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: 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: Construct. Deconstruct? Reconstruct. Struct? Help.

I’m having a hard time structuring my life right now.

First of all, announcement! After two and a half years and most of our marriage living with my in-laws, Rick and I signed a lease for our own place starting March 1. We’re over the moon, or as Rick would say, “super jazzed.” However, our belongings are in storage, in the city, and intertwined with my in-laws’. Rick and I have cobbled together our home life for years now, and we’ve got to untangle it. Moving is a good time to purge, and of course moving in general is stressful. But, we’re moving! We. Are. Moving. :) It’s a magical place on the Upper West Side in a renovated town home. It was a working fireplace(!) and is a half block to Central Park(!). I walked in and immediately knew it had to be ours. I kinda won’t believe it is until move-in day. I’m so grateful. Meanwhile, our bank account is dry heaving.

Too much?

Anyway, enough gushing about Barbie Dream House. What is and should be top of mind for me is my thesis. I’ve begun piecing through all of my grad school notes kept both in my notebooks and in my phone notes. On floating post-it notes and book margins I’ve scribbled cryptic blurbs that pertain to my brother Alex’s story, our relationship, and the fabulous potpourri of mental illnesses in my family, and now I’m categorizing everything and creating a master list of big events and touching details to be pieced together in a can’t-put-downable book. (Self-affirmation.) I guess you can think of it as a book skeleton.

A huge part of writing, of course, is reading, and I’ve got a fat stack of books to study to inspire/inform my own work via similarities in genre or subject matter. I also need to keep up with exercise, post here on Bummed Out Bailey, manage the move, market Tidy B Organizing, submit my writing to publications, research agents, and start planning for work life post-grad, but more and more I’ve been wondering if I’m harming the progression of my book and usefulness of my thesis semester by cluttering my life with arguably unnecessary things, like posting in a blog I enjoy. I don’t want to press pause on Bummed Out Bailey because I made a commitment and want to stay with it. I want my word to mean something. But, at what cost? I need a cost-benefit analysis up in here. Up in here, up in here.

There’s no field guide to being a freelance creative, which is its inherent liberation and restriction. Some days that structural freedom is celebrated, and other days it leers at me and taunts. What’re you doing? You don’t deserve this. Why aren’t you doing more? What’s wrong with you? You’re not good enough. You’re a spoiled, navel-gazing brat from an affluent, privileged white family who gets to solely focus on their art during grad school while your peers turn out good work… and have JOBS! AND you don’t even have children to worry about!

But enough about me.

Basically I just sit around steeping in a pool of my own guilt that I’m not doing enough, which I constantly have to remind myself is untrue as I’m doing my very best. Depression is woven into this feeling of failure and inability to juggle. Out here hopin’ the Prozac is kickin’ up my seratonin levels enough. Come onnnn seratonin! You’re #1!

In the past 24 hours I got upset thinking about unchosen dogs while reading about a person’s experience walking through a pound. I worried my acupuncture office thinks I keep rescheduling because I’ve become xenophobic due to coronavirus and their feelings are hurt. I was in a rush and hung up on some kind person calling from Big Brothers Big Sisters cause I didn’t know what to say and kind of panicked. I’m like a giant turtle trundling along weighed down by barnacles of guilt and sadness that cling to me wherever I go. It’s fun to be me! At least I’ll soon have a magical apartment to sloth around inside of while in the depths of my unqualified guilt and shame!


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: Tired of Me
Mental Health: New Year Goal Mapping
Mental Health: Location, Location, Location


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: Tired of Me

Sometimes, I feel bad for Rick. Because depression is nonsensical, I cannot put into words why I feel the way I do on blue days, and he’s just subject to whatever my brain serves up that day. He wants to help, and cannot, which makes him feel powerless. I want him to be able to help, but cannot connect solution to source. When there aren’t guaranteed steps to take to make my brain shift back to something at least tinged with joy, I feel like a racket. Then, I project my insecurity onto Rick, deciding for him that he’s tired of me and my wealth of issues. He brought a lot into our marriage, and sometimes I feel like I only brought bad stuff. I cannot understand why someone would want to stick around me for life. How exhausting. I don’t even want to stick around me for life. I’m exhausting. And exhausted.

At the tail end of a recent blue day I asked Rick, “Wait, is this why my parents say you’re the answer to their prayers? Cause you took me off their hands?” which cracked us both up. At that point I was starved for a smile.

I know I’m funny, or whatever, but then I think about the other things I am: controlling, bossy (in a bad way), uptight, orderly, sad, someone who sleeps for 12 hours regularly, picky. Basically anything that could be deemed exhausting, I am. My brother and I were talking the other day, and he was going through it that day, too. We agreed that there’s a tightrope we have to walk across every day. If we don’t have our meds, good sleep, quality food, alone time, and a work out we lose our balance and the whole dam breaks loose. Everything you’ve been keeping at bay floods in and you have to grab a life preserver. Sometimes that’s 13 straight hours of sleep. Sometimes it’s three stiff cocktails. Sometimes it’s eating a cheese board meant to share, even though your body doesn’t respond well to cheese… but enough about me. Sometimes it’s legal drugs, sometimes it’s illegal drugs. When you’re grasping to survive, unideal things bob up to the surface, something to grab for a moment to simply make it through. It’d be so, so easy to let that life preserver pass you by and accept your drowned fate. I think that’s what happens when people lose their battle with mental illness. They’re just too tired to grab onto that life preserver, if there even is one, because they know they’ll dip down, pop back up, and have to restart everything all over again.

