The shadow of depression has haunted me for so much of my life.  The first time I remember feeling it was shortly after my grandpa died.  I was 11.  I remember thinking that what I was feeling was so much more than just being sad, but I didn’t have a word for it.  I tried to hang myself from my curtain rod.  The rod broke, and I fell into a heap, so upset because I couldn’t even kill myself without failing.  I don’t believe that I was truly suicidal at that time…I just wanted to see my grandpa again, and I didn’t know how else to make that happen.

That wasn’t the last attempt, unfortunately.  I met with a therapist who was AWFUL and actually made me feel worse instead of better.  I tried countless amount of meds before I finally found one that worked.  I was on that anti-depressant for several years, until it started causing scary side effects.  I started getting really bad thoughts that I couldn’t push out of my head… wondering how fast I’d have to drive into a tree to die, wondering if I drove my car off the bend at the parkway if I would die or if I’d make it to the road underneath safely; things that constantly swirled through my head that really started to scare me.  I eventually took myself off of the meds and was okay for awhile.  One year ago today, my best friend in the entire world, my sweet Oreo, passed away.  The depression that I had been struggling to push away for so long became too much.  I started self-medicating with alcohol as often as I could, learning to function at work every day despite being hungover or having had no sleep from being up crying all night.  I was falling apart.  Eventually, I mentioned it to my doctor, who immediately put me on meds.  She realized that in addition to depression, I was also suffering from anxiety – something that I had never been diagnosed with before. She put me on a combo of Wellbutrin and Sertraline, and I gradually started feeling better.  Slowly I felt myself wanting to get out of bed in the morning (late morning, but morning none the less) instead of sleeping all day my entire day off.  I am even slowly starting to deal with my extreme fear of fire – I used my stove to make an omelet.  That may not seem like a big deal to many, but it was the first time I’ve gotten the guts to use my stove since I moved in 2 years ago.

Hearing that earlier this week Kate Spade died from suicide, and later this week that a young boy from Greece also committed suicide, my heart just broke for them and their families.  It feels more critical than ever to talk openly about mental health. Suicide can seem especially confusing and disorienting when you’re at a young impressionable age.  With Kate Spade, so many people would never see that coming – what could someone so rich possibly have going on in their lives that would drive them to that point?

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
― David Foster Wallace

  Depression is a disease, not a personality trait.  Depression is an ILLNESS. It’s not weakness. It’s not your fault.  Should I say that louder for the people in the back?  For some reason, mental health still seems so taboo to talk about.  Something that I heard a lot when I would mention to someone that I had depression was “Oh, you don’t seem sad”.  I couldn’t seem to explain clearly enough that it wasn’t just that I felt sad…I felt empty.  I felt alone, no matter how many people were around.  When around friends, I always felt like I was invited out because of pity.  When someone would cut me off mid-sentence, or when I was talking and it was clear that no one was listening, my mind would practically scream “SEE?!  They don’t want you here.  No one cares what you have to say.  Why do you even bother?”  I’m in a much better place now, but those voices still creep back in every now and then.  I still can’t help but walk into a room with new people and be convinced that everyone there hates me and doesn’t want me around – even if they have no idea who I even am.

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”
― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

Depression isn’t just sadness.  Depression is hopelessness.  As far as you can see, there is no “getting better”.  There is no hope.  Your mind will constantly convince you of that.  There is a huge difference between someone who says that they are “depressed” because they’re going through a divorce, or got fired from their job, or lost too much money at the casino.  Those events can certainly trigger sadness, maybe even hopelessness.  However as each passing day goes by, those people start to feel slightly better, until finally, they are back to their normal selves.  The divorcee is dating again, the person who got fired finds a job in a field that they’d always wanted to work in, the gambler decides to stop wasting money at the casino and start investing.  With depression, you don’t usually have that trigger.  There are no feelings behind those experiences…you are empty, you feel like a shell.  At least that’s how I felt.

“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”
― Stephen Fry

Talking openly about depression and mental health does help reduce the stigma–little by little.  Sadly, the cost of excellent mental health treatment is rarely covered by insurance. The very best practitioners are private-pay, which means that only the very wealthy can afford the best care.  How is that fair?  Another example of how the world revolves around money, I suppose.

