All the puppies.

This past Wednesday I was feeling really down for no particular reason at all. It had just been a weird couple of days, I guess, and the weather was crummy, and I don't know, I was just not doing so well. And then I logged onto twitter and I saw a picture of a random stranger who looked too similar to my friend who died almost a year ago, and that's when I just lost it. This upcoming Wednesday would have been the 26th birthday of that friend of mine who lost a battle with depression last March. So, understandably, I wasn't having the best of days. After all, birthdays are a reason so celebrate another year of a life well lived. He didn't get that year.

I knew that the first year would be the hardest, and I was as ready for that as I could be. I was preparing myself for the one year mark.

For some reason, I forgot to prepare myself for his birthday.

So, Boyfriend set me up on the couch with a West Wing marathon while he went to the grocery store to pick up dinner, which is incredibly nice of him because I tend to get really bad anxiety inside of grocery stores and my pants have a tendency to fall off outside of them.

And that's when I took to Twitter.

And then something miraculous happened:

I was flooded with pictures and gifs of puppies. I got puppies via text, via DMs, via emails. There were puppies everywhere. And suddenly I was crying and laughing all at once and everything was terrible and wonderful.

So, this is really just a blog post to thank you all for all the puppies. And to tell you that I love you all so much. Really. FullSizeRender IMG_3405

You're all so wonderful.

Nothing can ever prepare you for this.

I lost a friend to suicide this week. It’s not that I thought I was ready for this or anything. No one is ever ready for something like this. I just thought that maybe - just maybe - I understood it a little bit. I have read so many memoirs and blog posts about what it means to be depressed or suicidal. I have always been drawn to stories about people who suffer from mental illness and I think a huge part of that is because I wanted to understand. I had friends growing up who suffered from depression and hurt themselves, so I started reading and reading and reading, and while I knew that I could never understand on the I’ve-Been-There level, I thought that maybe all of this reading was helping me to get it on a cognitive one.

I will never understand this. Not that I'll stop trying to, of course. I’ll keep reading and I’ll keep obsessing and I’ll keep reanalyzing every detail that I can to try and understand so that when I see the signs, I can stop it, but I don’t think I will ever fully understand. And I don’t think I really want to.

I don’t want to know what it’s like to be in that much pain and to feel that alone.

In a recent blog post written by Jenny Lawson, she talks about her “folder of 24”. It’s a folder full of 24 different letters she received from people who were actively planning their suicides when they read her “coming out” post on depression. More importantly, they read the comments section, which was flooded with me-toos and I-thought-I-was-the-only-ones. These messages saved at least 24 lives. I say "at least" because she goes on to say that when she would be out signing copies of her memoir, people would come up to her and whisper “I was number 25.”

There were so many 25's," she writes.

Why couldn’t he be a 25?

I know it’s not fair to ask that question, but I’m in a lot of pain and I’m not really in the mood to think about whether a question is fair or not, if I’m being honest. My friend took his own life and I wish he hadn’t. End of story.

So now, all I can do is hope that he is at peace, wherever he is. I have to hope that if he was in that much pain, that now he isn’t anymore. I have to hope that the solution that he came to was at least that: a solution. Was it the right solution? No. Not in my opinion and not in the opinion of anyone who knew him. The world would be an extraordinarily better place if he were still in it. I just wish he would have known that.

Garrett Janos and I met at church. He was drumming in the band and I was doing techie things. We clicked pretty quickly and I soon discovered that Garrett was so many things: kind, hilarious, and an amazing drummer. He always showed up when you needed him to, and he was never one to turn down an adventure. In fact, there were very few times when JH and I drove around with him in the daylight, now that I’m thinking about it. It was always about midnight runs to places, even if that place was the video store, where the three of us would come to befriend the manager and get free DVDs for the week, just for the love of movies. Garrett loved movies. He loved any form of creativity. And he was generous with his abilities.

