Brace Yourselves, Daylight Savings Time is Ending.

 
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On November 4th, millions of people are going to jump for joy about getting back that one hour's sleep they sacrificed back in March. Sure, we can all stay out at the bars an hour later or sleep in an hour more the next day, but hold up--let's not forget that Daylight Saving Time sucks. Every year, we get used to sleeping in an hour later only to groan when next spring rolls around and we've got to adjust to the time change all over again. Here's a wild idea: let's NOT.

According to the internet (the ever so reliable WebMD, in this case), the time change affects our circadian rhythm quite a bit  because it changes its primary cue, sunlight, by a whole goddamn hour all of a sudden. NOT ON MY WATCH, IT WON'T! Okay, on my physical watch, it will, but you knew what I meant. By keeping my circadian rhythm intact, I'm hoping that adjusting in the spring won't be as hard as it usually is. 

My game plan is to go to bed an hour early on November 4th so that I can still claim my extra hour. On November 5th, though, I'm going to wake up between 6:30 and 7:00 am, which was 7:30-8:00 am the day before, which is the time of day my body is used to getting up in the morning. For those of you who live in more northern/therefore darker locations,  a daylight lamp is a great item to purchase. If you haven't heard of a daylight lamp, they're fantastic. It's essentially an alarm clock that wakes you up by getting gradually lighter, making for an easy (and circadian rhythm maintaining) wake-up. You can get one for as cheap as $29.99 on Amazon, but I really like the Phillips Wellner Smart Table Lamp. I can control it from my phone, use it as a bedside lamp, and it looks pretty cool and futuristic, sorta like Baymax.

Folks who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately dubbed, "SAD") can benefit greatly from a daylight lamp/light therapy. So can people with mood disorders! According to Psychology Today, "If one is treating a mood disorder, light therapy is best given for duration of 30 minutes for every hour one sleeps beyond 6 hours. So for example, if one sleeps 8 hours, they would require one hour of light therapy given one hour before they would normally wake. Since this is unlikely to be done by people who already feel the need for more sleep, it is best to use a dawn simulator light." They recommend starting light therapy one week before symptoms set in, or as soon as they do. Although studies have been performed using a 10,000 lux lamp, other studies show that a light with a lux of 500 could be just as effective. For more information on the benefits, check out the Psychology Today article referenced in this post!

 

"I Am Enough because I Say I Am" and Other Revelations

I have been telling myself some delusional story that I am not a writer, that I could not possibly identify as one, forever. I tricked myself into believing it was true despite the fact that as early as elementary school, I experienced most moments of my life with a narrator in the background. I crafted whatever I was experiencing into sentences and into short, fragmented stories. I wrote a short story in elementary school that was bound in a hardback book, took creative writing in high school, excelled in grammar, became a phenomenal speller despite having failed most of every spelling test I ever took in elementary school. I even considered majoring or minoring in creative writing at my college, which was KNOWN for its creative writing program and which produced the author of that one book that they turned into a movie about escaping an island with Leonardo Dicaprio in it. But I didn’t think I was a writer. I thought somebody else was more qualified to claim that title. And my sacrificing of identity didn’t stop there: somebody else was more qualified to study costume design, somebody else was more qualified to step up and perform a dance in front of the Emmy-winning Mia Michaels, that somebody else, that somebody else, that somebody else.

I got so mad the other day thinking about how I have put myself in a box to prevent me from taking up space that I thought other people deserved more. I was cleaning at the time and this narrator sentence formed in my head, only it didn’t go away, it kept knocking, knocking, knocking, bumping into my skull, begging me to listen and give it space. The sentence morphed into the first few lines of a poem and I grabbed a pen just in time to catch it as it all came pouring out.

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Writing this poem was a bizarre burst of creativity that came out of nowhere and ended as abruptly as it started. I feel like I vomited that poem out. Like one giant heave that cleared my head, splattered all over the page in front of me, and left me exhausted but feeling a little better.

The crazy thing about writing this poem is that I probably wouldn’t have realized what had happened had it not been for Big Magic. Big Magic is a book by Elizabeth Gilbert about living creatively and without fear. I finished it a couple weeks ago. In it, she describes a fellow writer’s experience with poetry:

“As [Ruth Stone] was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out, working in the fields and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. It was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barrelling down at her over the landscape. And when she felt it coming . . . 'cause it would shake the earth under her feet, she knew she had only one thing to do at that point. That was to, in her words, "run like hell" to the house as she would be chased by this poem.The whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page. Other times she wouldn't be fast enough, so she would be running and running, and she wouldn't get to the house, and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it, and it would "continue on across the landscape looking for another poet."’

I felt that same experience for the first time in my life the day “I Am” hurled out of me. It was euphoric. My hand moved quicker and quicker to keep up with the thought and by the end of the poem, my words were big and lose and sprawled over twice as much space as they should have. By the end of it, I had taken up twice as much space as I should have. I realized that when I took up space with my creativity, I wasn’t taking space away from anybody else. The space for creativity is endless.

