July 3, 2010

To My Fellow Survivors

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:10 pm by eddejae

This is dedicated to all those out there who are struggling… whether it be with depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, suicidal thoughts… Anyone who is hurting, lonely, sad, hopeless…

This video and these words go out to you, as if said personally by me…

You are not alone.

I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place.

I hope that the world turns and things get better.

But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, kiss you… I love you, with all my heart…

I love you.

…Edde Jae

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Seven Days of Sunset ~ Day 7… Closing Words: Part 2…

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:04 pm by eddejae

When you hold on to your past, you impede your progress.

The greatest thing you can do for yourself is to forgive yourself and to let go so you can move forward. This often the hardest and last step. It was for me.

Ultimately, you make the choice of how you want your life to be. No matter what has happened in your past, you can change your life. Make the decision. Right now. Decide to take responsibility from this moment on for who you become.

Start where you are. This moment. Stop waiting for a miracle.

I realized it wasn’t God that was punishing me. I was punishing myself for things that had happened and things I had no control over. At least not anymore. Living in the past does nothing. So I let it go and chose to begin a new chapter.

I gave myself the power back. I took the power away from my past, from my mistakes, from my abusers, from depression, from BPD, and gave it back to myself. I chose to rise above. When you accept what has happened and relinquish yourself from undeserved blame and guilt, while taking appropriate responsibility for your actions – you become empowered again. You are able to let go of the burdens of the past. You are able to forgive yourself and move forward.

This is what happened for me, after years and years of blaming myself, of striving for unattainable perfection, of feeling guilty for everything I did.

Now I am moving on. Putting my past behind me, only taking what I have learned so that I may use it to bless my life and those around me.

I can allow myself to be happy now. To live, freely.

I can be me.

Perfectly imperfect.

Day by day, step by step, I’ve become a little more unbroken.

And though sometimes I fall… I’m forever falling forward…

July 2, 2010

Seven Days of Sunset ~ Day 7… Closing Words: Part 1…

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:14 pm by eddejae

It is hard to believe that just eight months ago, I truly thought my life was over. That there was nothing left for me to live for. That I was worthless, used up, incapable of ever being happy again. After years of struggling with debilitating depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and what I later found out to be Borderline Personality Disorder, I was tired of trying. I was ready to throw in the towel. I was ready to give up the fight. Over a two month period I attempted suicide three times and overdosed on at least five other occasions. I coped with the pain of past and present abuse, trauma, guilt, and self-loathing with binging, purging, cutting, alcohol, drugs, and victimization. In order to survive, I either disassociated from my surroundings or changed my entire personality depending on where I was and who I was with. I didn’t know who I was from one moment to the next. Most people didn’t even know everything that was going on with me, because I was very good at putting on a mask. Life was chaos. Chaos was life.

I failed therapy after therapy. Medications made me even more suicidal. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder that things started to make sense. However, it still took me a little while to accept my diagnosis and to make the decision to change. It wasn’t until after my third hospitalization that something inside me snapped. I realized that if I didn’t commit to recovery now, I never would, and I would be miserable the rest of my life. It was a decision I had to make on my own. No one… not my family, not my therapist, not anyone… could make it for me. It was a deep, inner choice and true dedication to becoming healthy.

I am convinced that the one deciding factor to my success in recovery was my commitment in that critical and pivotal moment to becoming better.

Without that, nothing would have worked. Not the best therapy in the world, not the most perfect combination of meds, not even the most loving relationship. No…only that commitment that remained even in the most difficult, heart-wrenching moments when those voices screamed at me “Give up! Give up!” …that one small voice of commitment inside that remained, that whispered… “Remember, remember…” That is what made the difference.

My current state of happiness and healing did not happen all at once. It is a result of a lot of hard work, of a long and painful process. Healing, progress, recovery… They are all a result of a series of small, but very important, choices. Really, there is no such thing as a small decision. Every choice you make has vast consequences, no matter how insignificant it may seem at that moment. Remember that when you when you try to get down on yourself when you think you are “failing”… give yourself credit for the tiny successes…. They make more difference than you realize….For it is those seemingly small victories that accumulate and create something magnificent in the end.

