Heather Loeb


Mad and Sad

by Heather Loeb

Today was my first day back after my two-week long vacation. I thought I would be excited to get into the swing of things, but as I’m sitting here at the end of the day, I’m spent. I’m mad, and I’m sad. At what, I don’t really know.


Maybe it’s because I didn’t get the alone time I wanted and so badly craved during my vacation. Eli stayed home from camp was in a terrible mood. There was a lot of yelling and crying on his end in my direction, which stressed me out. But it seems bigger than that. I just don’t want to do anything, even though I have tons to do. I’d say I don’t care, but that’s not the case. I do, just not at this second.

I think I’m mad because I’m losing my hair and gaining weight. I’m mad because I hurt my back jump roping! I’m mad because I haven’t had any alone time. I’m mad because my best friend ghosted me (even though it has been almost nine months). And I’m just so sad that things aren’t going my way. I know, that sounds pathetic. I’m used to everything coming up Heather Loeb.

I just want to crawl into a hole and sleep for weeks. This is starting to sound like the beginnings of a depressive episode the more I type. Ugh, that makes me feel even worse.

I don’t mean to throw myself a pity party, but at the same time, it’s okay that I sit with these feelings and explore them. I guess that’s what I’ll do — turn to self-care and sit with my feelings. I know it’ll pass; it always does.

But until then I can continue to say expletives in my head, have a scowl on my face and eat junk food to make myself feel better. I just gotta make sure I don’t take up permanent residence here, because where I (usually) live is rainbows, kittens, llamas, love, fuzzy socks, Diet Coke and binge watching Suits like it’s the first time. A happy place.

Just thinking about it makes me feel lighter. Maybe I won’t be here long at all.

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Last week I ordered jump ropes so my daughter and I could have fun exercising. I didn’t want to use the word “exercise,” we were just going to have fun.


The day they got here I realized a few of things: I needed a heavy-duty sports bra, my pelvic floor isn’t as strong as it used to be and finally, I’m old.

I made necessary adjustments, and we did had fun, but it wasn’t as easy as I had pictured it. I thought we would play for at least an hour, but just doing eight to 10 jumps at a time was winding us. We decided we would take a break and start again the next day.

I put on my good tennis shoes the next day and was ready. I worked up to 11 jumps in a row (I kept messing up) and was determined to beat it when I heard a big “POP,” and I folded over in pain. It was my back. Pain started in the middle of my back and spasms shot up the left side. I asked my daughter to get me an ice pack, and I immediately went to lie down.

The kids were being picked up by my mother-in-law later, so I was able to rest for the remainder the day. I could get up and walk a bit, but it was still hurting badly a few hours when my husband came home. When I told him what happened, he did not seem thrilled. I think I ruined his weekend plans, but he didn’t say anything to me.

It kind of reminded me of when I would have migraines all the time, like 16 per month. I was always disappointing someone, whether it was a coworker, boss, friend, boyfriend, etc. And when it wasn’t a migraine, it was depression. It has made me hypersensitive to others’ reactions when I’m sick or unavailable. Maybe David didn’t even have a reaction, I could’ve been extra sensitive.

But it reminded me that it’s okay for me to rest. No matter what — if I hurt my back, if I were feeling depressed, had a migraine, stubbed my toe, sneezed too hard, whatever. I don’t have to work for my rest, and I’ve never had to. Have people made comments about how much I rest or get sick or injured? Yes, but they are not dealing with what I’m dealing with. Nobody knows what it’s like to be me, but me. And it’s okay for me to rest.

And it’s okay for you to rest, too.

None of us has to earn it.

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I’ve been losing a lot of hair recently, and while I don’t know exactly what is causing the loss, I have a guess — a medication I take for migraine prevention. It’s a rare side effect, but I’m in a support group for those taking said medication, and there are a lot of women who have lost hair. But apparently it’s reversible once you’re off the pill.

My beautiful curly hair

I first noticed it when I put my hair up in a ponytail. There was hardly any hair to put up; it was so much thinner than my usual thick curls, and I started to panic. For a while, I had been complaining to my best friend that my hair hadn’t been curling like it used to, but I blamed that on one of my conditions being discontinued. I thought I just needed to find something comparable, and it was just taking a while.

