the kids are going to hate this it’s just not exciting enough they are going to be so mad that they’re spending this much time gone from home they are going to miss the dogs and cats and their beds and Bill hates long car rides and he can’t sleep well in hotels and you NEVER sleep in hotel rooms and they better be air conditioned and what if it rains and it sucks and it will be all your fault…

It followed into viewing social media.

They didn’t even ask you to come you’re a downer you’re always negative and have nothing to add to the conversation no one wants to be around you you’re awkward and an idiot.

It decided to stick around and get into my head about a neighborhood directory I worked on.

And these thoughts can only be countered, not controlled. Even though I was really happy with the way it turned out and I felt like I had done the best I could to make things accurate, imposter syndrome prevailed.

For every thank you, like or word of appreciation, my brain countered it.

Well, of course he’s going to be nice, he’s such a nice guy. And she’s going to say she likes it because she’s your friend.

And that made every criticism (real or imagined) pierce my soul, because those felt like the truth.

It sucks, you suck, it could have been so much better, I would have done it this way, it’s hard to read, I hate the font, it’s not centered, and on and on.

For the first time in a long time, I wanted to make myself hurt physically in order to drown out the emotional hurt.

I think I channeled it well though.

I rage-weeded the front yard. And there were made up conversations going. Trying to plan what criticism would be next and how to respond. And if this, then that, but if THIS, then THAT. And when I caught myself, I re-grouped and stopped the voices anew.

By the time I was done, the sweat, the back pain, the skin irritation, the cuts on my fingers felt… satisfying. My head was oddly clear and I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Plus, now it will look presentable for those who are taking care of the animals so they won’t gossip about how shitty our yard looks… Kidding!

(That was really a thought I had, but have since talked myself out of the reality of it, and by the way, who cares, right? Right?!?!?)

I really hope this will pass.

But I’m fearful after the experience of last summer.

Is this a blip? Is it the start of something more serious? Where is the line? When do I worry for real?

I could be exposing a lot of ignorance, but I feel like it’s akin to a cancer survivor going in for a follow up. Or even just every day after being told she’s in full remission.

Is the weight loss from diet or cancer? Is the fatigue from stress or cancer? is the pain due to a muscle strain or cancer? Is the lump a benign cyst or cancer?

Fear, fear, fear, fear, worry, worry, worry, no sleep, no sleep, dreams, nightmares, wake, fear, fear, fear…

I’m going to keep on with summer and do my best to enjoy what’s left of it. I’m going back to my toolbox of strategies. I’m going on vacation with my family and it will be fine, and if it isn’t, there isn’t much I can control. I’m going to read fluffy novels and watch The Office from episode 1 to the end. I’m going to hug kids and husband and dogs and cats.

And try to stay grounded.

Finally, a diagnosis!


It has a su-per long name that sounds just quite atrocious!

But it’s not life threat-en-ing and that is really awesome,

I’ll just take some helpful meds, avoid stress (something else that rhymes with “us”? Bogus? Onus? Ah..) that’s a bonus!

Yeah, so I haven’t disappeared or lost interest in the blog or anything. It’s just life that gets in the way, and tests, and keeping my shit together, which lately is like trying to keep 30 kittens in a shallow Amazon box– put one back in and three more escape.

But after numerous ECGs, a stress test, heart ultrasound, 24 hour and 48 hour Holter monitor and a two week Zio patch that left scars on my chest, I have the answer.

It’s only taken 9 months.

To get all medical, it’s something you’re born with. You have that electrical signal that jets to a “gatekeeper” as my cardiologist calls it (I hope it looks nothing like a Ghostbusters Rick Moranis), which then sends it to constrict the heart chambers correctly.

But with this, there’s an extra circuit that sometimes gets the signal, and it just kind of signals, signals, signals until the heart corrects itself. Kind of.

So those are the extra beats, the THUMP THUMP THUMP like my heart’s going to beat out of my chest and the 225bpm that were recorded and I sometimes feel.

And of course, as I get older, the episodes will increase in frequency and duration. Which isn’t a problem unless it doesn’t correct and I have to go to an ER to get it stopped.

So, there are three things I can do.

1. Nothing– awesome. I will let my heart binge Netflix

2. Take some beta blockers. Side effects are low blood pressure and fatigue. I didn’t know blood pressure could go lower than what mine already is, but ok. 90/65 is my normal. So he said to take it at night. You know, so if I faint, I’m already asleep?

3. A heart “procedure” that will completely cure it. They feed a catheter through the groin (that word is right next to “moist” as a word I hate) to the heart, find the circuit and fry it. I asked if they could make mine extra crispy with a side of mashed potatoes, but he didn’t hear me. Or maybe he was just ignoring me.

