Dealing With Depression

This post is from about a year ago, and I finally feel like I want to share it with you all. Depression isn’t something that you can see when you look at a person. I started carrying this weight towards the beginning of the end of my last relationship and as soon as my ex and I broke up I snapped out of it.

ATX

This picture breaks my heart, as it was taken at one of the darkest points in my life, but I look so happy in it. It’s one of the most “liked” pictures on my Facebook, and shows that you really don’t always know what someone might be going through.

Depression can be a chemical imbalance in your brain, but it can also be related to crummy circumstances in your life. I feel like we don’t hear about that side as often, and I want anyone who is in a situation like mine was to know that life can and will get better.

Since the breakup I have felt like myself again. I have normal feelings, I have been happy, I have been content, and I can feel again.

I know not all of you can relate to this, but I always feel like I want to help the ones who can realize that they are absolutely not alone. I know it feels like you are, but I promise you are not alone. I will gladly be there for each and every one of you who needs someone to lean on and although I can’t get rid of the problem for you, I’m more than happy to fight with you to get your life back.

Without further ado, here is something I wrote in December 2014 right in the middle of everything:

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I never thought I would hear this about myself, but I was just diagnosed with depression.

This is a very tough pill to swallow because I have always tried my best to remain positive even in the most trying situations. First, I would like to say that I realize this is NOT MY FAULT.  So please, if you are suffering with this too, realize that nothing is wrong with you. You are not broken and you are not less of a person because of this. Depression does not define me and it does not decide who I am as a person.

I’ve had a lot to deal with the past two years. My life has been turned completely upside down and to be honest I am surprised that I didn’t have to battle this even sooner. It really just became a problem that escalated quickly in the last few months.

I’ve said to friends that although I have sometimes felt frustrated about things since getting POTS, I haven’t been depressed. I’ve told them that I feel lucky that I haven’t had to deal with that throughout my chronic illness, and that I was fairly certain that kind of thing wouldn’t happen to me. But here I am.

Depression can happen to absolutely anyone. It doesn’t mean you are weak, and it doesn’t mean that you are going to be depressing to be around. I will write more about that another day, though.

I’ve never felt as alone as I have the past couple months. Sometimes I feel like I am in a fog or just dreaming. Life feels like it is just going through the motions of daily activities that need to be done, and I don’t feel motivated to pursue my passions. I have moments of happiness, but it isn’t the way it used to be. I sometimes feel completely numb, and I sometimes just feel the most extreme kind of sad and helpless that a person can feel.

The lack of motivation might be the worst part. I can sit at home and watch TV, but I don’t really care about what’s on. I actually hate watching TV — it bores me — but I don’t want to do anything else. I have trouble feeling present.

It’s hard getting up and doing things, but I make myself because in the back of my mind I know that I want to live my life to it’s fullest. I know that deep down the normal Krista is cheering me on and pushing me to make a better life for myself, even though I don’t necessarily feel like it.

Depression is by far the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in my life. I feel so broken, but I know that am going to come out of this even stronger than I was before. Deep down I am a fighter, and I won’t stop until I find myself again.

I just want you to know that if you are dealing with anything like this, you are not alone. I still consider myself one of the most joyful people that I know, and I will not give up until I find that girl again.

This is the first post I’ve truly felt uncomfortable sharing. I’ve gone back and forth for weeks on whether I wanted to share such an intimate and personal aspect of my life with, well, everyone.*

I think it was important to share, though. I know not everyone is as lucky as I am to have so many people supporting them through life, and I don’t ever want any of you to feel alone in dealing with something like this. If you ever want someone to talk to I would love to be that person. We are never truly alone, and I promise things can and will get better. I’m confident that this is just going to be another chapter in my life that I’ll be able to use to glorify God one day. I’m just not really sure how yet.
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*I was going to share this on Facebook about a year ago, but never did. Then when I felt better about things, I didn’t want people getting the wrong idea about who I am today and whether or not I was still depressed. I can tell you that I am in a completely different place in my life now and although I still have my chronic illness to deal with, I feel like Krista again.

