the smell of my desperation has become a stench


So, hey. Yeah. How are you guys doing?

There is a conference going on in Salt Lake City this week and I’m hosting a few people at my house, so when I think of words like chaos and disorder I wonder why there aren’t more passionate words to describe what it’s like up in here.


I’m being pulled in several directions right now and don’t feel like I have the time to write about what is going on in my life with the respect that it demands. But here in this thirty-minute block of time that I have I want to share a few things with you.

I am no longer suffering thoughts of suicide. I shared that detail with you to underscore the amount of desperation that lead to this transformation in my life. Because this wasn’t just some silly thought I had. Like, I know! Let’s disrupt all of our lives! It’ll be a fun crazy party! Especially the part where hundreds of thousands of people get to weigh in on how insane I am, and whoa! Did they ever see this coming!

It is very strange to see my face on the local news as an anchor talks about my marital problems. And to read about it in the local paper. And to see news organizations in other countries speculating about what went wrong. Strange. That’s it. I’m not angry about it because I know I’m a public figure or persona or whatever it is you want to call me. I don’t expect anyone to afford me privacy at this time. Would it be nice? Yes, of course, but I understand human nature. I’ve been writing openly about my life for almost eleven years, so people are going to talk about this. And awful things will be written. That’s just reality. And I accept it.

But you guys have reinforced that all of that doesn’t really matter. I’m so incredibly touched by your words of encouragement and sympathy. Yes, I am a stranger. I don’t know you, but that’s the amazing thing about this medium. We reach out there into the void, find each other’s hands and know we are not alone.

So, yeah. I found myself in very dark place. But those who know me, and those who really understand what I stand for know that I don’t like to be in those dark places. I actively try to claw my way out of them, and today, here, right now, I am in the light. In fact, I’ve been in the light for some time now. I have hope. Change had to happen, so I made it happen.

Jon sees the girls every day. He helps Leta practice piano, spends time with Marlo making shapes out of clay, and then after we have dinner together he helps me put them to bed. There are no salacious details to uncover. There is no fighting or scheming or attempts to seize power. We’re two very level-headed adults making our way through this maze.

Is there a lot of crying? Hell, yes. But I can talk about that later.

Thank you again for your comments, your email, your tweets, and your thoughts. I hope you’ll hold my hand a little longer.

  • kayakgrrl

    2012/01/20 at 11:33 am

    Oh, wow. I’m glad that… you are managing. And that the girls are as loved as they are. Take care…

  • Janice

    2012/01/20 at 11:34 am

    Sweetie, the hand is there as long as you need it….

    Your welcome

  • Amy J.

    2012/01/20 at 11:35 am

    I am VERY relieved to see those words from you. I’ve worried myself sick the past week over your post.

    In todays world Heather…where journalists blog the day before they kill themselves…no words about such things can go unnoticed…or not taken VERY seriously.

    I wish you well and pray for you both.

    And, of course, those sweet girls.

    P.S. Isn’t Leta’s birthday coming up..I always remember because it’s two days for my oldest’s…who is (freak the fuck out) turning 10!!!!!!!!!! Double digits. Whoa.

  • Daddy Scratches

    2012/01/20 at 11:36 am

    If I had something better to offer than “Hang in there,” I’d offer it. But that’s all I’ve got. So hang in there.

  • Lo The Phoenix

    2012/01/20 at 11:37 am

    You’ve been on our minds. Much love and strength and peace to you and your family.

  • Angeerah

    2012/01/20 at 11:39 am

    Keep on keeping on. I am also one of those who cannot stand to be in that dark place and I understand that struggle of crawling out. Again, sending good vibes, healing, peace, and nice glass of wine your way (although I’ll have a nice microbrew if that’s okay with you.)

