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State of The Trout: The Bride, Buffy recaps, crippling depression, and a book thing.

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Last night I was at Schuler Books in Lansing, MI, having a conversation with author Cecil Castellucci. I was talking about Such Sweet Sorrow, she was talking about her space opera YA, Tin Star.

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In case you were wondering what it looks like when I’m speaking in public, this is what it looks like:

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For the record, I have no memory of what I was talking about any of these times. But you can see my friend Jonesie in the front row at far left, probably thinking, “What is she doing? Jenny, hold still!” Hi, Jonesie!

Update on the Buffy recap, which is long in coming and I apologize profusely. What it comes down to is time, and right now all of mine is devoted to getting The Bride in front of readers in March as promised. Usually, I’m able to do a little juggling, but unfortunately this time around, we’re having a really bad winter and my kids hardly ever have school. You can imagine how difficult it is to concentrate on edits while at the same time breaking up a thousand fights over who gets to use the TV. So I’ve had very little time left over to work, and that’s all being channeled directly into The Bride. But I’m looking SO forward to getting back to Buffy, because it’s one of my favorite things on the planet and I miss talking about it with you guys!

Another thing I’ve been dealing with lately are my mental health issues. This is probably difficult to understand, if you’ve never had it happen to you, but I quit going to therapy. Why did I do that? I’m not sure, myself. I need therapy. I do better with it. But I can’t make myself go. I’ve been discharged from the practice because I can’t handle talking to anyone there when they send letters or call. I’ve spiraled down really far. I’m at the point where I can be “on” in front of people, but I’m fully shut down the rest of the time. But that’s starting to go away, too. I know that going back to therapy would help me get back to my coping skills, but right now I just have nothing in the way of fucks to give.

I’m so deep in now that even my dreams bum me out. Last night, I dreamed that I ran into Ron and Hermione at the grocery store, and that I had gone to Hogwarts with them and lived all the stuff in those books. And they asked me why they never saw me at wizarding stuff, and didn’t I plan to send my son to Hogwarts next year? And I felt like they weren’t judging me, exactly, but they felt sorry for me. And I woke up from that dream and I was like, “Really? I can’t even escape my nonsensical feelings of rejection and self-loathing in my dreams?”

Like, it’s at the point where I’m so depressed, I can’t have an orgasm. And you guys have to know by now that orgasms are like, my favorite thing to do.

Depression and OCD usually flare up at the same time for me, so I’m not getting a lot of sleep. I’m gripped by paralyzing fear every night that my house is going to burn down, and I have to get up as many as fourteen times a night to check all the electrical outlets. To say that my mental shit has gone way down hill is not an understatement, at this point.

So, I will be working on that. Right now, in terms of self-care, all I’m really doing is knitting and reading and watching TV and working when I can. I always bounce back. But I wanted to make it clear to you guys that this isn’t me just forgetting or abandoning the blog. It’s just a rough spot. And I want you to know how freaking valuable you all are. I know I’m extremely fortunate that I can get on here, say this stuff, and feel safe doing it. That means a lot to me, and I hope you guys all feel like this is a safe space to talk about mental health, too.

So, catch you all later, and thank you for your continued patience with me while I lay around being crazy as fuck. 😀

37 Comments

  1. Jan
    Jan

    Random lurker, delurking to say:

    I think that not going to therapy is totally understandable. I am a prime candidate for therapy but so few therapists understand that they need to be constantly compassionate (and I did 3 months of therapist training before I got too ill so I know for a fact that constant compassion is, like, Page 1 of How To Therapise People) that mostly if I go I just withdraw into myself and it’s like I’m not there for them to talk to anyway. Also I’m physically ill and it’ll get worse if I have any regular appointments to go to; that could apply to mental health problems that could be made worse by the same thing. What I am trying to say I guess is that some people think that if you’ve got mental health problems but are not currently in therapy it means you’re not taking an interest in your own wellbeing, not “trying to get better”, that kind of thing, but of course that’s not true of everyone and no-one should assume that it is. There are loads of good reasons people aren’t receiving treatment Right Now; if you need to step back from it for a time I hope that the people in your life are understanding of that and that any future therapists are too.

    Best of luck for feeling better.

    March 5, 2014
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  2. AwesomeDeryck
    AwesomeDeryck

    Jenny, you better stock up on some fucks to give, because you’re awesome.

