The list of things I’ve been told to watch

I got a new Netflix account. It’s my very own–I’m not borrowing from a friend of a friend and I’m not secretly using an ex-girlfriend’s anymore! I’m an adult.

This is also a rite of passage into pop culture. I’ve honestly been very underexposed to TV and movies since I started high school, which was like ten years ago. I’m a decade behind.

It’s a running joke with some of my friends that they ask me “Have you seen–” and before they finish their sentence, I say “No.” It’s a very safe bet. I’ve honestly seen maybe 20 movies in the last decade, and that’s probably generous. I don’t even know how many movies other people watch normally, but I feel VERY out of the loop.

It’s the same with TV shows. I watched the first season of True Detective because I thought it would get me laid (it didn’t), and I’ve seen the series Broad City a good amount of times. End of list.

So I asked my loyal Facebook friends who haven’t unfollowed me yet: what should I watch?

Here is the list they came up with, in no particular order:

  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Balto!
  • Zootopia
  • In the Loop
  • 13th
  • Spotlight
  • Fruitvale Station
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Boyhood
  • Samsara
  • Life Is Beautiful
  • World’s Greatest Dad
  • The Fundamentals of Crying
  • Waking Life
  • Stardust
  • Shameless
  • Rectify
  • Homeland
  • North by Northwest
  • Murdoch Mysteries
  • Triplets of Belleville
  • Coffee and Cigarettes
  • Easy Rider
  • Down by Law
  • Chinatown
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi
  • Basquiat
  • The Ninth Gate
  • Pi
  • Time Force
  • Power Rangers RPM
  • Across the Universe
  • Amelie
  • I Know That Voice
  • Charlie Countryman
  • Dear Zachary
  • Trainspotting
  • Cloudburst
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Cloud Atlas
  • Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

I haven’t googled all of them yet, but I might weed some out in the event I find that they are scary or even a “thriller” since I cannot handle suspense of any kind.

I don’t know for sure what to do with this list, but maybe I’ll do reviews or something. Would that be boring? I don’t know, honestly. But we will see I guess! 🙂 Thanks to those who participated. Let me know if you think of any others. (I’ve seriously seen nothing, so don’t hold back).

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“What do you do for fun?”

Lately I’ve been in social situations where I’ve been asked, for some reason or another, what I do for fun.

When you only hang out with people who know you well, you don’t get asked that. It’s really convenient. I prefer it.

It was the worst when the new-therapist-I-tried asked me that. I of course spilled my guts about a bunch of serious stuff, but then she stops me and is like, “What do you do for fun?”

Can’t she have asked me what’s my worst childhood memory instead? That’d be so much easier!

An easy one to say is “oh, I’m a writer…” but that’s only partially true. Am I truly writing when I have free time and I’m bored? No, I’m usually just writing because I need to spill my guts out and I’ve already exhausted all my friend-resources. That’s hardly a hobby; it’s taking a shower with an audience.

I usually say “Oh, and I bowl!” as a second hobby. But that’s hardly a hobby too. I bowl once a week for my league; it’s organized.

One time a few months ago my therapist said to me, “I think suicide is your hobby.”

You should have SEEN how pissed that made me. Here I am, I thought, suffering with mental illness, and my therapist is chalking it up to just being bored.

I still don’t think suicide is a hobby but I WILL admit she’s getting somewhere. It DID occupy many of my hours of the last decade. And now that my new med is taking suicide off the table for me in a new way, I kind of don’t know what to do with myself sometimes.

I can go get a beer with a friend, be social, but how often can you do that before it becomes too much of a routine to rely on drinking to occupy your time?

Let’s face it. I need a hobby.

I know a ton of stuff I want to work on, like self improvement stuff. There are all these things I wish I did more of, like read, for example. When was the last time I read a novel cover to cover? Jesus, what kind of English major am I???