I’m Glad To Know I Look Feverish When I Run.

Everyone seemed to like the last date review so much that I decided to do another one — this time I wanted to add a few goofy surprises to the mix instead of trying to plan the perfect date, though. Here is what my date wrote about our evening together:

A few weeks ago Krista asked if I would review a date that she planned and coordinated and my only job would be to write about it afterwards. I was excited and felt up to the task, so I gave her the go-ahead.

Other than me picking her up, she explained that she wanted to be the one to run the date. So around 6:30 I went to her house and let her take charge. When she got in the car we started talking. She was instructing me on our route without giving any insight into where we were heading. Now, I understand that she was doing her best to make sure I was heading in the right direction, but it wasn’t until six minutes and twenty four seconds into the date that she told me I looked nice. And she only did so after I told her how great she looked. So for the next ten minutes I was obviously self-conscious. Maybe I should have worn a nicer shirt?

After about 10 minutes of driving we turned into a shopping center and parked right in front of Otani Japanese Steak and Seafood restaurant. Otani is a hibachi restaurant that I was always interested in trying out but never had. As we were walking up to the door, Krista feverishly rushed ahead to hold the door open for me.  This is where some confusion set in… Just because she planned it didn’t mean she should have been the “dude” on the date. I guess it was my fault since I made a big deal about the six minute and twenty four second thing earlier.

Krista walked up to the hostess and gave her name for the reservation. They promptly sat us down at our own table. Now, having only had the whole hibachi experience on a vacation in another country, I am certainly no hibachi pro. Krista, knowing this, took full advantage.

When the waitress brought out our salads and soups, I noticed something “off” about the soup. It was essentially chicken broth with one mushroom and two noodles. That was it… Mushroom, noodles, chicken water. I told Krista, and expressed my lack of knowledge and experience as being a factor in me not knowing how to approach eating (drinking?)  that bowl. So she kindly (well, I thought she was being kind), explained to me how to eat the soup. You carefully pick the bowl up with both hands, bring it to your face, and drink it. Thanks, Krista! So I did as she said. Ignoring the large spoon they bring out with the soup that was apparently not supposed to be used to eat it, I brought the bowl up and drank some of it. Krista immediately started laughing. She laughed so loudly that a good majority of the restaurant looked over at me drinking my chicken broth soup. I was fooled!

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I managed to snap a photo of the incident.

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The culprit.

Finally it was time for our main course. The chef came over, did his impressive tricks with his knives and spatulas, and began cooking the rice. Then the Shrimp. Then the Chicken. Then the Steak and vegetables. My mouth is watering thinking back to it. As he was cooking, he began cutting little pieces of each of the meat.  He was about to toss some to me, and told me I had to catch it in my mouth. I could see the determination in his eyes to give me some difficult tosses, but I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge. He asked me if I was ready, and I confidently nodded my head, with an unwavering “yes.” The first shot was high but catch-able. It bounced off my nose, and Krista laughed hysterically as she took a video of the failed attempt. The second throw, also high, went right over my head. I had no chance.

His third toss, though not perfect, I miraculously caught.

Krista was up next. She looked at me and told me she’s never missed in this situation. Ever. I told her that sounds like an impressive streak and that I hope she didn’t jinx herself. She did. The toss bounced right off her face and onto the ground. As did the second toss. However, she caught the third attempt.

chef

The chef completed cooking the entire meal, and Krista and I chatted while we ate. The food was delicious, and I was very impressed with Krista’s choice of restaurant. She certainly earned some points for that.

It was finally time for dessert, which was where the big surprise came in. Out of nowhere the lights in the restaurant dimmed, disco lights began flashing, and I was surrounded by employees who began singing a hibachi version of “Happy Birthday.” My birthday isn’t until the end of March, so I was truly caught off guard. It turned out that a couple hours before we met up Krista brought balloons and cupcakes to the restaurant to hold there for our date.