    March 5, 2014
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    • AD
      AD

      Seconded!

      March 5, 2014
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      • d
        d

        Yes, just take our fucks, because we’ll not allow you to fall into this terrible depression hole. We care about you, so please, take care of yourself.

        March 7, 2014
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  3. Laura
    Laura

    I remember the day that I finally realized that I always bounce back. It was a big one. It makes being depressed a lot less scary. But it still isn’t fun. So in case it helps to hear it, you are 100 kinds of awesome!

    March 5, 2014
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  4. Oh, honey, take care of yourself!

    Depression will totally sap any willpower out of you, even for things you know are good for you. If your kids are stuck at home and need at least some attention it’s no wonder you don’t have any energy left for us.

    We’ll be here when your emotional equilibrium gets back up to snuff, and you feel like posting again.

    March 5, 2014
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  5. Some Hussy
    Some Hussy

    I hate how mental illness are like hard-partying frat boys, using anything as an excuse to invite all their friends over for a rager.

    Oh Hey Depression! Looks you’re going hardcore, lemme phone up OCD, Anxiety Disorder and Insomnia to get this party really started.

    Then it’s 3 am and you can’t sleep because those assholes won’t turn the music down.

    March 5, 2014
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    • Serenity
      Serenity

      That is the best description of mental illness ever, and I’ve read more psychology textbooks than I care to count. You win a cookie.

      March 8, 2014
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    • Courtney
      Courtney

      Seconding the comment love. I’m a therapist and I’ve got some clients for whom this analogy will really resonate (and frankly it cracked me up, and a lot of my clients could use a good giggle). Do you mind if I use this analogy with them?

      March 11, 2014
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      • Some Hussy
        Some Hussy

        Go right ahead!

        March 12, 2014
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  6. Siobhan
    Siobhan

    I understand completely… I am a poster child for anti-depressants, but before that, I would have rounds where I would nearly lose my job. Do what you can, some days getting out of bed is a success.

    I want you to know that I enjoy your blog so much that next time I have money (April paycheck) I am looking forward to buying your books. Is there some venue that gets you more cash than another? (Kindle user).

    March 5, 2014
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  7. Lani
    Lani

    I myself am just coming out of one of those nasty little depression holes. That’s one of the hardest things, to have no choice but to keep going when you’re in the middle of an episode . To have to get up and get your kids ready for school and feed them when you can’t see anything but the darkness. The only upside I can see about the fluctuating nature of depression (when I’m medicated…) is that every time, I learn another new thing to help me cope.

    March 5, 2014
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  8. Sorry to hear that Depression has moved back in and I hope you’ll be able to evict the fucker soon.

    March 5, 2014
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  9. Hannah
    Hannah

    Oh, Jenny. I’m sorry you’re having a tough time. We’re all here and listening. (And can I just say again how fucking awesome your hair is like that? Consumed with jealousy over here. CONSUMED.)

    March 5, 2014
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  10. Flo
    Flo

    Hang in there–at least you know that it will pass, and it sounds like you know some coping strategies. Knit faster! Besides, I want to see that Dr. Who scarf finished 😉 I’m sure that this weather we are experiencing in the great northern territories of the US isn’t helping any, I feel like a friggin hostage in my own home. (((hugs)))

    March 5, 2014
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  11. Laura
    Laura

    Seriously. Every time it snows I just go, FUCK YOU CHICAGO.

    March 5, 2014
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  12. Sara
    Sara

    I love and appreciate your honesty about mental illness, Jenny. I know that going to therapy is not easy especially if you have a therapist who doesn’t understand what you need (I’ve had a few), but once you find the right one who can guide you in the right direction then everything will start to balance out.

    Just to lift your spirits enjoy this super adorable (possibly TOO adorable) video of a dog falling asleep with kittens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxwH9RbQzJ0

    March 5, 2014
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  13. Kelsey
    Kelsey

    I’ll be honest – I’ve never personally experienced depression, so I can’t properly say “I know how you feel.” I don’t. But I do sympathize with you. Between friends who have had long struggles with depression and who were open to sharing with me as it happened, to not having a psychology degree and part of a social work one, what you are saying about not going to a therapist makes complete sense. It’s not the best thing for you, but that’s the difficulty with mental illness – it doesn’t care what’s best for you.

