Healing and What Depression Feels Like

I am eating oats, the old-fashioned kind that you have to cook on the stovetop for 30 minutes, not the kind you cook for 5 minutes or just put hot water in. I have coffee off to the side sweetened with maple syrup. My friend taught me to do that. Not the sugary syrup coloured to look like maple syrup but actual maple syrup. I like real food and real ingredients when possible. Fresh produce, not canned. All of this is slightly comforting because I’ve had not comforting thoughts in my mind lately. So external comfort is welcome. Plus I’m living. I’m actually living in this moment. I’m doing what living people do, that is, eating food and drinking a beverage and just, being awake.

In the last week, I haven’t wanted to be awake. I haven’t been awake much. A majority of the past one week I’ve spent sleeping in bed and feeling very, very depressed. Today, after walking my dog at 7 am, I decided to be like most “normal” people and not go back to sleep. I decided to live for a bit, instead of hiding out in my bunker, aka my bed. When I’m in bed, alone or with my dog, nothing bad can happen to me. Except for the memories. The trauma memories are horrific and terrifying. I hate it when they appear. When I sleep too much I tend to have strange, bad dreams, but I would much rather take those over reality. My reality. My reality is peppered with memories of sexual abuse from over a decade ago. I really just can’t stand it anymore. I cannot live with myself when those memories resurface, and somehow get triggered.

In January this year, I just remember screaming. I was driving home from the office of a new therapist I had been seeing for five months, to try out a different type of therapy than what I was used to, and it was night time. I started driving home, twenty minutes is what it took, and I just started screaming at the top of my lungs in terror because of the faulty therapy session which had pushed me to the brink. I don’t remember how I got home safely and I didn’t even think to pull over and stop driving for my safety because in those moments I was back in 2008 in my mind and being sexually abused. It was happening in my mind but not in reality, and I was terrified. Back then I was not cognizant of the abuse that was happening to me, and I just let it happen. It seemed like I didn’t have a choice. I disassociated while it was happening so that in my mind I was detached and somewhere else. But having a flashback over a decade later sent me spinning into oblivion. And that is, I was having a mental emergency.

Earlier this year when this flashback was induced and I experienced more terror than I had in a long time, I became immediately and acutely suicidal. I checked myself into a crisis house instead of going straight to the hospital. I’m not sure what is worse, a crisis house or a hospital, but I know that a crisis house is less acute. I had never been to one before. I still owe them money and haven’t settled the bill from now half a year ago. I’m sure it’s been sent to collections… the story of my life.

Now a week later, the fog of my recent depressive episode has finally somewhat lifted. You have to know, it’s really difficult, living with depression and feeling majorly depressed. It feels like you’re weighed down by a ton of bricks that you’re not carrying, but that essentially own you and you can’t get rid of. And even though you may have a regular heartbeat and a normal breathing pattern, at the same time it feels like you can’t breathe. You sleep all the time because you’re afraid of what may come into your mind if you’re awake. Nightmares are preferable to the reality that’s in your waking mind because when awake you are filled with the terror of memories of past abuse that feel like those events just happened and that a decade hasn’t actually gone by, that they happened yesterday. You’re filled completely and overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and shame and horror and absolute disgust with yourself that you could have let those things happen to you. So in this depression, you don’t want to be dead. You just don’t want to be alive. So when I say that I am “doing things that living people do” right now, like drinking coffee and eating oatmeal, well, that’s a monumental step towards my healing.

Thank you for listening. I don’t ever want someone to try to solve my problems for me. All I ever want is an empathetic ear to listen to what I have to say, someone to hold space for me while I go through this long and ancient process of healing, someone like my therapist who has never left me, never once emotionally abandoned me in the 12 years we have worked together. For this, I am grateful.

Schindler’s List in the Midst of an Epidemic

I am not about to write anything profound. I am sitting here on my bed in the middle of a city in the United States of America, a country I am glad to be in but am not proud of, letting out some well-earned tears after watching Schindler’s List. It is a movie I had not seen before and probably wouldn’t have gotten around to seeing for a while had I not been unemployed. But the company I have given five years of my life to, five years of my recovery from PTSD and depression, have graciously let me go thanks, apparently, to the coronavirus. Thanks to them I no longer suffer from work stress and get to sleep as much as I want to. The trouble with having depression is that I do want to sleep all of the time.