The cupcakes were delicious, and the whole thing was extremely thoughtful. Though completely unnecessary and probably a little over the top considering it wasn’t even close to my birthday, I appreciated the planning and preparation that went in to this date.

Overall I had an awesome time. Krista knows what she’s doing when she plans a date, and I would certainly recommend anybody taking her up on the offer if it’s ever on the table for you to take. But keep in mind — after this great date, I plan on you having to compete with me. 😉

In Sickness And In Health

Although I’m not an expert on many things, I would say having a chronic illness is a subject I’m pretty well versed on now. I’ve been both single and in a long-term relationship with a CI, which isn’t a super-common thing for someone in their twenties.

We never know what the future holds and sadly there is a lot of pain in this world. I could have never in a million years imagined getting a chronic illness at 22 years old, but here I am. It’s still so weird for me to think about. You don’t ever think things like this will happen to you.

Through this crazy journey life is taking me on I’ve realized the enormous difference of someone staying with you through an illness and someone supporting you. Guys, you have no idea how big this is.

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Real life with someone is very different than the glamour and attempted perfection on a wedding day. (This was from a bridal photoshoot I did a few years ago)

When someone stays with you just to be around, you feel alone. You feel like a burden, and it’s not going to help you get any better.

But when someone is there because they want to be and because they are able to put your needs above their own for a period of time, you have a significant other who is giving a genuine and selfless love — and, in turn, you can be there in their time of need.

This, to me, is one of the most beautiful things a person can offer, and it’s something that can’t be faked. Sickness still isn’t easy, but life is a heck of a lot more wonderful when you have someone who will support you when you need a shoulder to lean on. On the other hand, it’s an amazing feeling loving someone enough to want to be able to take away their pain, no matter what that may be. I’ve felt very strongly about a few people that way in my life, and it’s a very genuine and incredible feeling that I can only attribute to the selfless love I am hoping you all get from a partner.

Today’s lesson: There are amazing people in this world who will love you through your trials, whatever they may be. Don’t settle for someone who will just stay. Wait for the person who will hold your hand and be with you every step of the way, no matter where life takes you both.

Hello From The Other Side

Dear Torchy’s,

I live outside of Washington DC, so we are over 1,000 miles apart. I used to date someone from Texas, so I got to visit you regularly, but he and I broke up awhile ago and I haven’t been back since.

I miss you, Torchy’s. What I really miss most is your queso. I never even liked dip until I tried yours, but I quickly became addicted. Every time I’d go to Texas I would make sure to visit you several times a week.

torchys

Photo courtesy of @torchystacos on Twitter

So I have a crazy request.

Could you please send me the recipe so I can make my own here in DC? It doesn’t appear that you are moving here anytime soon and I’m not sure that I’ll ever find anyone who makes queso quite like you.

Love Always,
Your Biggest Fan

 

Too Many Cooks

I’ve been on some great dates lately and am excited to write about them. I’m going to start with a kind of simple one, but it’s easily one of the best dates I’ve ever been on.

One of the guys I’ve been talking to and I made a bet. It’s not really important what it was about, but I was so sure I was right that I agreed the loser would make dinner.

We quickly realized that I was wrong (Girls, don’t worry — most of us are always right, I am just the exception to that rule) so I had to begin planning.

Being the great gentleman he is, my date said that he would go ahead and take care of most of the dinner anyway — all I had to do was make one of the three recipes I can actually cook. I decided to make fajitas, as that appears to by my fanciest dish.

The night turned out to be hilarious. When we got to his place he began preparing the appetizer he had promised. This turned out to be much more complicated than my entire fajita entree. I was such a goof and got too distracted talking to his roommate to help make the first course, so by the time I gravitated back behind the kitchen counter again he was all done and it was time to try the appetizer.