At night I would scroll through pictures where my hair was voluminous and curly, just months ago. The medication was the only change, and the problem with stopping the medication was not only would I see an increase in migraines but also not be protected by another side effect — appetite suppression and weight loss. I have a terrible eating disorder, and while the pill doesn’t always stand up to that, it helps greatly, and I feel like I need to be on it.

I feel so stupid and vain. Sometimes I say it’s just hair, right? But it’s not. I’ve always felt like my hair is a big part of me, a big curly, beautiful mess. But I’ve also worked hard to get to a weight I’m comfortable with, one where I’m not constantly calling myself fat.

And I just don’t want to go there again. I’ve always been so miserable at higher weights, and I know that’s the opposite of what I preach on my blog and in my columns (body positivity, etc.). I always see the beauty in others but never myself.

Honestly, I think it would be better if I just stayed on my migraine medication because if I start gaining weight that could trigger my eating disorder and a depressive episode and I’m not willing to go through that right now. It might seem like I’m being dramatic, but the last time I went through a bad depressive episode, I was constantly suicidal and ended up in two hospitals, away from my family. My kids were young then; they’re not now. The stakes are higher, and I have more responsibility. I’m not ready to fight my brain again, which told me repeatedly to kill myself.

I feel much less confident about my thinning hair, but I suppose I can learn to deal with that. It’s not the same as going through a depressive episode. I just hate that those are my choices. And maybe they’re not. I see my PCP on Tuesday, and I’ll bring all of this up. Maybe there are more options that I’m not seeing or know about.

But I’m seeing now it’s more than the hair on my head or the weight on the scale.

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The Fundraiser

by Heather Loeb

Last weekend was the NAMI Celebrity Jeopardy Fundraiser that we had been working on for about six months. I spent countless hours at night, on the weekend and of course during the day trying to ensure its success. Not just me, there were four of us working tirelessly on this thing — it was the organization’s first-ever fundraiser. And you know what? It was successful! There were a few hiccups, but for the most part, it was amazing. The Jeopardy game went so well, even with a slight delay with the microphones. Everyone was laughing so hard; my whole face hurt from cracking up.


It was fun. I’m ready to do it again. I actually miss not working on it, which is strange because I vented and complained to my husband (and therapist) a lot, but now it seems like there’s a gap in my life. Weird, right? It just took up so much of my time, and we got to do so many fun things. I love to be creative.

I guess a need a new project to distract me until it’s time to start planning for the next fundraiser again, which by the way, will be on April 27, 2024, lol. That’s the most planning we’ve done so far.

One of my favorite parts of the fundraiser was hearing the speakers. I loved listening to J.D. and Marty talk about how NAMI enhanced their life, like it has mine. When it was my turn to speak, I became very nervous, so much so that I left entire lines out of my speech even though it was on paper right in front of me. I talked about how when I left the psychiatric hospital, my family and friends were a great support system but that none of them had a mental health condition so I still felt a little alone. Enter NAMI, where each of the leadership team either has a mental illness or a family member does.

“They have aided in my recovery in ways I didn’t think possible, allowing me to be myself but encouraging me to accept change and growth. I thought I was a new person when I left the psychiatric hospital and l was! I’m a new person now and there have been a dozen different versions of me in between. I’m so happy now it almost feels unfair. Almost.

But it’s not just me. It’s awesome to see our team help others, whether it be through our support groups, programs, classes or just showing up.   

The coolest thing to me is that we do it all for free. We’re fueled by passion and heart. You can’t find that just anywhere. Helping others is all I ever wanted to do when I started my blog so others wouldn’t feel alone, and nobody is ever alone when NAMI GCC is involved.”

Sure, I had fun planning the event, but it was also important for me to share how I felt about this amazing organization. For me to give back to my beloved NAM Fam.

And give back to others.

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This past weekend my husband’s family had its reunion, which is held every five years. I don’t remember the last one, but I was there in 2012, and it was overwhelming to say the least. At that time I was newly engaged. There were more than 100 people there, and back then I had horrible social anxiety. So when David announced that this year’s reunion was in Corpus AND that we were hosting the Easter egg hunt/brunch on the last day, my stomach started to churn. Not that I don’t like his family — they have been so nice and kind to me, and always welcoming. But, I thought to my self, I’ve had more than 30 ECTs since then, I wasn’t sure if I could keep names or faces straight, and it’s so embarrassing when I get it wrong.