  • NCMelissaB

    2012/01/20 at 11:40 am

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. You have helped make it possible for me to begin to confront the paralyzing anxiety that has gripped me for my whole adult life. I hope you continue to feel supported in every way. (Also, that Air Supply song has been stuck in my head for two days but I’m okay with that.) I hope your weekend goes well!

  • megrit411

    2012/01/20 at 11:42 am

    For every mean-spirited gossip hound out there there are five members in your community who genuinely care about you even though we’ve never met you. Let the haters hate, try to ignore them and know you’re in our positive thoughts!

  • jbruntlett

    2012/01/20 at 11:44 am

    Giving that hand of yours a big squeeze. And a hug for the fighting and clawing toward the light.

  • suebob

    2012/01/20 at 11:45 am

    I want to give you some relationship advice.

    Hahaha, no I don’t. It just made me laugh to say it, considering all my success at creating and sustaining meaningful partnerships.

  • PrettyGirlMyers

    2012/01/20 at 11:46 am

    Even though you’re a stranger (as am I, to you), I’ve thought of you often over the past few days. Please know that I’m sending you love and light from the east coast.

  • eleanorstrousers

    2012/01/20 at 11:47 am

    I can’t even imagine that level of attention to a personal family issue. All I’ve got is, that sucks. It just sucks, plain and simple. But, I think you’ve got brass ovaries for owning it and soldiering through. Carry on, gutsy.

  • Bibes

    2012/01/20 at 11:48 am

    There are hands here to hold in MN.

    p.s. There’s hope…thank God. I’m glad you’ve found it. Keep a hold of it.

  • Issa

    2012/01/20 at 11:48 am

    People will talk. That’s what they do. No matter who you are Heather, people still love to talk. Your life just you know ends up in the NY times. Ahem.

    Sometimes I think they want to discuss other peoples separations/divorces to death just to try and figure out what we did wrong. So they can save themselves from that. If only it were that easy. Hell if I could pinpoint where mine went wrong and explain it to people as a warning? Well I’d be rich. I’m not. Heh.

    I have been where you are though and I hope you and Jon find your way. If you can’t, well I hope you guys can keep things as good for the kids as possible. I believe both of you will do that.

    Just know, a random stranger is thinking good thoughts your way.

  • hsquared

    2012/01/20 at 11:50 am

    “Don’t let the bastards get you down…”
    Thank you once again for sharing your path with us. You have helped me feel not so alone in my struggle with depression and anxiety and I’m forever grateful to you for that.
    Sending you all light and love during your struggle. I hope things turn out best for all of you. Much love!

  • TessAnn

    2012/01/20 at 11:51 am

    I imagine that it *would* be strange to have such personal details on the news. But, I personally, want to say ‘Thank You’ for your openness and honesty. Not because we are in any way entitled to you or your life and feelings…but because it brings voice to the difficulty of navigating life with depression. And even more importantly, that it can be navigated successfully, even if it sucks in a big way sometimes. What you’re going through is difficult and painful and sucky. And you’re brave enough to share it.

    You’re not a stranger. I’ve read you for years. Your experiences have touched me and made me think. I’ve rooted for you, disagreed with you, cheered for you and have always been inspired by your strength. Thank you for all of that.

    I wish that I could come cook for you and your family. I’m like the old Grandmother amongst my friends. Something wrong? Had a bad day? Here…a good meal will make everything better. Heh.

    I ramble. All that to say…Thank you and my thoughts are with you. I’m cheering you on from out here in the frozen MW. Be well and take care of yourself.

  • francabollo

    2012/01/20 at 11:52 am

    This is what “normal” life looks like … all the good, the bad and the ugly rolled up into one very complex, imperfect ball. Thank you for your honesty. I hate that you’re living through this right now but your words help so many of your readers … I hope knowing this offers some solace.

    Wishing you grace.

  • Becky Cochrane

    2012/01/20 at 11:52 am

    I wish everything good for you, Jon, your daughters, and your dogs.

  • Amanda Patchin

    2012/01/20 at 11:53 am

    Love and strength to you all.

