“Your Character Needs More Character…”

“Have you considered giving him a limp?”

This is what our director told my friend Chris Herrle during one of many ridiculous rehearsals for the Drexel production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Chris was one of the mechanicals but apparently wasn’t individual enough…or something.  Chris heard this suggestion, and raised his one eyebrow way up high.

“A limp?” He was incredulous.

“Yeah, what do you think?  The limp could have a whole back story.”

“You want my character to have a limp.”

“Yes, I think it would be a great character choice.”

“That’s…that’s not…Character choice? Really?”

“…Well…do SOMETHING.”

Needless to say, he did not choose to give himself a limp.

Chris Herrle died last week.  He was 30 years old and used to be a pretty constant presence in Wes’ and my life.  Things got hard for him and he was dealing with heavy loads and he would disappear from public life for months at a time.  He was a frustrating sometimes absolutely maddening man but he was also one of the few people back a few years ago that I felt comfortable telling when he was full of shit.  I don’t know if it enlightened him at all, but it was something that happened and we kept being friends.  At the time when he was most in my life, this was something deeply valuable to me.  While I was often furious with his antics, I couldn’t hold them against him for long because he was such a big personality, often the life of the party, and caring, loving, and someone you could count on, even though he would get in his own way a lot.

Often I felt like Chris didn’t know what to do with me because I was a woman he had deemed “off limits” for romantic/sexual relationship status (he was a deep believer in The Bro Code and I dated a good friend of his before Wes.  He was pretty awful to Wes for a while and then he was in our wedding, so, you know, Bro Code Shmro Shcode), but I was also a woman who he deemed “not like ‘typical’ women”.  It was a sexist attitude that I got on his case for often, but I knew that he valued me as a good friend and shared with me things that he would share with his guy friends.  I was a trusted mutant in his band of oddities and I was often called upon for unique perspective, much like one of the many bizarre factoids his mind teemed with on a daily basis.

That may sound like I am devaluing this status, but honestly, Herrle’s strange and extensive collection of knowledge was one of my favorite things about him. I often would consult him when trying to think of something obscure that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  His mind was a data base that looks like Wikipedia in my imagination.  He was smart, articulate, hilarious, and had an ongoing thirst for knowledge.  He liked to learn new things and share them with his friends. He was a musician.  He was a writer.  He was a singer and a scientist.

Herrle, like everyone, had gone through different versions of himself.  I have two versions that I always loved: Herrle, the Poker Player and Herrle, The Glassblower.  When we were still in college and Wes and I had an apartment in University City, we would have a regular group of friends who we played tournament style Texas Hold ‘Em.  Chris was a good player, certainly better than the rest of us shmoes.  He played in Atlantic City often and while our favorite stories are often about him feeling fabulous about losing obscene amounts of money, he actually paid back his student loans from winning at the tables.  I tried to learn from him but being awesome at poker was not something that was destined to be one of my life skills.  We spent hours around that dining room table, Chas buying in again three times after missing out on some really promising “pair draws”, me waiting until I was pretty much down to nothing before making my move (I was the queen of the slow play…because being aggressive was not something I could actually do), Jake drinking his Vitamin Water to get that extra advantage, Wes and Hoffman exchanging South Park quotes.  It was a good time and I will remember those nights as bright spots in a time when I was pretty miserable often.

But I think he was happiest when he was Herrle The Glassblower.  He worked at a lovely little shop in Old City.  Wes had seen an article about the place looking for people who wanted to apprentice.  Herrle had been looking to change careers and wanted to work with his hands.  Wes let him know about the apprenticeships and before we knew it, Herrle was learning to make whiskey glasses.  He gave a special one to Wes, one with a blue color in it that was a version that they didn’t sell.  It was one of a kind and he gave it to Wes for helping to change his life.

Chris was a good man and a good friend, if not always the easiest man to understand or connect with.  It took me a long time yesterday to really understand the reality of his passing.  I had gotten so used to him disappearing for a while and then reappearing.  But he won’t be reappearing this time.  I will never hear one of his ridiculous stories again, or hear his perfect Murderface impression, or see him bring down the house at karaoke.  I won’t have a chance to help him anymore, and so I wish that I had been there more when I could have been.

Chris, you will be missed.  Thank you for your friendship.  Thank you for the host of good memories I have of you.  Thank you for being in our wedding.  Thank you for always working towards being a better man. Thank you for being open about your problems, even if we were never all that helpful.  Thank you for everything.

There is beauty in the world.

You are loved.

Goodbye, friend.  I am happy for the fleeting chance I had to know you.

This is the B-Movie of “Scientific” Theories

A few people on my Facebook news have shared this “article” and I really want to thank them for it because WOW! It’s hysterical and I laughed and laughed.  The people who shared it, shared it with a great deal of anger and ranting.  But I say “bullocks!” to that because it’s way more fun to relentlessly make fun of it.

Is sarcastic mockery an example of positive thinking?  See, I know that it makes me happy to have opportunities like this, much like I experience glee when attending a high budget movie that’s bound to be terrible and fails to disappoint.  Last weekend, several of us went to see The Legend of Hercules in 3D and I doubled over in laughter for most of the film, mainly due to the excessive use of slow motion effects on mud splatter and how the movie would have only been slightly more ridiculous had there been a caption during “character and relationship development” scenes saying, “HEY.  YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO CARE ABOUT THESE PEOPLE. BETTER GET TO CARING, BITCHEZ!”  But alas, there was no informative caption.  Luckily for everyone sitting around me in the theater, I provided the necessary commentary.  Periodically I would say, “Wow, I am really invested in these characters.  FOR REAL.”  I think I gave a convincing performance.

What I’m saying is that one of my favorite pastimes is laughing at moronic garbage dressed up as Art or Cinema or, most of all, Science. So I’m pretty happy to have been directed to an article that says stuff like,

Dr. Masaru Emoto, a researcher and alternative healer from Japan has given the world a good deal of evidence of the magic of positive thinking. He became famous when his water molecule experiments featured in the 2004 film, What The Bleep Do We Know? His experiments demonstrate that human thoughts and intentions can alter physical reality, such as the molecular structure of water. Given that humans are comprised of at least 60% water, his discovery has far reaching implications… can anyone really afford to have negative thoughts or intentions?

