Forever 22.

I am at a loss for words.

Every single time a celebrity dies, I always think of my favorites and hope to God I never have to experience losing someone I idolize so dearly. But the older I get, the more I’m faced with losing people I cherish, people I don’t even know on a personal level.

It started with Cory Monteith, and I wasn’t even his biggest fan, but it hurt me so much to learn about his death. I hurt for him, I hurt for Lea, I hurt for my best friend Jenn who loved Cory more than anyone else I knew. His death brought her back to me after a falling out, and I’m forever grateful of it, but it’s still so heartbreaking. To this day, I can’t listen to his Glee songs, to this day the only episode of Glee I can watch is the Quarterback.

Cory’s death made the deaths of celebrities feel very real for me. It became personal. I wasn’t a fan of Michael Jackson, and I only knew who Brittany Murphy was after googling her name and seeing her face. But Cory’s was the first one that made my heart stop, knocked the wind outta my lungs, made me sob.

I was in the car when I heard about Robin Williams. I found out on twitter and my only response was “oh my god.” To which my parents asked what was going on and I relayed the information to them. His death came as a shock to me, and I think it was the nature of it. It hit close to home. I understood his struggle, I understood his decision to finally give in. I didn’t cry because I sympathized with him. I knew he was at peace, even if that peace came from tragedy.

Learning about Prince was another story, however. It shocked me, it saddened me. I grew up listening to his music thanks to my mother who was and still is such a huge fan of his. His death brought his music back to me and for the first time, I saw my mother grieve for someone she loved, someone she didn’t know personally.

Christina Grimmie’s death hurts me in such a way that I cannot describe in words. She was only 22. I’m 22. I found her on youtube and my sister and I would send each other her covers constantly. She had talent I could only hope to obtain. She was kind and sweet and generous. She had so much passion in her music, so much hope to make it big, to be discovered. And when she was on the Voice, I literally screamed. I cheered so loudly, my parents didn’t understand what was truly going on. And then I explained to them how I had discovered her years prior. I explained that I was already a fan, I told them she would win the entire thing.

After the Voice, I didn’t follow her career too closely. I unsubscribed to her youtube videos. I never bought her original music. To call myself a fan right now seems cheap and fake, because I’m not an active fan of hers. I wouldn’t have gone to see her in concert.

But for someone to just. Go to her show, target her and only her, and shoot her dead before shooting himself. I just.

I can’t believe it happened. It’s such a tragedy. She was only 22. She had her entire life ahead of her with so much potential for a glowing music career. And someone took that away from her. In front of her fans. While she was signing for them and making their dreams come true. While she was being her generous and kindhearted self. While she was living her dream, and happy.

She will forever be 22 years old. And I just can’t process that because I’m the same exact age. I have plans in my near future, I have dreams for my distant future. And so easily, so quickly, my life could also be snuffed out by disaster. My life could also freeze at age 22 and never go on. It’s eye-opening, even more eye-opening for me than other shootings have been because I knew her. I knew who she was, I watched her grow up on Youtube. She wasn’t just a face tied to a tragic story, and I think that’s why it’s unsettling for me.

I went to Toronto in November 2015 to visit a friend. Together we went to a Finger Eleven show and outside the venue, we were pat down. I had my purse completely rummaged through. My medications were questioned, the bottles opened and sifted through. I had to explain to them what each one was used for and why I needed them at the show. I felt violated in that moment. But I also felt safe. I turned to my friend who was so used to this and told him that in America, they don’t do this. In America, they shine a flashlight into your bag, pat it a little, and send you on your way. In America, you can enter a venue with a concealed weapon because no one touches you and no one questions you. No one is a suspect here, while everyone is a suspect there.

I feel like this way of search should be implemented in the States. I’ve been saying it since November. Every time I enter a venue without my bag searched, I think about my experience in Toronto. I think about the possibility that someone could sneak a gun into a show or into comic con (where my bag wasn’t even looked through at all) and shoot up the place.