“When you’re surrounded by all these people, it can be lonelier than when you’re by yourself. You can be in a huge crowd, but if you don’t feel like you can trust anyone or talk to anybody, you feel like you’re really alone.”
― Fiona Apple

People who attempt suicide don’t do it because they want to escape their family, friends or their lives. They do it when their need to escape the excruciating pain and anguish is so extreme, so overwhelming, they can no longer see any other rational options.  What makes it even more difficult is that no two people are affected the same way by depression and there is no “one-size-fits-all” for treatment. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you.  It made me feel so broken when I’d get put on a medication that friends had told me worked wonders for them…and I felt nothing.  Or when it was suggested that I try meditation to clear my mind of the negative thoughts, and the exact opposite happened…being left alone to dig through my mind brought out the worst thoughts.

Sending so much love to anyone who needs it today. You are not alone. Things can get better. <3

If you’re suffering, please call 1800-273-8255, and someone will be glad to talk to you. Or text TALK to 741-741, if you prefer texting.

Wake Up Face and a HUGE Update!

This is the look I get when I wake up Burger so I can snap a cute pic of him.  I guess that I would probably give the same look if someone woke me up with a camera in my face.   He looks way cuter than I would, though.  Cats are always camera ready, aren’t they?  No fair!

wake up

Anyway, a couple of updates.

First, on Burger.  He’s still hanging in there, having some really good days (like today) where he’ll eat and drink and play like normal, and some really bad days where he just lays around, eating very little, and sleeps the entire day.  I know he’s getting tired, and I know I’m probably going to have to make this call for him sooner rather than later.  But…there’s a huge part of me that expects him to kick this kidney diseases’ ass.  He’s fought back from everything else he’s been through – FIV, likely being hit by a car (pelvic bone looks like it was broken and healed improperly), getting shot by a BB gun leaving a BB in his ribs, surviving a blood clot, surviving his so many deobstipations…I’m sure there’s even more that I’m forgetting about.  My point being…he’s a fighter.  If anyone can fight this, it’s him.  And I am terrified of giving up on him if he’s not done fighting.  That being said, I would rather let him go a week too early than a day too late; so I’m playing it by ear at this point.  I’ll let him tell me when he’s ready.

Now for the BIG news…

After 9 years, this is going to be my last week working at Greece Animal Hospital.  I have officially accepted a position at Hilton Veterinary Hospital.  This was an extremely difficult decision for me to make.  GAH has been my family.  The clients, patients, coworkers…they have all become my family.  The vets there I have trusted with my pets lives for so many years now, and I have never been let down.  I told my mom today that when it’s Burger’s time, even if I’m working at Hilton I may still have GAH’s hospital director be the one to put him down.  She has cared for him like her own kitty, given him so much TLC and is pretty much the sole reason he has survived as long as he has.  She is the reason that I didn’t put him down a week ago.  She saw more fight in his eyes even when I didn’t.  And since then, he’s had more good days than bad; I am so thankful for each extra minute I have with him, each morning that I wake up to him curled up by my side.

Accepting the position at Hilton was one that I had thought about for awhile.  Ultimately, they made me an offer that was too good to pass up.  It will (hopefully!) allow me to provide for my kitties as I have been, only without going further into debt.  There are also several new things for me to learn at Hilton, which is exciting.  I’m the type of person who loves learning (although was never any good at test taking!) – if money were not an issue, I would take one class every semester for my entire life.  Hilton works a lot in the reproductive field, which I have no real experience with.  They also have a certified dog trainer on staff, and are adding in a therapy/rehab department.  All of those are things that will require a lot of learning on my end, along with any new medications or preventatives they may carry.  Thinking about all there is to learn about is a little overwhelming, but I’m excited for the chance to grow even further in my veterinary field as well.

Friday is my last day at GAH…the day is going to be so bittersweet.  I have grown so close to so many patients, watching them grow older and developing such strong bonds with them and their families…I am going to miss them so much.  My coworkers have been my family, and starting over with a whole new staff is going to be so strange – I don’t even remember what it feels like to be “the new girl”, but I can’t imagine it’s very fun 😛  Luckily, I know a handful of people who work there, so I won’t be completely alone those first few days, haha.

I think that’s about it for today.  A parting word of advice – GET THE SHINGLES VACCINE!  This shit is NOT fun!


