Mental Health: Bailey and Rick Talk at You: Episode 1

Last week I had a really, really tough day. Like, bad enough for me to need to email the top people at my MFA program to let them know I wasn’t okay, tough. I started doing daily yoga “for Rick,” since I couldn’t bring myself to do it for me. With exercise’s help (UGH, the obnoxious truth…) my mood began to shift out of a deep pit of depression.

When I emerged…

Rick said my Wednesday posts are a colossal bummer (lol) and suspects that they bring me down like weekly clockwork. For a while I’ve also thought about how Wednesday posts only portray part of who I am. I pride myself on my transparency and open discussion of what it means to be a woman living with mental illness, but I’ve also got a wild sense of humor and bring a lot of lightness to life when I’m able to. If you follow me on Instagram, you may know this from my stories. :)

I’ve been thinking about how to bring some levity to my blog for some time. Between my low lows and being overwhelmed by my thesis (due in less than one month!), though, I’ve only just been able to employ the idea of Rick and I doing something together.

So! The following is our first video! It’s awkward, amateur, and we had a great time making it. Hopefully it shows you a bit more of who I am, not just a sad slug 24/7. I’m actually a sad slug 23/6, thank you very much.

If for any reason the embed doesn’t work, you can watch the video here.

Hopefully someone other than my mom watches it, but if it is just you, mom, hi mom!

Rick’s pretty elusive on the internet, so let’s give Rick a warm welcome!

Warmest,
Bailey


Wednesday posts cover something that’s top of mind for me that week and are written in a short period of time. This means that editing is not strong. While it’s not my best work, it is my best, unfiltered thought.


More on Bummed Out Bailey:

Mental Health: A Poem to Read at Ho…me [ho-uhm]
Mental Health: The Social Toll of Invisible Illness
Mental Health: Homebody v. Quarantine…Body?


Do you love Bummed Out Bailey? Want to help keep it going? The best way you can support me is to share my blog with friends! Another way to support is on my Patreon where you’ll find exclusive content. Your word of mouth and contribution mean more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Mental Health: A Poem to Read at Ho…me [ho-uhm]

The caption on the stock image below is “man holding ballpoint pen.” I like that a bunch.

Poem to Read at Ho…me [ho-uhm]

I cannot take this anymore
I’m having nightmares about beyond the door
It’s too scary too go out
But if I stay in I’ll get the gout

Just kidding but my imagination is running wild
Can’t even fathom those with a child
My eyesight’s gone bleary
The routine’s gotten weary
Something about this isn’t working, clearly!

There isn’t a snack that hasn’t graced my lips
Cinnamon sugar pita chips
M&Ms and Ruffles aplenty
Homemade chocolate chips? I’ll have twenty

Pots of tea and cocktails shook
I wish I was inspired to write my book 
I’m not getting anything done
Even Real Housewives has lost its fun

Typically I like to be alone
But even this much makes me groan
If I get one more Zoom request I’m gonna hurl
I’ve never been a talk-on-the-phone-type-of-girl

Rick won’t play monopoly with me
He’d much rather fantasize about a golf course tee
He watches Monk for hours on end
He doesn’t care about Vicki Gunvalson

Ordering groceries is a bummer
I heard we’ll be like this until the summer
Creative recipes to use up the cilantro
Why does Amazon Fresh give me so much, though?

My houseplants have never been so well looked after
Wish I could remember the sound of laughter
Just kidding again, I crack myself up
Is that vodka? Fill my cup

I lay face down on the bed
Good thing I have pills for my head
Everybody hang in there
Like Dr. Evil in his underground lair.


If the poem I penned for you to read at ho-uhm isn’t indicator enough, I’m not okay, and I don’t mean the hehe-I’m-bored-not-okay. I had a rough day, one where my dreams interfered with my reality and I had to walk outside because I hadn’t in a week. My eyes were starting to malfunction because they hadn’t had the opportunity to focus on faraway things in days and days. Social media and Zoom calls are a dreadful imperative. I didn’t ask to be apart of this narrative. I’m rhyming again and I don’t know why. I think it’s best I just say goodbye.