Since I’m kind of leery about, you know, A HEART PROCEDURE, which might as well be called a YOU WILL BE FUCKED IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG PROCEDURE, I’m going to stick with the beta blockers for now.

Getting old sucks.

Oh, and if you ever have to use the Zio patch, which apparently is the gold standard of diagnosing asshole hearts, and you start to itch and have pain, TAKE IT OFF before it looks like this:

Yeah. Eeww.

So I did a thing…

If you read my posts over the spring and summer, you know that I struggled with my third trip into the dregs of a major depression. I felt like this was by far the worst one because instead of just feeling like I was worthless and hopeless and without value, I felt like life itself had no value.

All life seemed pointless. I mean, why? Just why? Why get out of bed and do the things and be stressed and miserable and get back into bed just to do it all over again the next day? Until death?

Nothing made sense.

And always, when I have started down this path of despair before, I have been able to drag and scratch myself back up by looking at my kids and realizing that I absolutely HAD to survive so I could be there for them. No matter what was going on, no matter what lies my brain was trying to tell me, I held firm to the knowledge that my presence in my kids’ lives was vital.

But this spring, that belief blew away like the seeds of a dandelion.

And in its place grew guilt.

Guilt that I had brought two beautiful human beings into this world to face the same treacherous journey. To exist in a state of nothingness surrounded by horrible people and horrible circumstances. To struggle and strive and get knocked down and hate me for causing it.

I was so completely and hopelessly lost in the darkness. And there wasn’t even a glimmer of light.

Eventually, as you know, I got help and changed meds and worked and pushed and took every hand held out to me to pull me out of shadow.

And I feel well. Really well.

But I don’t ever want to get that far down again.

So I decided that if my brain can lie about the two reasons I do everything in my life and tell me that even they don’t matter, then I need a more permanent reminder.

I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, and I wanted it where I could see it every day, at every angle. It is with me when I circle my arms around them, and it will be with me when they have families of their own.

An eternal reminder, my own personal light.

The stressiest stress test

I recently “re-established care” after not seeing a regular doc for over two years. Long story short, my old doc sucked and then life was happening, and here we are.

Anyway, after nothing for two years now I have all kinds of appointments and preventive care stuff and one of them happened to be a treadmill stress test because I was having some palpitations and not the kind I get when I see Chris Hemsworth’s half naked body in Thor Ragnarok.

How bad could it be? I’m a runner, I have a treadmill, right?

I was picturing a room like a gym with some totally high end treadmill set up like this:

But I entered a super small room with a hospital bed, a monitor and a treadmill that looked like this:

And it was placed in the corner.

The first thing they wanted to do is do a resting EKG, so I was told I would have some privacy to undress from the waist up and put a gown on opening in the front.

Say what?

I have to run sans sports bra?

With the gown open?

But the techs were gone before I could ask so I hurriedly took off my dry wick shirt and sports bra and tied the gown around me, which was a total waste of time because they just untied it immediately after I said I was ready.

I laid on the bed and the techs placed all of the leads. They asked if I was a runner, how far I had run, yada, yada, yada.

Little did I know this was a trick.

After the resting EKG, I was told that a dude, we’ll call him MAJE for Most Awkward Job Ever, came in to do an ultrasound of my heart.

Not gonna lie. He came in and the techs dimmed the lights and left the room and I panicked just a smidge, but Maje asked what I did, and after I told him he made the joke, “Well, now I know why you’re stressed!”

I’m pretty sure I could have said I was a professional kitten cuddler and his response would have been the same.

So out comes the gel and gloved hands and I’m on my side and he’s got the tool and he’s only half looking at me and more looking at the screen and he’s rocking me back and forth to get a good image.

It was like high school sex all over again, except the Red Wings weren’t playing.

Anyhoo, it turns out my heart is an asshole that doesn’t want to be photographed. After moving my boob around and around and pressing the wandy-thing into my rib cage he asked if I had pectus excavatum which is where your breastbone goes all concave between your boobs instead of flat and before I could say yes, he looked and said, “Oh yeah, there it is!” and I think in certain countries that means we’re married now, which is awkward because I already have a hard time remembering my anniversary with my first husband.

So now there’s an issue. Time to bring in reinforcements. Not for me though, for Maje who feels bad that he can’t see all of my heart, and I was like, It’s just shy and doesn’t know you well yet, but he didn’t buy it and went to get another tech.

This tech had a super strong Slavic-like accent which could have been soothing except she kept saying “You, see ok?” at the end of each sentence. She couldn’t see my heart either, so she left me a $20 on the hospital bed and told me to get myself something nice.

Ok, so she didn’t leave me money, but after the second groping, I really felt like I earned it.

Maje finally gave up and said his images were good enough. Good enough? It’s my heart, not a school picture, but I guess that was all they could do and at this point there was no way I was rescheduling.