My ButtonThe very first logo that this blog had was a black-and-white image of my face with a giant old-timey mustache and buckteeth. Garrett created that image one day when he was bored. He made different ones for a few friends and sent them off to us with a smile. When Awkwardly Alive and Pleasantly Peculiar was born, I knew there was no other image I could use for my logo. Since then, it has been revised and spruced up a bit, but the theme has stayed the same.

When my YouTube show, Page Break, was created, Garrett loved it so much that he sent me a sketch he started working on just out of the blue. That sketch became our logo for the show. Garrett wouldn’t let us pay him for it. That's just how he was.


Garrett was loved. He was important.

And so are you.

So please, if you’re considering suicide or if you’re suffering from depression, please reach out. Call a suicide hotline. Tell a friend or family member. If you’re in school, it’s likely that there is a free clinic where you can go and talk to someone. Go read Jenny Lawson’s posts on how depression lies, because that’s what it does: it lies. It’s really good at it and it’s incredibly convincing, but you have to remember that depression is lying to you.

You have to remember that you are loved. You are important.

And if you’ve ever lost someone to suicide before… how did you manage? What do I do?

A foundation has been started in Garrett Janos’s name to help fight mental illness. Donations can be made and more information can be found here. If you have anything to give, we really, really appreciate it. Let's see if we can grow a few flowers from all of this dirt.

The mustachioed images he created of me (top), "John Hamm" (bottom) and himself (right).

Think of This as Your Thank You Card, Because I Don't Have Your Addresses.

Okay, so to all of you who commented on my last postThank you.  You are all so supportive and amazing. Like... in a mind-blowing way. The comments, texts, and various emails that I got were overwhelming and made me realize how much love there is in m life, even from people who don't know me, which is crazy awesome.

After I posted that, I took a few days off from blogging and I just kind of sat. I read through all of your comments over and over again and by the end of the weekend, things were already starting to look up. No huge developments have happened, but the baby steps started, and I'm getting my positive view back, which is so gosh darn nice.

Things I learned this month:

  1. Depression and I don't get along. I know that seems kind of obvious for anyone to say, but I know some people that, unfortunately, make depression kind of work for them. I am not one of those people.
  2. I'm a really ugly crier.
  3. People are awesome. Strangers are awesome.
  4. Dogs are the best snugglers ever.
  5. When in doubt, rent a movie with your mom.
  6. Peanut-butter, wine, and Netflix are a wonderful combination.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you all, and to let you know that I've already got some good humor-oriented blog posts in the works for this week, so hopefully, we'll be getting back to ... normal? No... we can't use that word to describe what typically goes on here...



"And We Are Just Breakable Girls and Boys"

I've posted various vague posts on Facebook about this, and today, I posted a rather blunt one in a blogging group that I'm a part of:Picture 1 First of all... Thank you to everyone who responded. Every single comment (and there were way more than I was expecting) was encouraging and you have no idea how much I needed each and every one of you today. The responses ranged from "Just keep powering through. You'll get there." to "Don't go for funny. Go for real." or instead of advice, some of you just said "This too shall pass."

I haven't gone a day without crying in 2 weeks and 4 days. In those 2 weeks and 4 days, I've lost so many things and I feel like I've gained so little. Maybe I'm just not seeing the silver lining, but that's usually something I'm so good at doing. Maybe the depression is just winning right now. I've never really been depressed. Ever. I've been sad, sure, but depressed? This is totally new territory for me. I've never woken up sad until now. I've never not known the upside of the situation.

I have never felt more alone and lost in my entire life, which is why I haven't been the best blogger lately, among other things. I'm scared. I'm lonely. I'm hurting. I'm at this point where everything in my life could be labeled as "Status: Pending" and it's the scariest place I've ever been. I've never needed Big Love like I do right now. I've never needed good news like I do right now.

I honestly don't know what else to write, so I'm going to leave the rest of it to Ingrid Michaelson, because her "Girls and Boys" album has been my soundtrack through all of this.