  • MelissaJ

    2012/01/20 at 11:55 am

    you have lots of hands holding you.

    at no time did i doubt your capability in caring/doing the right thing for those sweet little girls; anyone that doubted don’t know you, don’t care to know you, want to see the bad in you.

    i think you and Jon work so well together…you made the most beautiful children ever…and most of all, in all years of writing, pictures, chaos…truly love shone through. granted, we can’t know your entire lives and what is going on…but we can see/read/feel love.

    my fervent prayer this is really a trial separation that expires and is not renewed…that you realize how very good you are together as a family…and the world is a better place because the Armstrongs have survived.

    You both have lived/struggled through so much…oh…oh…oh…you know what is best for the four (or six) of you…but fight for your family…ALL of your family.

  • MsMegan

    2012/01/20 at 11:57 am

    How am I? I little down today, but it will pass. You understand, I know.

    I don’t feel like you’re a stranger at all; I’ve been reading you since just before Leta was born. Of course, I am a complete stranger to you. But my hand is open, as are my heart and ears if you ever feel alone or doubt that anyone really cares.

    I wish you and yours much love, and I hope you both find yourselves in a better place at the other end of this, no matter what that entails.

  • susie

    2012/01/20 at 11:57 am

    Wishing you and Jon and your girls peace and happiness. Wherever your separation leads, I’m sure it will be where you all need to be. And congratulations for being grownups for your children. You should be very proud of yourselves for that.

  • pehuff

    2012/01/20 at 11:59 am

    I teared up reading this and wish I could hold your hand. **Reaching through my screen right now.**

    Keep fighting the good fight out of the darkness. I wish more people were as level-headed to face their problems head-on and admit when they need help. So many people see “therapy” as a stigma and that needs to change.

  • Gina47

    2012/01/20 at 12:00 pm

    I didn’t comment on your first post. It touched me so closely and I simply didn’t know what to say. As I read, I felt this feeling of dread and I kept thinking, hoping, praying, this would end with some light anecdote. And instead it ended exactly where it was headed. And I cried.

    I read daily and have watched your struggle with mental illness as it mirrors my own. I’ve prayed and hoped each time things looked up, and was saddened each time your illness seemed to get the upper hand. But I never thought for a second that it would get to this: with Jon in one house, and you in another.

    This internet world where we feel we know each other based on words on a page brings us together in a way that allows us to draw comfort from one another and I hope for your sake, and for Jon’s, that you are able to actually draw that comfort.

    But from the bottom of my heart, I beg of you, do not forget how much you love Jon. Remember every detail of him, and remind him if you can, to remember how much he loves you. Do not let him forget! The longer it goes, the easier it is to let that passion slip away.

    I did it, I fought, I won. Sort of. I’m still ill, but we’re getting through. And I would not let him forget. It helped.

    I wish you and your family well.

  • cyndy

    2012/01/20 at 12:04 pm

    The hand is always here for you. Hang in there and I hope for the very best for you and Jon and your family.

  • MM3

    2012/01/20 at 12:06 pm

    Blogging does create an inexplicable sense of community. In all senses of the word; the ones that care and are concerned and a sprinkling of weirdos. Just like all communities. I told my husband about your post in the context of something like, “you know, my blogger friend. Because we both have blogs (mine is tiny for my family), naturally, we are in the same circle of friends”. Only half joking.

    At the end of the day you are one human being doing the best you can with what you have. And many of us can relate to those human terms. In a heartfelt, non-creepy way.

    One foot in front of the other.

  • loisopal

    2012/01/20 at 12:07 pm

    You’ve shared so much through so many periods in your life, thank you for sharing this part too. thank you for struggling through all this just like the rest of us do in our relationships, but being willing to talk about it. I feel like reading through the struggles of you and others who have commented here in the past week have helped me a lot, too. And I hope that this light you’re feeling means that you’ll stay with us through this, continue to write about Marlo and Tyrant and vaginas and dog vomit. You’re important to us, so keep writing, and keep feeling that light, sister. You got this.

