My Trip to NYC

Clearly based on the creativity of the title of the blog post, I’m exhausted. After 5 days in New York City, I’m wiped. But I need to document my trip now or I never will. Here goes.

Why I Went to New York

I originally booked my trip to NYC to see Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I saw the show, but it happened to be the first show after NPH was done. It didn’t ruin my trip by any means. I still had a blast.


I went outside my comfort zone and decided to stay at a hostel. It’s basically like dorm living, but instead of one roommate, you have 11! The hostel situation was pretty cool. I mostly kept to myself, but did meet people—mostly from Australia and the UK.

The main reason I decided to stay at a hostel was cost. It’s about $50/night to stay in a hostel, vs minimum $150/night in a hotel. Totally worth the savings.

This isn't a very good angle of the room. There were 6 bunks, 12 beds total. I got the back corner top bunk, which was awesome.

This isn’t a very good angle of the room. There were 6 bunks, 12 beds total. I got the back corner top bunk, which was awesome.


Everything with my flights and whatnot when very smoothly.  I somehow caught the right bus from the airport to the hostel (honestly I just hopped on one headed toward Manhattan). The subway system was easy to figure out and I used that to get around.


Again, I’m tired, so I’m just going to go through what I did each day.

Monday was my day to travel to NYC. I got up for a 7 a.m. flight out of Waterloo and got to the hostel by about 3 p.m.

I didn’t feel like venturing out on my own that night, but luckily the hostel had a planned walking tour of Brooklyn. It was a good way to meet a couple people and see the city with a group.

Our tour guide was Bill, a native Brooklyn-ite. He was adorable and clearly had a passion for the city. He showed us historical sites and great views of the city. The tour was a LOT of walking (about 5 hours straight), so I was exhausted when we got in around 10. Bed.

Tour guide Bill. Adorable.

Tour guide Bill. Adorable.


Tuesday, my first full day in the city, I pretty much just wandered around. I took the Staten Island Ferry and had lunch on the isle. Otherwise, I honestly just walked around and saw stuff. Nothing of note, but cool stuff nonetheless.

That evening, I partook in some free kayaking. It wasn’t like white-water kayaking or anything. Quite the opposite actually. Everybody got 20 minutes to just kayak around a small area of the Hudson. This provided amazing views of the skylines. I couldn’t take pictures, of course, because lord knows I would have dropped my phone in the water.

I did take a photo of other people kayaking. The skyline in the background wasn't even the good skyline.

I did take a photo of other people kayaking. The skyline in the background wasn’t even the good skyline.


Wednesday I did another good deal of wandering around. I went to the Union Square Farmer’s Market (thanks for the tip, Libby). And for those of you who know me, the follow is a big deal: I bought an apple and ate it without washing it. Yea, I know. I went all out on this trip.

After the market, I headed to the High Line, a rail line converted into a park. It was surprisingly busy, but really cool. I walked end to end.

Wednesday night was show night—Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It definitely would have been soooo much cooler with Neil Patrick Harris, but it was amazing anyway. And now I can say I’ve seen a show on Broadway! I have quite a few pictures from that night, but I’ll just share a couple here. I’ll put the rest on Facebook.

I took a picture with the guitar player...mostly because of his awesome mustache. Yes, it's real.

I took a picture with the guitar player…mostly because of his awesome mustache. Yes, it’s real.

The show sign.

The show sign.

Me being super happy to be in Times Square. Seriously, it was awful. I think it's the worst place on the planet. Too many people.

Me being super happy to be in Times Square. Seriously, it was awful. I think it’s the worst place on the planet. Too many people.


My last day in the city. I made the most of it. I spent most of the day walking through Central Park (yes, you can spend all day doing that). I also went to the pool in the park because, well, sun.

I found a unique plant in its natural habitat in Central Park.

I found a unique plant in its natural habitat in Central Park.

Thursday night was a blast too. I headed to Marie’s Crisis bar. On my way, I saw a delightful ice cream shop, and got hit on by a homeless gentleman (not the only time this happened, just the most memorable).

Ice cream! I didn't have any because I had had Ben & Jerry's earlier that day.

