Help Me if You Can I’m Feeling Down
I’m not trying to be alarmist, but I’ve reached a low point. I can’t put my finger on exactly when it started or even why it has continued this long, but I’m not doing super well at the moment.
Okay, that sounds fairly alarming. Let me rephrase to something more like, I’m not doing great and thought I’d be feeling a lot better by now. Maybe it’s something to do with the holidays coming up and the results of the election (although I felt shitty long before the election happened). I drafted an email to my family addressing the polarity between us both politically and sometimes socially, re-wrote it four times, tortured my friends with all four of those drafts (sorry friends) and then decided not to send it. But I wasn’t feeling shitty because I wrote the email, the shittiness prompted it.
Maybe I didn’t give Tim enough credit when he was alive for taking care of me. Actually, you can strike the “maybe” from that sentence. Even at his worst, Tim always tried to keep me up to the best version of myself. There are countless little things about our relationship that I not only miss, but relied on more than I knew.
Or maybe it’s the fact that in the past 30 days I’ve had four cavities filled, one giant mole removed and learned that my body has recently decided to stop breathing 54 times an hour when I sleep. ‘Cause you know, if you’re not broken emotionally (that’s me!) you’re broken physically (ok j/k, that’s me too).
Don’t get me wrong, there have been high points in the past few months. Simon debuted in the open 3’3″ jumpers at our local circuit, and won every class. I got to lesson on him this past weekend, and though my thighs are still burning (incredible, incredible pain… never stop riding consistently), I had a smile on my face the entire time.
I also have a smile on my face every time I walk by my fire place now, because my heart is shining as painted by the extremely talented Julie Ferris.
Still, I am having a hard time. I’m not doing great, and I’m asking y’all for help.
First off, can someone buy Roman? He’s as big as a bus and he likes to rest his nose on your shoulder and blow soft kisses… what’s not to love! Anyone? Bueller? Damn. It was worth a try.
More realistically, and I’m being serious on my pleas for help on the rest of this post, I’m looking for readers. I didn’t plan to plummet into depression right in the middle of my grad school applications, but that’s exactly what’s happened. Progress remains steady, but I could really use readers/reviewers for the following:
- Writing samples (literary memoir, long)
- Statement of Purpose (formal “Who I am and why I want to study” academic two pager)
- Critical writing of literature (2-3 pages)
- My rather pathetic CV
An ideal reader would be someone who reads a lot, knows the academic world or has dabbled in any type of creative writing workshop. Yes I realize it’s a pretty desperate plea to ask blog readers to not only read my work but take time out of their lives to write up comments, but I’m trying to learn how to ask for help when needed and use my network.
Hello network. I’m Lauren, and I may or may not be having a nervous breakdown.
Also, even if you don’t feel able to do some critical reading for me, I’d love it if all blog readers could leave a comment below about what posts I’ve written that you resonated the most with. This can be funny posts, sad posts, emotional posts… whatever! Basically I’m looking for which of my writing packs the biggest punch without someone knowing my entire story and having read me for years. If that makes sense.
Finally, my last request is for anyone to share in the comments specific things (sans therapy) that have worked for them in the past when getting through a wee bit of a situation induced sleep deprived existential depression. I’m trying to balance self care with progress on my grad school applications and keeping a clean house. My essential oil diffuser is blowing lavender and citrus overtime, and I even broke down and bought caffeine free herbal tea at Trader Joe’s tonight BECAUSE I’M GETTING DESPERATE PEOPLE.
Also because it had a really cute fox on the box. I like foxes.
That’s all. Please send wine. Or don’t actually, because google tells me that makes me stop breathing in my sleep even more than I already do (more on this later) and despite everything I’d probably still prefer to wake up tomorrow. I do have a book to write after all. And as always, thank you all.
97 thoughts on “Help Me if You Can I’m Feeling Down”
Lauren, we love you and your writing, all of it. But please don’t be afraid to see a doctor or a therapist sometimes they help, it’s helped me in the past.
As for the writing send me anything!
samanthallegere at gmail dot com
I can help with so little, I’m excited to be able to say I can help with the writing part. My husband has his masters in Rhetoric and Composition, and would fall all over himself for the chance to review some work. He misses teaching college English like you wouldn’t believe. I’m also a pretty good reviewer, although my academic pedigree with an Equine Studies degree is far less impressive.
Shoot me an email if you’d like!
I’d love to do some reading for you. I’ve been proofing a friend’s PhD thesis so it wouldn’t be anything too out of my element 🙂
Also — you’re an amazing human being. Your writing is inspired, heartfelt, and makes me feel like you and I are sitting and having a conversation over a favourite (alcoholic) beverage. Over the many years I’ve known you I’ve looked up to you for your creativity and passion for everything you do. I’m also envious of your house decorating skills and would like you to come up to Ontario and help me – kthnx.
<3 <3 <3
I can read. I have a creative writing degree and took several workshops. You can hit me up on FB if you want to send me things. I should have plenty of time next week since work will be slow without students over Thanksgiving break.
Several of your blog posts have packed a punch for me, but I’ll need to dig around a bit to pick them out. I’m sorry you’re in a rut right now. 🙁 I think getting your sleep situation figured out will help exponentially. I’m completely useless (mentally, emotionally and physically) if sleep isn’t going the way I’d like. I’d be willing to bet the time change/winter and upcoming holidays aren’t helping either. It might not be the worst idea in the world to consult with a mental health professional. I think hellomylivia blogged about how the seasons effect her.
SO good to see Simon doing so well! He’s really collecting the satin!
I’m willing to take a stab at this! First- stress relief- though I first totally eye rolled at the idea of this, a friend made me take Rescue Remedy Stress chewies at my last horse show and I may now be a believer. And before that, when I was out of town with Foster for his surgery, I was a wreck, and the lady I was with insisted I try the Rescue Remedy sleep drops. I couldn’t believe how well I slept.
As far as a post type that I resonate with- I think it’s your honesty in general that is captivating. Since I personally subscribe to a “you can choose to laugh, or you can choose to cry” about life’s medium level stressors (falling off the horse, backing up into hubby’s truck, etc), I enjoy when you employ your sense of humor to tell a story. You’re a great writer, and the following you have is an easy testament to that.
Otherwise, know the blogging community has your back. If I knew folks closer to Texas, I’d be sending them your way to come take that adorable blaze face off your hands.
I don’t have much advice to give. I’m in the throes of my own breakdown that has me in an emotionally hellish spot on a daily basis. The only thing that has helped so far? Other people. Not just being with them, but forcing myself to see them with more than just my eyes. To care about them. It’s hard, because all I want to do is isolate to protect my fragile little heart, but I’ve found that kindness towards others is the only thing that makes me feel a little less like I’m just a broken mess of parts that no one wants to deal with.
I also wrote this a few months ago for World Suicide Prevention Day. The tl;dr version is basically to find one tiny thing — doesn’t matter what, doesn’t matter how inconsequential it may seem — to hold on to. Anything. It may take some time to find it, but that one tiny thing has saved me more than once now.
Lastly, if you’re feeling alone and can’t find a way to connect with someone that understands, I urge you to visit To Write Love on Her Arms (www.twloha.com). The stories over there, via the blogs written by others and by owner Jamie Tworkoswki, are real and relatable. I have many saved on my hard drive to revisit when I need to.
Love and light from me to you, friend.
I am sorry you are not feeling your best. I would not be a good proof reader/critic, but I am a neurologist, so I have some exciting news about the sleep thing — if you can get that treated you very likely will be feeling a whole bunch better on all counts! Let me know if you need a good sleep doc name in Austin.
As far as the posts I liked the best, I really enjoyed reading showing recaps. (I am the lady who came up to you at one CenTex show gushing about your blog , particularly the entry that quoted your friend “even a bad horse show is a luxury.” I think of that all the time and it has been so helpful, comforting.)
I’m probably not the best option for a creative writing reader, but I do LOVE reading your blog. I love your travel posts and I always love anyone show re-cap. Your writing since Tim’s death has changed it’s tone, but I still enjoy all of it. You are good at writing what you feel in a way that makes me feel it, too.
