Driving Through Depression No. 9

Our first drive of 2016! The photos were taken right after we had chinese food on the 1st (my new year’s day tradition). There would probably be more and better photos, but I ate myself into a stupor. Actually I seriously over ate and I was pretty ill for most of the drive, but I hung in there and took these photos.

Enjoy and don’t forget to be awesome,




The Importance of Having A Daily Routine

I realized in the days leading up to my hospital stay when I was in that depressive state that one of my triggers is feeling like I have nothing to do. I don’t work, and Nicole works a lot of hours, so I spend a lot of time home alone. I am combating this now that I’m back home with having a pretty specific schedule that I’m trying to adhere to without too many changes from day to day so I can get into a regular daily routine.

My doctors at the hospital felt this was a good idea but warned me not to be too hard on myself if things on my list don’t get done. Also, one of the counselors said something really interesting in regards to it when I brought it up in group therapy. I said I thought I should have positive feelings toward my new schedule and he said no. I don’t need to be positive or negative about it, just neutral. It’s just something I’m going to do. I’m not exactly sure of the reason for that but I’m going with it. I’m trying to be neutral about the schedule, not too excited and also not dreading it. Just neutral. It’s just something I’m going to do, plain and simple. And maybe that was the reason, maybe he didn’t want me to over complicate things.

There are a few simple guidelines I’m following alongside my schedule. These include not having caffeine after 12pm (now I understand the point of decaf coffee), including less sugar in my diet (I’m taking this slow, I don’t want to never eat a cookie again) and not adding salt to anything I eat (something I did constantly before about two months ago). Those things are all going well alongside the schedule.

If it seems silly to have to have such a detailed list of activities in my day, just know that it’s necessary for me, otherwise I’ll just sit and ponder what I’m doing with my life.

  • 7:00 | Shower
  • 7:30 | Journal, Coffee, Take medicine, Watch a motivational video
  • 8:30 | Meditation
  • 9:00 | Chores
  • 10:00 | Blog, Videoblog
  • 12:00 | Lunch
  • 1:00 | Workout or Yoga
  • 2:15 | Various*
  • 6:00 | Cook dinner

*Various Activities | Errands, Support Group, Crocheting, Extra blogging/videoblogging, Art Journaling, Reading, DIY stuff, Watching videos, movies or Netflix, Affirmations, Coping skill box, Writing memoir stories.

The order of all of this was very meticulously decided. Monday was the first day of my new schedule and I did tweak it a little. Otherwise it went really well. I think the mix of activities was really good and worked. I’m altering the list daily to work in support groups (the times vary) and other things that may be specific to that day. I’m going to do an overall assessment at the end of the week to see what things I changed the most and if everything is still working well. My group therapy counselor in the hospital said that was really important to do. Nicole is going to help me with it.



December Goals: My New Year Resolutions

Today is my birthday and that’s when I make my new year’s resolutions, since I like to think outside the box and technically, it is a new year for me. Plus I get a head start on everyone else. Ha.

I’m trying to make these SMART goals – that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Workout Two Times Per Week

This is huge for me as I don’t work out ever, at all. But my stupid medications have made me gain weight, putting me at my highest weight ever in my life. I don’t like it. I feel sick about it. And I can’t walk up one stupid flight of stairs without getting winded like I’ve run a damn marathon. Sitting in chairs is uncomfortable. I know I need to make a change and this birthday month is going to be the time I do it. I’m going to aim for twice a week because that doesn’t sound scary. It’s not enough, I know, but it’s something. And that’s a good start. I am cautiously optimistic. Final SMART Goal: Workout twice a week at the gym for at least one hour for at least three months.

Visit My Dad & Stepmom Twice

My dad and stepmom live in my hometown, which is about four hours away. I don’t get over to visit them much. But this month, I’d like to go see them. I want to start visiting twice a year, I think that’s very reasonable. I know they see my stepmom’s kids a lot more than they see me because they make an effort to visit since they both have babies. I wish that was the case with us, I wish they wanted to come over to visit but since they only have a time or two, I’ve decided I need to make the effort to go see them. We are 100% on good terms, there’s no problems between us or anything, so I have no reason not to go visit. Four hours is not a long drive for me at all. I visited this past summer, so I think keeping with a summer/winter visit schedule will be perfect. Final SMART Goal: Visit Dad & Ellen (and my brother, he lives in the same city) twice, once in the winter and once in the summer.

