2009

The decade ends in less than one week.

I’m trying to wrap my head around all of the crazy, beautiful, tragic things that have happened within the past ten years.

I lost my dad to suicide. I graduated. I moved…twice. I got engaged…then I broke it off. I met some incredible, exquisite people. Life handed me so much heartbreak and I sewed it into a big, warm blanket to wrap myself in.

I remember ending 2009 in such sadness. After losing my dad earlier in the year, I couldn’t fathom how life could get any brighter. I remember the years that followed his passing were some of the darkest I think I’ll ever have. The thought of making it another ten years wasn’t plausible. Laughable, actually.

I turned twenty-three yesterday.

I’m pleasantly surprised.

When you think there’s nothing left to give, you muster up the last minuscule amount of energy and make it happen because that’s what you’re supposed to do. You manage because your potential outweighs the demons that hinder your ability to fight.

Maybe I didn’t accomplish as much as some, but I lived.

I think that counts for something.

i am a lot of things…

I am not a failure.

Of course not. I’m just a college drop out, a procrastinator, and a crier.

Each day I beg the universe for a change and that’s my most toxic trait– expecting the life I want to be handed to me as if I’m owed anything. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I have a great support system, a roof over my head, a job that treats me well. I have food in my belly and a shower to use and a crazy cat that cuddles with me. I wake up each day in certainty that I am taken care of. That’s more than what some people could ever imagine having.

And with all of that knowledge and all of those gifts from this universe, I’m still ungrateful. I can say I’m grateful all I want, and it’s half true– I do appreciate what I have. But there is still so much I have taken for granted and continue to take for granted regardless of recognizing my own issues. The majority of “problems” in my life stem from my decisions and the mistakes I continually make. I bitch and moan about being overweight, but I don’t go to the gym. I get upset about my career when I don’t make an effort to explore my passions. I stress about money when I could be working more overtime or cutting out unnecessary expenses. I run out of excuses faster than I run out of underwear; which for the record, is alarming fast.

Each Sunday my phone tells me how much I’ve used social media. It’s both impressive and revolting. I complain that there’s not enough time in the day, but I sure as fuck make time to see drama unfold on Facebook and look to see if Sally is having a boy or a girl even though we haven’t seen each other since senior year of high school.

I am my own worst enemy; because as much as I know I need to improve, I lack the capabilities of giving credit where credit is due.

I’m a college drop out, a procrastinator, and a crier.

I am also a lover, an empath, and a fighter.

I like to make people smile. I appreciate a good compliment. Last Thursday I told the cashier at Marshall’s she was the prettiest girl I’d ever seen. It was genuine though– I don’t do inauthenticity.

I am bad at a whole lot, but at least I’m good at it.

Moral of the story?

I am a lot of things. I am human, I am unbalanced, I am who I am.

I am not a failure.

today I dropped out of college // final blog post | 2019

Today I dropped out of college.

It was over as soon as it started, and that rush of defeat stings more than I thought it would.

I didn’t want to drop out. I didn’t want to put my academics on hold. This was never supposed to be in the cards for me. I was destined for internships and the dean’s list and scholarships.

Except I wasn’t.

Financially, it was not feasible. Private loan companies wouldn’t approve me on my own and the government harshly decided I made too much last year to qualify for aid. I’d have owed thousands by mid August, a goal so unattainable its almost laughable.

Today I dropped out of college.

I love writing. I love media. I love scrolling and reading and liking. I love how vast social media can be and how helpful it has been in so many circumstances. But I know deep, deep down that maybe this path wasn’t meant for me; at least not yet. I have a lot of growing to do. I have a lot I need to figure out. I can’t pursue something 100% if mind and my wallet aren’t ready. One day they will be. Maybe today is not the day, but who’s to say tomorrow won’t be?

Today I dropped out of college.

I hate how dirty that feels to type out, as if my worth is based off of a thirty-thousand dollar piece of paper. I hate how the art of comparison has made it difficult to focus on myself while my peers move forward in life post-grad. I hate that I can’t be part of the social norm. Most of all, I hate that I’m allowing myself to think that way. I preach and preach and preach about everyone growing at their own pace, but fail to accept the same advice for myself.

