At the end of each year, I like to reflect on what has happened, how I’ve grown, and what’s to come.

Without a year’s worth of Sunday News posts, I’m having a little bit of a hard time remembering what’s happened. … This year amounts to three main things: 1) playing the Switch, 2) helping a friend in need, and 3) reflecting on my mental health.

At the end of each year, Nintendo let’s players download their Switch stats which includes: total number of hours played, number of hours played each month, total number of games played, and games played the most during the year. Last year, I played for a little over 200 hours. (That may seem like a lot, but it’s really not.)

According to Nintendo, this year I played the Switch for 922 hours. I played 16 different games. (This stat isn’t completely accurate. Nintendo counts a game as played even if you accidentally open it and then close it right away.) The games I spent the most time playing are:

  • Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • Ultimate Chicken Horse (the greatest four-player game ever)
  • Pikmin 4
  • Mario Kart
  • Stardew Valley

One of my friends is going through a trying time. She was a stay-at-home-mom of three, ages 13 (f), 7 (f), and 3 (m). In June, however, it became necessary for her to get a part time job. Her 13 year old often babysits the younger two, but my friend didn’t want to rob the 13 year old of her childhood by putting too much responsibility on her all at once so I offered to watch her kids.

The summer was great. The 3 year old had his siblings to play with and keep him company. I mostly made sure they didn’t kill themselves or burn the house down. Once school started, I burned out quickly. I love my friend’s kids a lot and 3 year old’s are a handful when they have no one to play with or entertain them.

I still watch the 3 year old, but my friend has cut back her hours because she knows I’m burned out and her 3 year old misses having her at home.

My mental health has been pretty good this year. I’ve had ups and downs like everyone else. During the summer, I noticed no depression or suicidal ideation. That continued until November when SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) hit. My depression and suicidal ideation are manageable, especially when I use the skills I learned in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). Even though I’m dealing with SAD right now, I’m in a much better place emotionally than I have been in almost a decade.

I’m proud I’ve stuck with helping my friend even though I’ve wanted to tell her I can’t anymore. I’m proud I use the skills I learned in DBT when I need help regulating my emotions, tolerating distress, or making sure my needs are met. Even though I feel like I haven’t done much this year, I know that what I have done is huge. I feel hopeful, content, and I’m looking forward to the new year and its opportunities. I’m grateful for my support system and I’m looking forward to connecting more with this amazing online community.

Here’s to many wonderful possibilities! May your 2024 be merry and bright!

Are you looking forward to 2024? Do you have any resolutions?

At the end of each year, I like to reflect on what has happened, how I’ve grown, and what’s to come.

I graduated from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in May. DBT changed my life. Because of the skills I learned, I can navigate my emotions rather than fall apart and shutdown. I can now cope instead of wanting to get out of hard situations and feelings.

I started Prolonged Exposure therapy (PE) in August. PE focused on helping me heal from my past trauma and resultant PTSD. I graduated in November. It was the most difficult work I’ve ever had to do AND my trauma no longer controls me thanks to the time and effort I put in to heal.

I was interviewed by a Huffington Post writer about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and the stigma surrounding it in May. It was such a rewarding opportunity to talk about my experience with BPD and to help others learn that perpetuating myths are harmful to everyone.

In June, Corey and I sold our townhome of 13.5 years and moved in to a rental property. I really like our new digs despite it being a rental. The floor plan’s laid out logically with wide halls and stairs, 10-foot ceilings, big walk-in closets in each bedroom, and our first garage. We’re extremely blessed to live where we do.

Sadly, we said goodbye to our beautiful Dax in August. She was almost 19 years old and her kidneys decided they’d functioned long enough. Her passing was bittersweet as Izzy, Corey, and I miss her dearly and we’re happy she’s no longer suffering.

We adopted Luci, a four-month-old kitten, in November. She’s very energetic, friendly, and cuddly. Corey and I are smitten and Izzy’s still making up her mind.

My health took a ride on the proverbial roller coaster, having lots of ups and downs:

  • a bacterial infection in January;
  • suspected C. difficile in March which turned out to be a chronic case of acid reflux;
  • COVID in June;
  • injured shoulder, arm, and ankle from October until December;
  • and chronic hives that started in November.

I had LASIK done on both my eyes in August. Sometimes I have buyer’s remorse and wish I’d only had one eye done so I’d be able to see both near and far. Most of the time, however, I’m just glad I had LASIK because I only need glasses for reading when I’m extremely tired. I love being able to wear real sunglasses instead of my old transition lenses. I’m especially looking forward to being able to see when I go swimming in the summer.

