hey, maybe that’s too harsh.

I catch myself before it’s too late. It’s probably a talent. I catch myself thinking, “stupid, stupid, stupid” because I forgot to do that one thing I said I would do. Mid self deprecating thought I stop and go, “hey, maybe that’s too harsh.”

I find myself doing this all too often, and it usually is a sign that I’m falling into a pit of depression yet again. If I catch myself soon enough, I can manage to escape that deep, dark pit of emotional turmoil that is a depressive episode and continue on as a normal human. Sometimes, more often than I’d like to admit, I don’t realize it until I’m a month deep, surrounded by isolation and self-destructive tendencies.

I find myself laying on my floor at 1 am, lights off, listening to a playlist of mopey songs singing about how terrible everything in their lives are. It’s usually in a moment like this that I come to the realization of, “oh, right. I’m depressed again.”

I’ve been down so many times, I know how to deal with it. When you’ve been depressed for nearly a decade, coming out of a depressive episode becomes a regular practice. Everyone’s brain works differently, but for me that’s usually taking a day or two for myself. I’ll do whatever it is I want to do that day and not feel guilty for it. Because once you’re that deep in it, you should not feel guilty for taking a day to just watch your favorite feel-good show on Netflix or sit outside with a cup of tea and watch the wind blow through the trees.

Coming out of it isn’t always a pretty sight, either. It takes time, just like it took time to fall into it. I’ll catch myself along the way isolating or overreacting and I just take a step back and rewire my brain into Positivity Mode again.

Writing, School, and my Mental Health

Writing in my free time

As I have mentioned, my ultimate career goal is to be a published author- preferably a self-sustaining one. I have a lot of ideas ruminating for what genre I want to be my main focus, and that’s something I’ve always struggled with. There’s so many types of fiction and they’re all so fun to write. I’m working on a few different stories right now, and they’re wildly different from each other.

With the summer coming up, I’m going to be working more, and that will probably hinder my writing. Summers get incredibly hectic and exhausting, leaving me braindead with little motivation to write. I’ll be setting aside a day or two a week just for writing, though, and that’s really what will be getting me through the chaos of tourist season.

School

School has been going well so far, it started the first week in May and I really don’t have many complaints so far. It’s my first class after transferring and it’s a very simple history class. It’s been easy so far, and that’s coming from someone who has never really excelled in any history class. I didn’t necessarily do bad, I just never put in much effort.

The class is taking up more of my time than I’d like, though. I’ve always struggled with writing while I’m in school and I was hoping since I’m only taking one course, I would find the time to write more. So far, I’d like to think that’s true. This website has been a good motivation to continue creating, and I’m glad I have yet to slow down too much with my writing. Not to mention, it feels good to finally have my work out there and not just crowding my documents folder on my laptop.

Mental health

For the last year, I’ve been focusing a lot of my free time on bettering myself mentally and emotionally. I’ve been learning my limits, knowing when to give myself a break and when I just need a little push. It’s been mostly successful, but I still have moments where I feel overwhelmed and just want to start everything over or go live in a cave for a month or two.

When I get to that point, I know I’ve pushed myself too far and need a break from it all. I’ll typically give myself a relaxing night in with a cup of tea and a good show and restrict myself from doing anything too strenuous. I’ll let myself do something that I typically wouldn’t do because it doesn’t feel “productive enough.” I won’t get upset with myself for needing a day off because there’s nothing wrong with that. As someone who has had mental health problems for years, I just need a little extra cushion sometimes and that’s okay.

Knowing myself and knowing my limits has been the biggest help on me getting healthier. Listening to my body when it needs something, whether it be more sleep, something to eat, or to relax and not overwork myself, has made me a generally happier person. For a while, I never thought I’d make it to the point where I feel okay most of the time, and I’m proud of myself.

invincible

There’s something beautiful about a big open field; I used to dream about them. The endless green grass, wild flowers growing arbitrarily, wandering around them aimlessly. It’s a kind of calm bliss only achievable in a big open field, unaccompanied on a sunlit day. Maybe it’s something to do with how I spent my childhood, often around fields of lush grass and the soft sound of people just out of sight. Maybe that’s why I have such an affinity for them, they bring back fond memories from a time I only vaguely remember.

A gentle breeze passes, I feel sempiternal, unbreakable, invincible. Laying in the grass, I listen to the birds sing, the faint sounds of cars and people, just far enough away to not be bothersome, but still close enough so I don’t feel alone. I’m at peace, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Summer Nostalgia

I live by the beach, on the little peninsula of eastern Massachusetts known as Cape Cod. I have mixed feelings about living here; it’s expensive, summers are hectic and infested with tourists, winters are slow and dull. I’m not a huge fan of the beach, either, but the other night I was driving home from work, windows down since it’s finally warm enough for that, and I smelled the salt water marsh. It brought back a flood of memories and an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia.

I’ve been dreaming about moving off cape for years now; it’s not exactly plausible, but it’s a dream of mine. But when I smelled the salt water, a part of me hesitated. I vividly remembered sitting on a towel on the crowded beach as a child. I remembered playing in the hot sand, picking up handfuls of it and letting it soothingly, slowly trickle off my hands and back onto the beach. I remembered the smell of the ocean, the salty air, taking that first step on the beach in my flip flops. The sand tough to walk on, so I quickly slip my shoes off and feel the hot sand on my bare feet, my brother and I running to an open spot, perfect for us to put our blankets down on.

