More than you wanted to know a.k.a. Why I’m not here right now, by Fang.

2 Nov

As many of you are aware I recently moved and have been more absent than usual from our illustrious blog this fall. Busy Bee and Potnoodle have been rockstars keeping up where I’ve bitched out and I owe them many frilly drinks on our next adventure. As for me… well  I started a new job (Which I think I actually love), left a situation I can only describe as a rut (Didn’t love but it was home) and have been struggling with my mental health on a level of intense and scary I’ve not had in a long time. This is a dog blog, but it’s still a blog and I feel like some explanation of my absence to our readers and my co-writers is in order.

Minus the substance abuse problems of these rockstars.

I rarely talk about personal things (and by rare I mean jackalope riding a unicorn to the moon rare). My problems have been and will continue to be my problems whether or not I voice them to others. When things are going poorly it’s rare for me to talk much at all. This has been a very quiet fall everywhere but in my own head.  Finding topics I can be flippant about in TDS irreverence has been difficult if not impossible when every good thing I can find personally is torpedoed by my own brain. I’ve been torpedoing other things too making it an incredibly lonely time despite being more involved with other people than I have been in years.

Not to make this about me or anything.

In a non-technical sense I have an anxiety disorder. In my case essentially it means I obsess over minor things that are stressful to the point of destroying my own life. I can say that and think it’s totally normal and that alone is likely a problem. I was tentatively diagnosed as a child which wasn’t technically correct but I’m not going to argue. I literally cannot turn off the wave of bad feelings in my head without a lot of mental prepping and relaxation techniques. Sounds like a real party, right? I learned to cope well enough to pass as a semi-productive human being but my coping mechanisms of ‘control issues’ and ‘sucking it up’ are only effective for so long. In a more technical sense, I can play “Genetic component mental health disorders Bingo” on my family tree with most of the DSMV-IV so the possible diagnosis element scares me more than the label it was given a decade ago. There’s a lot to be said about removing the stigma from mental illness, but I am neither brave nor an advocate for anything beyond minimizing the stupid in my daily existence, so while I can tell you I have a problem, I still don’t super-want to talk about it or hang up a banner let alone announce it to complete strangers in public.


I do also like spinach and sailor suits.

Dear readers, while you’ve been working away productively this fall, I’ve been whittling away the tenuous grasp I have on reality and practicing my high-dives from ridiculous anxiety cliffs down to end of the world ocean while telling everyone things are great and aiming for an air of “I’m totally fine, how ridiculous for you to wonder, peon”. While the anxiety itself has been justified, the attitude about it has not been, nor has the pulling away from anyone who cares about me, the lame excuses for not wanting to talk, the refusal to discuss anything that doesn’t have four legs and fur or the brushing-off of my fellow TDS authors when they ask for my input. It’s not okay and I’m sorry.

Nothing says I’m sorry like potato animals.

So here’s the gist, kids. I’ve been gone for a while. I will likely continue to be gone for a while minus the odd rant, at least until I can find my sense of humor again. Things are not alright and I am not okay, despite what I may in fact tell you but I’m pretty sure they will be okay eventually, maybe, and once they’re okay-ish then I will be too.

Except really fine.


Some things that are fine (For realz):

-My dogs are fantastic and perfect.

-I get to sign papers giving kids puppies.

-I really do like my new job.

-Booking hotel rooms for dog shows gives me things to look forward to.

-Many people have it a lot worse than me (Which is awful but finding perspective helps tone down the personal angst a lot when you’re stuck in a loop)

-I have friends who at least tolerate me when things are rough.

-Ironic use of Z for pluralizing words.*

*No that’s never okay.

22 Responses to “More than you wanted to know a.k.a. Why I’m not here right now, by Fang.”

  1. Lisa November 3, 2015 at 12:21 am #

    Your description of your brain sounds a lot like mine. There is no “turning it off
    as best it is “toning it down”. I was diagnosed when I was 35 but had certainly known for a time I wasn’t normal. Of course, in therapy, I realized there really is no “normal” and believe it or not, that helps to know that too. 🙂 Hang in there though- it will get better!! Dogs are the best!

    • Paul November 5, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

      May I suggest three things in no particular order…
      Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
      Depression, check
      Crazy dogs, check
      Eventually figuring out how to muddle along, double check
      I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight by Margaret Cho
      I read this book in a locked ward and it made a big difference somehow
      After 50 years of being where you are now, it changed the whole game

  2. Just Me November 3, 2015 at 12:42 am #

    Sorry things suck for you right now. I hope they get better.

  3. Meredith November 3, 2015 at 12:43 am #

    “…I am neither brave nor an advocate for anything beyond minimizing the stupid in my daily existence…” Agree to disagree, lady. I believe it’s brave to say ‘I’m not ok right now.’ It takes courage.

    Thanks for being brave and open. You have my support and I look forward to your world feeling like a better, more manageable, place again.

  4. KDKH November 3, 2015 at 12:58 am #

    Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to know that there are humans behind the blog. Sometimes i feel that everyone else is having Stepford-wives type lives. Nice to know that humanness is everywhere.

    • KDKH November 3, 2015 at 12:59 am #

      I say that not to belittle your problems. I just know that I can’t fix them. Take care and be gentle with yourself until good times eventually return.