So what’s the plan?

I find a better job. I work towards saving money and paying off accumulating debt. I accept that everything happens for a reason, and it’s important to note good things take time. But mostly, I learn to accept dropping out of college does not make me dumb, or a failure, or anything else. It doesn’t define me. It doesn’t need to be permanent.

This will likely be my last blog post for awhile. Writing has been a passion of mine since my father passed, but I have some growing to do before I continue to influence the internet with the stories I tell and the words I piece and sew together. I love writing and I always will. And just like college, I’ll come back to it one day.

Thanks for reading and being a part of me and my passion. The support I’ve received for this blog has brought me so much happiness over the past few years.

Until next time,

Leah

overwhelmed & underestimated|2019

When I was small I used to play out scenarios in my head of “what-if” situations and stress over the imaginary outcomes for hours. Sometimes I wonder if this early indication of anxiety is something I was genetically predisposed to or something that just worsened over time.

Don’t get me wrong– I’ve come a long way. I used to be scared of meaningless tasks, like walking into a room full of people or placing an order at a restaurant. I loathe the worrying. The constant go-go-go in my mind makes life feel exhausting. If I didn’t spend the greater portion of my day worrying about what came next, I might actually enjoy what’s right in front of me.

When people think of the word anxiety, they likely think about minor worry or nervousness. Rarely do they think of the intense headaches, fatigue, shaking, crying, and frequent panic attacks. I’m not weak, I just have a lot of intense feelings and thoughts that lack a positive outlet.

I care deeply about everything even if I don’t initially show it. I have so much love for a lot of things and I have a difficult time expressing myself thanks to my friend Fear. I love a lot and I don’t want to lose the things that allow me to be myself.

I don’t like being cynical, but I do like to be honest with myself about my fears and their control over my daily life. I won’t pretend like I’m not perpetually scared of the what-ifs– I definitely am. What’s scarier than the what-ifs? Missing out on good things because Fear has me by the throat.

The anxiety might never go away, but neither will my desire to be better.

halfway there | 2019

Eight months ago I walked onto a new campus without a clue about anyone or anything.

It was the best decision I ever made.

Don’t get me wrong– there were days I hated every second of it. On more than one occasion I found myself up at odd hours in the early morning; crying and wishing that the feeling of loneliness would dissipate as soon as possible.

I learned a thing or two in the process and I hope someone can take from my ignorance.

  1. It’s going to be hard. University classes are a lot different than community college courses. It’s easy to walk onto campus with a big ass ego and assume you’ll be fine just by showing up. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a reason why college kids are so burnt out. Give yourself ample time to prepare for the week and allow yourself to make mistakes. No one knows what they’re doing. Give it your all, do what you can, and at least you can say you tried.
  2. There’s a lot of assholes out there. Quite a few of them can be found on college campuses– don’t let their jadedness steer you away from the good that can be found. I know its disheartening, but there’s assholes everywhere. If you know a few, be kinder. If you don’t, boy do I have some news for you…
  3. Having fun doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend every weekend in a random dirty frat basement surrounded by Chads and Brads. If that’s what you’re into, party up. If not, that’s plenty ok. Find what you like and run with it.
  4. Not every professor has your best interest in mind. It’s hard having had such a good connection with former professors only to be heavily disappointed by people that look at you as a paycheck instead of a person. These types of professors will drain the hell out of you. Keep filling yourself up.
  5. You will fail tests. Hell, you might even fail a class. You’ll be late some days, you’ll skip entirely, you’ll lose sight of what’s important because life gets in the way. That’s ok. We’re all on different paths to success and we’re growing at various rates. Remind yourself that nothing in life is perfect nor linear. Get up, do what you have to do, and own every bit of success and failure that comes your way. In the very least, you’re doing the damn thing and that’s more than what some people can say.

I have no idea what’s in store for me next year or what experiences the next few months will gift me. All I know is that the same rules apply– do what you’re capable of, love every second of it, and remind yourself that there’s more to life than a bad grade and a shitty day.

 

more than a diagnoses | 2019

“You have nearly every sign of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Do you know what that is?”

