Dear Professor: What I Can’t Say

Dear Professor,

I’m really sorry for missing class today. I took the bus from home as usual, but half way to the school I was feeling so nauseated that I had to get off the bus and wait for my dad to pick me up. I attribute this to the cold I’ve been dealing with, dehydration, or possibly lack of sleep. I have therefore spent the day drinking water and sleeping.

I missed all my classes today, but I feel the worst about missing yours. This is probably because I have now missed four times. There are always excuses, but I know excuses don’t mean much in real life. Your class is my earliest one, and mornings are hard for me.

Mornings are more than just waking up and getting on the bus. Mornings follow late nights of dealing with the anxieties of the day, when all the depression rushes up to my chin like cold bedcovers. Mornings comprise of me convincing myself that everything I’m doing is important. When I finally coax myself out of bed, I should earn a Nobel Peace Prize for the diplomatic negotiations I have made with myself. When I eat breakfast, every bite is purposeful, because with every bite I remind myself it is important to eat so I can function all throughout the school day. When I put on jeans instead of sweatpants, it is with silent conviction that the world will see me not as I feel, but for who I am deep inside: strong, capable, and willing to become the girl I feel I’m merely masquerading as.

Anyway, I’m sorry. Believe me, I have anxiety gnawing a sizable pit in my stomach for every absence. You will probably start deducting points for each time I miss now (because I am sure I will have excuses to miss again), and I might be kicked out of my student research group, but I promise that no punishment you could give to me will ever be as deep or as detrimental as the shame I will mercilessly inflict on myself.

Please let me know if there is anything I need to do to make up for today’s class.

Sincerely, Maney

amidst ashes: surviving suicide

I wrote this piece for Young Mormon Feminists but it totally applies to y’all, my original readers. Much love!

Young Mormon Feminists

In recognition of September being National Suicide Prevention Month

Last year I got this close to killing myself, but I survived.

It hurts to talk, to think about the experience. I went to BYU for a semester and within a few months I was severely depressed—on the brink of suicide. My lifelong perfectionism had finally caught up with me, and it was tightening around my neck in an invisible noose. They were dark times, endless days of pain I can’t even put into words. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to wake up. There was no rest for my soul; not in prayer, in conversation, in closeness. An untouchable emptiness inside me itched constantly. I got headaches from clenching my teeth from anxiety. I moved through the days with a constant wish that a car would flatten me.

I made feeble attempts to live, one of which was joining a BYU therapy…

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Poetry Friday: The Secret on My Lips

The Secret on My Lips

I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine
and weeks and months dissolve,
and when the town’s asleep I tuck myself in bed
but the secret on my lips is
I can’t sleep

It’s morning and I’m tired
but empty
so I write it out and soon
I’ll curl in bed and imagine

pretend

that you love me, you miss me,
you’re thinking of me, too,
and sleep won’t bring
me nightmares, it will bring
me you.

“The Writing’s on the Wall” by OK Go: This song was stuck in my head the whole time I was editing this poem, so here ya go.

Poetry Friday: Reason$ to Live

*trigger warning*

Reason$ to Live

The old feelings return and
my concentrated suffering
could kill every light in the city.

I can’t even trust
the emptiness to stay;
abandons me faster than hope
and leaves me numb.

I can’t even complain
because I’ve been worse.

Perspective.

It’s cheaper to hide than to act; blood flows in green bills,
sucking life from the ones who care.
So I die inside until it grows too strong,
and even then my blood comes out as ink.

Feeling Better Better Better

A few months ago I expressed my concern that once my mental health started improving, I wouldn’t have anything left to blog about. Now after about a month of slow posting, mostly reblogs and Poetry Fridays, let me say one thing:

Mental health is not so bad.

I’m no longer desperately clinging to, and then dejectedly hanging from, one last thread of life. There are bad days, of course, but now I can distinguish between my emotions, all my feelings spread across a palette from the lightest yellow to the deepest indigo; tears over past horrors, hours of inexplicable contentment, bursts of energy, and more and more. I am so consumed by this diverse spectrum that I can hardly even remember when all my emotions ran together in a blackish, hopeless mud.