I reminisced on the hot beating summer sun, soothed only by the winds that come and go. Laying out in the sun until we were sweating, bored, and needed to cool down in the ocean. Taking that first dip in the water, finally cool. Crouching down in the knee-deep water so as to submerge ourselves in the water as soon as possible, holding our heads just above the water as we crawl deeper into the ocean. Finally, we can stand comfortably in shoulder-deep water, laughing and splashing each other.

We’d plug our noses and dip our heads under the water for as long as we can, holding a contest for who can stay under longer. My brother shows me how he can do a flip under the water, and I show him I can do a handstand. Our mom tells us to be careful. We laugh and play for a while, until our hands get wrinkly and our stomachs are rumbling for lunch.

Lost in daydreams of my childhood, I came back to real life and realized I had already driven all the way home. I shook my head at the fact that one smell can bring back memories I haven’t thought about in years. Sure, I still want to move off cape, and I think more seriously about it every day, but I’d be lying if I said I won’t miss it. I’ve lived here my whole life, my entire childhood was spent on the beach, baseball fields, the bike path, and my own backyard. When I leave, I’ll be leaving all these memories. Though I don’t have set in stone plans to move any time soon, I’ve been extra nostalgic lately as I drive down the streets I know by heart, worrying someday I might forget them.

Someday, I’ll be coming back to visit my parents, after living somewhere else for years, and I might need directions to go to the grocery store that I currently go to on a weekly basis. I might not remember the name of the street the baseball fields I used to spend summers at. I might be reminiscing with a friend on our childhoods and I won’t be able to remember the name of that park we had so many picnics at, the one that was a dog park for a week a few years ago. We brought our dog Lily there and she made so many friends that week. What if I forget that even happened?

I get that it’s a part of moving on, growing up, I know I’ll make more memories wherever I move, and I’ll know those streets like I know these ones, I just can’t help but feel nostalgic. All these memories made me into the person I am today, part of me worries I’ll lose the childlike wonder I still have if I move away and forget my past.

Things I Love

Warm summer nights,

the heat of the blazing sun has subsided,

but the warmth still radiates.

Sitting around a campfire,

conversing with friends.

 

Going to sleep after a productive day,

knowing I’m loved and cared for

even though I have my flaws,

knowing my friends don’t mind

they have their own flaws too

and that’s what makes us unique.

 

Being able to reflect on the past,

without being burdened by it’s misfortunes

Knowing I’m in a better place now than I was years past

and being thankful for the bad times as well as the good

because now I know how bad it can get,

so these little problems I encounter

they don’t seem so bad anymore.

Sure, sometimes life still gets me down,

but now I’ve a whole array of skills to deal with it.

 

Having a cookout on a mild day,

the shining sun and friends’ laughter filling the air.

Sunsets that turn the sky shades of pink and purple.

Looking up at the sky on a cloudless night,

stars twinkling as we relish in their beauty,

the moon full and illuminating the surroundings.

Knowing this isn’t time wasted,

I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Creative Outlets

I try to be a creative person. I feel better on days that I’ve done something creative. Mostly, that consists of writing, sometimes photography, sometimes it’s drawing or painting- though I’m not very good- but sometimes, it’s just daydreaming. I like to think that daydreaming is creative. I mean, it’s creating a story in your own head, why wouldn’t it be?

Weird enough, I get stuck in ruts of not being able to bring myself to be creative, even though I know I’ll feel calmer and more clear-headed after I do. I can’t seem to figure out what it is that stops me from creating. I’ll have Word open, or I’ll have my camera right next to me, I just can’t bring myself to create. It’s not a creative-block, though sometimes it is, mostly it’s just the fear of once I create this, it’ll exist and what if it’s bad? What if it’s not what I meant for it to be?

I’m scared to start over. I feel as though it’ll lose authenticity if I start from scratch again, or it’ll come out wrong, give off the wrong idea. People tell me it’s okay to create bad art because it’s still art whether it’s good or not and I can improve on it even though the thought is daunting. While I’m sure this is true, the idea of throwing away a piece of art feels as though I’m throwing away a piece of me. I know I need to work on this, as all artists sometimes have to alter their work, I just wanted to put it out there in case there are others who feel the same way.

On days where I cannot create because of this fear, I turn to daydreaming. That’s something I’ve never been afraid to alter if it begins to go down a path I don’t particularly like. In daydreams, anything can happen, it’s like writing a story, but it happens much faster and I don’t have to worry about proper spelling, grammar, or how compelling it is. It’s therapeutic in a way. No one else can see my daydreams and I find peace in that. I don’t have to worry about what other people think of it and maybe, if I like the daydream enough, I can turn it into a story. I can share it, but only if I want to.

The best part of daydreaming is that it can happen so fast or so slow, I can skip over boring parts or rewrite a line one person says if they don’t say it perfectly. It’s a perfect way to kill some time while still being creative. All daydreaming is boiled down to is another potential story to create, without actually having to write the story. Many of my ideas for stories or poems I’ve had have come from daydreams. It’s a beautiful thing.

I want to hear from you guys! What are your favorite creative outlets? What ways do you get your creative wheels turning?