When I’m feeling down, I go on a doggy adventure. To the beach or dog park, or just hang out at a coffee shop and let people tell me how pretty my dog is.
I can help with any reading and also your resume – I have a lot of experience with that.
I’m also here if you want to talk about anything… I’ve had a bad year and gone through a lot so I’m sure I can relate to how you feel sometimes.
Simon looks great. Hang in there x
Lauren, you matter. Remember that everyday. Every time you post a blog, I stop what I’m doing to read it right away. You are a beautiful writer that can express your feelings through words better than anyone I know!
This post is rather alarming, which I know was kind of the point. You have an awesome network of readers.
Network to Lauren: We are here and we care!
While I can’t help you so much with proofing, I can reassure you that I look forward to anything you write about, whether it’s your fun weekend with friends in a different state, to Open Jumper Champion Simonpants, or your general feelings on life! Keep up the great writing, as long as it makes you generally happy. Otherwise, we will understand!
I’d be glad to help. I write for a living — patent applications and communications with the Patent Office. I am pretty good at grammar, so I can help there too.
Try to get out and get plenty of sunshine! I know hanging around horses and horse friends is good for you!
I’ll keep your horse in mind for people too.
I offer copious amounts of boxed wine and my extraordinary ridiculousness to bring intermittent cheer. And a Patronus charm…its on the way.
1. Send me your CV and your Statement of Purpose. I am the shit at putting those together. I do technical writing for a living that has to be able to stand strong through possible litigation in various levels of court, so I can form a really well structured and logical argument. I also have one of the strongest damn CVs around and everyone I’ve ever shared it with ends up stealing the formatting.
2. I love the posts that your emotion comes through in. Be it happy, sad, angry, whatever. They’re incredibly well done and moving. Everyone of them has always had me laughing, crying, wanting to beat the shit out of something. You do a goddamn good job of invoking emotion from your readers – because I don’t get moved super easily.
3. Okay, I’m a scientist by heart and by trade, but that’s about to go out the window because I simply can’t deny the following things and how they’ve somehow magically helped me (or are about to) even though I can’t logic myself through them: Get a rock salt lamp. See if that whole negative ion thing helps you. I don’t have one (yet) but I know people that swear by them. Go have some acupuncture done for yourself. Also, go get a chiro adjustment. I recently had my first acu appointments ever for myself. I’m more relaxed and sleeping better than I have in a very long time. I didn’t go in expecting a damn thing, but suddenly life is more relaxing because my body is happier. Also, I direly needed that chiro adjustment and basically got off the table dancing. When your body feels good, your mind will have an easier time finding some peace. And finally, get some gemstones and make some bracelets to wear, hell, get a crystal to put in your pocket. I daily wear a bracelet of each of the following: howlite (calming), green aventurine (to bring opportunity my way), and amethyst (to aid in relaxing, dreamless sleep). It’s probably just a coincidental mental pseudoscientific effect and not really working, but damnit, I don’t care. Things go better when I wear them. And they’re cute. And colorful. And fun to make. Getchu some stones and some powercord and get to tying.
1 – I’m always up for helping you out by reading/reviewing. While photography is my artistic love, I’m a voracious reader & reasonably well versed in writing fundamentals (although grammar and spelling editing isn’t my forte – I get too caught up in the “feel” which happens to be my challenge in dressage too)
2 – As someone who has wrestled with anxiety for most of my life, proactive and purposeful therapy is an amazing thing. Specifically, someone who moves beyond “yes, you’re depressed/anxious/stressed out by things that are undoubtedly overwhelming. At various times, I’ve worked with docs who specialize in athletes or executives, etc, folks that delve into mindset. I’ve also work with psychologists who took a more “life coach” approach. I know it sounds hokey and woo woo and a little Tony Robbins-ish (although the walking over coals is totally optional), but sometimes I just needed someone I could emotionally vomit on who could help me sort through all the words to what I actually meant, make a plan to do something about it and hold me accountable to that plan.
I have read (and frankly, written) a metric butt ton of statement of purpose/letter of intent papers for scientific academic careers, and even though yours might be different, I think I have some idea of what committees are looking for and how to pack punch to academics. So feel free to email me.
The thing about your blog is that I keep coming back. Even when you’re writing about topics that aren’t that thrilling, I want to hear what you have to say. As much as your excellent writing and topic choice, you have a great voice that I always look forward to reading. <3
I’m so sorry to hear that you’re in a bit of a low spot. 🙁 I wish I could offer assistance with reading… but compared to everyone else I’m majorly under qualified!
I love all your writing so much, thank you for being brave and sharing this post (and many others) with us. Could you send me your mailing address? Would like to send along some goodies your way – kateroseduncan (at) gmail (dot) com.
I’m sorry I can’t be more of a help as a reader, but I would like to recommend my favorite book! You should check out The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. It’s hard to get into, but once you get past the first few chapters it starts to come together and is extremely powerful stuff. Definitely some really helpful things that I licensed to read and reread when I’m feeling like I need to be centered! Hope that helps 🙂
And that painting of Simon is INCREDIBLE. I very blatantly hinted to matt that one of Estella would make the best gift ;).
I love your honesty. You are real. Too many people like to hide behind the ‘social media’ and pretend that everything is perfect. You do not do that. Everyone can relate. We need more people like that!
Praying helps. Laying it all out before Him and asking for help. It helps to talk to a person face to face. Someone trained that can be objective.
Think about what it was that Tim did to take care of you and keep you the best version of yourself. Learn to do it for yourself. Do it for him.
I can help you! I went to school for creative writing and am now an editor/writer. I would be happy to take a look at some things to help with your applications! Email them on over to stayingcenteredblog(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll read over them in the next few days/this weekend.
I’m going to quote Legally Blonde for this one; “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy.” Doing something physical every day will help you sleep better AND make you “happier”. Perhaps there is something out there you have never tried that would get you outside and a little bit active? There is so much going on in Austin, too! I don’t mean run a marathon or anything silly like that. A bike ride here. A yoga class there. Walking in your neighborhood.
My husband has a chronic pain condition and the ONLY thing that gets his mind out of the gutter of depression is physical activity. He can’t do normal exercise bc his pain is in his abdomen, but he’s on his feet 95% of his day. When he spends much more than 5% sitting he becomes a horribly grumpy man. We live on 10 acres and have a mini-farm with goats, horses, chickens, dogs, cats, a donkey and a cockatiel. Perhaps you could have chickens and a garden at your house? Chickens are super easy and can be kept 100% contained in a properly sized living area in your backyard.
I don’t have any good advice that hasn’t already been stated, but I wanted to comment anyway. I read all of your posts and they almost always resonate with me in some way. There’s something about your writing that I can connect with. I laugh, cry and smile and sometime all of the above when I read SMTT! Thank you for your candidness and please, keep on trucking. As all things, this too shall pass!
Hi! I must admit that this is the first of your posts that I have read. (A friend had it on her FB page) I do however go through my own struggles with emotional turmoil as I am sure many others do. I also have horses and show. When I start feeling down the barn is my refuge. My horses become my therapist. I talk to them as I groom and ride. I sit in stalls and just watch them munch on hay. It’s almost as though they can read my thoughts and know that what I need is their comfort. Your guy is so cute and looks like a blast to ride. Take advantage of that. If there are days when you don’t have time to ride, make time to just groom or go love on his muzzle and feed him his favorite treats(my old guy loves canned pears!). And of course, find a person to open up to. I don’t blog but I can imagine that writing it all down helps, but talking on the phone or face to face with another person can be very helpful. Even if they have no advice. That listening ear could be the turning point. I have even spent time thinking about past shows and courses to get my mind off of whatever was bothering me at the moment, to refocus on something that I love.
When I was younger, a trainer of mine had all of us do something called Brain Gym. It is a great way to balance your mind and help you to focus. Will it relieve your stress? No. Will it help you to relax so you can work through it? Yes! Your equine community reaches far and wild and as a general rule we are all here to help each other! I am glad I found your blog and I’m so happy you reached out for help. Keep your head up and heals down. And always kick forward, never pull to the miss!
