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I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I posted here. I have been designing websites for over 20 years, and blogging for almost as long (although it wasn’t called blogging back then, and I just had an online journal I typed into a template I had made and create a new HTML file for each entry), and every time I start a new project, something prevents me from maintaining it. In this case, it was changing jobs. (Which, admittedly, has led me to my current job, which I absolutely love and am beyond grateful to have. Knock on wood, break a wishbone, chew a four leaf clover?)

This past year has been incredibly, wonderfully busy. My primary job takes up most of my job, I have a small acting job (so to speak) on the side, and the rest of my time is spent with friends, family, on adventures, binge watching TV, and trying to get my ideas down on paper and actually done.

I will write more about some of these, but here are a few things I’ve done this past year:

  1. Bought a new car. Finally. The old one finally gave out, and I bought a brand new, mint-colored Chevy Spark.
  2. Set a goal not to date for a year in order to work on myself. I’ll write an entry about this later, but I decided last year not to date or join any dating websites the entire time I was 34. I did it, and I’m at such a better place mentally now.
  3. Dyed my hair pink. Then pink and purple. It was something I had wanted to do again since I was 16, and I finally have a job where I can.
  4. Flew on a plane. Those of you who know me know that I have a terrible fear of flying and hadn’t flown since 2009. I went on a work trip, had massive panic attacks while clinging to my coworker, and am so glad I did it. And am excited to fly again!
  5. Saw my favorite band for the first time in ten years. Out of town. By myself. As someone with anxiety, it was a big deal, but seeing Alkaline Trio again was so totally worth it!
  6. Started drawing and painting again. I used to love to create art as a teenager, but gave it up over the years, mostly due to depression. A few months ago, I had to desire to draw one night, so I bought a bunch of art supplies, and now I try to draw or paint every night. It’s been incredibly cathartic.

So here’s the part where I tell you I will try to start posting again, and who knows? Maybe it will happen!

Please note: This post is about mental illness, including both depression and anxiety, as well as weight loss and body issues. If any of those topics make you uncomfortable, please feel free to skip over!

I haven’t felt like myself for a few months. I touched on it in an earlier post, but I wanted to more fully flesh out what’s been going on with me.

I went through a break-up in early April, which ended up being the catalyst to a fairly positive period in my life. For a few months, I felt very good about myself, my abilities, and my direction in life. Then suddenly, almost out of nowhere, the panic attacks began. I can remember the first night of overwhelming anxiety, where I barely slept and woke up with my chest aching and my jaw clenched. I tried to ease myself out of the attack by watching TV, trying to self-sooth with comforting statements, and focusing on my breathing. And I just couldn’t. I felt ridiculous and silly, but as the ache in my chest turned into deep, stabbing pains, I texted my best friend Megan, who is a nurse (and the smartest person I know).

“Do you think it’s silly if I go to the ER?”

She assured me that it wasn’t, and although I knew logically I was just having a panic attack, I felt it was best to go in and be reassured that it wasn’t anything more serious, especially considering my family history of heart disease.

I spent that June morning and early afternoon in the ER, distracted by a Say Yes to the Dress marathon playing on the TV in my room. I was referred to a cardiologist, where I had a stress test, the results of which showed that my heart is normal. (At least my physical heart. My emotional heart is a mess. Womp womp wahhhh.)

But the anxiety has continued. It’s incredibly specific, and I wake up multiple times every night with the same thoughts. I carry them with me through out the day. I have managed to push down the panic to where I’m not having attacks as often, but this low to moderate level hum of anxiety buzzes in my head almost constantly. I don’t know if it’s chemical. I don’t know if it’s situational. I hear this voice repeating, filling me with dread.

Compounded with financial issues, day-to-day stress I don’t manage well, and an inclination towards introversion and solitude, I am kind of a mess. Per usual, since my mental illnesses don’t like to be alone, the anxiety has brought my depression along for company. My anxiety says, “What if you screw this up?” and its pal depression chimes in with, “Well, of course you will — you always do.” Thanks, guys.

Even writing this is emotionally painful, and my finger keeps hovering over the “backspace” button.

I’ve been so hard on myself lately. I had finally found this good place where I was okay with myself, and I have backtracked in so many ways. I’ve given myself permission to feel shitty for awhile so long as I am making steps to feel not shitty.

I began a low carb diet in early August to help with my chronic illnesses and to help boost my energy (especially since one of my biggest issues with depression is physical exhaustion). I do feel a bit better, and I’ve lost about 12 pounds thus far. I’ve been trying to visit all my doctors and stay on all my medications, but, unfortunately, my insurance lapsed since I’ve been unable to pay for it, and now I can’t afford my medications, either. I currently have two jobs, although my full-time job is now moving towards being part-time, so I’m having to begin the job search process again.

The one thing I can say is this — except for in my darkest moments, I don’t feel hopeless. I feel sad and overwhelmed and frustrated, but I don’t feel like this is the end of the world. I don’t feel like I can’t get through this. And even when I do, I keep reminding myself that time and time again, I have gotten through this. Shit sucks, but, honestly? I’ve got this.

Happy days (and posts) are ahead. I’ve just got to push through.

Please note: This post talks about mental illness, specifically depression and anxiety, as well as loss and grief. If any of these make you uncomfortable, feel free to skip over this!

June was the seventh year anniversary of my mother’s death. It hardly seems like it’s been that long. My mother was such an alive, vibrant, radiant person that her no longer being here sometimes seems like an impossibility. It certainly was nothing I would have ever expected or known to brace for. To this day, it still feels like I was punched in the gut.