And  has this really informative explanation of his “snowflake experiment”:

So, the article is about his “rice experiment”, wherein he labeled jars of cooked rice, each with either a “positive” sentiment like, “You are an awesome grain and I really enjoy making pudding out of you” or a “negative” sentiment like, “Hey, fuck you.  You’ve got nothing on barley.  BARLEY 4EVA, RICE NEVA”. He did this in a school or something and told the kids to say whatever sentiment was written on the jar to the jar every time they passed it by.  And then science happened and the rice inside the forsaken negative jar grew mold and the rice in the happy fun time jar remained unmarred.

Welp, that proves it I guess.  Seeing as this changes everything we think about the world, I think it’s time that we reexamine the concept of spontaneous generation. Sure, sure, Pasteur did a shit ton of work to teach everyone that hunks of beef did not, in fact, conjure flies because they were annoyed at being left to rot on a table.  Instead, he proved that hunks of beef probably already have bugs in them.  YUM!  Good thing humans have the use of fire and learned how to cook their bug infested beef, amirite? THANKS, PROMETHEUS!  Sorry about the whole liver thing though.  Does it help if I say you died for our flaming sins? No? That just makes it worse…Well…um…I think I left something in my car…


Anyway, so yeah, negative thoughts make rice go bad and I assume that flies appear because, to quote Shaun, you touch yourself at night.

The best part of this article is the lively “debate” happening in the comments.  One of the believers makes an inane statement about how beautiful snowflakes are.  Another person tries to make a big scientific sounding claim about how obviously we can control the formation of ice crystals with our minds because they have a very loose understanding of quantum mechanics! And all us skeptics are just a bunch of negative Neds who will be able to only produce ugly, toxic ANGER SNOW.  I mean, think about it: Your mind is a collection of electrical signals and shit, right?  Electricity is made of moving electrons and stuff.  Everything else in the world is made of that too!  So, ipso facto, e pluribus unum, pisca es a patina, because you’re conscious of your mind (’cause consciousness and minds are totes separate things), you can will the objects around you! Probably also the weather!  This rice stuff has revealed a great secret to life.

Maybe I should write a book about it.

Wait…Damn.  Someone already beat me to it. Fine.  How about I just commercialize Anger Snow.  I’m pretty sure it would be Gak or Floam.  Mental note: Email Nickelodeon.

Also, my head hurts now.  And I’ve survived three terms of physical chemistry and one term of quantum mechanics.  My head never hurt this much EVEN THEN. Shit, all the rice around me is rotting.  I’m being too much of an asshole about this…

Why is there all this rice here?

Must be Friday.



Some Stupid Stuff that has Happened to Me in the Last Few Months

“Oh, well, I’m just waiting for my opportunity to spritz Gina with this hose!” he quipped.

I raised an eyebrow, looked straight at him, and then continued what I was doing.

“Gina? You’re really dour.”

“Dour…” I said. My eyebrow had not descended from its skeptical position.


“I’m dour?”


“I’m not 85, if that’s what you’re saying. Also, get the hell out of my lab, thanks.”

“You don’t have to be old to be dour.”

I walked away, smirking to myself because I, like, read blogs and live life as a woman in America, and of course my inability to find this dude funny labels me as a dour woman.

I suppose this guy has been building the Dour Case for a while now. He’s been working here for a few months and has consistently given me a reason to not want to talk to him or find him funny.
Things this dude has said to me:

– Oh, you’ve only be married for 2 years? Have you got him trained yet?
– 2 years, huh? He’s probably still crawling at your feet, heh heh. That’ll change.
– “I think that the world has only gotten better for women. Not men. What do you think, Gina?” “It’s about damn time?” “What??? What would your husband say to that?” “He’d agree.” “Oh man, you DO have him trained.”
– You can cook? Oh, your husband is a lucky man.

This doesn’t even include the time he saw my shelf of knick knacks in my cubical and, upon seeing the geisha doll that was given to me by a supplier, asked me, “What, are you some kind of closet Chinese person?” I don’t really know what that means and decided against saying something like, “No, but I’m totes a communist.” That would have riled him up, for sure!

But yeah, I’m pretty dour. I’m so fucking serious all the time! Why can’t I just accept that this jackass is trying to build a rapport with me based on sexist assumptions and mindless joshing?!?

Several years ago, we all had to go to a sensitivity seminar. The HR person talked a bit about not hitting on coworkers and such, but the video we had to watch was pretty much all about not making fun or making assumptions about Asians. It was the weirdest thing ever. Apparently everyone in the video office kept asking this Asian man what he thought of the new kung fu moving that came out and he was PISSED. Given what I learned at the seminar, I totally could have reported the dude for getting on my case for being a closet Chinese person. MISSED OPPORTUNITY.

Anyway, a day before this guy made the “the world is getting better only for women comment”, I had a ridiculous phone call with a different coworker that left me so revolted and feeling oddly violated that I wrote him a direct email about how we don’t have a familiar relationship and that if he can’t speak to me professionally, then he shouldn’t speak to me. It was one of the best emails I’ve ever written and it cited everything he said. I copied HR.

I got called into HR the next day to go over the events that I very clearly and concisely outlined in my email. Before getting into the nitty gritty, I was reprimanded for writing to him directly because it was too aggressive and confrontational. I said that I understood what she was saying, but that I meant to be assertive and confrontational because I’ve been putting up with this garbage for almost 10 years here. “Yeah, but you shouldn’t.” Um…sure. I will never do it again?

After the meeting I came back wanting to hurt people and was informed about how the world is getting better for women and not men. I nearly turned to violence but cursed instead.
A week later I had a follow up meeting with the HR person about the other employee’s side of the story. He claimed he hadn’t said any of the things that I said he did (even though I wrote the email 5 minutes after our conversation). Why would I make up statements like this:
– Man, you have a nice, pretty voice. Nothing like the mean, mean person you were to me before.
– Ah, you must have your husband trained…or chained up in the basement. Har har har.

And some other stuff.

What is it with dudes thinking that women have their men trained? Why is this an ever present trope? In explaining to the HR person why I find this nauseating, I cited that Wes and I have a pretty egalitarian relationship.

“What? I’m sorry…what does egalitarian mean?”


“Oh, well good for you. I don’t believe that relationships can be equal, but great.

So, um, yeah, that’s just a smattering of why I haven’t been writing much lately. There’s a lot going on. But I thought I would dip my toe back in with a semi-coherent piece about being a woman with a boy career.

