My Twitter Account Reads Like a Dysfunctional Food Network Show

They say you should write what you know, which is why I never write about math, sex, or spelling “camouflage” right on the first try. 

And even though my Food Network show would just be me sitting on the couch watching Food Network, it’s been brought to my attention from myself that I tweet a lot about food — eating it, pretty much daily trips to go buy it, and wearing it more than I care to admit. 


So I decided to share a few of the highlights from the past couple of months, you know, in case Food Network is reading or something…

What can I say? Bon appétit!

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What I Want You to Know

It’s been a long time since I’ve written here, and while I don’t owe anyone an explanation, you’re going to kind of get one today.

Because if you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you know it’s been a rough few years months. The anemia is kind of in check for now and I finally found a psychiatrist, but things are still kind of a mess. It turns out after years of being told it’s “just” depression, OCD, etc.,  it’s actually Bipolar 2, an explanation that kind of provided relief.

I was going to keep this to myself and continue to deal with it behind closed doors, but then Prince died. That might not sound related to anything, but stick with me here.


Soon after his death the speculation began as to why — was it drugs? Was he an addict? He was so decent and never in trouble, so how could that be the case? Those have been the headlines, with everyone wanting to know why, — we all crave closure — but also wanting to know something that’s none of our business.

He was an incredibly talented entertainer who shared his gift with the world, but you know what? If he was dealing with addiction or whatever it was, he didn’t have to share that with the world.

He was a legend, but he was human.

I guess I got a bit riled up over this because of my own struggles. While I’m pretty open about everything, this new diagnosis came right about the time of the Prince stuff, and I haven’t told many people.

Now I’m closer to being a hermit crab than to being famous, yet I didn’t want to tell those in my world about this because of how they — coworkers, friends, readers — might react and the general misconceptions.

On one hand, it’s nobody’s business but mine. On the other, I want them to know what I deal with, why I might act that way that I do, and to clear out those misconceptions.

So that’s what I’m doing today.

This is how things are for me.

With Bipolar 2, the stereotypical highs aren’t extreme and driven mostly by anxiety. I do everything I need to do, and more, without all that much effort. I’m extra productive, appearing super focused and driven, which I mostly am. But I’m also obsessing about work, overexercising more than normal, waking up in the middle of the night analyzing everything, and even more rigid with my routines.

In those moments, I feel like I don’t have a choice — it’s what I have to do.

But what I do is never enough.

Then the depression — which never fully left — comes back in the blink of an eye. I’m tired, but wired, mostly driven by numbness and guilt, not seeing the point in much of anything. And while showering might feel like a mountain to climb, I’ll be damned if I don’t keep overexercising, keep working that extra hour, and the thoughts in my head never. slow. down.

I need a distraction. I need to be numb.

It’s a mix of these highs and these lows, sometimes all in one day. And while the medication is taking the edge off a bit, I feel like I’ve lost who I am sometimes. What’s “normal” and what’s Bipolar? I don’t know, and more days than not I’m just trying to keep it together.

And to those on the outside, it usually looks like I am.

Maybe that was the story with Prince. We’ll never know, and we don’t have to. He had a big platform to bring light to issues, but also had no obligation — and frankly neither do I. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t.

Because while I deal with mental health issues, I’m not a diagnosis.

I’m a smart, caring, hard-working woman doing all I possibly can to not let the negative sides of my health rule my life. Yes, I have issues, but everyone does in some way, shape, or form — even if you never see them.

And if you’re one of those people, you certainly don’t have to share your story. But if you do, there are people who understand you’re not broken, who are fighting a similar fight, who care no matter what you’re going through.

It’s hard to remember at times — and even harder to believe — but it’s true.

That’s what I want you to know.

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How to Properly Use the Grocery Belt Divider

The fact that the employees at my local grocery store know me and ask where I’ve been if I don’t stop in every couple days gives you an indication of how often I’m at the store.

But don’t worry.

This won’t be about how watching some people use the self-checkout is like watching fish ride a bike or how people still don’t know how to go up and down an aisle. 

No, this is about the plastic grocery belt dividers.


I enjoy the grocery belt divider for the practicality and simplicity it provides.

