A Life Post

by Andie Mitchell on September 17, 2013

This post was incredibly difficult to write, and even harder to publish. 

Some of you have been here, with me, for a long time—perhaps all three of the years that I’ve written this blog. You’re familiar enough with my life. And some of you are new. For both of you, a story.

Five or so years ago, I worked in film production. Specifically, the art department, where the sets are designed. Shutter Island, How Do You Know?, and even on the first iteration of the upcoming film Prisoners. I had moved from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania to Connecticut. It was dreamy, but just—not quite as creatively fulfilling as I wanted. Not for the long term, anyhow.

I wanted to start a food blog. Badly. One like all of the many inspiring sites I read daily, but also with an honest perspective about weight loss and body image. I put it off, put it off, put It off—unwilling to commit to another project amidst my sixty-hour workweeks. Only when the film I was working on shut down prematurely did I see an opening. I bought my domain name, Can You Stay for Dinner?, just after my 25th birthday on January 25th, 2010.

I blogged three times a day at the start. For months. I did it the only way I do anything: obsessively and compulsively. Daniel, my longtime love of six years at that time, looked on in bewildered amazement. I was in a near-constant state of “flow”—in the zone where hours passed without my knowing. It was, by and large, right.

Three months after I’d begun, Daniel and I left our apartment in Connecticut—having leased it only for the run of my film—and up and moved to Seattle. I found work as a social media intern and worked my way up to social media manager, then to coordinator of events. And all the while, my passion for writing, for creating and photographing recipes, grew.

In the summer of 2011, when the blog was just a year and a half old, I signed a two-book deal with Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House. It was the most exciting time in my life. In a lot of ways, I thought I’d reached a peak. At 26 years old.

And then.

In the fall, my relationship ended. A seven-and-a-half-year best friendship, a love like no other, it was all over.

My company arranged it so that we’d all begin working remotely, from home.  I took to the coffee shop with my laptop.

I cannot even quite express the kind of depression that began to settle over me. It felt familiar—not quite comfortable, but not necessarily so new that I questioned where it came from or why it was here. I talk a lot about my lifelong depression in this post. The days, they were so long. So gray in Seattle. The life I’d taken to—writing alone in Starbucks all day—was helping to foster a deep, deep sense of loneliness. A feeling of isolation despite being surrounded by people. Daniel, the person I’d normally turn to in moments of despair, couldn’t be that someone anymore.

By December, mere months later, I decided to move back to Massachusetts. A lot of it had to do with not wanting to live in Seattle any longer, because, for someone who struggles with dreariness of mind, dreariness of atmosphere does not jive. (I should note that Seattle otherwise is the loveliest place on Earth.) I would live with my parents, I told myself, “just for a little while.“ We know how these kinds of loose plans go, don’t we?

I stayed much longer.

2012. Well into 2013. That first year—2012—it was the darkest, most difficult year I’ve experienced. Not in terms of tragedy or tangible obstacle, but emotionally. Maybe part of it was the loss of a true sense of independence. Maybe part of it was the writing of my memoir, and the rehashing over and over of my life—the very bad and the very good. The writing was cathartic, yes, but challenging in that it made me question who I am, what I’ve lived, and, generally, what my story will really mean to anyone else. Will it even resonate? There were moments—more than I can count—when I threw away pages, walked away from chapters, told people my work was currently reading like a piece straight out of Seventeen magazine, when I wondered what I’d gotten myself into. I hear all first-time writers go through this to some extent.

Maybe it was missing Daniel, my partner, and regretting letting him go. Certainly it was this.

Maybe it was the friction of my mother and my very strong personalities—the fact that neither of us backs down from a fight; the critics that murmur constantly within us; the perfectionists we sometimes wish we weren’t.

I should start by saying that Mom, as many of you have come to know her, is just about the loveliest human being. I don’t love anyone in this world as much. I don’t know if I ever will. She’s compassionate and loving and generous to a fault. But she’s perfectionistic, as I am, and the intensity with which we love each other and look to each other for fulfillment and approval has sometimes proven challenging.

To the outside world, writing books—becoming and being an author—that’s something, a career. But to my mother, a woman who has worked two and often three jobs for all my life, it’s not. She has cleaned houses, worked as a secretary, served as a private aid for elderly folks, taken part time work at the GAP. She would think nothing of working two eight-hour shifts in a row. I’ve met no one who will work as tirelessly. She had no choice. So to her, and her blue collar sensibilities, getting a book advance, or advances, in my case, to actually write the books, while also maintaining a blog, isn’t “working;” it’s winning the lottery. It’s just not practical. It’s not a day job, no matter how well it pays, or how carefully I could choose to manage the income. Don’t get me wrong, she loves my writing. She believes in me. But what she doesn’t believe in, is the untraditional nature of my path, or the fact that I don’t have benefits, or that I don’t have a real fall-back plan if this author thing doesn’t pan out in five years. And I get it; I do. She knows what it’s like to struggle, as I do in turn, and she only wants stability, and security, for me. There’s also likely a part of her, deep down, that wants to believe that all of her millions of sacrifices in life have been worth it, so that her babies are better off than she ever was. So that they never have to clean houses and work sixteen-hour days at jobs they don’t love.

But also? Brutally honestly? If I was going to do something out of the normal realm of careers according to my mother, I know she wishes it would have been something more glamorous. Writing isn’t sexy. She would have loved to see me act or sing or model (which, no). These were her own dreams deferred, and I grew up knowing they were her dreams for me. For many years, I shared them. But the thing is, I can’t pursue them. Not for her, not even for me. I get the sense that I’m constantly wasting potential.

What does all of this even mean? It means that, being at home, I felt (and feel) a certain sense of having failed her somehow. And failing her, the woman who sacrificed everything to give me everything she never had in life—well, that just feels like failure of the highest order. I know, on some logical level, the absurdity of what I type here, but still, there’s a very real weight of losery-ness that presses upon me. I see the disappointment in her eyes when I make a dessert for a brand I’m working with and she tells me, “it just seems unoriginal,” and, even though it pains me, I have to know that she is just as hard on herself.

I’m never without an awareness of some greater pressure to be better, to do better, to ask myself, “Am I on the right path?” and, that perfectionism is absolutely paralyzing. It only leads me to believe that whatever it is that I am now is not enough. This belief — that whatever we are is not enough—it’s shattering. It’s pervasive enough to taint every experience and affect everything we do.

But, to be fair, a part of the sensation of pressure that I (or we, if you struggle, too) can sometimes feel, may come from within, and be a projection onto the other person. This often plays out as: we’re deeply insecure about one thing (our bodies, for instance), and so we feel judged by others because of it, when in reality, we’re only judging ourselves.

In Massachusetts, at my parents’ home, I didn’t have friends nearby. I didn’t have a job to physically go to. And the depression that had started to wash over me had now completely pulled me under water. Getting through each day was an exhausting battle. Trying to fill the hours—or really, committing to spending at least 16 of them inside my own head—was a pain so exquisite that I couldn’t bear to sit still. But I also couldn’t muster the motivation to do anything else. To the outsider—anyone who doesn’t experience depression in this way–it would have made sense to say, “Practice yoga!” or “Go for daily walks!” “Reach out to friends.” But to the depressive, while the advice is understandable, it feels almost as though we’re lying on the ground with a massive, bleeding chest wound, and the outsider is saying, “Try one of those extra-big Bandaids—like the kind for your knee.” It just isn’t going to cut it.

I spent thousands of dollars on therapy that my health insurance didn’t cover, though admittedly, this didn’t have to be the case. If I hadn’t been in such a desperate state—where I found a wonderful woman online, recommended highly on Psychology Today, called her, and told her, “I’ll pay any amount. I just…I’m not OK,” then maybe I could’ve searched around to find someone in my network. But no. I can’t regret a dollar, even if my bank account does.

At my lowest points, I struggled with episodes of emotional eating. I described one of my last bouts of binge eating in this post. All of the pictures that I’ve included below were taken this summer. As you can see in each of them, I gained some weight.

Andie, Pamela, Ali

What kept me from falling into a never-ending cycle of eating and gaining, was, I guess, committing to my long-held belief that the food doesn’t make life, heartache, and vulnerability any easier to handle. It won’t; it can’t. I was desperately sad regardless, and I knew that.

Target dressing room

 Selfies are the worst. The WORST. But Target clothing options need to be photo-texted to my best friend Kate, and this shot along with the one below are the only recent full-frame photos I have of myself. This top photo was taken in mid-July.

TJ Maxx dressing room

TJ Maxx. Mid-August. I didn’t get the dress.

What’s hardest to express, what’s not clearly decipherable in my smile below, a photo from May in San Antonio, is the tremendous shame I carry with me for having gained weight—even if it’s a small amount, considering my role as a “weight loss success story.” Shame might not even convey it, but failure does. Failure always does.

Andie Mitchell

By the end of summer 2012, I was drowning. And by the end of that coming October, I thought about dying.

Saying that aloud is, the hardest thing I can admit to you. But it’s true, and even typing the words brings hot, tingly remembering tears to my eyes. My throat closes and my chest tightens with the unbearable. There was a weekend, then, when I checked myself into a hotel room a few towns away from my house, and just lay in the uncomfortable double bed, unable to move. Unable to watch TV, unable to talk, unable to shift away from the mattress coil sticking into my tailbone. I didn’t even reach for food in those hours and hours on end. I stared up and at the ceiling, at stains on the stucco, and wondered if this was what it was like to have “Locked-In Syndrome,” where all of your voluntary muscles are paralyzed, but your mind is left sharp and unharmed. I wondered if my mind was so sharp that it was cutting the rest of me into unrecognizable shreds.

That Monday, I called my therapist and told her I wasn’t OK. After years of going on and off of various anti-depressants, and having been without one for at least twelve months, I committed to taking a new one. Lexapro.

In a month’s time—one very long month—I was feeling stable, better. Life—the day to day—was more manageable. I didn’t feel trapped in my own head all the time. I wasn’t struggling so hard to fill the hours. And when I say fill the hours, I literally mean, “how do I get from 6:46pm to bed at 11?” Because it’s always that question for me—how to get through. I can think of activities, sure, but even in doing those—reading a book, watching a movie, working, crafting—there has always existed an internal minute-ticker. One down, two down, three down. Am I done yet with the day? It’s not just exhausting, but anxiety-inducing as well. The medication helped—not to silence that time burden altogether, but to lower its volume, and that has made a tremendous difference in my state of mind. I don’t necessarily mean to credit a pill with helping to save my life, but in a way it did. By helping to manage the fluctuations of chemicals in my brain and therefore my overall mood and sense of well-being, I was able to function normally. To practice self-care. It began a positive cycle of: feel better — > gain motivation — > act on motivation by doing more that fulfill me — > feel better.

 

When the thick, black smog of depression lifts—even temporarily—you start to see clearer. You understand what you need to do—what you want to do—to move forward and continue to feel better. There arrives an awareness that your depression was, and is, not life imprisonment, and that in itself provides relief of the highest order.