P.S. Feel free to find me on FB!
Get your Foxy herbal tea. Have a seat. Because it’s a long one.
I found your blog earlier this year. Because I started a blog last year and actually never followed horsey blogs before, I thought, what the hell, I should probably see what else is out there. But I didn’t keep following you for the horsey stuff. In fact, I still don’t follow any blogs with much regularity except for yours. It was a post about your grief that I saw first. And it was the posts about grief and healing and coming to terms with the manner in which your husband passed that yanked at my heart.
Then I had my own traumatic loss. And not on the same playing field as your loss, but it was traumatic. And it was a loss. And grief is grief. And actually, I don’t feel particularly free to discuss it much because most people I think believe I should be over it. So reading your musings helps me process my own thoughts. And of course I like pictures of horses. And good writing. And people who like horses. And you are all three. Sorry for all the ands.
Things that have helped pull me through my own dark days are coffee (so much coffee) a few key friends. Books. Writing. Art. And spending time with my horse. Oh and my husband. But that’s not very nice to tell you, but I just have to add that in case for some strange reasons someone I know sees this and is like, wow, no husband huh?
How’s that Leonard Cohen go? Life’s not a victory march? (RIP) Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Do the fox tea. Do the horsey things. And dig deep to find the thing that makes your heart perk up and say, “I’d like to do that, maybe.” It doesn’t have to do jumping jacks. Just a little interest. Is that grad school? Then you are already doing awesome. But is it something else? You are young. ( I can say this because I think you’re like, 5 years younger than me) you have so many roads and adventures left to live. I know that because I see how curious you are about the world. Let your passion guide you. Unless your passion is excessive wine. Then perhaps let your second or third passion drive you.
Last, happy to do some critical reading. I have a BS in human physiology but I did take creative writing courses and am currently editing my own MS. I just need plenty of notice because I am a procrastinator and if you only give me two days to read something, I likely am supposed to be catching up on some other nonsense I was supposed to be doing in that time.
Take care dear heart. And listen to the Dear Sugar radio podcast. They always make me feel peaceful and soothed.
Best wishes. Sorry about Trump. And the holidays. And lots of other general shittiness. And the worst, sorry for the loss of your beloved husband.
I don’t have much advice but I wouldn’t rule out traditional therapy if you haven’t already tried it. Also hopefully getting your sleep figured out will help. Even on the best days people don’t handle sleep deprivation well.
Also my favorite tea is the Aveda Comforting Tea. It isn’t magic or anything but I keep a box at work and it’s delicious.
I’m so sorry you are feeling bad. These are the things that make me feel better when I feel overwhelmed with all the negative things in life: go on a long quiet trail ride by myself (especially when the weather is gorgeous like right now) and just connect with my horse and reflect; get up early on a Saturday, get caffienated and get a tons of chores done in the morning so I can relax the rest of the day, snuggle with the dogs and binge on tv shows guilt-free; spend time wiht family or close friends playing games that make me laugh and drinking delicious drinks (I don’t do wine!).
So many of your posts I can relate to and I am drawn to your style of writing. I am an avid reader – no job/college credentials to help you out as a critical reader (looks like you have plenty of great offers!).
I get ‘winter blues’ more severe each year and find that Vit. D helps some and getting out in the sunlight as much as possible. Of course, living in IN is much different than TX!
It sound like you’ve had some seriously great offers of people who are very capable to read and review. My strengths do not lay in that area but I did want to let you know that I’m perpetually excited when I see you have a new post up. You’re writing is engaging and incredibly powerful, whether you are writing about subjects that hurt my heart and bring me to tears at my desk or subjects that are lighter and give me a case of the giggles. I want to say that I will 100% buy your book when you finish it, in fact I hope to be one of the first to hand over my money.
Um, on the less serious side, I *wish* I could buy Roman. But first I’d have to sell my ridiculously talented and goes great for everyone EXCEPT ME money sucking lawnmower.
Lauren – I’m probably one of your most “random” readers. I don’t own a horse, don’t live in Texas, haven’t lost my husband – heck, I don’t even own a dog right now. But I used to ride hunters and used to have 4 dogs at one time. I’m not even sure how I found your blog. I “stalk” several horse-related blogs to live vicariously through adults who still get to ride. Your photography is beautiful, and your writing is entertaining to read. Your honesty with dealing with the loss of your husband strikes a chord in many of us I’m sure. Even if I haven’t lost my spouse, I’ve had plenty of other great losses in my life. So, please keep writing. I hope it helps you cope, and i know I enjoy reading your blog.
It took me a while to get over my insomnia.. I needed chemical help, and the chemical helped worked really well and was able to get my brain back to normal in some senses. Then I had to ween myself off prescription chemical help to non prescription chemical help, and then off of that as well. It was a dumb and arduous process.
The gym helped me out a lot in a lot of ways too. Finding balance is hard. I’d have happy to read through your stuff, my only qualification I guess is that I got into 2 grad schools? Which isn’t that qualifying but I have able eyes.
Keep a playlist of all your happiest music, whatever it is that is that makes you want to dance. Mine is titled, “Shake Ass” and mostly consist of raunchy hip hop club hits, which is hilarious for a pushing 40yo librarian, farm girl. I play mine when I need to get motivated, usually for a workout. Don’t skip your workouts, even when you’re down, those chemicals are good for the brain, as are orgasms! Maybe go tanning, I hate the skin cancer risk, but sometimes here in OR you just feel like your dying for some sunshine, especially when you work indoors until after dark. Hang out with friends, even if you don’t feel like it. I’m always happiest when I have something fun to look forward to, an adventure, road trip, vacation! Sending well wishes and positive energy your way!
I love your writing. It’s clear, honest, compelling, witty, and always interesting no matter the topic.
What helps me when I’m down is laughter. Go to a comedy show with your gals or just watch something at home that makes you laugh out loud. And more barn time, dog walks, or a full-spectrum lamp. Go outside. Outside is restorative. Exercise that makes you sweat will also help you sleep.
Texas is a long way from Wisconsin but I’m sending the good vibes that direction. Hang in there!
Lauren everyone deserves a good breakdown!!! I’m sorry you’re feeling shitty, but glad you have an outlet in your writing and riding. This too shall pass… I’m happy to look at your CV btw, PM me and I will send you my email. Keep your head up!! I’m kinda right there with you;(
After I had my first baby, I experienced a time of real depression. I’m sure most of it was chemical, but it lingered for a long time and the darkness was debilitating. You see, I didn’t want to have a baby and the thought of feeling trapped by another human being was terrifying.
I know you don’t talk about religion much, and so far I see little mention of God in the above comments. The only thing that brought ME out of darkness was God. That’s it. No amount of special tea could help me, no fun times with friends left me with lasting joy, and even horse time was clouded. It took months of praying and trusting God with my life for me to feel the light again. So, that’s my advice. Just ask God for help. Go to church maybe. Everything else is superficial.
I haven’t got much to add to what other people have already said – I love your genuine, if often heart-wrenching writing. I love Simon. I’m sorry you’re struggling so much.
For me, walking helps. I hate exercising with a passion, but walking with the dogs seems like it’s not really legit exercise. Also cute socks. For whatever reason they make me smile. I second the comment about some self-care – chiro, acupuncture, massage, whatever sounds good. And getting better sleep. Nobody can function with no sleep. I hope you are able to work with your doctor(s) and get that straightened out ASAP!
girl. I found that this summer and fall when I’ve gotten to these points of “omg, I’m not okay”, if I cry, it can help. I have always been anti-crying, I thought it made girls look weak. I didn’t want to be a weak girl. But life has been so overwhelming lately, I have embraced the cry. (also, this post has turned into an “about me” post which I don’t think is what you were looking for so pass on this if it doesn’t jive with you).