Another thing that has greatly helped me in this process has been getting outside myself. The more I reach out to others, the happier I am. The more I isolate myself and retreat inside my own little world, the more depressed I feel. It is hard because I struggle with social anxiety, but just like any other skill, the more you practice, the better you get and the easier it becomes each time. One thing I love to do is bake, especially at night when I can’t sleep. But I don’t just do it for myself, I do it for my friends and family… There’s nothing more fun and rewarding than seeing the joy on someone’s face when you show up at their door with a plate of fresh-baked cookies. Talk about endorphin rush! Believe it or not, it’s little things like that that can really lift you up out of a rut. Try it. Experiment. Can’t hurt, right?

I also had to decide, at a point, to let myself be happy. For most of my life, whenever I started to feel happy, I would immediately begin to feel guilty. For me, I never felt I “deserved” to be happy, because only “perfect” people deserved to be happy. And since I was never perfect, I could never be happy. Took me a very long time, well… my entire life!… to realize that: 1) I am never going to be perfect, and no one is; 2) There is no such thing as “deserving” to be happy; and 3) I can (and should) be imperfect and happy simultaneously. Once I could accept that, emotionally as well as logically (and I still have to work on this daily, as a lifelong habit is hard to break) I was able to do things like enjoy the little things, be in a relationship, and get married (tomorrow!)

Something else I’ve had to learn and work on is boundaries, especially when it comes to helping other people at the expense of neglecting myself. I’ve always had a bit of a “savior” complex, partly out of a genuine compassion for others, but also as a result of low self-esteem. I need to love, but also be loved, as much of my self-validation comes from others’ approval. As a result, I tend to give everything I have to others, whether they deserve it or not, and am often left empty. I give others validation instead of encouraging them to validate themselves.

Over just the last couple of months, I have learned (the hard way), that unless I am taking care of myself first, I am not good to anyone else. I had to learn to step away a bit and focus on my own recovery, otherwise I was at risk of breaking down again myself. One day, when things have settled down and I am comfortable and strong in this new chapter in my life, I will return to helping others in their journey – it is part of who I am and always will be. I love helping others – listening to them, comforting them, being a help and support wherever I can. But I always need to be sure I am in a good place myself first, before I can be a strength to someone else.

The best thing I can offer the world and others is myself – healthy and whole, with a voice that is clear, strong, and true.

Seven Days of Sunset ~Day 7… Scars…

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:53 am by eddejae

A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars. ~Carly Simon

I remember one morning, about two and half months ago, that I stood in front of my closet staring at the long row of twenty-something sweatshirts. Even though the the weather was starting to get warmer, calling for shorter sleeves, until that day I had refused to show my arms because of my many scars. I was ashamed of them, not wanting to be stared at or judged. I was deathly afraid of being asked questions and hated feeling self-conscious. Hardly anyone in my life knew I was a cutter, and the scars were too deep to use  the “cat-scratch” excuse. So I used the easy way out and just pretended I was cold-blooded.

However, something changed that morning. For the first time, I didn’t care what other people thought of me. I had finally gotten to the point in my recovery where I was open enough to accept myself with my flaws and let people think what they may. Perhaps it might even give someone else the courage to not be ashamed of their battle wounds either. I made the decision that morning to love my scars. I closed my closet, walked over to my chest of drawers, and pulled out a t-shirt. That day, I walked around with bare arms, my struggle with depression and BPD exposed to the world. Sure, I got a couple of glances, I was a bit uncomfortable, but in the end… I was ok. No one asked any questions. I didn’t break down. I didn’t panic. The world didn’t end. I was fine. And everyone else was fine. I was just me.

Perfectly imperfect me.