Turns out that didn’t matter because there were about 130 or 140 of us, and there were tons of people who didn’t know each other. Plus, we had name tags! And as far as my social anxiety, it’s not nearly as bad lately. I can speak in full sentences and answer questions without sweat running down my face and other places I won’t mention.

I had a blast.

But the most poignant moment for me was when I was sitting on a boat with one of my husband’s cousin (who reads my blogs and columns – yay!) and his wife, and he commented that the reunions are great for the adults, but the best memories of his childhood were from the reunion. That it didn’t matter what they did – although going to the ranch was a big memory for most of the cousins – they just liked being with each other.

My heart swelled and I couldn’t help but look around for my kids who had been running around the outside of the boat (we were inside where it wasn’t raining). I caught a flash of Eli trailing one of the bigger kids. I know he was having a good time because on the bus ride to the ranch he was sitting next to another boy and said, “It feels like we’re friends. What’s your name again?”

How amazing this family is to celebrate every five years. To have the fourth generation there as well as the seventh. To listen to stories from the fourth generation, and see the wedding dress of Sarah Weil, who married Charles Weil in 1874, at the CC Museum of Science and History!

Now that’s cool.

I’ve always been proud to tell others that my husband is a fifth-generation Corpus Christi-an and that my kids are sixth. And now that I know more about the family, I see their roots are steeped in Corpus Christi (and surrounding area) history. Not a lot of people can say that.

Except their cousins.

I hope the reunions continue; I know it’s a lot of work, but what a special thing to share with your kids, parents, etc.

I’m so grateful I got to be there last weekend.

I’m even more grateful I married into this beautiful, devoted family.

See you in five years.

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by Heather Loeb


I was meeting a friend for coffee to go over some stuff last week, a friend who I didn’t know that well. Although earlier that week I talked more about my story during a volunteer orientation at the NAMI office. I knew bits and pieces of hers and I heard more of her story that night, too. It made me want to know her more, and I was glad that we were working on fundraiser ideas together, and even happier that we had the some vision.

We started talking about getting to know each other better, and she mentioned that she was inspired by my story because she had a family member who had a mental health condition and she had hope that said family member would be highly functioning and happy one day because she saw it in me. I’m not trying to toot my horn here, I have a point.

Then she said I was fearless. I kind of scoffed at that, it’s not a word I’m used to hearing. Matter of fact, if I listed 100 adjectives about myself, fearless wouldn’t make an appearance once.

But I really appreciated her saying it.

We finished our work, and went about our days, but I couldn’t get our conversation out of my head. I started thinking my new, dear friend was right. I am fearless. Sometimes.

When I first started this blog and admitted I had depression and anxiety — that took guts. I felt like no one else was talking about it. At that time, I didn’t know about NAMI GCC. When I started writing Letters to the Editor about my conditions and eventually turn it into a column, that was fearless. It’s hard to put all your business in a newspaper. And I felt I was still doing it all my own. Then State Rep. Todd Hunter asked me to speak at his (virtual) Suicide Prevention Symposium, and it felt like I was telling my darkest secrets, which I guess I was.

It was after that night NAMI GCC found me, and I no longer alone. Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing support group after I left the psychiatric hospital, but NAMI GCC just got me — they knew what it was like to have depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, etc. It was a different kind of support, not better, just different.

In some ways, I am fearless. I mean, I did write a column about not being able to brush my teeth in the newspaper this past Monday. A lot of people won’t understand it, but I know my people will feel relieved someone is speaking their language. We gotta stick together.

And that’s the whole reason why I do it. Because when I first started writing my blog, I felt so alone. Nobody was talking about mental health, as far as I knew. Feeling alone just intensified my depression, and I don’t want anyone to feel like I felt then.

We have to bring it all to the light, all together.

But all of us with a diagnosis are fearless; that’s just what it takes to fight.