Ice cream! I didn’t have any because I had had Ben & Jerry’s earlier that day.

So Marie’s Crisis is pretty much the best bar ever (again, thanks, Libby). There’s a piano and a piano player and he plays songs and everybody sings. Everybody. Including me. It was amazing. I almost didn’t leave.

But I did leave. And I headed to what I thought was a drag show but was actually a burlesque show so I left and went home and went to bed.


See, my headings are just lazy.

Overall, the trip was amazing. Everything went far too smoothly, and I’m so happy for that. I had a great time.

In case you didn’t realize, yes, I went alone. I’ve come to love traveling alone. The freedom and independence are incomparable. Highly recommend.

While I was gone, my little monkey stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s (my parents’ house).

Somebody might have wanted to go for a walk.

Somebody might have wanted to go for a walk.

We were both quite happy to get home. Little miss is sleeping beside me, and bed is my next stop.


I Went to Mexico…Alone

I’m not a risk taker. I like the familiar. I like the safe. I like my routines.

But…last week I stepped out of my comfort zone (a massive understatement) and went on vacation to Cancun. By myself.

For those of you who know me, this is a surprise for SO many reasons:

  • I don’t really take vacations
  • I’ve never traveled alone
  • I had to leave my Violet for 7 days
  • Like I said, I like safe, routine activities

There are more reasons I’m sure, but my brain is still on vacation.

I want to document some of my vacation here—so you can see it, but mostly so I can remember it when I look back at this post. I’m going to spare you the details, but here’s an overview of my adventure.


I’m a nervous packer. I hate packing. I know I’m going to forget something. Luckily, all I forgot this time was Q-tips. Those are easy to find, even in Mexico. I packed the night before I left, and as I was doing so, had about 5 minutes of, “What the hell am I doing going to Mexico alone!?” Then I got over it.

Dog in Suitcase

Somebody wanted to come to Mexico with her mama.


I flew out of Des Moines at 6 a.m. so I could get to the resort at a decent hour. As you know, when you fly out at 6, you have to be there at 4. Yuck. So I stayed in a hotel Friday night for my Saturday a.m. flight. I was in the hotel for about 7 hours total. Good times.

Hotel Privacy Sign

Not sure why this guy needs privacy…

Everything with the flights went well. I had never been out of the country before, but I figured out customs. It’s surprisingly hard to mess up. I got on my shuttle and headed to paradise.

The Resort

I stayed at the Now Sapphire in Riviera Cancun. It was beautiful. And warm. My balcony view was pretty awesome.

Riviera Maya Cancun

I could also see the ocean…kind of.


I kept very busy with a variety of activities: swimming, drinking, tanning (burning), drinking, playing volleyball, dancing, drinking, reading, eating, walking, socializing, and drinking.


My morning routine: reading on the balcony.

I wore shorts, tank tops, and sandals the entire week. It was amazing. My phone says it’s 47 degrees right now in Iowa, and it’s supposed to freeze tonight. Stupid. I did get blisters from wearing sandals the whole time, but if that’s my worst complaint, I’m calling the trip a success!

foot blisters

Blister scabs. Gross.

I’ll spare you the more detailed activities of my 4-ish days at the resort (call, email, Facebook, or text me if you want them). But I will say, I had a blast and met a ton of amazing people. I would 100% do it again. Shoot, I plan on doing it again soon.


Now I’m back home. It feels good, but I could have stayed at that resort for at least another week. If Violet could have come with me, I’d never come back.

sleeping dog

Somebody looks happy to be home.

I didn’t understand how awesome a vacation like this could be until I did it. I took a chance, did something scary, and now have memories that will last a lifetime.

OMG, Shoes

I buy tennis shoes about every 5 years. Not even kidding. I realized this week that my workout shoes are from sophomore year of high school…that was like 10 year ago. The last pair of tennis shoes I got was my sophomore year of college (5 years ago…see the pattern here), and my dad bought them for me.

I’m notoriously frugal. I don’t buy things I don’t need. But, I finally gave in and thought it was time to get some new tennis shoes. So, I ventured out in the snow today and headed to the mall (another place I only go ever few years it feels like).