Until next week…

Warmest,
Bailey


Wednesday posts cover something that’s top of mind for me that week and are written in a short period of time. This means that editing is not strong. While it’s not my best work, it is my best, unfiltered thought.


More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Mental Health: How to Perk up When you Feel Like You’ve Been Percocet’d
Mental Health: The Social Toll of Invisible Illness
Mental Health: Homebody v. Quarantine…Body?


Do you love Bummed Out Bailey? Want to help keep it going? The best way you can support me is to share my blog with friends! Another way to support is on my Patreon where you’ll find exclusive content. Your word of mouth and contribution mean more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Mental Health: Ways to Perk Up When You Feel Like You’ve Been Percocet’d

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Percocet’d? I’m making words up now. Is everyone okay? Am I okay? Only time will tell! Fun mystery!

I’m having some bad days and some okay days, not any particularly good days. Things that have perked up my mood are organizing things around the apartment, going for walks or doing yoga, reading a light, “for fun” book, cooking, baking, and keeping my usual morning and night routines. I say morning and night proverbially. Because… I keep vampiric hours.

Anyway.

‘Tined or not, I always love doing Yoga With Adriene. It’s free, approachable, and she’s lovely. 10/10 recommend. Even if you’ve never done yoga, she has a practice for you. Since staying in can be so sedentary, especially in a NYC apartment (approx. size of postage stamp), it’s nice to stretch ya hamstrings.

I’m reading dense things for school, but my light, “for fun” read right now is A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood, very Gatsby-esque. It’s an escape. While it’s great to buy physical and digital books to support authors, if you’re unable to financially and your library is currently closed (like the New York Public Library is), check out your library’s e-book rentals online. Of course you can read from an e-reader, but if you don’t have one you can also read from a phone (like me), laptop, etc.

I love a vegetarian green curry over basmati rice and tried out a new recipe. It’s comforting to eat something I make from scratch and I recommend doing the same if you’re able to. It’s nice to have a break from frozen meals and canned stuff. I have some similar recipes I’ve made here on Bummed Out Bailey:

Recipe: Thai Curry Vegetables (Gluten-Free + Vegan)
Recipe: THE Stew, AKA Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Tumeric (Gluten-Free + Vegan)
Recipe: Malai Kofta (Gluten-Free + Vegan)

In the mornings I chug some water, put in my contacts, wash my face, brush my teeth, apply toner, clean my mouthguard, put the kettle on for tea, make the bed, put on my serums and sunscreen, then get dressed for the day. I drink a pot of tea from my great aunt Ann’s teapot, eat, and then take my meds. Every. Morning.

At night Rick and I do a check-in (we take turns saying something we appreciated about each other that day, something that’s on our mind, and how the other can help), I take my night meds, turn down the bed, shower, change into my PJs, wash my face, brush my teeth, apply toner, clean my mouthguard, floss, use mouthwash, put on night and eye creams, apply retinol, take out my contacts, fill up my bedside water bottle, and read myself to sleep.

Wow, that was cathartic to list out and thrilling to look up and link products! I just realized something! The stakes are so dang low that I’m excited by minutiae! Even linking something like Polident! I’ll take it! Send help! Or snacks! It seems I’m having a meltdown!

The above are just things that have been helping me. There’s a lot of content floating around the internet asserting how to best use your days during the ‘rona ‘tine, but I think the most common, important denominator is to have some kind of routine tailored to you. A routine for the ‘tine. A ‘tine for the ‘tine. I’ll see myself out.

Godspeed during this weird time.

Warmest,
Bailey


Wednesday posts cover something that’s top of mind for me that week and are written in a short period of time. This means that editing is not strong. While it’s not my best work, it is my best, unfiltered thought.


More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Mental Health: Moving. Improving?
Mental Health: The Social Toll of Invisible Illness
Mental Health: Homebody v. Quarantine…Body?


Do you love Bummed Out Bailey? Want to help keep it going? Support me on my Patreon. Your contribution means more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Mental Health: Moving. Improving?

Please know before I get on Bummed Out Bailey to write I always prioritize working with my family and psychiatrist to stabilize myself. I wouldn’t be on here if I hadn’t first confirmed my safety.