I have gone from NEVER crying (unless it’s an animal movie) to crying as much as I can these past several months. I’ve cried once laying down on the pavement in the middle of a morning run. I’ve cried with my spiritual mentor. I cried with my therapist. I’ve cried in my car in the parking lot, I’ve cried on the way to work. Screaming and yelling in my car helps too. I’ve laid on my living room floor and cried. I’ve laid on my bedroom floor and cried. I’m slowly allowing myself to cry with friends.
I’m betting you’ve done some crying too. I bet this isn’t news to you but hopefully it might help as a reminder that we need an outlet for emotion and sometimes crying is that outlet.
Also, while my house was under preparation to sell, I was pretty overwhelmed and looking back, sleeping was the only thing that helped more than the crying.
Kicking things helped too. Inanimate objects only though. So like the guardrail post along the road during your morning run, or the tire of your car when you’re trying to change the battery. Because dammit, life IS unfair.
What also helped was asking for help (for ANYTHING). AND admitting I was completely allowed to feel and be utterly destroyed by my life.
ok, so crying, sleeping, kicking things, asking for help, and embracing the destruction of your life. And a therapist. A psychoanalyst has done amazing work in my life.
Also, I turn to Over The Rhine for words when I don’t have anything but soul groans.
This isn’t to say you aren’t doing any of the above but that I hear you and yeah, this sucks. It’s a big fat suckity suck fest. You are not alone. You are in the middle of an upheaval of your life, it’s supposed to be crazy. You are having so much thrown at you, it’s 100% appropriate to be a hot mess.
Hope something in here helped. If not, let me know and I swear I’ll find something that will help!
I was going to write my own comment… but then Sarah wrote this. All of this. I’ve spent some time in that pit, too, and being able to scream THIS IS NOT OKAY AND I AM NOT OKAY AND NOTHING IS OKAY RIGHT NOW instead of trying to be freakin’ emotionless, tough guy John Wayne about it helped move me towards the edge of the pit. Crying, hitting things, melting down in front of/with other people (like a therapist, or friend, or God in your prayers or whatever) all helped. Being able to fully embrace your hot mess state in front of someone who can tell you the truth about yourself (you are loved, needed, & wonderful) can do a lot of good. Especially for someone whose imagination tends to run away with them, having some good, solid friends and/or a therapist or counselor to tell you what’s REALLY happening is so, so good.
Hang in there. We love you.
And I will gladly read anything you write – your written voice is beautiful, it doesn’t matter if you’re blogging about horse shows or the absurdity that is your life right now. I love it all.
GO SIMON CHAMPION JUMPERPANTS!! You must be so proud!
And exactly what you wrote too.
It’s such a stupid nasty pit that convinces you that you will be in it forever and that ‘s a bad pit to be in.
It’s not a bad pit to be in, it’s not going to actually do anything to us. The part that scares me is that I feel like I shouldn’t be in this “pit” and that’s where the wheels come off. I get into this nasty spiral of shame because I shouldn’t be in it and no one else is and if everything was okay and the way it was supposed to be, I wouldn’t be in the pit.
Maybe it’s not even a pit until we add in the shame.
I bet Brene Brown has something to say about that – shame vs. vulnerability.
What helps me in my frequent existential depression:
Look at a moment. Really look. Enjoy it. Say a flower. On a sunny day. In your sandals. You’ve done your hair. That moment is so singular and individual. It will never come again. That flower will die, and there will be other flowers. And other weather, and other yous. But in that moment, it is completely unique, never to happen again. Enjoy that. The universe is making millions of those special moments all over the place. But look at something small and find the beauty in it.
Two things saved me from two major bouts of depression in my life time. The first savior was my horse, Fiction. Then, when that wore off a year ago and my ex-boyfriend emotionally abused and destroyed me, therapy was the only thing that saved me. I only went a handful of times, but that was enough to effectively push the reset button.
No credentials on the read and review. My advice for what it’s worth. On the sleep thing, exercise every single day, get some natural sunlight every day, eat more fruit and veg less processed, and cut out caffeine and booze. I think the exercise and sun are the key ones though, they help me a ton. A cognitive behavior therapist might give you some strategies to get out of a negative thinking mindset in a concrete let’s change your thinking/behaving patterns. Maybe volunteer for a worthy organization to get out of your own head a bit as well. Stop listening to the news, thinking about the political situation for a while. You can’t change much right now and it is just making you upset(me too!). Same thing with anything that brings you down that you can cut out of your life. Your writing is fabulous. Can’t pick one favorite post because there are so many I have liked. Be kind to yourself, you have been through a lot.
I would be happy to help you. I’m an editor and I’m a mature grad student, but I don’t have a strong creative writing background. Big reader though. If you’re sold let me know.
Things that have helped me: The Landmark Forum and throwing myself into helping/serving others. Foster kids always need great adults in their lives (you can volunteer without becoming a foster parent) and there will be lots of holiday initiatives you could help with.
I love reading your blog. You let us in to a part of your life, that most people would keep hidden from strangers. I feel your happiness and I sorrow for your sorrow. I’m much older than you are, so we probably wouldn’t be friends. Certainly not drinking or party friends, but maybe horse buddies.
I’m sorry to say, but it’s time that heals all things. Somethings just take more time than others. Write on a calendar, months ahead and write happier times today. Most of the time, by the time you get to that date, things are better. However with the deep loss of Tim, it may take more than one calendar. Don’t rush your self or expect more. It is what it is. And good choice not to send the email to your family. They know they are polar opposites, but love makes a bridge. And sometimes you just overlook the differences for the sake of family. Best wishes, find something that does bring you happiness. Or provides happiness to someone or something else. Sometimes giving happiness, is almost as good as being happy. Rescue groups, retirement homes, Food Banks or a good mucking of stalls! Best wishes, from Carol in Washington
I found your blog on a rare “up” day a few weeks ago, when I thought it would be fun to find information on horse show photography. Your 4-part series was literally exactly what I was hoping to find – so well done!! – and naturally I couldn’t stop at those and have now read a good portion of the last few years of your life. We have many similarities, both fortunate and unfortunate ones.
You are an amazing, strong woman. Reaching out for help is not an easy thing to do, and I am sending you a big standing ovation from Oregon! Getting by can be as simple – not easy! – but as simple as finding a single thing that day that needs you in its life, or the smallest thought of “hey that future movie/concert/etc. sounds fun/interesting” for you to hold on to and to keep existing for. Your dogs, your horses, your family, your friends, your blog readers. You are needed, you are wanted, and you are loved.
Apologies that I do not have anything to offer you as far as proof reading help, but it looks like there are some very qualified folks here that have that covered!
I’m no good for reading reviews but I wanted you to know I’m thinking about you. Hang in there!
I’m leaving a comment here just because I know you love them. I’ll send a more serious text to you in a moment ❤️
Ita actually really hard for me to chose a post that has resonated with me the most because so much of your writing in the last year has been tremendous. I love to read, especially sci-fi and fantasy, but your writing I enjoy for an entirely different reason. I typically don’t like non-fiction, but your writing so eloquently paints a vivid picture and evokes such a strong emotional response that I simply cannot stop reading it.
Sometimes having someone to talk to without having to explain, makes all the difference in the world. Support groups were integral when I was dealing with child sexual abuse. People in the same boat understand on a level no one else does. It’s not for forever. But maybe it would help now.
I can read and put together a decent sentence. I have no experience with academia. I can proof read fairly well (I do it all the time in my head when reading books) and am willing to help if you think you can use me.
While I’m am avid reader, formal papers give me migraines so I’m not a help there. I can say from personal and professional experience, getting the sleep apnea under control will help. Sleep deprivation is a real downer, even if you don’t realize it’s happening. There are some decent fixes for that. Also as much as I personally crutch on wine, exercise really is better. You get endorphins, and in better shape, which who doesn’t feel better when they fit their “skinny” jeans.
Your writing style in your blog is upfront and emotional but without being needy, whiny, or overblown. It’s sassy, intelligent, and addictive. There’s plentifully us in blogger land willing to talk, read, or just listen for you.