  5. Joan November 3, 2015 at 1:11 am #

    Sometimes I wonder if there are any “normal” people. As someone who wishes she’d known about Prozac a couple of decades before it was finally prescribed, I appreciate your candor. Thank heavens for dogs– they love us regardless and make us laugh (or at least smile, or on a bad day, not cry). And when things seem not quite worth it– they even provide a purpose. Yes, there are people who have it worse, but sometimes that’s hard to see. Hope that dogs continue to be fantastic and perfect (how could they not?) and that your job gets even better. Thanks for writing this– it must have been hard.

  6. Analisa November 3, 2015 at 2:03 am #

    Hang in there… We’ll be here when you are feeling snarky again. {{{hugs}}}

  7. Cindy Johnstonbaugh November 3, 2015 at 2:15 am #

    That is really introspective and honest. I hope that you can continue to find your inner strength to handle your challenges. I am awed by your strength.

  8. Judith November 3, 2015 at 3:39 am #

    Thank you. Come back when you can. Your rants are wonderful.

  9. Jeanette November 3, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your site. Thank you for sharing your other story as I can totally relate.

  10. dirtartful November 3, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    As a fellow dog sports competitor whose life also came unraveled this past summer and fall due to a severe anxiety disorder and compounding other mental health issues, I am glad to know I a not the only one! It is awful when your sense of humor, caring about anything, etc dissapears. I don’t even have the money to compete in herding or agility, my two loves. Stupid anxiety cliffs! At least i have my cattle dogs. Good luck Fang…. thanks for reminding me I am not the only one, and remember you aren’t either. Not that other people’s love can be felt by us…

  11. Kitten November 3, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    You have my complete empathy and best wishes for a return from your personal abyss.
    I will avoid turning this post into a “Narcissis Cards, Inc” card (hahahaha that was rich) and simply say: I understand how awful things can really get. Please remember you have people who love you and try to not isolate yourself. If that fails, remember that no one will take care of your dogs the way you want. Stick around, there’s another blog to write. If it helps your creative muse, I’ll happily serve as your bad example.

    Wishing you peace and happiness.

  12. Beth November 3, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    As a sufferer of anxiety, I am thinking of you and wishing you nothing but the best. One day at a time, cherish the good things in life, and you will get there. *hugs*

  13. conball November 3, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    Sorry to hear this…Sometimes one day at a time is too big a piece and I need to break it down in minutes..

  14. Gitoutover November 4, 2015 at 2:35 am #

    What a powerful, courageous piece of writing this was. If I could reach through this screen and hug you I would. And I would tell you it’s OK to say I’m not OK. Interesting that so many great writers struggle with what you’re going through. Without the courage to experience the ugliness in life along with everything else, all that’s left is a Hallmark card. So just do you because the world is lousy with Hallmark cards. Give yourself a vacation from being happy and swim in the muck if that’s what feels right for now. But know that when you’re ready, if you stretch out your hand, your family and friends will be there to pull you back on shore.

  15. Chloe Brown November 4, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    Dear Fang…As I write this my dog Rufus just let out a ginormous sigh. His way of telling me he’s content. Without Ru my anxiety riddled life would be unbearable, well unimaginable. On top of the anxiety disorder I have other
    Brain Annoyances to contend with. But I find that living with a dog and volunteering at my local Humane Society where I work with dogs has given me the much needed simplified approach to life.
    Sending you *furry hugs* for perseverance, self-love and the ability to snooze like a pooch at the drop of a hat!

  16. elizabeth pinkerton November 8, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

    I can suggest ‘First dog on the moon’ if you would like a bit of a Aussi laugh.
    Im an anxiety sufferer who hides with her dogs, but also is president of an art gallery so who knows what the world will throw at us. At least you have a good sense of humour, I have always found that crazy people often have a good attachment to humour. Keeps the feet on the ground.

    Hope your feeling better soon.


  17. mizpah1957 November 10, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

    Thoughts of you. Spouse has mental health issues. This is a tough road and, from my perspective, you are a lot stronger than perhaps you may feel – because you are able to speak the truth about what is happening to you.

  18. Debora Crosby November 25, 2015 at 2:47 am #

    Life is so challenging when you are a person who is compassionate, intelligent and AWARE! Be good to yourself, Fang, and know that I and many others are rooting for you BIG time! May you “muddle through” in the way that’s best for YOU!!!

  19. Mary November 27, 2015 at 12:50 am #

    You are telling my story! And mental health issues go way back in my family too! I am on some good meds and have good therapy or I couldn’t be as out in the world as I finally am.

    I have been a quiet phase lately myself after a bad episode a few weeks ago. To get my mind off that, I have been working on calming and focus with my dog. She’s mostly Border Collie, enough said!

  20. Mary November 27, 2015 at 1:06 am #

    You are telling my story! And mental health issues go way back in my family too! I am on some good meds and have good therapy or I couldn’t be as out in the world as I finally am. Adopting a crazy puppy got me out of hiding. I actually finally gave in to treatment to because of her.

    I have been a quiet phase lately myself after a bad episode a few weeks ago. To get my mind off that, I have been working on calming and focus with my dog. She’s mostly Border Collie, enough said! Sometimes I have to cry into the black fur then get ready for an agility trial. We can all just give it our best. That’s what we’ve got. I am working on trying to feel worthy of my dog. I can get pretty low on myself. I get out on the line at a trial and think “they all know a handler like me doesn’t deserve a dog like her”. Damn brain!

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