And today I get called dour for finding some dude unimpressive in his choice of humor. Sure. The thing is that now that I have reported something, I know that it is worth it to report things? So…watch the fuck out. 33 year old Gina is a little more bad ass than 23 year old Gina.

Like, a lot more.

A Post About Bras

As a pre-teen/teen, I was, to say the very least, physically late blooming.  What I had in bizarre mental wisdom and fortitude, I lacked in evidence of pubescence until I was about 16.  And I was completely ashamed of it.

When I started 6th grade, I came to class to find that many of the girls who had looked just like me the year before had started to really grow up, and all of them were obsessed with breasts and the potential for a first period.  It was relentless.  It was all they talked about.  Everyone wanted to know what bra size everyone else was and whether they had “gotten it” yet.  I always tried to hide during these onslaughts of maturation discussion because I was exemplifying nothing and couldn’t relate.

As I didn’t have any boobs for a long time, I didn’t wear a bra.  This seems pretty obvious and logical to me, but the other girls had moms who were all about getting their daughters ready to be women and apparently a bra signified that.  I’ve always thought that the concept of the training bra was sort of hilarious because I don’t really think there’s much too it, other than remembering to put one on.  But the girls who had one were proud of it and made those of us who didn’t have one feel like toddlers or simply defective.

When I was in 8th grade, every girl in my class was forced to go to an all day seminar/workshop about how to be proud to be a woman and to not feel shame about it.  However, it ended up being a day when I felt possibly the most body/development shame that I had ever felt up to that point.  According to the workshops, all there was to being a woman was boobs and periods.  After watching an assembly that consisted of popular oldies sung with rewritten lyrics (like “Walk like a girl.  You can rule the world.  Walk like a girl, my friend”) and reassurance that we can do anything we put our minds to, we had to go to these workshops.  The workshops began with an icebreaker activity called Girl Bingo (or something) and you had to go around asking people things in the squares to see what you all had in common.  If you found someone with a matching answer to yours, you got to check it off.  Of course, one square was “Bra Size” and another square was “When did you get your first period?”  Having had experienced neither of these things, I felt mortified every time someone came over to me to ask.  The rest of the workshop was more of the same, talking about breasts, blood, and how cruel boys are.  I was ridiculously anxious the entire time and left feeling worse about my own femininity than I ever could have dreamed.

At home, there wasn’t a lot of body shaming per se, but my mother was constantly worried about her weight.  She managed to not exactly pass this on to me, but one thing I was aware of was that she was oddly uncomfortable with the subject of breasts.  Hers were small (she is a generally petite woman) and she often seemed to judge larger busted women for some unknown reason.  The easy explanation is that she was likely uncomfortable with her own, and anything that made her uncomfortable was cause for judgment of others, seemingly.  She used to get on my sister’s case (behind her back) about my sister referencing her boobs all the time.  It was true that my sister was sort of bizarre about it, always pointing out how often she got food on her shirt, right on her boobs!  But, like, whatever, she was sort of bizarre about a lot of things.

What I’m saying is, boobs were a really uncomfortable subject for me and apparently my entire family.  For a bunch of hippie/sort of pagan types, this really seems ridiculous, but someday I will write my memoirs and it will be titled, “This All Seems Pretty Ridiculous, Honestly”.

Gym class was the worst.  As all students have had to do, we were forced to change into gym uniforms in a locker room together where there was no privacy.  And everyone loved to comment on everyone else’s underwear, especially if it was to demean and draw attention to the fact that you were underdeveloped.

At some point though, my pituitary gland kicked in and the things all those strange health class films talk about started to happen to even me.  Before that, I learned about the pituitary in said health class and, since it was at the base of the brain, I thought that maybe I could manipulate it through my head, pressing on my hair hoping to give it a message to get going with the hormone action already.

Yes, I was getting pretty desperate for the mocking to stop.  I was also 14 and didn’t really understand science or logic yet.

And kick into gear it did, slowly but surely and by the time I was 16, I looked pretty much like I do now.  But I was pretty ashamed of my body and was carrying it like someone who would get mocked.  While I wore interesting clothes, they were not form fitting and I kept the fact that I didn’t wear a bra yet as much of a secret as I could.

But gym still sucked.  And I was getting really tired of having to either hide in a bathroom stall or have people stare at me and comment (these people were my friends, by the way…ugh).

So, I decided that I was going to be brave and ask my mom to buy me a bra.  I didn’t have any of my own money (I only got that a few times a year), so I couldn’t take myself at the time.  Also, I figured that this was one of those things that parents do for their kids.  And yet, I was terrified and completely embarrassed by the thought of asking.  But not as embarrassed as I was to not be wearing one in the locker room.

One morning, I mustered all the courage I could, and I was leaving for school, I said, “Hey, Mom.  Do you think we could go out and get me a bra?”

She heard me and looked at me with this strange, skeptical look on her face. “What do you need that for?” she asked in a sort of adversarial tone.

“Well, um, I, uh, have to change in front of people for gym class and it’s embarrassing.”

“Why? You’re just changing in front of a bunch of girls, right?”

“Yeah…but…I…it’s still embarrassing.”

“Yeah, fine, we can go out and get you one.”

She seemed exasperated by the notion and I felt mortified once again by the subject.  I was quickly learning the lesson that there was no way to not be uncomfortable about breasts.

The next weekend, my mom took me to go get a bra.  For whatever reason, she thought it was more appropriate to go to the King of Prussia Mall for it, instead of The Gallery.  KOP was a 45 minute drive from our house and The Gallery was a 30 minute walk.  Who knows?

So we get to the Mall and walk over to Macy’s and find the lingerie section.  I was amazed, looking around at all the options.  I was under the impression that we went to this place for a professional fitting or something, since I had zero clue what I needed to get.  My mother also had zero clue, having never worn a bra in her life either.  But apparently, she decided she was an expert and eyeballed what I would need.  She grabbed a bra said, “This will fit you,” based on looking at my chest through a baggy t-shirt, bought it and we were on our way.

I got home, and was not shocked to find that the bra did not remotely fit me.  It was a 34B and it felt like a corset without any of the flattering aspects.  So, basically, I didn’t have a bra STILL.

I decided that asking my mom for help in this regard was a lost cause, given the Mad Dash Through the Bra Racks I had endured.  So I started saving my money that I got every now and again and finally, after several months had enough to take myself to Kmart (of all places) and get myself something.  I had no clue how a bra was supposed to fit and was too embarrassed to ask anyone who worked there for help, so I found something that felt comfortable and looked fine (I guess) and purchased it in three different colors and walked out of the store having accomplished something that really shouldn’t be all that much of an accomplishment.