TW: suicidal ideation

For the first time in two and a half years, Rick and I have our own place. We began moving today, and now officially reside in an ocean of boxes. We had to order a mattress (trying out Nectar cause they have a sweet ass 365 day trial) and it’s not yet arrived, so after bidding dramatic fare thee well to my in-laws, we came back out to their house on Long Island for the night. Ha. The goldens are here, the familiarity of my in-laws are here, and I know where the glasses are. I can’t say any of those things about the new place on the Upper West Side. After so anxiously awaiting this day and losing sleep over the excitement and stress of the move, we delighted in the new space for the day and then dipped out back to the comfort zone (and existence of a bed to sleep in). I feel like I’m gonna fall over, but in a good way. So, now I sip a well earned cocktail and write.

Of all days, I got a call from a potential new client and did a consult for Tidy B Organizing today, too. Phew. Once Rick and I are settled in, I will buckle down on my thesis w my eye on graduation in May.

This post is a little too pie in the sky for me, so let me bring it down a notch!

I’m gonna say something terrible (and triggering to some), and that is that, more times than not, I believe at some point in time I will lose my battle to mental illness. I’m not experiencing ideation, and I don’t have some kind of plan to employ, I just think it’s important to admit to it in case anyone else out there has a ping of “me too” from the dark recesses of their mind. I bring this up because, in therapy Monday night, I told both Rick and the therapist this truth about me. I’ve got dramatic dips and intoxicating highs, times when I actually think to myself I’m so glad I’m still here. I’m so glad I didn’t die in 2008 when I last wanted to most. I have important writings to offer. I have worthwhile things to say and kindness to spread and companionship to give to so many. And then, there’s the counterweight thoughts I’ve talked about many times before. This is my life. This is it, being at the mercy of this up and down, and I can’t take it anymore. I can’t do this forever. Maybe I can make it through this time, but I can’t do this forever. I think about my friend K who died by suicide in September every single day. I imagine her in some kind of business casual get up with ballet flats getting her running start, and I feel a companionship.

It’s so weird to feel a sisterhood in suicide. Joan Didion says that we as people are always looking “for the sermon in suicide” and I just don’t think it’s that deep. It’s an imbalance, a recurring, level ten pain, a self hatred that finally turns to numbness and then to action, because there’s nothing else left. This arc crystallizes in my mind, a piece of realism in the far distance, even when I’m experiencing good times like moving into a perfect tiny apartment w my husband half a block from Central Park. You can have all of the coziness and the comfort of being surrounded by your curated curiosities (golly that alliteration was HORRIFIC and obnoxious, sorry) you delight in, surrounding yourself with and books and books and books and still see the speck in the distance: a truth, a possibility, a place where my mind is able to go, firm and unmoving. Insoluble. The direction my life could take isn’t even scary to me anymore, cause it’s like that thing of touching a bruise to still see if it hurts. It’s still there, but you’re kinda used to it. It’s a blemish that won’t fade. Does it enrich my life somehow? I cant tell. I think Mozart said that the unexamined life is for dweebs. Maybe that was Hawking. Such poignancy should be properly credited.

I am exhausted, like fell asleep in the passenger seat of the car on the way home like a toddler exhausted, so hopefully my words aren’t alarming or weirding anyone out too much today. A little bit of weird is good though. It’s the essence of me.

Ever Yours in Cringe-Worthy Truths,

Bailey

p.s. I know my posts are always a bummer. It is my self-deprecating moniker, after all. But, I hope to start showing some joyful glimpses of the magical life I’m privileged to live on here soon. Rick is a hoot and a half to observe on the web, or so I hear. In the meantime, check out my Rick highlight on my gram, linked at bottom of this page, for more.

Written Tuesday, March 3, 2020.


Wednesday posts cover something that’s top of mind for me that week and are written in a short period of time. This means that editing is not strong. While it’s not my best work, it is my best, unfiltered thought.

