Overcoming Mental Illness, Step One: Admission.


...That's what it looks like.

What? Not what you pictured? 

Are you surprised?

That's me. 
This is me. 
I have suffered from depression for over a decade and I have worked my little butt off to cover it up every single day of my life! 

Today, has been a very emotional day for me. Today I have admitted to one of my toughest life battles yet and I did it on accident. I went to the clinic today for chest pain I was having this morning. It has happened about 10 times in the last 6 months and though I've discussed it with my docs before, nothing has ever come of it. Today it was worse than ever before, really.. I thought I was dying - think heart attack dying- , and I went straight to see the nurse. Calm as can be, she told me she was pretty certain I was having anxiety attacks. I immediately started crying because I knew. 

I knew. 

I was in denial and the jig was up!

We did an EKG (just to be sure I really wasn't having a heart attack) and then the doc and I discussed anxiety, depression, and various other mental illnesses. Though this was not the first time a doctor has told me I suffer from depression, it was the first time I've ever admitted such things to anyone other than my husband. It was scary and yet so liberating. I cried the entire time.

See, I've always known that I've suffered from some form of depression, anxiety, and probably a few other things but I've been in denial. Because I don't want to be crazy! And I've spent a ridiculous amount of time hiding from all of my thoughts and fears, exhausting myself to cover them up. I've been lying to everyone and most importantly myself. 

Not only have I been denying a serious illness, I've been depriving myself of help that I seriously need.
All because I don't want to be crazy.  

See what labels do. 

I debated on whether or not to write this post, because.. well, I was ashamed. 
Ashamed for being depressed in the first place. Ashamed that I've been lying about it. 
Ashamed that I am not the person I want be. Ashamed that I am not the person others want me to be.

But, I've realized that this IS me. And all I can do is make improvements. So, here I am.. Improving.

The road to peace starts today. 

We discussed many possible treatments and for now I've opted out of medications. 
Soon I will see a psych and for now I've got these pretty little things.

Leave in acupuncture. 
I know.. I feel like a total badass with these babies.

For those of you who have never suffered from a mental illness, I don't expect you to understand. The concept that one would have to battle their own mind is a hard one to grasp. I do however, want you to know that mental illnesses of all forms are very real. And sometimes, such as with my anxiety, they can cause physical pain. Depression is more than just sadness.  It's not something that can be changed with the snap of your fingers. Though I want to be truly happy and work hard to be there, it isn't as simple as mind over matter. There are many walls that I need to tear down before I can get there. 

I plan to continue posting on this topic as I journey on the road to peace and self acceptance. 

I would like to delve into all the things that my mental illness has lead me to such as bouts of anorexia and binge eating, drug use and times of alcohol abuse. Yes.. I know you're surprised. You should be, I've worked so hard to hide all of these shameful things in my life. 

I also want to tackle the traumatic events that have helped fuel the fire of depression and anxiety. 

And someday, I will be able to really breathe again. 

I'm not proud, but the journey starts here. 
Today is a new beginning.


Marriage and my Husband

Sometimes, I get in this weird mood where I feel the need to write something but I just don't know what  something is. And then I pretend I'm doing something on the internet for an excuse to touch the keyboard as if my fingers will get some sort of magical inspiration from. 

They don't. 

But sometimes while I sit here pretending, my mind wanders to just the right place. And tonight, it keeps taking me back to my husband. Or to him, rather. 

Not to be all mush-mush but I love him so stinkin' much. 
There are people that are probably under the impression that my marriage is a fairy tale. It's been stated. And while I am super happy and love is overwhelming and very much mutual in our home, my marriage is no fairytale. 

I'm here to tell you that marriage is HARD work!
 It means biting my tongue way more than I want because I've learned to choose my battles wisely. 
It means sacrificing many things near and dear to me because we operate as a team now. 
It means loving NO MATTER WHAT. 

Sometimes my husband makes me incredibly mad! (like claiming that he doesn't believe in celebrating Valentine's Day - and apparently anniversaries - only after we got married).

 There are days that I get so worked up just thinking about how mad he makes me. Seriously, I get furious sometimes - but I've realized that I almost always get furious when he's not around. He could be at work, outside, in another room or most likely, sleeping. And I just get so mad thinking about whatever the latest and greatest is that he's done or said.. or the lack of either.
 But I love him. And no matter how mad I get, whenever he comes back or wakes up the anger usually fades. If it doesn't, please believe that I just go ahead and speak my mind. Though I'm not really as intimidating as my overly-confident statements make me sound. But guess what?! My husband loves me too, and so when I speak my mind.. he listens. He doesn't always agree and the problem is never fixed over night, but we don't stay angry. We work on things.. Together. We talk.. A lot. and if things aren't right.. we keep trying. Because we made a promise.. until death do us part. And that's one promise I intend to keep.

