Today, We Will be Sad Quietly

This will be short post, but I need to share this intention with the world so I might actually stick to it.

Yesterday, I had a meltdown of sorts. And it was sloppy, and embarrassing, and likely annoying. They always are. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who become quiet when they are upset; instead, I whine and complain and metaphorically flail at everybody. And I’ve had enough therapy that I “know” there is nothing wrong with this. That’s the correct answer. I’m allowed to express my feelings or something. But allowed or not, it leaves me hating myself.

So today, I endeavour to spend a single day being sad quietly. I know my thinking behind this almost certainly isn’t healthy, but one day isn’t going to kill me, and it might make me like myself a little better.

Maybe I’ll report back later on how this went. Maybe I will list every negative feeling or event that occurred because my suffering only feels valid when somebody else knows about it.

But right now, I shall begin my day with the almost certainly misguided intention to suck it up and keep it together and mainly, to be sad quietly.



A Day in the Life: Disability Edition

I am currently sitting in my bedroom, high on Ativan, at 3:30 in the afternoon. I mean, it wouldn’t be less weird if I was high on Ativan at a different time, but my point is this is where I find myself.

“How did you end up here, Sarah?”

Let me tell you, friend. Take your coat off. Stay a while. There’s a lot of information to cover.

A more proximal reason why I am here is that I wanted to leave campus. This is because I wanted to wear jammies and snuggle my cat and write about my feelings, and these things can’t happen on campus.

Why did I feel the need to wear jammies and snuggle my cat and write about my feelings? Well, I took a half milligram of Ativan, and it hit me pretty hard. I knew I was done functioning for the day and my priorities turned to being cozy.

Now why did I take the Ativan?

This is when the causal relationships start to get fuzzy for me, but I’ll try to figure out my thinking, while I explain it simultaneously.

I took the Ativan because I was anxious.

Why was I anxious?

I have an intake appointment tomorrow for potential trauma therapy, I’ve been feeling weird since yesterday afternoon, and my girlfriend is having a bad day.

Let’s dive into these feelings, shall we?

  1. Why do I have an intake appointment for trauma therapy?

The first part of this answer is that something happened in 2014. I’ve mentioned that something happened around that time because it’s relevant to my eating disorder story, but I’ve never spoken about it. It’s just the bad thing that happened. I put this bad thing in a box and put this box on a shelf a long time ago. Every once in a while (once a month maybe?), something would remind me of what happened and I would be briefly upset, but ultimately fine. Recently, this has changed. There are a few events which I think may have contributed to this, and after some brief fact-checking to establish chronology, I will explain them.

First, September 30th. I was having a meltdown about something, and I started rebelling against my anxiety by doing things that would trigger it. One of those things was writing out an account of what happened. I took the box off the shelf and opened it. I didn’t feel that bad initially afterwards, but I suspect at least part of what I am experiencing is long-term consequences of this event.

Next, October 15th. S (my girlfriend) had a night terror while I was over. They ended up telling me some things about their trauma, and I remember feeling triggered at one point, but I don’t remember specifically what caused this. My main focus at the time was helping S. I didn’t think this event would have any effect on me, and maybe it didn’t. But I think there’s a possibility that this made me think about what happened to me and made me draw an association between a certain kind of trauma and terror. So this may have contributed to my current issues.

Finally, October 22nd. This was the day I had training to be a peer support volunteer. During this training, I learned that something else that happened to me (with the same person involved in the original event) was a lot worse than I thought it was. I knew I felt very uncomfortable about it, but I thought I was being overly sensitive and dramatic. And for some reason, framing this experience in a different way created so much terror in me. I even saw the original event differently, as I realized the person involved was a much worse person than I realized at the time. And since this day, my life has become increasingly filled with intrusive thoughts about what happened.

For a few days, I carefully policed my thoughts all day in an effort to keep these thoughts away. I took a lot of Ativan, which helped in the moment, but isn’t a great long-term strategy. I was terrified to talk about what happened with a therapist, so decided to wait for these thoughts to go away. Then there was an episode at S’s one night where I was high and having graphic flashbacks that left me hyperventilating and crying. After that happened, I figured it would be a good idea to get help with this. The counsellor I was seeing was actually so useless that I skipped my appointment  and am now ghosting him. I also quit CBT for social anxiety, because why not? More recently, I e-mailed a counsellor whom my girlfriend (and others) say is great for trauma-related things. This is the one I will be speaking with tomorrow. I’m currently having intrusive thoughts about the event all day which get worse at night when I have no distractions. I have been taking Ativan most nights so I can calm down and fall sleep, and even then it’s hard.


2. I have been feeling weird since yesterday.

This story will be much shorter, don’t worry.