The experience was almost like an exorcism--only an exceptionally pleasant one where my inner voice made itself heard and acknowledged in concrete form. It said, “I am a writer because I write. I am a writer because I say I am. I am in charge of my identity.” To that voice, I say, “Rock on, you bad bitch.”

When an Apartment Hunt turns into a Panic Attack.

Anxiety is a f***ing b.

You might feel like you're doing everything right, moving forward with your life and then BAM. You're in the midst of a panic attack.

Sometimes, the cause is obvious sometimes, it's something small, sometimes it's completely invisible. For me, I think it's all of those combined. How can you know which came first? Little things become harder and harder for me. Like doing laundry became impossible. I started feeling incapable of getting ready for work until the absolute last minute. After a certain point it's almost like you're trying to make it harder for yourself, but really it's just that exhausting and everything seems impossible. 

I was apartment hunting with my boyfriend. That's what set it off I think. I had so many tours scheduled and so many unstored numbers of landlords and brokers in my phone in so many different locations in a span of 24 hours. We ended up at the Realtors office instead of the apartment we were meeting the realtor at (which I realized was his fault because he never actually sent me the god damn address and had his office address listed). A fucking waterfall just opened. I started sobbing these disgusting, snotty sobs, accompanied by those deep uncontrollable noises emphasized by gaps of air you only produced when you cried as a child. Why did I schedule all these meetings this way? I guess I spend too much energy trying to cater to other people's schedule to the point where I burn out on my own.

 I feel this immense pressure to always be on top of everything. Yes, it's definitely a bit of a control issue that gets out of control, ironically. But it's these moments (which probably happen a few times a year tbh) that serve as my wake-up call. 

I must be reminded sometimes to re-commit to myself. I don't always have to be the one rearranging my schedule for a stranger's comforts. I don't always need to be the one to move off the sidewalk when someone's also using the sidewalk that I'm equally entitled to. I don't have to always say yes to plans I don't have the energy for, or to make those plans work because I said I would even though. 

I can't see to get out of bed. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and not apologize for being selfish. Because it's not. Selfishness and self-care are very different. Don't apologize for your anxiety or depression. I'm sure as hell not going to anymore. (well, until my next panic attack, that is.)

F*CK Depression. I deserve better than this.

I don't know how to start this blog post. I don't know if I'll be able to fully grasp how much depression sucks with a couple paragraphs. I don't know if I'll do myself or anybody else struggling with depression justice with this blog post, but it's become important for me to talk about it and so I think it's important to blog about it.

I went to a psychiatrist for the first time in my life two weeks ago. Before I went, a friend told me they thought I could get through this without medication. My partner thought that when I had a massive breakdown after a couple drinks, I was being dramatic. My boss wrote me up for substandard work. Let me be completely clear about this--it is hard to survive a single day with depression. It seeps into your bones and makes you ache. It makes you cry yourself to sleep at night out of sheer loneliness, even though there might be a warm body two feet away. It makes you slow and foggy. It makes you scream out loud in your sleep. It makes brushing your teeth and washing your hair a hassle, and sometimes it makes you wish everything would just end.

A couple weeks ago, I started telling everyone that I was depressed. I told my students. I told my partner. I told my supervisors and colleagues. People didn't rush to scoop me out of this massive depression I've found myself in, but they listened and they heard me, which was enough. I've stopped taking responsibility for my moods and my unproductiveness because I know that I'm doing the best I can with ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and PTSD. I've stopped faking positive emotions and am trying to accept my feelings of sadness at face value. I've also stopped pretending that I can get out of this on my own.

With great, exhausting effort, I have begun to hoist myself up from the bottomless pit of all this. I ordered vitamin supplements (shoutout to care/of and their customizable supplements), I scheduled an appointment to see a psychiatrist, I started taking medication, started spending time outside by myself, started making plans with friends, signed up for Audible for not one, but two books a month because doing so makes me happy. At this point in my life, I can't waste another minute in this hellhole of depression. Every thing I do right now is with the intention of saving myself. Little by little, I am starting to feel good again. I know there will be days where I feel sad as dirt. I know there will be days where I relive my trauma over and over again, but if I can start to carve out grooves in the walls of this depression, I will be able to climb out. I deserve to climb out.

As I start this journey, I will be sharing resources that have been useful for me on the blog and Instagram. If you know of anything that can be of help to folks suffering from depression or anxiety, tag the blog at @fabfeministblog so we can share these resources with our readers, too. If you have found that you, too, are in the hole, remember that you have fierce supporters in Giuls and me. Send an email to fabfckingfemale@gmail.com if you need to. Don't let the stigma keep you from healing. Depression and anxiety do not discriminate and you deserve happiness.