Why We Grieve For Strangers

A few months ago I woke up to a beautiful morning. I was in a weirdly good mood, I had breakfast and coffee in peace, and then when the kids woke up, I greeted them with a smile as they fought over who would snuggle mommy first. These are the things that melt my heart, this is the life I live for. Everything was looking like it was going to be a beautiful day. Then I sat down to check Facebook.

One of the first things that popped up was a post from a page I follow about PMDD. One of the women from that page, a beautiful, wonderful woman who had a reputation for helping those around her, messaging people in the middle of the night, talking with strangers to help them out of a hard time, had passed. She had just been talking with some of those ladies a couple days previous, and when she stopped responding, they got worried. Eventually, they reached out to her husband and found that their worst fears were confirmed. Her suffering had become too much for her, and she had taken her own life. She left behind a loving husband, a couple kids, and a support network reeling from the shock of losing her.


I did not personally know her. I recognized her from the page, we had never spoken before. But I grieved that day. It hit me hard, and I felt so guilty over it. Grieving for a complete stranger felt like a slap in the face for the people who actually knew and loved her. I didn’t even know this woman, why am I seriously crying right now?

Because she could have been me.

Because I looked at her and saw a happy woman with a good family, who happened to be struggling with the same thing I was. Although we didn’t have much else in common on the outside, I looked at her and I could see me. I like to tell myself that I am safe because I have a family who loves me, children who depend on me, and a husband who encourages me to get the care I need. I like to tell myself that all of that will always be enough to keep me around. Just like countless other women who struggle with the same things I do, who told themselves the same thing. Just like countless women who have lost those battles.

Just like Robin Williams, who used laughter to make the world a better place, because he knew how it felt to be so low you can’t feel anything anymore.

Just like Amy Bluel, founder of the semicolon project, who inspired so many people and gave hope to thousands.

And like Chester Bennington, who’s music helped tons of people feel like they weren’t alone.

We grieve for these people, famous or not, because we can see something of ourselves in them. But here’s something to remember. If you hear about these tragedies and feel that grief and that loss, if you see yourself in these people and are affected by it, it’s because you still have that spark in you that wants to avoid that fate. It means that you are still hanging on. So go ahead, by all means, grieve. Because grieving means you are still living, and aren’t planning on going anywhere.





For more information, or support, for PMDD, click here.
If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out.



What Happened When I Realized Carbs (and sugar) Were the Enemy


Over the past year I’ve been trying to find an antidepressant that works for me, and it’s been a hell of a roller coaster. Mentally, and physically. Physically, as in the roller coaster was the numbers on the scale, going up up up up UP! I was on my third try with meds, and finally, this one wasn’t making me gain weight. But it wasn’t helping me lose either and I was 40 pounds heavier than before I ever popped a pill. I wanted desperately to lose some weight, so I was working out like crazy, eating better, and after months of hard work, I lost a WHOPPING… 4 pounds. The roller coaster got stuck and I was pissed.

Then my family moved into our very first house and there was a lot to do, so it all slipped to the back of my mind. We didn’t have a functioning kitchen for a good week, and between that first week and the weeks leading up to the move, I lost count of how much fast food and pizza we all ate. But once we were all settled in, I was ready to make a change. A big one.


I had been looking into the keto diet for a while, but I seriously doubted it. Everything about it made me shake my head. For one, it goes against the whole standard american diet pyramid thing we’ve all been taught. In a nutshell, the keto diet is a way of eating that makes your body stop burning carbs(glucose) for energy, and it starts burning fat instead. You do this by decreasing your carb intake, low enough that you can’t depend on it for energy anymore. I didn’t think I could do it. But mostly, no way I’d be able to give up carbs and sugar! Chocolate has sugar! But then it hit me.

unhealthy white sugar concept


I started paying attention, and I noticed whenever I had too much sugar, I changed and my mood swings were bad. Like angry, She-hulk, monster mommy bad. I’d be having a great day and then stop for a frozen, sugary coffee indulgence because, why not? Within ten minutes I went from super good day to, “everything is too loud, these kids need to go away, I need to be left alone!” I was yelling at the kids when they didn’t deserve it, and snapping at my husband for no reason. I was blaming my depression, I was blaming PMDD, I was blaming my husband. When the culprit was the crap I was putting in my mouth.