It would be years until a friend would take me to an actual professional place and I would be informed that I was wearing the completely wrong size for 15 years.  But whatever, those bras that I bought myself were triumphant purchases. It was a time when I had a nagging problem that was causing me a lot of stress and I found a solution.

Of course, looking back, this was definitely one of those times when I learned more shame than I needed to.  I told this story to my therapist last night and we were laughing and she said, “If it wasn’t so absurd, I’d cry.”

I think this is a pretty apt description of my youth.

These days, I am generally told that my boobs are my best physical feature.  This is sort of a bittersweet thing for me given elements of the stories I just told you.  It’s like, “well, that’s great, I guess, but can’t you see that it is shameful to acknowledge them?” In addition, as an American woman, I fear that if I did not have them no one would look at me ever.  Media, old “friends”, experiences like the ones described above had resulted in my internalizing this idea that I am ugly and not much to look at other than THOSE BOOB OMG and, while it might sound absurd, I fear that I would be nothing without them. I know this is a lie, but sometimes it feels incredibly true.

A large part of my current therapeutic work is about understanding and ridding myself of the immense shame I feel for all kinds of things.  It is unsurprising that I have this, since I grew up around all kinds of body shaming, fat shaming, food shaming, job shaming, money shaming, art shaming, sex/slut shaming…really, anything you can think of, I was around shaming of it. So, it’s going to take a while.

But, it’s super worth it, you know?

Adventures in Therapy: Owning Up to the Truth

[Content Note: Sexual assault, abuse]

This might be a difficult read.  Please know that yes, I am starting with a new therapist next week who I think will give me the help I desperately need.  I write here because the process deserves documentation and because to have it concretely down in words is a step toward recovery.

Things that are true: Emotional strength doesn’t usually feel strong.  Fear accompanies courage. Sometimes the wounds of what has been done to you do not open until years after the damage is done.  Many lessons we learn as children are false lessons.

I am a survivor.

Many of you may assume somewhat rightly that I am referring to being a survivor of sexual assault. Yes, I am a survivor of that.  I could not say that until recently because I refused to call it sexual assault and because it could have been worse, I couldn’t credit myself with “surviving”.  You know how it goes don’t you?  There are levels of assault and you only get to feel a certain amount of bad depending on the level.  It’s like the terror alert system, accept there are a lot of things you’re not supposed to not feel bad about and if you do, well, you’re weak and probably brought it on yourself anyway.  I mean, having sex you regret isn’t assault.

Or whatever.  Fuck you. Regret born from fear and a feeling of lack of concern or consent is assault.  Yes, internet, I said it.  Having sex you didn’t want to have is nonconsensual and is therefore rape.  Plain and simple.  I’m tired of this shit.  You don’t get to police people’s pain.  It hurts because a wound has been inflicted. It hurts and it shouldn’t fucking happen.

Seriously, you guys.

But actually, I want to talk about how I ended up there and why I was quiet and felt I had no choice in the matter back then.  It is because I am a survivor of insidious emotional abuse…abuse I endure for my entire young life for as long as I can remember.  My first memories were knowing certain truths that were so very false.  But I was a kid.  I was a good kid.  What defenses did I have?

I remember lying there bracing myself for pain I had asked to please not be inflicted upon me wondering why I didn’t just get up and go home.  At the time I thought, “well, I let it get this far.  This is my fault.  You can’t just stop at this stage of the game.  You deserve this.”  But what that really was about was a profound belief, barely conscious, that I do not matter.  My well-being does not matter.  My safety does not matter.  My happiness is irrelevant.

Where would I pick up such an idea?  I mean, I’m an American for fuck’s sake! Individualism! Westward expansion!  Killing buffalo on the way to Oregon in order to make a life in the gold filled mountains.  Seizing life by the hojos in order to fulfill your own desires! That’s ‘Merica!

But, I assumed that was for someone else.  Or more to the point, I was taught from the earliest age that to be of service to others who have big dreams, to sacrifice of yourself until you have nothing left to aid in the achievement of those desires, to put my own well-being aside when someone else had problems, was the only way to be a Good Person.  More accurately, it was the only way to earn love.  I believed that putting myself first would directly result in a loss of love.  I did not believe that I had any value other than what I could do for other people and if there was ever a time when I could have done more (and you can always do more), I was not doing enough and was unworthy of happiness or love.

Pretty fucked up, right?  It didn’t get better once I was in school and I attracted friends who exploited this about me.  I was exploited for my kindness, obedience and lack of self worth at home and at school…and wasn’t even really aware of it until I was well into my 20’s.

I was depressed for most of my young life as well.  I didn’t think of it as clinical because I was surrounded by awful people almost all the time.  At home, my parents were my best friends.  I didn’t like people my own age.  This is mostly because I grew up fast.  I had a lot of responsibilities at the house, not the least of which was being a counselor, almost a contemporary to them.  I took on their weaknesses and worries and didn’t know it was happening.  I was a kid and learned a bunch of wrong lessons, interpreting what I heard in the worst way and then not having it disproven.  When I tried to question the “truths” with which I was raised, I was told to be quiet, to not cop an attitude, to not argue.  Sometimes when I was upset, I was told to cut it out because it was inconvenient.

At school, I was manipulated and guilt-tripped on a daily basis over the problems of my peers.  I was an easy mark, as I would accept whatever blame people wanted to place on me.  If I was at all involved in a less than ideal situation, I would take as much blame as there was because I could have done more to have avoided the situation.  I could always have had more control over my part of things and for that I felt nothing but guilt and fear.  I feared that I was not worthy of friends, that if I was not as selfless and sacrificial as I could be that being treated poorly was punishment for my imperfection.

I believed that if I was not the most supportive, the most giving, the nicest, the humblest, I would inevitably be left by anyone who made the mistake of loving me or even just liking me.  I watched as the decision to no longer speak to extended family members or family friends was made without consulting me.  I always heard the reasons though…usually something about not being supportive or selfless enough or giving enough.  How could I unlearn that?  How could I get away from that truth?  Anyone’s head could be on the chopping block at any time.

