April 13, 2010

Resurgam

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:44 pm by eddejae

“Sometimes it feels good to cry.”

This is what I said to myself last night after a long crying/talking (uh…cralking?) session with my mom. She helped me to identify what has been bringing me down for the last week or so, and suggested that I make more of a conscious effort to talk out all my painful emotions from now on instead of letting them fester. Problem is, I don’t even realize I’m doing it. My therapist pointed this out last week as well. I was doing fine until a binge episode on Thursday that seemed to come out of nowhere. That was the day where I felt I was fighting something all day and losing. She said “I don’t believe in coincidences. SOMETHING happened to trigger that episode. Emotions don’t come out of thin air.” So together we went through everything that had happened the previous few days. I told her what had transpired with my so-called “friend” who decided to” disown” me  for what he perceived as my “abandonment” of our “relationship.” (Sorry, I really can’t talk about this situation without abusing quotation marks. Kind of makes you think it wasn’t real, huh? Huh.)

Anyways, I told her about our whole conversation and how I coped with it. “It didn’t really bother me that much…” She stopped me mid-sentence and gave me one of those “Uh huh, sure” looks and I couldn’t help smirking. Yes, it did bother me. A lot. It hurt. A lot. It made me angry. Very angry. And all the feelings that go with that… abandonment, guilt, loneliness, shame, pain. But, trying to handle things like I believed an “emotionally mature adult” would, I mistakenly shoved it all inside myself without processing. Following my usual pattern, I bottled it up inside until it exploded. This time, the explosion materialized in the form of depression and out of control behavior two days after the event.

I’ve noticed this delayed reaction without my therapist having to point it out to me – most of the time when I experience something painful, I automatically separate myself from my emotions in that moment. It’s like I step outside of myself and witness the experience from a distance as if I were watching a movie. I  shut down emotionally, which makes me feel better in a way.”Wow, I don’t feel anything. I actually feel kind of good!” But the emotional wound has been inflicted whether I admit it to myself or not, and it festers until after one or two days a full-blown infection erupts.

Now that I understand this aspect of my functioning, everything is starting to make sense. I’ve felt myself slipping back into general ennui without fully realizing why. Somehow in the midst of my blubbering and verbal self-flagellation, my mother was able to draw out the silent but deadly triggers that had been building and building, culminating last night’s crisis. I just love it how those little buggers lay low for a few days, lurking beneath the surface, giving subtle cues of their cursed existence until they decide to wage war on my very sense of self and reality. Love it, love it, love it. (Can you sense the sarcasm?)

Anyways, I’m rambling. What was I saying? (Sorry, my attention span is not what it used to be. I blame the meds… *ahem* again.) Oh yes! Ok. So the things that have been getting me down. It’s important I identify them and get them out so I can finally put them to rest.

1. Getting a late-night text from someone I do not want to hear from and has quite the nerve to think they can just contact me whenever they want.

2. Catching a friend’s husband in something that if she knew about, would deeply hurt her OR that she does know about and has simply accepted (which I can’t imagine doing, because if I had a husband and he did something like that I would want to die). I am fiercely protective of my friends, and when someone hurts them, I hurt too. Apparently it’s an aspect of Borderline – I take on others’ emotions. I felt the same pain and shock and subsequent depression just like I would if it had been me in that situation. It was horrible.

3. My dad has been really stressed lately and has been taking it out on my mom. Seeing my mom disrespected and hurt pierces me like a knife. When I was little and my parents would get into arguments and my mom would start crying,  I would hide under the big wooden desk in the office and cover my ears until it was over. Later in life, I would run away. Move out on my own. “Get back” at my dad somehow. Now I just go to my room and write and listen to music really loud. I feel helpless when my mom cries. I hate it. I feel full of rage and compassion at the same time. I’m all grown up now, but at times like that I feel like a little girl again. It’s terribly confusing.

4. My brother has been in a particularly bad mood lately (the typical teenage “I hate my parents” thing). I didn’t realize how much I depended emotionally on him, and with him being angry and distant, I’ve felt a little lost. I mean, he’s one of my best friends and I can always count on him to make me laugh, hang out with me, rock out to music in the car with me, watch weird movies with me, anything. He loves to talk and I love to listen, so we get along incredibly well. So even though I tried not to take his attitude personally, I still felt hurt and abandoned in a way.

5. Ok, this is going to sound extremely childish, but I have to be honest. Lately my mom has been very preoccupied with her online schooling and job hunting. She is absorbed in homework and job applications from early in the morning until late at night. And… even though I’m trying so hard not to act on it or express it in any way… I feel neglected. It’s ridiculous. But my automatic reaction is to feel irritated and to fight for her attention. Seriously, you’d think I was three years old!

