Lying to Myself

Lying to Myself

Depression lies. Every day is a struggle to determine what is truth and what is chemical fiction. Is today going to be the day where my brain wins or life wins? Before you even open your eyes and your feet hit the floor, you don’t know.

Everything is a struggle and a choice; even down to the smallest minutia. You don’t want to (insert verb here) but you can’t live with the guilt of not doing it so you suck it up, put on your “happy” face, and get moving.

But you don’t want to get up because your bed is the only place where you feel safe and not judged and found lacking. That’s depression lying. I know the world isn’t perfect but it is beautiful. There is value and goodness worth fighting for and kindness is needed. A cartoon character named Iroh from the Avatar/Legend of Korra series said, “If you look for the light, you can often find it. But if you look for the dark that is all you will ever see.” Humans are designed to look for the light, but depression lies and keeps us hiding in the dark. It’s a vicious cycle; a mental snowball that’s crushing and devastating.

You don’t want to go to work because it sucks so bad and what’s the point. The kids don’t care, parents care even less, administrators only think of you as a valueless sap on resources. There’s no paper and the copier is broken again anyway. Why bother? Again – that’s depression’s deceit. There’s value in the work that I do; I honestly believe it. I know how lucky I am that I get to do what I love so much. Depression is just like a big yellow highlighter marking up all the ugly. Sure we struggle but it’s not as bad as my brain is making it out to be. So I fight against myself so I can fight for education and my kids.

When you come home you’re exhausted because of the mental battle you’re in all day. I can’t wait to crawl back into bed to sleep and sink into oblivion. I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. When I do, it takes everything I have to stay out and not race back home where it’s safe. I have a good time when I do go out, but getting out is a struggle. I’m like an old car that won’t start in the morning. Once I get going I’m fine, but it’s the getting going that’s the hurdle.

Depression lies. It tells me to pretend to be sick because no one wants to hear about how I feel. Because physical illness is more socially acceptable than mental illness. I make plans to find healing with my friends, but depression convinces me to break them. It’s a cycle of self-abuse that my friends get caught in the middle of. They deserve better.

Life becomes something you deal with every day rather than something you love and embrace. Depression wants you to throw that gift away.

So what do you do when you live with a liar? Your best. Day by day. Sometimes hour by hour. You stick your fingers in your ears and sing “lalalala you can’t hurt me” until you start to believe it. Platitude by platitude. Fake it until you make it. Put on a happy face for real when it naturally comes along. Hang in there until it gets better; because it does. Take a deep breath.

Depression lies, but you have to choose to listen to the truth.

Karen Padden

Karen, Queen of the Paddens and first of her name. Teacher, Baker, Petter of Cats, Multiple Sneezer and Crocheter of Wubbies. Believes in kindness, always.

Who Are You Behind Social Media?

When you find the approval of yourself- from yourself, you stop needing, therefore, seeking out, the approval of others.

Social media is an amazing way to communicate. But it sometimes makes me wonder how many people disapprove of themselves.
Self-love has been the biggest game-changer in my journey. I’m my biggest fan and I talk myself up in the mirror every day.
Have you ever looked at yourself in front of a mirror and just said: “I love you!”


Try it!

It’s fucking hard.

To say to yourself “I love this person standing in front of the mirror more than anything” is so powerful. But for SO MANY people, it is so hard to do. Why?

Because we immediately see our “flaws”. The flaws we have cast upon ourselves ONLY because society, a magazine, the boy in 3rd grade, a relative, or an old girlfriend told us something was wrong with us.
So what happens?

We start judging ourselves; because if we can judge ourselves FIRST it won’t hurt as much when someone else judges us.
What kind of fucked up mechanism have we just created?! All because we want to feel “safe”. We judge ourselves to feel “safe” in our body.
So when we gain weight, we get into toxic relationships, we stay in a job we hate, we turn to social media bc we know we can make our lives seem as magical as we want.

