Depression’s Like A Big Fur Coat

“Depression’s like a big fur coat–it’s made of dead things but it keeps me warm.”
 
This is a quote from Icon For Hire’s song “Iodine,” which has become one of my favorite songs over the last couple years. Most people here know my story, although some only know bits and pieces. There’s people I can encounter on a daily basis that don’t know me, or don’t know the struggles I’ve gone through, or don’t know the reality of what goes on inside my head.
 
Back in 2012-2013, I had one of the hardest years of my life. I came to the realization, after many hospitalizations, that I had depression. Some people still refuse to believe that depression is a real thing, but unfortunately it is. It’s not just sadness. It’s not just crying every once in a while. Sometimes it’s as simple as feeling completely numb. Sometimes it’s as simple as being tired all the time, no matter how much sleep you get. Sometimes it can be difficult to get out of bed in the morning and do things that you have to do because you’re supposed to be a responsible young adult.
 
Writing is something that’s always been important to be, but over the last few years, I’ve used it as a way to channel my feelings. It’s been one of my easiest coping mechanisms and it’s been incredible hearing from readers who tell me that my books have made them realize something about themselves, of that a book of mine has changed their life in some way. When I look back at everything I’ve gone through and then examine where I am now, I see all the obstacles I’ve overcome. On the one hand, it’s refreshing to know that I’m no longer in that place I once was. On the other hand, every phase of life comes with a new set of struggles, and we must learn how to deal with what life throws at us.
 
Although I’ve overcome many things, the one thing I wish I could say I’ve fully overcome I have not. My depression. Some people may be wondering how that’s possible. How I can seem like this happy person all the time, whether it be at work or somewhere else, and still be depressed. Some wonder how it’s possible to have confidence in myself, yet still have depression.
 
I wish there was an easy answer, but unless you’ve been in my shoes, it’s not. I made a post a while back about being an empath, and about how everything around me affects my emotions. I’m a highly sensitive human being, and it’s both a good and a bad thing. The problem is that we live in a world full of negativity. There’s not a lot of light that shines through. Several people have told me that they believe most people are inherently good, and maybe that’s true. Over the last two years, I’ve come to realize that even though deep down they’re good, they do not come across that way, especially to me. I’ve been treated poorly by people when I don’t deserve it. I’ve been abandoned by people who swore they’d never leave. I’ve fallen in love yet again, only to have my heart ripped out of my chest. I’ve been played by people who seemingly have nothing better to do than to mess with my emotions.
 
So why am I telling you all this? Well, as a person who struggles with depression, although a lot of it is internal, external forces have a tendency of making things worse. I always have these two conflicting sides in my head–do I become numb like everyone else and turn into an asshole with no regard for others’ feelings to protect my own, or do I continue to love, to feel, and to be in touch with myself so I don’t fall into the darkness this world creates in people?
 
When I wrote my novel The Long Road Home, it was one of the most personal books I’ve ever written, and it has reached so many people. It’s my favorite book that I wrote, because I wrote depression as it is. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it can be confusing. Often times it leaves the people surrounding the ill to wonder what the hell is actually going on inside their head.
 
Part of me feels like a hypocrite. Sometimes I wake up in the morning wondering what right I have to tell people that it gets better when I still have monsters in my mind. I wonder what gave me the right to write the things I do when I’ve not fully recovered myself, and potentially never will.
 
But that’s the thing about mental illness–it finds a way to tell you these lies. It finds a way to convince you that you’ll never be good enough and that it’s best to just keep quiet. Because if we keep quiet, no one will get better. If we ignore what’s there, no one will get better, and instead will only get worse.
 
September 2016 is National Suicide Prevention Month. On September 10th (which also happens to be my birthday) it is National Suicide Prevention Day, and my plan is to participate in the Suicide Prevention Walk in Reno.
 
We all have our battles, and this is mine. Every day I’m struggling, but I’m also overcoming the struggle every day I don’t self-harm or make an attempt on my life. Even though thoughts can be there, as long as I’m not acting, I’m winning. I’ve already won the battle.
 
Now it’s time to win the war.

Arise And Be All That You Dreamed

As we’ve seen over the last few days, there’s a lot of bad in this world. There’s a lot of pain, heartache, death, sorrow, and unhappiness.

All my life, I’ve experienced hardships that no one should have to go through. There’s a lot of things people know about me. For years, I constantly felt like this world wasn’t worth living. That the world would be better off without me, or that the world is too hard, or that life isn’t worth living. I’ve struggled with depression ever since puberty, and I’ve spent years trying to figure out what was “wrong” with me. I looked at the world and thought it was a horrible place.

