State of the Human Address.

It’s a pretty solid sign of the times when your once thriving little corner of the Internet displays ‘ACCOUNT SUSPENDED’ because you have successfully (albeit accidentally) avoided adding auto-pay to your account for over a year.

Since you’re reading this rather than ‘ACCOUNT SUSPENDED’ I’ve clearly accomplished something today.

I’m starting out this year 40 pounds heavier than my clothes are used to. I’m not terribly upset about it, I know how I got here, I know how to get out, I know obsessing about my weight in the past has never done me a darn bit of good and I also know from looking back at old photos of myself that I had/have some serious body dysmorphia issues and missed out on a lot because I thought the size of my thighs mattered.

When talking about safety weight* with a friend she told me a therapist once told her “Sometimes the vessel has to be big enough to carry the burden.

These extra inches and pounds have been through a lot with me, and I like the visual of tucking my pain and sorrows into the extra soft bits I’ve accumulated, then sweating and pounding them out of me in various and assorted ways. Some days I will need to be nicer to myself with a leisurely walk and guacamole, while other days will begin with kale and burpees. (Kidding! Kale is disgusting.)

2016 was the year Cody and I finally figured out how to be really good at being married. That doesn’t mean we didn’t fight (we did) or that we won’t fight again (we will.) It means we still have a whole lifetime ahead of us, and it only took 15 years of practice to finally feel as though things are humming along. (Please note this does not take into account all the other grown-up stuff grown-ups are expected to do, it merely means that I really like the guy I get to (have to?) do all those grown-up things with, like raise kids and schedule appliance repairs.)

2016 was also the year I learned I had very unhealthy boundaries so I got myself some much healthier ones and said peace out to the people and things that didn’t respect them. I also stopped apologizing for things that weren’t my fault.

2016 also proved to me that vulnerability is both my greatest strength and most exposed weakness — and of all the strengths and weaknesses to have, vulnerability suits me.

Here’s to new beginnings.

*Safety Weight: The weight gained after a traumatic event (see: sexual assault) to make one feel less noticeable and desirable.




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Can I Fix It With A Sandwich?

I like helping people. I like volunteering for stuff. Particularly when it comes to feeding people. Whenever sign-up sheets went around in church for a pitch-in, potluck, taking a meal to a family, or hosting the missionaries for dinner I always signed up. For me, feeding people is the easiest and best way to show someone you care about them.


If someone needs something, and I have a something that I don’t particularly need or use? I’m happy to hand over that something. It’s easy for me. I like doing it. It’s just a thing I do. It’s not a big deal. (It’s kind of how society should work, isn’t it?)

At my peak of helping others was also the peak of my mental health. I WAS SOOOO GOOD! Just sailing along with little trips here and there.

Well, surprise! After last year helping people became hard. I still tried to do it, but I never bothered to take care of myself first so helping others simply exhausted me. What’s worse is it took away from what I was able to give my family as well. You’ve probably heard the announcement on airplanes “Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others?” Same applies to life in general. It’s not selfish, it’s common sense.

I also began to pull away from emotionally difficult relationships. I certainly didn’t need anyone else making me feel worse, I’m perfectly capable of making myself feel like garbage, thanks! Slowly things started to improve and with therapy I can actually feel the old me begin to bubble up. Several people have already mentioned how much happier I seem, and that means an awful lot to me.

This is where things get tricky. Pieces of the old me are starting to show up. I am happier. But I am still not strong enough to wade in the emotional struggles of others.  I am an empath. Always have been. Addie is one as well. For the last year I have actually hated being an empath because it has made me such a delicious target to awful people throughout my life. Being an empath isn’t a bad thing, but right now I really need to take care of myself so I’ve learned if I can’t improve a situation with a sandwich? Sorry, I’m out.

Our first trip to Cleveland won't be our last. We may even wait over an hour for fried grilled cheese sandwiches again. Special thanks to @mryjhnsn and her family for showing us around and making sure we left in love with her city. Thanks to all of you wh

The good news is I can fix a lot of things for a lot of different people with a sandwich.  So can you. There’s thousands of different sandwiches for thousands of different situations, and I’m happy to provide whatever sandwich is needed when I’m available.

Pastrami sandwich from Shapiro's deli in Indianapolis. Even better than it looks. Promise.

So if you’re an empath, or a giver, or a helper, or a doer, but it is really in your best interest to take care of yourself right now? Ask yourself if a situation can be improved with a sandwich. Sandwiches mean a lot to people. (So do cheeseburgers, burritos, gyros, and falafel.) If it’s not a situation that can be improved in any way with any form of sandwich? Maybe step away.

what I had for lunch.

Maybe have a sandwich yourself.

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It’s hard to go forward without really knowing what happened.