Now it was time for the treadmill. The techs came back in and they all marveled that I was actually dressed to run and then I started feeling like an idiot because I sensed a trap. One of the techs wrapped a belt around my waist so I didn’t trip over the leads and I almost asked if I could tuck my boobs in there too, but decided against it and hoped for the best. Plus, they were all gunky from the gel so I prayed they’d just stick to my body. Once I was strapped in, she used a piece of scotch tape to close my gown.

One piece.

Presents wrapped by a two year old are more stable than this. A single piece of tape is going to hold the gown closed so my boobs don’t flail around wildly like two half-filled water balloons? I think not.

Just for context, I’ve had two kids. The ONLY stretch marks I have are on my boobs. From engorgement. They aren’t pretty and I try to keep them under wraps at all costs. If I go braless, I’m like one of those National Geographic women who look like they have pouches attached to their chests.

I had no choice, so I got on the treadmill with both techs and Maje watching. There was no speed or incline indicator. It was all automatic, so each stage was three minutes at a speed and incline, and every three minutes both increased.

At first it was ok. The speed was brisk and the incline up, but I could walk and still just breathe through my nose and talk just fine. Simple. Boobs were just swaying like leaves in a summer breeze.

Then there was a beep and the speed and incline increased. Still ok, I was walking fast, but was now breathing out of my mouth and talking was a little bit more difficult. I wondered if the gown was still closed and if my nipple might poke the tech in the eye.

Before it could beep again, one of the leads was malfunctioning because it was jacked up from all the gel. Of course it was a lead on my side next to the wall.

The time ended and the speed and incline jacked up again. Now I had to run, on an incline that felt like Everest, and they wanted to change the lead while I was running. Fuxcuse me? I was afraid I was going to fall off the damn thing and my legs were about spent, so I quit.

So much for my running background…

Then it was back on the bed and there was blood pressure being taken, images of my asshole heart and EKG going. Honestly it was a little like an ER episode without a gang busting in to avenge a fallen brother.

Finally, it was over. They had all the data they needed and I was given the ok to dress and leave. The tech told me not to feel badly, that the average time is between 6 and 12 minutes.

I lasted 7.

I slowly put my bra and shirt back on. The room was in disarray. The lights were still dimmed. Everyone had gone. It looked like a used stage from some really specific niche porn flick.

I hope I get a cut of the profits.

Finally— remission

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while because I don’t want to jinx anything.

But almost two weeks ago, I felt it. And it was a moment worth remembering.

I walked outside to go for a run. I started my app, jogged down the driveway, around the corner, and onto the sidewalk that parallels the main road…

And it happened.

I noticed the sidewalk stretching out before me. Saw the azure blue of the sky. Smelled the dew on the grass.

And was grateful. And awake. And content. And alive.

The run wasn’t anything special. I think it was maybe two miles total with several walking breaks.

But for the first time in a long time, it felt like all of the gears in my brain were finally in sync and running smoothly.

The first time in a very long time.

It’s taken eight months.

Four medication changes.

Numerous psychiatric visits and emails.

Side effects from withdrawal from medication and adjusting to new medication.

Insurance company squabbles.

But the darkness has retreated for now.

And even though I’m hesitant to celebrate, I need to share it.

Even though I question why I’m not sleeping, or why I’m tired, or panic if I have a negative thought, I need to share this.

It gets better.

For anyone out there who fights the darkness, you need to know that there is always a light.

Sometimes from a completely unexpected place.

When your brain lies to you and tells you you’re worthless and you don’t matter and nothing matters and what’s the point of it all, read this:

YOU are worth it. YOU matter. YOU are loved, and valued, and treasured, and make the world a better place.

This is my third episode of major depression. Each time I needed help. By the second episode, I realized how to ask for it. With this episode, I decided to share the journey with the hope of helping others understand the struggle.

I have no regrets.

And I have many people I am grateful for.

Even though going “public”was frightening, it helped having support from so many. Some I know and some I don’t.

Thank you.

I am experienced enough to realize that the odds of another episode are likely. And that this illness will return, come out of remission, and try to take over.

So for now, I’m going to breathe. And enjoy the contentment while it lasts.

I’m going to enjoy the ability to be present in the moment.

And try to remember that the light may fade, it may be obscured, but it is always there.

I have a nube skin and sometimes lay low like a bush camper, but I’m all in for Fortnite.

“Ok, we’re landing at Tilted. Follow my marker.”

“The blue one?”

“Yes, Mama. I’ll tell you when to jump…. JUMP!”

“Where should I land?”

“On top of that first building.”

“Crap. I think I opened my chute too soon. I’m going to land way away from there.”

“Ok, I have a shottie, a legendary SCAR and some mini-shields.”

“How do you find this stuff?”

“Don’t worry, Mama. I got you. I’m going to drop the minis for you and the shottie. Drink the shields. We have to get to the circle before the storm gets us.”