I’m asking you to stop this fucked up cycle and just start with LOVE. Love yourself. I challenge anyone reading this to go look in the mirror (naked if you really want to make it interesting). See what comes up for you. Don’t beat yourself up if it’s negative- just acknowledge what’s coming up for you- but try to silence that voice over time. Replace those negative comments with at least 2 positive ones.

Now repeat.

Every. Single. Day.

It’s fucking hard. But believe me- it’s totally worth the work. BECAUSE if you’re not good enough for yourself, then who the fuck are you good enough for?!?!

Monique Hayes is an intuitive health coach, Reiki Master, bakeologist, and educator. After completing her MPH, she quit the corporate health world to pursue her own mission of helping people heal from the inside out. She loves working with people, helping them transform into the happiest and healthiest version of themselves. Healthy, delicious food, connecting with nature, understanding the wants and needs of your body, and being authentically you in an inauthentic world are extremely important to her.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy Now

When I was little, I was seemingly always happy. I distinctly remember adults asking me, “how are you happy all the time?” And my answer was simple, I would respond “Well, I just decide to be happy instead of sad, and then I’m happy!”

Is it really that simple? Where did we get lost?

Adult me would tell little kid me that I’m just being an idealist and then grumble that I need to get my books ready for tax season or something. “You just haven’t experienced enough yet” I might say to me, “Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to become miserable, you’re young.” Little Danny would most definitely be confused what happened to future him, and might counter-argue “Can’t you see how easy it is? There is a lot to be happy about! You can run and shout and jump up and down and other stuff too!” Eventually, the older self and the younger self would agree to disagree and go separate ways. Adult Danny would head back to his office, while little Danny preps his 3 wheel scooter to ride down a tube slide and inevitability scrape his knees.

Now I like to think the current me kept that crazy spirt; I think there’s a good chance I did. Adult Danny is handy for making sure the mortgage gets paid, but I don’t think he’s the one in control. As terrifying as it is, the over-idealistic risk-taker riding the scooter might be driving the ship. And I think I found the key reason for that.

Adults are really good at working for their lives. We make to-do lists and systematically check off each item to keep the mechanisms running our lives well maintained. This is important for stability, and by all means not a bad thing. Go to work, check. Make money, check. Pay bills, check. But what do you get when your mind is completely tied up in completing a list of ever-replenishing menial tasks? We lost something in the check marks and line items; I couldn’t put my finger on it but it made me miserable. That is until I dropped my “to do” journal, went outside, and let my mind be free.

Children are terrible at to do lists and holding responsibilities to keep their lives stable, and that’s okay. Children have something far more important to do; they have to work on their lives, instead of for their lives. They need to run, jump, build things and fall over to figure out who they are, and where they are going. Alas, we get older, and the life we built is the life we live. We gain responsibilities, and then dedicate all of our mental and physical resources to maintaining our responsibilities. You can run on that treadmill until the belt wears down and the motor dies, and no one is going to stop you. You’ll be stable, you’ll be successful, and you’ll be miserable. It’s okay, there’s time to stop.

My grandmother used to shout “I grew older, but I never grew up!” with here false teeth nearly falling out of her mouth. I would laugh, but now I think she was on to something. Stay young. Keep exploring new interests. Take risks. Start anew. Don’t get so caught up working for your life that you forget to work on it. Give your childish side the wheel, just don’t crash the car.

Entrepreneur, Engineer, Artist. You’ll either find Danny in his startup’s office, or running in the woods. He is a tinkerer who realised passions can become careers, and that happiness lies in doing what you love.

The Unknown

Here I sit, at 29 years old ( I know.. I know.. I’m still young), wondering why I can’t figure anything out in life. I don’t think I’m alone. I’m starting to think that this may be an impossible task. How can you ever have life figured out? How can you ever have yourself figured out? Maybe the answer is… that you can’t!