Last year I was sexually assaulted.

What has been worse for me than the physical trauma of the act has been the deep psychological damage. The best way I have been able to describe it to anyone is that an electric mixer was put to my brain and instead of a smooth, solid brain with wiggles and curves I have what resembles a pile of burnt scrambled eggs.

I didn’t tell Cody  about what happened until a few months ago. Together we began telling those closest to us and responses ranged from “You need to go back to church and pray harder” to complete apathy, like I should be over it already. For anyone who has ever been through rape or sexual assault, you’ll know victim shaming and blaming is a very real thing and the reason so many people stay quiet.

So now those of you who have been around for awhile know why I broke, and why I didn’t talk about it.

I don’t want to be an uplifting voice for violence against women. I don’t want to be some hero survivor inspiration story.

I just want my fucking life back.



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lost and finding.

It has been exactly two years since everyone in my life lost the version of me I had worked so hard to bring to life.

Many good people have stuck by me. New friends claim I’m perfect the way I am and that they are honored to know me now, as someone who has gone through shit and still standing.

The issue is while I am standing I have done nothing more than merely exist for a very long time.

It’s hard to explain what happened, as so many little things hurt me and imperceptibly molded me into a version of myself I don’t recognize — or have at least caused me to forget what I used to be like.

It’s as though I’ve collapsed around my heart, fiercely protecting it from everyone and everything because I simply do not trust anyone else with it.

If you’re here looking for the old me, know that I’m looking for her too. In the process I hope to take better care of who I am now, so I can nurture her back to being the optimistic, witty, laugh-hard, love-harder version of myself Cody fell in love with years ago.  And maybe I can learn to let people in again. And maybe help someone who has lost themselves as well.

It’s a terrible feeling, losing oneself and trying to start over before all the rubble has been cleared.

I know writing has always been a part of me, and hopefully by bringing it back it will serve as breadcrumbs for the rest of me to follow.


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things become less scary when we talk about them.

If you suspect someone may be hurting themselves, or considering hurting themselves — either through self-harm or suicide there’s an (I can’t believe I’m about to use the word easy) easy way to approach the conversation.

“Hey, I’ve noticed you’ve been down lately. Is self-harm or suicide something that has crossed your mind? I don’t want you to have to deal with thoughts like that alone.”

You don’t have to fix anything (in fact, don’t even try.)

You’re not going to drive them over the edge by asking.

You just have to give them a chance to talk. Allow them to put into words the thoughts that may be going through their head.

Things become less scary when we talk about them.

So let’s talk.

Indiana State Fair

I don’t want to be the girl who talks about sad stuff all the time, but I’ve read some pretty good stuff today and if you’re here looking for stuff like that I’d like to share:

  • This one from Kat Kinsman about going public with depression. “…I’ve lost too much time and too many people to feel any shame about the way my psyche is built. How from time to time, for no good reason, it drops a thick, dark jar over me to block out air and love and light, and keeps me at arm’s length from the people I love most.
  • This one from a Pastor (not that it really matters, but he has two degrees from Harvard and one from Yale in religious studies) is also a spectacular response to the above mentioned fellow who has rubbed so many people the wrong way. (I won’t link him or mention his name because I don’t want him to get the clicks but he’s easy to find.) “The thing is, saying ‘’no’’ to suicide is evidence that I am healthy enough to say no. But, if I should ever commit suicide, it will not be because ‘’I’’ made the choice, but because my depression would have.”



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the importance of being able to speak our crazy out loud

The other morning a friend messaged me worried she was going crazy, she and her family had just moved across the country for her husband to begin his residency which left her home alone with multiple kids, one of them a small baby.

“I keep thinking maybe he’s cheating on me. I’m paranoid. I want to go through his phone and his email and I’m just sure something is wrong and it makes me cry and act completely irrational.”

“Yep. That was law school for me.”

“Wait, so this is…normal?”

“For me it was.”

Poor girl was convinced she was the only one who had ever thought her husband was doing something besides what he said he was doing (a fairly common occurrence, especially during graduate school or medical residencies.)

The good news is most graduate students and medical residents really are so insanely busy they barely even have time to sleep, let alone have an affair.

Here’s what I realized at the end of our conversation: everyone needs to be able to voice their crazy without judgement, or it will in fact drive them crazy.

For a long time I never told Cody the truth about the things that were going through my brain, whether it about him having an affair during law school, the dark thoughts during pregnancy and postpartum, or visualizations of self harm during an especially rough patch of depression. Without being able to voice the thoughts in my brain, they slowly ate away at my sanity until I felt as though I truly was going crazy.

Writing things out has helped me the most, no matter what I’m going through, I know I’m not the only one feeling a particular way — and the comfort that can be found in “Yeah? Me too.” is better than any amount of therapy or medication.