I have no credentials beyond being well-read and have taken a few creative writing classes but would be ok reading the memoir bits; bliz1998 at hotmail dot com
RE: blog posts
I’m not a horse owner, I don’t even ride at this point. Your posts that are purely about slice of life stuff resonate hard with me. I’m a mid-30 female who moved out of state away from family while her dad was dying. Your recent (last year) pieces about Tim have brought up so much undealt with stuff from the time period immediately preceding and following my dad’s death…..I relate and I cry and grieve with you.
Your horse posts remind me of how much I miss riding. My models are a poor substitute at best these days. And watching your posts about making your new place yours, well that’s a kick in the pants that it’s been 4 years my apartment shouldn’t still be decorated in early american college student style.
I’ve messed up on this more than I care to admit lately. Water time helps so very much. I love swimming, water aerobics, floating in the hot tub, staring at the lake. I wander the park when I can. Journalling my thought where only I can see them is a sanity saver (my LJ is nice but sometimes I need even more privacy).
Cold brew coffee at home so I can have something decadent in the AM for low cost is an amazingly good thing. Budgeting for my Sunday Starbucks helps too.
I don’t have a barn community but I have a church community and my friends I’ve met there are great sanity checks as well.
Herbal tea, a sleep mask so it’s dark in my room and a fan on low help my sleep environment stay good. I’ve been having some sleep issues and I suspect a sleep study sometime next year is in my future as well. After watching my mom deal with a similar issue I can tell you correcting the sleep piece made many other things turn around for her. I wish you success with that.
I know I’ve asked you this before, but where is Roman posted for sale? I can’t find the email in my inbox anywhere 🙁
Sending you so many hugs.
I find your writing to be very raw and full of emotion – you are able to express yourself so well and while I have noticed a change in your writing since Tim’s passing, I find each entry you make to be so open, honest, and passionate. The similes you use and the way you write is so captivating.
I cannot offer help with proof-reading, but I can offer some advice re: sadness.
First things first, be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself down because you didn’t complete XYZ or you didn’t feel like doing ______. Grief is a very complicated and diverse thing – there is no Step Program or magic answer. Do what feels right to you.
Hi Lauren, Your note resonates with me and can relate to how you’ve been feeling. We share a very close friend in common, Rebecca. Also, while I haven’t lost a spouse, my husband had before he met me.
I love reading your posts. You have a gift and a talent. Seriously! Rebecca introduced your blog to me and I continue to always read it. I appreciate so much your candidness, sense of humor, humanness and ability to convey real life and our challenges (both in and out of the saddle) in a way I can relate to and lifts my spirits. So, LISTEN, I’d love to help you with your applications etc. I love to and always have helped all of my friends work on their resumes, academic apps, linkedin profiles and professional writing. I moved from Chicago to Lima Peru last year and have lots of time on my hands to help. I have even helped one of my new Peruvian friends to proofread and edit her resume and profiles for her job search (from Spanish into English recently so it makes sense to US companies). Anyway, I’d be happy to help. Please reach out. Girls got to stick together! I’ll be traveling this week but back on Sunday and will have access to email throughout I think.
Hang in there. You can do this!
Long-time anxiety sufferer here (with bouts of depression thrown in years ago).
I agree with those that say get your sleep figured out first. Make it a priority. That helps tremendously. Then go from there. Chiro adjustments help me feel a ton better, and I also am on a anti-depressant. I know meds aren’t always the way to go, but sometimes them help get you over the hump and kick-start your brain to reprogramming out of the depression.
Lauren I am so sorry to hear you are struggling. I think the sleep situation is the most critical. Even if you aren’t riding go to the horses, hand walk, breathe, be there. Find a friend to go with you, seeing our Equine world open up to someone who hasn’t experienced it before delights me. I think my favourite posts of yours have been since Tim’s death, your character shines in writing that is evocative and beautiful.
It looks like from the above comments that you have many people willing to read your work. As an academic currently, I don’t read applications but I did in my former job. Your honesty and voice are very easy to relate to, and those posts are the ones that really got to me. The Dog Mountain you just posted had be bawling. Support groups have been mentioned by others and that is what worked for me. There are writing support groups in my area so I know there must be in cities as big as Austin. They are good for bouncing ideas off of fellow writers, if you have the time for going to one.
Switch to clary sage in that diffuser during the day. It has more of an energizing, clarifying effect. Plus it smells great.
Have you tried acupuncture? I was a solid sceptic but I now swear by it. If nothing else we know placebo works and if it helps, run with it. I can send recommendations if you’d like.
Recognizing you need help and voicing it is an enormous step up out of depression. The grief process is lengthy and and it isn’t a straight path. You roll around at the bottom for a while. I once saw the process illustrated as a giant “U” and it couldn’t have been a more accurate representation. Don’t expect to get over someone so significant. You are both a part of each other.
All I can promise is that something will knock the rust off. In the meantime, horses, friends, dogs, lots of talking and writing and asking for help when you need it.
Blergh blergh blergh. Would it help if I told you that your stories make me feel not so alone out there in the odd horse world / Texas / life? Please continue to write and please continue to share your stories because they are part of what makes me look forward to firing up the laptop every day
I see you’ve already had a huge response, but if you need more eyes for your writing, I’ve written over 1.5 million words of fiction in my life, and published over half a dozen novels and novellas. I’ve got quite a bit of workshop and critique experience with my undergraduate degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, plus a few random graduate courses in creative non-fiction, and many years of more informal workshopping with friends.
I know nothing about you other than what I’ve read on your blog, but what impacts me most about your writing is your ability to put your own sadness and struggle into a frame that feels grounded and relevant even to a total stranger. Your blog has literally made me cry multiple times, and it has also made me laugh out loud. You have a unique ability to process your own emotional journey in a way that is so honest and reflective but feels neither narcissist nor over-wrought. That’s so tough, and I admire so much that you’ve shared so much of what you’ve gone through with the loss of Tim. I came here for the horses, but honestly I’ve stayed for the damn good story telling.
I’m very sorry you’re struggling, and I commend you for asking for help. The thing that helps me most when I am feeling stuck in a rut is to get OUT. Get out of the house, out of my head, near a horse if at all possible. That and to read or listen to an audiobook or some podcasts (Reply All always gives me a lift, with its quirky hosts and diverse “Show about the Internet” subject matter.) I’ve got a darker side to my character and sometimes there’s this inclination to dwell there. If I feed that with inertia, I just stay and stay. So I have to trick myself out of it sometimes. Like I’ll say, “You don’t have to go ride. But just put on your breeches and see what you want to do then.” It’s ridiculous, but it works.
I hope this helps in some tiny regard. Whether or not you want to send me your stuff, best of luck with everything. And hang in there with Roman. Selling horses can be so hard, but the right person will show up eventually! Also if you don’t have killer video of him posted everywhere on the internet, get some and do that. Video helps a TON.
I’ve been lurking for a while but decided to comment today because your post really resonated with me. It’s been almost six years for me and there are still days and moments where I am overcome with sadness. Especially when life seems to be on a down turn.
I cannot help with proof reading but I’m more than happy to tell you which post I’ve enjoyed reading. Definitely The Family Palomino. I have it bookmarked, I love it that much. It reminds me of how naïve my parents were when they got us our first horse. No true planning, just tons of good intentions. The whole post just makes me smile. I also really love your humor. Posts like your cruise experience and the ottoman-hipster ordeal are some that made me laugh at work.
As for what helps me when I’m really down–surrounding myself with positive people when I can handle people but giving myself ‘alone time’ when I need it and not feeling bad about it. I’m an extroverted introvert, so I desperately need my alone time but when I’m depressed I find that I beat myself up for wanting more ‘me’ time and that causes a vicious cycle of stress and depression.
If it’s any consolation your blog has helped me with some of the same struggles you’re having and encouraged me to start blogging about my equestrian endeavors as well. It has been comforting to know I’m not alone in some aspects of my life.
I’d love to read for you, but I’m not terribly qualified. I was about 3 classes short of an English minor in college and none of those I took were on writing.
