A little over a year ago, I delved into a whole new world of blogging and then podcasting for Kiki and Kibbitz. Brianna and Jordan had already started the venture and they were kind enough to not only let me join in, but also have a voice in avenues we might want to explore, as well as topics. It was so far out of my comfort zone that I was sure I’d crash and burn and be an anchor, rather than an asset. They encouraged me through my fears and I learned those fears could be conquered through their support and the support of the friends I made on social media.
The real life introvert morphed into a social-media extrovert with opinions on everything under the sun (probably more than I should’ve shared!) Then, when the pandemic hit, our original goals became more keenly focused on connecting our individual hamster habitats with tunnels of laughter to break the sense of isolation we were all feeling during lockdown. I cannot express in words how much having this outlet carried me through the craziness that was 2020. Being able to break down and discuss the shows that were keeping us entertained added a whole new dimension to my world. Any time I felt lonely, I knew it was only a matter of time before laughter was right around the corner and I could be silly and feel connected again.
What I hadn’t openly shared is that I made a foolish error early on in the pandemic. Those of you who have followed this blog are aware that in 2019 I was diagnosed with depression brought on by caretaker fatigue. Now that John’s surgeries were in the rearview and he was back to work, I assumed I’d be fine. The meds I had been given were giving me massive headaches, so I (in my infinite stupidity) figured that it was my brain telling me I didn’t need them anymore. I did consult my doctor, because while sometimes stupid, I know better than to completely self diagnose, and they recommend I start taking half doses. Then the height of chaos hit and in-person visits became impossible and my doctor’s small office didn’t offer tele-visits. So, I weaned myself off completely and spent March through October completely unmedicated.
Suffice it to say, that was a bad move on my part. By October I was spiraling and made an emergency appointment with my doctor. Through tests and questionnaires, it was determined that I still suffered from mild depression and moderate anxiety had been added to the mix. Considering the state of the world, that’s not all that surprising, but it still made me feel weak. I had to abandon one of the two podcasts I was doing to lighten my load and allow me to focus on getting better. A new med regimen helped make that possible, but also added its own set of difficulties.
We had just had a very successful season with Below Deck Med and I wanted to keep the momentum going with my favorite show, which is Below Deck. Brianna and I both enjoy it so much and our Tuesday night podcasting sessions were an escape into laughter with a little rum thrown in. We’d gone from two gals chatting it up to getting guests and doing interviews and it seemed like a dream. Getting to hang with Adrienne, Courtney, and Jess and hearing behind-the-scenes scoop was a realm I never thought I’d enter from my little country life in Ohio. It was an absolutely blast.
Unfortunately, having fun doesn’t stop your brain chemistry from doing what it chooses to do. My sleep patterns were way off and insomnia is not a friend to depression. Even with great and exciting things happening, I was taxing my body and my mind beyond its limits. I was raised to keep my commitments and not leave people in a lurch, so I plugged on, attempting to keep everything going as not to let anyone down.
I’m not the best at saying no or at failing. I jokingly blame it on my Aries sun sign, but in truth…it’s a choice, not a force of nature that can’t be overcome. Several weeks ago, I hit a wall where I neither had the energy nor the mental capacity to do a weekly blog and even though everyone was so supportive and understanding, it wrecked me to not fulfill that commitment. I was determined to podcast that night to make up for it, but when I got off of Zoom I broke down in tears. I was doing what many people do and trying to give from an empty cup.
It was then that I made the decision to focus on getting healthy and being self-interested. I had always confused that term with selfishness in the past, but I’m learning there are distinct differences. Much in the same way that when flying the attendants tell you to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting others, I needed to be whole and healthy and put my needs before those of others before I crashed and burned completely.
Once I had that epiphany, I was faced with the difficult task of disappointing people who had supported me over the last year. At the top of the list were my podcast partners. I let them know that once the Below Deck cycle ended, I was going to be leaving. Rather than risk have moments where I couldn’t fulfill commitments and leave them hanging, it was better that I exit. It struck them out of the blue, and I sincerely apologize for that. It’s hard to let people down, and even harder when you’re already feeling low.
Fortunately, once the shock had passed, they were very supportive of me and wanted nothing but my happiness and health and for that I am very grateful. I’m also thankful for all of you who supported me in this journey. I will still continue to blog here on my personal page as inspiration strikes and my mind allows me to organize muddled thoughts into coherent writing. In the meantime, I will still be my opinionated self on Twitter, so it’s not like I’m falling off the planet. It will just be a more informal and possibly more sporadic version than the weekly podcasts and blogs have been.
It’s my sincere wish that you continue to support K & K and the fun and light it brings. Thank you once again for all that you are and have done, and I’m sure we’ll be chatting again soon. XOXO -Jen