I headed right to the lady athletic shoes section of Famous Footwear. It’s still where it was 5 years ago. But this time, the selection was so different! Neon. Everything is neon. Bright green, bright pink, bright blue. Everywhere. My eyes hurt. Apparently that’s the style these days. We all know how well I keep up with style and fashion.

I walked up and down the wall of shoes, my eyes hurting from the brightness. I don’t mind the neon style, which is good because I didn’t really have a choice. But I settled for a pair that’s more subtle. The picture doesn’t do them justice…they’re bright.

Neon Shoes

Breaking them in like a champ.

I tend to shop by price. As mentioned above, I’m frugal. I don’t see a reason to by $110 shoes. But, I was proud of myself that I didn’t shop just by price. I got the pair I wanted. They happened to be a very good deal, so bonus points for me.

One thing that surprised me about the shoes I tried on was how light they are. Again, since I haven’t bought shoes in 5 years, things have changed, I guess. These shoes are like air light. I’mma be able to run so fast. I’ll be neon blur.

Ending this for my girls: OMG, shoes. You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

I Got a Dog

I had dogs all my life. Ever since Pepe came in the house and I ran and hid when I was 3.

That is, until I went to college.

In college, it’s tough to have dogs. I was in the dorms, in no-dog apartments, had wacky schedules, and moved every year.

When I got my house (I may have purchased a house mainly to get a dog…don’t judge me), one of my first to-dos was getting a dog. And this weekend, it finally happened! After 6 years of no dog, I’m back to dog-owner status.

I didn’t have any clue what I wanted. People asked what size and what breed, but I truly didn’t care. I cared about the dog’s personality. I knew I didn’t want a puppy, but other than that, I was pretty open.

IMAG0419I wanted to adopt from the Cedar Bend Humane Society—I’ve been volunteering there for several months. So I took a half day on Friday and headed out there. I walked around for about 45 minutes, looking at the dogs, taking them for walks, and getting to know them. There were a couple I got along with, but I fell in love with Violet.

I got the folder from the adoption ladies and read up on her. She’s a cairn terrior who was a companion pet for an older gentleman until he passed. She lived on a farm with his family for a while, but they couldn’t keep her, so they took her to the shelter.

As a companion pet, she’s super cuddly. She doesn’t leave my side, and she hates when I leave. She follows me everywhere—she can’t have me out of her site.

I wanted a cuddly dog, and that’s what I got.

Violet is 9 years old, which means she would have been at the shelter for a while. People tend not to want to adopt older dogs. I hate to point out the reason because I don’t want to think about that, so I’ll let you figure it out.

She doesn’t really listen when I call her Violet, but she does pretty well with Vi. She’s house trained. She doesn’t really know any tricks. She thinks she’s entitled to always be on my lap and to sleep in my bed. We’ll work on that.

She’s still trying to figure out how to use her bed. She’s getting there.

IMAG0434 IMAG0430 IMAG0436

She found her favorite toy—Gumby. We wrestle and play tug of war and fetch.


Overall, I’d say we’re just a couple of happy ladies. :)


I’m sure there will be plenty of pictures on my Facebook page…I’m going to me one of those Moms who’s constantly taking pictures.

Did I forget any details about her? Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Things I Learned During My 2-Week Break

I just had two weeks off from work. Not like normal vacation where you have to keep an eye on work email (and in my case, keep an eye on social networks for clients). But a true vacation. No work email to check, no responsibilities. Yes, it was two weeks off, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t learning.

I learned that vacation rocks! It was wonderful not to have to be anywhere or do anything. I had a list of things I wanted to do or get done, but I could do them on my time. I could wake up at 8 a.m. (ha, no) or sleep until noon (more likely).

I re-learned that I do love being outside. I’ve gotten in the bad habit of staying inside the last few years…very hermit-esque With work during the day and feeling lazy on the weekends, I spent most of my time under unnatural light. But on my break, I spent a chunk of every day outside, and I hope to continue getting more outside time.