More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Mental Health: Valentine’s Posts Are a No From Me Dog
Mental Health: The Social Toll of Invisible Illness
Mental Health: Tired of Me


Do you love Bummed Out Bailey? Want to help keep it going? Support me on my Patreon. Your contribution means more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Mental Health: The Social Toll of Invisible Illness

Please know before I get on Bummed Out Bailey to write I always prioritize working with my family and psychiatrist to stabilize myself. I wouldn’t be on here if I hadn’t first confirmed my safety. 


TW: suicidal ideation

In July I suffered my most severe breakdown in more than ten years while home in Texas. There were unreasonable fears skipping through my mind like a CD player with low-quality ESP, horrific scenarios I played out in my head over and over. They all resulted in the deaths of me and my loved ones and untold suffering at my brother’s hands. These narratives repeated themselves so many times in my head that I began to believe them. I couldn’t help it and couldn’t turn it off.* Then, something moved in right next to me, mashing down the mattress on the other side of my bed. Self hatred. I’d seen glimpses of self hatred come and go most of my life, but it was usually more like a shadowy figure passing in front of a window at night, temporarily blocking out the glow of the streetlamp. Unsettling, but recoverable. After a while I came to expect it’s brief appearances, and my body stayed in a constant state of fight or flight tension. I have monster knots in my shoulders and back that make massage therapists click their tongues in disbelief. Sixty minutes isn’t enough to sort this out.

Unless you’re one of the four people who’ve seen me at my lowest, the remarkable tension in my back is the only outward proof of my mental illness. Because I don’t have a cast on, people who have not experienced or seen firsthand the manifestations of mental illness think I just need to get over it and pull myself up by the bootstraps. Suck it up. But, when I am immobilized, I want to die. I have no will to live and believe Rick, my parents, sisters, and brothers lives would be better without me. In my mind I am a drain financially, emotionally, everything. How exhausting must it be to deal with me?

I was meant to go to Texas for the first time since July this weekend for a dear friend’s wedding. The day before Rick and I were meant to leave, something descended upon me. I sat slumped on the bedroom floor, back against the bed, my bleary eyes and hand resting on Apollo. Rick came in and studied the back of my head.

“I canceled all my meetings today,” I said, moving my hand down Apollo’s neck and back, repeat. I’d had two meetings scheduled – one with my thesis partner and the other with my advisor. Important. Infrequent.

Rick came to sit down next to me and I couldn’t look at him. He’s been working so hard on his tech start up, pouring into it his heart, soul, money, intelligence, and time and now this. Me. He had a clump of meetings to take and his wife was a a heap on the floor, tugging at her oversized “A Woman’s Place is in the House and the Senate” sweatshirt.

“That’s not good, Bailey. Your thesis is your main job. If the mere idea of going home is sending you into this headspace, we don’t have to go.”

“No, I just need to sleep.” I folded up my glasses and crawled back into bed, pulling the sea foam comforter over my head. Three hours later, I heard Rick slink back into the room.

“Do you feel better?”

“No.” My eyes stayed closed and my head pounded.

“Is there a certain time you want me to wake you up?”

“I don’t know, six?” Dinner time. How normal.

“Okay. I want to talk about this trip when you wake up.”

I cracked an eye open. “What about it?”

“I don’t think we should go.”

“I feel better.” I closed my eyes again and rolled over.

Neither one of us believed me.

There was no way I was going to entertain missing such an important wedding, my high school best friend’s little sister’s, who I’d known since she was single-digit age. When I finally shuffled out of our room, I found Rick sitting in his chair, waiting, like a one-person intervention.

“After your July trip, it took you months to get back on track, mentally. Your family will understand.”

“[Our niece] is huge now, and I haven’t even met [our new nephew]. There’s no way I’m missing [friend]’s wedding, either. I can’t postpone a wedding until I feel better.”

“It’s too risky. You couldn’t even get out of bed today, Bailey. Best case scenario is we go and have a great time. Worst case is you get there, have a colossal meltdown, we take an emergency flight back to New York, and then deal with the repercussions for two months like last time.”

“I’m supposed to see Alex, too,” I muttered. It would’ve been the first time in two years. “He’s got these cats…” I trailed off. “But I guess either way that’s definitely off the table now.”

