Summer of 2017

As the sun sets on the last day of summer, I lay sick on my couch. I lay sick reflecting on what happened to me this summer. I also couldn’t handle Being Mary Jane as Mary Jane decides between her new boo and friend.

Anyways, I think about the Summer of 2017.  Chicago in the summmer…you can’t beat it. I wasn’t anticipating that this summer would be the toughest few months I’ve ever faced.

You can say I’ve always had anxiety and depression. It would come in waves and then disappear. Before this summer, I never thought medication was for me or that I wouldn’t want to get out of bed every morning because I got one life and I love. And this summer was filled with so many highs like my sketch show, poetry, walks, brunch, first kisses, Lizzo, cookouts, Matt Damon Improv, and so many new friendships and amazing memories.

But to match the highs came the lowest lows. It’s hard to say what triggered the intense anxiety and physical match of the depression, but I know it intensified, and kept going, when my best friend came to visit. My therapist and my mom, two different people, said my best friend is my safe place. I felt like I could let go with her, and when she went home, I had to deal with it by myself.  One thing I hate is being by myself. I am trying to get better at it, but it’s not my strong trait.

The intense crying came out of no where. When someone asked why are you crying, I couldn’t answer. When I couldn’t go on stage, I couldn’t answer. I couldn’t concentrate at work. My body ached. The thought of showering or brushing my teeth was almost painful. I hated every part of me. I was living in my own hell.

I went to my doctor, who is a saint. She had been mentioning going on medication for a few months now after I broke up with my boyfriend and got laid off in the same week, but I didn’t want to. Maybe she saw the signs before I felt them. However, at this moment I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t care, I needed something. I started on Lexapro, and was doing well for awhile, but like all medication and me, my stomach started to hurt and ache after about a month. I told my doctor, and she suggested tappering off and looking for a physiatrist who could help.

I am now experiencing the worst withdrawals. My hands shake. My skin itches. I can’t remember anything. Focusing has become the hardest thing. My brain zaps. Along with it, my anxiety and depression have gotten worse. It takes my mom and aunt calling me to go run and make it to work. It takes talking to Surena all day on GChat to make sure I am still alive. It takes my roommate asking what I had to eat or planning something to get me out of the house. It takes my friends physically coming to my place to make sure I get to my show because they know I would be worse at home. It takes people texting and calling at all hours and just listen to me cry and try to talk. I feel guilty for every message.

There are days I run through the flowers and there are days where I feel like I am drowning. I don’t blame the medication. I don’t even blame me. My brain and body are trying to heal, and are screaming to be heard. I talk and write about my mental health because I hate the stigma it brings. I am not ashamed of who I am, it’s just something that is a apart of my story. I love talking about what I am going through because maybe it will help someone. Maybe they will feel less alone. Talking may help their love ones understand why they can’t just get over it. Think of it as a broken arm…mental illness will not fix itself overnight.

As this summer comes to a close, what is next? I am still feeling sick as I find the right medication, eating plan, and run. I have an idea of my next moves, but at the same time I don’t. My focus is now my health and faith, and what are the steps to get there.

I hope to look back on this summer, and think I did it. But right now, I am just trying to get to the next moment.


Moments That Change You

About this time every year I think of where I was in 2011. Just got out of a bad relationship, dealing with the deaths of my grandfather, dog, uncle and graduating grad school. A lot of events happened in 2011 that I honestly block out, and it wasn’t until recently do I recall those moments.One big one would change my life. A beautiful soul named Jose came to teach a corporate improv workshop at my job. It was my first real job, and while some of my coworkers were not into what was happening, I was like this is cool let’s try it. And with this moment, the next 6 years led me to Chicago and improv.
Improv has changed me for the better. It allowed me to explore my art, and has allowed me to meet people I didn’t know I wanted, but needed. On my way home tonight, I wondered what my life would have been without that moment and I don’t know. I probably wouldn’t be in Chicago. Maybe married. Maybe a mom. Probably a director position in corporate America. All beautiful goals and things, but feel I would be mostly tired and searching for meaning around something I wasn’t passionate about. 
With improv, it’s opened doors for me to explore other forms of art like storytelling, poetry, and writing. It’s given me positions like directing I never thought I would do. While I’m not making a living with my art at this time, in the last year I’ve been looking at ways that it can go in that direction and help people. 
Improv has also brought me my Chicago artist community and friends. I spent many years wondering what was wrong with me. Meeting them, I know I’m imperfectly, perfect and that my feelings are valid. Nothing is wrong with me.
I believe Jose walking in that room was suppose to happen as a choice in my life. And I ran through that door to the life I chose.

Also that Phoenix Summer heat tho.