I began having panic attacks around the anniversary itself. I took myself to the emergency room one morning after having been engulfed in panic for almost twelve hours. I felt certain that I was going to die. My jaw throbbed, my chest ached. But I was okay, and an EKG, stress test, and an appointment with a cardiologist proved that. At least I’m physically okay, although my mind is a mess.

I’ve felt lately that I have to censor myself in order to keep others comfortable. “Don’t talk about being less than perfect, Emily — it bothers other people.” I’ve always been open about my mental illness. While I don’t want it to define me, it is a part of who I am. It has been there since I was ten, and it will be there until I die. I always found comfort in the confessions of those who have similar struggles (Jenny Lawson is my heroine), and after discovering Brené Brown about five years ago, I made the conscious decision to be authentic and (try to) embrace my vulnerability. If I can’t admit to having these emotions, how can I be my authentic self?

So here’s the real, 100%, honest to God, authentic Emily: I have major depressive disorder and it’s usually controlled well with medication but sometimes I feel like crap. I miss my mom every single day and sometimes I cry myself to sleep thinking about her. I have extreme anxiety and worry about a lot of dumb shit, although it’s not as paralyzing as it used to be. I have all the hang-ups everyone else seems to have, but I like who I am and I make myself laugh. I don’t handle stress well. I’m messy and I run late constantly and I screw stuff up, but I have a good heart.

That’s me. Nice to meet you.

    • My coworker said I looked like a rich bitch after I put on my coat, but my outfit is totally Target except for my boots. But if you pronounce it “Tar-jay,” we can pretend I paid hundreds of dollars for this look.
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #purplehair #pinkhair #alternativecurves #targetstyle
    • My first Christmas in my apartment (2016) vs this year. Still don’t think I have enough decorations though.
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#home #homedecor #living #livingroom #livingroomdecor #vintage #vintagehome #homesweethome #southerncharm #southernliving #memphis #midtownmemphis #catcourt #apartmenttherapy #apartmentliving #smallspaceliving #apartment #apartmentdecor #target #targethome #christmas #christmasdecor #christmasdecorations #pinktree #pinkchristmas #pinkchristmastree
    • Possibly professional.
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #purplehair #pinkhair #alternativecurves
    • Yeah, it happened. 🤷🏻‍♀️ My apartment is festive AF.
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#home #homedecor #living #livingroom #livingroomdecor #vintage #vintagehome #homesweethome #southerncharm #southernliving #memphis #midtownmemphis #catcourt #apartmenttherapy #apartmentliving #smallspaceliving #apartment #apartmentdecor #target #targethome #christmas #christmasdecor #christmasdecorations #pinktree #pinkchristmas #pinkchristmastree
    • These past two, three months have been a journey for me. I try to be honest about my struggles with mental illness, but I have gone through some things lately that I felt were going to break me. I feel like I have finally come out of the other side, and I feel stronger than I have in many years. Guys, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are struggling. There is no reason to waste your time on Earth hurting. You deserve to be happy.
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#curvygirl #curvy #curvywoman #curvystyle #plussize #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #blogger #plussizeblogger #girlswithcurves #selfie #positivevibes #purplehair #pinkhair #colorfulhair #mentalhealth #depression #recovery #endthestigma #ptsdrecovery #bpd
    • I promise I’ll post some actual content soon. Life has been insane the past couple months. In the mean time, here is a picture of @buzzcocked and I from the Memphis Flyer. I promise we were not drunk (yet).
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•• #ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #purplehair #pinkhair #alternativecurves
    • Waiting to put up most of my Christmas decorations, but started on this little village.
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#home #homedecor #living #livingroom #livingroomdecor #vintage #vintagehome #homesweethome #southerncharm #southernliving #memphis #midtownmemphis #catcourt #apartmenttherapy #apartmentliving #smallspaceliving #apartment #apartmentdecor #target #targethome #christmas #christmasdecor #christmasdecorations
    • Making meatloaf, drinking pumpkin beer, and getting ready to watch a spooky movie. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! 🎃👻💀🍁🍂
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#home #homedecor #living #livingroom #livingroomdecor #vintage #vintagehome #midcenturymodern #homesweethome #southerncharm #southernliving #memphis #midtownmemphis #catcourt #apartmenttherapy #apartmentliving #smallspaceliving #apartment #apartmentdecor #autumn #halloween #halloweendecor #vintagedecor #targethome #targetstyle
    • Put a combination of @joico ruby red and amethyst over my faded amethyst, and I kind of love the results! It’s red-violet, burgundy, bright conglomeration of color. (Also, I bought these glasses thinking they were very Jackie O, but I feel more Willy Wonka in them. 🤷🏻‍♀️)
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #wiw #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #plussize #plussizefashion #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #plussizeblogger #girlswithcurves #purplehair #redhair #alternativecurves #colorfulhair
    • Okay, so clearly I need to clean my mirror/room/life, and I’m hiding my face because makeup didn’t happen today, but I ended up accidentally wearing the cutest outfit today because I ran out of black clothes except this dress, and I ran into Target and bought sparkly leggings and booties and, whoops, cute outfit. I’ll get a better pic of the leggings and booties tomorrow.
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #purplehair #pinkhair #alternativecurves
    • I’m tired of the purple, but I’m not really sure what color to do next. Part of me wants to go back to brunette, but I know I’ll get bored. 😂
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #wiw #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #plussize #plussizefashion #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #plussizeblogger #girlswithcurves #purplehair #alternativecurves #colorfulhair
    • In Chattanooga for the weekend, and I’m tempted to just say fuck it and go live in the mountains.
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #purplehair #pinkhair #alternativecurves