Here are a few things I could do instead of nothing:

  • read
  • come up with a list of movies and watch them (I just got my very first Netflix account!)
  • cultivate my spotify playlist
  • learn how to take care of my truck
  • practice karaoke songs
  • watch videos teaching me how to do things
  • plan surprises for people I love
  • write letters to my grandpa

I think that’s a good list. It’s almost like I need a second wind like every hour though. It’s really nice to not default to the Depression Chamber every single evening but that doesn’t mean I’m motivated to do things.

Is there a movie I should see? Let’s start with that one. Hmu. (You could even leave a comment below–what??)

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How to find a new therapist (in the overwhelming sea of therapists)

Especially just coming off a bad depression bout, it seems like bad timing to make a switch like this, but sometimes your therapist reveals to you how unhelpful they can be in your greatest time of need.

I don’t want to sit and talk shit about my now ex-therapist because she did help me in a lot of ways (probably including some I won’t realize for years), but I needed her to be emotionally present during my crisis modes and she couldn’t be for reasons I understand but cannot work around.

Whatever the case, I’ve had two or three very bad sessions in a row that made me realize it’s time for a change, no matter how inconvenient. I was describing to her how bad I’ve felt and she was trying to explain to me how she didn’t think I’d actually kill myself. She said the words “you didn’t even attempt.” And it was just so incredibly invalidating. I deserve a therapist who is there for me when I’m at my worst, for fuck’s sake. I’m pretty sad about it. I was laying in bed feeling like it was kind of a break up in the sense where I would think about it and my chest would feel like it’s caving in a little bit.

Nonetheless, it’s time to move on, and for the mentally ill, it’s probably not good to take some time to be “single” for a while if you truly do benefit from therapy in general (which I think almost everyone in the universe does, if they find the right person). There’s no tinder of which I’m aware for therapist-finding, but there are a few ways to do your search that are a little more useful than just sitting in your kitchen panicking (as I am apt to do).

I don’t really like list-articles normally (listicles rhymes with testicles for a reason) but here are a few tools to consider when doing a therapist search.

1. Determine what you want out of therapy.

Yikes, the first step is also the hardest for some. I guess start with your current diagnoses, if you have them, or start with symptoms, if you have them. Do you have a need for resilience and mindfulness coping skills? Try DBT therapy. Do you find you’re unable to break out of harmful, self-sabotaging cycles and you’re not sure where to start? Try EMDR. If you want a clinical experience, try a psychologist. If you want more of just someone to talk to, you might try a counselor instead. Maybe you already know you’d rather talk to a woman about your feelings than a man. Legit. You might decide that location of the therapist is super important because your transportation is limited, or maybe your insurance coverage is essential. Some therapists accept sliding scale rates, so if you don’t have insurance at all, maybe look into that?

I would make a list of everything you can think of. Then I’d pick the top ones of that list to determine what you CANNOT live without. Here’s a list of mine as an example.

  • Needs to be chill about transgender things. They don’t have to be queer but they do have to be informed at least so I don’t find myself in a teaching role during my therapy sessions.
  • Needs to take my insurance and be in-network.
  • Needs to understand the relationship between PTSD and depression.
  • Needs to be within 30-minute drive of my work, since I’ll be coming to therapy from work most of the time.
  • Has EMDR experience and practice.
  • Has mindfulness incorporated into their practice, but isn’t hokey in any way (sometimes that’s hard to find, and it shouldn’t be).
  • Probs identify as a woman, since I connect way better with women than men usually.
  • Maybe someone who will give me homework?

2. Use Psychology Today’s therapist-finder tool to take a look at area counseling resources.

What? There’s a catalog of therapists you can sort and filter by your needs? Yes. Here’s the ~Link~. It’s fun even to just browse. I should say that not every therapist ever is in this catalog, but there are many, and I think most if not all are VERIFIED in some way so you don’t end up with some creep from Craigslist.

Since I’m a writer, I’m very picky about people’s bios they write for themselves on their profile. I notice if they write in 1st or 3rd person and make judgments based on that (for example, someone who writes their bio using the “I” pronoun is perhaps more approachable and informal than someone who refers to themselves by their own name). If the bio is condescending in any way, that’s an immediate turn-off. But if a bio captures my attention and maybe reframes my problems before I even meet them, now THAT is impressive.