Emerging from an intense, cripplingly painful time in my life and looking back on it now, I realize one of life’s most profound and meaningful feelings: hope. It’s what those of us who suffer have likely lost many times, and the only thing that can save us.

2013, despite some hiccups here and there, has gone really, really well. I’ve spent much of it editing my memoir (it’s finished!) and in the company of my very best friends. This last one, the friend bit, is everything. Daniel, my ex-boyfriend, is, to this day, my greatest friend. He and I, as I wrote about in this post, “On Daniel,” will probably never lose touch completely, and I like that; I do. Kate and Sabrina, who I went to Las Vegas with this past April, are the true loves of my life. And Camille, who you might know from our travels together, is unbelievably special to me.

Kate and I have been best friends for sixteen years now. Last year, we even celebrated our fifteen year best friendship anniversary by taking a tropical vacation. We’re going to be so crazy when we’re older, when not even one other person gets our jokes. She lives in North Carolina now, but we talk twice a week, and at least every other conversation ends with questions like, “How come I never get sick of you?” or “Will I love anyone like I love you?” Probably not is the answer.

Sabrina, too, has changed my whole life. Do you have that best friend who just supports you unconditionally? Who you just know would stand behind you and defend you fiercely no matter what the case? Who loves your singing voice in the car as much as you do? That’s Sabrina. I met her freshman year of college and, honestly, I just fell in love with her.

Me and Sabrina

 Me and Sabrina at the end of August on Fire Island

These girls (side note: when will I feel like enough of an adult to call my friends women?), and all the people I love, really, give my life its richness, its fiber, its meaning. Being with them, or at the very least, being nearby, I’ve realized as I get older, is what I want to do. Because what is a life without this love? The question I ask myself all the time is, What would my experiences matter without them? The answer, for me, is not much.

And so. When I was debating where I wanted to move this year, because I feel ready and eager for a big, bold change, I thought about southern California for a time. Santa Monica sounded like a dream of a place, and it is. The weather, the fresh produce all year long…But then, I remembered moving to Seattle, and missing all of my people. This time, I’d be without Daniel; I’d be starting over. And California, after thinking on it for months and months, lost some appeal.

The decision.

In November, I’m moving to Manhattan. Into an apartment with Sabrina. Into an apartment with a kitchen the size of my bathroom now and a bedroom that would laugh at the very dimensions of my queen-sized bed frame. And. it. will. be. spectacular.

I’m so excited. I think about all the possibilities and I want to run there. We’ll have dinner parties, start a book club that ends up being one big wine group, walk in Central Park, try SoulCycle, spend a ridiculous amount of money on cocktails that aren’t worth even half that much, fill our DVR with nonsense and watch it aaallll.

But it will also come with challenges. Of course it will. Life always does. Inevitably, I’ll wish I had a car to go to Target for a twelve-pack of toilet paper; I’ll wish the city were less crowded; I’ll experience months where money is tight; and certainly, I’ll struggle with my own perfectionism—with feeling like I’m not enough as I am—because that is a part of me that feels limb-like. And I’ll work on that. For now, though, all I see is goodness. Hope.

All this to say, the contentment I’m feeling right now is something I want to hold onto if I can. I’m so grateful, every day, for it. And I’m really grateful for you, for being here. If you’re around, I will be, too.

 

{ 159 comments… read them below or add one }

Allison Day September 17, 2013 at 1:10 am

You rock. Thank you for always being so genuine. <3 Thank you for being you! ^_^

Best of luck with your Manhattan adventures! (Even though I was just a teensy bit disappointed when you said you decided not to move to Southern California. ;) )

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Marla September 17, 2013 at 1:18 am

Such a beautiful and inspiring piece, thanks for letting us be privy to your life story. I can’t help but wonder what happened between you and Daniel? Why did it end?

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Susan September 17, 2013 at 1:23 am

You still look gorgeous, inside and out, no matter the number on the scale, no matter at all.
You will love Manhattan–I lived there for a semester and adored it. It was stressful making rent at times, but do what I did: link arms with your best friend when the snow is falling, sing loudly as you walk through it, and just soak it in. ;o)

-Susan

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Amy September 17, 2013 at 1:28 am

Oh Andy. I am reading this sneakily at work and trying to hide the tears in my eyes from co-workers. Oh Andy. I wish I could wrap you up in a big warm hug and tell you ‘welcome to the other side’.
I too struggle with anxious and depressive disorders, I am not medicated for them but I think sometimes that I should be, and my boyfriend (who bears the brunt of many of the teary fall-outs) and I have discussed medication several times.
I went through a similar period to what you discussed above several years ago. I would stuff my face with food, cut myself off from my friends and spent hours lying mindlessly adrift in my bedroom. It finally ended when my best friend and my family conspired to set up an appointment with a therapist behind my back and then drive me to the appointment without telling me where we were going. I was so angry for so long. Then I started to get better, move forward and take charge of my own mental health.
While I still have my downs and my anxious periods I know when they are most likely to appear and how best to handle them. What works for me.
A few months ago I was made redundant from my job. I was back to relying on my parents for everything. The lady at the employment office laughed at my resume (I have three university degrees) and told me that ‘we don’t get jobs for people like you’. I was so ashamed. Ashamed that I had lost my near-perfect job, ashamed to be reliant on my parents again for money and food, ashamed that I couldn’t even bring myself to really make a start on the novel that I have been ‘just waiting for the opportunity’ to write.
The light broke through when a friend of a friend offered me a job at the company he works for. And now here I am. Funny, just the act of having to get up in the morning and wash my face has led me back out of the shame and into the light again.
I feel like an adult again. I am crazy busy and stressed out and more prone to anxiety now, but I am employed and I am working towards a new balance.
The important thing is that we know our mental health weaknesses, we aren’t quite broken, just a little mashed up sometimes. It is important to reach out to people when (believe me, I know) it is the last thing we want to do. And find some space – your space (Manhattan!) to create a new peace, and explore a new piece of your own special sunshine.
Take care Andy, and good luck with this next amazing part of your life.
Hugs xxx Amy

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Diane @ Vintage Zest September 17, 2013 at 1:42 am

How many ways can I possibly relate to you in this post? I mean, are you using your mind-reading powers right now? It’s so hard to find words to express the pressure of perfectionism or the weight of other peoples’ expectations on your present and future. I believe that I will have to direct my naysayers to this post in the future, if you don’t mind.

P.S. – Too bad we can’t be SoCal sisters together. :( Manhattan will be even better having you in it!

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jamie September 17, 2013 at 1:51 am

{bravo} so honest and beautiful

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heather September 17, 2013 at 2:26 am

As usual… beautifully honest, real, relate-able, and so very brave. “You are exactly where you are meant to be.” Not always easy, but I try to think that way…

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Cinnamon Vogue September 17, 2013 at 2:51 am

Andie I can see you wrote that with heart. How wonderfully well it was written. And in many ways you are also helping many people who are going through these moments of angst by outlining the thought processes of you. And that courage to lay it out on the line for the whole World to see is admirable When I look at you I see someone who is beautiful both inside and very talented. So many possibilities.

I hope you don’t think I am too presumptuous for saying this, but I think you need a new Daniel. But I don’t think New York is the place for it. Yes it is close to home, it’s comforting, you have friends close by and NY is filled with possibilities. I moved to California eight years ago from Toronto, Canada and have never regretted it. Yes there were huge adjustments to be made. That east coast vibrancy is not there. But the sun counts for a lot. Yes New York is lovely, but it is expensive. I lived in Hong Kong for many years. Loved that city life but in time you will come to realize that people like you and me need that sun. It is tremendously uplifting. So come to California.

But if I had a choice in planning your future I would send you travelling all over the World. With California as a base of course. :-) You would do an International cooking show. And the blog of course. From France to Thailand. From Chile to the hot spots of Brazil you will flit from place to place while keeping us enraptured with your tales of food and drink and the journey of a lifetime. Kind of like that show “ The Amazing Race and GlobeTrekker combined “.

And then you would meet this amazing guy on a bus in Bali Indonesia of all places. A charming well-travelled internationalist with his own successful hotel business. You will have two lovely kids and move to settle down in beautiful sunny Mauritius. Your children will speak French and Chinese.

But you keep cooking and grow your business and expand it into lovely culinary holiday resort. And all of us from this blog will visit you and stay at your lovely resort. And we will all pay good money for the privilege. Because all of us feel that connection with you and wish you all the best.

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MT September 17, 2013 at 3:17 am

Thank you for your courageousness. In reading this, I was surprised and comforted to read the way you described filling the hours and wondering how you could possibly make it through to the end of a day. In my own periods of what I felt was crippling anxiety, I described it the same way. People would tell me take it day by day, but for me, that was too long an interval. I was taking it minute by minute. I would just want it to be nighttime so that I could go to sleep and not have to feel it. I remember I would find it hard to sit still, and I would rock back and forth as if I could rock the anxious sensations and penetrating thoughts away. I found help too, and I will never forget recounting everything to my psychologist, about how I still somehow managing to go about my life while feeling the way I did, and she told me, “you must be tough as nails.” That was a game changer for me. Up until then, I just thought I was weaker than everyone else. Now I know the kind of strength you need to live through, pull yourself out, and keep moving forward. So I just wanted to tell you- you’re tough as nails, too.

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Jennifer September 19, 2013 at 11:42 am

Thank you for those last few sentences. I have never thought about it like that. Being so strong, because we do deal with the depression & anxiety each day. Even though, it may not feel like it. It really does help to put that spin on it.

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Chezzie September 17, 2013 at 3:35 am

Dear Andie,

That is one hell of a head that you have on your young shoulders, your writing is open hearted and beautiful, your approach to such a difficult subject is with true gentleness and understanding. I am very new to your blog but felt deep affection for you in the first post that I read about helping your mother to lose weight, I fell in love with your sweet potato mash which I Googled and that led me to you. After I wrote that I went into a bit of my own story which would have hijacked your thread so I cut it out and saved it, thank you, it did me the world of good to put things in writing that go around in my head.

I wish you every happiness in Manhatten and I will warn them that you are on your way!!! ;-)

Thank you Andie!

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Julia A September 17, 2013 at 3:42 am

Hi Andy, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I never cease to be amazed by your open-ness and honesty here. I hope you have an amazing adventure in Manhatten! x

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Julia A September 17, 2013 at 3:44 am

Sorry – autocorrect has renamed you Andy instead of Andie x

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Louise September 17, 2013 at 5:41 am

Nothing much to say, except….. You are so inspirtional, honest and very much loved. Enjoy this next chapter xxx

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Jola September 17, 2013 at 6:05 am

I don’t now what to say.
thanks for sharing…
It really helped me reading, i’m not the only one still struggeling.
Wish you all the best
Jola

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Laura September 17, 2013 at 6:36 am

Amazingly honest and it’s what I love most about your blog. All of us can relate in so many ways to your struggles, myself included. I can’t wait to hear of your adventures in Manhattan. I have enjoyed living on both coasts, but have to admit I’m an East Coast Girl and am glad you’ll be writing from here. Our love and support are behind you!