  • rebeccadutton

    2012/01/20 at 12:08 pm

    You are doing great! Keep going, and thank you for sharing yourself. You are so brave.

  • kristanhoffman

    2012/01/20 at 12:09 pm

    If we’re holding hands, it’s only because you offered yours 11 years ago and never let go. No need to thank us.

  • ltlepaw

    2012/01/20 at 12:12 pm

    Oh for Christ sake, can’t they find something better to talk about!

    I very rarely comment, and have only sometimes posted in the community, but I’d like to offer you this.

    I grew up w/ a father and a step-mother telling me I would be a worthless peice of shit and a whore just like my mother and my sister. From the age of 13 until 18 I heard it daily. No, I wasn’t sexually abused, but mental abuse is just as hard. I have the background that serial killers and career criminals come from, and although it took years, I’m proud to say that I have hope. I have hope that the pain of people’s past (or even their present) can be driven into the most beautiful future.

    I didn’t then, and contemplated suicide more times than I can care to relate. But I now have a son who’s giggle lights up my world, and I know I was able to get through that past to make his world more beautiful.

    You’ll get through this. It may not seem like it now, and you may not even know why. Someday you’ll get the understanding that only reflections can give.

    I wish you all well, and the strength to fight.

  • cassidy.stockton

    2012/01/20 at 12:12 pm

    You have been there sharing your experiences and hurts with us to help us know we’re not alone. I wish I could reach out and hug you right now. You’re not alone. Keep your chin up and don’t let the bastards get you down (those newscasters and whatnot).

  • Lovebuzz38

    2012/01/20 at 12:13 pm

    Hang in there Heather. You’ll be okay.

  • hybridshadow

    2012/01/20 at 12:13 pm

    Heather, I am so happy to read this post. When I read your last one I was concerned. I knew that you wouldn’t go down without a fight in which you knocked out some teeth, pulled out hair, fattened a lip and blackened an eye, but I still didn’t know how powerful the sadness was.

    I’m glad that you and Jon are able to give your girls special time together. I wish there didn’t have to be tears and I wish that none of this had to happen, but I understand that everything doesn’t go as we wish it would. I hope with each day the light gets brighter and brighter and you find more and more hands to hold. I’ve got two here in Indiana for you.

    Keep your head up, Heather. We like to see your pretty face.

  • Jessica W.

    2012/01/20 at 12:13 pm

    Jeebus… I’ve been reading you every day for so long (since Leta was about 4 months old) that I tend to forget that you’re this “big name”… I still see you as my little secret. It didn’t even occur to me that the media, of all things, would pick up on this. That is just terrible. Please don’t give them, or the haters, another thought. You’ve got enough to worry about without their bullshit.

    Both your posts and Jon’s posts on this have made me tear up; it breaks my heart that you guys are going through this, and I can only hope that everything works out for the best. You’ve got hands to hold here in Canada, too.

  • cablearms

    2012/01/20 at 12:22 pm

    you will not remember it, but you helped me immensely when i was having a rough time with my miscarriage in 2010. i want to be of comfort to you as you were to me. i am so, so sorry for what you are going through.

    hold on, we’re right here for you. xoxo

  • Lucky13

    2012/01/20 at 12:23 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that you have hands to hold in Ohio too for as long as you need. You’re amazingly courageous, beautiful, and you kick ass!

  • ChrisB

    2012/01/20 at 12:28 pm

    No words! Just hugs of support!

  • bubbytoots

    2012/01/20 at 12:28 pm

    When I read your post the other day and Jon’s my heart just ached. I know I don’t know you guys but feel like I do. I hope and pray that you can work through this tough time. It seems like you both are very committed to each other and your family. No judging here, do what makes everyone happy. If you both want your marriage to work I am sure that you will be able to find a way. Love you, Jon, Leta and Marlo.