And so I live with this today.  It is a deep, unmoving cut surrounded by years of scar tissue.  I have a home full of wonderful people who love me dearly.  They want to be near me.  They want to build a life with me, all of us looking forward to becoming the caricatures of cantankerous old people we know we will be together.  I believe this, when I am not looking through the veil of depression and fear.  Even then, I believe them intellectually, but deep in my heart I remember all those years of worthlessness.

When I was about to graduate from highschool, I had a boyfriend who was the darling of the computer department.  Everyone expected to go on to do great Bill Gates level kind of things.  It was pretty accepted by everyone that we were going to get married because you think that way when you’re 18.  One day, one of the computer teachers took me aside and told me that it was my responsibility to make sure he stayed motivated for greatness in life.  Basically, I would best serve the world by standing behind him, by holding him up.  I was heart broken at that moment because, for me, that summed up everything I thought I already knew about life.  I asked her, “Don’t you care if I succeed on my own merits?” And she said, “Oh, I’m not worried about you.  You’ll be fine.”

I think I was supposed to take this as a compliment, but in reality it was icing on this particular Reality Cake.  That was everyone’s excuse for minimizing me.  I have always been so independent, so well behaved, so self-sufficient, so uncomplaining.  I didn’t need to be cared for because I was going to be fine.  I wouldn’t be great though.  I would be fine.  My job was to make sure that geniuses achieved their greatness, whether those geniuses be my partner or my parent.  If greatness failed to be achieved? Why didn’t I do everything possible?  What more could I have done? Why didn’t I give until I was dead?

And therein lies why I was never suicidal.  Did I want my constant guilt and sense of uselessness and sadness to end? Of course.  But if I were to die by my own hand, I would no longer be in service.  I would cement my legacy as the mule, but mule who didn’t care enough or give enough to live for everyone.

So as I lay on that bed those few years ago waiting for it to be over, hoping it didn’t turn violent, wondering why I didn’t yell or fight to have concern paid to me, to be cared for, I knew that it was because I believed that my purpose was service to anyone who wished to take from me.  I was part of a cycle that had ruined parts of the lives of some of the women who came before me.  It manifested differently in each generation.  For them it was choosing to be selfish and being blind to that fact.  For me, it was desperately grasping to inclusion and believing whole heartedly that if I stopped grasping for just one second, I would lose everything.

I could say more history of them, but this isn’t a story about them.  This is a story about me and I am a survivor of abuse and assault.  Perhaps the assailants were unwitting in their crimes, but crimes they were.

I matter.  My well-being and happiness are important.  I mean more to those who love me than the sum of the services I provide.  I am strong.  I am courageous. I deserve the life that I have built.

I am completely terrified.

And I am finally loved.

Whirling, Twirling Towards Sanity

As you saw in Shaun’s most recent post, there’s a lot going on at Polyskeptic Compound in terms of new people appearing on the scene.  It appears everyone has new partners and is excited about them and that is pretty awesome!

Well, not everyone has new people. I don’t…but I have something else: an increased Zoloft dose, a new therapist (soon) and emotional development!  And really, people, isn’t that the BEST partner?

I’m sure it’s easy to read sarcasm into that statement, and sometimes when I am feeling alone in the ginormous emotional task I have presented myself with maybe I feel a little broken and bitter.  But honestly, this time I don’t feel alone.  I feel loved and supported, and despite all the newness around everyone has been there for me.  I feel very cared for, which will make my recovery speedier.

The last few months have been harrowing, to put it gently.  In this time I have: Come clean about the fact that I was raped with those who love me, had terrible experiences with unprofessional and uncaring therapists, made a final attempt at civility with a biological family I already felt abandoned by at the time of the attempt, finally said things in a not-so-civil way so that we could just get this shit over with, ceased communication with said bio family, spiraled deep into depression and anxiety, made an appointment with a therapist my dear friend goes to and thinks will be an excellent match, lost my sense of humor and had panic attacks about my partners replacing me with their new partners and my chosen family falling apart because I am not worthy of them, got a Zoloft dosage increase, got my sense of humor back, and am happy for my family’s new connections.

I cannot say enough good things about antidepressants.  I fought with myself about the dosage increase, calling myself weak and undisciplined.  I was also depressed and depression lies.  When I made the decision, I let everyone in the house know (since adjustment before was really tough).  The first night was awful.  I had been really depressed all day (and all week, which is why I made the call to up my dose) and taking the second pill in the evening threw me for a loop.  Meanwhile, Wes had one of our friends over so I felt inclined to try and hide my anxiety, but that never works very well.  In addition, Shaun was in the process of getting things to work out with his newest partner and was bringing her over.

I was convinced that this was the beginning of the end, that I was obsolete and imminently replaceable.  I envisioned everyone in the house finding families that fit better with them than me.  I was waiting to be told that I am the weakest link and that everyone would be happier if the family I want didn’t exist.  I was absolutely terrified and had the closest thing I have ever had to a full blown panic attack.  Wes came upstairs to comfort me and as I fall deeper into chaos I whispered, “I would die without this family.  I don’t want to live without all of you.”  When I uttered these words, something crystalized for me and I gained a greater level of understanding. Then Wes said, “Me too.”

All the while, I was very aware that this was my depression lying to me and that these fears I have are deep rooted and persistent as they were taught to me at a very young age.  It is so easy to learn the wrong things, harmful things when you are young and unaware and soaking everything up like a sponge.

While this may sound dire and horrible, it was actually somewhat positive.  For one thing, I wasn’t feeling jealousy.  I was feeling fear of abandonment while also feeling in favor of the new relationship.  I recognized the fear for what it was, and while that did not make it go away, I was able to see a light at the end of it.  Forcing myself to think through what is happening while have an emotional meltdown meant that I clearly saw the problem and that pinpointing it allows me to have well defined, achievable goals for therapy.

The next day I woke up still not doing too well, but I took the next dose anyway and hoped for the best.  By lunchtime I was a different person.  Or, more to the point, I was what I have learned to accept as Normal Gina.  I was talking to people, getting work done, laughing, cracking jokes, and being helpful to coworkers.  Even better was I was observing myself and felt confident and could see, finally, why people would love me and want me around.  This may sound trivial and absurd, but the belief that I am worthless is entrenched and ruthless.

It has been a few days and I am still feeling like myself.  I have a lot of work to do, but I feel capable of doing it and know that I will succeed.  And though I am still feeling some of the stress and fear of new people replacing me (it will take a while and a lot of effort to remove that fear) or of being treated poorly because I am now Old News and Broken, I will trust in my loved ones and let them show me that neither of these things will come to pass.