I attended an online Buddhist meetup group today. We talked about the value of life and about how precious life is, not only human life but all life on earth including that of an insect. In Japan, rather than kill a spider in the home, you catch it in a glass container, slide a piece of paper under the opening and return the spider to the natural habitat of the outdoors, wishing it luck. Well maybe not the latter part but I have been doing this practice for many years now.

There are some people who don’t value their own life. This I believe may be diseased thinking, that is, an illness talking. It is my illness talking when I say that I want to die. It is my humanity speaking when I say that I am grateful to be alive today. There are people out there on the front lines risking their lives to save lives, only the front lines are not on a battlefield, they are in hospitals. People, otherwise healthy individuals, are dying, and it’s not just “the old” people. Young people are dying too. The COVID-19 virus does not discriminate and can take anyone from us. It is a virus that is invisible to the human eye, yet its effects are far-reaching and devastating. People aren’t able to breathe and there aren’t enough ventilators to save every human life. Doctors are having to play God and choose who lives and who dies.

Not only did I lose my job but, at a time like this, my landlord is evicting me. They won’t do a walk-through of my unit because of the virus, yet they expect me to expose myself by going out and shopping for a new home, looking at prospective apartments. People hear this and assume it’s because I couldn’t pay rent. That’s not true. I’ve never missed a month and I don’t plan to if I don’t have to. It’s because my greedy landlord wants to sell and get the money. He owns multiple properties. Sure I get it, but at a time like this? I sent him an email asking if he would do this to his own daughter, have her expose herself to a deadly virus by going out and looking at apartments. Of course, I got no reply. I keep thinking secretly to myself that when they do the walk-through eventually, I will just “accidentally” sneeze on the property manager who has been very nasty to me, without covering my mouth. It’s the only thought that gives me some sort of comfort.

Life is precious and this, by all means, is not the end of mine. I will live until tomorrow to tell my story. My therapist hasn’t stood by my side every week for the past twelve years for nothing. I met him when I was 24 years old, in the midst of the years of abuse in that past traumatic relationship, and now I am 36 years old, have been away from the abuse for eight long years. Because of the ECT’s I have lost many memories and sometimes the night I left my abuser seems just a stone’s throw away. But I made it out. And if I made it out of an abusive relationship which kept me prisoner for twelve long years, from the age of 16 to 28, then you, my friend, can make it out of whatever situation you are in too. It won’t last forever. Nothing does. Feelings come and then they go and nothing ever remains the same, except you. You remain. The feelings go, and you remain. Never forget that.

My Duty

What’s a woman to do other than to post a blog entry? I’ve been applying to jobs today. The rest of the weekend I spent completely in bed. I only got up to walk my dog a few times a day. I haven’t accomplished much and I don’t feel like a go-getter. I want a new job with the least effort possible in terms of the application process. I don’t know if that’s possible, but we shall see.

It has been a week since I’ve been out of the crisis house. I was truly in a crisis and being at the house helped. I even got my own room to myself because there weren’t enough women in the home to have a double occupancy in the room. I’m trying to put my book together, that is, my poetry book. The other book I’ve already got put together, I just need to submit to publishers. But how many people really want to hear about what an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization is like? I suppose those who are just starting out in that industry may be interested in what it’s like from a patient’s firsthand perspective.

Will I ever get published? Will I ever stand in front of a crowd and be able to tell my story of horror and trauma with a straight face? My therapist said that no one has to know my story, no one, should I make that choice. But I feel as if it’s my duty of being alive to share my story with others who have survived similar ordeals in order to give them hope.

Crisis House Episode

Coffee appears out of nowhere here at the crisis house. I wake up in the morning and pour the hot, blackish liquid into my double-walled plastic cup that I brought from home from a large, black vat. Eventually the coffee runs out and there is none left. That’s how I feel about my hope. Some days it’s there, but then the negative thoughts creep in and leave me wanting of more.

Today I am going over the events of a few days ago, how I sat at work not getting much work done and feeling intensely suicidal with a plan to drive to a bridge and jump off. That’s something I fantasise about a lot when feeling suicidal. My suicidal thoughts have gone from about every other week to every week now. Feeling suicidal once weekly is nothing to be ashamed of, yet I feel shame that others in my life know about it. I told my boss I was feeling suicidal. He was understanding. I just couldn’t keep it away from him any longer, the frequent hospitalizations that he as my boss has had to be understanding about. I’m just lucky to have a job at all and that I am able to make it to work most days.