Placed on the belt, it divides my order from the one in front and the one in back. There should be no confusion as to where one order starts and one order ends. If for some reason confusion does arise, it’s not hard to clarify and say, “Oh, that’s not my stuff.”

However, there are still people who are entirely too concerned that the cashier will confuse their things with the next persons, protectively creating about two feet of extra “empty” grocery belt space between their order and the divider.

Intercom announcement to this person ahead of me: I did not load up my cart and assume that I could sneak 25 items to the end of your order, dupe you into paying for them and then follow you out to the parking lot to retrieve said items.

But with that said, I do have an issue with the people behind me from time to time. While I don’t exhibit the behavior mentioned above and graciously place the divider at the end of my order, this is apparently not enough for some people. No, instead of waiting for the cashier to move the belt along, they insist on using every single square inch of belt space up to the plastic divider.

This I can overlook, as it’s their own bread they’re squishing in an effort to unload their cart at warp speed.

What I can’t overlook is when they insist on using every single square inch of personal space past the plastic divider, creeping up closer to me with their cart and sighing so heavily at the apparent lack of cashier expediency that it blows my coupons off the checkout stand.

Intercom announcement to this person behind of me: Regardless of how close you creep up or how many items you throw on the belt, you will be next—after me.

If you continue to creep up, I will pretend to go through my coupon keeper for an extraordinary amount of time, chit chat with the cashier and lift up the plastic divider and put it back down repeatedly under the guise of making room for a pack of gum I am actually just using as a prop to piss you off.

But because I’m all about solutions, I propose that instead of the grocery belt divider, we install a plastic divider in the LINE to keep the person behind me from creeping up and invading my bubble.

It could be like a shower curtain or one of those things you walk through at sporting events that simply lifts up and down when appropriate.

Now I realize this plastic divider could be symbolic of the way our society is divided and that unity can only be achieved when we remove these barriers, blah, blah, blah. People who think that are insane. I’m all about being friendly, but we need personal space—on the grocery belt and in the line.

Intercom announcement: Until they install these new plastic people dividers, please just back your shit up.

Unless, of course, you would like to pay for my produce. In that case, I welcome you with open arms and an open grocery belt.

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Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Freak Out

Life advice from Abby:


I would like to think I never overreact.

It’s not true, but I would like to think that about myself. The truth is that sometimes something like my spoon falling into my oatmeal can garner the same reaction from me as having to go to the hospital again or call a guy to remove a raccoon from my chimney–all three things that have happened entirely too much these past couple months. 


Anyway, because I’m a helper, I decided to create a guide of sorts with a few questions you can ask yourself the next time you feel like flying off the handle.

Are you in the pasta aisle of the grocery store?

Good call. Pasta is delicious, but this is a maniacal maze of shapes, sizes, and sometimes even colors that if considered for too long, will drive even the most sane person to madness.

Do you want long or short? Small, medium, or large shells? Ziti? Rotini? Penne? Elbow? Bow tie? I DON’T KNOW I JUST WANT TO SMOTHER IT IN PESTO!

What to do:

Keep your eye on the prize–pasta, pesto, and other edible things that may or may not start with “p.”

Consider 1) the damage-to-clothes-while-consuming ratio–what affords you the least chance of spillage, 2) how much fork work you want to do –longer means more twirling while short means more stabbing and 3) why no one has invented macaroni made out of cheese in the first place.

Are you running?

Are you attempting to move at a rapid pace while wearing neon spandex? Are your muscles burning, along with your lungs and calories you just consumed from inhaling the eight pounds of pasta you just made because you can never figure out the right serving size? 

What to do:

Unless you are being chased by a wild animal, just stop. While physical exercise is vital, jarring your body up and down on hard pavement is not. No one should have to endure that. Cease and desist immediately. Take off your Nikes, post on social media about how you just went for a run, and nama-stay on the couch in corpse pose to recover. Power yoga for the win!

Are you dealing with Comcast?

Have you been on hold for 45 minutes? Are you refreshing your browser every .03 seconds and restarting your router only to get the same browser error? THIS IS A LEGIT REASON TO PANIC!!!