Learn How To Sew

I’m actually at a place in my life where sewing doesn’t feel like such a tedious chore and I think I could learn. I had one little lesson already, where I made the A Beautful Mess mermaid plush doll they had on their site and it wasn’t horrible!  Everyone in my family sews, including my wife, my mom, my sister and my bro. My mom is actually a rock star seamstress, she made my clothes growing up, so many costumes I can’t even count, and now she makes really cool upcycled bags that she sells on Etsy among other things. She’s also going to be teaching sewing classes at the shop we both work at, so I think now is the perfect time for her to teach me and I know she’s on board. Final SMART Goal: Complete one sewing project per month.

Keep The House Clean

This one is just… no. But I know I need to do it. It’s just necessary. No more excuses. I think I will make Fridays my cleaning day and also try to do a little bit each morning when I get up. After coffee, of course. Final SMART Goal: Follow housecleaning schedule every day for the year.

Recovery & Treatment

I finally will be going to counseling again staring in just a few days, and I finally after all this time have a psych appointment set up for February. Those things are important, I know, but the things I do day to day have to be just as important. I’ve been doing my best at not having caffeine in the evenings and eating less salt and sugar for a few months, but I can do more, and do better, and I plan on it. Last year was really hard, and I refuse to have another one like it. I just can’t. This is going to be the year I make a big change. I feel like I’m ready for that. I don’t know exactly what it will mean for me, but I’m going to take the time to figure it out. And of course, I’ll be talking about it here to keep myself accountable. Final SMART Goal: This will be its own post.

Read Thirty-Two Books

A few years ago, I read 29 books in my 29th year and I’d like to get back into doing that much reading again. I used to feel like I couldn’t read the silly books I wanted to because I felt like I was wasting my time, but when I know there’s another book just around the corner,  it makes it easier to let myself read whatever I want. I have no cable, plenty of time and plenty of books. My first book will be The Great Gatsby, I’ve already decided. Nicole insisted I read it, and I decided to buy it as my congratulations gift to myself for winning NaNoWriMo. And just so you know, I’m 31 years old but entering my 32nd year on earth, hence the 32 books in my 32nd year. Also, 32 books comes to a book every 11 days or so, which is not bad at all. Final SMART Goal: Read 32 books throughout the year, which is approximately one book every week and a half. Aim for three books per month.


DIY | Depression Survival Kit

Today I’m going to show you my depression survival kit and explain how to make one yourself.

I cannot take credit for this idea. I was in support group a while back and someone said they had a suitcase full of happy and I decided to do something similar.


Step One: The Vessel.

Find a vessel for your survival kit. This can be an old suitcase, a shoebox, a regular box, a plastic tub, a backpack. Anything really will work. Just think in advance of what you’re going to have in it and plan accordingly. One thing I do recommend though – choose something that gives you room to grow – you should be able to add to your survival kit.





Step Two: The Stuff

Fill it up! Include things that make you happy and items you use as coping skills. For mine, I chose to include my drawing supplies, some books, a note from my wife, cards from my family, my mermaid plush doll (I made her myself!) and my copy of A Very Potter Musical. I’m planning on adding in my walkman and my favorite cassette tapes, but I have to find my walkman first… it’s around here somewhere!

Here are some ideas for things to include to get you going:

  • Your favorite music.
  • Toys to play with.
  • A meditation CD.
  • A stuffed animal for cuddling.
  • A puzzle.
  • A letter to yourself.
  • Coloring books and crayons.
  • A rubik’s cube (although that would just stress me out more!)
  • A DVD of your favorite movie.
  • A stress ball.
  • Bubble wrap for popping.
  • A journal.
  • Pictures, notes and cards from friends and family, as long as they aren’t triggering.
  • A list of coping skills to try.
  • Your favorite tea.
  • Bubble bath.

This list could go on forever!

Your box can be an ever changing thing too. If you aren’t sure what coping skills work for you, throw lots of things in and see what sticks. Pull out things that don’t really work for you later and add in new stuff.


Step Three: This Thing Needs A Home.

Find a place to keep your survival kit where you will always know right where to find it. I chose to put mine out in the open so I will see it every day and remember I even have it. Obviously this is not a necessity so long as you remember where you put it. The reason is if you’re in a slump and you need it, you probably won’t have the energy to hunt it down, so make it a home and keep it there.


Step Four: How To Keep This Cheap

You might be thinking, hang on a second. I don’t have very much stuff right now to put in my kit and this could get expensive if I buy everything I want to put in. But it definitely doesn’t have to be.

If you just don’t like spending money on yourself, take this opportunity to let yourself buy a few things. It will be good for you in the long run to have those things on hand to use when you’re feeling down.