So I looked back on the keto thing, and it clicked. This diet requires you to give up sugar, and I really should do that anyway… Why not? If the only goal was to lose weight, I might have given up a few times, but once I got past the keto flu and let my body detox a bit, I was feeling great. It hasn’t been magic, my mental issues are still there. But I started noticing good days again. I wasn’t snapping at the kids for no reason, and my husband has noticed that I’m a lot calmer. The last few days of my cycle that usually have my finger hovering over the call button for a suicide hotline, now have me just… Normal level depressed I guess? Like I said, I’ve still got my issues, but now I’m not fueling them with the evil that is sugar!

Not to mention, since starting this new way of eating, I’ve lost 30 pounds. That damn roller coaster got unstuck, started going down, and I jumped the hell off. Because if I keep up this lifestyle, I’m not going to keep going up and down with my weight. I might have my good weeks and bad weeks because of the PMDD, but now I can at least track it all again instead of wondering why the hell I’m feeling so stabby on what’s supposed to be a good day.


Now, I’m not trying to sell anyone on the keto diet. I’m a terrible salesperson anyway. But I think people who struggle with certain issues *cough* PMDD *cough* need to look closer at what they put into their bodies to see if maybe, just maybe, some of the fault lies in that. It’s a bit embarrassing to look back on how long it took for me to come to this realization for myself, but I’m finally working on it and seeing results. I’ve given up on sugar and carbs and I’m never going back. Plus, sugar free chocolate exists and it’s actually not bad, so there’s that.

Now, it’s time to give up coffee caffeine. Pray for me!

What I mean when I say, “I’m not a person today.”

You see people like me on the street or in the store, and you wouldn’t look twice. My face is blank and void of expression, anyone would assume I’m lost in thought, but if we lock eyes I’ll smile. That smile; it’s a habit. It tells the world, “Hi, I’m okay.” Sometimes it’s genuine, and sometimes it’s a lie. Sometimes I can hide things pretty well, so you can’t tell whether I’m having a good day or whether I’m screaming inside.


But once in a while I change things up. I don’t have the energy to fake it, so I tell the truth. I expose myself, show my vulnerability and open my heart up to judgement and pity. Sometimes I’ll tell you, “I’m not a person today.”

If I say this to you, it means one of two things: 1. I trust you and feel safe being honest with you. OR  2. I’m too low to care what I say or what anyone thinks of me and I’m desperately looking for some comfort.

Anyway, what I mean when I say this. I’m not a person today. I mean, I’ve been in pain for too long and it’s all drained out of me. I’m numb. I have no motivation to do anything. I don’t have the energy to cook or clean or take care of myself. If anyone tries to talk to me, I’ll be awkward and clueless on how to respond. I’ll smile that sad smile that doesn’t reach my eyes. It means, I’ve gotten so low that I don’t know how to get out. I don’t care about getting out. I don’t care about anything. I might even be wondering what it would be like to not be here anymore.

When I say “I’m not a person today,” it means I need help. I need a hug, a kind word, a coffee, anything that might wake me up and remind me that I’ve got emotions, I’ve got worth and I am capable of pulling myself out of what I’m going through. I need someone to tell me, “It’s okay. Take the day off. You can be a person again tomorrow. Today, let me help you remember how.”

Of course, I’m not saying this for anyone reading this who may happen to personally know me. This is something that many, if not all, of us with depression go through. We might just word things differently.

“I’m not okay today.”

“I’m not feeling well.”

“I’m just tired.”


Depression can take the best out of us and leave nothing but an empty shell. It takes a lot to open up to someone about it, even if it’s just a simple statement like this. If someone you love struggles with depression, pay attention to the details. Watch their smiles to find which are real and which they are hiding behind. Watch their posture, their ability to communicate, their hygiene habits. Watch how they act when they think no one is looking. And learn which phrase they use that means, “I’m not a person today.”