Your writings that stand out most to me are when you write from your heart. The things that have affected you most deeply, both good and bad. When you write about those events you paint an incredible picture. Your reader is there with you, feeling your feelings seeing what you saw. It’s incredible. Not many people can put that on paper like you. Use your experiences and your feelings in your application. That’s the most powerful.
As for feeling better. I think once you get the sleep apnea figured out you’ll be in a better place emotionally. It blows my mind what lack of sleep does to me emotionally. So stupid. I like to think I don’t need sleep. That is however, painfully untrue. Also, you need more Simon time in your life! Ponies are the best therapy. And maybe some real therapy? I’m not sure. I’ve thought about seeking some out myself once or twice, but then things usually even out. So I haven’t yet. Having someone impartial to talk to seems pretty great though.
I don’t mind doing reading and giving feedback. I”m sorry that you’re feeling down. I’ve battled depression for a while and I have no genius ideas. For me I have to treat it like the flu and give myself the time to come back out. When it’s really bad anti-depressants helped.
When I lost my horse in that horrible accident I was completely unable to sleep. As I would drift off it would all come flooding back. I had to take some sleeping pills for a short time to get some sleep because it was messing with my mind. You said that you were having sleep apnea? that can cause a lack of sleep which just makes things worse.
I love everything you write here on the blog, horse related or not. You have a wonderful, captivating and heartfelt writing style that I really enjoy.
Also, Simon looks amazing!
My pick of the dog posts is definitely the dog church. I found that incredibly moving without being heavy handed.
As for emotional help, I’ve found meditation to be surprisingly helpful. I use the guided meditation app Headspace. It can take a while to get into it but it’s been very beneficial both as for emergency relief when I’m feeling overwhelmed, and as an introduction to broader concepts on the interplay between thoughts, emotions, our bodies & our sense of self.
I enjoy your blog no matter what the subject matter. Sometimes it makes me laugh, sometimes cry, but always a worthwhile read that I miss when you do not post. Get that sleep apnea sorted out. It causes all sorts of other symptoms that you may not think are due to the sleep issue but really are. My husband has used a CPAP machine for years and it makes a big difference. Won’t fix all your issues by any means but it will help.
Please know you are loved and treasured by many people you have never actually met in person, including me. Someday you will come to Ohio to take in QH Congress and I will see you at Tracy’s.
Add me to the list of “potential creative writing readers” – reading is one my favorite things to do, and while others may be more qualified for some serious editing, I volunteer if you just need some feedback/quick grammar checks.
If you need someone to post cute Haflinger photos on your FB wall for awhile, I could do that, too.
As far as your blog goes – your writing style is what keeps me coming back. I remember stumbling across this blog years ago, thinking I might not be able to relate to it much because you write about your love for hunters and I’m over here having nerd-attacks over dressage. But the more I read, the more I wanted to read, and it wasn’t long before your blog was (still is!) one of my favorites. Your humor, the way you engage your readers, the way you describe Simonpants in all his glory – it’s all perfect.
I gotta say, to get to meet you while you were here in VT was such a cool thing. The “realness” that you bring to your posts is exactly what struck me in person. You seem like an awesome friend – someone who would be great to hang out with (i.e. why don’t you live closer??), who is genuine, kind, snarky, hilarious, and just plain fun.
After losing a close friend, someone introduced me to a few of Cheryl Strayed’s books, “Tiny Beautiful Things”, and “Wild”. I highly recommend her books if you think doing some reading might help. “Wild” was very difficult to read for me (I had to read a chapter – sometimes only a paragraph – at a time, because it hit too close to home), but the feeling when I finished? Totally worth it.
Hey there. I stumbled across your blog by accident a couple months ago and try to read most of it. I’m also a transplant to Austin, TX and have been here now for 10 years. I love your blog and live through you with horses. I gave them up years ago when I gained a heckton of weight and now I enjoy from afar.
I’d like you to know that all your writing is moving. Wether it’s about the dogs, the horses or what you are going through mentally, it resonates. I’ve never spoken up on your blog before, but it is one of the few I come back to and read to see what’s going on.
I’m not really a good candidate to read any of your stuff. I’m mostly just a nerdy stay at home mom without any real degree, but I wish you all kinds of luck. The only help I could give would involve board games, horse talk and some mead.
I mostly wanted you to know people are out here reading and enjoying or crying with your words. Keep up the fantastic work. And if you ever want to play a board game….well I’d be happy to oblige lol.
Seasonal affective gobbledy-gook? Tis the season. I don’t have any sage advice besides get addicted to benzos and then spend months withdrawing from them, which… is not great advice I guess. This is going to sound slightly awful but I did a PHP/IOP program and it made me feel a ton better, not necessarily from anything the program “taught” me but just taking time for myself and being around other people who are Going Through Shit.
My favorite posts of yours… I am a SUCKER for scans of old photos and their accompanying stories. I forget the horse’s name, but the one you did the open show on, and that set of posts. It’s not deep and existential but it makes you feel more real to me.
Also, HOW CUTE IS SIMON.
I love you, Lauren, and so do a whole bunch of other strangers on the Internet I’d be more than happy to read/edit/comment/anything you need.
I started reading your blog a couple months ago (and found you because I did a Google search for Ecogold half pad reviews and your blog popped up) and I love how you can feel sad and say you feel sad. That may sound like a dumb thing to admire, but I have a habit of shoving things all the way down in a super unhealthy way. I love that you still have humor in the shittiest of situations and I love how strong you are (you ARE strong- you’ve gone through so much and you’re still fighting). In the words of Sondheim,
I’ve run the gamut, A to Z;
three cheers and, dammit, c’est la vie.
I got through all of last year,
and I’m here.
Lord knows, at least I’ve been there, and I’m here.
Look who’s here.
I’m still here.
I imagine a CV for grad school is a bit different than a resume for a job, but I did recruiting for years and know a lot of about resumes so I’d be happy to look at your CV if you think it’d help.
Oh Lauren. I really hate that you are feeling so down. I hope you know how talented you are, how kind and beautiful, and that everyone here supports you.
I am of no help as far as reading goes, though I am sure it is excellent. I feel down almost everyday, constantly thinking about my worth and how much of a burden I am. I know the animals help me get up every day, and make me do something. A good gallop always leaves me smiling. But I think the thing that has made me feel most alive is getting out into the wilderness.
I don’t know what it is, but I have a general favorite spot in the mountains, but I have my hiking guide and every time I up there, I try a new trail. I try my hardest to finish the hike, and I am always rewarded with fresh air, the discovery of a new beautiful spot, and I feel like I accomplished something. I am sad that I did not get to try an overnight hike, but hopefully next year.
I don’t think I have ever disliked a post you have written. From the horse show recaps to tearful messages about Tim and your new path in life, I always wait for the next one.
I’m a reader of your blog for about three quarters of a year. I found you through a google search for “horse blog”. I’ve come to really really love your writing style and think its one of the most literate horse blogs I’ve read till today. Also I’m probably your only reader from Switzerland 🙂 As much as I can judge the literate part – as english is not a native language for me.
Your blog touches something very dear to me. I thought often, that I should write a comment and thank you for your blog. When I was 21 my mother died of cancer. I, as an only child from separated parents, lived with her and had to watch her literally die slowly for 6 years previous. After her death I had to change a lot, new apartment, doing most of her funeral arrangements and decide what to do with her whole stuff …
Now I’m 27 and it’s okay. It was very rough for the first 3-4 years. The complete aloneness (is that even a word?) was the worst. Before, I always had this feeling that I could ask my mother if I wanted to cook a meal she always cooked or if I needed help or an idea … To loose this was the worst for me. So much is gone and even though I knew that this day would come, I never asked her.
So in a way I understand what you are going through very much, and I feel very connected to you in your grief. What helped me the most was mostly the same as what you are doing now, good friends, going out, living, horses, having fun and cry. But when I have this feeling that I’m stuck in my grieving process I go to a coach (life-coach?). Not a psychologist but a coach. It’s almost the same but it focuses more on the now and what to do with it and not on the past. It helped me a lot. My coach gifted me a book from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and said I should read it when I’m ready. It sits in my bookshelf now for about a year, untouched. So I don’t know if I can recommend you a book I haven’t read in good conscience. But alas maybe you have the courage to read it, at the moment I still don’t :/ Some of her books are in english, so pick one 🙂
I wish you all the best and I think you are a really really great writer and I love every one of your posts. I wish you all the best!