These are questions I am always asking myself. People are changing every day. Most of the time you are changing without even noticing. All of a sudden, a year has flown by and you are nothing like you were the year before. You could have grown for the better, or, maybe you’re not doing so great. Who cares! Your situation will never stay the same.

I am not one to trust any type of relationship to last forever without pain, let downs, boredom, or drifting apart. This can be romantic relationships,  friendships, family, etc…I have grown apart from people I thought I could not live without.

I’ve been hurt by every single person I have ever trusted.

Maybe that is just life.

We are all human.

I do it to other people too. Are people supposed to be like this? Because it seems like we all are the same in a sense. Some people try to be a saint while others enjoy being the devil. Either way, we all lie, don’t say things that we should, say things that we shouldn’t, are confused, think we know what we want, and we all strive to be our version of happy.

You build your own life and start moving in a different direction. You get married and settle down, you lose your friends and make new ones, you raise your kids and lose focus of everyone else on the planet. Most people get divorced and start over again. Changing all over again, over and over. These changes within you, and within the people around you are constant. Every day you go on with your life without noticing how you are changing into someone else.

Some people learn from their experiences and become more humble, while others are terrified of the world and become bitter. Everyone takes a different path. You travel your path with expectations that you can never fully control. You have no idea what your life will bring.

I always wondered what my “purpose” is going to be. Maybe it is to help others and work my life away. Maybe it’s to raise a family. Maybe…it’s nothing at all. That is the scariest, yet the most beautiful part of life. We don’t know anything…and that’s okay.

Why do we feel the need to know what our future holds? Why can’t we just let things fall into place instead of trying to control everything? I am exhausted from trying to control my entire world.

I do not believe that everyone has a soul mate. I do not believe that everything happens for a reason. I do not believe that everyone comes into your life for a reason. I believe that things just happen, and we are just people who make a bunch of mistakes. We are people who never stay the same.

Love will come and love will go. Friendships will be made and destroyed. Happiness will come and so will pain. Life can be simple; it’s only complicated because we make it that way.

Maybe I should just go with the flow and see what happens. I try to manipulate my life and it never works out. It’s like I have control, but I don’t. I don’t think a person can be truly happy while trying to control every aspect of their life.

I don’t know what I am doing. I don’t know who I will be in the next year, 5 years, or 10 years. I do know I won’t be the person writing this today. Who knows if I’ll be married, single, kids, no kids, working my life away, jobless. It’s all unknown. And I’m okay with that. Accepting the unknown might just be my key to happiness.


Meghan Farr

Meghan has an Associates Degree in Human Services, Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies, and a Minor in Psychology.

You Look Good But Looks Can Be Deceiving

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said ‘you look good’ when I was in pain, fatigued and feeling broken.

I like to use to an iceberg as an analogy for what my lupus looks like. Most people only view the tip of the iceberg but there is more than imagined below the surface. The iceberg analogy can be applicable in describing many different illnesses, such as depression. They may look ok on the outside but hopeless on the inside. It’s difficult for people to understand that you’re experiencing health difficulties when you look normal or ok. It’s not like a broken leg with a cast or walking with crutches/cane/walker or using a wheelchair where everyone can see the disability.

My rant begins with an experience I had recently when using my handicap placard. While walking into Jewel to pick up my prescription, I had an older woman approach me who proceeded to inform me that I parked in a handicap space and should be ashamed of myself for taking that space away from someone who ‘really needed it’. At first, I was dumbfounded by her gall but recovered enough to say I have Lupus. She continued to appear agitated with me so I said do you know what that is? A little less annoyed, she said no. I openly admit that I was frustrated and felt like telling her to kiss my @ss but attempted to explain that she had no idea what health issues I was dealing with and tried explaining that I have a heart condition and pain with swelling in my ankle and hip joints. The woman rolled her eyes and walked away before I could tell her that looks can be deceiving. I was raised old school and wouldn’t be disrespectful even though she was disrespectful and rude to me but I would have liked to tell her to mind her own damn business!