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patti reed September 17, 2013 at 6:49 am

I’m in agreement with Jola above me. Your honesty has helped to ease the struggle of myself and I’m sure countless others, in this ‘invisible’ illness. Thank you for that!
On a side note, I’m 54 and still call my friends…girl’s!!! <3

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Ksenija @ Health Ninja September 17, 2013 at 7:33 am

What an amazingly truthful post. It’s hard to hear what times you went through and unbelievable that the adorable, inspirational, successful person that you are could have doubts that what she does is “enough”. I hope that this change of place, the start of a “new life” will help you a lot with finding your happiness and appreciating what you achieved and how great of a person you are. All the best and I cannot wait for more life-reports from you! (And the book, never doubt, there are more then enough of use waiting for this book to finally be published!)

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SallyBR September 17, 2013 at 7:34 am

I am not sure you remember me, because I do not comment much, but I’ve been around your blog for a long time.

You are beautiful and I just wish you could believe it – beauty is not a number on a scale, is not a body fat percentage, beauty is how we treat other people and how we live our life being good to ourselves and the ones around us.

You are a fighter and that is so obvious, so I know you will overcome this hurdle. Life is a constant administration of problems, that’s what I learned after 53 years in this planet.

At age 33 I thought about quitting life because a guy who I thought was the center of the universe left me in the most perverse way – I look back and I feel so completely silly! No one, absolutely no one should define our self worth.

well, some lessons take years to learn and we all must go through our own learning process – just trust yourself, trust that the future always brings something good

I really look forward to reading more and more of your adventures, and wish you all the best!

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Alex September 17, 2013 at 7:55 am

Thanks so much for sharing! I hope u will have the best time of your life in NYC. I appreciate how real u are.

I never had a depression but an eating disorder. Those things are so hard to describe. I always say “if u don’t have it u can’t understand. If u have it u can’t explain it.”

I am glad to read u are doing better and so happy to read a personal post like this. U rock!!!

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Jen September 17, 2013 at 8:00 am

Thank you for the wonderful post and being brave enough to share your story.

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Alison September 17, 2013 at 8:05 am

I love you! You are beautiful, talented and generous with your soul. I don’t even “know” you but I have gained so much from following your blog and reading of your struggles. I have a 23yr old son who struggles with “being enough” and feelings of failure in pursing a job in the food industry. Not a traditional path in our family. But we love and support him, and I am constantly alert to signs of depression. I also work as a volunteer at a ppd group and your insight into depression and medication is something that I will take in and reference when these poor young moms talk of the despair you spoke of. Im so happy to hear you are getting stronger and have HOPE. You are truly an amazing girl…woman :)

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Cherie September 17, 2013 at 8:07 am

What an honest and touching account – I wish you the best in Manhattan – it’s a wonderful place to learn about yourself if nothing else. It sounds like you’re roommate will be a great support system and the city itself will be your new adventure.

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Rebecca September 17, 2013 at 8:17 am

Oh Andy. You are so beloved by us – your readers. Like a Mom ( I have two adult children), my heart aches for your struggles but rejoices in your resilence and fight. I too fight depression (and weight) but have a faith much stronger than any other hold on my life. There really is nothing to great or small you cannot accomplish. Just find peace with your gifts and talents and wherever they take you. You are so precious to me.

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Cath September 17, 2013 at 8:20 am

Hi Andie:
I’ve been following your blog for over a year now – shared it with my daughters too. You are so courageous for sharing who YOU are – not a fake front – the real you. I’m going to share this with my daughters again – they probably get it already, but still.
You are so right, about even a few lb. more or less, becoming the way you portray yourself as a success or shame – it’s so destructive! And finding myself in the loop of a few lb. more has made me feel powerless and depressed. I’ve fought weight gain all my life (I’m now 60!) because I used to be very overweight. And so were my daughters. And for the most part, I succeeded in staying at a ‘normal’ weight and fit, and my daughters? Absolutely.
But it’s never over, is it? My self-esteem and body image are-were so closely related.
I read your blog because it is authentic. I love your blog, the recipes and pics, the caring you show, your mom’s story and weight loss. And YOU are amazing.
You have touched the lives of so many of us, and you are making an incredible difference by sharing who you are and how we each have the power to make a difference. Thank you Andie

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Lisa September 17, 2013 at 8:46 am

Thank you…thank you for being honest – for not being unreal, for not showing us a life that’s amazing, when it’s actually fake. That’s why I like you (I won’t say love, it sounds stalker-ish). You…except for the awesome career part…aren’t much different than me. It’s ok to be vulnerable. It’s ok to say you’re sad, and THANK YOU for telling someone who can help that you were going over the edge. I wish I could hug you, take you out to dinner, and the eat Reece’s Pumpkins with you, only to feel bad about it much later. Good luck in Manhattan, it’ll be amazing.

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Shannon September 17, 2013 at 8:58 am

Dearest Andie~

Emotional eating, gaining a little weight back now and then – this is what your calling to so many of us is. The brutal honest truth is that we hear stories of how people courageously lost their weight and kept it off, forever. I have to admit it is daunting. I keep wondering (in my own journey/struggle/so much more), will I ever reach a point to where I lose my weight and then that’s it? Is it that simple, once I get “there”, there will be no more struggles? It scares the hell out of me. And makes me kind of feel like a failure before I can even GET there.

Thank you for being real. Thank you for being relatable. You are NOT a failure. Emotional eating is not about numbers. And no matter the weight we gain, lose, whatever – life can throw you for a loop no matter your size.

My Daddy passed away suddenly and unexpectedly this January at 56. After I lost my shit, I got on Lexapro (the first time I’ve ever taken something) and yes, I know how you are feeling. It helped the me get through the day. It is a sign of strength to take care of yourself. To give yourself hope. Although sometimes – and I know so many blogs and professionals would say, just as you mentioned “Go exercise!” or, “Have you tried….?” – it’s okay to give in sometimes, to get to the brink, that way we can find out own way back. Sometimes it’s only at the end of our rope do we realize what needs to happen, or at the very least, what we want to change.

I think writing an such a raw, emotional, BRAVE occupation, and requires you to force out into the open what so many of us stuff inside ourselves. Thank you for being so brave. It is a job, and life, and you are directly impacting so many lives for the better. This is a full time job.

I (we) are here for you, with you, and I think, more alike than we even realize. You are the voice for so many. Here’s to unconditional love, support, new beginnings, medical and psychological improvements, and whatever gets us through the day, hour, or minute.

Fondly,
Shannon

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dee September 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I’ve always had a rough time taking what’s inside me and articulating it into words on paper or out loud but I just wanted to say that Shannon’s reply & your post, Andie has really resonated with me. I echo what Shannon and the rest of the commentators here have said. I’m a relatively new reader but your blog has captured my attention because of your values and how honest you are with your readers.

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Susan September 17, 2013 at 9:06 am

I’m sending you lots of hugs, love and light! I believe in you and you are going to be ok! Thank you for sharing your journey. Please know that you aren’t alone-that you have a vast support system here :-)

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Liz @ The Lemon Bowl September 17, 2013 at 9:12 am

I admire your honesty and openness. You are a beautiful person inside and out and I know you will inspire many. Congratulations and best wishes on your next step!!

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angela@spinachtiger September 17, 2013 at 9:26 am

It was this kind of post some long time back that got me to subscribe to you in first place. When I was your age, I couldn’t be as real, raw or transparent. In a long ago past, I suffered depression, and I understand. I also suffered as a fat girl. Not in any way to suggest anything that may offend you, my own testimony includes God, and finally filling that hole that helped me to understand this. We are created in God’s image. Therefore, we are designed to create, to inspire to love and not designed to measure ourselves, to find satisfaction in the mundane, and we are not designed to live without unconditional love. My stomach hurt when you wrote about your mother, as it seems that you have her pointed finger directed at you to be something you are not. Not to be unkind towards her; she lives her life as best as she knows how and she have done a million things right to raise you. But, parental approval is innate in us; it drives us, and I pray she blesses your writing talent one day. I pray also for you to feel free to walk out your life’s destiny that is God given, not people driven. Better to die a broke writer, satisfied by the words on the page, than a huge mansion or portfolio, because writing is your gift to the world. Success cannot be measured by money or by security; it’s measured by the expression of your personal dance of humanity. Birds can build a nice nest and dogs can bury a bone, but only a human can write about the story of survival. Forgive me if I’ve said too much, but your depth of thought provoked me. You are gorgeous and if every now and again, you didn’t gain a little weight (who doesn’t?) it would be just to darn perfect of you. We all fall short as human beings, but the beauty is found in the amazing areas in which we soar. This post is a fine moment for you, and I write in gratitude to have something to chew on all day.

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Tracey September 17, 2013 at 9:27 am

As a long timer reader of your blog, I feel the need to reply to this very open and raw post. No matter where life takes you, what direction..you’re complete in you. You are such a beautiful soul inside and out and are helping so many by sharing your day to day struggles. I feel very lucky to have found your blog. You are soo talented! I know many great experiences await you in NYC. Maybe you’ll even find time to meet and have coffee with a Long Island girl who shares a lot in common:)

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Erin September 17, 2013 at 9:28 am

Andie,
As always, your words inspire. You have no idea how much I needed to read a post like this – one that honestly addresses issues of depression, perfectionism, and huge life changes – right now. Thank you so much for your vulnerability and ability to be candid with those of us who need it.

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Noni September 17, 2013 at 9:29 am

Hi Andie,

it’s like you said, sometimes some people need anti-depressants to get back to being able to take care of themselves, to be themselves again actually. It truely has a lot to do with the chemical (im)balance. Medication can allow you to deal with your life again rather then just trying to stay alive. And, at the end of the day, as my favouite french author puts it way better than I ever could: “There is no shame in preferring happiness.” (A. Camus)

PS: I wrote you an e-mail as well because I didn’t want to use your comments for ranting:)

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Noni September 17, 2013 at 9:39 am

*favourite

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Kelly L September 17, 2013 at 9:36 am

Andy, this was just amazing to read !! I love reading your blogs, your authenticity, rawness, realness is just refreshing. You are just very relate-able !!!!! I love how you share your journey through good and bad times.

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Kelly September 17, 2013 at 9:38 am

Andie, I have read your blog since the beginning. You continue to inspire and wow me! Congratulations on your November move to NYC. It is an amazing city and you are going to love every minute of it. Kelly

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Rachel September 17, 2013 at 9:46 am

I’ve read your blog since right before you and Camille traveled together. As someone who has suffered from severe depression, I get it. I read lots of blogs that only show the happy parts of life, but you share with us such personal stuff…stuff I don’t even share with some of my friends. I’m so glad that you chose to live, just by writing posts like this one you are making an impact.

