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: Painting with Words

Hello, good people of the internet! If this is your first time visiting Bummed Out Baker this post will be weird for you, so I suggest you start here and return to this post another time.

I wrote all day, continuing to draft my thesis on my immediate family, primarily Alex, and how the five of us have dealt with mental illness, addiction, and their devastating effects over the years.

In September I was instructed by a successful author to not post things I intend to publish elsewhere on my blog as it invalidates the content to agents and publishers, which is a shame. It means so much to me to connect with people who are going through similar circumstances and/or are seeking emotional intelligence via empathic reading online. Community, grace, and understanding are imperative. I also appreciate that sometimes it’s nice to read about someone else’s life so you don’t have to think about your own. It’s dark, but it’s true.

I’m buried in work for school and am considering a rebrand to Bummed Out Bailey, as traffic indicates you all like these narrative, topical posts much more than my recipes. ;) However, turning out consistent content is important to me, and I have every intention to continue doing so through the rest of school and, frankly, wherever my and Rick’s lives take us.

With all of that being said, I want to alert you to my Bummed Out Baker Patreon, a place where you can access my more intimate (and apparently most publishable) content behind a small paywall, a contribution as low as $1 a month.

I’ve never addressed this front and center on Bummed Out Baker but I had the idea when thinking about what to post today after I emerged from my deep diving day of writing. It’s an awkward topic but an important one. See, writing is my art and passion. I paint with my words. It’s a joy, and I’m so grateful to be able to pursue my strength and dream. However, the emotional excavation required for high-impact pieces does take a toll.

If you feel Bummed Out Baker (soon to be Bummed Out Bailey?) has brought value into your life, I’d be deeply honored if you’d consider contributing to my Patreon. I feel like I sound like a creepy spam email, but every contribution truly helps me to continue dedicating so much time to the site and turning out content while also ensuring I still have a way to connect with those who’d like to read my more intimate pieces. It’s likely those on Patreon will see the first echoes of what will end up in print in a beautifully bound book. I can already visualize it, both in my hands and displayed on Keith and Staci’s mantle with a spotlight on it for all to see. I’m putting that out into the universe!

When you contribute, you validate my art and the stories I have to tell. I cannot explain how much it means to me, and I send you all the warmest thank you for your consideration, and a huge thank you to my three OG contributors. You’re my heroes.

Bummed Out Baker Patreon

More on Bummed Out Baker:
Mental Health: 31 Birthdays
Mental Health: Mourning the Living
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. 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.