What to do:

Unfortunately, there are some things out of your immediate control, and you will probably find yourself going through the five stages of grief–denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance–while on hold for the third hour. This is natural. Let it happen.

When you’re finally connected to a person who assures you that they’re working on the problem, let them know you’ll be “working” on paying your bill whenever you get around to it. Once your connection is restored, be sure to make at least four jokes about “Comcrap” on social media. This appeases the gods.

Are you reading an inspirational quote?

Are there uncomfortable words like, “success” and “motivate” or reference to “Keeping Calm and Doing Something Completely Random” shared by someone you thought as a “friend?”  You might be reading an inspirational quote.  

What to do: 

Distance yourself from that person immediately. Block. Unfriend. Do what you have to do to remove yourself from that situation. You don’t need that kind of pressure in your life, especially if you’re shopping for pasta that night. . 

Are you driving?

Are you behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, minding your own business and putting down an awesome version of Uptown Funk to the zero passengers in your car? Are you the only effing person on the planet who knows how to slightly lift one finger to use a turn signal or go the speed limit in the left lane OH MY GOD YOU DON’T HAVE TO BRAKE WHEN YOU’RE MERGING ONTO THE HIGHWAY!

What to do: 

Actually, if you’re already yelling that at a high volume and using selective hand gestures as you pass the idiot driving with their head up their ass, you’re already doing okay. Gold star. Keep those roads safe. 

Were you eating and now you’re not eating? 

Scene: You were eating. You reached for what you thought was the last bite of food, only to realize you had already eaten the last bite of food and now you’re so emotionally unprepared that you don’t know what you can do. Now you’re not eating. Now you’re sad. 

What to do: 

Wipe the tears and the crumbs from your face, take a deep breath and evaluate the situation. Is there possibly a piece of pita you dropped on the couch? Maybe under your napkin? If not, I suggest you go towards the light, and by that I mean the light in your fridge.

Remember, hummus is the spackle that can fill a hole in your heart.

If after asking these questions you still feel like freaking out, just make sure to do it loudly and in a public setting so we can enjoy the show. I’ve found sometimes people will even throw you some tips. I’ve made $24 this year alone which is enough for a cart full of pasta…

BUT OH MY GOD WHAT KIND?!? Here we go again.  

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This Is a Cry for Yelp

I’ve never used Yelp, the site dedicated to “connecting people and businesses” based on user reviews. This is mostly because I rarely go places that would require a review to convince me to visit them and also because most people who write online reviews sound like the kind of people I would find in Walmart wearing pajama pants, a paper tiara, and Crocs. 

But with that said, I thought it would be interesting to find out just how I would be viewed Yelp-wise from the perspective of those who are forced to spend the most time with me–the things in my house. 


User: Fridge

The ambiance is a bit like a disco–light goes on, light goes off, light goes on, light goes off. I don’t really know what goes on out there, but she always dances around when she sees me. As for the food, it’s good and vegan so you can always throw that into conversation when you want people to leave you alone. And she keeps things nice and clean, often bringing home new additions to my shelves like a lion proudly bringing home prey. 

Given the amount of time she spends with me, she could probably learn to cook like an Iron Chef instead of someone who uses the smoke detector as her kitchen timer. All in all though, 3/4 stars.  

User: Vacuum

Now I realize that I was brought here to do a job, but honestly, being told I “suck” all the time is NOT helpful. I mean, yes, it’s my job to suck, but that string on the ground that she forces me to run over and over again could be picked up in two seconds if she would bend over and do it herself? Do I have to do everything here? 

Anyway, I have to admit that when she puts on Eminem and raps while we go through the living room, it’s kind of fun. If you don’t mind the manual labor, about 3/4 stars.  

User: Couch

When I first came here eight years ago, I had really high hopes given the description of “nice house, nice neighborhood, single woman occupant in her mid-20s” blah blah blah. It had potential for a rocking social scene, you know?  I soon came to realize that the environment was much less “Sex and the City” and more “Sister Wife to Her Ass.”

But with that said, I’ve come to enjoy it quite a bit. The food she drops on my cushions has variety and nuance, and watching her invent new yoga poses while fishing a chickpea from under me is always worth a good chuckle. Good food, good entertainment, job security. I have to go with 4/4 stars. 