I don’t know if I have bipolar disorder. My psychiatrist thinks I have type 2 which is the not-so-obvious type of bipolar disorder to have. Honestly I don’t know much about it and am much more familiar with the symptoms of severe clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder, and those of PTSD, which I also have. Some people want to say that I have Borderline Personality Disorder in addition to these things but I just don’t know. The mass of labels just seem overwhelming.

I spoke with my Mum. I think she probably feels sad that there is not much she can do to help me other than to listen. I mean, I’m pretty much self-sufficient. I have a place to live and my roommates are taking care of my dog. I have a job even though I’m having to take some time off. Oh, and it’s a stressful job at that. How I manage the stress, I don’t know either. I just go to the bathroom and cry and that releases some of the tension. I feed myself even though I don’t do a great job of that either. Right now my pantry is full of dry food and the fridge is empty. Hard to find food to eat when you don’t have the energy to cook up that dry pasta and would rather just lay in bed.

I’m not a delinquent although I feel that way sometimes. I’m actually a person who is worthy of all the things someone gets to enjoy who doesn’t have PTSD. Only the negative thoughts and feelings of sadness and worthlessness and being hopeless get in the way.

This is Not the End

I have been having a strange sensation lately that I am not alone. I am not alone in my depression. I am not alone in deciding that this is not the right time to go back to school. I am not alone in being a survivor of an abusive relationship which ended years ago and yet which still affects me inadvertently today. I am not alone in my suffering. Others suffer too. I’m not the only one.

In sharing my suffering on Twitter @DepressionMuse, I have seen how a community can come together and help each other. Modern technology and community, in this sense, is really amazing.

Today was the drop deadline for the two classes I was signed up for in my gradate program for Marriage and Family Therapy. I am no longer enrolled in an MFT program. I am no longer an MFT student. This has been my identity for some time, so it’s going to be hard letting go of that, and figuring out who I am when I’m not studying psychology. Sure, I could study on my own regardless of a degree, but this DBT Therapy is so energy-sucking and all-consuming that every part of my conscious awareness is going towards healing the PTSD that resulted in the abusive relationship I endured.

Trigger warning… well, not really. But you know, the relationship didn’t start out abusive. He was charming and I fell for it. He groomed me for a number of years before the really traumatic abuse began to happen. And it took me being in years of therapy healing wounds from my childhood before I was able to face what was actually happening to me at the time. I was young. I met him when I was a teenager and it lasted throughout my 20s. It’s really not my fault although I blame myself daily for it.

I suffer from guilt and a lot of shame. In fact, I’m crying as I type this out because this is triggering for me but I just have to get it out. I spend most of my time sleeping because sleeping is much less painful. I finally got out of bed at 1:00 PM today. Fast forward seven hours and here I am listening to Jasmine Thompson singing in the background with a candle on, trying to help myself feel better. I’m not in actual pain. Well, isn’t pain relative? The memory of the pain right now is what is hurtful.

How am I ever going to be healthy enough emotionally to be able to become a therapist? Now that I am no longer enrolled in a program, that means I have to reapply. I have to send in new applications and do new program interviews and write new admission essays. I have to do it all over again. But I can do this. I know I can.

This isn’t for nothing, you know. The pain, the suffering, getting through it all, not killing myself when that’s all I want to do sometimes. It’s not for nothing. Because one day, I am going to help someone who went through what I went through. And I am going to help that person learn to suffer less, so that they can have a more meaningful life worth living.

Am I ready?

The answer to this question is very clear to me. I am not ready to go to school to get my Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) degree. Hey, see, I’m only 35 now and I’m still struggling with my own trauma which lasted for six years and ended seven years ago. That’s over a decade of first having the trauma happen to me, then suffering endlessly from major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. People can go back to school when they’re 50, right? Meaning, I have time. I have plenty of time to become a healer, but right now I need to be healed and trust me, I’ve been working on it.

My last suicide attempt wasn’t much more than six months ago. That’s not very long. I know it would take me five years to finish school, and that would give me healing time, but what would life be like without stress? Without school? What would life be like if I just lived my life, without adding extra “stuff” to my plate? What would life be like if I could just focus on myself and my poetry and not have stress and anxiety? Just imagine. Is that so hard to imagine? For me, it is really is hard to imagine. What could my life be like if I just lived it like a “normal” and “average” person.