He kept working on cutting up chicken for our meal, so I began prepping the vegetables. My date quickly informed me that I was doing it completely wrong. He was worried that I would cut my finger, as I was holding the pepper in my hand and slicing the knife through to the other side. He was probably right, but I figured I could save us some time and chop the veggies while he finished using the cutting board for his chicken dippers.

pepper blog

I like living on the edge.

I asked him what he thought about my cooking skills after our date and he said,

“When I saw you over by the sink I felt like you’d never cut a pepper before and I was afraid you were going to stab yourself because you weren’t cutting it properly against the counter or on any sort of surface.”

Needless to say, he ended up taking over the vegetable cutting duty too.

As he was doing some of my work for me, I took my marinated chicken out of the fridge and started heating olive oil in a wok. Being the person I am, I forgot about the olive oil until it started making a lot of noise on the stove top. I hurried over with my chicken and before I could think about what I was doing I dumped it all in the burning oil. In hindsight I should have turned down the heat.

The entire dish started yelling at us and popping all over the place. Olive oil exploded onto the stove top, and I giggled as he ran over to fix my mistake. My date calmly and quickly turned the heat down and shook the pan back and forth to slow the burning process.

When asked about this incident, he said,

“I had to rush over and turn the heat down. I figured you probably didn’t realize how hot olive oil can get. You seemed to be kind of inexperienced at working a stove like that and I didn’t want droplets of olive oil to spray off and burn you!”

I definitely had a backseat driver while I was making my entree dish, as he kept waltzing over to add pepper or other little spices to the mix, but I certainly didn’t mind. I’m always game for extra help in the kitchen (And as you can see I kind of need it).

Our meal ended up being fantastic, but the best part was just having so much fun making it. I loved being able to laugh through cooking a ridiculous meal together, and we topped the night off by playing some Super Smash Brothers. I’d say that’s an overall win.

Today’s lesson: I’ve decided it would be really awesome to date a guy who can cook. Eating is one of my favorite activities, but I’m not necessarily gifted in the cooking department. My baking abilities paired with someone’s cooking abilities would make us an unstoppable duo.

A Little About Me

I have been surprised at how many new people are following my blog, so I thought I needed to introduce myself a little better so y’all can get to know the person behind these goofy stories.

I had a really normal and comfortable life all the way through college. I grew up in the suburbs outside of Washington DC and have a wonderful family and great friends.

August 2012 was a really weird year for me, though. I ended up getting diagnosed with something called POTS, and have collected a few new diagnoses since then (Because apparently once you get one weird thing several others must follow). A lot of my symptoms have significantly improved, but one that remains is chronic widespread pain. POTS is an invisible illness, so I look normal even if I feel terrible. Now that I’m not passing out or needing to lie down in the middle of the grocery store, you would never know that anything was wrong with me unless I told you.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have only had one serious relationship so far. I started dating my best friend my sophomore year of college, then did the long distance thing for two years after graduating. The distance wasn’t the reason we broke up; I don’t believe that can be the ultimate reason a couple ends things. I won’t give specifics to respect the privacy of all who are involved.

I am a Christian and my faith is important to me. I am definitely still growing, and my relationship with God has been all over the place since I got sick. I do strongly believe He is going to make my story into something that will ultimately glorify Him, though.

My sense of humor has always been something that helps me get through rough times in my life, and I really value that in all of my relationships. Not everyone gets me, but the people who do seem to appreciate it.

I’m maybe about 65% basic. I love Taylor Swift, own a North Face jacket, Instagram pictures of my Starbucks orders, and often wear leggings as pants. To counteract my basicness, I am a big fan of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Seinfeld.

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These are a few of my favorite things.

Writing this post was a lot like filling out a dating profile. I was definitely all over the place, but I feel like I’ve covered a decent amount about myself for now. You’ll learn a lot more about me through the stories I tell than these little bullets, but I just thought it would be a fun little post.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts and send me messages! I’ve had a lot of fun with this so far and look forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for us.