Monthly Archives

October 2017


Face masks done by a sad woman

October 18, 2017

This post was requested by the lovely Adrienne, and while I’m not sure this is exactly what she thought of when she suggested that I discuss my use of face masks, I still very much hope she enjoys it. <3

Kids I love me the hell out of a face mask.  They are one of my favorite **self-care** things to do in the entire world, and as a bonus, if I don’t tell my husband that I’m putting one on, I get to terrify him with my visage.  “What’s wrong with your face??” is music to my trollololol ears.  When I been up straight for nine days I need a spa day I don’t get one but I do put stuff on my forehead and it’s basically the same.  Here’s the process. Continue Reading…

Lawyering, Personal

For World Mental Health Day

October 11, 2017

I missed this by a day, forgive me.  The sentiments remain the same. And as my wonderful friend Adrienne said, “every day is mental health day when you have the clinical diagnosis of ‘my brain hates me.'”

You may have read my post a few years back when I was returning to law school after a medical leave to treat my depression.  That time still ranks as the worst my illness has ever gotten, and there is definitely a strength associated with knowing the answer to “well, how bad can it get?” (this! this bad! *precisely* this bad!)

Fun fact: I am still depressed.  Over the past 4 years, I have been able to reduce the frequency of my therapy sessions, and even stop attending completely for almost a year before starting it again, but boyyyy howdy am I not “cured,” and that might never be a thing that is true.

I’m still taking medication: SNRIs have proved to be pretty generally good for me, although I had to switch from one to another because my insurance stopped carrying one and it was gonna be something in the range of two hundred dollars a month so I spent a week switching and frantically observing my body and mood to see if I was not coping well.  I lucked out and everything was fine but I also was basically fueled on phone calls and rage for 10 days or so.  My current meds are 7 dollars a month instead of roughly 7 dollars a pill, so that’s, uh, better.

I still take sleep medication sometimes: I’ve had a night or two still where I’ve slept maybe 90 minutes and then headed into work which does not come highly recommended. Ambien will make me a bit groggy the next day, and it’s no bueno when I remember that there’s something I still need to do after I’ve taken them (walked our dog the other night and we could have gone to Narnia for all I know), and I will sometimes sort of sleep-eat when I’m taking them, but gosh darn do I love my sleep so sacrifices must be made.

I still have an incredibly supportive partner: I’m now married, and while Andrew doesn’t always totally get what’s going on in my brain (it objectively doesn’t make sense), he is so incredibly wonderful about asking me what I need and if I’m okay and telling me he doesn’t hate me.  Because that is a question I ask with disconcerting frequency.

I still am ridiculously lucky in many ways.  I am (usually) financially fine enough to attend therapy and pay for my medication through Andrew’s insurance.  I am able to schedule therapy appointments around my work schedule.  I do not have to worry about childcare or supporting another human being during my bad periods.  And, of course, I am a white, cis, heterosexual woman with an advanced degree and despite my mental illness I have a hell of a lot of privilege.  Getting help saved my life, but I was able to ignore or walk around many of the barriers others face in receiving and paying for treatment.

That being said…

Being a depressed lawyer is hell, sometimes.  Many of the aspects of the profession require you to pretend or to actually have no emotion (other than anger, maybe), and my depression is basically having emotions to the point of incapacity, so it doesn’t work super well for me.  I’m lucky in that I’ve never missed court or anything super important because of my depression, but I’ve certainly had to do some excuses the morning of a responsibility.  The choice of whether to disclose is still an incredibly challenging line to draw (will they be understanding? will they fire me?) and it requires me to read a situation while I’m mired in despair so deep that I can’t see my hand in front of my face, so I’m sure I’ve blown it at some point, but I continue to Do My Best.

