The Crazy Sad Babes Club was strangely born out of a private Facebook group.
Let me explain.
It was a bitter cold night in a Midtown Manhattan. I was switching over from one psychotropic drug to another. I was in the midst of a dry and lonely January. I had just received 32 rejections for a book proposal I had poured every fiber of my being into.
And I was feeling rather…unhinged.
And I certainly didn’t feel like burdening my friends with the shit-storm that was swirling like cyclone through my ever-vibrating brain. Plus, I was too paralyzed with depression to do “normal” friend shit, like sip lattes at overpriced coffee shops and slurp back sauvignon blanc at downtown wine bars and get group gel manicures after work. It was strange, but I longed for the comfort of strangers. An “AA” style support group where I could talk dirty about the demons. The demons (at that moment) felt as if they were stretching themselves wide open in my brain, like all those un-deodorized man-spreaders who sweat and lurk their way through subway stations in New York. I longed for a place to bitch about the trippy side effects of my new medication. I was desperate for a reference for a good therapist, one that was well-versed in party girl issues like sexual trauma, eating disorders and addiction.
Most pressingly, I wanted to hear about the monsters that live underneath that four poster bed of yours.
I’ve been writing on the internet since I was sixteen, so I’m fairly well versed in the Digital Culture. Yet I still couldn’t seem to stumble across a blog or a website that satiated my desire to connect in a real way. The “wellness” sections in the well-meaning women’s publications felt so surface. They felt…flat. And don’t get me started on those haphazard mental health forums peppered across the great expanse of the internet! They felts like a dark, digital version of the wild west, where gun-toting cowboys were replaced by gun-hoarding grown-men, decomposing inside of their mother’s basements in dismal suburbia. And the woo-woo “spiritual” sites all seemed to be sprinkled in passive-aggressive judgment. I wouldn’t be comfortable discussing my Prozac sweats on a platform that doesn’t believe that mental-illness is a bio-chemical disease, you know?
“I’m going to start a facebook support group.” I thought to myself one night as I gazed into the vacant glow of my laptop, my empty eyes burning and exhausted. “Maybe there are other girls floating about the digital ether who want to talk about meds or who are taking a stab at sobriety or dealing with horrible shit like body dysmorphia and incessant restlessness and depression and anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder! Girls and boys and women and men and anyone in-between who feel lost and passionate and devastated and hopeful all at once.”
I impulsively created a private group on Facebook called “The Crazy Sad Babes Club.” (For the record, I reclaimed the word “crazy” a long time ago. Additionally, it described ~exactly~ how I felt in that moment: off the fucking rails.) I decorated the group page with a feature image of Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder from the movie Girl, Interrupted for obvious reasons. <3
“IF ANYONE IS STRUGGLING WITH ANYTHING MENTAL-ILLNESS RELATED FEEL FREE TO JOIN THIS FACEBOOK SUPPORT GROUP I JUST CREATED!” I recklessly clanked into my Facebook status. I curled up into a tiny ball and fell into a pink puffy cloud of sleep.
The next morning I awoke to hundreds of comments from people who wanted to join The Crazy Sad Babes Club. There was a collective desperation for this group so palpable it covered my body like a weighted blanked. I was so relieved to know that I wasn’t the only person who lusted after a sanctuary of insanity.
For the next year The Crazy Sad Babes Club took to our sacred Facebook group to talk about all the things that plague the body + brain: depression, binge eating, binge drinking, recovery, anxiety, ADHD, meds, the meds we wish we were on, the meds we hate, the meds we love, the meds we hate that we love, our love issues, traumas, sex problems and so much more.
There was only one rule in the club: Don’t be nasty. Which basically means, don’t be prim and don’t be judgmental. If someone dares to spill their finest champagne unto your lap, don’t you dare clutch those faux pearls (especially when we all know you’re likely to be popping as many pills as Britney Spears during her worst year).
The beauty was, no one was ever, even remotely nasty. It struck me: When you’re given the space to be real, when you’re encouraged to stop standing on ceremony and place your tender feet in the raw earth, when you slap the Instagram filter off and stop digitally shrinking yourself, you will feel safe to expose your deepest truth.
And every time a truth is revealed a depressed angel gets her wings.
And what I mean by that is this: When you have a place to express what’s really going on in your life, all the shame you’ve been harboring inside of your body dissipates into the thin air and you’re free to be the person you were truly meant to be.
And nothing feels better than being free. Shame shackles you.
I believe that complete honesty is at the very root of wellness. You can meditate for sixteen hours a day, but if you’re not going to confront your turbulent past or life-long issues with food or your seemingly endless self-destructive streak, you’ll never heal, babe.
The only way to heal is to be fucking real.
So I decided it was high time to level up my little Facebook group. I decided it was high time to create my own publication that is entirely dedicated to speaking the ugly, messy, raw, beautiful, simple, complicated truth about mental health. A place where we can laugh, we can cry, we can sparkle with the stars, we can fade in to the dust; but we’ll always know that no matter how high we float up into the sky or how low we sink into the ground, we’ll never never be given up on here. We will never be shamed here. We will never, ever be bullshit ourselves here.
We’ll talk style and stigma; beauty and breakdowns; mayhem and magic, meds and meditation. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned on this journey, it’s this: so many things can be true at once.
And every human being I’ve ever met who has bears a sparkly soul and a glimmery mind, is a gorgeous, nuanced, wild contradiction.
So let’s talk the wonders of Wellbutrin and the peacefulness of Prozac. Let’s marvel over the power of organic Tumeric and the prowess of bad bitch cocktails. Let’s gab about self-care and deep dive into self-harm. Let’s gossip about mascara and weep mascara tears. Let’s forgive ourselves for our magnificent failures and celebrate our magical manifestations. Let’s embrace our individuality and our sexuality. Our breakdowns and our breakthroughs.
So cheers to you, crazy sad babe. Welcome to the club where the most powerful weapon in the world is you. In all your unfixed, scarred, naked, honest glory.
P.S. Do SSRIs give anyone else extreme night sweats, or is it just me?