Now, my scars have faded quite a bit, but they’re still there. I’m getting married tomorrow. They’re not that noticeable anymore, but I will still have to use some cover-up for pictures. But I’m fine with that. To me, they are just indicators of where I have been and the things I have overcome. They are my battle wounds…markers that I have fought… And that I have won. That I am a warrior. The most important scars are the ones you don’t see… The emotional scars. And I am happy and relieved to say that those have been healed. Through therapy, time, commitment, and love… Those have been healed. And that’s all that truly matters. It IS possible. I can testify of that.

Healing is possible.

Hope is real.

Love is attainable.

Believe in yourself…

Keep fighting your battles.

And be proud of your scars.

They mean you’re strong enough to survive it all.

June 26, 2010

Seven Days of Sunset ~Day One

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:34 pm by eddejae

Seven days.

Just seven days until my wedding day.

Only seven more days until a new chapter in my life begins.

I am finally making the leap. Turning the page. Starting anew.

The time has come for me to, once and for all, put my past behind me… The pain, the heartache, the hurt, the sadness, the scars.

The lessons, the refinement, the wisdom, the beauty, the growth, the maturity will remain.

To the rest, I will say goodbye.

As part of this transition into what I feel is truly a new turning point in my life, I have decided to end this blog. I will continue to write, but my focus will be on other aspects of my life and self-expression and less on my struggle with depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. Though I will always have my struggles and my “moments,” I have experienced so much growth and healing over the last few months (largely because of this blog, and also because of the beautiful relationship I’ve found which will soon culminate in marriage) that I no longer feel the need to have an outlet specifically for these issues. I may even go as far to say that I no longer feel that my mental and emotional struggles are a part of me, but rather outside forces that encroach upon my daily life in an attempt to derail me from my efforts to move forward. However, through the support of my therapist, my family, and my loving and superhumanly patient fiancee, and also through considerable practice (including many trial-and-error experiments!) I have improved considerably in my ability to cope with these forces and handle each difficult moment as it comes. My feelings and thought patterns have become more predictable, I have learned to keep track of high and low cycles, and I have become more aware of how my physical symptoms reflect my inner emotional world.

Now, to be clear, I have no expectations that it will all be smooth sailing from here on out. I know there’s a chance that my illnesses will come back to bite me in the butt at some point down the road, and I know for certain new problems and trials will arise as life goes on. But I’ve come to realize that no matter what happens, no matter what life throws at me, I have the strength and the skills to cope, to pick myself up, and move on. That even when I make mistakes, even when I fail, I can get up again. That even when I fall, I can at least fall forward. I have no doubt about that, whatsoever. I’ve survived quite a bit… I’m not strong all the time, but I’m strong when I really need to be. I’m a survivor. And that’s all that matters.

My final blog entries… And really, I don’t know how many there will actually be… Are all going to be grouped under the title of “Seven Days of Sunset.” During this next week, I will be tying up all my mental and emotional “loose ends” — the random thoughts that have been hanging about the corners of my mind waiting to be typed out… The lingering fears, doubts, and concerns that have been bottled up and are ready to explode any moment… The memories, dreams, and nightmares that I just want out and in the open so they’re outside of me… Anything and everything. Content that is too sensitive will be password-protected and for my eyes only… So don’t take it personally. 🙂 This will be a psychological, spiritual, and emotional cleansing for me… Something I feel is necessary for me to truly begin a new chapter in my life. Some of it will be painful, I admit… But I will be relieved when it is finished.

Then, I will be able to move on… Free and unfettered…

This has been the First Day of Sunset…

This moment is a bridge between
Past and Future  ~ carefully cross it.
This moment is choice  ~ Make it.
This moment is life  ~ live it.

