Jillian Unplugged: Perfectly Flawed

My name is Jillian Hiscock, and I struggle with depression.

There. I said it. It’s out in the open. Now let’s talk about it.

Most who know me see a bubbly, fast-talking, energetic young woman with a passion for living life to its fullest. While this is definitely a huge part of who I am, there is another side of me that far fewer people have ever witnessed, and it is what I consider my “perfectly flawed” self.

The Minnesota sports community was rocked recently with news of the death of Tim Allen, local blogger and writer for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The loss of yet another young life to mental illness really shook me and has reignited my desire to demystify mental illness in our society. According to a April 2012 CDC report, 1 in 10 U.S. adults report suffering from depression. 1 in 10 adults! Yet for so many of us, the issue of mental illness is still considered taboo and only meant for discussion behind closed doors.

Well, I’m opening that door.

My college boyfriend first started noticing signs of depression in me during our sophomore year in college. I was always tired and wanted to stay in bed instead of going to class, hanging out with my friends or eating dinner. I was chalking it up to being an overworked college student, but through some gentle nudging on his part, finally spoke to my family doctor about what I was feeling. She confirmed what I had suspected and didn’t want to admit: I was struggling with depression.

Over the next several months, we worked diligently to determine the proper medication and dosage for my depression. This was probably one of the most frustrating parts of my mental illness for me–I felt so helpless and hated the fact that I needed a pill in order to feel ‘normal.’ I struggled with this feeling for years and only after several conversations with family and friends did I get to a point where I can comfortably say “I take antidepressants, and I’m okay with that.”

Now I live a relatively ‘normal’ life with my perfectly flawed self. I still have days that I need to stay in bed for hours in order to work up enough energy to face the world. But luckily for me and all those around me, my depression is managed well with the help of a daily dose of SSRIs and the constant love and support of my family and friends. I know I am one of the lucky ones who has people around me who I can talk to about my mental illness without feeling judged or misunderstood. There are a lot of people who don’t have that support and that’s where you come in. Tell the people you love how you feel about them. Be an active listener. Talk to others about your feelings. Everyone can have a role in taking away the stigma surrounding mental illness.

And if you don’t know how else to help, perhaps you’ll consider supporting the Mental Health Association of Minnesota through a memorial Nathan Eide (@nathaneide) created for Tim Allen. We cannot sit idly by and watch this illness take another life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, please contact the Mental Health Association of Minnesota. Help is available. People do care. You are loved…in your own perfectly flawed way.

<3

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#PayDayFriday Recap

If you’ve been following along with this blog at all (and I know I haven’t been really good about updating it…) you know that in 2011 I decided to do #PayDayFriday in honor of my late grandmother. Now almost two weeks into 2012, I wanted to provide a quick recap of the year, my donations and how I’m feeling about the whole thing. Over the 52 weeks in 2011, I made 26 donations to organizations, fundraisers and individuals in need. I donated right around $1,000 over the course of the year and while I wish it could be a lot more, I know it made a difference.

Through the magic of social media, word about my project spread and others started similar campaigns of their own. I polled my followers for donation ideas and was exposed to organizations and people in need I would have never found on my own. It’s been a really inspirational project for me and I’m super glad I decided to do it (although when I’m doing my taxes later this month, I might grumble a little bit!).

I think my Grandma Marlys would be proud of what I’ve done with my money, but I think she would have been more proud of the happiness this brought to me and others. I looked forward to every #PayDayFriday for a different reason than I had in the past–I got to literally put my money where my mouth was.

I just finished reading “The Happiness Project” and it made me realize that there are so many ways to work on increasing our own happiness and without a doubt I can say that #PayDayFriday has increased mine. Helping others makes us feel good and that typically makes us happier. So here’s my challenge to you–find something that will increase your happiness and pledge to work on it for a year. Having this blog kept me accountable and reminded me every Pay Day to find something to donate to. It worked for me…and it could work for you too!

My 2012 project is #PuttingMeFirst and this one is going to be a lot harder for me. I’m a giver…I have a difficult time saying “no” to anything and it often means putting my needs aside to help others. While this may not seem like a bad thing, it’s caused me a lot of stress and unfortunate weight gain. It feels selfish to me to say I can’t help someone because I need to go to the gym, but finding a way to better manage both needs is my personal challenge this year. Will you join me? I’d love to hear your ideas for personal improvement!

Much love,

Little Marlys

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Auntie Day Care

‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving and my dear nephew Brody didn’t have day care…Auntie Jill to the rescue! After starting off our day with PopTarts and warm chocolate (because Brody doesn’t like it hot), we started to clean up the house to help Mommy and Daddy get ready for hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow. First mission, breaking down all of the cardboard to bring it out to the recycling!

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The last box I broke down was from Daddy’s cool new deep fryer, which he’s going to use to make a turkey tomorrow. As I started to break it down, I realized it was perfectly “Brody-sized!” Despite my desire to continue with our cleaning projects, my crafty ADD kicked in and I got an idea…let’s make a BRODY BOX! To be fair, I totally stole this idea from Pinterest, but I’ve wanted to try it ever since I saw it! So we taped up the ends of the box, and cut some holes in the top, which fit Christmas lights perfectly!