  • Barnmaven

    2012/01/20 at 12:29 pm

    People are always going to talk, that’s what they do. And its very typical for people to assume that just because you are successful that you have no problems to speak of. Sure, money makes a lot of things easier – but it doesn’t make relationships magically better or illness magically cured or life magically easier to cope with. Anyone who has been through a separation, divorce, or other big loss can completely empathize with where you are at right now. If you’re half as OK as you sound in your post, you are frankly better than I was at that point in my separation. 😀

    Everything changes – life, people, things. You are changing too. You will make it through this change, and you will have a lot of support while you go through it. Tune out the negative voices and listen to your own heart and to the people who care most about you. You will find all the answers you need.

  • KatieMama

    2012/01/20 at 12:29 pm

    So relieved to hear you found the light, I was very worried after your last post. Thank you for taking the time to let us know how you are doing. Sending positive thoughts your way…

  • KKW

    2012/01/20 at 12:30 pm

    Of course we will hold your hand. After all, if we all held each others hands when we needed it, we would never be able to hold a weapon, or anything else that could hurt the other. Words could be used, sure, but I think if you are holding someone’s hand then hurtful words are a lot harder to throw out there. All the best. Truly.

  • Pandora Has A Box

    2012/01/20 at 12:33 pm

    I have two hands and a big heart. Much love to you.

  • tokenblogger

    2012/01/20 at 12:33 pm

    …not letting go until you say so.

  • Pixie

    2012/01/20 at 12:38 pm

    Stay strong Heather…we’re here for you!

  • DebbieQ

    2012/01/20 at 12:39 pm

    We would all give you a hand any time you need it. And Max the Wonder Dog says he has a paw already if you should ever require it.

  • suzik

    2012/01/20 at 12:40 pm

    I applaud your strength to post what you did and I am glad that you have entered the light. I hope you find what you are looking for in life! Good luck with your future, no matter what it holds.

  • erinc

    2012/01/20 at 12:40 pm

    So now your marital problems are news? WTF???

    !!!!! IDIOTS !!!!!

    Just ignore the bastards and keep on your path, which ever way it shall go. Just remember – there are more of us than there are of them, and we’ve got your back girlie girl:)

    xo, e

  • amylsy

    2012/01/20 at 12:41 pm

    Chin up and stay in the light.
    Couldn’t comment over the last few days but read every comment and update here and at blurbomat, silently praying for you guys and holding you in thoughts and love.
    “…….I will be waiting tables” line kept popping up from one of your entries, recalling one of your conversations with Jon some time ago. I was envious of the depth of your relationship together and the dependency of you on each other. It conjured an image of two pillars leaning on each other forming a roof of a house.
    I wish for strength for the both of you. Holding you in my heart across the miles in Austria.

  • dictatorcari

    2012/01/20 at 12:42 pm

    Just want to add my voice to the “support” side. I hope everything works itself out soon, and I hope you feel better, like, yesterday.

    I also want to tell you that I really appreciate how open you’ve been about your struggles in this blog–you’ve been a role model for me for the past few years. I struggle with depression issues, too, and reading your blog has been a huge source of comfort and inspiration to me. So thank you, Heather, for being so brave and honest, even when things are awful. Hopefully you can take comfort in the fact that by sharing it, you’re helping to make life a little easier for someone else.

  • jennyfromtheshwa

    2012/01/20 at 12:42 pm

    I too forget that you are well known because when I read your blog I feel like you are an close, personal friend. Your illness has mirrored my own and finding your blog one fateful day 5 years ago, saved my life. You did reach out and hold my hand through a very, very difficult time. Now it is my turn.
    I wish you could receive all the love I have been sending your way. It breaks my heart to think that you and Jon are suffering. So take your time to get well and figure things out. The hard part is over. You’ve got this Heather. xx

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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