Don’t get me wrong, antidepressants are not a cure-all.  I am still having a very hard time with life but I can manage and even have fun and have some release.  I was getting to the point where I wanted to be a hermit on a hill somewhere, and the Zoloft brought me back down to the village at the foot of the hill.

So, no, I don’t have anyone new in my life.  But I am working towards something just as exciting: A new me.  A freer me.  A happier, more self-possessed me.  A sexually liberated me.  A me without constant shame and fear.  And then? Maybe new people.  Maybe not.  Who knows what the future holds?

The First of Likely Several Angry Tirades about Feelings

Writing about what is going on with me these days is difficult to do coherently and concisely.  In the coming weeks, I will likely only be able to muster fragments that will perhaps give you insight into my head and my process.  I am unpacking 25 years or so of consciousness and pain and scars.  Hopefully, brighter days are coming.

I am angry about the emptiness of words.

Or rather, I am angry about the empty way people throw around words and phrases that should be packed with truth and meaning.  We’re taught this early on in our lives.  When you say hello, ask how someone is.  It’s the polite thing to do.  You don’t have to care or even want to know, but the other person should believe that you would like to know.

And then you hear people whine about if you ask a particular person how they are, “They will tell you EVERYTHING.  Jeez, I didn’t actually want to know.  What an annoying jerk!” Why do you ask if you have no actual desire to know anything about how that person is doing?

But there are countless other examples of this.  Take, for example, the sentence, “I am here for you”.

Some people mean this when they say it.  I am lucky enough to have 5 people in my life who mean that.  How do I know they mean it?  They show me.  They swoop in when I am sinking and do their best to lift me, to help me work through the feelings, whatever is needed.  They sometimes ask how they can help, but mostly they know me so well that they know what I need or what would help without me telling them.  It can be as simple as wrapping their arms around me and helping me ride out the badness.

But many people say this because it’s what you’re supposed to say when people confide difficult things.  They say it, but they don’t know what it really means.  When they say it, it translates to, “See? I am a good friend/family member!” But if it is not followed by any action, any actual effort to be present and to help lighten the load that the afflicted is bearing, then it is empty and ultimately hurtful, because you likely won’t follow through with anything.

For instance, I am currently dealing with some major Emotions about my biological family.  Recent communications have resulted in my making the decision to not speak to them anymore, at least for quite a long while.  Why? Well, there are a bunch of reasons, but there are too many to enumerate here and it’s painful to speak about them at length on here.  But it was revealed that none of them knew how depressed I have been for years, and all of them suspected that they have been “losing me for a while now” and my recent communications served as a “final blow” to my relationships with them. Everyone ignored my rather obvious depression and watched as I drifted away and chose to do nothing, because doing would require effort and possible discomfort on their part.

But they claim they are there for me and always have been.

In addition, they have gaslighted me about my experience growing up and in recent years and have made statements about my being selfish and inconsiderate.  I am the black sheep.  I am the bad one.

But…they are here for me.  Every message has contained this sentiment.  Well, I call bullshit.

Another loaded but often meaningless thing people say is, “I love you”.  All of the communications claim this as well, but I think that people say this without knowing what that really means.

People tell each other that they love each other because we’re supposed to love our family.  We’re supposed to love our partners. But I think it loses its meaning when there’s nothing there to back it up.  How do I know I love my people? Because when they are happy, I am happy, even if what they are happy about scares me (new relationships, being far away).  Because I try to be as available as possible for them for when they might need me, and if I fail in knowing what they need, I take the criticism and learn from it so that I can offer better care the next time.  Because envisioning my life without them is a bleak and desolate landscape that I want no part of.  This is because my life with them is bright and full of potential.  It is full of potential for long term happiness and continued blossoming into the people we want to and can be.  I love them because their presence, the people that they are adds to the person that I am.  To say that you love someone when it is conditional or simply a sentiment that requires no action or growth on your part is meaningless and ultimately hurtful.

What I’m saying is that lies hurt, even the vague societally approved lies of everyday language.  Happiness, I think, has a lot to do with trusting the people close to you because trust in the people around you results in feeling safe and we cannot flourish unless we feel safe in our intimate lives.  Trust cannot be attained with the use of empty words.  A thin veil of care does nothing but give way immediately when pressure is applied, and the person needing care will fall fast, this time knowing that you were not prepared to follow through with your claims of love and presence.

I’m going to go look at pictures of otters now.

Adventures in Therapy: PICK UP THE PHONE

Life is…life. No, let me not be so cynical.  Life right now has a lot of good going on, despite the anger/sadness/anxiety party going on in my head here and there. Our burlesque show opened and has been going wonderfully well, and generally dancing around in awesome costumes and allowing myself great vulnerability amongst happy patrons has been exactly what I need at the end of the day.  I often feel this way about Arcati Crisis shows.  I have spent many a show getting my stress out with the power of rock.

I think I would have become “certifiably crazy” years ago if I didn’t have a very healthy and eclectic sense of humor and multiple artistic outlets.  I have very bad days where I can’t seem to laugh at anything and I have zero inspiration for creative endeavors.  Those days are the bleakest.  But most days are at least peppered with moments where I laugh a lot to myself or out loud and where I have ideas for projects I want to do.  Thank goodness.

The show yesterday was absolutely awesome (a blend of no technical problems and fun and appreciative energy from a fab audience).  My final piece takes a lot out of me, as it is about peeling away the artificial layers in order to reveal the true version of myself…yes, I’m such a fucking artist.  Stop rolling your eyes.  Anyway, it is emotional and I haven’t been getting enough sleep.  Long story short, I cried hysterically all the way home out of a sense of loneliness and loss and it was great.  (Note: it was not great)

I have a lot going on and am in the process of making some difficult and life changing decisions to finally rise above the much and mire of my teens (I know…I probably should have done this, you know, in my teens, but whatever…better late than never).  I’m also still dealing with that whole sexual assault thang and in the process of learning to think about myself as important and worthy of considering.

As you might imagine, this is not easy.  So, you know, a competent therapist would be hella sweet right about now, but…GUESS WHAT? Apparently, therapists don’t check their voicemail for days at a time.  And if they do, it doesn’t matter because they have no time for me, but they totally have some names of other therapists I can call and wait around for!  Aren’t they helpful?!?