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After making holes for all of the lights, we covered the wires with paper so little fingers wouldn’t get stuck in the wires. We jazzed it up with some color crayons and made sure the plug in was free from under the paper.

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Then it was time for the debut of the BRODY BOX and we decided watching Cars 2 was the perfect way to try it out! We put a little blanket on the inside, plugged it in and Brody crawled inside…

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Perfecto! Brody has his very own BRODY BOX, which he told me he was excited to share with his cousins (Adaja, Kalen and Donovan) tomorrow. Apparently it was a hit, because it didn’t take long until it was nap time in the BRODY BOX!

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All of this fun and it’s only 10am! I can’t wait to see what is in store for us post-Cars nap!

Much love to you and yours on this Thanksgiving Eve…

j.

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Just Call Me Super Aunt!

Did you know July 24th is “Auntie Day?” It’s true! And as a self-declared “Super Aunt,” I decided to was time to share a little about why I absolutely love being an aunt. I take my role as an Aunt very seriously and I have long before Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about the “Auntie Brigade” in her book Committed. As a happy, single 28-year old woman, many people scoff when I say I’m not sure I want to have children. Common responses include:

“Just wait…that’ll change.”

“It’s so much different when they’re your own.”

“But you’d be such a great Mom.”

All I know is that this point in my life, being an Aunt is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done (and some could argue I really didn’t even “do” anything to become an Aunt!). I’ve never dreamed about being a mother or having children, and I don’t think that makes me a horrible person. I have three nephews and one niece who amaze me every time I see them. I celebrate big occasions like birthdays with them and I am overcome with fits of laughter watching their small personalities emerge. I feel blessed to be a part of their lives and I look forward to continuing to help in shaping them be fantastic brothers, sisters, friends, and maybe someday…parents. But for now, that’s not in my cards. And this Super Aunt is perfectly okay with that.

Much love,

Auntie Jill

My oldest sister Trish has three lovely children:

Donovan (8), Kalen (6) and Adaja (4)

 And my sister Amy has brought this adorable little guy into my life:

Brody (2)

Happy Auntie’s Day to all of the other Super Aunts out there! 

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Getting my craft on!

Those of you who know me are familiar with my craft obsession–making cards, scrapbooks, unique gifts, etc. I’ve always loved giving handmade gifts and cards more than something I thoughtlessly pick up off a shelf at Target (although I’ve been known to do that in a pinch!). So about a month ago, I purchased a Cricut Expression from my favorite craft store (Crafts Direct, or “The Craft Mecca,” as I call it!) during their Bag Sale…and took my crafting to a whole new level.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Cricut, it’s a machine that creates die cuts of letters, shapes, cards, calendars…basically whatever your little heart desires. It’s basically a crafter’s Dream Machine. So I started making cards…and cards…and cards…to the point that I have to physically pull myself away from my Cricut most nights. I just love the card creation process, from choosing the paper to putting the final rhinestone embellishments on. (I know some of you reading are throwing up your “Nerd Card,” and I’m totally okay with that!)

I created an Etsy store and Facebook page called “Handmade for You” to showcase and sell the cards I’m making. I love personalizing cards for people and can change the color schemes to match the most unique ideas! I hope you will check out my pages and give me feedback–what do you like? What kinds of cards would you like to see on the site? I’m already working on some cool changes based on the advice of some family and friends and I’d love to hear more! Before I get back to my “real job” (which helps pay for my crafting obsession), I wanted to share a couple of my current cards…enjoy!

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#NOH8MN – My Turn

On May 21st, the Minnesota Legislature approved a measure that will put a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the ballot in 2012.  That night I joined the #NOH8MN twitter campaign with thousands of Minnesotans–straight and gay–who are gravely concerned with this decision. I’ve heard arguments on both sides of this issue and for me it simply comes down to this:

LOVE

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, love is “a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” To love and be loved is one of the most natural things in the world. I don’t want to be told who I can love, and I can almost guarantee you the 70 legislators–both Republicans and Democrats–who voted for this amendment would say the same thing. I understand this isn’t a “same-sex love” ban, but denying someone the right to marry who they love sounds just as ridiculous to me. Someone recently asked me why this “whole gay thing” was my problem as a straight woman…my right to marry wasn’t being put on the ballot.

But that’s exactly the point.

It is my problem because while I can marry whomever I please, one of my closest friends from college can’t. It is my problem because I have three amazing nephews and a beautiful niece that deserve to grow up in a world that embraces love, not hate. It is my problem because I give a damn.

If you want to get involved, I encourage you to check out the following resources:

“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illumines it.”

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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Blog Absence

Whoa…it has been a long time since my last post!  I know there are hundreds of people out in the blogosphere waiting with baited breath to read my posts (err…just my Mom, but whatever!) and I apologize for leaving you hanging!  Let’s just say that April is a ridiculous month for admission offices and I’m still trying to catch my breath.

Never fear, my Pay Day Friday donations have continued and I’ll be back with more regular programming now that summer has arrived!

Go Twins!

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