I had a lot of great opportunities to make new friends and strengthen my relationship with old ones. I befriended so many wonderful bloggers who I always look forward to connecting with. I went outside of my usual group of friends to make new relationships with people I wouldn’t have in the past. I also learned to weather difficult situations and changes in some of my established friendships, helping strengthen them rather than dissolve them.

I learned to accept my family’s strengths and weaknesses, and create healthy boundaries. For the first time in more than a decade, I look forward to spending time with those who aren’t toxic.

School was hard due to my health and I nearly gave up, thinking I was going for the wrong reasons. I learned, however, that school helps me regulate my emotions more easily and boosts my self-efficacy. When I’m productive, learning, and not isolating, my depression and anhedonia are only memories.

I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished in 2022 and how much I’ve grown. I’ve improved so much and I’m no longer the same person I was in March 2021. I feel hopeful, content, and I’m looking forward to the new year and its opportunities. I’m glad I’ve been able to weather life’s hardships and I know I can cope with whatever’s thrown at me. I’m grateful to everyone who helped me become a stronger person, and I’m looking forward to continuing to connect with this amazing online community and the people I love IRL.

Here’s to many wonderful possibilities! May your 2023 be merry and bright!

Are you looking forward to 2023? Do you have any resolutions?

At the end of each year, I like to reflect on what happened during the year. Trigger warning. Only continue reading if you’re in a good space.

On March 1, I overdosed on Lithium and ended up in the hospital for a week. I was very lucky that with the amount of Lithium I took, I didn’t damage my kidneys. It was touch and go for many days. It was also a very hard recovery, but it opened my eyes and I realized that I never wanted to end up in that situation again.

My psychiatrist and therapist at the time pushed me to find a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program as I had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder about seven months prior. Thankfully, I found a program fairly quickly and I’ve been working with Doug since the end of March.

DBT and Doug have been the greatest blessing in my life. Without DBT, I wouldn’t have been able to navigate this year. With Doug’s guidance, I’m back in school working toward finishing my BS in mathematics and I’m moving toward several of my other values (compasses that guide me in building a life worth living). It has been hard. It’s still hard. Sometimes, I want to quit. Sometimes, I still want to hurt myself AND I now have the skills to help me not act on ineffective urges.

I still have 4 to 4.5 months left in the program as DBT usually lasts for a year. I have a lot of anxiety that I won’t be ready to navigate the world by myself at the end of the program and like the DBT manual says, I try to be mindful and:

Rivet [myself] to now. Be completely present to this one moment. Throw [myself] completely into activities of the current moment.

It’s hard to do, and I know I can do hard things.

I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished this year. I’ve come a long way from where I was on March 1. And, for the first time in a long time, I’m looking forward to the new year and the opportunities the future holds (better mental health, progress in school, quality time with family and friends, etc.).

One of the opportunities I’m taking advantage of is resurrecting my book blog. Well, I’m starting a new one, anyway, as there’s nothing left of the old one. I’m looking forward to connecting with other readers and bloggers.

Are you looking forward to 2022? Do you have any resolutions?

Here’s to many wonderful possibilities! May your new year be merry and bright!

Hello there!

I’m Jenni Elyse. I created this blog on June 23, 2007. Due to severe depression and anhedonia, I stopped blogging regularly around three and a half years ago. I’ve changed my blog’s concept more times than I can count during the 14.5 years since its inception. I’ve finally realized this is because I was trying to work through my anhedonia and keep my blog alive.

In the last three years, I’ve attempted to start my blog up again and again. However, I didn’t have the proper tools to fight my mental illnesses and they prevailed against my need to express myself creatively. Near the end of March, I started a new therapy called DBT (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy) that’s specially designed for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I was diagnosed with BPD a little over a year ago. I can definitely tell a difference in how I’m dealing with distress and depression.

In one of my sessions with my DBT therapist, Doug, we figured out that creativity’s very important to me. Now that I’m able to focus on more than just crises and/or my depression, I feel like my creativity is waking up again. Doug pointed out that I talk a lot about blogging even though I wasn’t currently blogging, so he challenged me to start up my blog again. He told me that not only would it help me fight feeling depressed all the time, it’d also be a good way to use the skills I’m currently learning in DBT as I’m going to feel self-conscious or not able to continue at some point. Instead of giving in to my uncomfortable feelings like I’ve always done in the past, I can use my skills to work through my feelings and keep going.

I’m excited and nervous to be back since this is like take 5,003 on my blog. I hope you decide to join me and share this ride along with me.