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Nancy September 17, 2013 at 9:47 am

I am so glad you have found something to help your depression. Medicine is not a crutch. When your brain is missing a chemical, you need to supplement it. You have grown from all your difficulties, and because of that you better understand a lot of people who suffer. I love your blog and love that you are genuine.

Best wishes in your move. You deserve to be happy!

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Kate September 17, 2013 at 9:50 am

Andie,

I can only echo what so many have already said to you in so many ways. Your beauty lies in that so very real self-examination that you share so openly with your readers. I find your truth to be so freeing and helpful. Thank you for your hard work to handle life’s struggles. I know I am just one of many who gain strength from you!

A recent favorite inscription I found says it all, and I remember this anew every day: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Always.

Thank you for sharing your battle with us, so we can see that there is some HOPE out there!

Kate

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Alex September 17, 2013 at 9:57 am

I wanted to add one thing re your mom. My parents are similar and it is hard for me. Always thinking it is not enough. I know though that they love us and want the best for us. That is the only reason they might challenge our thoughts/decisions. Their responsibility was it for years to protect and raise us. It is hard to let your kids go and do their thing, especially if it is a unconventional career choice. I know that my parents never wanted me to feel like I am not good enough and that whatever they say or do is to play their role as “parent” as good as they can. And that is what matters in the end, is not how I receive those words, but what they meant when they said them.
I love to read about that great relationship that you and your mom have. U can read the love between the lines.

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Heather Kelly September 17, 2013 at 9:58 am

Hi Andie,

Your post is truly touching and I am excited to hear that you will be moving to NYC. I live in Queens and work at Random House. I love the city’s art, atmosphere, and food! I am sure you will flourish here and find yourself. I would recommend taking a refine class (refinemethod.com), they are kick ass! If you ever need any recommendations let me know!

Best,
Heather

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pamela September 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

Your brutal honesty is refreshing after reading so many blogs that only highlight the “perfect” parts of people’s lives. I have been on Celexa (similar to Lexapro) since losing both my parents in my early 30′s. I have tried going off only to sink into a deep dark hole, wondering the whole time if life is really worth living – the only thing getting me out of bed was my four children. Medication is probably something that I will need for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with that if it means being able to “live”. Like many who take medication for diabetes or high blood pressure, it is something I need to be healthy. I’m so happy you are able to embrace the goodness in life because of it.

I am so excited to follow you on your new adventures in my favorite city. I am envious of you and wish I had been so brave while I was your age. You will never regret the experience.

I look forward to more of the great recipes and motivation from your posts!

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Jennifer September 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

I truly hope to meet you someday. There is never any other blogger/writer that I feel so attached to every single word. And this post…it it so very close to home for me. I struggle daily with depression/anxiety. I sometimes feel that I could do nothing but stare at ceilings and listen to what my brain decides it needs to process at that time. I actually have done that, on a few occasions. I try to keep those times for when my daughter is not with me. I feel she is heading down a similar path with anxiety that I have and all I want to do is cry for her. But I know there is help out there and I will do everything in my power to make sure she will be okay.

As for your friends. I am right there with you. I do not talk to my best friend more than once or twice a week now. But she is my rock. She is someone who I have been through many of life’s challenges with & we someday hope to reside in the same city again to enjoy our older years together. I am so happy for you, yet a bit jealous that you get to have your best friend near you again. Enjoy every minute of it.

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Lanae September 17, 2013 at 10:07 am

You are young, brave, full of love and one hell of a talented lady. Thank you for sharing your feelings, your life, your pain and your happiness. The move sounds wonderful and I can relate as I moved last December, life change, best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I wish you the best and can’t wait to hear your adventures. Congratulations Andie and Bravo!!!

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Kira September 17, 2013 at 10:16 am

You are enough. You are enough. You are enough. (Don’t forget!)

I hope you love New York as much as I do — I’d love to run into you and share stories about heartbreak, weight loss (65 lbs. of my own) and the other more delicious and wonderful aspects of life too.

(Oh and this… “We’ll have dinner parties, start a book club that ends up being one big wine group, walk in Central Park, try SoulCycle, spend a ridiculous amount of money on cocktails that aren’t worth even half that much, fill our DVR with nonsense and watch it aaallll”…. it will all be TRUE — that’s what we do best around these parts.)

On behalf of all New Yorkers, we’re looking forward to welcoming you with open arms!

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dee September 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Here, here!

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Jessica Lindgren September 17, 2013 at 10:17 am

Thanks for sharing – I know it isn’t easy. <3

I cannot wait to read all about this new adventure in your life.

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sandra September 17, 2013 at 10:24 am

I love your blog Andy. That part where you say outsiders will say “Go practice Yoga” but it just “won’t cut it” resonated with me like no other. I know exactly what you are going through and though we don’t know each other, I support your every endeavor. I too moved to the east coast (although I am in upstate NY and previously I lived in Texas) because of everything you said as well as school. I was hoping it would be more like NYC but it is not. It has come with it’s downsides and struggles, and frankly, I have not found an upside yet. Just yet, but I am sure it will surface. I wish you the best of luck Andy in NYC, and maybe we will bump into each other sometime. Of course I’ll recognize you but you won’t recognize me…and that’s okay!

Sandra

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Sam Terry September 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

Writing what you did must not have been easy. I just want you to know that I found your words truly inspiring. I am an anxiety sufferer and a single working mom. I am self-employed and so have no financial stability to speak of. For me the bottom line is that.. I DON’T KNOW what life will bring, I BELIEVE that it will get better and I am fully COMMITTED to being a really… “shiny” person until my situation betters.. God Bless you dear :-)

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Stephanie Hanson September 17, 2013 at 10:49 am

Andie – you are an inspiration. As I was reading your story, it really resonated with a tough time in my life. Although I was never diagnosed as depressed, I also had a relationship that ended (albeit not as well as yours did) and spent two years trying to figure out what was next. I made a lot of mistakes, had my heart broken again and again, but ultimately it molded me into the person I am today. And two years after this horrible heartache I met the man of my dreams, married him and have now been happily married for almost three years. I can assure you Andie – despite all your fears – you are a great success and serve as an inspiration to so many. I come to your blog daily waiting for the next post, anxiously awaiting what you will have to say. You should be so proud of all you have accomplished…it’s not perfect and it never will be. Your words resonate with me to the core – I am the ultimate perfectionist always attempting to be better, faster, stronger. But the truth is, no one is perfect.

I am so excited to hear all of the new journeys you will go through during your time in Manhattan. I will live vicariously through you in the burbs of Denver, Colorado :-) Stay strong Andie, lean on your family, friends and most of all have fun. Because what is life if we don’t have a little fun?

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Rachel September 17, 2013 at 10:54 am

Thank you for sharing your personal and intimate struggles. Hats off to you- and congrats on your new adventure!

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Sar September 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

Andie,

I could hardly get through a sentence of this post without thinking, “I know what that feels like! Oh, and that! That, too! Oh no…I know that feeling.” I am forever grateful to you and your blog because without your honesty–without you unashamedly admitting the struggles you went through and are currently going through–people like me are alone. So Andie, know that because you have made me feel important–worth saving from the horrors of binge eating and depression–that I will be here for you always (I know that may not sound impressive or awesome to you, considering I’m a stranger). But please–PLEASE–know you are never alone. You have touched my life and actively changed it for the better because YOU had the courage to live your life. YOU are important to me, and to the world. YOU make this place better. So please, know that if you ever feel like you can’t breathe, or you’re sinking, or you want to hide: I, a twenty one year old stranger from Chicago, love you always.

Sar

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Samantha September 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

Thanks for sharing this because I’ve been there too — in that dark depression. For me, hope and learning to be grateful where I am now is what got me through. I’m glad you are doing better. Congrats on the big move!

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Emily September 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Silly New Yorkers always say that this city is the best in the world….and that’s because it is. It’s also one of the hardest places to deal with day-to-day, but in my humble opinion it’s all worth it for those invaluable “I can’t believe I live here” moments. You’re going to love it :-)

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mosprott September 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Glad you’re getting through this. It’s hard.

But NYC will be awesome. We’re all here pushing you. *In a good way!*

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Jena September 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I have been reading your blog for a long time now. I have never left a comment. For that I apoplogize. Your words are so much more inspiring than I would bet you could ever imagine. The truth and raw-ness of it all. SO what I needed to hear. Funny how the universe-God- whatever you believe has created such an amazing web of people and experiences in our life that become over lapping and ever changing and IN our lives. You are in so many of ours. Ironic really. Enjoy your new corner of the world. Take in all the smells that some day will bring you back to this coming November with a wave of memory and take lots of pictures. You will for certain be in a fabulous kind of fog through the move. Soak it in. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you.

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Stacey September 17, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Too often you say the words that my heart speaks. Thank you for your honesty in all things. This has been an extremely challenging year for me too, and I love that I can point people to this post rather than try to help them understand weight loss, life changes, and depression.

Write on!

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Amanda Jordan September 17, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Thank you for beautiful, soul-bearing honesty. It resonated with me in such a deep personal way. My personal battle with weight loss and managing the strains and heartaches of life can often lead to a sense of loneliness and feeling like I’m the only one who can’t keep my life together. Which is, of course, ridiculous. Most women likely battle with feeling like they aren’t in the place where they are supposed to be as if we all had our futures already written for us and we have managed to deviate from the story line. I am beyond blessed to have girls in my life who are the matches to my soul and I would be in a bit of a sloppy puddle now if not for them. I am married and I cherish the man, but there are parts of my heart that seem to only resonate with these ladies. They are the loves of my life and keep me sane. In 2010, my house burned to the ground and in my state of brokenness I took control of the one thing I had left… my health. Between then and now I have lost 70 pounds (which was my weight loss goal), but in the process of maintaining and managing the struggles of life, I gained 10-15 pounds a few times that I had to shed again. Every time this happens, I feel this overwhelming sense of failure. I’m supposed to be a success story… what if people notice and think “there she goes again”… But then, that beautiful thing called hope comes to my rescue, typically in the form of my girls encouraging me and loving me for me. So I get myself back on course and keep going. I am continually inspired by your words and thoughts. Thank you for being you.

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Ingunn September 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Thank you for being so honest. I struggled with depression for most of my adult life, and I can see my old self in your words…but it does get better, and it sounds like you’re already on your way, you have that momentum going. We’re cheering you on from the sidelines (and I cannot wait to read your memoir)!

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Kari M September 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm

What could possibly be more glamorous than saving lives? Because, love – make no mistake – that is what you do. You have done it hundreds if not thousands of times already, and it has nothing to do with perfection. Indeed, it has everything to do with your honesty, sincerity, and willingness to share your IMperfections. The ugly beneath the beautiful; the shame beneath the pride. It’s all so wonderfully real, in a world where “real” is a four-letter word.

If you were an actress or a model, no matter how relatable and likable, you would be “better than,” if for no other reason than because it goes with the territory. But who you are, what you do, transcends a beautiful aesthetic and reaches people’s souls; it offers that thing we all need the most: hope.

