Mental Health: The Gold of One’s Spirit

Hello lovely people, I hope all are hanging in and that your loved ones are safe and sound. For those of you who are going through it medically, emotionally, mentally, I’m sending you condolences. This sucks.

Last week, on Monday, May 4th to be exact, I turned in my thesis,* something I’ve labored over for two years, officially marking the end of my grad school experience and the receipt of my Master of Fine Art for Creative Writing with a focus on Nonfiction. This is a huge deal for a lot of reasons, of course, a true pivotal moment. It means celebration! It means agent queries! It means champagne! It means job hunting! It means debt! Lol!

As I polished up my final 119 pages, one of the last things I did as a review was read it out loud to myself and shuffle phrasing as needed. It took 6+ hours. Six plus hours of revisiting terrible memories of not knowing whether my brother Alex would live or die and reliving the genesis of my own anxiety, the silent, unnamed war happening inside my nine year-old head.

All in one sitting.

Yesterday I had one of those days where I did my best but began feeling hopeless, again. I’m in the same outfit day in, day out, leaving the apartment every few days for fresh air and necessities, like toilet paper… or a curbside margarita.

Seriously, I only leave the house when I need to, and sometimes that’s not for material goods. With mental illness, sometimes I just have to leave my apartment/box in the air to let my eyes focus on something far away and breathe deeply (no people in sight, of course). My eyes are atrophying. They’re different. And, today, I felt a nonexistent cockroach crawling all over me. I had to get out.

Imaginary cockroaches aside, it’s been a big week emotionally, with both the seemingly never ending quarantine and the submission of my thesis all while knowing that my family would not be coming up to NYC to see me walk.

Cheryl Strayed is doing a special podcast series for COVID times called Sugar Calling, and in the latest episode she called Alice Walker. Yes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Alice Walker. It seems her latest work is a collection of poems, one of which she read aloud to Cheryl and listeners. It moved me, and I frantically wrote down an excerpt to share:

The Long Road Home

I am beginning to comprehend
the mystery
of the gift of suffering.
It is true as some
have said
that it is a crucible
in which the gold of one’s spirit
is rendered
and shines.

Alice Walker

So, whatever is tempering the gold of your spirit, whatever your crucible is, if you’re under fire right now, hold fast. According to Alice Walker, eventually you’ll shine.

Warmest,
Bailey

*Due to its length and subject matter, I will be sharing my thesis on Patreon.


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: A Poem to Read at Ho…me [ho-uhm]


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: Crunch Time

Hidey-ho internet neighborino, I wanted to drop a line today to say that my thesis is due on Monday, hence my lack of a vlog or regular post for today. My mind has been elsewhere, you know, on polishing my 120 page magnum opus! Just kidding. Not really.

Sometimes I get down on myself when I don’t turn out something at least mildly compelling for people to read on Wednesdays but, like I hope everyone else is doing, I’m trying to give myself some room to err (some air to err?) given the COVID nightmare and the fact that my Masters is coming to a close IN SIX DAYS!

Of course, I’m devastated to not be attending a ceremony in a cap and gown and then celebrating with loved ones while wearing something sparkly afterward, especially since I haven’t seen my siblings since July (meltdown 2k19, make some noise *club horn*). Alas, that is not my lot this May.

I’ve worked very hard the past two years on my memoir about me, my brothers, parents, and mental illness and the unbelievable baloney we’ve been through. I’ve labored, cried, given up, been inspired, recommitted, and a million other things, repeat. It’s exhausting and such a gift to sit down and crank out a story I believe is crucial to tell.

After thesis and graduation, next comes querying agents for representation- an arduous next step. But, I do hope to share a chunk of my thesis with those on Patreon. It’s not to be exclusive, but it’s a safer space for me since what I write about my family is sensitive and vulnerable, to say the least.

Anyway, stay tuned for some more hot goss in Bailey and Rick Talk at You: Episode 4 soon. We got some really great questions from a couple of you that I look forward to exploring.

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: A Poem to Read at Ho…me [ho-uhm]


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: In Motion

There was a time in my life when I only felt peace in transit. Unless I was drunk or asleep, I was always desperate to leave everywhere. I relished in being alone in my car, driving to community college while ripping cigarettes and blaring The Smiths, as if Morrissey certified my sadness. But, as soon as I pulled into a parking space, I’d choke on the new stagnation. It was as if no longer being in physical motion meant all that was left was for me to sit and be. Intolerable.

Day after day I arrived at school and was unable to go into class. I’d sit outside on a bench and chain smoke. No lessons learned, no feelings felt, just 20 oz tumblers of coffee sipped and Cam’ron CDs from the library checked out. Killa.

I wanted to die.

“Hey, what’s up?” An acquaintance from class asked in passing, walking out at the end of class. He chuckled and shook his head, having seen me outside of class, never in, week after week. I gave him a close-lipped smile before blowing out a cloud of smoke, eyes averting. I was wondering who’d buy me 40s that night. Twenty-one couldn’t come soon enough.

When I wasn’t moving, drunk, or asleep, I’d lose myself in meticulous, meaningless systems. Long before Spotify, I arranged my music library (composed of CDs illegally burned from the school’s music library) from least played songs to most, prioritizing the play of, out of thousands, the songs I hadn’t heard yet. The songs burned longest ago that I still hadn’t heard yet played first. Top priority. I read Vogue, W, and Newsweek cover to cover, even the articles I didn’t want to read. Especially the articles I didn’t want to read. I didn’t care about an obscure bread shop in France opening an outpost in the Mission in San Francisco, but my eyes rolled over the words, anyway. Some kinda masochistic rite, I guess. The magazines made up a neat stack in the order in which they arrived in the mail, newest on top. The magazine on the bottom of the stack was the next batter up to replace its now water-ringed, crumpled predecessor. I’d toss the old one into the recycle bin. It felt good to throw things away.

There was no solace in these rituals, just something to do. Just, something.

Whenever nothing matters, your health doesn’t matter. Education doesn’t matter. Relationships don’t matter. Cigarette burns in my car upholstery didn’t matter. I didn’t matter.

I called my dad crying from school, cut off all my hair, dropped out, worked at a restaurant in a “school girl” outfit, threw up in the morning’s unforgiving light, drove through Taco Bell, wore t-shirts as dresses and house shoes as shoes, updated my MySpace page, double-pierced my ears, carelessly drove drunk next to cops, coveted dudes who didn’t shower, dressed up as Baz Luhrmann’s Juliet for Halloween, took a backpack everywhere I went, looking like someone on the move.

I went through motions, okay so long as I was in motion.

if you be not of the house of Montague, come and crush a cup of [Shiner Bock]

More on Bummed Out Baker:
Finding the Glow
Mental Illness and Motherhood
Mental Health: My Lowest Point in Eleven Years

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.


Do you love Bummed Out Baker? Want to help keep it going? Support here. I want to give a huge thank you to “L” ;) and René Harding, my new supporters on Patreon. Your contribution means more than you’ll ever know.

To subscribe to Bummed Out Baker by email, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the website to find the form. Follow Instagram for behind-the-scenes panic attacks and my begrudging, meat-eating husband captured in the wild, Facebook for mental health articles and discussion, and Twitter for sassy or informative tweets.

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