    Ultimately, PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. I don’t care how, as long as it helps. Knit. Watch Doctor Who. Play with your kids. Write. Go back to therapy. Whatever it is that you need to do, do it. We’ll still be here when you’re feeling up to it again!

    March 5, 2014
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  14. Nonnie
    Nonnie

    Depression is the worst. I’m manic-depressive myself, so I know how bad times can just hit you. It sucks, but we all believe in you and will be here waiting.

    March 5, 2014
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  15. Iva
    Iva

    I’ve been battling with panic attacks and paranoia for years now. Hang in there, it will get better! 😀

    March 6, 2014
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  16. Sophie
    Sophie

    Depression has that lovely way of making you not want to do anything that will help you get better, it’s manipulative like that. I’m just coming out one of my worst periods in a long time. For most of last Autumn I was seriously contemplating suicide. I hadn’t been in therapy for years, because despite how wonderful the NHS is unfortunately mental health services are always the first services to lose funding. And there is no way I could afford to pay someone. I got eight sessions on the NHS and whilst it was hard, I feel like maybe I’m finally coming up to the end of this tunnel.

    I made some fairly big breakthroughs in those eight sessions. I finally dealt with the mess that was my childhood, and learned that I need to stop blaming myself for my parents’ shitty behaviour. It may seem so obvious to other people, of course it’s not your fault when you are a child. But I’ve always blamed myself, thought that there must be something wrong with me that made my parents behave the way they did and still do. I also learned how much what happened then is affecting me now, how it affects my behaviour and the way I see other people. It was awful but I think that I really needed to hit as low as I did to be able to see this all so much more clearly. Whilst my depression has been managed, I’ve been too busy living my life to give myself the time to stop and look at all the underlying reasons behind my Depression. Getting that low gave me the time and it scared me enough into reaching out for help.

    So maybe that’s what will happen with you? Maybe at the moment you are managing just enough to not want to stop and look. But once you’ve finished up The Bride and your kids are back at school, then you won’t have an excuse not to stop and you’ll be ready to go back to therapy. I hope you feel better soon.

    March 6, 2014
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  17. InsaneSpades
    InsaneSpades

    Hey Jenny,
    I’m here to say THANK YOU!
    You speak so honestly and open about your mental issue… I don’t know if you understand how much you really help others.
    I’m pretty sure (and have been for two years) that I’m suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder.
    Reading your blog gave me the courage to speak to my husband about it last December and to my doc in February.
    I’m going to see a therapist next week and I’m hopeful that she’ll find out what’s the matter, BPD or something else.
    So again, thank you
    – for being so open,
    – for providing a safe haven to talk about mental health
    – for not judging
    – for every written word.
    THANK YOU!!!

    March 6, 2014
    |Reply
  18. Courtenay
    Courtenay

    I have just read through from the beginning of the 50shades recaps. I’m in love with your blog, about to go read the Boss now, and will be following the buffy recaps.
    Thank you, for making these fantastic things.
    It sucks. You will get through it. And you have many, many supporters who will help you if we can!

    March 6, 2014
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  19. Holeigh
    Holeigh

    Gah, that bookstore is literally two miles down the road from me, and my husband spent most of the day there yesterday. I cannot believe you were so close and I had no idea!!

    March 6, 2014
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  20. Megan
    Megan

    Hope you feel better soon. I know how awful depression is. Sending internet hugs!

    March 7, 2014
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  21. I don’t comment much, but I read regularly and love your blog. Anyway, great big internet hugs and all the good-luck thoughts for digging your way back out of the hole.

    March 8, 2014
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  22. Regina Chapman
    Regina Chapman

    Sending you virtual hugs and hoping you’ll feel better soon.

    Currently I’m in the middle of the settling-in period for sertraline (which I’ve been prescribed for anxiety) and it’s been ROUGH. It brings out all these feelings of anxiety and depression – apparently, it needs to get worse before it can get better.

    Anyway, there have been many times in my life when I was deeply sad, or felt lost or powerless or hurt, but a few days ago I looked around my room, and at the screen of my laptop which displayed my unfinished novel, and all I felt was…this detached, disturbing, flat…disgust. And that’s not nearly a powerful enough description. I felt like I simultaneously wanted to crawl out of my own skin and casually set it afire. And there was no way out.
    And then I thought ‘wow…so THIS is what real depression is like’, and then I thought ‘OMG, there are people living through this EVERY DAY?!’.

