An Update on Auntie Heather’s Mental Health

I’ve been posting a lot about my mental health sitch on Facebook and Twitter, and of course, my Vlog on YouTube…but since I just posted this update on FB and Twitter, I figured I should do so here as well, for those Minions who are curious about my journey.

Brief background: I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and OCD my entire life and after this last bout of depression, I hit an all-time low. One so scary, I hate to think about it. And so now, as part of my healing process, I am trying to be more vocal about my journey. It keeps me in check, and if it helps others realize that there’s no shame in dealing with mental health issues, then that’s great. So…onto my latest update, Minions:

TRIGGER WARNING (depression, anxiety, suicidal urges):

So I haven’t been doing many mental health updates lately. Mostly because I’ve been down in the deep, dark muck of depression and the only roots I can seem to reach to pull myself out are filled with anxiety. But I’m having a pretty good day today, so I want to update you all while I’m feeling more like the me that I wish I were all the time (or that maybe I am, and just can’t see all the time). As much as I do love myself (and I do, because I’m awesome and all – I mean, just look at my hair and my morbid sense of humor), depression can add a thick grime to the window that lets me see how many people also love me. So when I forget that I love me, I often can’t see that you love me too, that anyone does. And it makes it easier to slip down deeper, into the darkness, where nothing is good and nobody cares. So first off, thank you for the reminders and love and support. Because it seems like such a simple thing, but just hearing that someone out there gives a damn about whether I live or die makes a world of difference.

I’m still on my meds. I take them every day (with my magic oatmeal, of course). And I think they’re working. Not completely, but I’m certain I’ll get to the right dosage eventually. It’s weird, because my OCD feeds my anxiety, which feeds my depression, which sticks me in a hole where I just go round and round about how much I suck and how no one cares and I don’t care and blah blah failure, blah blah what if, what if, what if….Some of you understand those feelings intimately. Some may not, and that’s okay. Just know that I had a really cool moment the other day – one that I’m determined to cling to. I was sitting outside, by my pool. My psychiatrist has been insisting I get some sun every day, as it helps with my depression (she says). So I was sitting there, and a thought popped into my head. One I haven’t thought in a few years, if I’m honest. The thought was, “I want to live.” And I do. And it surprised me to feel that way.

I want to live.

But it’s a fight. And it’s not an easy one. I was working on a writing project that was (and will be, some day) powerful and raw and real. It dealt with many of the issues I’m facing now. But it was too close. It made me feel too raw, too exposed. I’ve always said that writing is therapy for me, but this project was having the opposite effect. It was tearing me down, instead of healing me. Fortunately, I have the most amazing editor and publishing house and so many super understanding, ultra supportive peeps in my life. So that project is on hold for the moment. But not forever.

If you’re going through anything like I am, please get help. Because we can make it. It’ll be hard and feel impossible at times. But we can’t stop fighting for our survival. Because that’s not what Minions do. And even though I may get really down and have terrible, terrible ideas about ways to ease my pain sometimes…that doesn’t mean I’ll give into those ideas. Because that’s not what the Supreme Leader of the Minion Horde does either.

We’re in this together, Minions. I love you.

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13 Responses to "An Update on Auntie Heather’s Mental Health"

  1. We love you Auntie Heather. Just wanted you to know we’re thinking of you. Keep being awesome 🙂

  2. Rebecca R.

    Glad to hear you’re fighting, Auntie Heather. I, too, want to be a writer, but some days when I’m running low on ideas I feel like I’ll have a crappy writing career and I’ll always struggle…but when I focus, and can squeeze out a few paragraphs of half-decent letters, I know I’ll be okay.
    P.S. I suggest you start a garden. There’s some weird chemical in the the dirt that helps with depression.

  3. i love your books sooooo much

  4. Hey there Heather, Thank you so much for sharing such a personel experience with us. I know many times as I fall in love with a book and a certain character I realize whoever wrote this put a bit of themselves in each page and so by that I mean we fall in love with you through your exceptional writing. My mother has suffered from bipolar disorder my entire life and I am grateful to have a small window of understanding into depression through her. I wish more people could understand just for a moment what people with depression go through. Love is being sent to you through us your readers. Though we may never meet in person I value you. Your. Life. Matters. Thanks for being you!

  5. Scott Pickard

    Don’t give up Auntie Heather! I’ve also had depression and paranoid scitzophrania my Whole life. As rough as it gets life is something that’s worth living for. Even if it seems bleak at times it is something that you and everybody else needs to fight for. It’s all the small accomplishments and friends we make that make it a life worth living and experiencing.

  6. Ryland

    Come on heather you got this your a strong girl don’t give up

  7. Ashley

    I know exactly how you feel, Auntie. I suffer through depression and anxiety as well. This is one reason that you’re my hero, Auntie. You help lift my spirits. We both have to remember that we don’t have to suffer alone. I love you! <3 :')

  8. Ava

    Your writing is highly inspiring to me. I pick up your books when ever I’ve felt low (being that currently I’m literally watching my grandfather rot away with cancer) and they’ve become an escape for me. Stay strong.

  9. Joshalyn

    Love you, AH. Please don’t let any of this get the best of you! Especially the suicidal thoughts and the depression. We already lost Ned Vizzini – we don’t need to lose you too!

    <3

  10. Glory Rose

    We love you, Auntie Heather <3

    Now…here is a POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING…STILL FULL OF HOPE THOUGH
    Life can be a real arse sometimes. It can never seem to make up its mind. One second, everything is amazing, full of beauty, next second, you find yourself huddled in a corner, begging for it all to end. At least, in my case, that has happened. I dunno…maybe you have experienced similar. No matter what, I think everyone can agree that life is generally not fair…or cool. It seems to look favorably on some, but it hands you more shizz than you could possibly handle. So what else are you supposed to do? Just sit there with a moronic grin plastered on your face and tell anyone who will listen, “Hi! My life is absolute crap, how about yours?” Hahaha…no. Good try, though. Anyone who responds that way needs some serious help…or just to have a book thrown at their heads. In real life, people respond with strong, oftentimes crippling, emotion. Ad on enough pressure, and someone might be pushed to end it all, or to hurt themselves. Just know that, even if you do hurt yourself, don’t beat yourself up even more over it. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that, yes, it will eventually get better, and you just need to cope the best you can. However, if you ARE one of those who self-mutilates, if it is possible, reach out to those who can help you. You are not in this alone, fellow Minion. I promise you, we will get through this together. As Auntie Heather said, we can make it together. We just have to join hands and help each other. Auntie Heather is here for you. The Minion Horde in its entirety is here for you. I am here for you. Let me tell you that you are not alone. I used to self-mutilate, and it is an everyday, ongoing battle. Don’t let your depression define where your life goes from here. Look alive, sunshine, because the worst cannot possibly last forever. Know that you have a whole community of outcasts who love you, that Auntie Heather loves you, and that we can get through this together. If you are interested in my personal story, e-mail me. Or e-mail me just to say ‘hey.’

    Here is my e-mail address:
    tardis.traveller.14@gmail.com

    And remember, fellow Minions, it gets better. It is always darkest just before the dawn.

    Forever Minion and Killjoy,

    Rose

  11. Emma Falk

    I love you, Auntie! Things will get better. I was suicidal in the past, and believe me. Things get better! You have given me a wonderful friend through your books. Feel better!

  12. Auntie heather just know we all know what your going through my friends are going through what you are going through we all love you and that we’re all here for you. Sincerely your faithful minion among minions not ready to show himself but is willing to support

  13. You are a fighter, auntie heather. You are my insperation. I love all of your books. I wish that i ad your autograph. bye auntie heather.

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