You see the trouble is, I’m not just average, and that does bode for trouble. I have all of these dreams, ambitions and desires. Depression and PTSD didn’t kill my dreams, although it has inhibited them. I still like to do things, and I still do things. I have my volunteer job with kids that I go to twice a month. That gives me joy and fulfillment. I really like it and I’m really lucky to have that volunteer job. Not everyone qualifies to work with children, but I passed the requirements and now I belong to this really cool organization that helps at-risk children. I have a connection. Tell me that’s not cool.

I just applied to a company and had an interview. It’s a Sales Assistant position, which is what I do now, but instead of working with Financial Advisors I would work with a cybersecurity company. The job would be a lot more stressful and would require me to do overtime every week but there is growth potential with that company. However, I don’t even know yet if I will get a job offer. I have no idea, although I think that the interview went okay.

I have all of these options. Do I stay in my graduate program and take just one class for a whopping $2,600 including books (that’s the price of just one class at this private university) or do I take a class for fun at a Junior College for a mere $300 and just have fun with it? Or do I take no classes and just enjoy my life and go to more poetry readings around town with my free time?

Thinking long-term I might apply to an MBA (Masters in Business Administration) program, especially if I do get the new job because they may offer tuition assistance, and then it doesn’t make sense to not do it, because, while working for them I could work towards a higher degree, it just wouldn’t be in psychology. I can always do my clinical psychology program at a later time in life, and gosh, I think I will. But not right now. Do you concur, or do you think I should continue with my MFT program? Your thoughts are valuable to me and I would be curious to know what you think about all of this… Thanks, Depression Muse signing out.

Struggles = Cuddles and Self Care

It’s been a long time since I’ve allowed myself to put words in written form to my experience. My dog is laying by me and asking for pets. Really, this whole month has been a struggle, from beginning to end. I don’t like my job any longer. There’s too much to do at work and there is only one of me. I am struggling so much. Every day is a huge labor of I don’t know what because it certainly isn’t a labor of love. Help me, God… is anyone out there? Can anyone hear me? So, that’s pretty much how I feel.

I should be posting on my Patreon site right now, my monthly subscribers are due for a post but I just cannot bring myself to do it. Why why why. Dinner? Three pita breads with olive spread and some organic grapes. That’s all I could manage to do for myself. Thank goodness for frozen meals for my lunches at work. Tomorrow will be a long day and I am not looking forward to it. Sometimes, like right now, I wish I could just sleep all day. I would do it if I had the time and I’ve done it before. But my therapist wants me to get to church and schedule other activities. I’m supposed to act opposite to what my depressive behaviours are telling me.

I really don’t want to do anything right now. I barely even want to be writing. But I can finish this paragraph, and then see if another one starts. Sometimes you just have to take it step by step and do what they call “baby steps” until you get there, whatever the “there” for you is. In this case, getting “there” is the end of the day and here I am, thankfully, very grateful.

My Amazon Alexa is playing meditation music in the background and that is helping. My dog is snoring. I have twinkle lights on in my room which look very pretty and lend enough light to where I don’t have to have any other lights on. I wish I could stay in this environment all day long. Alas, tomorrow is another workday. I just hate my job. I should be looking for new jobs but you know the funny thing is, at the end of the day, I just don’t have the energy. I don’t have any energy to apply to new jobs and the few I’ve applied for have not selected me for interviews. Can we do this again? Let’s do today all over again and I’ll still be wishing for eternal sleep…

I am fighting the urge to not go back to bed. It’s Saturday morning. My depression is low and frankly, I would like to say that in these very moments, I am not suffering from depression. It’s a pretty amazing feeling. The last several weekends I have been sleeping my days away. I stay in bed until 4:00 PM. Of course, I walk my dog in the morning and at night but then I get right back into bed and close my eyes. This weekend has the potential of being different. I could actually live my life. Some people live for weekends. I’ve been hating them. Work keeps me on a regular schedule and I’ve been just barely surviving.