I’m thankful to my new friend for reminding me of who I was..or rather, who I still am. we

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Valentine’s Day 2023

by Heather Loeb

Yesterday one of my columns ran about loving yourself and being your own Valentine. Sometimes I tend to give good advice but not always follow it myself, but this time I really mean it — I love and appreciate myself. Do I treat myself badly at times? Sure. I’m very bad at self-talk right now, but I catch it and tell myself something nice. But I’ve learned to appreciate myself, and my body, for who I am, who I was and who I hope to be.


Here’s a little snippet from the column, “Valentine’s Day has never been my favorite holiday. Until my marriage (10 years ago), I wasn’t a fan — of love, any possible paramours and especially of myself. 

What a shame. I feel like I’ve missed out on something huge. My chest tightens, and regret fuels tears. I didn’t care for myself back then. I believed what poisonous lies others were saying about me and didn’t notice how they replaced the words of my inner monologue with theirs. My body dysmorphia formed and, shortly after, my eating disorder. It’s more complicated than that, but I didn’t see a connection. ” 

It’s so true. I believed others who called me fat. From that I understood I was worthless, ugly and stupid because that’s what society tells you, right? I was first called fat in the 5th grade then on and off until my senior year in high school. I was held captive by the scale and even now I still get caught in its trap.

But. A powerful but. Now I know I’m not fat. I wasn’t fat then (fat isn’t something you are, it’s something you have). I wasn’t ugly, stupid, lazy or anything close. I was me, listening to the wrong people, not celebrating myself as I should have. And I really should have because I am amazing. I took me about 38 years and a six-week hospital stay to figure it out, but that’s okay, because I did. Now I’m living the best years of my life.

And now, during this month of self-love, I appreciate myself, all of me. How far I’ve come, the accomplishments I never thought possible and the lofty goals I’ve set because of that.

Just a few years ago I couldn’t get out of bed or shower because of my major depression and anxiety. I was a bare minimum mom and wife. I counted down until I could go back to sleep, and when I was awake, I was in so much misery. Thank God I’m not in that place anymore.

Gratitude is a huge part of my journey, even when it comes to loving and accepting myself.

I want to thank y’all, too. For reading my columns, blogs, dropping me a note, showing up to NAMI events or just sending good vibes my way. I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. You are a big, wonderful part of my recovery, and I love that.

And I love me.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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So if y’all have been reading, you know I’m going through a tough time, but things have been better the past week and I don’t know why. I was bingeing a lot last week, and I do mean a lot, but I’ve seemed to kick the habit for the time being.

It was weird. I haven’t binged like that in a loooong time. I was eating sugar powdered donuts, candy, more candy, popcorn, beef jerky, more candy, donuts and more. I gained about 7 pounds, but now I’ve got it back down to 4. Nothing really made me happy except the Smart Food popcorn. I don’t know why. I’m still have a 100-calorie bag a day because they are freaking delicious.


But after a few days I thought to myself, “okay girl, you’ve had your fun, now it’s time to do the work.” That’s the first time I’ve said/done that. Weird. Growth. So I started wearing real clothes again – no more leggings and big shirts or sweatshirts. The numbers on the scale don’t mean anything unless you get back into your real clothes and feel the gain.

So I put on some jeans and a shirt. They are tighter, not completely uncomfortable, but I can’t tell the difference in where I was before. This is a good coping skill for me, because I don’t like to be uncomfortably, emotionally or physically. I still look fly though. It’s just a reminder that there are consequences when I eat unhealthy foods and don’t take care of myself. I don’t don’t like knowing I did that or the guilt that follows.

Bingeing isn’t the big problem, though. It’s a symptom. Of depression, of stress. And while I feel good now, I wasn’t feeling good when I started doing it so it makes me feel like it was due to losing my friend or just the general stress in my life. Probably losing my friend. But there’s nothing I can do about it right now. Except accept it and go about my business, and that’s my plan.

Speaking of business, things are good. I have a lot to focus on right now, and it has been so fun. So much to look forward to. I’m working on staying in the present and practice gratitude, as well.

I’m doing all that I can. I know I just said that.

Sometimes if you repeat something enough times, it becomes the truth.

Things are good. I’m great. Life is good. I’m so grateful.