So, I think that’s it. Logically, I know they’re little things, but emotionally… they’re huge. I feel everything so deeply, for so long, and I cope with it in such strange ways. I’ve been able to overcome some of the more seriously unhealthy ways of coping, but I still have a lot to work on with my therapist.

Which brings me to another topic: my need for re-commitment to recovery and progress. I have felt my dedication slipping, have seen myself giving into the negative voices, especially the one that says “You’re not worthy.” That voice has been getting louder lately, trying to convince me that I don’t deserve to get better….

“You don’t deserve to be healthy.”

“You’re not worthy of the future and what you hope it will bring.”

“You’re not worthy or deserving of happiness.”

“You don’t deserve to be loved.”

I can’t let them take over. They’re making me forget my goals and everything I’m working for. Things I want so badly, but that somewhere deep inside, I’m starting to give up on. I’m starting to give up on myself again…

BUT I CAN’T. I CAN’T GIVE UP.

This is MY LIFE.

I KNOW WHAT I WANT.

I need to believe I am worthy of happiness. I want to believe it so bad – not just logically, but emotionally. I want the knowledge of my worth to fill me completely.

I will work as hard as I can to get to that point. That is the only way I will have the life I dream of.

So it’s back to my priorities and the of shaping my activities, my short-term goals, my very thoughts to bring me closer to what is most important to me.

And what is that? What are the things I dream of that I cannot give up hope on? That keep me going? That give me a reason to be committed to health, recovery, growth, progress? Those things that give me the courage to go out of my comfort zone, the faith to move mountains, the strength to persevere through it all?

Here they are, once again:

I want to be joyfully married to someone who loves me completely and unconditionally.

I want to give birth to a  beautiful little girl and be the best mother in the world.

I want to get a music degree… just because I can!

I want to be a professional pianist.

I want to write and perform my own music.

I want to teach piano lessons to children.

I want to be a published writer.

I want to have a cute little house with a flower garden.

I want to start a foundation for the promotion of mental health awareness, particularly women’s mental health and personal empowerment.

I want to love and be loved.

I want to express my unique personality in everything I do.

I want to have the courage to always be myself.

I want to be happy.

When I wake in the morning, it will be a rebirth. A new beginning. A re-dedication to everything above.

RESURGAM

… “I shall rise again.”

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March 23, 2010

Head Above Water

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:29 pm by eddejae

I broke down last night.

I didn’t even see it coming.

I was able to pull myself together enough to go to sleep. Today has been difficult. I am struggling with feeling disappointed with myself for “giving in” to my negative emotions instead of using coping skills to keep my head afloat. At this point I am fighting to keep my head above the water, fighting to keep from drowning in a sea of self-doubt and despair.

How did I get here? Everything was going along splendidly. I was finally starting to feel empowered. I felt like I was making so much progress in just a short time period. I was even feeling that somehow this couldn’t be real… How could I have come so far so quickly? I have actually been rather proud of myself for how I’ve been doing. However, despite my good spirits and increasing resolve, that little doubting voice in the back of my mind kept saying “Keep alert, this is just the calm before the storm…”

Sure enough, before I was able to perceive the warning signs, the storm broke loose.

I have been spending most of the day today prostrate in front of the television, seemingly engrossed but really just spacing out as I’ve tried to figure out what happened.

I think I’ve pinpointed it.

I became overconfident. I started to take on too much, too fast. Because I was feeling so good for a couple weeks there, I thought I could start going on Facebook more often, start having more online conversations, start going to larger social events again. I figured I would be fine, that I would be able to back off once I started to feel overwhelmed. The problem was that I lost touch with my own internal warning signs telling me that I was becoming too stressed. Looking back, I can see the increased anxiety manifesting itself through nightmares, rapid heart beat, and more urges to binge and self-harm. Yesterday I started to feel a cold, creeping emptiness come upon me that I hadn’t felt in weeks, that seemingly came out of “nowhere.” Well, that’s never true. Emotions don’t originate in a vacuum… I just wasn’t able to recognize what was happening inside me as I opened myself up to more and more outside pressure, which is not conducive to healing at this point.

It also doesn’t help that I haven’t seen a therapist in three weeks. I’ve been putting off calling my new therapist because of fear of the unknown and my phobia of making phone calls. I bit the bullet today and called both my insurance company and my new therapist to set up an appointment for Thursday. Hopefully seeing him will help get me back on a good path.

I am upset with myself because I fell back into that familiar pattern I’ve gone through for the last four years. I start to see improvement, I start feeling better about myself, and then I start to get lax, get “comfortable,” and think I can take on the world again… Then I crash.

Well, as much as I’d like to think I’m endowed with supernatural abilities including spontaneous regeneration…

I am no Superwoman.