DBT Therapy is going well I think. Class is good. We have a Skills Group weekly, it’s like going to a class. We learn coping skills. Not really sure what else to say. My dog is snoring by my side whilst I type and it’s incredibly calming and soothing. I love my dog so much. I wish everyone got to experience the love of a companion dog like this. We’re together all the time when I am home and we sleep together. I love him so much. It was so sad that he had to stay with a dog sitter this summer for six weeks whilst I was in hospital.

We lost another financial advisor at work. My former coworker was asking me if I was going to jump ship too or stay at my company. This happens in the financial services industry. People come and they go. I’ve been at my company for four years now. Even though the job is stressful, I like it. I like my job. I get to feel a sense of accomplishment every day that I work. The clients like me. It is a good feeling.

Can you tell I’m not feeling so depressed? I mean, I’m not talking about depression, well, yes I am, but it just feels different right now. I am drinking coffee on a Saturday morning and there is nothing I have to do. I am not obligated to do anything. I don’t have kids to play with and I have a dog who is low-maintenance who just wants to sit by my side the whole time. Aren’t I lucky today… I just have to remind myself that I am still in recovery. I have that posted as a sticky note on my bathroom mirror, “I am still in recovery.” Because I have to remember to be kind to myself.

My New DBT Therapist and Using My Skills

I haven’t written about or put words on my experience for several months. I’ve just been experiencing depression. For example, right now it’s 8:30 PM. I just got home from an hour-long therapy session. “Normally” (as in what I’ve been doing these last months) I would go right to bed. Forget having any energy to write about my thoughts and my feelings. But right now I am going to try to verbalize what is going on in my mind. In fact, this is actually quite challenging because I am fighting the urge right now to want to stop writing and go to bed. The idea of going to bed even though I am not too tired is very appealing. Homework. I’ll look at this as homework. I’m doing work. This is work.

In the past, I could never have imagined even considering to see a new therapist. My attachment with my therapist of the last 11 years is incredibly strong. Since then I have grown a lot, and part of that growth is having more strength. I am more resilient now than I have been in the past and that is why, I think, I am okay with having a new therapist. Plus, this won’t be forever. I am going to work with my new therapist for maybe about six months, and hopefully, I will have learned enough DBT skills to be able to be skilful enough not to need DBT therapy any longer. I actually much prefer receiving psychodynamic therapy. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is a type of cognitive behaviour therapy and in therapy, you talk about things differently. Instead of experiencing a thought, you word things in the way of, “I am having the thought that…” and then you name your thought. It helps create distance between you and that thought. The same principle goes for feelings.

My new therapist wanted me to do some homework actually. That’s a part of DBT is that you do work in between the sessions so that you learn to use the skills more effectively and so that, once practised enough, the skills will be available to you when you really need them. Last week I was stuck on not wanting to employ skills when I was feeling suicidal and having thoughts of escape (that’s another way to word “suicidal thoughts”). The skill of using pros and cons can be applied here. What would be some pros of using skills when I am feeling suicidal? The most apparent to me would be that I could possibly experience less suffering. That’s huge. What would be a con of using the skills? My thought is that I could potentially feel even more suicidal. But I don’t know that until I’ve practised the skill.

My dog is really annoying me right now. He is licking his paws. That is something that dogs do. It worked when I told him to stop but I get it… he has anxiety too and he is just trying to find a way to calm himself down or comfort himself. He’s a dog. Dogs lick things. Dogs lick bedsheets and people’s bare arms and bare feet and their paws and their toys, just about anything they can get their tongue on. Now I’m putting words onto my thoughts so that they don’t bother me. I could get annoyed with my dog or I could express understanding of his experience as a dog and therefore create a form of empathy and understanding on my end as his dog mom.

I took a break just now from talking about feeling suicidal by talking about my dog. I put words on my current experience, that with my dog, by using the skill “describe” and “notice” and “observe.” I also paid attention to some of my five senses: I could see what my dog was doing, I could feel him by petting him and the fact that he is sitting on my lap, I feel the weight of his mere 12 pounds, and I could hear him doing his dog thing, like grumbling while he was licking himself.