News reports are claiming that officials at this venue in Orlando have stated they don’t know how someone could get a gun (he had two, actually) in without their knowledge, but I know very well how.

It’s such a shame what happened to Christina Grimmie. I went to sleep praying to a God I don’t believe in to give her strength to survive her injuries. I went to sleep praying I wouldn’t wake up to hear that she died, and I did. That’s exactly what happened. My heart breaks for her family, her friends, her fans, and every single person like me who finds it unnerving because of her age, because it could happen to any of us.

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Word Vomit

Relapses suck. Whether it’s a relapse of drug use, or a relapse of alcohol abuse, or a relapse of self harm–they suck. Luckily, my relapses are just in depression. It never physically harms me to relapse, but it still sucks so much.

I’m a firm believer in medication, especially for depression, especially for my depression. I truly believe that my depression is a result of a chemical imbalance because I honestly have no reason to be depressed. I have a job (ok it’s not stable), I have a home to live in, I have friends and family, I’m otherwise a happy person with no huge life-changing event that could trigger depression. Yet, here I am.

And when I’m put on antidepressants, my mood improves. My suicidal thoughts go away. But medications are fickle, and our brains are too smart to handle them for too long, which ends in what I call the Plateau Effect.

When I first start a new medication, it’s great. My mood improves on an incline, up up up and usually after a few months, it plateaus. Boom. Deadpan. I don’t get worse, but I don’t feel better.

And then we try another medication, and it cycles through. Up, up, up, deadpan, try something new.

In October 2014, I was put on Pristiq and I’ve been on Pristiq ever since. Which means it’s working. It plateaued at one point, which made me increase my dosage from 50 mg to 100 mg, but I’ve been on 100 mg for as long as I can remember.

But recently, I’ve been feeling the Plateau Effect again. I’ve relapsed back into this hopeless, worthless feeling where I sleep nonstop and always cry and want to die. And it sucks. It really sucks. Because I wish I could just THINK this away. I wish I could just stop feeling this way, but I can’t. It’s literally what my brain’s chemically trained to do.

I have help. I have mantras, both of which are tattooed on my feet. I have support. I have medication. But it’s not enough sometimes. I can tell myself over and over Know Your Worth, Love Your Life but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to die. No amount of She Loves Me tickets, and meet and greets with Tom Hiddleston, and snapchat selfies with Zac Levi, and tequila by the handle will make me feel better.

And sometimes people don’t understand that. I really hate when I’m venting to someone and they say, “hey, you gotta stop thinking that way” like NO SHIT. But brb, let me try that because I have never thought of trying that before. “But you seem happy” or “Just be happy” or “You have so much”

I don’t choose to be depressed. I don’t choose to sleep all the time and cry all the time. I don’t want to be sad all the time. I want to be happy and I want to go a day or two without thinking about killing myself. I just can’t. It’s literally like asking a diabetic to go without insulin for a day or two–newsflash, it won’t work because their pancreas ain’t programmed to work that way, even with healthy food.

You can’t choose happiness. I mean, you can choose to not let things affect you and you can choose to move on with life, but in a sense of having depression and not having depression, you can’t choose happiness. At least, I haven’t figured it out yet.

Making It On Your Donezo List

I built a friendship through a mutual love for Zachary Levi. A really good friendship. I actually used this friend to see First Date for the first time because she had a car and her license and I didn’t. And I didn’t have friends to go with me. And my anxiety was too strong to go to NYC alone. So I asked her to go and she did, and a bond like no other blossomed between us. 

We were polar opposites but it worked because our friendship never dulled. We never ran out of things to talk about. We respected one another’s likes and dislikes, and we listened as we gushed over the things that maybe we didn’t always see eye to eye about. Like she hunted and I wasn’t about that life, but the joy etched on her face as she talked about it…I couldn’t ever take that away from her. 

The only things we had in common were our fondness of cats, getting drunk, and Zac Levi. We didn’t even like the same kind of music. 