So again, what could possibly be more glamorous than saving lives?

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dee September 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Amazing comment!

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Linda September 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Andie – I am continually impressed and touched by your willingness to share your life. We all struggle with the joyful, frustrating, messiness of life but you share your struggles openly and your courage is inspiring. Have a wonderful move, can’t wait to read more.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Linda

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Janet September 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Thank you for sharing this Andie. You are very brave to open up like that. I’m so very saddened to read about your depression. It breaks my heart for you. In a non-stalker like way we all love you! I hope Manhattan is just what you need right now.

My daughter and I have both struggled with anxiety and some depression. We both gave in to try medication and I will never go back. It helped me to improve myself and I can see a light in her that had diminished.

I look forward to every post!

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Janet September 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm

You go girl!!!

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Katie Marini September 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Andie,

As always, I appreciate your honesty. It takes a lot of guts to talk openly about all these issues–ending a long-term relationship, living with a parent as an adult, and, of course, depression. I know what you mean when you say you filled in the hours. I used to do that too. For the most part, I used food and a book/movie to help distract myself. Later, when I was dieting, I became the avid scheduler–afraid of the eating that would commence during a night alone. Now, I’m a busy young mom, who yearns for an hour or two alone before bed, haha. I guess the grass is always greener.

Manhattan sounds fabulous. And it will probably feel great to reclaim your independence from your family. I miss living in a city. I had my coffee shops, bars, and bookstores all within walking distance from my apartment and Richmond, and now that I live out in the suburbs, I miss it.

Anyway, one last note, you mentioned that you gained weight this summer and you felt embarrassed about it. I know that weight is a very personal issue, but I would like to tell you that (a) you look wonderful and (b) you are still very slim. I’m not a doctor, but I’d put money on the fact that you’re in the low end of your healthy range for BMI. Just saying. Absolutely no need to feel embarrassed. Remember what you wrote in your post about quitting running? You said that whatever weight your body naturally stayed at was fine with you. Good luck with everything, Andie? Btw, has your memoir come out yet?

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Tara September 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Dearest Andie, you have a self-awareness that is extraordinary. You do know don’t you that the searing honesty and articulacy with which you show us your life is special? You have for the most part echoed my life. To know that someone on the other side of the world (I live in London) has had similar albeit heartbreaking struggles like me is a profound source of hope. To be hopeful for oneself is life affirming but to create the germ of a seed of hope in someone else is surely the ultimate expression of humanity. It is the sun. Isn’t it what we’re all looking for, to close our eyes and feel the warmth of the sun on our soul? To me it can only come from another. I have turned all too often to food, but it’s of course woefully inadequate at truly feeding me. You have given so much of yourself to others so be gentle with yourself if you turn to food when you lose sight of yourself.
Finally, you have the loveliest commenters! How nice it is that we all share a love (in a non stalkerish way) of you and want the best for you.
Tara

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Liz September 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I am sharing this with my daughter. I know it had to be beyond difficult, but thank you so much for writing this.

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Kelley September 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Oh, Andie. You are brave and lovely and so genuine. I had been thinking about Daniel recently (as strange as that may sound) and wondering why you haven’t mentioned his name. I like how honest you are, and every word that you write is relatable and beautiful. You are my blog muse. Not only because you have such an incredible story, but because your writing is so naked. I’ve said that before. Andie, you will never be a failure. You will never let me down, even if you did gain a little weight. I regard you so highly and I trust that I always will. Thank you for truly being one of the biggest influences I had in launching my own blog.

xo Kelley

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Julie September 17, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Andie,

All the best to you on your move to New York. There are no words to express how much I appreciate your sharing your story so openly. I have always enjoyed your blog. You are inspiring, honest, funny and most of all, human. This post was so touching. Thank you for sharing. We fall down, but we get up. Your ability to keep going is surely going to inspire others to do so, including myself.

Julie

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Silvia September 17, 2013 at 2:01 pm

One of the things I absolutely adore about your life story, and the weight loss process, is that you’ve never presented it as a linear process as does every.other.story.product.magazine.show. Yes, there’s definitely a line of progression and achieved goals, but crossing the “finish line” doesn’t mean the battle is over, it’s not the end of the story either, driving into a beautiful sunset of stability and flawless balance of attitude w/food, just like marriage is not the “happily ever after” nonsense we’ve been fed. These relationships–with ourselves, other people, food– are imperfect lifelong stories.

I appreciate you so much because of this. I spent roughly half of my life in an untreated clinical depression and it’s only in the last 5 years or so that I have a sense of “living life.” That, of course, is not the “end of the line” as depression is something I’ve learned to recognize and have tried, to the best of my abilities, to avoid triggers and counterattack it as soon as I feel it lapping at my feet instead of waiting until I’m sitting at the bottom of a dark ocean with an anchor tied to my waist (anxiety is more of a challenge these days).

You are gorgeous, successful and, above all, perfectly imperfect as we all are.

You’ve made my life better and have both motivated and comforted me.

You, kid, are the best ever. Good luck in NY and….take a big, big savory bite out of the island!

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Hootie September 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I knew it!!!! It brings me peace to know your heart. “We read to know that we are not alone” CS Lewis- I won’t taint what you have expressed with any of my opinions but know that you are loved :)

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Ti September 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I wish you luck with the big move!

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Diana September 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Just another comment to say I love your voice and your wisdom. You have helped. Truly.

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Talia September 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Andie,
Kudos to you for putting into words the struggle that so many of us have endured and felt we were the only ones to experience. As many others have commented I too have lived with what I call biological depression for many years. My father has depression, his mother had depression, my mother and sister have battled depression. It is an incredibly hereditary disease that we have no control over whether or not we develop it. I like to compare it to diabetes. It is a chemical imbalance in your body that some people are more prone to develop genetically. You can lower your risk of developing diabetes with diet and exercise as you can with depression but if you are hard coded in your DNA to develop either illness you most likely will. However, people are not as embarrassed by their pancrease not secreting insulin as they are by their bodies not utilizing seratonin but they both boil down to the same thing- an imbalance in the body that needs to be corrected. Period. People like you who have the courage to openly share their struggles and experiences are the ones who will help change the stigma that surrounds depression. Though you may not realize it or are too humble to admit, by sharing these painful words you are helping others to heal and to see depression for what it is- just another illness that will probably always require corrective medication and some level of effort but nothing to be ashamed of!

If you’re ever back in Mass and in need of a friend I’d love to chat!

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Karen September 17, 2013 at 2:54 pm

thank you. you are just amazing! many hugs and much love and luck with all that is coming for you :D

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Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) September 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm

My heart goes out to you, Andie, my bloggy idol! I feel the same sinking feeling of loneliness sometimes, only I know I’m not alone… depression sucks. A lot. I’m trying to get out of MA, find a new place and a new life, but don’t have the financial means. I hope something works out soon. I am so happy you’re starting a new adventure.

I wish we could find the time to meet and grab a coffee before you go!

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J9 September 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm

<3

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Stephanie September 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Andie, Thank you so much for sharing your story with us all! This was such a heartfelt and beautiful post; very honest and introspective. Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished so far, and best of luck on your New York adventures!

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Rebecca September 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm

What an incredibly beautiful piece. Your honesty, both with yourself and your grateful audience, is something rare and unique to you. Congratulations on getting through a tremendously difficult time and on your new adventure! Sending you love and luck and enjoy those overpriced cocktails (they’re always worth it in the end!). :) <3

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Elgpa September 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Andi -
So much of what you wrote rang familiar for me. The heavy weight of depression. Feeling solitary and isolated. Entrenched in grieving a relationship. A mother whose frame of reference for what constitutes a living not advancing one single degree toward the 21st century; understandably, because she had always been a blue-collar workhorse. A “real” job isn’t real unless you are suffering somehow. 21st-century martyrdom of a generation gone by. Feeling like a failure in your parents eyes.The insanity of being in battle with the skin and flesh and bone you were born in. Winning everything. Losing everything. Not recognizing yourself in any of it. Wishing yourself out of it quickly (death).

Andi: You have worked hard. So hard. For all of it. The blog, the book deals, the cooking, and sharing, and endless writing, and the heartache and triumph. Understand your mother. And feel compassion for her and her experience, but don’t take on her beliefs. You and me and everyone, we all come at it from a different place depending when we were born and what we had to deal with. Don’t for a second discount your toiling just because it doesn’t fit into a tidy 1960s box.

So you gained weight. Well! Of course you did. Food and figuring it all out and putting it in its place and misusing it is what this is about. That’s why we come here, all of us. Because you are r e a l.

And, you are a warrior. You inspired me to write this long-winded missive because, to some considerable depth, you have moved me. And your experience speaks to miine. It echoes it back to me.

Go forth and be Andi. Don’t apologize. Breathe through the shame (no need for it!).

You are a wonder.

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knh771 September 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Thanks for being so honest.

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Laura September 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm

What a beautiful way to catalog your life. We all need to remember that we matter, maybe not in the way that we think we matter, but we do matter. Your post will reach one person and make a difference and for that I thank you.
Here’s to great adventure in your new life! It is deserved.

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Rhonda LaVite September 17, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Andie your honesty and courage is such an inspiration. I am so excited for you! Change is hard, but good – and cathartic! I will be here, no doubt :)

Much Love,

Rhonda

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pretty little things September 17, 2013 at 5:27 pm

just a beautiful and honest post! I’m so excited for your move and all your new adventures : )

http://allthingsprettyandlittle.blogspot.com

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Melissa September 17, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Once again I am astounded by your utterly raw honesty. Your words and your journey have inspired so ridiculously many people. …given so many people HOPE…for those of us who have followed you for a while, I am even more inspired and encouraged that you gained a little weight in your tough time…and then you told us all about it! How amazingly generous for you to share that with us, so we can have hope too! If anyone reads your blog they will eventually come to realize there is so much more in it than recipes and pretty pictures, so. much. more. It’s the journey we are drawn to, your journey..parallel with so many of ours, yet you speak with the ugly honesty we all wish we could! This post just made the majority of us love you all the more! Cheering you on on your newest chapter!

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Angela September 17, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Perfectionism is so rough. I find I am trapped by it, too. I try to find another way to see it. Rather than “good enough,” because, honestly, nothing and no one is, I try to rephrase it in my head to “am I happy? Did I do what I could?” Some days, the reframing goes well, other, I am a failure at it. (Oh, irony.) You are not alone. I am so glad you sought help and found it. I am so grateful you didn’t die, that you are still on your journey. You are so many things and none of them have to do with your weight or your appearance. You are so much more than the sum of your parts.

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Melissa September 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm

All this…this honesty, truth-telling, soul-baring, eloquent, heart-wrenching beautifulness, is why you were destined to write a memoir. We don’t want to read it to read about “perfection”. Where is the reality in that? We want to hear your story as it inevitably makes the rest of us feel less alone.