There’s also this other whole element of needing to report your mental health treatment for severe disorders to several states’ bars when you’re applying to take the exam.  For Pennsylvania, I was not required to report details, but I was required to report any time away from school, which amounted to a full year of law school before I returned.  For New Jersey, I had to report my diagnosis.  The question in New Jersey asks if you have ever received treatment for a list of disorders, and major depressive disorder is one of them.  This meant that when I found out that I passed the bar in New Jersey, I was not actually listed as eligible to be sworn in, because I had to be interviewed by a member of the ethics committee about my treatment, my current status, and my ability to handle the practice of law.  We met in a restaurant.  I ate some fries while she asked me about the worst part of my life and whether I’d fuck up a client’s file because of my brain telling me I’m worthless. The fries were good.

There’s also this whole other element of my depression sometimes telling me that maybe it would be better if I wasn’t alive.  The first two minutes of this clip from Louis CK’s newest special (not ideal to link to him but this is so accurate) is exactly it, and this cartoon and its part 2 from Hyperbole and a Half are the best ways I have to describe this.  And I terrify so many people when I talk about it, and I almost wish that wasn’t the case.  Not because suicide isn’t horribly serious, because it is.  And not because the idea of “missing the signs” isn’t an enormous struggle for concerned loved ones, because it *is*. Because, actually, “I might not want to be alive” should not be the worst thing someone can say.  When I say it, it doesn’t mean I’m in imminent danger.  It doesn’t mean I’ve made any kind of plan.  It doesn’t mean I need to be taken to get sectioned or restrained or hospitalized.  All it means is “the pain of being me right now is so great that *not* being me sounds like a better deal.”

In actuality, it means telling my husband to hide my sleep medications from me and giving me a dose for sleep if I need one – not because I actually plan on doing something, but because it doesn’t benefit me to have a full bottle of Ambien next to my bed.  It means asking those close to me to tell me I have worth and have been at least somewhat a net positive in their lives so I can have proof to show my brain when it says “no one likes you, you’re a disappointment on every plane of existence.” It means walking my dog and feeding her, because then I can point to her healthy doggie body and say “here is a good thing I did recently.” And sometimes it means being in bed for an entire day with the crushing weight of the opinions of the entire world and the struggle of my own existence weighing down on my chest and limbs like a lead blanket and waiting for the next day to come because at least it won’t be today anymore.

I am depressed.  Sometimes that means I’m fine, and sometimes that means I am in a hell my brain has designed specifically for me.  And I’m doing my best to make the “fine” days outweigh the “hell” days.  If you’re here, know that I am here with you, and that you have value, and that I am so proud of you.

Nerding, Personal

Better national anthem options

October 1, 2017

With all of this discussion around kneeling during the National Anthem, I’ve had plenty of time to sit and think about a lot of things, like “why is it disrespectful to kneel at a flag but not disrespectful to extrajudicially murder a black man” and “yes, Trump is bad, but Kaepernick started this protest while Obama was president so to take the goal of this protest and pivot it seems like bad form” and “oh God this waking nightmare is real isn’t it” and eventually land on “the National Anthem ain’t even that great.”  Guys.  I’m not kidding.  Our country’s national anthem is an unnecessarily difficult, melodically mediocre drinking song in 3/4 time (why, whyyyyy) that strikes fear into the heart of listeners and, tbh, anyone who isn’t Whitney Houston.  It ain’t all that and a bag of chips. (Her version can stay.) Also FSK owned slaves and suppressed abolitionists and I’m not like, thrilled, exactly, to be pushing his poetry.

Let’s pick out a better one, shall we?