Life is actually and really and truly okay. I am moving forward. I’m making plans. I am learning about myself–learning to love that girl for who she is. I’m learning where I want to go in life, not just physically, but emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

Things are definitely still hard. It hurts to remember what I’ve been through, to think about all the sadness and pain in the world. But things are beautiful, too. I’ve been patient; allowed myself to just heal slowly, months and months passing until I can’t even recognize myself anymore. And I have a loving family, medication, and a supportive counselor to thank for that. Not to mention the many prayers that have been offered on my behalf.

Yes, that’s right, prayers. Maybe you’re noticed, readers, but I’ve haven’t mentioned much of God or religion for a few months. I guess that was part of the healing: learning to trust God again and let His love heal me. Great, I’m tearing up as I type this. I’m so grateful that I feel deep within me that the doctrine I’ve been taught my whole life is truth. That doesn’t mean I don’t get to ask questions. There’s plenty of room for that. But the beauty is, I don’t want to trouble with questions right now. I’m just soaking in the beautiful feeling that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into my life. I love Him so much. Not as much as I should, of course, but I’m working on it. He’s patient with me.

So anyway, I don’t know how much I’ll be posting in the coming months. Maybe I’ll go back to three a week again, or we’ll just stick with Poetry Fridays for a while. Whichever, please know that I’m doing better. I love and appreciate you all for being a part of my crazy journey through life. Keep being your wonderful selves, my dear readers.

And because I have had this song stuck in my head for several days, here is Regina Spektor’s song “Fidelity.” Do the lyrics pertain to this post? I don’t think so. The music just sounds like turning a new page to a “better better better better better better better” chapter in life.

Shame On Me

It happened again today, and all it took were a few clicks of a mouse and a percentage.

Shame, rushing through me in a hot wave. I’m suddenly self-conscious. I feel upset. I feel anxious. I feel like a failure. I’m not enough, not good enough, never good enough. I need to apologize for something. I owe someone my happiness, my self-confidence, my peace. I am bad.

I recognize it now. In past years I didn’t have a name for it. I just assumed it was the correct reaction to low grades, awkward social situations, ugliness, anger–even for when people didn’t like me.

What caused it this time, you ask?

I got a 77% on a speech I gave in COMM 1020. Seventy-seven percent. That, my friends, is a C. As in, passing. As in, COMM 1020! This is so not even a big deal, right?

I envy the people who get C’s and cheer. I envy their ability to love life and love themselves no matter what a teacher slaps down on their report card. I love being around these people. They help me breathe, help me love myself. Literally, they keep me alive.

I mean, granted, my need for approval has gotten me some classy scholarships, but it has also almost driven me into an early grave.

I left BYU for several different reasons, but one of the main ones was that I was surrounded by people who seem to base their self-worth on others’ approval, which is my problem. I’m sure they will go on to live very successful lives, but I am not programmed to thrive in that kind of environment. I need to be with my blessed self-proclaimed sinners, my beautiful C’s-get-degrees friends, my beloved I-have-no-idea-what-I-want-from-life people. They are so wonderful.

Anyway, just wanted to tell you guys it happened to me again. And I’m grateful I’m back at my state college. And I’m still working on the whole shame thing. (Still plugging away through that book by Brené Brown!)

Do good things, team. Love yourselves, no matter what crap you’re being fed about how you’re not good enough–even if that crap is coming from yourself.

Personally, I’m going to try and be a little sassier, with inspiration from “Grace Kelly” by MIKA. I’m also going to try and stop embodying the lyrics,

Say what you want to satisfy yourself
But you only want what everybody else says you should want

Much love, Maney

Anxiety and a Half

Does anyone else feel like this blog is becoming a personal record of mental illness?

Log: had a terrible anxiety attack last night. Repercussions: mental exhaustion and a complete loss of will to socialize/be optimistic.

So instead of doing my real job here, I’m going to share with you this clean, vaguely funny post that Allie Brosh wrote on “Hyperbole and a Half” some years ago.

It basically sums up all my feels. <– 😉