I learned that pedicures are just not worth it. They hurt (and tickle). Yes, my toesies look spectacular (exhibit a), but this one will probably be both the first and last one I ever get.

exhibit a

exhibit a

I learned that yoga pants rock. I used to be skeptical about the comfyness of yoga pants…I didn’t understand why other girls liked wearing them. I get it now. I really get it. I try not to wear them out of the house unless I actually am working out, and I will NEVER wear them with Uggs, but they really are fantastic.

I learned that swimming is really, really hard…and it’s great exercise. But, seriously, it’s hard. And exhausting. But I’ll probably keep doing it.

I learned that women at the Y are totally OK with their bodies. While I went in the changing rooms, others did not feel the need to.

I learned that I don’t have a 3 iron in my current set of golf clubs. And also that I can still golf even though it’s been 6 years since I’ve golfed consistently.

I learned that the par 3 course in town does not have a dress code. I know this because I wore my shorty shorts, and a gentleman played a round with no shirt.

I learned that I have shoes for every occasion, and that I wore pretty much all of them during these two weeks.


OMG shoes. A small selection of my vacation footwear.

I learned I can still rollerblade. But it’s reeeaaallly hard on the leg muscles.

I learned I eat a lot when I’m at home during the day. Like seriously, a lot.

During my time off, I took a break from social media, as in NO social media for the first week, limited social media for the second week. I learned that it’s harder to avoid posting on social media than it is to avoid looking at my newsfeed for what others are posting. That sounds super narcissistic, but I guess it’s now ingrained to want to share what you’re doing. If you have a chance to take a break from social media, I highly recommend it.

I did learn that the only reason I’ll break my social media hiatus is to respond to a message from my brother in Afghanistan. (Miss you, James.)

Now I’m headed into the next chapter of my career, of my life. And I couldn’t be more excited. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m excited to get back to work. My 2-week vacation was wonderful, yes, but I do much better when I’m busy. I’m ready to put my mind toward something, and to grow and learn every day.

Wish me luck!


Friday was my last day at ME&V. Crazy. I was there for 4 years: 1 as a student, 1 as a part-timer and 2 full time. I learned so much there…started as a student, left as a professional. I’m sad to leave, but excited about my next steps.

I’m going to miss walking down the hall to talk to my sister.

I don't have any work-related pictures of Shannon and I, so here's us at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO.

I don’t have any work-related pictures of Shannon and I, so here’s us at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO.

I’m going to miss being able to turn around and communicate with Carrie, often without using words.

Cup String Phone

This one time (OK, Friday) Carrie and I set up a high-tech communication system between our offices. It was hilarious.

I’m going to miss Jessica and I dressing similarly without planning it…because the girls taught me how to dress.

My second-to-last day Jessica and I dressed like twinsies...we didn't even coordinate it!

My second-to-last day Jessica and I dressed like twinsies…we didn’t even coordinate it!

I’m going to miss all the great people I worked with.

My sister Shannon got everyone at the office to sign this for me :)

My sister Shannon got everyone at the office to sign this for me :)

I’m going to miss this view…watching puppies walk by all day and worrying about the ice fishermen in the winter.


While I will miss ME&V, on June 3 I will be starting at Far Reach as a marketing specialist. I’m remarkably excited about this opportunity and where it will take me professionally.

In the mean time, I have two weeks off! Two. Weeks. Off. My mom said I haven’t had two weeks off since I was in third grade. And it’s not like when you take two weeks off work and you still have to check email and worry about what’s happening while you’re not there. I have none of that. No work email to check, no Facebook pages to worry about, no nothing. I have two weeks of wide open freedom.

What am I going to do with my two weeks? Well, I’m taking a break from social media. For the first time in a long time, I don’t have to get on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks for work, so I can avoid them, and that’s what I’m going to do. No Facebook, no Twitter, no LinkedIn, no Pinterest, no Imgur. It’s going to be wonderful.

“But how are you posting this if you’re on a social media hiatus?” you may ask. Good question. This is pre-scheduled. I wrote it and scheduled it. At the time this publishes, I will have been free from social media for 4 whole days.