You are a beacon of hope for so many people. I wish you ALL the best on your next adventure and you can be sure I will look you up the next time I come to NYC.

xoxoxo,
Your Seattle soul-sister

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ro September 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm

oh, Andie. what a brave, and beautiful post, that doesn’t even come close to how brave and beautiful you are. you are an inspiration.

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Sarah September 17, 2013 at 7:36 pm

As I read this I imagined myself typing it up with tears flowing down my red, red cheeks. To share thoughts and feelings as intimate and difficult as these, is profound. This post dives into the true depths of pure human struggle; as well as it emphasizes your obvious calling as a writer.

Thank you for inspiring a fellow writer, girl–(woman?) who struggles with weight loss, and one whose heart aches often to find real hope.

Sarah

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Cassie September 17, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Dear Andie,
I want to give you a BIG hug! Thank you for sharing yourself! All the good and bad! I am so excited for you in your new adventure! Can’t wait for your book! Thank you so much for your blog! I know you will do so well in your new place!
Take care,
Cassie

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Jessica September 17, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Thank you so much for your honesty and for putting your real self out there. With everyone showing off how great his/her life is going, and not showing the negatives (Facebook anyone?), having feelings of anxiety and/depression can feel almost shameful. Your blog has been such a light in my life and I always look forward to your posts.

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Jennyfer September 17, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Andy!

I’ve ready your blog for pretty much almost 2 years. I’ve valued every tidbit of advice, felt every heartbreak, and every moment of your highs and lows. I too have struggled with my weight this last year, fluctuating with the normal ebb and flow of life. Difficulties in relationship, my professional life, or just plain being exhausted after hours upon hours of being on my feet. I find myself in grad school currently while holding down a full time job and want nothing more than to sit on the couch watching TV and eating out of a box of Cheezits. But you’re right. Food doesn’t solve problems. It’s just a form of emotional escapism. I try to remember that too. And when I think of success stories to get me through the cravings, the deep lows, or the moments where I think “to hell with it,” I remember you. You didn’t get to where you are today with just “to hell with it.”

I love you. I think you’re perfect, just the way you are. I think you do a wonderful job of giving great advice and tempering it with life experiences. You’re perfect. I know every day was a struggle and sometimes, you’ll have one here or there…but we’re with you! Your own little internet darlings are with you every step of the way! Keep up the enthusiasm, energy, and love for life. I can’t wait to see where you’ll be years from now. We’re right beside you every step of the way.

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Jennyfer September 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I am also sorry I misspelled your name :( Innocent thoughtlessness, on my part.

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Pamela September 17, 2013 at 8:53 pm

This brought tears to my eyes. It was the words I needed to hear to have the emotional release for how I feel but cannot articulate it into words. Your expressiveness, passion, and true vulnerability reads like pure, visceral emotion that, as the reader, I can feel. Thank you for it and I hope that your Manhattan dreams come true! I chose California, and to be honest, still dream about the Big Apple! Maybe one day I will take the plunge all over again. Best of success in life, love, and true undeniable success, that I personally think you have mastered already!

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Meghan September 17, 2013 at 10:08 pm

This post was so touching, you write in such a relatable way! I admire all that you do and think of you as motivation for myself :) Congratultions on the move to NYC, sounds amazing!!

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Rachel September 17, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Amazing post, thank you for opening up and sharing. I think you are awesome and I’m a big fan of your blog. And P.S – Manhattan is the BEST! I have lived here four years, and no matter how tight money gets or how crazy overwhelming this place is, it’s still so fulfilling and special.

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Brittany September 17, 2013 at 10:21 pm

You so eloquently said what I have often times felt but lack the ability to express in words. I love your blog and your honesty.

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Kelly September 17, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Wow, I’ve followed and admired you for a long time. This post, coming from someone who has really struggled with depression for the past year, is so poignant, straight from the heart and yet well expressed. I want to share it with people who can’t grasp the dark places we can sometimes fall into. I’m so proud of you for not only taking the courage to share all of it but for the new adventure you are undertaking. Please know that you truly are a remarkable, inspirational “woman” (completely acceptable term). Good luck to you and your adventures!

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Sharon September 17, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Thank you, Andie for sharing your life with us. I will continue to be here reading your blog, just as I have been for so long. You are a beautiful person inside and out. Best of luck in NYC. I know it will be fun and exciting!

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Jen H September 18, 2013 at 12:10 am

Andie,

I am not articulate when I write or speak at times so I will never be able to tell you how this has touched me. I am absolutely amazed by your bravery and ability to be brutally honest about yourself. Thank you. I am terrified by even the thought of showing my vulnerability to one person. You are truly a light in the darkness. I admittedly haven’t found the will or the way to change my eating addiction but I just keep coming back here because you give me hope. I feel like I get a little bit stronger each time I come.

Thank you for your strength and complete transparency.

J

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ASuburbanLife September 18, 2013 at 1:07 am

That is just beautiful, so courageous and honest. I can’t imagine how long it took you to craft this post. I feel like I know you, just from reading your so very candid posts over the last couple of years, and I feel so honored that you shared these feelings. I hope you keep writing, and sharing. And I wish you the very very best with this next step and your move to Manhattan!

Kris

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Tim September 18, 2013 at 5:58 am

So honest and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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Liz @ Clover Feet September 18, 2013 at 7:26 am

Thank you for being courageous enough to share this part of your story. Living underneath that cloud is not easy.

All the best for your move. I’m sure you will be amazing and I’m so glad you’ll have a friend by your side for the less amazing days.

I look forward to following the rest of your journey.

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Nichole C September 18, 2013 at 8:21 am

Oh Andie. What can I say that hasn’t been said in the previous 103 comments before mine? Probably nothing except that in the last 12-18 months on and off, I have felt the depression you speak of for yourself and wasn’t even fully aware of it until reading this. So while you struggle from time to time, you have helped me in seeing some issues I have, myself. You are so talented, and have had such wonderful experiences that I am super jealous of. But of course, we all struggle no matter how successful we are or aren’t. Thank you for always being so real. XOXO, Nichole

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Leanne September 18, 2013 at 9:25 am

Hey beautiful girl,

This was such a well written post. I have anxiety and have had bouts of depression in the past and I felt like some of the paragraphs you wrote were taken from a story I could write.. You were so spot on. The idea of just needing the “volume to be turned down” is exactly how I feel. It’s an ongoing process but I’m doing my best to stay afloat & make good choices for me even when I feel like I’m not worth anything.

Thank you for being so unwaveringly honest.

Xo Leanne

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Glenda September 18, 2013 at 10:20 am

Andie-
Your honesty is so refreshing and you write beautifully. Thanks so much for this site.
cI know that depression you speak of….It is soooo excruciating! I have had it all y life even as a child. Now that I am old, it is finally better.
A few things to know:
Hope is wonderful, but sometimes you can’t find it.
When that happens, I use my curiosity to pull me into the next day-I don’t want to miss out on what may happen in the world-even if I am only an observer.
And, forgiveness is the most wonderful thing! Make a “poop list” of ALLLLL the crap you torture yourself about and march into that therapist and deal with each one-ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!
These are the things that helped me through.
I really believe in good therapy-so many people made fun of me for going so long.-Now that they have gone to therapy, they all call and apologize for being so mean about it-they are grateful. Don’t worry about how long it takes-it takes as long as it takes. And THAT IS OK!
My husband and I are probably the only people in our neighborhood who aren’t on anti-depressants-I attribute the therapy. BUT, take those pills, if you need to and don’t be ashamed-But also go to therapy. Stick with it-It is so worth it. My hope is one day you won’t need them.
You have had a wonderful life so far. It will be filled with even more! Don’t be hard on yourself-you are suffering from being in your twenties…The older you get the more you will realize that your opinion of you is the only one that counts. You will never please everyone and you are the only one who knows what you want from your life and what fits for you.
I can’t wait until your books come out! Have a great time in NY and keep those girlfriend-they are so important! Many of us will lose our partners one way or the other and those girlfriends if they are worth their salt will be there-Looks like you have a great group of truly close friends.-They are gold-Cherish them!!!!
You go girl!
Sending lots of love and healing to you-
Glenda

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Lyn Derby September 18, 2013 at 10:35 am

I was so touched by your latest blog and your sharing your thought help so many because you have a gift of expressing your feelings and it gives hope and courage to many.I don’t follow many blogs but just love yours and keep writing and sharing for it has a meaning to me and I care about you.
Aloha,
Lyn

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Sabrina September 18, 2013 at 11:17 am

Andie – i usually just call you up to discuss your posts – and I will today too – but I also wanted to leave a note here telling you how amazingly honest this post is and how beautifully you’ve captured the way so many people feel sometimes. I love you and can’t wait for you to get your butt (and interior decorating skills) to NYC!

Ps – note the name above

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Shelly September 18, 2013 at 11:19 am

Andie, thank you for sharing something so deep and personal with us. I’ve been following you for the past few months and have totally fallen in love with your writing style, with your journey with your mom, and now I’m excited to follow you to Manhattan!

Congrats on your move, you’re going to love it here (despite some of the minor challenges you’ve mentioned about the space issue =)). Everything is going to be at your fingertips and I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

<3 A fellow NYC blogger,
Shelly

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Mary September 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

Like a lot of other people leaving comments here, I read your post and felt a kinship, and then, of all things, relief. Relief that I’m not the only one dealing with depression, inertia, and a sense of being unfulfilled. Congratulations on taming the Beast, and for the strength and courage to start your life’s next chapter. Yay! Yay! Yay!

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andrea @ my kinda perfect September 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

Andie,

Your honesty is so refreshingly beautiful. On some level, I think all of your readers relate to your struggles. I know I do. The ebbs and flows of life can be overwhelming, and sometimes change is precisely what we need to stay afloat. I’m so proud of your achievements and you should relish in those achievements. Moving to NYC is going to be amazing. I can already tell you’re inspired.

Reach for the stars girl! =)

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JaNelle September 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

Andie,

As I type this my heart is full. You have a way of reaching me, in a place that no one has gotten to. And you do this simply by being you. Your honesty, your thoughtfulness, your bravery… resonates with me far beyond what I can compile in this comment. Reading your words felt as if we were sitting in a cafe speaking. I feel stronger after this conversation. I feel worthy, I feel comforted and I feel incredibly energized. For I am not alone in the thoughts and fears I carry. Nor am I alone in my immense desire to pull myself up from the pit that my mind lives. I thank you for being able to share yourself with all of us. I wish you happiness in your new journey!

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Rocio September 19, 2013 at 2:09 am

Love your writting! Do you have a blog? I would love to read you. :)

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Martha September 18, 2013 at 11:52 am

Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sure you know this already, but when you share things like this, you truly help people who have experienced similar issues. Your writing is beautiful, and you are able to help people as a result! Even though your mother doesn’t understand your line of work, I’m certain that she is proud of you. And you’re damn good at what you do. Keep it up!