Dear therapists, I know you are busy because a lot of people need help and I am really happy that some of the stigma is lifting and people are coming to you for the help you need.  But…I really don’t understand why it’s this hard to just get a call back from people.  I know that my experience thus far is not a reflection of the profession as a whole, but what exactly am I supposed to think?  Has therapy really been reduced to an “I know a guy” industry?  I feel like my experience in finding a therapist has been similar to the search for a non-awful/cheating/unethical mechanic.

Look, all I’m saying is if you are going to insist that people call you and leave messages (because for some reason you don’t want people to email you), CHECK YOUR VOICEMAIL AND RESPOND TO PEOPLE IN A TIMELY GODDAMN MANNER.  It’s not hard.  But you know what is hard? Calling a hundred therapists and being treated like you’re just calling to shoot the shit or something.

I cannot say this enough: The process of coming to terms with the fact that you would greatly benefit from professional therapy is a hard one.  If you’re like me, you think that you can do everything on your own and that you should leave the doctors and the therapists and the flu vaccinations and everything else to the people who had it the absolute worst.  I am strong and can take the hit, so if you need this resource please don’t let me take it from you.  This is me giving too much credit to my own privilege and ignoring how much I am hurting and all the stupid shit I believe.  Does that sound easy to you?  It shouldn’t and you should be pretty happy that I have gotten that far without you calling me or respecting me.  But the process of actually finding a therapist should not be this hard.  Picking up the phone is hard, but you shouldn’t have to keep worrying after you get the nerve to do that.

So yeah, I’m aggravated.  I thank all the people who gave me recommendations.  Perhaps it’s me or something though…because people either cannot see me or don’t want to talk to me (apparently).  What I’m really good at finding are useless therapists who do more harm than good!  So if anyone is looking for one of them, hit me up.

I know, I know, I’m sounding cynical again.  Let me assure you that despite the fact that I am developing a general distaste for the therapy industry, I am actually making a lot of progress on my own (well, not strictly on my own…I have some pretty amazing people helping me on a daily basis and I can’t emphasize enough how grateful I am for their presence in my life now and for years to come).  I am a different person than I was even a month ago and things that were hard for me to do before are getting easier and I am learning quickly how to be my own person in a way that others can see.  I knew after my ridiculous therapy appointment a couple of weeks ago that this whole finding not-a-douchebag was going to be long and arduous, so I couldn’t wait around to start the work.  So I’m getting there and I’m functioning well, even if I still have some meltdowns.  It’s ok to have meltdowns.  Things are upsetting right now but I’m living with it and showing it whose boss.  Or something.

Soon I will write a great feminist triumph story that was a light in my life recently.  So there’s that!  But if you have a therapist you love and you are local, ask them if they have evening or weekend hours available and I’ll give them a call.  I will keep calling.  I will keep trying.

Keep moving forward.

Alright, I Think That’s Enough for This Week, Yeah?

This week I have done several rather difficult things and I think my brain might be ready to crap out on me at any minute…so of course I choose to blog.

On Monday, I worked myself to the bone until a meltdown happened and only gave myself permission to myself to stop both working and melting down after both Shaun and Wes had to tell me to stop folding laundry.  There is little more pitiful looking than a scraggly haired girl in a tie dye dress weeping helplessly as she attempts to fold a pair of jeans.  I curled up on the couch for a while and switched back and forth between staring at the ceiling and staring at the dog, who was staring at me and raising her hilarious ears as opportune times.

Indeed, I have been looking the part of the non-functioning depressive lately, putting off showers until late in the day and arriving places with wild hair, a skinny look to my face and a distinct inability to laugh at most things.

Except I can always laugh at the dog’s ears.  They’re amazing.



Yes, she is dressed as turtle.

Yesterday, I fired my therapist before we had even begun because she was completely irresponsible, unprofessional, and patronizing.  Sure, sure, maybe my standards are too high, but you know? Sometimes you just have to take a gamble and hope there’s something better.  Please tell me there’s something better, because seriously I’ve about had it with the profession at this point.



Today I wrote a letter that I have needed to write for years but was too unhealthy and afraid to write it, let alone put it in an envelope and then take a special trip to the post office to physically put it in a mail box before I had a chance to back out.  Family is hard, especially when you have spent 20-25 years not saying how you feel, what you want or what you need.  I feel a bit like a hollow shell of a woman at the moment, but I know that this just means that I can fill it back up with the right things.  I don’t know how the message will be received and I don’t know what will come of it, but at the end of the day I did something incredibly terrifying that needed to be done quite desperately.

And I’m proud of myself because I haven’t gotten any actual successful talk therapy, with the exception of my very competent friends and I have gotten myself to do these things.  This is mostly because I am finally allowing myself to not be alone.  Our problems do not exist in a vacuum.  We must accept support when it is given from an honest, loving place and I have that in spades.  How lucky am I?

As I made the final decision to push the letter into the mail slot, all I could think was:



And that might be true, but I think I am prepared now.  I have plenty of water (especially in hot tub form), delicious food, supportive people, and of course an entire case and a half of homemade red wine.

wine therapy


Ok, yes, I know that’s a terrible philosophy.

But, sometimes it’s pretty fucking true.

Stop judging me.

Oh, you’re not judging me.  You just want me to pour you a glass.  Well, sure!


Alright, I admit it.  This entire post was just an excuse to look for funny illustrative pictures on the internet.  I mean, that’s what the internet is for so I guess I’m approaching normalcy? Sure?  Yes.  I’ll take it.

Tomorrow is Thursday and I am hoping beyond all hope that I will have a mind that is functional beyond handling incredibly difficult and cathartic emotional activities.  I’d say I can’t take much more, but that’s not true.  I can take a lot more, but it would be nice to have a break, you know?

Then it’s Friday.

So, I’ll end with an obligatory Rebecca Black reference.



You’re welcome.  OK.  I think I’m done now.  Can I go home yet?

Adventures in Therapy: D^$&(^@+*(&D*(HFJKHJKG($*)@*

You know, I’d be laughing if my experience with therapists (other than the nurse practitioner who gives me Zoloft prescriptions) thus far hasn’t been so ridiculously infuriating.  I mean, when I got the latest bit of ridiculousness I DID in fact laugh, but it was more maniacal and tinged with tears and a general desire to claw things.

So, some review of my adventures with therapists.

Attempt 1: I dig around on my insurance website and find various options who are covered.  I make a lot of calls and leave a lot of messages.  One organization calls me back.  I go to an appointment (for which I take off work) and the therapist does not show up.  After being told by another therapist there that there is nothing she can do to help me, I leave in tears.