I also plan to spend lots of time outside, including at the Cedar Bend Humane Society walking dogs. I have to watch Arrested Development in preparation for the new season, and then watch the new season since it comes out May 26. I will celebrate my birthday. I might go some places (if you have recommendations of fun day-trips, leave them in the comments). I have a lot I want to do, but no schedule to keep. Which is perfect.

Come June 3, I’ll jump back into it and start a new chapter in my life. I look forward to it. But for now, I have 2 weeks of vacation to enjoy.

inbox zero

This was my inbox when I left on my last day. Beautiful. #inboxzero

Happy 10th Anniversary, Self

I know this post is long. But I think it’s worth the read.

Most people my age (23) can’t celebrate a 10-year anniversary of anything…except maybe puberty. But I can. While it’s not so much a celebration as it is a recognition, today is exactly 10 years since I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

What if every disease was treated like mental illness?

What if every disease was treated like mental illness?

I’m relatively open about my depression and anxiety, which are technically mental illnesses. I have no reason to hide it, but I also have no reason to flaunt it. It’s not something you can’t really notice, unless I open up about it. All the scars are on the inside. It’s a big part of my personality, and that will never change.

Until you’ve known someone with depression and anxiety, and seen them fight through waking up in the morning, leaving the house and performing basic functions to live, you can’t understand it. Even if you’ve seen someone go through it, it’s impossible to know what it’s like to have it. (Yes, I’ll be using “it” as a pronoun for depression and anxiety because that’s what it is to me. It’s an it. And despite 10 years of it, “depression,” is still a difficult word for me to say, or type.)

It is a chemical imbalance in my brain. Serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, blah, blah, blah. I haven’t spent time (since I was first diagnosed at least) trying to understand the technicalities of the disease. I have, however, spent a lot of time trying to understand how it affects my life and how to manage it.

Mental illness affects everyone differently. I’ve had discussions with others who have it, and while there are similarities, it’s always different.

So I’m going to share my story.

In 8th grade, shortly after my family had moved to Blairsburg, I started crying every morning. Every morning. I missed first period pretty much every day, spending the first 45 minutes of my day in my dad’s office crying. If I had to go to class, I would cry at my desk. None of my classmates understood, heck, I didn’t understand. I didn’t really get made fun of (that I heard), but I know I was the weird girl who cried a lot.

My main trigger was leaving the house. Every time I thought about going to school, going to the store, going anywhere, I would cry. I couldn’t control it. I was accused of “trying to get out of stuff” and “having terrible timing,” but none of us understood it.

After three months of this, crying every single morning, and getting no relief, my mom took me to the doctor. Which I hated because I never went to the doctor. My mother and I discussed what was happening with him, and he prescribed antidepressants that also help with anxiety. It didn’t hit me at first (actually, for about a year) that the prescribing of the medicine meant I had this mental illness. All I knew is that I needed help, and this was supposed to help.

The doctor also sent me to a psychiatrist for a review. I told him my story. He asked a lot of questions, and I lied in a lot of answers. What was I supposed to do? I was in 8th grade, my mom was there and this strange man was asking if I had suicidal thoughts. So I lied. He gave the stellar recommendation of, “Yea, take the meds your doctor prescribed.”

So, I started taking the pills. I was prescribed Effexor XR, which was relatively new in 2003. Now that I know more about the healthcare industry, I’m sure my doctor got some kickback. But that doesn’t bother me, because it worked.

I started taking one pill every day. Which, of course, I hated because I didn’t like taking medicine. The doctor told me it wouldn’t work right away, so I didn’t have any expectations. Honestly, I didn’t care. That’s what depression does…it strips your ability to give a shit.

It was about five weeks later when I went to first period…and didn’t cry. This was huge for me! For the first time in four or five months, I did it. I went a day without crying. It sounds like a minor accomplishment for most people, but for me it was bigger than you can imagine. From then on, I had good days and bad days. I still spent plenty of time in my dad’s office crying, but there were days when I didn’t. And that’s all I needed.

Slowly but surely the days I didn’t cry started to out number the days I did cry. I could leave the house without crying (sometimes) and function almost normally.

The Next 10 Years

It does get tiring being tired all the time.