A two year friendship ended because of me. Because of my temper and my inability to stop myself from saying horrible things. Because I can’t stop and think before I speak. And I’ve tried to correct this, but I can’t. I’ve been trying for years and I still find myself pushing everyone I love and care about away. 

I’m a horrible person. I’m not nice when I’m tested, I get offended easily, I’m quick to jump to conclusions. I push people to the edge and get upset when they step off. I’m not a good friend or person. I don’t think I ever will be. 

I miss this friend. I miss her every single day. I wish I still had her around to see She Loves Me with, and drink and watch Parks And Rec with, and swim with, and read books with, and go to Disney World with. I miss her so much and I wish I could fix this, but I can’t. And I hate myself for it. 

I Wanna Live In New York City When I’m Old And Grey

Decisions. They’re stupid, but we all have to make them at some point in our lives. I’m not talking about everyday decisions though, like whether or not I can make this light if I speed up, or if I snooze one more time do I have time to wash my hair today. I’m talking about life-changing choices that cost money and time and pain and heartbreak and effort. I really miss when the only important decision I had to make was whether I wanted chicken nuggets or mac and cheese for lunch.

I feel like I’m at this point in my life where I’ve got to pick one of three paths to take, where the first path is logical, the second path is desirable, and the third path is comfortable. I’m truly blessed because I live with my parents, and my parents are extremely lenient when it comes to me helping with bills. I do help, I feel like I help a lot, but I’m also able to travel and buy things for myself that I wouldn’t be able to do if I were living on my own. And while that’s an ideal living situation, I want out of it. I want to move out and grow up and move on. But that’s where I’m stuck.

Logically, I should stay where I am. I have a really great job that I love–but that I’m fighting for, and that’s another blog post coming. I have a stable support system and friends that I love. I’m with my parents, so I’m able to travel to Toronto and Florida and NYC whenever I want. I can save money and spend it on Comic Con. And then save money again and spend it on Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta. And then save again and somehow end up in Disney World. I don’t have to cook. I don’t have to do laundry, although I’d love to. I just have to pay some bills and occasionally do things with my parents to keep them happy. But it doesn’t keep me happy.

My heart and soul belong in New York City. I feel it with my entire being, every time I’m walking down 8th avenue, every time I step inside Schmackary’s or see a show or weave around tourists (The truly annoying ones, though. Not me, I’m perfect). In high school, when we were looking at college campuses, we were told to choose the one that felt like home. Well, I never got to do that. I didn’t go to college because I didn’t know what I wanted to go to school for–surprise, surprise! But when I walk through the automatic doors at Port Authority and into the busy streets of Manhattan, I feel at home. I feel that sense of belonging my guidance counselor told me to look for. I feel like I could live there for four years, for the rest of my life. It’s what I want ultimately, but I know it’s not plausible. I have a friend who lives in a tiny one bedroom apartment, and she and her husband pay $2,200 a month for rent. And that’s not including internet and cable and electricity probably. It’s insane and I doubt I’ll ever be able to afford it.

If I stay with my parents, they are eventually moving to Florida. Which I would love. The weather is incredible. I’d love to live in a place that sees little to no snow. I’d love to live where thunderstorms are a norm and Disney is within driving distance. I’d love to live on the beach. Florida is where I see myself being the happiest and most relaxed. When I think about living in Spring Hill, I don’t think about being stressed out. I don’t think about money because a four bedroom house can be rented for $900 a month. And working in Disney or Universal would be pretty cool.

So, I’m torn. I’m hurting because I want NYC, but I want the security of living with my parents, and I want the weather and leisurely life of Florida. And I can’t have it all. It pisses me off. I get restless. I started packing for Florida and now we’re staying. I’m looking at apartments and jobs in NYC, but I want to keep my job I’m at now. To make a long story short: I don’t know what I want. When it comes to where I want to live, I don’t know what I want.

And I feel as if it’s the most important thing to figure out right now…even though I know if I flip a coin with NYC as heads and Parents as tails, I’d be disappointed in getting tails.