As a side note, your recipes are also amazing. I pinned one of them (black bean enchiladas) to Pinterest a while ago and it has been re-shared over 200 times. Every day I get more emails that it has been shared by someone else. I just hope that each time it gets shared, you gain another person who follows your awesome blog. You deserve it.

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Roxanna September 18, 2013 at 11:53 am

I just moved home to my similarly widowed mom on the east coast from Southern California in May, got back on anti-depressants and am starting to enjoy the sunshine again. I also may move to Manhattan in November. No lie.

Our lives are scarily similar. I wish you the best Andie. I hope you feel even 10% of the impact that your blog has on this world.

PLEASE KEEP WRITING and updating this blog.

Love, Roxanna

Ps. I’ve made it my personal mission to make everyone in my life switch to “The best 300 Calorie Oatmeal”. I will never eat plain oatmeal again.

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Hannah September 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for inspiration for quite some time now and wanted to say thank you. I moved to NYC 2.5 years ago and know how hard it can be in the first 6 months. You have a friend in NYC if you ever need one!

Hannah

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Hanan September 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm

I have the same thought I had the moment I started to read your blog: you have a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing it <3 stay strong and awesome.

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Anna September 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Sigh. And big hugs.

I can only be thankful that I am spared from suffering from depression like yours, but I really appreciate your very heart-felt writing. Depression does run in my immediate family, and among friends as well, and this post helps me to understand how debilitating it can be. I’m glad you’re being helped medically. I’ve been told to shop around for healthcare that works for you personally – first interviewing doctors to make sure they’re a good fit and then trying different techniques until you find the best solution, and that this is especially important for mental healthcare. It’s worked well for family members, although the struggle they went through before they found the right doctor “fit” was grueling. Please make sure to always take care of your health – all aspects of it. We all love what you’re doing for us here and it pains us to hear of you struggling, but if you are struggling – now, or in the future – we want to hear about it. Please.

I can relate to having a perfectionist parent (or two in my case) and being one myself, and trying to live together. I lived with my parents for years after high school (for many years with a salaried-type job, and then for a bit during college). I have lived outside my parents home for about 15 years now, but still in the same town, and it’s been a long journey to create a separate space for myself to thrive in. It helped that a few years ago I found the man of my dreams and he’s a great support for me in my struggles. I can be in tears for not having the coffee-table cleaned up and one or two goals for my day not completed and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t check off every box that I wanted to for the day, and he just holds me and tells me that “it’s ok – you’re doing great.” (And really, I am – it’s just the perfectionist in me that sees the shortcomings rather than the laundry list of daily accomplishments.) Perspective. That’s what I’m still learning. I feel it’ll be a life-long challenge.

In my experience, “non-traditional” career choices are very common for a younger generation these days. I find that it’s our parents generation that really pushes for a 9-5 (or 8-5 here in the Midwest) job with benefits, but a younger generation that realizes how fleeting many of those choices really are. When we come into a work force and see how people who’ve worked for decades at a salaried-with-benefits job can suddenly be terminated for whatever economic reasons and then see the job market unable to absorb those same dedicated people into similar jobs elsewhere, I think it makes us more wary of “traditional” jobs and more willing to experiment to find fulfilling work. I’ve been through quite a list of jobs of both “traditional” and “non-traditional” types, and I use phrases like “it’s honest pay for honest work” to help put the less traditional jobs in perspective. Benefits? I watched both of my grandfathers who retired a decade or two ago from life-long auto-industry jobs with a pension and retiree healthcare have all those benefits evaporate in a flash. White-collar work too. It didn’t matter.

I do love following your blog. I only came across it earlier this year, but I appreciate it immensely. I find that you have a very wise relationship with food, eating, and body image. My only concern is that you seem overly worried about a recent “weight gain.” I find you healthy, and that’s what matters. And if you ever do return to your pre-weight-loss weight, or any weight that becomes a health concern to you, we’ll be here. I’ve gone up and down a few times – perhaps not too dramatically, but 30-40 pounds on a 5’6″ frame, and it’s harder for me to get my weight down the second time. I know that I eat well and exercise (sporadically, though that’s usually injury-related). I can relate to staying on track with my goals and trying to love the body I am in regardless of my size. I have to be ok with knowing that it’s not the time to diet or lose weight now as I’m 2.5 months pregnant. ;) If only I had the energy to be a bit more active this past month… Trailing off at the end there, but my point is that it’s your humanity that resonates, not simply a “success-story.”

I wish you all the best in your coming move! That’s definitely exciting. Remember, you have a loyal fan base who basically love you unconditionally, so whenever you run up against a wall, please reach out. And we’ll be waiting to hear all that comes your way – over-priced cocktails and all. :)

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Alma September 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Hi Andi–

Thank you for writing this. I know how difficult it can be to put yourself out there, for everyone to read. It was brave, and I found myself relating–on a lot of levels–to what you wrote…though I wouldn’t say I’ve ever deeply battled depression (at least, not enough to be medicated). I always seem to crawl out of it, eventually.

I could relate to the relationship you have with your mother. I had the same kind. My mother was cut from a similar cloth, and I also found a lot of pressure in being her daughter–though the pressure was from me. My mother didn’t understand the world I lived in because it was so very different from hers. We fought a lot in her final years, but–in the end–we came to a peace.

The last few years, I’ve been in a similar place in my life. I went from being in my longest relationship to not speaking to him and learning he’d done horrible things to me. Then, I had a year where I was laid off three times and constantly terrified of losing everything. It, oddly, gave me peace too. I’ve been working from home for a couple of years, and though I live in my hometown, I feel incredibly isolated. This has mostly been because I got sick a few years ago–and didn’t realize how serious it was becoming until it got really serious. It caused me to stay in more than I wanted to–to never go out because I felt awful. In April, I almost died and had emergency surgery–which has changed nearly everything. I feel a lot better, but I struggle to take care of myself and rebuild the life I used to have that was active and vibrant and fun.

I’m getting a lot better. I’m getting excited for new things and am contemplating new paths. Hope has been such a hard thing to hold onto at times, but it’s ultimately guided me through the roughest patches. I know it’ll help you, too. You are such a bright, inspiring spirit. I can’t tell you how many times your blog helped me choose me this year–even when you were struggling so much.

Take care,
Alma

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Alma September 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Sorry, Andie! Foiled by autocorrect again. :)

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Reanna September 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Andy,

Thank you for sharing this. I am so excited for you! New York, living with your bestie, it all sounds amazing. I think that the feeling you described about living with your mom is something that many people in our generation feel. When I moved back in with my parents after college I was so ashamed that they paid so much for my education and at the end of it I had no idea what to do next.

You are blessed to have such a strong support system through your friends. That is one of my personal struggles. I don’t know why, but I have trouble making close friends. My relationship with my boyfriend is great and emotionally fulfilling but when he is on the road for months at a time it gets lonely.

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Sally September 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I, for one, am so thankful I read that magazine article about you a few years ago, or else I would have never found your blog. I love that you are so YOU — honest, transparent, genuine, and sincere, so absolutely HUMAN. You are a gifted writer, no matter what you are writing about. Some of the best things I cook I have found right here. I want to preorder your book as soon as that is possible. I wish you the very best on your upcoming move and for continued healing and being able to deal with what life throws at you. (I admit, I was hoping you were going to write that you and Daniel were getting back together. :-))

Never lose hope. There is always hope.

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April September 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Inspiring and brutally honest, as always. Thank you so much for sharing with us. A few years ago I got divorced after an 18 year marriage. Since then I’ve been no stranger to big life changes and I applaud you for having the courage to leap into them, as challenging as it can be. It’s worth it. I work from home as a graphic artist and while I often question my non-traditional career choices, here I still am. In so many ways it just makes me happier than the 9-5 in a cubicle thing. But I understand the pressure from others to fit into that box that so many people fit into. I think you are brave, and strong and funny. I am so looking forward to hearing about New York!

On a side note…I’m 43 and still call my friends my girls. In my head and heart I’m still 22. :)

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diane September 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Andie,

Thanks for continuing to share yourself with us…and most especially for being truthful through the pain. I fear that many of us see the ‘grass as always greener’ for others and not quite as green for ourselves. The reality is that everyone has green grass at times and brown grass at times. We just don’t tend to talk about our ‘brown grass’. Maybe it’s a pride thing, or maybe it’s a shame thing or simply an embarrassed thing. I don’t know. Thank you for sharing your brown grass along with your green. You make me feel better about myself!

LOVE your blog…keep writing and enjoy Manhattan! New York is going to love you!

Diane

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Johnny September 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Nice piece! A really good read to start my morning and feel at least somewhat motivated to take on the day…. and for the record, Santa Monica IS awesome! I moved there 3 years ago and it was the best decision I ever made.

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Sarah September 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Thank you for sharing your life with us. You’re beautiful! And I cant wait to hear stories of living in NY!

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Yolanda September 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Hi- I’ve been reading your blog for months now and I love it! I feel for you- and take this or leave it but I feel like I want you to know that God thought about you before you were even born and created you and your beautiful and lovely!You have worth not b/c of anything you do or achieve or whether you gain ten pounds or lose 10 pounds! You have worth simply b/c of who you are, its that simple. God loves you no matter what you do or don’t do..
Sorry if thats preachy- I can’t help it;-/
Keep up the good work , I love reading your writing, its like you take your readers on a stroll thru your words..

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Tonya September 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Andie- I love your blog and I love your honesty. I am so proud of you and I’m excited for you and your new endeavor. You are so talented and I can’t wait to see where life takes you. Enjoy every moment. And thank you for sharing your moments with us, your readers! Love to you!

Tonya

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Amanda Weissgerber September 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Thank you for sharing this part of your life. I’m a long-time reader, and you are quite inspiring. I value your honesty so much, and reading this reminded me of my own struggles with depression, friends, and moving.
Just wanted to say that, and wanted to welcome you to Manhattan! I just moved here a month ago, and it’s everything I hoped it would be. I hope it’s that for you too. Much love and luck to you in the coming months!

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Dovalyn September 18, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Andie,
There is nothing I can say that isn’t already stated above. Wonderful, beautiful post. Thank you for your honesty and know that you are not alone.

You have a way of putting into coherent sentences what I feel and cannot express. You are a gifted communicator and writer. I can’t wait to read your book!

My mother was not exactly comfortable with my chosen career either – she sees Yoga and Pilates as hobbies, not as a career, but I’m doing OK and you will too. Take care sweet girl. I can’t wait to hear of your adventures in NYC.
Dovalyn

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Rocio September 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Wow Andie this post is so great. I am so glad you are feeling better. I know how hard a breakup can be. I went through those days as well and sometimes the minutes go so slowly, and you think is this pain ever going to go away? My heart hurts remembering, but thank God it gets better!!! Can’t wait for your memoir!!!

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AJM September 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm

So honest, inspirational, and beautifully written. (Is it any wonder why you are a favorite blogger for so many of us?)