If you just don’t have much money to spend, I have the solution for that too. Buy just one thing at a time when you have a little extra cash. Or, do like I do and go to a thrift store. They’re great for games, puzzles, books and all sorts of stuff you can put in your kit. A lot of the books I have in mine I bought for less than a dollar second hand. Same thing goes if you want to use a suitcase. You should be able to find one for less than five dollars. You could also go on a tiny shopping spree at the dollar store for fun stuff, those places are always a great time.

If you have zero dollars to spend, like me, just rummage through your house. That’s exactly what I did. Find an old backpack you don’t use anymore or just a plain old box and fill it up with what you do have. Print coping skill lists and coloring pages off the internet for free. Throw in an old notebook and a pen or just plain old printer paper. Search around and I’m sure you’ll find that you have more lying around than you think. Be creative! And if you don’t start with a lot, remember that’s okay. You can always add to it later.


So do any of you have a survival kit already or are you planning to make one? Leave a comment and let me know. And if you have any other ideas for what to include in the kit please share!

Thanks and don’t forget to be awesome,



PS: This is Samson, my giant unicorn plush. He would be in my survival kit but he’s a little large, so instead he’s just close by. :)

The Walking Dead S6 E6 Review “Always Accountable” | SPOILERS

Coming up: comic book and tv show spoilers. If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read on.

Featured image from latintimes.com.

Not having cable at my house is the coolest thing that could have happened to me, and not just because I don’t watch hours of CNBC’s prison shows anymore. It’s because now, every Sunday night I have a Walking Dead date with my mom!

Tonight we talked a lot about the episode and about what we think is going to happen upcoming. I thought I’d share some of our thoughts.

On The Voice On The Walkie. First off, the end of the episode. I definitely just thought it was Rick on the walkie talkie, no big deal, until Mom was like “Oh, that was Glenn,” and I said, “Say what!?” and she rewound it twice. lol. It was nearly impossible to tell, but she said until she finds out otherwise, she’s positive it was Glenn. And it does make the most sense. Rick would have said more than just help, and I think, knowing what I know about the new group from the comics, they aren’t the type to cry out for help to get people to come to them. It’s just not their style. But we do know, from what Rick said to Jessie, that he is hoping for Sasha, Abraham and Daryl to come back to Alexandria and lead the walkers away, so I think it still could be Rick as well.

On Sasha & Abraham. Also comic book stuff, I’m pretty sure Rosita and Abraham’s relationship gets a little bit tricky when Abraham starts getting with another woman. And it really did seem like Sasha was considering Abraham’s proposal when she looked away from him after his not so subtle come on. But I think it will take a long time before Sasha and Abraham are back in the safety of Alexandria and in a place where she could take him up on the offer. I don’t think they’re going to be scrambling around fighting walkers and stop for a kiss. Also, did anyone else notice Sasha stopped wearing Bob’s jacket? #SonequaHadHerBaby.

Daryl and the Insulin. Totally cool that he took it back to them, right? Totally lame that the girl died anyway. #LookAtTheFlowers

On The New Group. They weren’t wolves, no W’s and they had guns, so comic book fans unite, it’s definitely Negan’s group. I know because one of the guys said, “he likes his ass to be willing.” Negan has something of a harem of women, that’s their ‘payment’ for being part of his group. So that’s what that was about.

On The Pacing. I feel like this will be an episode that, even though everyone on Twitter is saying it was just a filler, will be really important to us once we learn more about this new group. All of the stuff these new folks were saying that just seemed weird and cryptic is going to make complete sense.

On Abraham’s Weird Language. It just bugs me. He’s like an odd cartoon to me.

What’s Coming:

I think we’ll get a Glenn reunion either in the last episode of this half season or the first of the next. I think it will be with Sasha, Abraham and Daryl and I don’t think they’ll make it back to Alexandria for a while. I don’t think Morgan will get exiled next episode, that is just too far out there, even for New Rick. He hasn’t done anything that wrong. I think he might die though. He’s too much of a moral compass. I don’t think it will be until next half season though. But someone has to die, it’s what they do, either in the second to last episode or last episode of each half season. And we have a mystery guest on Talking Dead next week, which ultimately could mean a show death. Something kind of makes me think Tara, I don’t know why, but it’s just a weird feeling I have. Mom thinks it could be Deanna, and I think that could be the case knowing what I know about the comics, and also, since we saw so much of her journey in the last episode.