There are many disabilities that are not obvious and we should not be so quick to judge! As for my lupus, sometimes I actually have a limp when my ankle, knee and hip joints inflame but most of the time my symptoms are relatively invisible to the untrained eye. There are times that are obvious and others a mere rash on my face or redness revealing the butterfly rash. At times, when I get palpitations I stop, sit or lay down until the episode passes but it can last for hours at a time. I always carry my medicine with me to relieve some symptoms however it can take at 30 minutes for it to work. With my joint pain, sometimes it’s difficult to hold a full glass or cup in my hand or simply button a shirt because of my swollen, painful joints. I cannot lift a gallon of milk due to my joint inflammation! The fevers and fatigue take me down to where I’m confined at home and sometimes to bed. If my hip or knee is painful, sitting, standing and walking takes more effort and I compensate to get around and use a cane also I avoid the stairs. I keep a pull-out couch on my first floor when it’s too difficult to climb stairs due to fatigue or pain. Some days I can paste a smile on my face and fake it while other days I feel ok enough to enjoy activities and other days I’m unable to leave the house.

It’s hard to explain exactly how much having Lupus effects living a ‘normal’ life. I never know when or where that traveling circus of inflammation is going to put down stakes – that means I don’t know how bad the inflammation will be because it can vary from day to day. It’s difficult to make plans since I don’t know how or what will be affecting me most on any given day.

Life, in general, can be unpredictable for everyone.

For me, life is extremely unpredictable every day. I can wake up feeling ‘good enough’ but by noon experience palpitations with a heart rate of 120 at rest without any apparent reason which leaves me feeling fatigued for the rest of the day. Or run a low-grade fever preceded by body aches and chills. Or be up every hour during the night with palpitations or joint pain. Therefore, I try not to commit to activities by keeping everything tentative. When I do give my time to someone or something it’s truly giving a piece of me. It takes genuine effort to get to an activity and be social. True friends and family have realized what it means when I attend functions and don’t take it for granted.

Along with unpredictability, the loss of control is one of the hardest things to deal with. I’ve learned over the years to compensate so I can enjoy life to the best of my ability. On bad days, I rest with only bare necessity activities, on good days participate in minimal activities but get to socialize! Every day I try to anticipate by planning out my day and spacing activities with rest periods in between. I’ve learned to accept when my mind says go go go but my body says no no no!

Living with Lupus has its limitations but it doesn’t make me useless! Yes, some days are more challenging than others but I’m still me, caring, kind, considerate and helpful. I like to think of the classic movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”. If you’re not familiar with it, check it out. It’s about how one person touched the lives of many others without really knowing it. I may not be able to climb a mountain or run a marathon but I can be supportive of those around me and be a good listener. I am a devoted mother, sister, and friend. I can still make a difference in other people’s lives. I try to find the goodness in others as well as myself. Personally, I try not to compare my before lupus life to life after my lupus diagnosis but I think I’ve become a better person over the years, definitely more compassionate, appreciative and in tune to my surroundings.

A little self-awareness goes a long way. With self-awareness, we become better humans, better people. We need to find compassion and acceptance, to accept others for who they are. Life is about acceptance and so is Lupus. It has taken me many years to come to terms with who I am with lupus vs. the life I lived before my diagnosis. Every day I choose to be a survivor, NOT a victim. A life with Lupus is better than no life at all. Right? What’s the alternative… A dirt nap!

I start every day by saying The Serenity Prayer authored by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr(1892–1971).
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Michele Palermo

Michele is a retired registered nurse who spent 15 years in Emergency Medicine. That’s where she learned there’s a fragility to life. Diagnosed with lupus after going through a divorce has taught her to be a survivor instead of a victim. With her career shortened by illness she turned to books. She fell in love with the written word as a young child. To her, words convey emotion. Her new passion is writing. As an aspiring author, she hopes to inspire others on this roller coaster called life.