ink drawing of dandelion seed heads growing in grass

Observations From the Garden

I got up at 6 and walked through my routine because that’s what I always do, depressed or not. I fed the dog, made the coffee, poured a bowl of cereal, and then stared into it while the dog did her rounds in the yard. But by 8, I was beginning to wonder why I ever got up in the first place. So, back to bed with the window open and my blankets pulled up to my chin.

Lately, depression has overtaken my days with sleep and restless boredom. What time is it? Doesn’t matter; every day feels like a week. At night, the anxiety comes. I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin. Or like I want to reach inside my chest and pull out my lungs, let them spin out the twist in my trachea. Maybe then I could breathe.

To pass the time when the sun is up, I move between sleep and hobbies. Sitting outside in the backyard, my sketchpad page is still blank. Pen or pencil? I pick up the pen but am unable to draw more than a few dandelions from the scene I’m observing. A flock of house finches has found our backyard – it’s more dandelions than grass, and they’ve all gone to seed. The birds are foraging, bobbing their heads and moving among the unmown grass. One finch struts up to a tall dandelion, and, with an almost imperceptible flutter, attempts to perch on its vertical stem. The dandelion head begins to bow to the ground, and the finch rides the bending stem to meet the grass. Foot firmly planted to hold the flower down, the finch returns to bobbing and pecking.

There’s a sound behind me, and I turn to see a five-foot garter snake glide through the raspberry bushes, following a taste in the air. A busy robin chatters while it gathers last year’s grape leaves for nesting material. Stella digs a layer out of the hollow she’s claimed as hers, then situates herself in the cool dirt she’s uncovered. A hummingbird trill draws near, then it whizzes by on its frenetic journey. Everything around me moves, yet I feel like I’m in stasis. Animals and plants follow their daily rhythms, foraging, hunting, racing the sun to get enough calories, and I feel disrupted – out of sync.

I don’t know how to fix it. Usually, I keep up with my treatments — meds, therapy, ketamine — and simply wait for it to pass. I use what coping mechanisms I can—preferably the good ones, and let the turning of the Earth carry me from one day to the next. This time, I can’t help but feel the uncertainty of the time we’re living in. The disruption is not just to my mind, but to the world. When will this sense of weightlessness, of falling through empty space be soothed? When can we once again feel the ground beneath our feet, knowing by its predictability that it is moving us inexorably from today to tomorrow?

How Do I Love Thee? A Haiku About Meds

New bottle of pills

Contains capsules, not tablets

Let me count the ways


Three of my nighttime pills are tablets, and I like to take them all at once to minimize the horrible dissolving-pill taste as much as possible. One time, two went down but one got stuck to the back of my tongue and began to dissolve. It was like purifying the essence of every cruciferous vegetable and mixing them with charcoal, then pouring the horrific concoction down my throat. Immediately, my esophagus’s movement reversed direction and it took serious effort not to hurl right then and there. Instead, I had to force myself to chug water and think about anything but my poor tastebuds. To this day, the memory makes me shiver in horror.

And now, a change in the formulation of one of my meds means that I have received capsules instead of tablets. It’s the little things.

Thoughts on Perspective and Depression

Photo by Chase Murphy on Unsplash

When I’m moving out of severe depression and into something closer to happiness, I’m intensely aware of the fact that I will soon forget what it felt like to be depressed. Not intellectually, of course. Having the experience of depression makes me forever able to empathize with others and remember, in objective terms, what it felt like. But the internal feelings– the heaviness, the soul numbness, the twisting slowness of being utterly squashed by life’s requirements- all of those will trickle away until I can only comprehend them from afar. Just as I can’t quite grasp the truth of happiness when I’m depressed, I can’t quite understand depression when I’m well.

It’s a problem I contemplate fairly often. Holding two perspectives at once isn’t fully possible, so I find myself slipping between two conclusions with different contexts. When I’m depressed, I vaguely remember feeling better. That memory, however, always pales in comparison to current pain. I eventually end up concluding that dragging myself back to mediocre happiness would not be worth the effort.

Inevitably, when the depression ends or at least improves, I understand how clouded my judgment was. Over time, I forget just how sharp and all-encompassing depression can be. I disregard its immediacy, letting healthy coping skills fall to the wayside. When I move beyond the basics– eating, bathing, stepping outside– to more advanced skills like socializing and nurturing my ambition, the basics are the first to go when stress hits. This is especially true when time has faded the memory of how quickly depression can return.

It scares me that depression so thoroughly warps my thinking, and recalling the cycle of depression and recovery makes me wonder if any number of episodes will teach me to ignore my depressed brain. It’s easier when each day is different; I can tell myself that this will pass– and I might believe it. But when I’m entrenched in depression, it stretches ahead of me until it’s all I can see. Then, the lies my brain tells me seem awfully convincing.

Right now, I’m going day by day. Things aren’t wonderful, but they’re not terrible, either. When I want to crawl back into bed in the middle of the day and not get up until tomorrow, I try to remember that I’ve been here before. I’ve been here before and I’ve done that before, and it never changes anything. Eventually, things will get better, and maybe I can get there faster if I make those hard but healthy choices. So, I’m back to the hardest self-care of all: doing what’s best for you even when it’s the last thing you want.