The therapist calls me later and apologizes profusely, explaining that the people who made the appointment with me got the location wrong or something.  She puts me in touch with someone who has night hours.

Attempt 2: I start going to a relatively useless therapist who not only fails to help me find useful incite, ignores my requests for medication consultation, but also seems to not be able to schedule properly.  Out of the 5 sessions I went to, 3 of them were rescheduled from the original proposed times because she couldn’t keep her DayPlanner straight.  Finally after a final session where she watched as I tore myself apart, she finally agreed that I might be a candidate for medication and gave me a name.

Attempt 3: I call the person that Attempt 2 told me to.  I did not receive a call back for about a month after the initial call (and that was after calling and leaving a few more messages).  This one, however, was ultimately a success because I see her regularly for my Zoloft prescriptions and simple check-ins to see how I’m doing with my dose.

Which brings us to the present.

As I wrote about recently, I went to see a new therapist after realized that I never dealt with a rape from a few years ago and also that I have some really painful and incapacitating believes that are keeping me from living my life happily.  As you might guess, these are not easy or fun things to process and things have been rough.  In short, I need help and I went in search of it.

What I’m trying to say here is that my mental state and emotional well being has been feeling like a disease that needs immediate treatment before it spreads and I have to cut off a leg or something.  Like, I’m not fucking around here.

In my last post, I didn’t go into much detail about the session itself other than the PTSD diagnosis.  But there were several yellow flags about it.  In no particular order:

1. While she was working on the day I called, she did not call me back.
2. Her reason for not calling me back was that she did not have her appointment book with her for some reason.
3. When I went to the session, she once again did not have her appointment book with her, but assumed that the same date and time would be fine for this week.
4. She was intrigued by the concept of polyamory and uncomfortably asked how Wes, Jessie, and I *eyebrow raise, eyes bulge* and I said “What?” More eyebrow raising. “We share a bed.  Privacy isn’t really an issue.”  This woman asked me to talk in relative detail about my sexual assault but consensual bed sharing (whether sexual or not) is super weird to talk about.
5. She called me Interesting and thanked me for sharing my story. NONONONONONO.  I am TIRED of being a speciman.  Yes, I get it.  I’m not like other people you know apparently but I do not go to therapy to feel weird.  I go there to feel better.
6. She said that she was going to get an education talking to me, what with the polyamory and all.  NO, YOU’RE NOT.
7. She asked if I was a spiritual person.  I quickly and unequivocally said “no”.  She then said, “Well, I don’t mean spiritual like religious.  I mean like accessing your ‘higher self’.  You don’t have to be religious to be spiritual.” AHHHHHH! I just told you that I’m not spiritual.  DO NOT try to convince me that spiritual but not religious is a good avenue for me.

Finally, we made an appointment for this Wednesday, but since she didn’t have her book (again) we couldn’t confirm right then.  That was last Wednesday.  She proceeded to text me yesterday (one point in her favor, texts) to say that she had overbooked my appointment on Thursday, could we do Wednesday an hour earlier than we agreed instead.  I was annoyed but willing to work it out.  I proposed solutions and asked that she confirm and also asked that she please bring her appointment book with her to the next appointment so that we can make firm commitments for the future.

For your reading pleasure, here is what was she said:

Gina. I can tell u already that next week my 630 appts are already booked. I was plan.ing to book several 630 appts with u after that however I do this.k at times we need to be flexible le and open to change. I usually do have my book at all times and I remember saying to u I would call u if there was a problem. Sorry this has caused u stress. It was not meant to

I proceeded to get pretty freaking angry.

First of all, this scheduling horse shit is your fault, ma’am.  You are the professional that I am paying to help me with some pretty intense and difficult issues.  The fact that you didn’t have your book at the first time I called you AND you didn’t bring it to my first session with you shows that you do not tend to have your book with you at all times and that you generally disrespect people’s time.  My aggravation with this is not a symptom of my particular set of neuroses.  It is a symptom of being a responsible human adult who has a life to plan.

So, like, just because you are a therapist and I am seeking help doesn’t mean that you get to say that my annoyance and now down right ire is due to my inability to be flexible or open to change.  You do not know me yet.  You asked nothing to find out the fact that I am, in fact, ridiculous committed to flexibility and change.  How dare you text me this as though being pissed off that you were not prepared for my session and that you didn’t consult your book until yesterday (when you had 5 other days you could have looked at it and communicated) is my fault and my problem to solve.

Damn right this has caused me stress! How could it not cause me stress?  I am asking for help with emotional issues and am on medication for depression and anxiety.  Your JOB is to helpfully navigate the choppy waters of neuro atypical people.  It is NOT to make US feel like douchebags (and whack job douchebags at that) when YOU are the one who has caused the problem with your unprofessional behavior!

Breathe.  Breathe.  Ok.

In response, with a lot of help from a wonderful friend, I crafted a short and sweet text of cancellation of this and any further interaction and this same friend sent me some resources to help me find someone who I can work with.

I will keep trying because it’s important and I feel broken and scared.  But seriously, folks, what the fuck?

Therapists: It is hard to not only make the decision to come to you for help, but also to actually make the call and show up at the appointment.  Dealing with issues of the mind is stigmatized and undervalued by our society.  The most common thing I hear from others dealing with a variety of issues is that we feel like we should be stronger, better, smarter than this.  We’re not the sickest we could be, so why should we get help?  So, please, do not treat us like what we’re trying to do here is not important.  Many of us are working full time, demanding jobs, have families, and have lives that we want to live.  We are coming to you so that we can live them in ways that are healthier and happier for us.  Cancelling and changing appointments hurts and takes away some ability to trust you.  Trust is the only thing that matters when fragile people come to you for help.

Right? Yes.  This is fucking obvious and I am sick of people screwing with me when I am brave enough to some to them to fight the good fight.

I am feeling angry and beat up and a little on the hopeless side.  But I know that there is a light at the end of all this.  The light illuminates a happier more self possessed version of me, without the heavy baggage of self loathing and old scar tissue.  I know it will happen because some of it already has happened.  I am strong, good, and smart enough to know when doing something alone isn’t the best way and to ask for help and guidance.  And there is no magic “How Fucked Up Are You” scale that says when you are “allowed” to get therapy.  When you are hurting you get help, plain and simple.

Deep breathes and affirmations. And Dalek Relaxation videos.