It does get tiring being tired all the time.

I stayed on that same dose of Effexor for 8 years. I didn’t mess with it. I was scared to. Antidepressants can take so long to work that I didn’t want to risk it. I didn’t want to play with something that was “fine.” I had plenty of ups and downs in those years. Many, many dark lows…many, which I won’t bore you with. But eventually, that original dose wasn’t doing it for me. I was in a bad place, and I had to do something.

It sounds easy. Oh, I’m more sad than usual, I should up my anti-depressant dose. False. I thought I was fine. I thought I was just in a low and I would get better. But I had people around me who recognized that I wasn’t doing well. So I finally went to my doctor (a different one than originally diagnosed me) and asked to switch things up.

I’ll admit, that’s one of the hardest things I’ve done. Again, unless you’ve been through it, it’s hard to conceptualize. But for me, going up on the meds meant I lost. It meant the depression was winning. It meant I couldn’t do it on my own and that I would be on the meds forever. That’s a tough realization to come to, and it took me a couple of months to get over.

But I did it. I went up on the meds. But it didn’t do anything. So, I went up again. So at this point, I’m on triple the dose I was used to. I was in a daze, I wasn’t myself and I didn’t like it. I was on so much medicine, especially for someone my size, that I couldn’t function like that for long. Plus, it made my anxiety worse, which isn’t supposed to happen.

So, I went back to the doctor…again. This time, he put me on a different medicine: Lexapro. It’s in the same family as Effexor, so it works with the same chemicals, but it’s different. There could have been a 4-6 week transition period that was really tough, but luckily, I didn’t have that. I had a smooth transition. In addition to the Lexapro, the doctor gave me Xanax, which was the first time I was put on anything additional for the anxiety.

But, again, luckily, it worked. It’s been maybe a year since I’ve been on this new concoction, and it’s going well. I’m doing better than I could have hoped, and my lows seem to be relatively infrequent. I really am doing well.

Depression vs Anxiety

I love this. Never tell me to "smile." Never tell me to "get over it." It'll just make it worse.

I love this. Never tell me to “smile.” Never tell me to “get over it.” It’ll just make it worse.

In this post I’ve mentioned both depression and anxiety. They’re not the same thing. Yes, they often come together, but they’re not the same. I have depression with anxiety. Some people have anxiety with depression. Some have other combinations of mental illness. Mine happens to be depression with anxiety.

Depression is the sadness. It’s this deep pit of darkness that can’t be escaped. It’s a hopeless feeling that makes you stop caring about anything. You know those depression medicine commercials that try to depict it? Well, they actually do a pretty good job. It does hurt, both the sufferers and the people around us. It’s exhausting and all you can think is, “Please let it end.” During a deep depression, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. There’s just darkness. The first thing I think when I wake up is that I can’t wait to go back to bed. Because when I’m sleeping, I can’t be sad.

I’ve been blamed for using my depression to get out of things I don’t want to do. False. I couldn’t help it. I have a lot of triggers (things that’ll set my depression off), and if one of those triggers happens, I could spiral. My depression triggers, everyone’s are different,  include (but are not limited to): church, big life changes, people talking about suicide, people talking about cutting, stress. There are others, but those have been consistent in the last 10 years.

So that’s the depression part. It’s hard to understand unless you’ve seen it or been through it.

Now onto anxiety. Anxiety is a panic that can’t really be described, but I’ll try. For me, I have anxieties and panic attacks. Anxieties lead to panic attacks, but not always. I have so many anxiety triggers that I can’t list them all here, but I’ll try. From an outsider’s point of view, they seem trivial, which makes it that much harder, because I know they’re trivial, but there’s nothing I can do about it. OK, triggers:

  • Noises (whistling, people eating, people drinking, beeping, certain people’s voices, ticking, etc.)
  • Time left on the microwave
  • Door handles
  • Groups of people
  • Social interactions
  • Not being in control / the unknown
  • Physical proximity
  • Germs at restaurants and airports (surface germs, not airborne)
  • Having my back to the door
  • Certain driving situations
  • Unfamiliar places
  • Hypochondria (my anxiety has me convinced I have a brain tumor. I don’t…or do I?)