  • God Bless America
    • Ehhhhh
      • It’s better, but not great
      • Definitely an improvement over our current one melodically (let’s keep it simple, okay?) but our revolution will not be gentle, let’s do even more
        • Also you will always have a ton of kids and maybe adults singing from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with snow
          • Yes I know it’s foam, not snow, but I heard “white” and extrapolated
          • Yes “maybe adults” means me, yes, I do this, okay, shut up
  • This Land Is Your Land
    • TLIYL can hang, it’s got some pep, it’s good for the kiddies
      • This land was made for you and me!
      • Like, don’t think about it too much because then you start getting into “okay but Alaska and Hawaii”
        • And then you also start getting into “ooohhhhhhkay unless you’re Native this land was perrrrhaps not made for you and me”
          • Okay wait maybe this song is out
  • My Country Tis of Thee
    • Somewhere England is like I THINK NOT
    • Also a better option, it’s got a sweet little melody which is pretty easy
    • Downside is after the third line everyone is like “okay are we…oh, not yet? How about nowOHNO THEY WENT ALREADY LAAAAAND WHEEEEEERE OUUUUURRRR” and it’s a bit of a mess
      • Also, of course, someone will be like “we did not say eff you to King George to make people confused at the Olympics when they play our anthem MURRICA”
    • This one wouldn’t work for me either because I’d be singing the Eddie Izzard version
      • God attack the Queen
        • Send big dogs after her
          • That bite her bum
  • Battle Hymn of the Republic
    • Okay, I *like* this song, fight me
      • It is jaunty and clips along at a nice pace and yes okay it is like DESTROY YOUR ENEMIES but in a happy kinda march-y way?
        • “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored” is punk rock and I will die on this hill a little
    • Also heyyy this is to the tune of “John Brown’s Body” and the author, Julia Ward Howe, was an abolitionist (absolutely not a perfect one but still) and an early suffragette and used by the Union in the Civil War and just generally better than Francis Scott Key
    • Also super fun to watch people try to figure out how to breathe and have the first “glory, glory Hallelujah!” be a breathy mess because people were like “nah, I know how air works” and their lungs are like “FAKE NEWS” and you just gotta stagger this if you’re in a chorus
    • Also, okay, there’s a Whitney version of this song where she goes HAM and it is delightful
  • America, the Beautiful
    • Objectively the best choice, I don’t make the rules, it just is the best one
    • This song is stunning – it’s like a gorgeous hymn to our country written with intervals that make sense and it is doable for a singer without going bonkers over-the-top
    • Also the lyrics are where it is at, yo
      • Yeah, *let’s* crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to flippin’ shining sea
        • I am very pro-“let us be together as family” rather than “let us triumphantly trample the foe” in general and this song is great about that
          • Also yeahhh Katharine Lee Bates, cool lady who was a professor at Wellesley and lived with another lady for 25 years
      • And the second verse??? YES
        • America! America! / God mend thine ev’ry flaw / Confirm thy soul in self-control / Thy liberty in law!”
          • America, you’re doing *amazing* sweetie
  • Stars and Stripes Forever
    • I hatehatehate playing marches because they are the worst for horn players but Sousa knew what the heck he was doing and this march is great and he is great and all the branches of the military agree
    • “wait, but isn’t this already the official military march of the United States?” IT *IS*, DEAR READER
      • Yes I realize you didn’t say that because who knows that but still, it’s just one step up to just get to the actual anthem
        • First step pizza, second step flaming batons
    • No there aren’t lyrics which is fine tbh
    • You know what? I’d be fine with Manhattan Beach
      • Let’s Sousa until we can’t Sousa anymore
  • Party in the USA
    • It’s cute how you snorted and think I’m kidding, this could be the new national anthem
      • This is a very high-quality song and I am 100% willing to die on this hill
    • What a universal feeling, guys
      • Who among us hasn’t put their hands up, because they are playing our song
        • Who among us hasn’t nodded their head like yeah
          • Or moved our hips like yeah
    • Put this song on at basically any event (a baby shower? a faculty meeting? a pyramid scheme sales pitch in a Starbucks where everyone listening in is super uncomfortable? NOT ANYMORE) and people will be SO FLIPPIN’ HAPPY
  • Pitbull’s The Anthem
      • Okay perhaps on those grounds alone this is not a great option for a national anthem
  • Good Charlotte’s The Anthem
  • Carly Rae Jepsen’s Cut to the Feeling
    • idk it’s just a really good song
      • There’s no good joke here, I just really like Miss Carly Rae