Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

Bed is my happy place when I’m sad.

For me, depression is having a burning desire to go outside, see people, play with my kid, clean my house, etc., and not being able to muster the energy or courage to do any of it. I cry because I can’t. I cry because I don’t want anyone to worry. I cry because I’m frustrated about being ill-prepared. I cry because I know I’m going to have to go into work and put on the mask while trying to dredge up whatever energy is in there to actually earn my pay. I cry because I’m a burden. I cry because I know people are judging me. I cry because I’m judging myself.

It’s gross. It feels like I need some kind of chemical shower for my feelings. My emotions are a biohazard.

Ew. Feelings.

In tandem with this depression, some weird stomach thing has descended on me, so physically I’m in pain. It’s not an illness that’s so bad I have to stay home, but it’s like I have a medicine ball in my gut. It’s crampy and uncomfortable, and since I’m already teetering, the pain just feels like a manifestation of all the depression.

Talking about my depression makes me feeling like I’m indulging in self-pity, by the way. Coincidentally, I’m participating in a storytelling show next month called The Narrators, and the theme is overindulgence. Is the act of engaging in self-care indulgent? Can a person overindulge in self-care?

Self-care and self-pity seem interchangeable to me when I’m in a bad place. That’s totally healthy.

BUT ONLY BECAUSE SELF CARE.

Honestly, when I sat down to write today, I knew it was going to be about depression. And I knew it was going to make me feel like I was somehow intentionally marketing to the mental health crowd. I promise this isn’t a ploy.

Here’s the thing: I wasn’t going to write about this, but the evening has worn on, and my walls are crumbly. My Aunt Margaret is in hospice right now. I have never really been close to her at all. I know her enough to know she is a kind person, and she loves her people, and she has a good heart. I mean, she’s family. She’s also mom to Keith, my cousin who has always been there for me. I could go on about how beautiful he is for pages and pages. My life is unquestionably better because of him.

Anyway.

Watching him let his mom go is making my heart implode. He’s kicking ass. He’s being a gentleman. He is being so strong.

Keith has brothers, too. And just in the past two days, I’ve already spent more time communicating with my cousin Greg than I have my entire life. He is amazing, and this horrible process of watching my Aunt Margaret move on has actually given me the gift of getting to know another really phenomenal human being — one who I’m related to, even.

I’m trying to see the color in the black and white picture that is my reality right now. My family is showing up in ways I didn’t even know they could.

I’m really unexpectedly lucky. I still feel like crap, don’t get me wrong, but I know good things when they show up, and for that I’m grateful.

Slightly Alive

On the Outside — A Guest Post.