Yesterday afternoon, while taking the bus to my mom’s for lunch, I started feeling very weird. At first, I really couldn’t tell what was wrong, and thought I might just be looking for things to mope about. But then I realized I felt pretty dissociated. I experience derealization (thinking the world isn’t real or I’m in a dream) fairly often, but its severity fluctuates between days. It was pretty bad yesterday. I tried so hard to feel present, but I just couldn’t. I barely remember the bus trip to my mom’s. When I got home from my mom’s, I had a beer in hopes of keeping intrusive thoughts at bay. This just made the dissociation worse. When I headed to S’s for dinner, I was feeling terrible. But it’s always something with me; I always have something wrong. And I recognize how annoying this can get. For just one day, I wanted to answer “How was your day?” with “Good.” Just once, I didn’t want to make everything about me. So I acted like I was fine. This is leading into the next story, but the point here is that I was feeling shitty independent of recent/upcoming events.

3. S is having a rough time. This started when I was over last night, and once I knew they were having a hard time, I knew I couldn’t talk about how I was feeling. That would make me a dick and someone who needs to constantly be the centre of attention. So since then, S hasn’t been doing well, and neither have I, but I have been saying nothing. I’m sure that isn’t helping.

But I always have a very difficult time when the people around me struggle. It makes me extremely anxious, and I have never fully figured out why. I think part of it is that I have some deeply-rooted, incorrect beliefs. For example, I feel very strongly that everybody’s attention should 100% be on the person suffering the most, and everybody else needs to shut up about their problems. This is true to some extent, in that you wouldn’t complain about your coffee being made wrong to somebody who just lost a loved one. But I have been told that I take this idea too far. I believe this causes part of my distress, as I start feeling like I have to be perfect and take care of the other person and have no problems of my own. I also think a lot about whether I do need to be the centre of attention to some degree. I’m not sure whether this is a factor, but it’s possible. Another theory is that I’m hyper-empathic, to the point where someone else’s pain makes me suffer enough that I can’t even support them. I definitely think this is true about me, and that this contributes to this issue. But I’ve never fully put the pieces together, or thought of a way to work on this. But there’s that.


Anyways, the heap of text above explains why I was feeling anxious, which explains why I took the Ativan, which explains why I couldn’t function, which explains why I decided to come home and sit in my room high on Ativan. And now, we’re all caught up.

My thoughts currently are all over the place. To be honest, it was triggering just mentioning the thing that happened, and that’s making me feel weird. The Ativan is still impacting me greatly. I’m unsure how much compassion to have for myself, because I’m scared my only problem is that I need attention. I don’t know whether I really am allowed to be upset right now. I don’t know who I’m allowed to tell. I don’t know if S would be mad if I told them I am feeling bad. And I just REALLY fear that I only feel bad because S feels bad. I have other reasons to feel bad, but I was trying not to bring them up because I didn’t want to be a bummer, but now I feel like we’re allowed to be bummers? I meant to explore my current thoughts in more depth, but I am getting very tired, to be honest. I think I will just reschedule everything I need to reschedule from today and tomorrow, and go to bed early. That’s all for now.



Just Kidding: We are Blogging Again

I recently made the announcement that I would stop using this site and would instead use my time writing political posts on I have since changed my mind.

The internal crisis surrounding my perceived lack of accomplishments continues, and I have found myself increasingly drawn to the idea of putting more effort into writing.

I love writing. I have loved it since the second grade. And my dream for the last little while has been to get a steady, “real” job, then pursue writing on the side until it becomes a viable way to support myself. But in the meantime, I have been doing nothing to strengthen my writing skills or to use writing as a creative outlet to the extent that I would like to. So I am back here. Hello darkness, my old friend.

I know I haven’t made it clear how returning to blogging will fit into my goal of accomplishing literally anything, and that’s because I am not really sure of the answer. But it’s something.



Doing Something that Matters

I have probably mentioned more than once that I have recently entered into a new relationship. I try to work this fact into most conversations, but I promise it’s actually relevant here. Just give me a minute.

My girlfriend is amazing. I don’t understand how I found somebody so incredible. They have had countless disadvantages in life, but have accomplished more than a lot of people who have been given every opportunity. The one downside to this fact is that I’ve been comparing myself to them a lot lately. And unsurprisingly, I’m coming up short.

They have clear passions, firm values, and big ambitions. Not only do they have big dreams for the future; they have big dreams for right now. These things aren’t true for me. I have been held  back by fear and disability, allowing my goals and passions to exist only in the future, where they can give me hope without terrifying me. Theoretically, I know what I stand for. I know what’s important to me. But what am I doing about it?