~Pum Sandhu

June 7, 2010

Something About the Sea

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:30 pm by eddejae

There’s something about the sea that lets me open up and sets my mind and heart free again to express everything inside…

I am sitting in the large living room window of my uncle’s beach house in Sea Ranch on the spectacularly beautiful California coast. The sun slipped below the horizon half of an hour ago, yet the waves – only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the house – are still clearly visible as they push and pull against the shore. A curious little fox just peered through the glass sliding door, probably hoping I had left him another orange to much on, but finding no such tasty morsel prepared this fine evening, scampered away to search for meatier prey. It has been a while since I have really sat down and written. I’ve made a blog post here and there, but since my engagement I have been quite preoccupied with wedding plans and more overwhelmed than I’d like to admit about this impending life transition.

And what a transition it is. From single to engaged. From engaged to married. It all happened so fast my head is still spinning. Don’t get me wrong… it is wonderful. Exciting. Even fairytale-like you could say. But… overwhelming. So… So… Overwhelming. To the point where I feel like I’m just an auto-pilot most of the time. Floating through a dream. That I’m going to wake up and realize that none of this is real and that I’m still in the hospital. Sometimes I’m afraid that my emotions haven’t quite caught up with me yet, and that when they do, I’m going to crash and burn. But then, I realize that my emotions catch up with me every day, that I have my “break-downs” every day… That hardly a day goes by where I don’t cry for some reason or another, that hardly a week goes by where I don’t feel like I’m going to snap… I’m still me. I still have BPD. I’m still fighting depression. I’m still on medication. I still have demons. I’m still living one day at a time.

But…I have a very real life I must live. I have dreams to chase. A wonderful man to marry. A home to build. A world of my own to create. I must move forward. And I am. And I will. Doesn’t mean I’m cured. Doesn’t mean I don’t struggle every single day. Doesn’t mean I still don’t have my insecurities, my fears, my nightmares, my urges. But I have to be bigger than this monster that tries to convince me to give up. To run away. That says “All of this is just too much for you. Getting married? You’re not ready. Run. Run while you can! Or better yet. End it. End it while you can. You don’t have to do all this. Avoid the hassle, the pain, the risk… The risk you may fail. The risk you may lose everything in the end. End it. End it now….” The voices are real. The demons are real. The dreams are real. The depression is real. The BPD is real.

But I am real too. And I am stronger. My will is real. My spirit is real. My daydreams are real. My happiness is real. Todd is real. Love is real. Hope is real. Faith is real. Beauty is real.

I am real. I am strong. I am stronger than what seeks to destroy me. And I will win. Every time. Again and again and again and again and again… For the rest of my life.

I don’t know if this will ever leave me completely. I don’t know if the thoughts, the feelings, the fears, the insecurities, those things that torture me and haunt me will ever go away… I hope so. Maybe. Someday. But if not… It’s ok. I’m at peace with that. I accept it. Because I know I’m stronger.

Someone asked me today… “Are you sure you have BPD? Because you never complain.” I said, “Because I know… That this too shall pass.” Radical acceptance of what I cannot change, at least not right away… What I cannot change, but what I can conquer, moment by moment, day by day. I could complain. I do. Sometimes. What holds me back? Guilt. I don’t want to be a burden. There are a few people I feel comfortable letting go with. And that’s ok. I don’t need to try and be strong and positive all the time. I guess that’s part of leaning on other people and letting them be there for me. But for the most part… I want to focus on the positive and what I’m doing right, not what I hate about myself. But no one’s perfect, and we all need to vent once in a while. That’s what friends are for. I am grateful for my friends.

These days, I don’t really know what I’m feeling from one moment to the next. Thank goodness for Todd, who helps me to figure it out. I will begin to cry my eyes out, and I won’t even know why. It is so confusing and frustrating to not know why you are sobbing, why you feel you are falling into a dark pit and can’t get out. It seems if you could just comprehend the reason why you felt something, then you could solve the problem and all would be well. You feel that if you cannot even understand your own emotions, how in the world can you be expected to navigate your way through this crazy, confusing, terrifying world? The world becomes a monstrous place, a labyrinth of mysteries, gray-areas, and paradoxes where nothing is clear and everything is seen through a kaleidoscope of criss-crossed emotions.