User: One “Real” Bra That I Have

It’s so dark in this drawer. So, so very dark. I’ve lost count of how long it’s been since I’ve seen the light of day. We  used to go on adventures, like dinners and that night in college when she woke up hung-over in a frat house and found me stuck in a fan. We were close, dare I say bosom buddies. But now it’s all “sports bra” this and “sports bra” that.

Victoria’s Secret was apparently that I would fall as flat as her chest after just a few years in service. Needless to say this neglect relegates me to assigning 0/4 stars. DO NOT RECOMMEND. Go! Save yourself! 

User: Toaster

Normally I enjoy my time here and give it high marks. We have an understanding. Bread goes in, handle goes down, bread pops up. Clean transaction. But lately I’m just tired and will “occasionally” refuse to keep the handle down, therefore negating the actual toasting I’m pressed into service to do.

I mean, can’t I get a day off? Obviously not, as she came back at me with, “Well, aren’t WE the defiant little bastard today,” so I made her bread come out unevenly browned and bitter at the forced interaction.

The next time she decided to try a different approach with, “Yes, take your time. I’ll just hold the handle down while you decide what you’d like to do with this bread.” That worked a bit better—sometimes you just have to ask nicely. The moral of the story is that if you’re an appliance looking for a place to hang out, it could be worse, so I’ll go with 3/4 stars.

At least she cleans the crumb tray. 

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It Can Always Get Better

“How often do you have to come for chemo?” The woman hooked up in the chair next to me–a grandmother with a kind, yet tired face –asked me about two hours into my transfusion.

I looked up at the tubes attached to my arm, blood slowly and mechanically dripping down into the IV.

“No chemo for me,” I said, nodding my head up at the machine. “Blood transfusion because my hemoglobin was dangerously low.”

I was almost embarrassed, humbled by not only that woman, but the other people in the room who were also getting their chemo. I was lucky. I was sick, but I didn’t have cancer.

It could always be worse.

At this time last year I didn’t have a job.

Even though I dreaded returning to one I had gone to every day for seven years, that loss of security seemed like the end of the world. Every day was spent frustratingly looking for work, dealing with the unemployment agency, and trying not to let what was already a years-long deep depression completely sweep me up in the current.

I would lie in bed those unemployed months and make bargains with myself and some unknown higher power. “If I can get this job, I promise I’ll get the help I need for my (insert depression, exercise addiction, OCD here) and really make those big changes.”

“OK. That one didn’t work out. If I can get this job, I promise I’ll stop (insert maladaptive behavior), finally gain those needed 30 lbs, and dig myself out of this hole.”

Then eventually I landed a job I couldn’t have written up more perfectly for myself, one that’s the complete opposite of everything that made my last job so miserable. On even my worst work day, I always tell myself, “Remember how things were. Remember how grateful you are that this happened.”

Things could always be worse.

Yet many days are still a struggle. All those promises I made to myself, all those changes I no longer had an excuse to make are still there. For awhile, the newness and excitement of the job did distract me a bit. Then the OCD got worse, the fog got a little bit thicker. I made up new excuses to distract myself from the problems and continued to literally run myself to the ground, my body taking the brunt of my mind.

I conveniently ignored the signs, but I couldn’t ignore my mom crying about how sick I looked, the nights in my bed when my heart felt like it would either flutter out of my chest or stop, and then the phone call that I had to go in for two blood transfusions as soon as I could.

Sitting in that hospital chair, I had time to do nothing but think.

Everything I had been given could be taken away–the job, the freedom, even my life–because I refused to admit that I couldn’t outthink my physical and mental illness, that doing the same things wouldn’t land me in the same exact place.

Where it landed me was in the hospital with an IV running blood through my arm for eight hours, making small talk with a woman who had been dealt a deadly illness she was valiantly fighting. I again made all those same promises to myself that this time things would be different, that this is what it would take to finally get myself healthy.

And then when I was feeling better a couple of days later, I went back to the gym and all my old habits.

After all, it could be worse, right?

“Well yeah, it’s not cancer and it could be worse,” said my doctor a week later when I gave her my tired excuses. “But not much.”

