The following blog post includes discussion of my lived experience with mental illness. Continue reading at your discretion- KW

Writing is really difficult right now. Honestly, doing anything that brings me joy is really difficult right now.  I haven’t put on a full face of makeup since Valentine’s Day, even though every night I tell myself I will set aside the time to do it before work. I used to love taking the time to make myself look beautiful. It could always brighten my mood, even when I felt completely out of control. The thought of it is exhausting.  Right now, I consider washing my hair in the evening, laying out an outfit for the next day, and maybe making myself a sandwich or something to bring to work an achievement.

I had a brief, amazing window of time where I was full of energy, and motivation, and hope and excitement. I did everything I could to take advantage. I did the 3 months worth of dirty laundry piled up in my room. I started exercising again, and tried to be more conscious of what I ate. But quickly, all those good feelings were just…gone. This isn’t a completely new phenomenon (I’m quite familiar with bursts of energy followed by depressive stretches) but it has rarely been this drastic.

I’m worried I’m becoming too tolerant of my medication. I don’t want to raise the dosage, because it’s like saying I will never be able to live normally without it. I’ll have to keep raising it and raising it until there’s no higher dosage and I’m royally fucked. Alternatively, I’ll have to try a new medication, and suffer the withdrawals of my current antidepressant. I was temporarily out of my medication recently, and I had textbook  symptoms: dizziness, dissociation, blurred vision, sensory disturbances, and anxiety. I would not wish this upon anyone.

People who glamorize mental illness don’t understand what it’s like to live like this. Fuck, I don’t even really understand what it’s like to live like this since it seems like my familiar symptoms are melting away and making room for new, unpleasant ones. I don’t want to self-diagnose (I have a therapist whom I love and whose opinion I trust), but I find myself checking symptoms online during stolen moments at work. I feel like there’s something else going on with me that isn’t being treated, or hasn’t come to light yet. It’s certainly something to talk to my doctor about.

At any rate, thank you all for reading this. I hope you are doing well, and if you aren’t right now, that you’re doing better soon.

All my love,

Katherine Wheel.

A Reminder to Myself

My waist is shaped
By strong ribs
That house a
Stronger heart.
It it as small
As it will ever, ever be.

These are things that I cannot change.

My fingers are
Even after years of
Piano lessons
That swore
Bones will stretch
To fit your fancy.

These are things that I cannot change.

My thighs were
Carefully painted
By Titian,
Sturdy enough to hold
All the woman I am
Meant to be.

I do not always see their artistry,
Forged so far from
Mother Italy,
But I was purposefully
Lovingly made,

And these are things that I cannot change.


Nightmare Anatomy

I had a nightmare last night; I dreamed I was getting married to my (ex) boyfriend at a large, but humble church wedding in front of dozens of guests, including an old flame from college whom I credit with bringing out my anxiety and agoraphobia full-force. I was over the moon that it was finally happening. I flew to the altar so I could stand beside my soulmate. My eyes brimmed with joyful tears as the service began. And then, he abruptly left to smoke a cigarette while I stood there dumbfounded and ashamed. I chased after him, only to watch him be shot to death before I could reach him.

I think this is my brain’s way of dealing with my fear of dying alone save for my cat and some potted plants. Every day I see women my age, and some even younger, getting engaged and married and pregnant and giving birth, while meanwhile what I had hoped would be my last relationship for the rest of my life crumbled no matter how hard I tried to hold onto it.

When I ended things, he told me I was “giving up” because I expected a faerietale ending where we would never fight, and we’d live happily ever after. All I wanted, for lack of better words, was normalcy. We abused alcohol and drugs and each other until I accepted it was not going to get better. Sometimes, no amount of love can make a relationship work.

Even though I know I made the right decision, in my own time, I still feel like a failure. Failure lies at the root of all of my nightmares. If I started a dream journal (and I might), I’m sure at least half of them would be work related. I have dreams where my headset stops working or I can’t get my computer to work while I have a claimant on the phone constantly. Even better, I still have nightmares about when I worked at Five Below of a similar nature, and I haven’t worked there since 2015.  You’d think maybe that taking anti-anxiety medication before bed would alleviate some of my constant fear of fucking up, but it’s done very little. Even after seeing statistics telling me I am one of the highest performers both in my company and on my team at the office, I still panic.  I had chest pains every day for a week in December and it took concentrated breathing exercises when I feel the first twinge of pain to keep them in check.

I wish I was a calm, confident person who wasn’t afraid of being an unlovable failure. And I’m hoping someday I can get there. But for now, I need to learn how to live with these nightmares and figure out what they’re trying to tell me.

All my love,

Katherine Wheel

Back in the swing of things

Nice to see you again, my few but much loved readers! I’m sorry for my absence; at this point I’m sure this has become expected, but I still apologize for the length of my inactivity. Life got ahead of me, and now it’s suddenly August. Where did the year go?

If you spoke to me a year ago and told me that I would be where I am now, I would have laughed in your face.