I like charts, so I’ve compiled a list of second to last or last episode deaths in all the seasons just because I want to prove my point about how the show rolls. Here it is:

  • Season 1: Second to last episode: Jim. Last episode: Jacqui.
  • Season 2a: Last episode: Sophia
  • Season 2b: Second to last episode: Shane. Last episode: Patricia and Jimmy.
  • Season 3a: None! Unless you count Penny in the last episode. But I don’t really.
  • Season 3b: Second to last episode: Merle. Last episode: Andrea.
  • Season 4a: Second to last episode: Hershel. Last episode: The Governor.
  • Season 4b: Second to last episode: Mika and Lizzie.
  • Season 5a: Last episode: Beth
  • Season 5b: Second to last: Noah. Last episode: Reg and Pete.
  • Season 6a: ???

Note: that’s 6/9 second to last eps and 7/9 last eps, so pretty good odds they’re going to keep at it, I think.

Okay, I think that’s all I’ve got. If the episodes keep at the pace we’re at, we have a great two weeks ahead of us I think!

Don’t forget to be awesome,


Driving Through Depression No. 2

So we drive as a coping skill for depression. Some of these photos are from the drive where we found the abandoned house, namely the photos of the cows. It was pretty funny, Nicole kept stopping (very safely, mind you, with no cars coming) in the road to talk to the cows and give me time to photograph. I said it was like we were on a cow safari.

I encourage you to do some driving and photoing (safely, of course) as a coping skill if you’ve never tried. Post some photos and leave a link, I want to see!

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The Five Journals I Keep

As of late, I have a ton of journals. I know journaling is something that is always strongly encouraged for everyone, but especially it seems like for those who are recovering from mental illness. I thought it would be fun to share all my different journals and how they all serve a different purpose and help me in different ways. Plus it gave me an excuse to take fun photos.

Daily Journal with dinosaur

1. Daily Journal

This is the journal I have always kept or at least tried to keep with just my daily thoughts or goings on. I don’t have a specific form or theme of writing, I just write either things that have happened or how I’m feeling. I don’t have anything fancy for this journal because I am very particular, after years and years of keeping a journal, about the style I like. I insist on a spiral bound, which is tough to find, and I also like to have college ruled pages and enough to last a long time. This knocks out almost any cute, pretty or fancy journal out there because they usually don’t meet these criteria. Nicole bought me this journal on Amazon for Christmas and it was one of the best presents I’ve ever gotten. Journal by Plan Ahead, $9.95 on Amazon.


2. Mood Journal

I have tried to keep a mood journal in the past but it never really works out. For a long time I just did a rating number in a small calendar daily, like a 1-10 type thing, but that just doesn’t give me enough information, since my mood can change throughout the day and it also doesn’t let me know what potentially caused the mood. Then I changed to rating a select few common emotions on a scale of 1-5, which was pretty cool and worked well but was exhausting and still didn’t give me any context. In the past few weeks I have decided to start mood journaling again after encouragement from Nicole. This one is a nice size so I can carry it in my purse if I want to keep a close eye on my moods throughout the day. Now instead of any rating system I just put a small blurb of what I am doing and how I’m feeling along with the time. It is blank inside so I have the option of writing as often as I want throughout the day. Journal by Piccadilly, set of 3 for $5.38 at Barnes and Noble.

food journal rise and shine by piccadilly

food journal inside

3. Food Journal 

I struggle with food and my eating habits so this is something I’ve also tried to do in the past but it never really pans out. Another journal encouraged by Nicole, I’ve only been doing it for a few weeks so I don’t know how it will pan out, but for now it’s pretty easy to  keep. I wanted something that was already pre-made with each day and spots for breakfast lunch and dinner but the only one I could find was a very expensive Moleskine fitness journal and I was not dropping $25 on a journal I may or may not keep up with. I bought this one in a pack along with the mood journal, only $6 for a pack of three, and it’s the same size so also good for taking with me in my purse if I want to write as I eat. I haven’t had trouble so far just writing each morning for the day before. I pre-wrote in the dates through my first month and I create spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner so writing in it is pretty stress free and it looks nice and clean in advance. Journal by Piccadilly, set of 3 for $5.38 at Barnes and Noble.