Here’s the tricky part, finding people who will listen to your crazy without judging.

being roommates brought us closer.

We’ve probably all lost a friend or two after telling them some deep, intimate truth about ourselves.

It hurts to tell someone you think you can trust something personal and have them react in a judgmental or condescending way. What’s worse is when they take your insecurity and use it against you, or spread it around as gossip.

It’s happened to all of us, and it sucks.

While there are people out there who lay all their crazy out on the table for attention and self-satisfaction, most people just need to put their thoughts into words and have their words be heard by someone else. They’re not expecting you to fix it, they just want you to listen.

Cody and I are to a point where I can tell him anything that goes through my brain and he just listens, no matter how crazy. He doesn’t try to fix it, he doesn’t try to commit me to a hospital and he doesn’t think any less of me. He understands that part of recovery for me is talking about all the terrible things my brain tells me.

The other night I ran my finger along a vein and told him, “This is the one I’ve thought about cutting the most.” It doesn’t mean I was going to do it, or that I’m doomed to become a cutter — it was just a thought that had been disturbing me and by speaking it out loud it lost its power.

My brain is full of words, full of thoughts, and overflowing with ideas — as long as I can keep them streaming out steadily, either through writing or speaking, things stay pretty steady up there. It’s when things get clogged that problems begin. So many words and thoughts build up that they begin to choke out my ability to handle day-to-day tasks.

Had I not told Cody about that vein it would have clouded and blocked the other thoughts lingering behind it — and it would have magnified until I shut down.

There is such a stereotype around self-harm. That those who do it, or even talk about it, are emo loners dressed in black, desperate for attention — which is probably why a lot of people simply don’t talk about it. But therein lies the problem, let’s say from the outside you’re a 30-year-old stay-at-home mom with two little kids and a fondness for Diet Coke. You go to playgroups, you do service work, you like watching reality TV. But you also have un-managed or undiagnosed depression, either because you don’t believe depression is a real disease or you have been shamed into believing depression is not real. One terrible night you think about harming yourself. Maybe you think about driving into oncoming traffic or taking every pill in the medicine cabinet and chasing it with a bottle of whiskey.  Let’s say you don’t do it for whatever reason, the thought is there and it will continue to tap at you, eat at you, and bother you until you say something (or do something) about it.

You finally decide to talk to your husband about it and he loses his mind, convinced you are an unfit mother and he verbally berates you for even thinking about being so selfish. You cry and cry wondering what is wrong with you as you sink into a deeper depression.

You talk to a trusted friend about it, she says you must be crazy. She has no idea how to handle you, you’re clearly too messed up to be friends anymore and she stops calling. Later you find out she’s told everyone at church about how insane you are.

Now let’s say you divulge the same thoughts to your husband, but this time he is understanding. He takes you in his arms and says “I had no idea you were feeling this way, that must be terrifying. What can I do to help?”

You talk to another trusted friend, she says “Oh, honey, if you only knew the amount of times I’ve thought about driving into the cement divider on the freeway. But I haven’t yet, and neither have you — so that’s something. Let me take your kids for the rest of the day so you can take a nap, you must be exhausted.”

I have experienced both, and I can tell you I much prefer the second reactions.

I’ve never expected anyone to fix my depression, but I do expect compassion — even if someone doesn’t understand exactly what I’m going through.

I don’t know what it’s like to lose a child, have cancer or be homeless — but I do know not to be an insensitive butthole when someone voices their own struggles, especially when it is clear they only want to be heard. (Now, to be fair, we all know those people who turn every moment into ‘WOE IS ME’ and it is tiring. I move right past those people, I just don’t have the energy. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about the generally pleasant and optimistic people who are sometimes struck with pretty terrible situations and just need to be heard, even if it’s just in a Facebook update.)

Hopefully this helps someone, I felt like it needed to be written — either for someone struggling to understand the importance of being heard or someone who has a hard time just listening and is always trying to fix things.

I hope you have someone who listens to all your crazy thoughts and ideas. Being human is so much easier when you have one or two of those people around.


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one step forward, two steps back.

The other night I got down on the floor and played with Vivi. She laughed, no one cried and I actually enjoyed myself.

Yesterday I went to the gym and did my first full circuit since the sads really knocked me down. Up until yesterday the most I could convince myself to do was walk on the treadmill, but walking on a treadmill is supposedly better than lying in bed.

I’ve started cooking a bit more, I’m still nowhere close to where I used to be — but again — it’s a start.

I’ve been taking my big camera out with me, using it, and enjoying it. Vivi is at the prime age of “NO YOU MAY NOT TAKE MY PICTURE HERE IS THE BACK OF MY HEAD” while Addie looks too grown up. Her back to school shoes are as big as my feet.