While the world is often times a bad place, and sometimes the bad seems override the good, this song helped me remember that life IS worth living.

We all have choices. As I said in a previous post I made, in this world there’s good and evil. Sometimes the lines blur. Sometimes it can be hard to get yourself out of depression. Sometimes it can be hard to see all these shootings, all these deaths, all this chaos, and even things in our personal lives that make life even more difficult.

One thing I’ve learned over the last two years is that I have the power to make a difference. I have the power to change lives. Every single one of us can make a difference. Often times the only thing holding us back is ourselves. We believe we’re not good enough. We believe that because our reach is so small, it won’t make any real difference.

But if everyone took it upon themselves to be better people, the world would be a better place. Instead of giving up, we have to fight. Instead of saying it’s not worth it, we have to battle. Our lives are exactly that. OURS. Even when the world seems like a very dark place, as long as you’re a part of the light, the world will never be fully dark.

So in the words of Flyleaf, “Arise and be all that you dreamed.” Be a better you. Make the world a better place. The power is in your hands. What will you choose to do with it?

My Depression Relapse

Over the last couple days, many of you have probably noticed that I’ve not been myself. There are a few reasons for this, but one of the biggest reasons is that somehow, somewhere over the last few weeks, my depression has resurfaced.
 
A lot of you know my story–why I left high school originally, why I left home, and why I’m now attending public high school again. Many of you also do not know, and that’s okay. Some things don’t necessarily need to be shared publicly, so I won’t.
 
What I will say is this: I don’t know how long this depression will last. When you’re in that state of mind, it can be extremely hard to pull yourself out. A lot of you I’ve known since my freshman year, so you’ve seen my struggles, my healing, and my growth. Now, as I’m meeting new people, exploring new things, and getting ready to graduate in a few months, everyone who’s met me recently doesn’t know my past. They don’t know the things I’ve been through, the pain I’ve felt, or how I worked so very hard to get myself out.
 
Depression is a serious thing. It’s part of the reason why I wrote The Long Road Home, because it’s important for people to understand it’s a real mental illness that affects millions, including myself.
 
So what does this mean? I’m not sure. I don’t know what I need to do to get myself back to where I was, because once inside this hole, it can be a challenge to get myself out. But what I want you all to know–fans, friends, and family–is that I’m not giving up. Some days it may be difficult to wake up in the morning and deal with certain things. Some days I may feel better than others. Some days it may be hard to see a future, because the fog of depression is clouding my mind. But as ALL of you know, I’m not a quitter. I’m not someone who’s going to lay down without a fight, or someone who’s going to, “Screw it, I’m done.” I’m going to keep fighting, stay strong, and hopefully I’ll be able to get back to where I was.
 
A lot of things seem to be having an affect on me lately. Being at a new school. Making new friends. Getting new crushes. Getting ready to graduate, not knowing where my life is going to end up. It’s been an experience, and while those things can be good, they can also have a negative affect on me. I’ve always been in this weird state of liking people, yet hating them. Wanting to be with people, yet wanting to be alone. Wanting to have a future, yet wanting to give up.
 
All I ask is that as fans, friends, and family, you do not give up hope for me, just like I’m not giving up hope myself. As much as I hate to admit it, I NEED friends right now. I need help, and I know I do.
 
But I also want YOU to not give up on yourself, just like I’M not giving up hope. As much darkness is in your life, or as much as you may be going through, you can make it out. There is hope. Life is a journey, and it’s most definitely worth living. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and all the stuff in between.
 
To all the people who’ve stood by me, I love you and appreciate it very much. You’re more important then you may think.

New Book 2016: The Long Road Home

A few days ago on my Facebook page I announced that I would be writing a new book for Spring 2016. This new book is my next contemporary young adult novel, The Long Road Home. While there is no official synopsis yet, this is the one I have.

Brooke never meant to survive. She hoped that the suicide attempt would end all of her suffering. After years of rejection, pain, and heartbreak, she feels as though she’s not good enough for anyone. Now she’s stuck in a hospital, being forced to take antidepressants and is getting therapy for her issues.

And she hated it until she met him.

Now Brooke must remember the past in order to better her future, while trying to keep her feelings for the new patient in check. In this heartbreaking novel, a young girl will laugh, cry, and fight to find her way home to the one place she’s never really let anyone in–her own heart.

This book is going to be something different for me, but I am all about taking risks. My hope is that it reaches to many people who struggle with the same issues Brooke has and that it can shed some light for those who haven’t dealt with these issues before.

The Long Road Home is scheduled to release in February/March 2016. The book can now be marked as “to-read” on Goodreads as well!