i was meant to sparkle list journal

list journal inside

4. Daily Lists Journal 

This is my go-to carry-in-my-purse keep-me-from-sitting-on-the-couch journal. It doesn’t always keep me from sitting on the couch though, I must say. But it does give me a place that isn’t my daily journal where I can keep track of just day to day things I need to do. Each day gets its own fresh new page. I started doing this when I got out of the hospital in April. I put stuff on it that seems small and minute, just to have stuff to check off, but it keeps me on task and it makes me realize at the end of the day what I did get accomplished. Right now it always automatically includes my four daily October goals of showering, doing housework, taking photos and taking my medicine. When I don’t have a list, a lot of time I will default to being confused about what I’m supposed to be doing and why I have nothing to do, although there is always something to be done. With this one also, since I just use a small notebook, I get to have a fresh new one every month or two, which is nice because I get bogged down once I’m in the latter half of a notebook. Weird, I know. Journal from $1 bin at Michaels. I think it may have been a summer thing, I got it in May.

my favorite things journal favorite things journal inside

5. My Favorite Things

This was an impulse buy at Barnes and Noble when I was getting my mood and food journals. It’s super fun though. I like making lists and this just gives you prompts for listing things you like. I think I like it so much because it makes me remember there are things that make me happy, and definitely things that have made me happy in the past that I have since forgotten. I’m trying to write in it once a day and I’m letting myself skip prompts that maybe don’t pertain to me as much or ones I just find to be boring. Journal by Piccadilly, $6.28 at Barnes and Noble.

So does anyone else have such an obsession with journaling? I would love to hear about your journaling habits and whether you find it helpful to your daily routing or if it’s just another thing you feel like you have to do. Sometimes I feel that way. Mostly though, I do enjoy it and it helps me.

Don’t forget to be awesome,


Abandoned No. 1

abandoned house 1a

So we did it. Driving around on our regular weekend driving adventures outside the city yesterday we found an old abandoned house. Nicole stopped to let me photograph it.

I was super excited but also just running at full speed because Nicole was not sure about the legality of me creeping around some old abandoned structure. There were not any No Trespassing signs, and the property was for sale, so I thought it was really not anything to be worried about. We have trailed around the outside of many a For Sale houses, peeking into windows and walking on porches with no concerns, so that really put me at ease I think. Nicole was really concerned about snakes, but I haven’t seen one since the beginning of summer and I was so excited about getting photos that I don’t think I would have cared if one had peeked out from under something anyway. Needless to say, though, she waited in the truck.

abandoned house 1c

It was a hectic and heart pounding ten minutes to say the least. If I was even there for ten minutes, I don’t know. I almost stepped into the opening of the cellar which was covered by a piece of sheet metal and that was kind of an eye opener to be extra super careful as I was only being super careful to begin with. I did that while peeking into the side window, through which I found just a ton of stuff piled up, mattresses, a kid’s bike, a tire and a ton of other stuff.  Here’s the view through the window.


I did go inside, but just into one fairly clear room in the back. The back door was open, or without a door all together, I can’t recall. I can’t say that all this stuff being left there astonished me. Being someone who loves old things, looks through dumpsters and goes to garage sales I am acutely aware of how people often just leave stuff behind or don’t care about stuff all together. I don’t know what makes me like old, worn out things but I do. I always have. Anyways, here are the rest of the pictures. The clock and the broken root beer thermometer were my two favorite things by far. I wanted to dive through the window to grab that clock, seriously.


DSC_1239  DSC_1243 DSC_1247


DSC_1242 DSC_1249

In closing, I have to give a huge shout out to The Dainty Squid blog for making me realize that photographing abandoned structures is something a normal person can do. I never really thought about who it was photographing all the really cool things I come across, but it is just some photographer on an adventure with a camera. I can be that adventurer too. I really hope this is just the first in a continuing series of abandoned things that I can photograph and share with you guys.

Housework, Coping Skills and Guilt

I’m not feeling well today and I didn’t feel well yesterday. I don’t want to do anything. Yesterday I told Nicole how I felt. I always feel so guilty for feeling down and not being able to, at the very least, get the housework done. I know having a clean house is very important to her and I’ve promised her so many times that I can do it, that I can try hard and work hard and do it. But my body doesn’t even want to move. Yesterday I stayed in bed all afternoon. I didn’t even get up to smoke. I didn’t have the energy. And today is no different. I don’t want to be awake but I don’t want to go to sleep. I don’t want to read or watch tv.  I feel too guilty to try to do coping skills because if I can do some sort of coping skill why can’t I clean the house and do what I need to do?  I hate feeling this way. Just so lackluster and useless. Yesterday I was trying to just take a nap and the thought of sleeping and not waking up sounded nice. I hate feeling that way and it makes me feel even more guilty on top of it all.  I just feel like this is all my fault, that I should be able to pull myself out of it somehow, to just shake it off but I can’t.