I’ve made a new friend, which is huge considering the overhanging cloud of depression and the awful reality that your best friend is now six hours ahead of you in a foreign country and you won’t be seeing her for a very long time.

Another big huge thing is that I didn’t take a nap this week. I don’t necessarily nap because I’m tired, I nap because sometimes my reality just hurts too much and sleeping doesn’t hurt. Things haven’t hurt quite as bad this week so I’ve stayed awake. (I am still having to take a sleeping pill each night, I’ve weaned down to a quarter pill and hope sleep related things will be back to normal by the end of August, that’s the goal anyway.)

If I may compare what I’m going through to a broken leg, I am still in a cast. But I’m not taking pain pills anymore, the cast comes off next week and long term therapy begins.

There will still be days when it hurts, days when I do too much and wear myself out.

The worst part of this is that I’m back listening for the other shoe.

It seems the medication I was on for so long simply stopped working. After doing a bit of research, it is fairly common problem and I’m lucky I got as much time out of mine as I did. Now I’m on to a new one, with a very real fear that I will go through this again in 5 years time (assuming this new one can successfully hold me up through the coming months.)

I know I’m not out of the woods. I still have the occasional dark and terrible thought—but that there are glimpses of what life can be like without depression and after being mired down for so long they give me hope.

To anyone who is new to this fight, I’ve never fought this hard before. After years and years of dealing with this I have learned what I need, I have Cody who knows exactly what to do and what to say even when I don’t want to hear it. The fact that I was angry this time helped — I don’t want to suffer. I don’t want to be the victim. But being angry and fighting back doesn’t mean I can skip the next few weeks and months of healing. It just means I won’t let myself spend as much time checked out from life.

I know when to say no.

I know when to say help.

I know I can’t do this alone.

Charleston - Kiawah, South Carolina

I also know I need to make it back to the ocean really soon.

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frogging and the fight.

Cody attempted to distract me several weeks ago with a camping trip.

Camping with Frogs

A few things we had going for us:

cody and me

2006. Aww.

– We were both raised on camping, nothing about it intimidates us and it’s one of the things we miss most about living in Utah.

– We own all appropriate camping gear because we were raised in Utah and camping gear is just something you own when you’re from Utah.

– The weather around here as been simply lovely. Polar vortex in Winter = Want to Die. Polar Vortex in Summer = Hey! My skin isn’t melting off!

However, we had a few things working against us as well:

– Vivi is still working on perfecting potty training.

– Indiana, while pleasant this summer, isn’t exactly where we’re used to camping. Where are all the mountains? Nowhere? Oh.

– Vivi is also terrified of bugs and camping = bugs.

So we decided to do a trial run at camping, meaning we rented a little (LITTLE) cabin in Brown County where we were close to flushing potties, had bunk beds and (sorry) air-conditioning. It took a few hours for the girls to realize all they had to play with was nature (city kids) but once they figured out nature doesn’t (normally) bite, things went quite well. There was firefly catching, s’mores and lots of frogs. We rented a boat the next day, Addie hated it, Vivi joined team boat and never looked back.

Camping with Frogs

First time on a boat. Big fan.

We all became very stinky very fast and by the time we packed up to leave Vivi just looked smelly (not that she cared.)

Our trial run went well, and we’ll be going “real” camping several more times this year before the world ends winter comes.

Before we left Cody was stung by a wasp, then chased by the wasp, then held prisoner by the wasp.

The three of them stood outside our cabin as the wasp waited for Cody to come back so it could finish its job. Cody hollered at me when the wasp was still and I popped out with my flip flop and destroyed the nasty creature. As terrible as the wasp sting was for him, the visual of him trotting away, screaming and swinging a towel around his head as a wasp divebombed his face is one I won’t soon forget.

I guess that’s one of the hardest things about depression, you don’t enjoy anything — so you don’t really make any memories worth keeping. If you were to ask me about the last couple of weeks I could tell you about how Addie has simply stopped asking me to play with her because all I seem to do anymore is cry and yell. I know it has been sunny, and each day I follow the sun throughout my house as I wait for night to come so I can just sit and not have to say anything or have small hands touching me, screaming at me or demanding things from me. I’m making a conscious effort to enjoy my life, enjoy the little things, but right now it’s really hard work. The switch to my new medication has been successful so far — in regards to withdrawals from my previous medication and side-effects of the new one. Now it’s just wait-and-see.

I’ve always hated wait-and-see with new medications. I think most people do.

One thing Utah camping never had was frog catching. Addie and I spent a lot of time doing it, and I hope she always remembers the few days we spent catching tiny little frogs, and that memories like these overshadow the ones of me depressed.

Camping with Frogs
Camping with Frogs

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