Unending Gratitude

Okay. First of all, it’s been a week since I last wrote anything, and I’m sorry about that. I’ve been avoiding anything even remotely social online, because it all reminds me of my friend. I’m trying to get past him, and that can only happen if I’m not constantly doing things that remind me of him.

It’s getting better. I still miss him, of course, but I keep reminding myself that I didn’t do anything wrong, which helps. I’ve been reaching out a lot to my other friends, because when I’m upset it helps me to talk to people. Not about my problems (I suck at that), but just to talk. About literally anything.

What I’m trying to say here is that I like to talk to people. I’m a social person. Talking to my friends about things like movies and musicals (I have an obsession with musicals that’s gotten insane) makes me feel better. It’s how I get through the bad days.

I’m writing today because I’d like to thank all of my friends, who will probably never read this, for being my friend. You probably don’t realize what you’ve helped me get through, because I’m terrible at talking about my problems, but I wouldn’t have made it to this point without you.

When I get upset, the first thing I do is text a friend. I see if anyone is able to hang out, or even just talk to me for a while. I don’t like being alone, and I especially don’t like it when I’m having a bad day. I need someone talking to me, reminding me that I’m not alone. I have friends, and they’re here for me.

So thank you. You guys are the reason I know I can do this. I can handle whatever cards I’m dealt, because I have all of you.

Luv and chocolate,

Ari

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I had an online friend. A really good online friend, someone I trusted. I told him things about me that I never tell anyone. He trusted me the same way, telling me his problems. We did our best to help each other, and when that wasn’t possible we just offered support. We were there when we needed each other, and it made a huge difference in my life.

But as it turns out, relationships you think are two-sided can be one-sided. I don’t know exactly when he decided he didn’t want me in his life anymore, but he told me yesterday and I was devastated. He gave me an explanation that might have made sense had I been capable of rational thought, but all I could think was, “He doesn’t want me.”

He told me to stop texting him. He wished me luck and love, and said goodbye. And that was it. The end of a relationship. Just like that, we’re no longer friends.

I don’t know what to do with myself. All I can think of is my life, stretching out before me, without him. None of his jokes, or entertaining stories, or thoughts on life. They’re all gone. And he chose that. He wanted it this way.

I’ve read his explanation a thousand times, and I believe it. I believe that I didn’t do anything wrong. But it still doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe it never will.

The smart thing to do here is to stop reading his explanation, cry for a bit, and then go on with on my life. If I was giving someone advice, that’s what I would tell them. So I’m going to try to follow my own advice, because I’ve been told it’s generally pretty good.

I’m giving myself today to eat chocolate and cry in front of my T.V. But tomorrow, I’m going to get up and start doing things again. I’m going to move on with my life, as best as I can. I’ll still think of him a lot, and I’ll miss him. But I respect him enough to do what he asked, and stay away.

Luv and chocolate,

Ari


Good Days and Snow Days

Do you ever wake up and just feel like it’s going to be a good day? You open your eyes and you’re optimistic about how the day’s going to go, but not because of something you know is going to happen that day. You just wake up with the feeling. That’s how I feel right now, and I think it’s because of the snow.

For the last few years, it’s barely snowed. Last year, we got maybe an inch over the entire winter. But it started snowing two days ago and just stopped a few hours ago.

It’s beautiful, perfect and white and sparkling, like hope given form. We haven’t had this in so long, but here it is, right in front of me. It didn’t stop existing just because we haven’t seen it in a few years.

It’s been a while since I felt okay. But just like the snow, I can be not okay for a while and then be okay. I can have a string of bad days and still be able to have good days after they’re done.

Like the snow, my good days disappeared for a little while. But also like the snow, they came back.

And on that note, I’m going sledding.

Luv and chocolate,

Ari

The Girl in the Mirror

I was going through all of my books today, because my mom wanted me to donate the ones I don’t read anymore, and I found one that a friend gave me years ago. She wrote a little note on the inside, telling me I’m an amazing friend.

We became friends in nursery school, when she would bring her PowerPuff Girl toys to school and we would fly them around the classroom. Maybe that’s what I should have thought of first. In high school, we read the Mortal Instruments books for the first time and she drew the runes on our arms. Maybe that’s what I should have thought of first. I’m not really sure. But I’m pretty sure that the first thing that went through my mind shouldn’t have been a rush of sadness, followed quickly by pain and fear.

I spent a long time watching her spiral deeper and deeper into her mental illness, and I did everything I could to help her. In the end though, there was nothing I could do for her.

I don’t talk to her anymore. That was a choice, and I think it was the right one. I miss her, and I know she’s upset that I don’t talk to her anymore, but I can’t do that until I can think of her without feeling the things I felt today. Sadness, pain, and fear should not be part of our relationship.

…I say, standing in front of a mirror, trying to convince myself. “You matter. Your problems are no less important because they don’t have a label,” I tell myself. (That’s the second time I’ve put that mantra in a blog post. Maybe that should’ve been my blog’s name, instead of Luv and Chocolate.)