I recently visited a psychiatrist at the discretion of my psychologist. I knew that the tendencies I had were unhealthy; and I knew that I was different from others, but I always chalked it up to anxiety and my personality as is. I guess the idea of being bipolar crossed my mind, but I never gave it much thought. Why would I?

I also knew my thought process was different from my peers–it always has been. I had an idea that some of the things I was doing were destructive. I have a bad habit of blowing all of my money without second thought or thinking of the consequences that may rise from it. At twenty-two-years-old, I’m a few thousand in debt from credit cards alone because of impulsive decision making. It’s not that I don’t know any better– but in the moment of being manic, I don’t think about the shit I could face from being rash.

The past few years I’ve gone through periods where I’m on top of the world and I genuinely feel like I’ve “cured” my depression while my anxiety maintains a normal level. I’m happy, carefree, and I love my life. I feel this way every few weeks. People notice and I love the attention when they say “You look happy,” and “You seem to be doing well!”

Then it hits.

The lows are always heavier than the highs. They last longer, they take up more mental space, sometimes they leave me thinking things I’m not proud to admit. When I’m crashing I don’t see anything half-full, rather I’m questioning if my life is worth living or not. I feel empty and voided. I always thought this was just depression and nothing more. It didn’t occur to me that this cycle of highs and lows was more than just a typical case of depression.

Don’t get me wrong– I’m entirely skeptical of this newfound diagnoses. It seems like everyone today has some sort of mental illness. I almost don’t want to talk about this because it seems silly– more than three million Americans have bipolar disorder. If nearly everyone seems to have some sort of mental illness, what is that saying about our society as a whole?

I’m not any different than I was before I visited the psychiatrist. I’m on medication now; sure, but I’m still the same person with the same beliefs and values. Generally speaking, I believe we let ourselves be defined by what we have and not who we are–myself included. Maybe that’s our downfall. Who we are is based off of experience and values, not what we take medication for.

I take mental illness seriously because it has affected me my entire life. I would not be half as compassionate and empathetic if it weren’t for the obstacles I’ve been dealt since I was small. As much as I advocate for mental health, and as important as it may be in my life, it’s not who I am entirely. I’m a daughter, a writer, a girlfriend, a friend. I’m a student, an animal lover, and a procrastinator. I am many things– not just some girl with mental illness.

All I can hope for is to wake up tomorrow a better version of myself, and if it takes a prescription to give me a little push, then so be it.

If all I am in life is bipolar, I think I’m doing pretty damn well.

So are you.

 

 

a one-way mirror | 2019

I look around me but nothing seems real. People are going about their lives like clockwork, some scurrying to whatever important meeting is happening today and others are lazily walking to wherever their feet takes them. Some listen to music and others are glued to their phone screens. Some are aware, others are not. I observe, all the time, wondering when I’ll get to be “one of them,” wondering when I’ll stop living life like I’m looking through a one-way mirror.

That’s the weird thing about depression, you know? As soon as you feel like you’re on top of the world, He creeps up behind you and startles you back into the corner you just barely crawled out of. You could be doing everything right and following everyone’s advice–but He doesn’t care.

Go to work. Get to class. Go to therapy. Eat healthy. Exercise. Write. Read. Stay off social media. Do yoga. Drink enough water. Do this, not that. Keep your friend group small. Find a new hobby. Smile. 

Depression doesn’t give a shit that you ate a gluten-free breakfast and drank 70 ounces of water. He is ruthless and random. He just is. It’s silly to assume that someone doing everything “right” is exempt from mental illness.

Three weeks ago I was positive, uplifting, and ready to singlehandedly take on the world. The past three days I’ve wondered if I have a purpose and questioned if my life in particular is worth living.

It seems silly– that much I realize. Of course my life is worth living. It’s worth just as much as everyone else’s life, but when He has you entangled in between His fingers, it’s hard to rationalize those thoughts. It’s hard to see things clearly.

I think when you lose a parent or someone you love to suicide, the more likely you are to question if life is worth living. My dad’s death has caused me a lot of issues that I didn’t come to grasp with until very recently. I never had the opportunity to properly grieve the loss of my childhood, so here I am ten years later trying to conquer the near-impossible. Deep down inside of me is a twelve-year-old that barely had the chance to be a kid. I remember being eleven and coming to an understanding that my father had the intention of taking his own life. I distinctly remember standing on the middle of Cemetery Street begging my dad not to kill himself. He promised me he wouldn’t and hugged me tight.