So my homework is to do pros and cons of using my skills. My therapist said I could have a picture on my phone of something that is meaningful to me. The only thing I could think of during my therapy session would be a picture of my dog. The example my therapist gave was if someone was trying to postpone the behaviour of doing drugs, they would look at a photo of their child, who is a reason for them not to do drugs. Here, of course, we are talking illicit drugs I think. So, there you go. But instead of a picture, I need to come up with a phrase. So my phrase will be, “the reason to use my DBT skills will be to reduce my suffering so that I can continue to create more of a life worth living.” Marsha Linehan, the creator of DBT, used the phrase “a life worth living” and I like that phrase. Apparently, some people don’t like that phrase but I really like it because I’ve heard it before and have attached myself to it. I want to live a life that is worth living instead of experiencing continual suffering. Feelings come and go and I remain. That’s a phrase I will never forget, which my former therapist taught me. The concept of impermanence. Things always come and go yet I remain. People will come and go yet I remain. I remain. I remain and I am still here.

More On My Inpatient Experience

I am about to have my hearing with a court official. A lady who is a patient advocate came and spoke with me. She is going to speak on my behalf. I’m a little bit scared because the prospect of speaking with a court official is daunting. I’m so glad that I live in America. I think that the health system, especially for mental health, is better here than it is in the U.K., for example. Even the ability to have a court hearing is amazing.

An older, retired couple is coming to visit me at noon today. The doctor said that the levels of my liver went up today, which I guess is not good. My poo has been black, which is the charcoal they made me drink right after the overdose. I can’t believe that it’s five days later and the charcoal is still in my system. It was so disgusting to drink. Let me say one thing though: I think I’m glad to be alive right now. Had I died, my mother and my brother would have been devastated. You can’t recover from something like that, when someone close to you dies of suicide. I don’t know and cannot know what it’s like because it hasn’t happened to me, but I can imagine. I can imagine.

Now I’m just waiting. I don’t know if I will feel like typing this up later for my blog. My new roommate, Olga, is making her bed and straightening her things. There are some construction workers directly outside of the window so we have the curtains closed and the light on, instead of using the daylight. Honestly, right now, I am just waiting for my hearing and I am curious to know what the result will be, whether I’ll get to leave or not.

I am on a 14-day hold and I have 11 days left. That does not mean that I have to stay all 11 days if the doctor deems it safe for me to go home. I did not win my court hearing. The court official ruled that I am still a danger to myself and that I need to stay in the hospital. There is something called a writ of Habeas Corpus and it’s a hearing in the actual courthouse. To me it’s not worth it and I know I just have to work with my doctor and his treatment plan. My former doctor here, his wife died, and that is why he is not here. He must be at least 75 years old now.

My friends should be coming any time now. I put on a fresh shirt for them because I had sweated being out in the sun on the patio earlier today. My shirt stunk! I should probably get my hair trimmed at some point. It has been a year and a half since I last got my hair cut and there are a plethora of split ends.

It’s about late afternoon. I’ve definitely had urges to hurt myself. Definitely. I need to see my Samuel again, my little dog. I have to make it out so I can see him. My poor little dog without his human Mommy. Poor thing. I bet he misses me too.

When we were doing beading to make bracelets, I snuck some pieces of the plastic elastic band into my pocket and then once I was in my room I tried putting it around my neck. But it didn’t do anything so I threw all but one piece away. The bedroom doors have windows in them and the bathroom doors in the bedrooms have no locks. It’s better than in the ICU where the bathrooms had only curtains for doors. Damn it. I want to hurt myself so badly. But I am fighting the urge by writing. Writing is my anchor and my life vest; it keeps me afloat.

I got angry earlier and I was having anxiety. They told us at the wrap up group that we get 30 minute sessions on computers but the computer itself has a timer for 60 minutes. Rhonda, our floor staff, the lady with the red hair, told us to speak up if we want computer time. So I asked both women who were using the computers when I could return for my turn and they both said, ¨I don´t know.¨ I got angry on the inside. After telling a nurse about what had happened, I went back to my room and writing saved me yet again.

I took the velvet art I had made today and turned it into a postcard. I addressed it to my Mum and her husband and left it at the nurse’s station to be mailed out. Then, after I had gotten some decaf coffee from the kitchen, which was still open because the patients were finishing up dinner, my roommate started talking to me. Her name is Ana and she came to America when she was six years old from Russia. She is 27 and got married at the same age as me, at 22. Several people have told me that I look a lot younger than 35, so I guess I have that to my advantage. I need to get out of here so that I can see my dog and pour out my love onto him. I need to get out, I need to get out and I need to live and to stay alive.