Sometimes relationships get marred, and sometimes jobs are lost. Sometimes weight balloons, and sometimes loved ones are concerned because you don’t have it in you to answer a text or call. Lifting your head and squinting at a blinding phone screen taps your energy. The more you need to do something to move forward, the harder it becomes to do that one imperative thing. Whether it’s making that call you desperately need to make to a boss, friend, parent, sibling. Whether it’s getting on the yoga mat or elliptical because you know it’ll make you feel better. Whether it’s avoiding writing like the plague, or drafting posts for Bummed Out Bailey instead of piecing together and reworking my thesis and book proposal. The latter is the classic writer’s plight, I guess. But! It’s nonsense to want something so badly, for me it was to have these school years to write full time, and then when you’re gifted with this incredibly privileged opportunity you freeze. It’s infuriating. It’s exhausting.

Some days, I’m just tired of me.


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: Special
Mental Health: New Year Goal Mapping
Mental Health: Location, Location, Location


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 Things we Carry

I’m not talkin’ bout Tim O’Brien soldiers during the Vietnam war. I’m talkin’ bout the invisible things we carry. Debt, addiction, unexpressed depression, divorce, miscarriage, estrangement, abuse, terminal or chronic illness, purposelessness, job loss, and so many more, one layering on top of one another, compacting each of our loads into an indeterminable, mashed down mess that seems impossible to untangle.

How much can one person take?

I think a lot about how people going through their particular brand of horrific when some other terrible circumstance piles on. And not that I would wish heartbreak on any type of person, but I feel like these pile ons happen most to the best, kindest, well-meaning people. When you feel like you can’t take it anymore, and then one more thing adds on, somehow you continue moving with your unique blend of terrible. The added burden newly shapes and stretches out your carrier until its walls become even thinner. Is it gonna rip? Tear? Break? Fall? Will you trip? Give up?

How do people carry on?

My roots are in the south, so most people in my family seek solace in religion, particularly Christianity, but I’m not particularly religious. Spiritual and humanist based on moral universalism, yes, organized worship and discriminatory tenets, no. While I’m genuinely thrilled for anyone who’s found peace in their particular practice, I don’t think any one religious ideology or practice is the answer to finding peace through turmoil. There are so many in the world that that’d be impossible. Only a percentage of the world gets a shot at true solace, comfort, and understanding? I cannot accept that.*

Something I have believed for a long time, though, is that the purpose of people going through horrific things is to then help others going through similar things. It’s suppose it’s a sensical way of dealing with the senseless, a chain of people helping the one behind them up. That help can look like conversations, writings, any art form (I’m thinking movies, music, and theater in particular), community, emotional support, and empathy. Any form of someone communicating “I get it,” basically.

Whenever I get blue about circumstance I try to remember that, unfortunately, there are people who have it much, much worse than me and/or my loved ones. I also try to remember that my experience and the way I process it through my writing can very well act as someone else’s stepping stone to healing. These ideas don’t deactivate pain in real time, though, it’s just something to cling to like a life preserver in the throes of a storm. Life is a squall of varying intensities, no?

A lot of folks have messaged me to say they finally feel understood when reading my posts. Those messages give just as much back to me as my writing originally gave to them, because during my darkest moments I remember others have been in that same headspace before and have survived it.

No one gets off scot-free in this one, weird life. It took me decades to realize that someone who seems ideal to me, someone who appears to “have it all together,” effortless in everything as trivial as fashion to as serious as family dynamics, has something. Everyone has something. When I’m in a dark space, I’m comforted by phantom warmth or lingering scent of someone else having been there before, like an echo of perfume, hope from someone having made it out. That idea comforts me as I wade through the thick.

If you’ve been to the catacombs in Paris, you know it’s drafty tunnels of human bones and skulls and bones and skulls and bones and skulls. Thousands of people found their final resting places there. Instead of being overwhelmed by the number, I crouched down by one skull that was a cog in a tall stack of hundreds. I wondered who that person was. They were there, and now, hundreds of years later, I was there. I’m looking at them, and mentally honoring the life they lived. They’re not forgotten and aren’t alone, like me. Like you.

*I’m aware that this paragraph is likely to stir the pot and upset some people. That’s not my intention, but it’s a side effect I’m willing to risk if that means I’m telling my truth. Remember, honesty is my policy, and this piece would have a gaping hole if I didn’t address religion as a common way to cope. However, this is not an invitation for didacticism or debate, and I thank you for respecting that.


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 Baker:
Mental Health: The Sad Clown: Part 1
Mental Health: New Year Goal Mapping
Mental Health: Ho Ho HELP


Do you love Bummed Out Baker? Want to help keep it going and also access exclusive content? Support me on my Patreon. I want to give a huge thank you to Amy Powell, Vicki Utley, and to my biggest fans, my parents, :) Keith and Staci Powell, all for going above and beyond in their support of me on Patreon. Your contribution means more to me 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, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.