Most adults hate it. If you have kids, they have probably spent the better part of their summer playing it on their iPad, X-Box, PS4 or any other number of devices. The best part is it’s free. The worst part is it’s addicting and your kid has probably asked to spend the next five years’ allowance on V-bucks for battle passes and cool skins (avatars).

But contrary to what most of my friends think, I happen to like the game. And what I like more, is getting to play it with my kids.

Yes, there’s violence. The object is to kill/ survive until you are the last single, duo or squad standing. But there’s no blood, no gore, and no side vulgarities. If you die, a light kind of dissolves you leaving all of your loot behind for enemies to pick up.

What I really like is the teamwork and skill involved. Unless you’re playing singles, you have to work with others in order to win. So people will share shields with you. They’ll build for you if you suck at it (like me). And they’ll even revive you if you’re knocked down, which I find amazing. Even though my own kid chose a supply drop over reviving me once–asshole–random players have revived me again and again.

And again.

I told you, I really suck.

But I’m getting better.

I can land where I planned to and find chests with all the goodies. I can reload my weapons on the run. I know how to aim and shoot. I can build— albeit very slowly.

And I have to admit, I like getting better at something. I like the strategy involved in drawing your enemy out, in choosing the appropriate weapon. In running floor to floor in a house and knowing there is always a chest in the secret room in the basement. I like having my go-to landing spots—Retail Row, anyone?—that are now familiar. I like reviving nubes (new players) like me.

But most of all, I like the fact that my kids are way better than I am and yet they want to play with me.

My kids are 13 and 9. They’re both starting to hit that stage where I’m not cool enough to hang out with. In the future they’ll be way more interested in their friends and eventual boyfriends and girlfriends. So I cherish this time of looting and killing with them.

Even if it means I watch my daughter get excited about killing someone with a single headshot.

From behind.

And I like that they are the experts. I think it’s awesome that they can teach me, and that I suck at stuff that they excel at.

And what shocks me is the patience they have with me. Sometimes I get frustrated when I can’t pick up what I want to pick up. “Mama is your inventory full? You have to drop something, remember?” Sometimes I can maneuver the way they can. “Here, let me build another stair so you can jump easier.”

When I get killed, they empathize. When I get a kill, they’re ecstatic.

That’s only happened four times…

So yeah, Derek plays way more than I’d like him to, and sometimes I have to make him get dressed and see the sun.

And I’m like 99… ok, 93% certain that playing this won’t have negative long-lasting effects on him. Probably.

And it’s not quite the scenario I pictured when they were little. You know, visiting museums, appreciating art, reading books together… which sounds pretty boring now that I typed that out. Sheesh.

But he won’t always be nine and want to play with me.

So, thanks, Fortnite.

I’m sorry if I scared anyone

My poor mom. Whenever I have a sensitive post, I try and warn her ahead of time so she’s not blindsided. It’s the least, and I mean the very least, I can do.

So she read it immediately as I knew she would and a flurry of texts ensued about her fears and questions and need for assurance.

I’m really, really sorry, mom.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to read these things about your daughter. I know my friends are concerned when I write things like this. I’ve been offered all kinds of help and I am so, so appreciative of the outpouring of love and support that I almost think I deserve it.

That’s a joke.

As hard as it is to read, it’s equally hard to write. Because even though some might deny it, it alters their view of me.

And that’s ok.

I’m no different than I have been my entire life, but this part has been kept secret for years.

As I told my mom, I understand why she’s upset and scared because it’s the first time she’s reading about these things, but as I assured her, it’s not the first time I’ve felt them.

I remember the first time wanting to cut myself, but it was more of a “he’ll be sorry” kind of thing. I took a steak knife in my room, sat on my bed with ugly sobs blurring my hands and thought about what would happen.

But I was scared. Of getting in trouble.

So I waited for the sobs to subside and put the steak knife back in the kitchen drawer.

But there’s more than one way to harm oneself.

Over the years I’ve picked my cuticles until they bled, pulled out eyelashes and eyebrows, worked out to collapsing exhaustion, eaten myself into oblivion, drunk myself into forgetfulness, and starved myself.

All ways to distract attention from what was causing pain on the inside.

Coping mechanisms, but destructive ones.

So I get it. I may not fit the profile of someone you think of when you think “mental illness.” My eyes aren’t wild, I’m not a loner, and I get out of bed. Well, most days.

But there are more of us than you might realize.

Erasing the stigma is a HUGE goal of mine. Helping people see that you CAN learn coping skills and have a functional life, a family that loves you and laugh and play and not just survive but truly live with mental illness.

And every time I’ve gotten punched by a new episode, I end up going to my corner, getting new strategies, new meds, more love and more support, and I have been able to win.

This is just another one of those times.

And I can win.