Politics and public policy are a huge interest of mine, and the field I intend to enter after grad school. Yet, the only way I actually engage with these issues is by yelling at my computer while I watch the news. I am passionate about fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and every other form of oppression, but I skip protests in favour of going to bed early. I have always loved to write, and yet I’ve never had a piece of writing published. I write half-assed blog posts when I’m sad, wanting to be heard but not wanting it enough to invest my whole self into it.

Who am I? What do I bring to the table? What am I doing with my life that actually matters? These questions continue to haunt me, and likely won’t stop until I have finally answered them.

Speaking of writing half-assed blog posts, I need to cap this off because I am very tired. I might write some better posts in the near future. Or I might not.



I have consumed a milligram of Ativan, so to be honest, I’m not entirely sure I can get through this post. Adjust your expectations of my writing accordingly.

On my first day of classes, I had a bit of a meltdown. But the next day was okay, so I thought it was the adjustment, and that I would be fine. But since classes started last week, I have been getting extremely anxious about every other day. I feel anxious always, but it spirals out of control in the evenings. And right now, most of my anxiety is about my anxiety, which is fucking peachy.

There are too many feelings and I don’t think I can handle them and I don’t want to handle them and I am scared. I’m scared I can’t take a full course load this year, and that I will have to further delay my graduation. I am scared that I wouldn’t be able to cope with the self-loathing this would cause. I am scared that grad schools and even people won’t take me seriously, because I have so little experience in the field I wish to pursue. I am scared because I don’t know who I am, or what I have to offer as a person. I am scared of these feelings I have for S (a person I’ve been seeing). I am terrified that I would be unable to cope if I fuck this up. Or if life fucks it up. I feel like I’m carrying around a little ceramic figurine trying not to break it, and I just want to put it away so it’s safe and I can stop worrying about it, but I can’t do that for a while. The things I’m feeling are just too much and I do not think I can cope with them. Even the Ativan isn’t working like it normally does. I have taken one milligram and my heart is still racing and my limbs keep feeling numb.

I’m scared that I’m going to die one day, even though I sometimes wish that day would be today. I’m scared that there is no meaning to this short life. I’m scared that S is going to die, because that would make me very sad, and that’s how my brain works. I need to be acutely aware of all the horrible things that could happen, so I can worry about them. Even the unlikely things.

I want somebody to fix it. But also I just want to lie in S’s lap while they pet my hair. I want to be comforted. But I also need practical solutions. But there are no practical solutions to existential dread. Although that’s only part of it. There are just a lot of things.

That’s about all my brain can do. Nobody needs to worry; I’ll be fine soonish. I just have a lot of feelings.


The things I learned in Undergrad

My undergraduate experience hasn’t been very conventional. And I’ve hated myself for that since I returned to school in Fall 2015.

But I just finished a 10-minute guided meditation on self-forgiveness (because apparently I’m a person who meditates now), and as cringey and fluffy as it sounds, I realized something important. Namely, that I have learned so much more since I started university in 2012 than I ever could have if things had gone differently.

I wouldn’t be who I am today if I had graduated in 2016 with my friends from high school. If I hadn’t switched programs. If I didn’t take time off for eating disorder treatment. Maybe things would have been easier, but they wouldn’t have been better. Because I went to university to learn, and that’s what I did.


I began first-year as an anxious but generally happy super-Christian. I went to church twice a week, I volunteered with a youth group, and I planned to declare Religious Studies as my major in second year. I hardly know that 17-year-old version of me now. I feel compassion for her, because I remember that Christianity gave her a purpose and a community, before it gave her crippling self-hatred for being a sinner and stifled her dreams. I feel compassion for her, but I barely know her. These days, she rarely crosses my mind. Anyways, at some point, this girl decided God was telling her to become a nurse. When I didn’t get into the Nursing program for the following year, I decided to major in Psychology for my second year then transfer into Accelerated Nursing.


At the end of Summer 2013, after university education and life experience left me doubting Christianity for months, I made the decision that I was no longer a Christian. When I went back to school in September, all my friends thought I was going to hell, I had no hobbies or interests outside the church, and I had no direction or purpose for my life. I tried turning to science to give me some sense of meaning. I thought if I learned HOW our species and our planet ended up where they are now, I would also know WHY. I wanted to switch into Biology. Then Biochem. Then general Life Sciences. Then physics. Eventually, I decided to stay in psychology after all and do something to help those with mental illness. I developed Bulimia in the Fall, and barely attended any classes in the Winter. I went to the Psych ER three times with suicidal thoughts. At some point, I thought a change of scenery might help, so I applied to double major in Math and Writing at a different university in January 2015. Over the Summer, I experienced a trauma and my eating disorder became restrictive and took over everything. (When I talk about this, I like to clarify that my eating disorder COINCIDENTALLY became worse and more restrictive at the same time, but restrictive eating disorders are not generally more or less severe than other eating disorders)