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Gains and Losses

by Heather Loeb

I’ve been trying to keep busy so I don’t stop and realize just how depressed I am over losing my best friend. I haven’t contacted her in over a week. I’ve let her know that I’m here, and that’s all I can really do. So I’ve tried to just not think about it but then it manifests in other ways: hello, binge eating disorder. It’s not that I’ve binged on a meal here and there, I overeat or binge EVERY meal, and when I got on the scale tonight (don’t ever get on the scale at night), I weighed 10 pounds more than usual. Ten pounds!


I’ve worked really hard to get to a healthy weight, and now it’s slipping away because I can’t get my shit together. I’ve talked to my therapist and she has given me healthy coping skill to do, but I always fall back on the unhealthy ones.

I realize it’s time to change.

All the snacks in the world won’t bring my friend back.

All the snacks in the world won’t bring my friend back.

Tears threaten to fall as I write that twice.

I know what to do: I need to throw out all the junk food. I need to be mindful when I eat. I need to listen to my body and its hunger cues. I don’t need to freak out over 10 pounds. I might be a little more uncomfortable, but it’s temporary. This is all temporary.

Until it’s not.

Sitting with my feelings, being in the moment and dealing with the pain is so hard. I’ve never been one to actually do it, but the only way out is through, right? It has been four weeks, and I’m still here. Just a bit heavier, in so many ways.

I’m resilient, thanks to my mental health conditions and journey, so I know I’ll make it through. It just sucks now. I want my security blankets: bingeing, shopping, using too much anxiety meds, sleeping too much. But I know that if they haven’t worked in the past, AND THEY HAVEN’T, they’re not going to work now.

Binge eating does not soothe me the way I want. It actually stresses me out and only soothes me for a few seconds. The aftermath is painful, and I feel very guilty once I see the bottom of the popcorn bag or candy wrapper.

I’m throwing away my snacks today. It’s the beginning of a new week. Good things are happening at work, I’m very excited. I have a lot to look forward to and a lot to let go of. That can be very freeing.

I’m ready.

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House of Pain

by Heather Loeb

On my Mental Illness Resume you’d find a couple of hospitalizations, one involuntary, one six-weeks long; many episodes of suicide ideation (with one plan to die); substance use disorder (moderate); the saddest, saltiest tears ever cried; and heart-wrenching pain that make me think my heart will break into a million pieces. Maybe it did.


I’ve been mentally ill for a long time. But I’ve been in recovery for four years, meaning that whenever I flail, I fall back onto my wellness plan which details healthy ways I can take care of myself to get to a better place. I can still feel pain, but it’s now second nature to practice self-care and be resilient.

My heart is still able to hurt. But then my brain will tell me, “Heather, it won’t hurt like this long. In an hour it’ll be better. Tomorrow it won’t be so bad.” And I believe it, because when I was so depressed in the psychiatric hospital, and I was in so much pain, it did get better. I did get stronger. It wasn’t so bad.

This is my lived experience: I know the pain won’t last forever. This is how it is because of all my hard work toward recovery.

But what about pain you don’t expect? One day my best friend, with no warning, stopped talking to me. There was no fight. She just stopped texting/calling me. For the past 12 years, we have texted 50 times a day, minimum. I asked if she was ok. Was she mad? Is anything wrong? I asked our mutual friend if she had heard from her? Yes, she’s fine.

Okay, so why not me?

My heart started to break. I cried, scaring myself with my guttural wails. Then after a day or two, my brain said, “You’ll be fine. It’ll get better, easier, tomorrow.”

My tears did dry. But I obsessed over the reasons why she wouldn’t respond. I kept sending texts hoping she was okay.

After a week and a half, I texted her that I was miserable without her, and I was so sorry if it was something I had done. That I needed her, and I hope she would text me back.


Each day it does get easier. I no longer save memes on my phone to send her. I don’t obsessively check the phone, waiting to hear her text tone. Intellectually, I know that I’ve been ghosted, and there’s nothing I can do to change it.   

Thank God I’ve been through what I have, so I’m strong enough to get through this. It might not seem like much to get through, but it is. She’s been a sister to me.

I could be balled up in the corner sobbing, unable to get anything done. But lived experience — I’ve been in more pain before. Or at least the same amount.

It’ll be better tomorrow. And the next day. And hour after that.

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