If you find one that really looks awesome, there are usually a couple contact methods available. Or else you can just make note of a few and return to them if you want to keep searching first.

3. Ask around for informal or formal referrals.

This is tricky but it also can be a godsend. The only good news about embarking on the journey of finding a new therapist is that millions of people have gone on the same journey before you. A lot of people have already done some ground work in figuring out who’s good in your town and who’s not.

This can be as micro as asking your friends for ideas or as formal as asking your family practice doc for official referrals. I’m part of a queer Facebook group which is pretty cool because there’s thousands  of people on it from my metro area, and members can ask for recommendations for these types of things, with the needs-to-be-queer-friendly lens. Are there any special interest or identity groups of which you’re part or could be part? Try those folks!

One thing to note is that just because a therapist is the best therapist for your college friend doesn’t mean that that therapist will be any good for you. And that doesn’t mean they suck. It’s just so personal and subjective. But please remain motivated! If you try a few and none of them work (I think a good rule is seeing a therapist 2 or 3 times before deciding, unless the first session is god-awful), keep going. It will be totally worth it in the end. There are so many therapists out there, which is overwhelming, but it’s also good because one of them will meet your standards. 🙂

I hope this will at least get you started if you’re about to embark on the journey to find a therapist. Finding a therapist can seem pretty insurmountable, especially if one of your reasons for going to therapy include anxiety! But at least knowing there are tools available can start to narrow these things down for you. Good luck. Feel free to share this post with someone if it made you think of anyone (respectfully).

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Fuck it. Here are 34 things I’m thankful for.

Often people’s advice when you’re depressed is like supremely unhelpful. Eat chocolate? Really? Do you think that’s going to treat my suicidal ideation? Really? Give me a reason to live?

But one consistent piece of advice from loved ones and lists on the internet is, although annoying to hear while on Rock Bottom™, pretty healing and good. This piece of advice is making a list of things for which you are grateful.

It’s super cheesy but these thoughts certainly can’t hurt me more than what my other thoughts have already done.

What you’re seeing right now is a blog post, but this is actually the second version. I made this post and it contained a great list of things I’m grateful for and then it got deleted because I accidentally refreshed the page. 😦

I think it’s the universe’s way of making me make this list and truly check it twice. I must REALLY need to be grateful.

THINGS FOR WHICH I AM GRATEFUL 2.0:

  • Silicone spatulas
  • My new discovery and love for cooking? (talk about plot twist… but more on this later in a different post)
  • Coffee and coffee creamer
  • Music that makes me jam
  • Spotify
  • My parents’ dog
  • I have p good follow-through on writing projects and stuff
  • Friends who call me out of the blue and leave a very long and delightful voicemail
  • All the friends who’ve texted me to check in in the last two days
  • My girlfriend, who experiences her boyfriend’s depression almost just as much as he does, and yet she sticks around and says beautiful things like “I want a future with you.”
  • Graham cracker pie crust
  • Key lime pie (probably one of the most underrated desserts ever)
  • Haircuts!
  • My birthday is next week
  • Google calendar
  • The word “bosom” (say it. let it savor on your tongue.)
  • The TM emoji
  • The fact that I have three physical chapbooks I made myself and they are not the worst thing ever
  • Each and every one of my lil beard hairs
  • When my gf wears dangly earrings bc she knows I like them
  • The feeling of showering after not having showered for a couple days
  • Brand new socks
  • Warm towels
  • How unique and independent the word “orange” is. Nothing rhymes with it but “door hinge” and it’s a stretch.
  • Egg sandwiches. I have one every day for breakfast except on weekends when I have
  • Biscuits and gravy
  • Mangos. Seriously, what did we do to deserve mangos?
  • All of my bow ties, but especially the knit black one and the one with dogs
  • One of my friends wants to get one of my poems as a tattoo, which is terrifying but also very nice
  • Bowling a turkey in the 10th frame
  • Supportive writing feedback
  • My truck ❤
  • Winning that chess tournament in fourth grade
  • When there isn’t a spider in the room 🙂

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