I’m just starting my second week of training as a client advocate for those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). I have an ID badge, my own personal headset for the phones, and in five more weeks, my very own cubicle. Of all the careers I dreamed I would fall into, I never thought I would be working in a traditional office, in a full-time nine-to-five position. For all the shit my brothers give me when I brag about the satisfaction in the regularity and when I whine about having to completely flip-flop my sleep patterns, I can’t help but think they’re jealous. I make a living wage, and I get to make the world a better place; I can’t think of much else one could want out of a job. One 0f the hardest things to accept about adulthood, but also one of the most validating, is the realization that ninety-nine percent of us are not going to have that “dream job”. As a good friend of mine said to me recently, you use that satisfying job to fund your dream life. That’s where I’m at right now. For the first time in months I can actually afford to do things and treat myself.  My entire paycheck will not go directly to paying credit card bills. It’s a wonderful feeling.

And since I’m actually motivated for a change, here’s a ukelele cover! I haven’t significantly improved recently but I was in the mood to sing for y’all today. Enjoy 🙂


All my love,
Katherine Wheel

Showing off and some life updates

Hey everyone, I have some exciting news (well, for me anyways). I got the full-time position I applied for and I will be starting at the end of July! I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I would be excited to have a cubicle and a consistent schedule, but here I am. Here’s hoping this new chapter is a fun one, and one where I grow a whole lot. You know a company is a good fit when your hiring manager tells you this is a place to start and grow a career, but ultimately move on from. I don’t want to feel stagnant,and I think this is the place I will find that balance.

Anyways, enough humblebragging. Here’s something fun I made for you guys. I figured that since I’m learning ukelele it would be fun to share my progress with you all every so often. As such, I’ve put together a cover of one of my favorite songs by Emilie Autumn, “Thank God I’m Pretty”. Let me know what you think! This was a single shot cover, so all my fumbles and missed notes are in there. I hope it gives you a laugh if nothing else.


Katherine Wheel.

Uke Can Do It!

Last night I went to see Twenty One Pilots, and I didn’t realize that a financially careless decision at the merch booth would begin a new, burning passion.  I had been scoping out their tour merch online before the show, deciding what I would snap up when I got there; it saves a lot of time knowing what will be there and how much money you’re going to need. I saw a few shirts I liked, and then a beautiful, pricey ukelele. I debated for over a week whether or not I would pick one up at the show ($125 is a lot to spend on tour merch) but ultimately I needed to own one. It’s such a cool little instrument, customized to be a 21p tour exclusive.


His name is Josh Dun and he is a perfect instrument.

I brought it home, opened it up, and it was love at first proper strum. Ukelele is not an exact science: it’s a feeling. I know I’ve only been playing for a day so I sound ridiculous, but an instrument has never been so easy to pick up; it’s the perfect size and for someone who knows basic music theory from years of piano, clarinet, and singing, it isn’t hard to remember chords and rhythms. Uke is what I always wanted playing guitar or bass to be like: natural and fun and just a little bit of challenge. I can tell I’m going to be playing this thing every day for a long, long time.

I’ve been in a creative funk for awhile, so I think going back to my roots and making music is just what I need to keep myself sane and motivated. At some point, I might start posting stuff to a YouTube account to share with you all. I’m excited to see how this goes!

All my love,

Katherine Wheel

Am I “adulting”?!

So I’ve spent a lot of time stewing in self-pity and letting my post-grad life slip away from me. The days have turned into weeks and then months, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. I need to make some positive changes in my life. I applied for a handful of full-time assistant manager positions at local retailers I like and am hoping for some interviews soon! I thought for sure I would be getting out of retail by now, but the fact is I’m really good at customer service and there always seem to be open management positions. A full-time job, even if it’s not in what I’ve considered a professional industry, is something to be very proud of. Also, the stores I’ve applied to are not very strict about appearance regulations which is something I really dig. I need to hold onto some of my youthful desires after all.

Admittedly, a lot of this motivation comes from my realization that I never actually got the raise I was promised when I got promoted at my job, so I’ve been doing a lot more work for the same amount of money the 14 year old carriage boys make. It’s a little ridiculous. Regardless of how I got to this point, I’m really happy to finally make some moves in the right direction. I’m seeking jobs with better compensation and benefits, especially since I’m going to need my own insurance in a few years. These are the considerations I need to make if I’m going to be a successful adult, right?

I have to maintain my glamour punk aesthetic!

I could probably settle and stay at the supermarket. There might be a management position opening up there and I think I would be a fine candidate for the job; I know that the stress would probably kill me. I’ve been trying to get out of the checkout department practically since I started at the store and they won’t let me switch because I’m too damn good at customer service. I think this means they’d trust me to manage checkout at some point. I guess I don’t want to feel stuck in a job that was intended to just be a way to get myself through grad school. I want to move on, and grow, and be happier in my job.

At any rate, I think I’m starting to get my shit together. I might even retake my permit test in the next week or so, since I need to get back behind the wheel. If I want to be an adult I need to be able to drive, even though I’m afraid to. I need to do a lot of things I’m afraid to. And I’m taking those steps today.

All my love,

Katherine Wheel