I still have a long ways to go in my recovery and I can’t kid myself into thinking I’m “just fine” when I’m not. I need to take it slow, and also give myself another break from outside pressures that just serve to overwhelm me. My biggest mistake was getting involved in conversation with someone who completely invalidated my view of myself and my illness. It tore me apart. Then right after that, I got a text message from someone I did NOT want to hear from, and was so upset I threw my phone against the wall (I can’t tell you how many times THAT has happened!) Basically, I need to focus on myself right now and not spread myself too thin. I simply don’t have the skills to take on more than the basics right now, as much as I’d like to do more. I have high expectations for myself, and big things I want to do with my life… but those will just have to wait. I have to be patient with myself. My priority right now… is me.

So here’s to “falling forward.”  Here’s to restoring my focus on the essentials. Here’s to simplifying my life again and resetting my priorities.

Tomorrow is a new day… I pray for the strength to press on.

March 6, 2010

Jude, the Sea, and Me

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:39 pm by eddejae

There are times when painful memories hit me at the oddest moments, triggering a whole gamut of unwanted emotions ranging from fear to hurt to anger. The smallest thing can bring it on – a song, a face, a street. Sometimes it seems to take me over entirely, and I “space out,” overwhelmed and almost reliving the memory with all its accompanying shame, fear, and hopelessness. These attacks have been less frequent lately, but they still happen now and then, and it forces me to practice using a healthier coping method than my habitual “pain-numbers” as bingeing, cutting, or disappearing for days at a time. I will admit, I did consider cutting because the memories I was having evoked a lot of self-hatred. However, instead of dwelling on that thought, I grabbed my ipod and listened to my favorite Beatles song, “Hey Jude” (specifically the version from the musical Across the Universe).

I listened to it over and over again until I felt better. I even went in my room and sang along. It helped lift me out of my gloom and put some spark back into my spirit. To me, the song expresses hope, joy, and fearlessness. It also made me think back to the time I spent last summer at Sea Ranch (a community on the west coast near Bodega Bay), when I first fell in love with that song. I was going through a difficult transition at that time, and that song brought me a lot of comfort.

I really miss that house by the ocean. It belonged to my uncle, but he wound up having to sell it. Every morning, I would walk out the back door, down a flight of wooden stairs, and be right at the water’s edge. It was spectacularly gorgeous. There is something about the combination of the salty air and the cold water that is not only physically refreshing, but mentally refreshing as well. I think so much more clearly when I’m at the ocean, and it’s easier for me to feel joy. Running barefoot along the sand, feeling the rush of movement as the waves gather and recede around my ankles, exploring the seaweed-adorned and barnacle-encrusted rocks, poking at starfish and sea anemone, hiking for miles along the shore… Nothing is more relaxing and soul-soothing in my book. I miss it…

Waves of music, waves of the sea, washing away my pain…

March 3, 2010

Today I Don’t Exist

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:38 pm by eddejae

It’s one of those days I need to be brutally honest. (Not that I haven’t been brutally honest in my previous posts… I’ve certainly never divulged so much in my entire life as I have here in the last couple of weeks… But I guess I just feel a little more vulnerable right now and need to vent).

It has not been the easiest day, and I’m not even sure why… But I’m… Exhausted. I woke up exhausted. It’s hard to even move… There’s a deep ache throughout my entire body that seems to seep into my bones. I’m tired. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. This last week I’ve done a lot more than I’m used to doing, and I’m still fighting this virus and adjusting to my medication.

After forcing myself to play the piano this morning, hoping that would infuse me with some energy, I collapsed on the bed and waved the white flag of surrender. I don’t know why I feel so overwhelmed today, but I do. I ate way too much (almost to the point of binging… but I was feeling too nauseous to continue), and now I feel even more sick. I’ve barely moved from the couch most of the day, and besides the piano practicing, writing this blog post is the only (semi) productive thing I’ve done today.

I get tired and run down so easily. I hate this. I require a ton of sleep, and then just going about “normal” daily activities exhausts me to the point where I have to rest after everything. I guess it’s all part of the depression, and probably this illness I’ve been fighting, but it’s just getting me down. I’ve also done a lot of emotional work these last few days, and now I just don’t want to think or feel anything.

I’m feeling bad about myself today. I’m not liking the way I look, the way I feel…the nagging, negative voices in my head that won’t shut up. I just want this day to be over. Can I just go to sleep now? I’m praying I wake up feeling better tomorrow. Move on. I’ve been in slumps like this for days… weeks… at a time… and I can’t go there again. Not when I’ve made so much progress.

I’m just going to pretend like today never happened.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, “Why?” and sometimes he thought, “Wherefore?” and sometimes he thought, “Inasmuch as which?” and sometimes he didn’t quite know what he was thinking about.
A. A. Milne
From the book Winnie the Pooh

< — Me today?