That’s certainly not an exclusive list, but just listing them is getting my heart racing so I need to stop. It is important to point out that triggers don’t make sense. I don’t like eating out of public food supplies (like potlucks) because of the germs, but I can drop a piece of food on the floor and totally pick it up and eat it. It doesn’t make sense. None of it does. There’s no rationale behind what’s going to trigger the anxiety, and that makes it hard for people to understand. “Well, this makes you panic but that doesn’t. You must be faking.” Ugh, no, it just isn’t logical.

Everyone experiences anxiety differently, but I’ll try to explain how it affects me. If I experience a trigger, I start to feel weak and my heart races. Sometimes I get shaky. Then if the trigger goes away, or I take Xanax, that’s it. But, if I continue to be around the trigger, or if I’m already too deep into the anxiety, my heart will race even faster, my brain will go into “flight” mode and I’ll look for a way away from the trigger. My eyesight will start to go and everything will look blurry and unfocused. These all last until I come down from the panic, either naturally or with Xanax.

When you have anxieties, you find ways to “deal” with it. For me, dark, enclosed spaces help (which ironically, would be a trigger for other people). My favorite places to hide during anxiety are closets. They’re dark, enclosed and safe. I can be alone and get away. Who’s going to look for me in a closet? But there aren’t always closets available, so I’ve also used bathrooms (gross), under my desk and in my car.

It’s a terrible feeling to be panicky for what often feels like no reason. And when you’re panicking, you’re alone. Unless you tell someone that you’re panicking (or they pick up on some of the inevitable physical signs) or they find you in a closet, there’s no way anyone will know you’re panicking. Plus, for me at least, when I’m having a panic attack, I want to be alone. I don’t want anyone to know. I’ll admit it afterward, but not often during.

As I said, depression and anxiety affect people so differently, but this is my experience. After 10 years, you’d think I’d be used to it. Nope.

How it Affects My Life

Most people will never know when I'm going through a depression. Because I have to put on that "I'm OK" face.

Most people will never know when I’m going through a depression. Because I have to put on that “I’m OK” face.

Depression and anxiety affect my life every single day. Not just because I have to take medicine every day, but also because it’s always on my mind. Yes, I’m lucky that I can have a normal job and at least put on a face when I’m out in public, but it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting wondering when the next panic attack will strike; it’s exhausting pretending not to notice that person who didn’t wash her hands after using the bathroom; it’s exhausting not freaking out when people get in my bubble, eat loudly or hit one of my other triggers; it’s exhausting trying to have a normal social life when doing so just causes me more anxiety. It’s hard.

It makes me not quite normal. My social anxieties make it tough to make new friends, especially close friends, and do social activities, and it makes me really awkward, especially when I’m uncomfortable. I’ve been told it comes off as funny, but after I go all awkward, I replay every stupid thing I said, over and over and over. And I feel stupid because I feel like I can’t control what I say and it comes out as word vomit. My go-to mechanism is to make fun of myself. Yea, that’s not self-defeating.

I also have trouble with emotions. I’m either not emotional at all and I don’t feel a damn thing, or I’m overly emotional, crying or over-reacting to every situation. Neither is better than the other, they both suck. The combination of the depression and anxiety makes it very difficult to know what emotions to display when. Society has taught me how to react, but it’s not often instinctual…I have to work at it. When my illness is bad, I come off as a robot because I don’t have the energy to expend pretending. I really appreciate cues that direct me in how I’m supposed to be feeling—other people’s facial expressions, music, etc. One of my biggest fears of this is that in a future relationship, I won’t be able to fully love someone because I don’t know how, or I can’t feel that emotion. I hope that’s not the case, but it’s something I worry about almost every day.

I get through all this day-to-day junk, often without anyone knowing. I’m lucky that I’m at a point in my life when I’m doing well. When I’m not doing well, I fight every day with myself on whether or not to get out of bed (or my closet, depending).