Less than a year later he was dead.

How does a child go through something so traumatic and not end up with trust issues? Anxiety? A general fear of abandonment that carries with them through adulthood? That’s just it– they’re going to come out scathed and fucked up. It’s a part of the process. You can heal and learn to love and let go, but that god-awful feeling of being alone in this world will never leave. Depression will make sure of it.

Don’t get me twisted, though– I think life is beautiful. I think my trauma, in some demented way, is beautiful. I think there’s a lot of good in this world. It’s not hard to find, not by any means. Goodness comes in many forms:

Kids that smile at you in the grocery store. The stranger behind you in the drive-thru that pays for your overpriced cup of coffee. The guy at the stop sign that lets you go first even though it was definitely his turn. There are so many pure things in this world that go unappreciated because we’ve forgotten that good things aren’t necessarily grand things. It’s hard to focus on the good when the bad is so amplified. It’s hard to be good when the world has done us so dirty.

I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t recently questioned whether or not I want to be here– I think we all do that at one point or another. Some more than others. I go through periods of deep depression around this time of year, every year. The cycle ensues, but so does my integrity and drive to do better. I said to my therapist yesterday that I don’t think I have any more fight left in me, but we both knew that was bullshit. If I truly didn’t have any fight left, I wouldn’t have been sitting in her office. I wouldn’t have gone to class. I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed. So while my morale is low, my stubbornness is not. The little girl inside of me that never had the opportunity to grieve is what keeps the adult me going.

Maybe she didn’t have a great childhood, but she deserves, in the very least, a good future.

What kind of asshole would I be if I let her down?

 

the mess you made | 2019

actions have consequences, you ran from yours

leaving a trail of uncertainty behind

the mess you made, its still not clean

because the heart you broke

still bleeds.

 

how could someone so bright be so boldly unaware?

the shot you took tore her apart, but you didn’t think

years from now it would still sting

why didn’t you think?

 

actions have consequences, you ran from yours

leaving a trail of uncertainty behind

the mess you made, its still not clean

because the heart you broke

still bleeds.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder | 2019

How do you, in good conscience, tell your family you don’t want to live anymore and you don’t know why?

Things have been good. You’ve been doing well and everyone knows it. You look healthier, your attitude seems lighter, and it’s like a weight has been lifted off of everyone’s shoulders. Whatever you’re doing, it’s working. Maybe you’re better now.

But like all good things, that feeling of contentedness comes to an end. Nothing happens. Nothing prompts it. You’ve got it good– so why do you feel like you can’t “handle” it anymore? Why do you feel like you’re six feet under? You get mad because you know there’s no real reason why you feel the way you do–it just is what it is. You get even more angry because you know people out there have actual problems. They should be depressed, not you. You’ve got it good.

How do you, in good conscience, tell your family you don’t want to live anymore and you don’t know why?

They say talking about it helps but you can’t find the right words to say because nothing makes sense. Like water on ink, everything blurs and deciphering it would be a waste of time. You’re afraid that if you speak about your feelings, you’ll stress them out. Your parents have heard it enough. Your friends don’t take you seriously. They all wonder when and if you’ll ever get better. They know you’re trying. Do they know you’re trying?

How do you, in good conscience, tell your family you don’t want to live anymore and you don’t know why?

You don’t know which is worse– being numb or feeling everything that has suddenly piled up. You don’t even know what you’re fucking sad about and that’s the most frustrating part. You were happy a week ago. It frustrates you and them. You don’t want to be a disappointment. You don’t want to be the let down. Why can’t you be like the rest of them?

How do you, in good conscience, tell your family you don’t want to live anymore and you don’t know why?

You thought you were ok, but you’re not ok. You know you have the ability to overcome it, but the idea of going through the cycle again exhausts you. It’s not worth it. Is it worth it?

How do you, in good conscience, tell your family you don’t want to live anymore and you don’t know why?

 

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