My sister struggles with depression and this helped me immensely in understanding what she’s been through. I wish neither one of you had to experience it.

Best wishes for the move to New York! I recently moved out but still consider it home; it steals a piece of you, that place, and never lets go – in the best way. If you’re ever feeling a little lonely, treat yourself to a glass of wine, a Levain cookie, and a picnic blanket in Central Park. It was my cure-all for days when I felt a little down. I’m looking forward to all the New York stories!

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Jennifer Segalini September 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Thank you for sharing your story so truthfully. I am so excited to hear about your adventures in New York. Along with your friends and family, you have lots of us here cheering you on.

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Emilie September 18, 2013 at 10:02 pm

It made me sad to read about the way your mother feels about your job/life. My parents feel the same about me, especially my mother. And I have a steady job with benefits and all, and a university degree. They just don’t get that I live my life a different way, in a big city, without a car or a house, without much responsibilities except my job and my dog. You can’t please everybody, and especially not parents.

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Stefania B. September 18, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Andie, you are a strong, creative, and great person. You are an inspiration and a fighter. I first started reading your blog two years ago and I began sharing recipes with my students. I started an after school cooking club to teach the kids about different cultures through food, and how to eat healthily. They learnt that it is possible to have yummy food that is also healthy.

Having the courage to stand up to your fears and inner demons takes a lot of strength. I wish you all the best in Manhattan with lots of smiles, laughs, and tons of good times. :)

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Tracy September 18, 2013 at 10:47 pm

You are such a brave and beautiful person. Thank you for sharing your story with us so that we know that we are not alone in our day to day. You are a lovely person and I wish you so much success and love in the future!

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Shelby September 18, 2013 at 10:47 pm

You are loved. :) I am so happy that you are happy. Even when times seem unbearable there is always hope. <3 So excited for your big move! It's gonna be GREAT! God bless you!

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Ms.O September 19, 2013 at 1:22 am

I feel bad already for not being here the first time you wrote this. For not being able to detect that ‘depression’ between the lines of your cheerful writing.

I too have problem with feeling like a failure when it comes to my parent’s expectation. But I guess that’s always the problem with Generation Y and Generation X. They were in a tougher times than we are and they struggle a lot physically. Living in an easier life, more choices, and more freedom – I guess- give us that lack of purpose in life. I felt that even with an 8 hours job, even with a job and a kid, now I even enroll to a post-grad study at night just to feel …well fulfilled.

I hope you will find yours there in Manhattan, I know it would be wonderful and we’ll be waiting for wonderful posts from NYC.

Much Love

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Laura Hipps September 19, 2013 at 1:58 am

Thank you. Thank you for sharing, for being honest for being real. I stumbled on your blog and from the first thing I read I decided to follow. I can totally relate to you! I am trying to lose 100 pounds, I started end of May and I have lost 32 so far! I too struggle with depression and almost cried at the empathy I felt and knew exactly what you are going through. Thanks again!

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Kristi September 19, 2013 at 8:51 am

Andi,
I applaud your honesty.. I too am on Lexapro which was prescribed to me when I was going through a challenging time in my marriage. I started off taking Paxil which was a terrible experience for me! My mom takes Lexapro and it changed her life so I asked my doctor who responded, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. I found I could focus on daily tasks without my mind wandering to the dark thoughts or dwelling on actions of others in which I had no control over. I was able to move on and forgive. Now, I have recently lost my job and struggle to get out of bed most days. I don’t take my meds even knowing it will help me. But reading your post has scared me because I know how easy it is to fall so far and how hard it is to get out of the hole. Thank you for reminding me there is hope. I so enjoy your posts…your honesty, your lack of perfection is what speaks to people and inspires us even more…we can relate. I pray you will continue to be mentally and physically healthy and enjoy your adventures…truly deep in your heart enjoy life! Thank you for being you and sharing.

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Sue September 19, 2013 at 9:34 am

I’m yet another one of your readers/fans who wishes you well and admires you for laying it all out there. So glad to hear you are feeling better and are excited about this change. Best of luck to you. I’ll be sending you All Things Good as I follow your new adventure.

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Frieda September 19, 2013 at 11:44 am

Never did anybody write down exactly how my depression feels like. I wish you all the best for Manhattan and I am excited to follow your adventures there :)

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Jenn September 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm

I’m speechless. What a beautiful, heartfelt, yet vulnerable post. It takes so much courage to open up like that, especially to people you may not even know. I am even more eager to get my paws on your upcoming book! Hoping a book signing tour makes its way to the SF/Bay Area when your book launches…I’ll be first in line! You are such an inspiration.

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Suzanne September 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Thanks for sharing this, Andie. It’s such a comfort to read that I’m not the only one who has felt that way. I’m so pleased your 2013 is looking brighter.

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Kirsten Leah September 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I’m glad you’re doing well. NYC will definitely change your perspective on everything. My best friend lives there (upper west side) and I have made many trips to visit her since she moved. She moved because she felt a lack of purpose and direction here at home, and that only grew when she found herself with an 8X8′ bedroom for $1200/mo. in one of the most crowded and busiest places in the world. Don’t let the city defeat you.

I will say they have the best food. In order for a restaurant to last and pay their rent, they have to be superb, and the food in NY is superb. Celebrate that; don’t let it be a struggle for you (honestly, I can only afford to eat out there for a week, anyway, before I come home broke).

And don’t worry–they give you handles to carry your toilet paper. ;)

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leesa in ny September 19, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Don’t be so hard on yourself. If I could only follow my own advice. I look back on pictures from my honeymoon 13 years and I looked great. I am happy with myself now (most of the time) but cannot believe I thought I was “fat” back then. I am in my forties, work out a lot because I was not blessed with a fast metabolism. I like to enjoy life. If I had to eat healthy all the time, never enjoy good cocktails and literally deprive myself I would be miserable. We all wish we could have or do things. I wish I could write. I enjoy cooking and try to be healthy a lot of the time since my husband had a heart issue a few years ago. I would love to blog but the words do not flow. You are beautiful, your smile is amazing. I think you will love NY. So many amazing people. I am born and bred in Westchester outside of NYC, not the elite though lol. Oh and I almost forgot to mention I have mother issues too…love you Mom! Just continue doing what you do and remember that we all appreciate it. And don’t be so hard on yourself. Repeat.

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Hannah September 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Amazing.
Your open-ness, your faith in us- your readers- to expose your vulnerability and speak the truth, shows so much strength.
I relate to so much you say, and the way you write is just beautiful.
I swear, when your book comes out I’ll be buying four copies, one for me and three to share with my friends and family.

Thank you for sharing <3

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Karen September 19, 2013 at 8:14 pm

It’s nice to have you back, Andie. Thank you for your courage in sharing such personal experiences with the sole intent of helping others. While it’s been so enjoyable getting to know your wonderful mom and being a part of her journey, I’ve felt for awhile YOU were “missing” in your posts. So welcome back to the blog and, it seems, welcome back to life. I’m so glad you’re feeling better. Again, thank you for the gentle reminder that we all struggle, despite outward appearances (and you look absolutely wonderful even in the pics that you say you were not happy with the weight you gained!. Wishing you the best in your move!!!

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Su September 20, 2013 at 7:18 am

You are such a beautiful writer. So much of you said just resonated so very deeply inside of me. I too have been through the depths of depression and I find it so difficult to explain to others just as succinctly as you have just how heavy life can become when you are sucked into the darkness of depression. I can’t wait to read your book. BTW I too like many above, think you still look gorgeous and slim in the photos above!

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Bri September 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Honestly, it is posts like these that make me come back all the time. This does not show failure but instead more success and more growth. Knowing the challenges you face make it easier to face my own. You truly are an inspiration!

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Erica September 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Andie,

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this writing, your honesty and your frankness. I can relate. I know far too well how this feels and it’s so helpful to know that someone else feels the same way. I know that you don’t know me from Adam but I want you to know that I am always here if you need anything- absolutely anything. Please know that you are loved and supported and we cannot wait to hear more of your adventures.

XOXO-E

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Donna September 21, 2013 at 10:00 am

you are the most real blogger I follow, I commend you for that. My heart goes out to you in your struggles and I am excited for the changes coming! no doubt you & Sabrina will paint the town red together and have wonderful adventures. who knows, maybe you will find love again. God Bless You dear.

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Anna September 23, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Thanks for sharing something so personal with us. I read it as if I was sitting on my couch hearing it from a friend. I’m sorry you went through all that but am so relieved that you’ve found your way out of it. I would’ve never guessed that you had dark-days. Your blog is always so upbeat and funny which is why I love reading it so much. We’re all human I guess. You may have your struggles and insecurities, but you are perfect to me, to us. We look to you for continued inspiration. You are beautiful inside and out, so smart and such a great writer. I personally cannot wait to read about your new adventures in NYC! I did get giddy when you mentioned Socal though, because I’m in LA. I had fantasies of being a new BFF of yours! The best of luck to you Andie. Stay strong! Can’t wait to read your book!!

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Crystal September 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Thank you for sharing what is so hard for many to put into words, Andie.

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Julie September 30, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Oh, friend. Thank you for sharing. I have so many words I want to say to you, things I want to discuss and empathize with you on, but I don’t know where to start. So, for now at least, I’ll leave you with this: you are loved, and you are strong, and I look forward to hearing about your New York adventures. xo

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Ashley October 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

It must have been incredibly difficult to be so vulnerable and share those words with the world. You must be wondering what people will think of you now that they know, will they stop liking you, etc? Us people who are so obsessed with what others think have a difficult time sharing this kind of thing. But you know what? Its okay. Its okay to share and to feel vulnerable and to not be afraid to be who you are. Thank you for opening up and being so brave.

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Tess November 9, 2013 at 2:58 am

I came upon this post a little late, but am so grateful to you for writing it. What you went through is very similar to what I’m going through now. My boyfriend of four years and I broke up about six months ago, and I have moved back in with my parents to heal and plan the next step. I also deal with clinical depression, and have been on Welbutrin for the past two years. Sometimes I wonder if it is enough. I love my parents to death, but feel like a loser for being here, which in turn makes it hard to get out. What a paradox, huh? This post gives me hope because I hope to feel the way you are feeling now in the near future. To feel ready to make it out there on my own without a partner, and be able to deal with my depression and weight/eating issues. Thank you so much for sharing, it helps so much to know that I am not alone.

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Ann December 30, 2013 at 11:35 am

We have a ridiculous amount in common. I was going to say we could be best friends, but it sounds like you already have some amazing girls by your side! Thanks for sharing this. I’ve dealt with depression and overeating, the loneliness and dips in self-confidence that come from working from home, the crises of confidence that come with writing, and trying to impress a mom whose reaction to my writing dreams was “But you’re going to keep your job, right?” (because she wants the best for me and thinks a stable job is the best). All this to say I think you’re doing an amazing job keeping things in perspective and navigating all this new territory in your life. You have some wonderful adventures ahead. Cheers to big changes and new opportunities!

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