At the same time… deep down… I know that everything is going to be ok. That I won’t run away. That I won’t die. I do not have a sense of impending doom, because I know that, when all is said and done, I will be getting married to Todd on July 3, we will go on our honeymoon, we will move into our new apartment, and we will begin a new life together as a married couple. He will continue to work at the air force base, and I will begin school to get a degree in music and theatre. No matter what happens with my mind and my emotions, those things will happen. And that brings me a measure of peace, of predictability, of stability, of structure. And I need that… desperately.

A plan.

A plan to keep me going, to keep me grounded when my mind is miles up in space or in the darkest recesses of the earth.

This too shall pass.

Moving forward is the most important thing.

One step at a time.

We rest here while we can, but we hear the ocean calling in our dreams,

And we know by the morning, the wind will fill our sails to test the seams,

The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore,

For ships are safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.

~Michael Lille

May 24, 2010

It’s Me…

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:08 am by eddejae

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet. ~Sylvia Plath

I am not the person who is singing
I am the silent one inside
I am not the one who laughs at people’s jokes
I just pacify their egos
I am not my house, my car, my songs
They are only just stops along my way
I am like the winter
I’m a dark cold female
With a golden ring of wisdom in my cave

And it is me who is my enemy
Me who beats me up
Me who makes the monsters
Me who strips my confidence

I am carrying my voice
I am carrying my heart
I am carrying my rhythm
I am carrying my prayers
But you can’t kill my spirit
It’s soaring and it’s strong
Like a mountain
I’ll go on and on
But when my wings are folded
The brightly colored moth
Blends into the dirt into the ground

And it’s me who’s too weak
And it’s me who’s too shy
To ask for the thing I love
And it’s me who’s too weak
And it’s me who’s too shy
To ask for the thing I love
That I love

I am walking on the bridge
I am over the water
And I’m scared as hell
But I know there’s something better
Yes I know there’s something
Yes I know, I know, yes I know

That I love

But it’s me
And it’s me
But it’s me

Hoping for the Sea

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:03 am by eddejae

Dedicated to Fia…

Smile, though your heart is aching

Smile, even though it’s breaking

When there are clouds in the sky

You’ll get by…

If you smile

With your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just…

Light up your face with gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying


