The inside of my brain is stuffed full of ideas. Thoughts, reactions, commentary, occasional witticisms. It’s piled high with boxes of topics I’d like to explore. Stacks of life I need to sort through. Hangups to shred. Anxiety to burn. … Continue reading →
Stress and anxiety have funny ways of manifesting themselves. One day you’re fine. Then you feel a certain level of discomfort nagging in the back of your mind. And then all at once, you’re just done. You can’t deal with … Continue reading →
May is Mental Health Awareness month, and something I want to take a little bit of time to write about since this is a cause that is near and dear to me. Mental health is tricky because, in contrast to many other diseases, you can’t always tell when someone is fighting the battle against mental illness. “Mental illness” itself is a term that carries a lot of negative connotations, making it difficult for people fighting against it to talk about their struggles. There’s a definite stigma attached to it and there are a lot of people who will talk about mental illness like it’s something that’s entirely made up or done for attention. In reality, it’s a daily fight that incredibly strong people put up every single day. Continue reading →
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you may have picked up on a few things about me in terms of my living situation. If not, here’s the short version: In 2008 I left my teaching job, moved home with my parents for what was supposed to be 10 months, and I’ve been here for five years. I’m 30 years old. For five years I’ve been dreaming about having my own place again.
A lot has changed in those five years — my career track and sense of self, for starters.
So it was kind of a big deal this past weekend when I signed a lease on a new apartment.
Fear not, because there’s going to be another ridiculous video of Frank reviewing another book in a day or so (it’s recorded but needs the post), but for today I’d like to talk about something serious.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Month.
I’ve been thinking about how I should approach this topic here, and in the end, I think I’ve figured out the best way for me to do it.
The human body and spirit really are tricky, fascinating things. It’s funny how emotional exhaustion manifests itself to make us feel physically and mentally drained, as well. It also amazes me how much energy it takes simply to put on a happy face.
(I’ve spent the last two days sitting in a chair next to my dad’s hospital bed. This is his 5th hospital stay since the beginning of April and those chairs don’t get any less uncomfortable. I don’t necessarily have anything profound to say, but humor me by reading on.)
Tonight, when faced with the option to stay in or go to a Steelers bar with a group of friends to watch the pre-season game, I opted to stay home. I wasn’t feeling the bar scene, and I’m not a Steelers (or Giants) fan. Ultimately, after sitting in my room for an hour, I decided to take myself on a date to Barnes & Noble.
If you’ve ever read Truman Capote’s iconic novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (or if you’ve seen the toned down, Mancini-infused film adaptation), you know that when Holly Golightly has a case of “the mean reds” (translation: unlike having the blues, it’s when you’re feeling down but you don’t really know why), she heads to Tiffany’s to window shop. She doesn’t believe anything bad could ever happen to you there. I had a case of the mean reds tonight, and Barnes & Noble is my Tiffany’s.
When I got there, I browsed around the new fiction and nonfiction. I looked at the best sellers and the summer suggestions. I picked up and put back down a number of classics. My normal BN method is to roam up and down the fiction aisles for an extended period of time before moving on to other areas of the store. That didn’t work out for me tonight. After checking out the tables of books (does anyone else feel compelled to touch them sometimes? I could never use a Nook or a Kindle because I just love the feel of a book too much), I found myself looking at the magazine racks. In particular, I was looking for literary journals. There were too many people, and the magnet in the reference section was especially strong tonight. A few minutes later, after a brief stop to see if there were any new books on the Kennedys that might interest me, I found myself standing in front of shelves of books about writing, how to generate ideas, how to write effectively, how to find work writing, etc. Towards the bottom, I saw the magnet. It was the Writer’s Market 2011 book. If it had hands, they would have been all sassy and akimbo. It would have been raising its eyebrows at me. “You’ll never do it,” it would say. “Remember?” Continue reading →
This past May, I crossed the five year mark from graduating college.
The day after I graduated, the local newspaper in the town where I went to college ran a story about the university’s graduation in which they quoted my roommate and me, then took it upon themselves to say of us and our job outlook that “neither seemed very hopeful.” Find me a college graduate on his or her graduation day who isn’t at least a little bit freaked out about the future. I think you’d be somewhat hard-pressed to do so. I’d like to invite that reporter to meet up with me now and I can show him what a lack of hope regarding job prospects really looks like. But I digress. Continue reading →