Anxiety and Nerves

Lately, it seems that my anxiety and nerves are getting the best of me.  With good reason, too.  One week ago today, I thought that I was going to lose Burger…and honestly, I still may.  He was so weak that he couldn’t even lift his head up.  His breathing was slow, his blood pressure was down to 48, his temperature was 96.  He was in kidney failure and declining rapidly.  I brought him into work fully expecting for my vet to agree that it was his time to cross over the Rainbow Bridge and join Oreo again.  My heart was beyond broken.    To my surprise, Burgers vet said that she wanted to give him one more chance.  She hooked him up to IV fluids, gave him injectable antibiotics, had him on a heating pad, and hoped for the best.  As the day progressed, so did he.  He went back for fluids Friday and Saturday, and by the end of the day Saturday, he was acting so much better.  Still wobbly, but more or less back to normal.  I rechecked bloodwork on him yesterday, and his levels are better than they were on Monday last week, but overall are still pretty shitty.  I’m giving him sub-q fluids once daily at home and liquid antibiotics, and hoping for the best.  I still have such a bad feeling about this, but I am trying to push that out of my mind as best as I can.  I have done anything and everything Burger has needed to keep him healthy, and as long as he is willing to keep fighting, I will keep fighting for him.


Over the past 2 days, I have been in so much physical pain on top of the emotional stress that I’m dealing with.  Tuesday started out with my tailbone being incredibly sore – I was racking my brain trying to think of how I could have injured it, but I couldn’t come up with anything.  Midway through the day, I had what felt like a charley horse radiate through my middle and lower back.  The pain stuck with me for the remainder of the day.  Overnight, the pain spread around my left hip, and now my groin is incredibly painful and swollen as well.  It keeps slowly spreading all over my lower back/groin/pelvis area.  I have no idea whats going on, but I hurt so bad it’s making me nauseous.  I have a dr appt tomorrow at noon to try to figure out what is going on.  Doctor Google is telling me that it’s either an ovarian cyst or cervical cancer, so that’s something to look forward to.  F’n google.


I do have some exciting news that I’ll go into at a different time… some pretty big changes are coming my way.   So at least I have that to look forward to!

Goodnight for now

Wordless Wednesday

Okay…maybe not completely wordless.
My Burger is sick…potentially VERY sick.
In exactly 2 weeks, it will be one whole year since I lost Oreo.
I don’t know how a whole year has passed by.
I never thought that I could survive a day without him, much less a year.  He was my heart, and Burger is my soul.

Burger hasn’t been the same since Oreo left us.
He was always so playful, always grooming Oreo and Frenchie.
Since Oreo has been gone, Burger tends to keep to himself.  Occasionally I’ll see him play with a toy when there are no other cats around, but otherwise, he just likes to sleep and stare out the window at the birds.  He still misses Oreo just as much as I do.

I’m so scared.
I can’t lose him too.

It’s Awesome Being a Pet Mom

It is awesome being a pet mom.   I loved my pets dearly growing up, but Oreo brought it to a whole new level.  He brought so much joy to my life for nine years, five months and six days. I miss him so much. Oreo and I developed a special bond, and I’m forever grateful for all the amazing things he provided me.  After he came into my life, I noticed the rest of my pets started to become less like “pets” and more like “children” to me.  Each of them with their own distinct personalities; each of them unbelievably devoted and loving.


5 Reasons It’s Awesome to be a Pet Mom:

1.  Oreo gave me a reason to smile every single day.  His smile was contagious and brought happiness to my day, no matter how hard my day had been.

“Anyone can make you SMILE but it takes Someone Special to make You HAPPY.”


2.  Linus is teaching me to embrace my fears by being so adventurous.  My little noodle greets each day with a sense of bold adventure, he’s never afraid of anything.  He knows how to always bring out the best in me.


3.  Frenchie is always at my side when I need her most.  She was right next to me as I was grieving Oreos passing.  Most days, she was the sole reason that I would smile.  She would lay next to Burger, giving him comfort while he was mourning as well.  People who think that animals don’t feel emotions like people do could not be more wrong.  “There is no greater comfort than the silent devoted companionship of my cat.”


4.  “Life is a succession of moments, live each one as a Golden Moment.”  LIVE in the MOMENT is a positive way of living your life.  A wonderful dog lesson I am currently learning from Skai.  She is the most happy-go-lucky dog, treating each new experience as the most awesome, exciting moment she’s ever experienced.


5. Unconditional LOVE


Unconditional LOVE is one of life’s most beautiful gifts.  Burger has enriched my life in many ways.  He has loved me unconditionally for so many years since that very first moment I met him.  Burger was also Oreo’s best friend.  They bonded immediately and helped each other get through so many illnesses.  If they did not have each other to fall back on, I really don’t think Oreo would have lasted as long with his cancer as he did, and I don’t think Burger would have survived his blood clot.


If you’re lucky …
a dog will come into your life, steal your heart and change everything…