Smile, what’s the use of crying

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just…


Smile, though your heart is aching

Smile, even though it’s breaking

When there are clouds in the sky

You’ll get by…


If you smile

Through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile…

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use of crying

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile…

May 18, 2010

Edde’s Escapades

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:03 am by eddejae

I just thought I would share with my readers some of the fun, kooky, and random miniature adventures I have had these last few days despite the minute-by-minute battle with depression that has truly been the weekend’s underlying theme. No matter what, I know that I can always find something shiny to pull out of the muck. Even when I feel like the world is falling apart around me, somehow a little bit of light breaks through somewhere and I can find the humor, the beauty, or merely the strange irony in a tiny slice of life. All it takes looking at things differently, even if it means going a bit cross-eyed in the process..

~~~FRIDAY~~~

Todd picked me up in the evening. We grabbed some Taco Bell (yes, we are occasionally junk food junkies when necessity demands it or the undeniable craving strikes…) and drove out to his grandparents house to pick up his ’64 Fairlane, which in my opinion, is the hottest classic car in existence (and which I eventually convinced him to let me drive a few miles).

Not to mention that he has installed an incredible sound system that puts my Hyundai’s pathetic little speakers to shame… oh… and the bench seats are quite conducive to cuddling. 🙂

Our music tastes usually lean towards either a mixture of jazz, classical, and musical theatre (Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Josh Groban, showtunes, etc) or various alternative rock bands, but this evening was different. Inspired by the capacities of the sound system, the general awesomeness of our vehicle, and the warm summer night, we put together a playlist of hip-hop, R&B, and reggaeton and cranked up the bass. Unable to keep myself from moving to the heavy, sensual beat, I let myself go… Well, as much as I could sitting down in a car! Bopping my head back and forth, moving my arms and shoulders to the beat, swaying my hips ever so slightly, I lost myself in the mood of the music and the wind whipping my hair across my face as Todd and I sped through the softly spice scented summer air.

And I discovered my new favorite dancing song… But dang it’s hard to do reggaeton moves sitting down…

Though driving the Fairlane is rewarding in and of itself, our ulterior motive in retrieving it from the grandparents’ house was to take it to the drive-in theatre to see Iron Man 2. The movie was thoroughly enjoyable, though in my opinion not as well-done nor memorable as the first (as is the case with sequels more often than not). However, what I took away from that night had nothing to do with the star-studded cast, the classic car, or the perfect night. As we waited for the movie to start, Todd and I walked hand in hand to the snack bar to find the restroom. Outside of the anachronistic, 70s style snack bar with its lovably pathetic attempt at a carnival atmosphere was a small sandbox with a swing set. Now, where there is a swing, there will be an Edde. I love the childlike thrill of swinging. To me, it will always be the closest I can get to flying. (Unless someone can convince me to go sky diving…the possibility of which I am still debating…). Smiling his “Of course you would” smile, Todd came up behind me and gave me a push. “Higher! Higher!” I demanded until I squealed “Stop!” as I realized if he pushed me any higher I would be doing an involuntary front flip over the bars followed by a most painful ostrich imitation.

“Hey Todd, when we have our own house someday, promise me we’ll have a swing set?”

“Of course, always.”

~~~SATURDAY~~~

This morning I donned a pair of knee-high socks. Silly socks? Perhaps. Fan-freakin-tastic socks? Heck yes.

Todd and I went to Hot Topic. Yes, I shop at Hot Topic. Another quirky fact about Edde. Here are the fun things that I bought there (sorry the picture is a bit out of focus)…

We had a barbeque for my brother’s 18th birthday/high school graduation. My brother, Todd, and I ditched early and drove up to old downtown Placerville. I had a hankering to visit the Old Tyme Candy Store to add to my collection of weird and unique candy. This place has pretty much any candy you can think of. I didn’t buy much due to lack of funds, but here is my collection thus far and I hope to add to it significantly as time goes on…

(From left to right: E.frutti Gummi Pizza, Bubble Gum Pop Rocks, WackoWax Mr. Stache, Pixy Stix, Watermelon Sour Flush, Blue Razz Pop Rocks, WackWax Fangs, Captain Davy Jones Pez Dispenser, Pulparindo, Cotton Candy Pop Rocks, Jelly Belly Pet Tarantula, Tequila Flavor Hotlix with Worm, Gummy BooBoos Bandages, Lucky Lights, Salt N’ Vinegar Crickettes)

Intrigued, I also picked this up…

It is called “BRAIN WASH CARBONATED DRINK”.

According to the label, this beverage:

“Helps relieve extreme mental overload.”

“Gets rid of all the garbage they’ve been they’ve been dumping in your mind.” (Yes, “they’ve been” is repeated on purpose…)

This drink is intended to be used “For a change of mind” and also states “We want you for life” and “This maybe be your only way out!”

Also, it reads…

CAUTION: MAY CAUSE SPECIAL EFFECTS. WE CUT OUT  ALL THE BULLSHIT IN LIFE AND WENT STRAIGHT FOR THE BRAIN. INJECTED INTO THE BOTTLE FOR THE SKELETEENS/EAT ME FOODS IN LA, CA. DON’T GO HERE: WWW.SKELETEENS.COM. DON’T CALL 818.844.312.

