Finding my way back to myself.

selfie - May 21, 2020

Hi. I’m still here. I nail it with daily social media interaction (primarily on Facebook, Instagram, and somewhat on Twitter), but I’ve become a terrible blogger.

You know what? I truly think I have forgotten how to blog! After so many years (nearly two decades!) of doing it, just three short years have completely wiped out my abilities. Or so it seems. In truth, I know it’s a combination of stress and the everyday chaos of life, plus being out of practice, that is hindering me. And also, those three “short” years? They were incredibly long when I lived through barely survived them.

And then there’s the depression. I didn’t think it was that bad. I thought I was handling it. But I was so, so wrong! It was when I had a complete breakdown with a fill-in doctor whom I had met approximately five minutes prior to me bursting into chest-heaving sobs that I knew I needed outside help. I am struggling with severe depression. Did you know that passive suicidal ideation (here’s another article that does a great job of defining it from Thrive Global: The Definition of Passive Suicidal Ideation) is a real thing? I didn’t. I simply coined how I felt as “wishing I could stop existing”. But that was it. I didn’t have a plan. I still don’t. Outside of two attempts I was hospitalized for three weeks during the autumn of 2018 for, I did not have a plan nor make any additional attempts. All I know is this: I wake up and immediately count how many hours I have to stay conscious before I can retreat to my bed and drug-induced (prescribed and OTC) slumber. I try to exist in a conscious state for as little time as possible. Most days I find myself wishing I would fall asleep and never wake up.

I need help, because I can’t do it on my own. And I’m getting it! Prior to the COVID-19 quarantine/lockdown/shelter-in-place/stay-at-home pandemic, I was seeing two therapists a week: Victor, for drug and alcohol counseling; and Marcus, for intensive outpatient counseling. But then everything ground to a halt, and I immediately lost that crucial support.

But I have a plan, and I’m seeing it through:

  • I see my PCP’s resident every two weeks for my Suboxone prescription (for both MAT and management of the never-ending, gradually-worsening chronic pain in my lumbar spine and abdomen/pelvic cavities). While I’m there she gives me a mini-counseling session.
  • Weekly video conferencing appointments with my IOP counselor, Marcus.
  • Weekly parenting counseling with a YWCA paraeducator.
  • A new addition to my medication regimen: Cymbalta, an SNRI anti-depressant (bonus: it also helps to alleviate nerve pain!)
  • And most importantly: a better mindset.

Old Jenn would shrug it off, square her shoulders, and bulldoze forward, determined to do it alone – if she even acknowledged her weakness and vulnerability at all.
But New Jenn realizes that, for the really important matters in life, you can’t go it alone – you need a support system comprised of people and tools.

My head is barely above water, but I can see the shoreline. I just have to keep at it. And that is exactly what I am doing, grueling and painful as the process may be. I have my family to think of, and I’m determined to continue healing myself so I can be a better me for me, and for Daniel, Alyssa, and Ryan. ♥

Every day I’m strugglin’.

(Sing this blog entry title to the tune of the LMFAO’s song Party Rock Anthem, in particular this line: “every day I’m shufflin'”)

Depression has been steadily creeping up on me. The severity of it hit me last week, when I realized just how happy and at peace I should be, but aren’t. And so I started confiding in people: my doctor (who increased my Cymbalta, since its SNRI properties can be an effective anti-depressant), my IOP therapist (who will be having a phone session with me next week), even my probation officer. And now I’m telling the internets, because why not? Depression isn’t shameful. It doesn’t make you not enough of something. Depression tells you you aren’t enough, but depression lies.

I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and I’m going to work harder to overcome. I won’t let depression win (though so far, it’s had a good run at kicking my ass and reducing me to an apathetic, listless, despairing mess).

Adjusting.

Life lately has been all about adjusting – adjusting to having our children home(!!!), adjusting to schooling 100% from home (before 3/4 of my classes were online; now all four are online and being attended from home), adjusting to working from home, and adjusting to being home – and sharing that home with four other people, not to mention eight animals.

All in all, the adjustments are a very good thing, even if some of the adjustments are due to a very bad thing (coronavirus).

Just another college morning.

I suppose part of blogging is oversharing about what I’m up to at any given time. Right now I’m sitting in one of the lounges at Harrisburg Area Community College, waiting for my lone on-campus class, Honors Introduction to Sociology, to start.

Yes…I’m in college. I’m taking my 20 years of self-taught web design, search engine optimization, and social media management and marketing and turning it all into an Associates Degree. I’m a full-time student in HACC’s Web Design and Development program. This semester’s course load consists of:

  • Honors Introduction to Sociology
  • WEB 101
  • WEB 110
  • WEB 125


Honors Introduction to Sociology is my only on-campus class, and it’s only twice a week. My other three classes are all online-only. This flexible school has its pros and cons for me. One obvious pro is a much more flexible schedule that allows me to be at home more – very important for upcoming things. But one con is I’m already bored, and it has only been a week.

Here’s to hoping the content gets more stimulating soon!

Good deeds.

We are in a financially stable position that enabled us to take in a stray pregnant cat. We named her Xena. On October 15, 2019 Xena gave birth to five kittens. All five are thriving. We are keeping Xena, and if circumstances allow possibly one or two kittens, but most likely we will be adopting them out as soon as they are fully weaned from their mother.

We can’t save all of the stray cats in the world, but we are able to save this one.

Happy November.

I’m slowly but surely finding my way back to me – and . I’ve lost so much of myself in the last decade, so much that I didn’t even realize how much of me was gone until I began the arduous process of putting myself back together.

One thing I never lost sight of? My family. And it’s the little things, like Happy Monthing each other (this month’s winner is a toss-up between Dan, through a proxy; and Ryan), that remind me of how important my family is. Family is everything. Family: I love you guys! ♥

Happy November!

P.S. It feels so awkward/weird/good/amazing to blog!