Late to the party, but I can relate since I’m going thru much the same at the moment, just on a different level. Dealing with my own level of Majorly Deep and Super Sucking levels of bullshit wears on a person. As other have said, getting the sleep back to good helps a lot (as I write this at 5:20am because I’m not sleeping….. I’ve been up a few hours already so if I blather a bit, you all know why)
Exercise helps. Not only does it relieve stress, but you will feel better physically (and be in better shape too), but it helps burn off steam and what I like to say about my girls was that it wears them out. Come bedtime, they were ready for it.
Another thing that helps and I haven’t seen it mentioned in the comments at all is meditation. Even just 10 minutes a day is helpful in centering yourself, finding balance withing your own mind and sort of hitting uour own RESET! button. Just find a quiet spot, sit on the floor, lay down if you’d like and just quiet uour mind and focus on your breathing. Relax and let go of all of the negative bullshit life has and does throw at us and for those 10 minutes or so, just breath in and breathe out. If your mind starts to wander, and it Will wander…. just remind yourself to Quiet your mind. Right now is not the time to focus on worrying over anything, think about upcoming events or deadlines or solve the world’s problems. It is time for you to relax, be there in the moment and just breathe. Meditation has a lot of both physical and emotional benifits. Its portable and affordable to everyone and has been around forever. It’s worth a try right?
I’m afraid my comments are coming a little late. I started following your journey a few weeks ago and have been touched by the sincerity of your writing.
I have a Masters in education, have taken numerous creative writing courses, and do freelance writing and proofreading. I am a voracious reader and am especially fond of historical fiction. I would be more than happy to help you in any way I can.
Having experienced depression myself, my advice would be to seek counseling. Perhaps you can find a support group in your area. Often times churches offer grief support, even for nonmembers. In my experience, talking to someone about the pain you are feeling can be very therapeutic. I have also found that going for a brisk walk in the sunshine can do wonders for the soul.
Hang in there, we are all here for you.
Like many, many other people who have already commented first – I really appreciate the honesty in your posts. All of the honesty – the moments of happiness but also the brutal reality of the humbling nature of riding and the way that you allow us to really TRULY see what grief looks like.
I am so sorry you are having an extra tough time right now. Thanks for sharing it with your network (of awesome readers and commenters!). I really believe that talking things out helps a lot.
Many more qualified people than me have offered to help read, so sounds like you are good there. I work in communications, but our writing is not that creative. If I have to write “the government is committed to improving blah blah” one more time… 😉 That being said – I do enjoy your posts – I think the one most recently that really moved me was the dog chapel one. Holy cow – emotional, creative, touching and personal.
I can’t offer anything additional – but self care (chiro, walking, massage?) and maybe a visit to your Dr is a good idea. I haven’t lost my spouse, but came damn close this year. We dealt with a sudden onset cancer this summer, along with complications up the wazoo. Amazingly, the cancer is in remission now. I’m still having a hard time believing it is all true. Who knows what the future will hold for his health, but we need to live now and enjoy the second chance.
In the spring, when we started all this, I went to my Dr and started taking a very mild anti-depressant. I don’t mind writing that here – email if you want more info… There are lots of chemical options – maybe something would help temporarily to get you through this tough patch.
While I enjoy most of your blogs, due to an extended illness and many surgeries (five from Jan 29 through June 16), the funny ones are the best for me. The uplifting and encouragement I get from your comical comments is a huge boon. (The ones about drinking a lot I don’t enjoy, but that’s just my personal medical and faith-based preferences … I know many of the readers probably enjoy those.)
What helps me if I’m down:
When I’m down, concentrating on positive or funny things helps a lot, as does reading my Bible and praying. I have some DVDs of the Carol Burnett show which are always good for a laugh and brightening my day.
I’ll continue praying for you. Depression is no fun!
I have been reading your blog for about a year and enjoy all your posts. Dog Mountain and today’s post are good examples of your lovely, honest writing mixed with humor and heart. Realizing the subtle things that Tim did to take care of you and that you miss must be hard. When you write something like that it makes me sit back and think about those things in my husband that I probably take for granted. Thank you. Asking for help is a healthy and brave thing to do. A friend of mine really struggled after the loss of her husband. She finally went to group grief therapy. It helped her so much to hear and see how people handled the different stages of grief. Maybe the support of group therapy would be helpful along with many of these other good suggestions. Please keep writing and I will look forward to your book.
I am so sorry to hear about your sleep apnea, but you should be feeling a lot better soon. I was recently diagnosed with narcolepsy so I totally feel you on the lack of sleep (well actually I couldn’t stop sleeping so I was always tired..anyways) and I also have a broken foot so struggle is real! My best advice is to really give yourself some self care every day. For me this means taking about an hour or so every day and either doing my nails, doing a face mask, coloring, reading, ect. I like to do beauty treatments because then my life feels put together and I feel good about myself. Just doing something small and special makes me feel like my life is together (when it clearly isn’t!). Or I like to treat myself to little gifts, aka thriftbooks or something of the sort. Getting mail is fun!
I’m really glad you said something! That’s just too much to take on yourself without reaching out for a little support from those who care about you- even if some of us are internet strangers 😉
Seems to be some great options here for reviewers/readers so I’ll just add my two cents for the rest of it.
Sleep is so damn important to emotional health. Anything you can do to try and ease the sleep apnea, do it. If you are in need of a pre-sleep relaxation option, I’d suggest trying listening to some binaural beats on low volume for sleep. I’ve never tried the sleep version but I have used the focus/stimulating versions for working or studying and I really liked them. Just search one on youtube to try it- it’s a little strange at first, but it may work for you.
You are a wonderful writer and I enjoy all of your posts, but some of my favorites are when you talk about your connection with Simon; bridle-less rides, posts about his quirky personality; even the animal psychic post I got a kick out of! Next, for the writing, I adore the way you describe experiencing memories of Tim; times when you sense his presence; dreams; even the parts that hurt the most- I don’t know how you explain them so eloquently. It is beautiful. Finally, I was the biggest fan of all of the BTreatz posts. That was just the sweetest, most compassionate thing I think you could do for an old pup and your photos completely captured her pure joy in those precious moments.
Don’t you dare go and forget how freaking awesome you are just because you’re feeling low for the moment. I’m serious. 🙂
Every post is my favorite because you’re so honest in all of them. Sometimes it’s through a healthy dose of humor, other times it’s through a wave of crashing sad. You let us in on your human experience with such depth of feeling and word craft, it’s really unlike anything else I read. My literary advice is simple, keep telling your authentic stories because they’re captivating. Second, as a long time sufferer of anxiety, depression and that lovely apnea, I tried all sorts of things to get well. Medication,therapy all helped but what healed me 100% was focusing on my spiritual life and relationship with God. He’s real, He offers supernatural healing and He is my one and only source of constancy and hope. He has amazing plans for your life, He knows you & created you to need Him. There’s a space in you that cannot be filled with more work, writing, friends, wine, medicine, school, therapy, human love or horses…that’s where He is. Church, prayer, podcasts, fill your mind with things of hope. I’m always here to talk to you about it too! Much love to you.
You already are doing what I have always done when I can’t sleep because of stuff on my mind, and that’s write. I spent a lot of time during certain depressive periods of my life reading, writing, and escaping reality through fantasy. I forced myself to play softball just to get out with people. I took up a hobby (ornament making) to keep myself busy. I played with my cat. I joined Weight Watchers and gained a support group for all things there. All things you are already doing. So, I’m sorry, I have no special remedy. I did go to the doctor and get some medicinal help, but sounds like you have that covered as well.
On the other note, I am always willing to read and make notes for people. Feel free to send me anything you want looked at. It seems contradictory that an accountant would also be a literary person, but the career was just the easiest of multiple options for me. At one point, I thought I would be a Lit teacher.