But, I don’t want pity. I don’t want people to feel bad for me, there’s no reason for that. I just ask that people try to understand, even though it’s hard. Understand that I can’t always be happy, smiling Megan. Understand that I’m not going to want to do something social every single night…that’s exhausting for me. Understand that when I’m crying, all I want is to be treated normally. When I’m crying and someone asks, “What’s wrong?” What am I supposed to say? Technically, there’s nothing wrong…I’m probably just crying for “no reason.” But while I’m used to crying for no reason, society doesn’t understand that. Logic says that if you’re crying, something set you off. But, no, sometimes I just cry because the chemicals in my brain are a little off. The people close to me know just to treat me like normal and pretend I’m not balling my eyes out, and I’ll talk about it after I’ve composed myself.

Two Different Megans

I don’t have multiple personality disorder and I’m not bipolar, but I do like to think of my mental illness in the following way. It’s kind of like there are two Megans. There’s the Megan who has mental illness, and there’s the rational Megan. The rational Megan knows that the depression and anxiety aren’t normal—she can realize when the depression/anxiety are happening. But even though rational Megan recognizes it, there’s nothing she can do about it.

I’m one of the most self-aware depression/anxiety sufferers I know. I’ve taken the time to understand how it affects me and what sets me off. I’m able to look at my illness from an outside perspective (rational Megan), which is both a  positive and a negative. It’s a positive because I can understand myself and what I go through. It’s a negative because I realize how illogical it is, and I have to accept the fact that I can’t change it. I can talk about my depression reflectively and from an outside point of view, and whether it’s a positive or negative, most people I know like me can’t do this, so I’ll count myself fortunate.


There’s a huge stigma around mental illness and depression and anxiety and everything. We get called fakers a lot. As I’ve said, unless you’ve been through it, or at least watched someone go through it (hi Mom, Dad, Shannon and James), you just can’t understand. It’s not rational, but it is what it is.

It bothers me when people say things like, “I’ve been diagnosed with depression (or anxiety), but I don’t want to take the medicine, so I just deal with it.” No. That’s not depression/anxiety like I, and many others, have. Honestly, if I didn’t find the medicine when I did, I probably wouldn’t be where I am, maybe not here at all. I don’t know. But I’ve accepted that I need the medicine. I can’t just “deal with it.” It’s not because I’m weak. It’s because I was strong enough to get the help I needed and to understand that I’ll need it for the rest of my life. It took a long time to come to that realization, and sometimes I do feel weak, but in general, I understand.

I’m not out to change everyone’s perceptions about mental illness. But I do want people, especially those close to me, to be aware. Some people who are reading this probably had no idea that I have depression. That’s because everything’s internal. Unless I choose to disclose it, you can’t see it. You can’t see the emotional scars that I live with—the sadness, the worry, the illogical pain. I function normally on the outside, so do other people with depression and anxiety.

The Future

What does the future bring? I don’t know. I think about it a lot, and I try to plan (you know, the old anxiety/worry thing), but I have no idea, and I work hard to accept that. I know I’ll be on the medications for the foreseeable future, most likely forever. They can cause birth defects, so I’m constantly thinking about what I’ll do when I want to have kids. Will I be strong enough to go off the meds for my child? I don’t know. I have to accept it either way. That’s my reality.

I don’t really know how to go about ending this long recap of the last 10 years, but it felt good to put my experience on paper. I’ve never done that before. I suppose I can offer to be a resource for anyone wondering about depression/anxiety. Curious? I can help. Wondering if you have it? I can kind of help, but I’ll recommend you see a doctor. Questions are fine. I’m very open about my experience because I think it can help people understand.

This is the first time I’ve really talked about my depression/anxiety “publicly.” I am very open about it, but it’s not something people find out about me until I feel comfortable with them (or am forced to explain why I’m crying or under my desk). But now it’s out there. And while that scares me (future relationships, future employment, etc.), it’s also kind of freeing.

Thanks for reading, and I hope it gives a little more insight into why I am the way I am, and maybe provides a little understanding into the disease that is mental illness.

As I said, you can't see the scars on the outside. The darkness is on the inside. To function normally, one must push it down. It sucks.

As I said, you can’t see the scars on the outside. The darkness is on the inside. To function normally, one must push it down. It sucks.