    So you have my deepest sympathy, and I can only say appeal to Sane Jen inside, and let her take the best care of you that you’re able to right now. If that includes not going to therapy for a while, so be it. You’ve got this. And thank you for all that you’ve given the readers of your blog – OF COURSE we’ll wait patiently for you to get better:).

    x

    March 8, 2014
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  23. Melanie
    Melanie

    The commenters above me have already put things WAY better than I possibly could, but here goes:
    Take care of yourself first. Do whatever you need to do to get yourself into a better place mentally. We’ll all still be here if you need to take a hiatus because your blog is definitely good enough to wait for. You’re an awesome person and I love reading what you have to say.
    I also wanted you to know that the awesomeness of your hair inspired me to dye mine blue and purple (because seriously, your hair is kickass, and so are you!)

    March 8, 2014
    |Reply
  24. Cherry
    Cherry

    Thanks for writing about your depression. I’ve been having some depression issues myself lately and it helps to know I’m not alone. Just know that you are super freaking valuable to us too.

    March 8, 2014
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  25. Katherine C.
    Katherine C.

    I wish I had something useful or helpful to add. So I’ll settle for sending positive thoughts and well wishes your way. Just do whatever works for you right now, and I hope you’re in a better place soon.

    March 9, 2014
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  26. Courtney
    Courtney

    Thank you for writing about your experiences and sharing them with us.

    Recovery does at times require selfishness, or at least what feels like selfishness. Sometimes to maintain health we need to stop, take stock, and prioritize our own needs ahead of the needs of others. You are not a bad person or a failure for taking time to be sick and recover.

    Speaking as a therapist here, I’ll say that my opinion is that if therapy isn’t right for you Right Now, that’s ok! Therapy is hard, sometimes brutal work and it doesn’t always offer immediate relief. If you’re not in a place where you’re able to do that kind of work right now that’s ok! I do hope that you have access to crisis services in case you need them. If you don’t have any crisis info and want help finding some please let me know.

    your blog is awesome and so are you. jus sayin!

    March 11, 2014
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  27. Rowan
    Rowan

    Urgh, I know what you mean about the therapy. My therapist is LOVELY but I haven’t seen her in ages. Why? Because at my last appointment, I couldn’t schedule the next one right away. So then it was my responsibility to call/text and arrange things, which is one of my Major Scary Things. Sooooo… I procrastinated and kept saying I must get around to it and I’d do it right away as soon as I’d finished painting my toenails / reading this chapter / staring gormlessly at crap on the internet. And then I’d left it so long I had Appointment Guilt and the voices saying “you’re so useless you can’t even text your therapist – look at how pathetic you are, there’s no point trying to go back now, you’re obviously a lost cause”.

    My brain needs a kick up the arse.

    I know you feel like shit right now and I can’t make you NOT feel that way. But you’re not alone in this dark place, and you’re not weak or pathetic or whatever for putting off therapy. Cos, while your demons might tell you that you’re the most useless person on the planet, mine are telling me that I am, and I bet loads of others reading this are hearing the same crap in their heads. We can’t ALL be the most useless person on the planet. Stands to reason.

    March 13, 2014
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    • Elle d'Conyers
      Elle d'Conyers

      You know- that’s a really good point. I need to remember that we can’t all be the most useless person on the planet. One step up from the bottom means I’m not on the bottom!

      March 17, 2014
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  28. Jennifer
    Jennifer

    Depression sucks. Although I’ve experienced it, I’ve never been clinically depressed. I have however witnessed my mother (and my husband) going through it hard. Therapy will come back when you are ready. I hope you are taking meds, and that someone is there to help you not slide completely into the bell jar. We, your readers, greatly appreciate you and your writing and would like you to be around a long time

    March 16, 2014
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  29. Elle d'Conyers
    Elle d'Conyers

    I hear you on the therapy. Sometimes you’re too far gone to be able to have the input that’s necessary to make it work for you. I’m sorry that your therapist couldn’t see that’s where you were. It’s why I’ve been avoiding finding a therapist for a while, myself. Good ones are worth their weight in platinum at least. The rest vary from useless to occasionally dangerous. When I’m dealing with my depression, the odds of finding a good one don’t look good enough to make the effort.

    In any case- thank you so much for any time you can spend with us. It is appreciated!

    March 17, 2014
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