A life event left me adrift. Thyroid issues abound on my maternal side.
A huge breakthrough with my health/outlook came when I finally got my thyroid levels tested and read by a knowledgeable doctor.
Every doctor prior said my levels were just fine. Not so.
I am very much better now.
May not be what you need Lauren, but I thought I would throw it out there.
I hope you’re going to get a cpap machine. I know a few people with sleep apnea and it’s a life changer. Everything can get thrown out of whack when your hormones are off.
As for self help stuff-have you considered seeing a holistic doctor? One who knows about nutrition, exercise and hormones. Won’t be a magic bullet but it may help get your physical body more balanced. And I know you said no traditional therapy but I wouldn’t write that off. Since my divorce I’ve been seeing one occasionally and it’s different being able to talk to someone who isn’t your friend.
Lastly your blog. I don’t know what else to say other than I think pretty much every post you’ve written resonates with me. Be it your adult ammy experiences, your love of animals or the great loss you’ve experienced I can find parts of myself in all of your writing. The world is a better place having someone like you in it. Know there are people who want to hear what you have to say and care.
For the sleep deprivation/depression thing, I struggled for years with insomnia where nothing helped, then I got (and still use) some mild chemical help from my doctor. Life feels a lot easier to manage after a good night’s sleep. I was anti meds for so long, but seriously, being able to sleep at night has changed my life. The one I take is not addictive and lasts only about 2-4 hours, just long enough to get you into a proper sleep.
I hope you’re feeling a little better soon. Add me to the list of people willing to read and critique, although I have zero qualifications beyond being an avid reader!
Happy to read/critique anything you like. I was an double major English and History in college, took a few creative writing classes, love writing and reading.
You’ve had so many great posts, and I don’t comment nearly enough! So many this year have been touching.
Breathe in for a count of 8, breath out for a count of 12-16. Repeat forever
My donkeys help cheer me up, and driving them tends to hilarity. So… maybe find a donkey farm and volunteer to help train them to drive?? In all your spare time 😉
And had a typo in the second sentence. Unhun.
Sooooo. I was going to suggest wine until I read your last paragraph. But am still going to suggest it!
I am more than happy to be a critical reader!
A lot of people suggest natural things, and I’m an avid essential oils user. However, I dealt with panic attacks for a few years and a low dose of Wellbutrin was the only thing that helped. Then I’ve had postpartum depression twice and a low dose of Zoloft made a world of difference! I never had a problem stopping using them once I didn’t need them anymore. Talk to your doctor!
Also, I echo the few comments for God and Jesus. They love you more than all these blog readers, and that’s already an awful lot! Praying for peace and healing for you!
I loved reading your series about model horse showing. It was fun to learn about a world I didn’t know existed! Anything you write about Simon is great, too. It is so clear that you love him like crazy!
Thanks for being vulnerable!! I think that is my fav thing about your writing!!
In hard/very low times I found a speaker that I like and listened to them as I fell asleep. My brain wanders in quiet and that gets no one anywhere good.
I’ve read your blog for a few years and love it! I stumbled upon it by accident and have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. You have innate ability to paint a picture with words that makes me insanely jealous. I can only wish I had that talent. Dog mountain may be my favorite.
Wish I could help you in the reading department, but it looks like you have quite a bit of volunteers for that. I, too, suffer from insomnia. Rotating shifts (2 weeks days, then 2 weeks nights) will really mess with your sleep schedule. Had to rely on medication to help. Plus, equine/canine therapy when mentally needed a pick me up. Hugs to you my friend
Frequent reader; rare commenter.
I actually had stopped reading all of my blogs for about 2 or 3 months, just so I could have a nice backlog built up to enjoy.
And your one about the Dog Chapel recently touched me in lots of ways when I got to it. Your writing style has always been evocative. Even in the darkness, there is levity and a sense of hope. That somehow, things will get better. That you know that around the bend, around the corner, there’s light.
You have a gift and a flair for writing, and I’m eagerly looking forward to your book.
I do so hope someone buys Roman. He sounds like a sweet little chap!
Now, to go back to lurking and cyber-stalking your blog….*creep**creep**creep*
Your writing voice is so honest, and so lovely. After reading most of the above comments, I don’t think I’m the best choice for an editor. I did want to say that you touch so many people with your words. Have faith in your talent and that inner voice you hear.
On a side note. I would love to snatch Roman up, but just not the right time in my life for a new one. I hope he finds an amazing home-and quickly 🙂
Moving through depression- I offer two notions of salvation or distraction, depends on your mood is as to how you define it. First one, do something for someone else. Large or small. Smile at a wait person. Hold a door for someone. Help someone move. Take someone homemade soup or bread or muffins. Tell someone something special that you see within them – their generosity, their optimism, their clarity, their honesty. Just for a moment, think of the other and give to them. Give words, food, action, emotion. Your heart will grow from the act; your heart will build strength to beat another moment. I sometimes need to grow my heart; it becomes small with my sadness, my sense of nothingness, my fears. Helping someone else has the ability to act as a lifeline. I have to reach for it and sometimes I am too tired, afraid, sad. . . but sometimes I am not. I am better for it when I do something. Anything. The random smile at a stranger and their look of surprise when they smile back. The Second one I offer, its the voice of my trainer. Unsympathetic, stern, annoyed by excuses, short tempered. She says, “Go to the barn and groom your horse.” And I push myself to go see him. Resistant, dragging each step. It’s cold, or It’s wet out, or It’s dark or I’m tired. Then I breathe in his smell of his neck. He appreciates the grooming, leaning in and loosening his lower lip. Eyes half closed. He looks at me. He smells me. He picks up his feet for me. He lips me in a nuzzle. I may or may not ride but I know he feels better for my coming. Even if it’s only the distraction of my carrot bag. That’s what I have for you. My two notions of immediate survival. Loss is tangled web. A layered depth. You will move through it at your unique pace. And when you find a space of comfort, life, love and loss will bump into you because that’s how it works. You love, you might someday lose. It’s the Space in between the beginning and the end that is where all the meaning and purpose live.
Hugs. Many hugs. All of the hugs.
I love all your posts. Seriously it’s hard to choose a favorite type. The way you’ve blogged about your grief has helped me tremendously as I’ve struggled with depression and other mental illness. You have such a way with words about feelings, whereas my feelings seem to get in the way of my words.
The concept of doing *absolutely everything* I can to feel better has helped me at various times. I must remind myself to eat well, listen to relaxing music, light candles, whatever feels like it might possibly help at that moment. Some days it’s easy, other days it takes 100% effort just to get out of bed.
I don’t know what else to say that hasn’t already been said ~ just that I hope you find what helps you feel less sucky.
I do want to add that I love your blog; I always slow down and stop to read every word as your posts just resonate with me. I can’t pick a favourite, they are all good in my eyes no matter the topic. The ones that touch me deepest are the ones where you are just being… you. Sharing your thoughts, your heart with us – well, it feels like me- that is something brave and honest and true.
You have the gift of putting into words those soul-thoughts that everyone wants to share, but maybe feels like they can’t. Knowing all your readers and community, knowing how I feel ~ I feel like you offer that connection that we all long for in your writing. It’s a gift to know someone’s thoughts and feelings, to feel that connection. Whatever tomorrow brings, I thank you for all that you have given. Thank you for being you and sharing that with us. I pray your tomorrow is brighter, and that your days are less yuck, yick, blergh. *hugs*
P.S. – Very sorry I can’t offer more practical help, but although I’m a writer too, I’ve never really had much to do with academic writing or CVs and I haven’t done any workshops. I hope you receive the help you need.
I just wanted to recommend a book I’ve found incredibly helpful over the last few months (though in NO WAY a replacement for a therapist or doctor): Fuck Feelings by Dr. Michael Bennett. Cannot recommend it highly enough for it’s helpful and concise recommendations for tough times, tough conversations, and people known as Assholes. Might be a helpful resource.
You got this Lauren!
I hope you are better. It is not easy, but it is necessary to fight.