Obviously, today isn’t a good day. The only reason I haven’t called her is that I know two of my other friends would tell me not to. Not a great reason, but it’ll work for now, until I’ve repeated my mantra enough times that I believe it and know for myself that calling her is a bad idea.

Some days we don’t get clean answers. And some days we get the answers but they don’t make sense, even though the day before we might have understood perfectly. All we can do on those days is accept the answer we know is right, and try to understand it later.

I’m waiting for enlightenment…

Luv and chocolate,

Ari

Here’s To The Okay People


My mom made chicken soup for dinner tonight. It was really good, but I lost my appetite after around five minutes, because of a stupid comment my brother made. He said something along the lines of “school is so long I might kill myself”. Of course, my parents jumped on him, telling him that he can’t say things like that, and he laughed it off.

My brother isn’t a bad person. He spends a lot of time doing volunteer work and he always holds the door for anyone else walking through. He didn’t say it to be mean, and he definitely didn’t mean to trigger me. But he did. He said it and for a minute all I could think of was my friend, standing in the street for hours, waiting for someone to run her over.

What hit me next, though, is what stuck. My brother is able to say things like that without being triggered. He managed to get to his senior year of high school without going through anything that would make that sentence painful to say. I’m jealous. I don’t think I’ve ever been so jealous of someone in my life.

And yet… Despite my jealousy, it helps me to know that there are people who are genuinely okay. That there’s a goal, something I’m reaching for. If no one was okay, we wouldn’t have anything to aim for. We wouldn’t be able to say, “I’m messed up and I want to change that” because everyone would be messed up. We would try to avoid things that made us hurt more, like triggers, but we would never try to solve the real problem, that being the mental illness or instability. We wouldn’t think to try to cure the big problem, because we would never see someone who didn’t have it. We wouldn’t know it was possible to be mentally healthy and stable, so we would never try to get that for ourselves.

So let’s hear it for the okay people, who remind us why we take the medicines, talk to the therapists, and write the blogs. You guys are the best. I even forgive my brother for ruining my appetite.

Luv and chocolate,

Ari

“Secondhand Experiences” Are a Fake Idea

I read somewhere that writing about your problems can be helpful, when the problems are related to mental health or identity. (I read that in a fabulous book called Symptoms of Being Human, by Jeff Garvin, which is about a gender fluid teenager who starts a blog as a way to express their feelings. I’m terrible at descriptions, and I’m deeply sorry for that one, but the book is definitely worth reading.)

Call me Ari. Of all the nicknames people have for me, that one’s my favorite. I’m a really short girl with dirty blonde hair and blue eyes, and I laugh really easily. On the surface, I seem mentally stable. And maybe I am. I’m not sure, if that makes any sense.

Because here’s the thing: What I went through wasn’t my own mental health problems. Instead, I acted as the therapist for nearly all of my friends for years. They’re all doing better now, but my own mental health is so much worse. I have triggers now, something I never imagined could happen to me. I was supposed to be the “okay” one, the one who solved all the problems, not the one who had the problems.

I’ll tell you how it happened. You know when someone tells you about something bad that happened to them, and you take on some of their pain so they don’t have to carry it alone? I did that. I did it with multiple people, for a few years. And I hid any pain of my own, because it added to theirs and I couldn’t let that happen. I never allowed myself to be upset or angry, because it affected them in a bad way. It upset them and they didn’t deal with being upset very well, so I did my best to make sure they never were. They were the sun around which I, the Earth, orbited. Everything was about them. And I didn’t realize I had a problem until it wasn’t like that anymore. Suddenly, I was allowed to have feelings. I was allowed to have bad days and triggers and to not be okay. It was terrifying, and I had no idea how to deal with it. Honestly, I still don’t. But I’ve made some great friends, and I know I can rely on them.

I’ve told some of my friends what I’ve been through, and they told me something that I didn’t believe for a while. My past isn’t a series of secondhand experiences with other people’s mental illnesses. It’s a series of firsthand experiences with trying to help someone who’s in a downwards spiral, and then falling into that spiral with them. I’m allowed to have bad days, and what I went through matters just as much as what my friends went through. My struggles are not less valid because they don’t come with a diagnosis.

I’m sorry, I sound really attack-y right now. (It’s a word. Accept it.)I don’t mean to sound like I’m attacking. It’s just that I don’t always remember. I still have days where I want to call that friend I stopped talking to, because even though it hurts me to talk to her, maybe she needs me. And she’s the one with depression, so I need to make sure she’s okay. On those days, I have to stop and remind myself that I matter just as much as she does. I repeat it like it’s a mantra. “You matter. Your problems are no less important because they don’t have a label. You matter…” Over and over, until eventually I believe it.

Maybe one day I won’t need to remind myself anymore. I can’t wait for that day.

And as long as we’re talking about things I want, I’d like a kitten.

Luv and chocolate,

Ari