And now, ladies and gentleman, for the ingredients…

FORMULA NO. 8: CARBONATED WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CITRIC ACID, CAFFEINE, NATURAL & ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, RED #40, HERBAL BLEND consisting of: American, Siberian and Korean Ginseng, African Capsicum, Buchu, Echinacea, Jalapeno Oil, Ginkgo Biloba, Ginger, Gotu Kola, Kola Nut, Brazilian Guarana, Skullcap (Mad Dog Weed), Clove, Damiana, Sage, Sodium Benzoate to preserve taste.

Now I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds more like a brain-blowing concoction than a brain-washing one. Unless by brain-washing you mean causing your brain matter to transform into goo and melt out your ears leaving the inside of your skull squeaky clean…

Mad Dog Weed eh?…

Maybe I’d better hold on to this one as a collector’s item…

After spending an hour goofing around in the candy store, we walked outside to find a street performer playing with fire. A wanna-be pyro myself,  I was entranced by his antics. I am definitely learning how to do this someday…

To my ecstatic delight, someone had left chalk lying on the sidewalk. Naturally, I helped myself.

That night Todd and I watched the movie musical Rent. I have always loved Rent. I had the opportunity to see it live in San Francisco in October of last year and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The movie is wonderful, but the actual stage musical is truly breathtaking. The message of this beautiful work of art is moving and meaningful no matter who you are or what your background is. When Roger held Mimi in his arms as she lay dying and sang the song “Your Eyes,” Todd and I both cried. It was a special moment of tender emotion that we were able to share together and that I will never forget.

People often say that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves. ~Salma Hayek

May 14, 2010

The Battle Is Not Over

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:25 am by eddejae

I should have seen the signs.

But I didn’t.

Typical.

The night before last my appetite seemed insatiable.

I prevented myself from indulging in a licentious binge with reckless abandonment, but for the first time in three weeks, food was obsessively on my mind. After an ice cream sundae, two brownies, a sandwich, and a Heath bar, I was about to dive into a jar of peanut butter with all five fingers at 2:30 in the morning when my mother walked in on me. Shame and guilt flooded through me, and I became enraged for being caught red-handed. Leaving the peanut butter jar open on the table for her to put away, I stormed to my room, slammed the door, and cried myself to sleep.

I slept until noon the next day. I woke up on a high, almost in a hypomania. I attacked my room, cleaning it to perfection. I organized my papers, made all necessary phone calls, made my schedule of appointments for the next two months, took care of all the emails that had been piling up for the last few weeks, did my laundry, and exercised intensely for 45 minutes.

While I was on the treadmill, I started having flashbacks of a particular instance of date rape I experienced last year. It was unpleasant and made my head feel like it was in a fog. I started feeling anxious and wanted to just stop everything I was doing and go lay down, but I fought it and pushed the thoughts away. But they scared me because I hadn’t thought them for a long time and I didn’t understand why they would suddenly be taking my mind hostage now.

After I had showered and dressed, I got in my car and headed out to Travis AFB to visit Todd. On the way there, my head started to feel very foggy and I became more and more drowsy. I realized I had only had a protein shake that day, and it was already 4pm. My blood sugar was probably low, but I felt like that wasn’t the only thing going on. I had the urge to listen to some heavy rock, which I usually don’t listen to unless I’m in a very “zoned out” mood. My mind was completely somewhere else. I barely remember the drive there. I was mentally and emotionally checked out.

Todd could tell something was wrong. He kept asking me if I was ok. When he found out I had barely eaten, he immediately took me to go get dinner. I felt strangely high. Once I had eaten, the lightheaded, dizzy feeling subsided, but the “out of body,” “zoned-out” feeling didn’t. Now that I look back, I realize that I was disassociating really badly.

I won’t go into details about the rest of the night… But it did not go well. I slipped further and further, especially on the drive home. I wound up cutting myself pretty badly. I woke up feeling miserable. I couldn’t understand it. I still don’t understand it. I was so happy, I was doing so well. Why the relapse? Why can’t these demons just leave me alone? All day I have been fighting tooth and nail, but it seems that the more I fight against the sadness, the more it tightens its cold, hard grip. Trying to ruin my happiness, threatening to destroy everything I’ve worked so hard for…

I can’t let it. I won’t let it. But I can’t deny the fact that I can’t feel happy today. I am happy, but I can’t feel it. It is hard to feel anything right now. God help me.