In July, one of the many things I was convinced of is that Alex was going to break into my parents’ house and kill all of us in our sleep. We’d all been through so much already, why would it stop now? We’re really going to go out with a bang. A literal bang. “I just don’t know what to do.”

“Do you wanna call your parents? Do you wanna call Duncan?”

“I don’t know, I don’t really wanna bother them. They’re going to be disappointed.”

“They more than anyone else understand, especially after your parents witnessed the breakdown in person last summer. Let’s call Keith.”

I pressed my lips to the side, eyes on my lap. “Okay.”

For the next hour we discussed the pros, cons, and potential scenarios of me coming home for the weekend first with me and Rick, then my parents, me, and Rick, then Duncan, me, and Rick, and finally just me and Rick again. We turned the issue over in our hands for so long, talked it to death. My parents sit around wondering if Alex is about to die everyday, and Duncan has a baby. Who has time for my repetitive mental issues? I cannot pull myself up by the bootstraps. I cannot suck it up. But I cannot stand to put my loved one through this again. I needed to stay in New York, and I hated myself for it. The shadow had sidled past the window, in through the backdoor, and plopped down next to me on the dirty couch. Nobody has time for this, it whispered. Everything would be so much easier without you. They’ll be sad at first, yeah, but they’ll get over it. Your suffering makes everyone else suffer.

I knew then, when these self harm thoughts began flooding the paths in my brain like the tunnels of an ant hill in peril, that I couldn’t go. We weren’t at my parents’ house, we weren’t in Dallas, we weren’t on a plane, it wasn’t even the day meant for departure, but it was like I was already preheating for another meltdown.

As suspected, my family understood. But, the worst part was calling my best friend to tell her I couldn’t come.

“I have bad news,” I said.

“You’re in New York and you’re not coming,” she panned.

I explained myself the best I could. She said the right things, but her tone indicated otherwise. She seemed impatient, maybe even angry. Worst of all, she seemed unsurprised. “They say 10% of people who RSVP to your wedding don’t end up coming. I really hoped you’d be here, but I did wonder…”

“We’ve had the flights booked for months and every intention of being there. I wanted to be there to support [sister], but I especially wanted to be there to support you.” I looked over at my half-packed suitcase, hanging vibrant dresses, and three pairs of stilettos. Three pairs for one night – just in case.

I apologized again, knowing it was futile. I hated myself for failing my best friend, and felt helpless knowing that someone can easily believe my excuses to be bullshit. I don’t blame anyone for thinking that way, especially with how the language surrounding mental illness has been diluted by misuse and hyperbole from people who do not actually suffer from mental illness. No wonder people just think it’s bullshit excuses, because there are people who are using what is extremely valid to some as a way to cop out of responsibility. Unaffected people throwing around “I have anxiety” and “I’m depressed” like a frisbee harms people who are truly afflicted, further harming the harmed.

No one “had anxiety” or “was depressed” when I couldn’t walk through the door of my elementary school in 5th grade. There wasn’t a lot of knowledge and language to identify these things in a child, let alone conversations among peers. When my parents witnessed my breakdown firsthand in July, they finally witnessed their 30 year-old adult child experiencing what I’ve experienced since I was nine. It’s crippling. And, when you miss unmovable, important life events like a funeral or, in this case, a wedding, it’s devastating.

It’s the night of the wedding as I write, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be but on the dance floor with the bride, cocktail in hand. Instead, I’m still sitting here on the dirty couch with an unwanted seat mate.

*Read more about what happened in July here.

Written Saturday, February 22, 2020.


Wednesday posts cover something that’s top of mind for me that week and are written in a short period of time. This means that editing is not strong. While it’s not my best work, it is my best, unfiltered thought.

More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Mental Health: Valentine’s Posts Are a No From Me Dog
Mental Health: Productivity
Mental Health: Tired of Me


Do you love Bummed Out Bailey? Want to help keep it going? Support me on my Patreon. Your contribution means more to me than you’ll ever know!

To subscribe to Bummed Out Bailey by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website and enter your info into the form. I can also be found on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

If you or someone you know needs help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.