P.S. I confessed my anger about him not believing in celebration on V-day, because well I believe in small gestures - I got "I'm sorry" flowers the next day. Though that was NOT the point I was making... A simple "good morning, I love you" text or hand made card would have sufficed, but I do love my flowers =)

And for those of you who cry (like my husband) that Valentine's Day is a hallmark holiday and love should be shown every day, you don't need an excuse to do so yada yada yada... You're right, it probably is. But ask yourself this, when is the last time you brought your significant other flowers for no reason. Or made him/her a card just to say I love you.  Or did any number of the things you did while you were dating. You get married, you have kids,  you become more parent than you are a couple. Don't think of it as an excuse, think of it as a reminder. That you need that time too.  And if you really do do those things on the daily and aren't just using that as an excuse to get out of celebrating, then I bet you already had a bangin' dinner planned anyway =) 


Dear Ash: February 15, 2013

Welcome to Dear Ash, a Friday night advice column inspired by the late Dear Abby.
Have a question? Need advice?
Shoot me an email at laugh_with_ash@yahoo.com and maybe you'll be featured next week.

If you haven't heard, this post will now be live every other Friday.

Dear Ash:  My boyfriend and I have been together for a few years. He's leaving in a few weeks for boot camp and has been talking a lot about marriage and starting a family. How do I tell him I'm not ready for that? -Sara

Dear Sara: You're either all in or you're not at all. You've been together a few years, if you don't see it now, when will you? If it's right you'll take the leap and if it's not, just let it go. Seriously... I was never ready. Not for my marriage, not for my kids- either of them, but I did it and those are the three best things that ever happened to me. 

Dear Abby: I've been going steady with this man for six years. We see each other every night. He says he loves me,  and I know I love him, but he never mentions marriage. Do you think he's going out with me just for what he can get? - Gertie

Dear Gertie: I don't know. What's he getting?

Have a great weekend everyone!! 
Be safe! 


Bloglovin' & Agena Castle Ruins

Guess what?! I've joined the club...

But here's one of our latest adventures,
Agena Castle Ruins

Everything is written in Kanji.. so I have no idea what these say!

 Cherry Blossoms starting to bloom =)

Love this picture of my handsome little man! 

We went here because it is close to our house, like walking distance close. The ruin grounds are small and not really worth the trip if you're not nearby or a serious history buff, but my kiddo definitely ran around a bunch and burned some serious energy so it was a successful day for us! 


Vagina... yep, I just said that.




Feeling uncomfortable yet? Seriously though, why is that word so taboo? It's not like I used the "p" word or the awful "c" word. I said vagina. That's politically correct, I think. 

Maybe you're not used to talking about your vagina, and if that's you, just x out now. 
Because we're about to talk about vaginas. I have one. Cool, right? I've had it my whole life and yet I feel like there is so much I don't know about it. Why does it have to so mysterious?! I'm guessing because in America it is just so inappopriate to discuss anything related to intercourse.. i.e. the penis and vagina, since they go hand in hand in the act. Though various other provocative things are not inappropriate? Yes, I think it's backwards. 

Seriously though, I had a procedure done today to take biopsies of my vagina and cervix and there was a young corpsman present along with the doctor. This corpsman was so awkward the entire time. He couldn't look at me, probably for fear of seeing a vagina.. but his tone of voice when he had to actually use the word and talk about it was slightly uncomfortable... and that's his profession!!

Maybe I'm just overly under-modest  but I do not get it.

and that's my rant.


First Things First

Today I'm linking up with Halie and Hallie for First Things First!
Because the first things are always a tad awkward, little bit weird and usually funny.

1. First Trip Out of the Country:
Niagra Falls, Canada - somewhere around 1995.
Family vacation that I hardly remember since I was so young. I think I was 4 maybe 5.
I do remember our car being searched upon reentry to the US, that was exciting =)

2. First Major purchase on Your Own:
How major are we talking? 
I spent $500 on my first laptop just after I graduated bootcamp. That was pretty major for me. And when I got done with all my training I made my first major major purchase with this bad boy:

I named him Jack and was soooo sad to part with my baby when we moved to Japan! 

1. First thing you learned to cook:
Spaghetti... boil noodles, throw jar of sauce on on burner, and voila!
Seriously.. we ate spaghetti religiously for the first 3-6 months  of our marriage. I think my husband is very thankful that I've learned to cook a few other dishes. His subtle way of telling me to learn consisted of giving me a cookbook anytime gift-giving was warranted.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!


A day in the life.

Just some of our daily adventures.
Currently in Japan =)

No idea what this says. Wish I could read kanji.


Dear Ash: February 1,2013

Welcome to Dear Ash, a Friday night advice column inspired by the late Dear Abby. 
Have a question, need advice?
 Shoot me an email at laugh_with_ash@yahoo.com and maybe you'll be featured next week.

Dear Ash: Does it get better living here [in Okinawa]? -Miserable

Dear Miserable: Home is where you make it. You hate it here because you've not accepted it as your home. I imagine the military has brought you here, as it has for most of us, and if that's the case, then you might as well get used to it. You're going to be moving A LOT. Get out of your house. Go make friends. Learn some key Japanese phrases. Venture into off-base establishments. Do not be afraid. If you're really desperate, have kids.. they're great pawns for meeting people. 

Dear Abby:    I have always wanted to have my family history traced but I can't afford to spend a lot of money to do it. Any Suggestions? - Sam in Cal

Dear Sam:    Yes. Run for public office. 

Have a great weekend everyone =)