Just typing in those years brings me immense sadness. This year must have been the most miserable in my life to date. In the Fall, I couldn’t work, and I was waiting until January to return to school. I watched documentaries under a blanket in my room all day, and had energy/motivation for little else. All I cared about was food and calories and weight. And to be honest, I probably needed it at that time, because everything else had gone to shit. I accepted a referral to a Day Hospital program, because I thought I would be magically better in 8 weeks and go back to school like nothing happened. I started attending classes in February, and relapsed immediately. I still only cared about food and calories and weight. I dropped all my classes in late March or early April because I didn’t have the mental capacity to learn anything. I returned to the Day Hospital program in April. While there, I decided to return to my original university, as it was closer to my home so my parents would be nearby and the trigger of commuting would be gone. This school doesn’t have a writing program, so I intended to double-major in Math and English.


I managed to mostly maintain my recovery through the Summer. I met Jenn in the Fall. She made me happy and was a great motivation for recovery. I’m still getting over our breakup, so I’ll just say the recovery stuck and Jenn did not. I also decided to only major in Math, as that meant graduating with a BSc instead of a BA, and the English courses at this school are not remotely writing-related.


Jenn broke up with me a few days before classes started in September, so I started the term suicidal. I was in the hospital a few times for overdosing, and was very nearly admitted as a psychiatric inpatient. I managed to get my shit together just in time, and got through the term. In the Winter, my roommate was admitted inpatient, and everything was about her for months. I sound unsupportive and I honestly am, but I had zero support and she was incredibly selfish during this time. I don’t want to get into the details, but our friendship became very toxic, and it was all very difficult for me. I made no changes to my program this year, believe it or not.

After 6 years of undergrad, I will (if all goes to plan) finally receive my degree in 2018. That degree will tell the world that I came to university and I learned about math. And I used to take comfort in knowing it wouldn’t say anything else. Like the fact that it took me 6 years to achieve, or the fact that I changed my mind on my program 20394 times, or the fact that I entered school wanting to be a missionary, or the fact that I lost a year of school to complete eating disorder treatment. But today, I kind of wish my degree wouldn’t just say I learned math. I wish it would say that I learned where I stand on religion, how to survive when I don’t want to, how to cope in unhealthy ways, how to cope in healthy ways, how to break and then put myself back together, how to love, the fact that I love women, what heartbreak feels like, how to put my life back together a second time, what I really want to do with my life, and how to work towards the life I really want. Because I learned all those things, and looking back, I wouldn’t change my path one bit, because those struggles and setbacks and detours made me grow into the person I am today. And I learned things about myself and the world that I will use for the rest of my life. So my undergrad hasn’t been conventional, but thank god it hasn’t been.


In Transition

Today, a lot of things changed.

I moved out of a place I shared with my toxic best friend (whose best friend status is currently under evaluation). I moved in with 4 strangers whom I will live with during my final year of undergrad. Both my Summer courses began (I attended neither due to the move). I guess that’s not very many things, but it feels like everything.

I need my routines. My routines comfort me. My routines ground me in reality. But I’m in a new house now, and I’m taking different classes, so things will be different. My routines have to change.

This might sound bizarre, but I simultaneously feel like life isn’t real and that I’m falling off the edge of a cliff. I don’t know what to do with myself. What do I do tomorrow morning for breakfast? When do I shower? Do I need to prepare more for Wednesday’s classes? I just want to lie in bed on my laptop forever.

I was excited to use this Summer to fight my social anxiety, so I could be a happier person by Fall. And I still plan to do that. But everything feels so scary right now.

I can’t explain it. But I just feel so afraid. I’m afraid to socialize with the people in my house. I’m afraid of how my social situation will change as I rethink my closest friendship. I’m scared my Summer courses will be terrible, and that I’ll be miserable all Summer. I’m afraid to get a part-time job, and then have to do it. I’m afraid of finishing my undergrad next year. I’m scared to go to grad school, which will probably be in Germany. I’m scared to get a real job after that. I’m afraid of everything I’ll ever have to do for the rest of my life. And I thought facing my fears would feel liberating, but I’m remembering all these times I was forced to face them repeatedly and my anxiety did not improve. That’s where the depression sets in, where life starts feeling like a long list of things I don’t want to do. Usually, my efforts to avoid anxiety (like isolation) cause depression, so it’s a bummer when it’s caused by the anxiety itself. Like what am I supposed to do to live a full, happy life?

Clearly, my thoughts are now devolving into chaos, so I will take this opportunity to politely excuse myself from the internet.