There it was in black in white in the form of my lab results. There it was coming out of the mouth of a professional who I couldn’t negotiate with like I could–and do–with myself, which is why I’m rambling here.

Because the fact is you can’t negotiate yourself out of physical or mental illness–the latter of which is often suggested to be a choice. After all, if we know what we can do to “get out of it” but still engage in behaviors, that means we’re weak, right? I mean, we have so many good things in our lives that it’s ridiculous there are days that taking a shower is a major accomplishment.

Well, it’s not a choice.

Sickness is sickness, and I’m pretty sure that if we could get hooked up to a machine and have an IV drip some cocktail cure-all for mental illness into our arms, most of us would sign up in a second, no questions asked. It’s not that easy–nothing about it is easy. Wishful and willful thinking alone can’t cure cancer, low hemoglobin, depression, addiction, etc. or the guilt that sometimes accompanies these.

So for me–and for you–here’s a reminder.

It’s not a choice to be sick, but it’s a choice to admit that you are.

It’s a choice to do what you need to do to be healthy, even if it’s really painful in so many ways.

It’s a choice to reach out for support.

It’s a choice not to feel guilty.

I don’t know if I believe that myself most of the time, but I don’t want to know just how much worse things can be.

Because while it’s a choice to believe that “it could be worse,” it’s also a choice to believe that it could always be better.


It can always get better.

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Even the Grinch Has Issues

The holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year” for a lot of people, but what about the post-holiday season when all the hype has died down? While many settle back into normal routines, there are a few people that find this time of year to be even more difficult.


They're demanding figgy pudding. They won't go until they get some. What do I do- Call the cops- I'm calling the cops.

After weeks of being in the spotlight, they’re suddenly erased from the minds of the public for another 11 long months. Needless to say, a round of therapy is in order.

Patient Name: Little Drummer Boy

Session Notes: Possible abandonment issues coupled with concern over money has manifested itself into OCD, as LDB sat on the couch “pa rum pum pum pum-ing” on the table with a pencil throughout the entire session.

Talked of his willingness to follow three “wise” men without parental guidance. Expressed concern over lack of money and having no gifts to bring and asked to put his name on the card of the wise man who brought gold because he “had no idea what Frankincense or Myrrh are.”

Interested in starting a boy band like One Direction and naming it North Star. We’re working through this one.

Patient Name: Rudolph

Session Notes: Self-esteem issues evident by eagerness to guide the sleigh of seasonal employer (who was initially freaked out by his “abnormal” nose) after being told he would never join the flying reindeer team (a team that teased him mercilessly and refused to let him join in any reindeer games.)

This, combined with the fact his own father forced him to cover his nose in black dirt, has also led to a slight alcohol dependence evidenced by a bright red nose in clear weather and a strong smell of Jack Daniels.

Suggested finding a new crowd to hang out with — Blitzen and Vixen are no help—and perhaps seeking employment with Hermey to open a thriving dental practice on the Island of Misfit Toys.

Patient Name: Frosty the Snowman

Session Notes: A bit bipolar, no pun intended. Wavers between overconfidence—“I’ll be back again some day!” with a tendency to hit on married women, “I can do the job while I’m in town!”— and anxiety over the threat of global warming, not to mention the fact that he basically lets children dress him in produce and trash.

Feels people forget about him once it gets warm, which is a valid concern, and tends to overcompensate with streaks of merry mania. Suggested moving to a permanently colder climate and finding a job as an ice cream truck driver. Given his appeal to children, it seems like a natural fit.

Patient Name: Grinch

Session Notes: Physician-ordered session after patient’s heart “grew three sizes” and raised cardiac concerns. Also had a brief charge of theft by police. Seems anxiety has been plaguing patient since whole town has taken to ostracizing him for bad behavior.

Cited a song created about him in which various parts are likened to “a greasy black peel, a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich,” that his heart’s “a dead tomato splotched” and that he has “garlic in his soul.”

To be honest, I tuned him out after “garlic in your soul,” as that sounds delicious. And living on top of a mountain away from the town with only his dog? Seems like a good plan to me. I don’t really see much of an issue.

And now I’m hungry.

I think that my work here is done.

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