My Experience at Rachel Bloom: Live

As most of you know, I am incredibly vocal about my love for the CW show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. If the topic has ever come up between us, I’m so sorry because I never shut up about it. To those of you that haven’t heard of it/haven’t watched it, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a dark comedy/musical created by Aline Brosh McKenna and Rachel Bloom; Rachel plays the main character named Rebecca Bunch, a lawyer who decides on a whim to follow her high school ex-boyfriend Josh Chan to West Covina, California. The show follows Rebecca’s journey to win back Josh’s heart and find her own happiness. The precedent is set pretty early on that she has a mental illness and that most of her actions will end in disaster. But nonetheless, the viewers persist in following Rebecca’s journey.

I’ve re-watched the show at least three times and have forced most of my friends and family to watch it; it is slightly selfish considering I identify so closely with Rebecca and her struggles. Surprise, I have a serious mental illness that ALSO impacts my relationships! But I digress. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is one of the most thoughtful and funniest shows I’ve seen about mental illness and what it means to find your identity; while it can be painful to watch Rebecca fall over and over again, it makes it all the more satisfying when she does something right.

When I saw Rachel post on her Instagram that she and her two musical co-writers were coming to Austin, I knew I had to be there. I texted one of my best friends from college to see if she wanted to go (it was her birthday the day before and I missed her beautiful face lol) and she agreed. I had been looking forward to this night for the past three weeks and honestly did not sleep the night before. It sounds SO lame but I figured it wouldn’t be such a huge show that we wouldn’t be able to meet Rachel and her awesome co-writers.

Rachel’s two co-writers Jack Dolgen and Adam Schlesinger were also in tow which I was really excited for. The music of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is ridiculous mostly because it’s relatable and points out the nuances of cultural norms in a very direct way; both Dolgen and Schlesinger have written practically every song on the show and oversee the production of the tracks and the videos. To give you a little taste of the tone of the music, a few of the funniest songs are titled “I Give Good Parent,” “You Stupid Bitch,” “Heavy Boobs,” and “We Should Definitely Not Have Sex Right Now.”

To give you the rundown of the show, Rachel twerked on the floor during “Sex With A Stranger,” tap-danced with choreographer Kathryn Burns to “We Tapped That Ass” (which Adam and Jack sung together), and invited the women in the audience to join in the performance of “Heavy Boobs.” They played mostly songs from the TV show but also threw in “Jazz Fever,” an older song that Rachel wrote and most recognizably a slow jam version of “Stacy’s Mom,” which Adam wrote for the early-2000s band Fountains of Wayne.

After the show, my friend and I waited in line to meet Rachel, Adam, and Jack; I started getting really sweaty and almost choked up which was semi-embarrassing. The most recent season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has been more emotionally intense especially for me (SPOILER ALERT) because Rebecca was diagnosed with the mental illness I was diagnosed with the year the show began. Borderline personality disorder is not diagnosed very often and it’s not really represented in the media in general, but especially not in a positive light.

When I walked up to Rachel, I immediately started choking up trying to tell her, Adam and Jack how much the show has meant to me. I told Rachel about my diagnosis and how much clarity the show has given me; I said that I was incredibly thankful for the work that they’ve done and wanted them to know how much it has changed me. She said she was glad that I was getting better and that they could do something to help; I gave her a huge hug and was really happy I got to tell her in person how much I appreciated it. I can’t imagine it’s easy to tackle mental illness in the media and not feel serious responsibility to do it justice; overall, the reception of the way the show portrays mental illness has been very positive and it’s connected lots of people with borderline like me.

Sadly, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend will only have four seasons, but maybe it’s best that way. I am just happy to have the show in my life and glad that I’ve been able to connect with other people who appreciate it too. The community that the show has created has made a huge impact on how we discuss mental illness and I’m hopeful that the fourth and final season will continue that discussion. In the future, I hope that we will see more representation in the media of mental illness, especially in a more positive light. It makes all the difference in the world and I feel blessed to feel represented in an honest and real way.


An Update on Where I’m At

Hello, world. It’s been kind of a while since I’ve posted… well, anything. So I thought I would check in and just let you all know what’s up.

I’ve officially moved back to Fort Worth, TX; I’ve been here for the last few months which is exciting! The only real difficulty I’ve had is figuring out what I’m going to do professionally. While I would love to be writing here, there really isn’t a lot that I can do without a journalism degree; in all honesty it’s been a little disheartening trying to apply for jobs. I just got my application in for a graduate program at TCU for teaching, so I’m really, really excited about the possibility!

I would be lying if I said that I haven’t been struggling these last few months. I’ve been trying to get back to normal after getting hip surgery; I can’t be teaching fitness classes anymore in my state and might need my other hip done soon too. It’s been a struggle trying to feel normal and not let frustration stop me. I had to give up dance and doing other things that I love for the sake of my health. I wish the situation were different… honestly it’s been hard not feeling betrayed by my own body. But, as they always say, it could be worse.

As far as the job search and all of that goes, I’ve been really struggling to find not only my purpose, but my self-confidence. I was raised in an environment where so much was expected of me and with my mental illness, it just exacerbated a lot. Even though I’m obviously older and more self-aware, it does get to me sometimes. I had a mental breakdown this morning and just felt so defeated, but knowing my MI, this is how it happens. Not every day is going to be great, not every day is going to suck, it just depends. Borderline doesn’t give me a whole lot of wiggle room at times.

I’ve been reflecting a lot about what I really want to do that gives more purpose to my life and helps other people. I’ve realized through the extremely sweet messages I’ve been receiving through Instagram and otherwise that I can actually make an impact on other people. I can make an impact, even if it’s small, by talking openly about what I struggle with; maybe someone will feel a little less alone knowing that I feel the same way.