I Woke Up Cold: Thoughts From My Morning Coffee

I put on a scarf at 5:30 in the morning because I woke up cold. It seems that I’m always cold these days. Months remain before the crocuses poke through the soil and the robins start to chirp. Months of ice and salt, of bitter wind and cracked skin. Of waking up cold. I step lightly on the wood floor in the dark and flick on the kitchen lights. It’s time for coffee, so I follow the familiar steps: a new filter, two and a half scoops, and enough water for a full pot. I don’t mind waking up so early; it gives me time to start the day slowly. If I try, I can get another half hour before I’m rudely awakened by a paw to the face– Stella has limited patience. So in the end, 5:30 is peaceful and silent, and I can sit alone at the table with my coffee while Stella smells the early morning air through the crack between the sliding door and the frame.

This morning is grey; the trees are grey, the sky is grey, the grass looks nearly grey. I can already tell that today will be a sluggish one. There will probably be a long nap, and I will likely struggle through work, only to wander aimlessly from one uninteresting hobby to another. I wonder if the ketamine is wearing off, but it’s only been two weeks since my last infusion. I want to will myself into a longer interval between infusions because two weeks seems rather short. I argue with myself when it comes time to rate my mood for the day on a scale of one to ten. (I get an automated reminder text on my phone and send the number as a reply. The results create a graph that my doctor can see.) I have this urge to fib- to make it seem like I feel better than I do. It takes some effort to not lie, and I always get a small twist of disappointment and shame when I send anything below a five.

What will today be? A four? Maybe if I get moving, I can make it a five or even a six. But frankly, today is grey and cold, and I don’t feel like doing anything. My depression is not seasonal; it stays all year. I’ve noticed, however, that the quiet arrival of spring sometimes tows along my missing optimism. The return of new growth and green things makes me feel a little more ready to come out of my shell. Anticipation tinged with anxiety will begin to stir in me as winter comes to an end. Anxiety because there will be more to do, and I worry that I won’t be able to drag myself out of bed to do it. Anticipation because I desperately want to.

For now, I am lost in January. Sometimes, the best I can do is curl up in the cashmere blanket my mother made for me, still wearing my scarf, and sleep. And hope that I won’t wake up cold.

Anonymity and Mental Health Stigma


When I started this blog, it was deliberately anonymous in an effort to avoid any mental health stigma from reaching my real life. I didn’t have my name anywhere on it and I made a conscious effort not to mention anything about my life outside the sphere of mental health. I don’t think I even told my immediate family about it until a few months in.

I liked the freedom of writing anything I wanted without overthinking it. Those fears of what will people think? were almost nonexistent because nobody knew who I was. Over time, I began sharing it with people I knew. My immediate family and friends, then my extended family, my therapist, and others involved in my treatment.

I know that putting my name on my blog doesn’t change much for you, the reader. It does, however, signify a big change for me in the context of internalized mental health stigma. I’m finally coming to terms with my diagnoses and feeling more comfortable talking and writing about them as myself, with my real name attached.

Everyone has their own reasons for keeping their online presence anonymous. My reason was rooted in shame. I was afraid that if people knew I was writing about topics like depression, self-harm, and suicidality, they would never again see me for the things that make me, me. The reality is that people I know tend to notice the things that shine through the overarching topics. They comment on my love of writing and my sense of humor before they mention the content of my posts. And when they do broach the subject of my blog, they express their happiness that I’m still working towards stability. It helps, of course, that my family and the people surrounding me are very understanding. Not everyone has that, and I’m so thankful that I do.

Anyway, there you have it. My name is Genevieve (Gen), I’m 23 years old, and I live in Colorado. I got my bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where I studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as well as Evolutionary Anthropology. I work from home as an editor and freelance writer (not at all related to my degree, but whatever). On my blog, I write about my diagnoses of sensory processing disorder and major depressive disorder. I like reading, making art, and being in nature. This is starting to sound like a cross between a cover letter and a dating profile, so I’m going to wrap it up.

Lumpdates is still lumpdates, but I’m pretty dang proud of myself for standing up to mental health stigma by typing the nine letters of my name into my username settings.

Wishing you curly fries,


A Poem About Being Tired


head statue
Photo by Mika on Unsplash

My eyes are beginning to feel

Like peeled grapes, getting dry

This cannot be fixed

with one. slow. blink.

No, this requires something more

A seven-hour soak inside my orbits

Floating in dark saline dreams

Getting ready for the crack

Of eyelid curtains

And another day of dried-out vision

A Plains Poem

NOVEMBER SNOWtall, yellow grass with overgrown tire tracks and pink sunset

All summer, golden grasses swayed

Over prairie dog burrows in dry caked clay

Little sentries stood at attention

Through parched heat and months of baking sun.


rocky mountains under blue sky with clouds and snowy plains in front
Photos are my own

Now, November snow blankets the plains,

Flattens grasses and where it melts,

leaves golden cowlicks sticking up

at odd angles