When you have a mental illness, especially something similar to what I have, it’s very easy to feel alone. It’s so easy to drift back into the thought that you’re all alone and no one else knows how you feel. It’s incredibly isolating especially in a lot of cultures where mental illness is still not openly talked about. I grew up in a “fake it ’til you make it” town where I had to hide who I was and how much I was truly hurting. Honestly, that’s a huge reason as to why I got as mentally sick as I did when I was in high school.

While some of my family members don’t really support my being candid, I think it’s important that I am. I struggled silently for so many years, was misdiagnosed for most of my life, and almost ended my life without anyone else knowing it. The fact that I am even writing this and living and breathing is practically miraculous.

I didn’t have someone to tell me that what I was feeling wasn’t unique. Sure, I had psychiatrists and therapists tell me it wasn’t uncommon. But I didn’t see anyone else talking about it. It was always talked about in hushed tones. And I wish that that would change.

I just feel really strongly that we should be able to honestly say, “I’m not okay.” That’s where we can start to work toward healing. That’s when we can make a difference and start to relate to each other on a human level. So maybe my purpose in life isn’t just to be a teacher, but to also be someone that can help start and continue the conversation.

I know I’m heading into rambling territory, but that’s just what’s on my mind. I know tomorrow will be better and I know that there is hope for me. In moments it’s hidden but I know it will be back in the forefront of my mind. If anyone reading this feels similarly, know that you aren’t alone.


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What Not to Say to Someone with a Mental Illness

Hello, world. Let me start by saying the last 24 hours have not been easy; when it rains it pours. But I’m here anyway and I want to share some important information with you.

I love my friends and family but there are certain things they say when I’m having a breakdown or a mood swing that honestly make things worse. Unless you have a mental illness or have been going through a really rough patch it’s hard to know what to say. Although it’s well-intended most of the time, it doesn’t always read that way. So I’ve compiled what I feel are the worst phrases to say when I’m dealing with my MI symptoms so you can learn how to help your loved one:

1. “Calm down” or “relax”
To be honest, this one is the bane of my existence. The last thing I want to hear when I’m having a breakdown is to calm down or relax. If I was able to do that, I would have done it already. Whether they’re meaning it or not, comes across that they think their words are suddenly going to fix me. Telling me to calm down during an anxiety attack doesn’t make it go away. It has the opposite affect because it makes me feel like I should be able to control their emotions. Words can’t just fix a mental breakdown, period.

2. “Look on the bright side”
While I understand some people are just more peppy than others, when I’m emotional, I do not want to look on the bright side. In fact, I need to cry and be angry and let it all out. I, like many MI people, want to release all the emotions and feel human as odd as that may sound. I know that somewhere there is a silver lining and it will get better but in that moment, I don’t want to hear it.

3. “It could be worse”
When I’m in the middle of an episode I don’t need my loved ones to tell me how other people have it much worse than me. Whether they know it or not, this is probably one of the most damaging phrases because it takes away the legitimacy of my feelings. So many times in my life I’ve had friends and family emphasize that I’m “so lucky” and I “am so privileged.” Those phrases in turn make me feel worse because then I feel like my feelings are invalid and feel guilty for simply having emotions.

4. “You should try yoga/journaling/praying, etc.”
While I believe in yoga, journalizing and praying I know that these things can’t cure or treat my mental illness. It’s not to say that these things aren’t helpful as supplementary things; the truth is mental illnesses cannot be cured, only treated and often in many ways. For years I went on and off of medications and in and out of therapy; I’ve figured out that I do need medication and I am not the same person without it. Mental illness is a physiological and very real illness, and by saying something as simple as a crow pose isn’t going to fix it.

In truth, the best way to support your mentally ill loved one is to be there for them. Let them know that you are trying to understand them and that you are there to listen if they need to talk about it. Recognize that mental illnesses are physiological, not “all in their head.” A mental illness cannot be thought or prayed away. You need to remember that it’s a medical condition that needs treatment by a professional. Mental illnesses are very real and can be burdensome so try to learn more and do what you can to be a support system. Because even when they are in a crowded room they can still feel alone.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate the support and feel free to share this.


Hello, world.

Hello, world. This is going to be the place where I’m going to be completely honest. Hopefully someone will get to reading this. I didn’t feel like for a while that I had anything to say, but in the times we’re living in, it seems like now is the perfect time to let my freak flag fly.

To those of you don’t know me, hey, I’m Lauren. I’m currently trying to figure out what I should identify myself as to you. I’ve been a lot of things in my lifetime thus far: I was a dancer, model, artist, photographer, sales associate, waitress, college student, and a mentally ill individual.

You didn’t see that coming, did you? But this is a conversation I want to have with you. People don’t talk about mental illness nearly enough, but that’s a whole other conversation for another day. I have been suffering from a mental illness from a pretty young age; at first my parents thought I had autism, then I was “going through a phase,” then I was diagnosed as depressed and anxious, and then, finally, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder about two years ago.

I don’t want to be that person that says they aren’t defined by their mental illness, because that’s just not true. I may be asymptomatic most days, especially taking into account my meds, but it does intervene in my daily life. Borderline people like myself have abandonment issues, mood swings, manic episodes, self-doubt and self-loathing.

It sounds like a lot. And that’s because it is. Sometimes that piece of myself is breathing down my neck and other times it’s trailing far behind me. My mental state, like life, comes and goes in waves.

I’ve come to terms with who I am, who I’ve always been, and who I’ll always be. I may not like myself all the time but who does? My hope by writing here is to try to help you and other people make sense of life, whether it’s in regards to mental illness or self-image or just simply what it is to be human.

Before I start to turn into a rambling mess thank you for reading; I’ll be writing you again soon.