This morning I did my best to get myself going. I dragged myself out of bed and did some writing, but quickly tired again. I had made plans to work out, but wound up going back to bed. Todd and I had made an appointment to get our marriage license today, and I started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to muster the energy to go. In a moment of superhuman determination, I forced my body out of bed, ate something, showered, put on some upbeat music, and then drove to meet up with Todd. I was doing everything in my power to make myself feel better. After all, we were getting our marriage license! How exciting! Why couldn’t I feel excited? Why couldn’t I feel a gosh darn thing but melancholy and exhaustion?

Well, I got through it, but not without some concern on Todd’s part. He could see what was going on, he knew I was “checked out” but was trying to put on a happy face for him. I could feel myself putting on that “I’m simply splendid!” mask… I even started a favorite game of mine called “Let’s walk around and talk with a British accent and pretend we’re tourists from London!” But it wasn’t long before that started to wear off… It’s hard to hide what I’m feeling around Todd. It’s difficult to wear a mask around someone who knows you better than you know yourself. I knew he could tell that underneath the random goofiness I was hurting. We decided to go back to his parents house to watch a movie before we parted ways.

His parents own a parakeet. A very old parakeet. This bird has been around for so many years Todd cannot even remember when they first bought it. This parakeet sits in a little cage in the living room all by itself day after day. Todd says it hates people, that it’s crazy. There used to be two parakeets, but it killed its cell mate. For some reason the bird caught my attention for the first time. I’m not much of a bird person, but I felt drawn to it. I felt sorry for it. I sat in front of the cage. And looked at it. And it looked at me.

It seemed so sad. “Todd?” I said. “Can we let it out?” I wanted so badly to hold the poor, neglected bird lovingly in my hands, walk outside, give it a gentle nudge, and let it fly free into the welcoming sunlight.

“Nah,” he said. “I don’t feel like chasing it around the house. Besides, it probably bites.”

“No, I meant… Can we let it go free? Would your parents really care?”

“It’s not our choice hon. It’s not our bird. Besides, it’s so old and stupid it’d probably die anyways.”

“Well… I think it deserves at least a chance. Birds don’t belong in cages. No animal belongs in a cage. I think I would rather die than be in a cage. Wouldn’t you? Maybe… maybe it would be happier dead… Then its spirit could sing and fly… No more cages…”

As I said this, I began to cry. I forgot to mention that I found out this morning that a Facebook friend of mine took her life. I have to confess… Sometimes, when I hear the horrible things people go through, I wonder… Maybe they would be happier on the other side… Maybe it is worth it to escape the pain and horror of this life…

I also failed to mention that another sign that I have slipped into depression is obsessively pondering death and suicide.

I feel guilty for thinking these thoughts. I do, because I know that life is precious and should never be taken for granted, and I know that suicide is NOT the answer. But sometimes I feel so incredibly bad for people who have and are experiencing so much suffering, and I want to take it away… but I can’t… And… I understand them wanting to end the pain. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to want to die. I know what it’s like to want the pain to stop.

But I also know how wonderful and beautiful it is to live.

It’s confusing sometimes… life and death. The decision whether to stay or to go.

I know I’m supposed to be here. I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad I’m alive. I have so much to live for. I am happier than I ever been, despite the fact that I am fighting with depression at the moment.

As I mourned for the parakeet and for the untimely death of my friend, Todd held me in his arms and let me cry. I was able to say for the first time today, “I am depressed.” And I didn’t feel guilty about it. I didn’t have to apologize for it. I just was. And it was ok. He is there for me… Through good times and bad. Today is just further proof that we can and will get through anything together. Our road will not be easy, but it will be worth it. Neither of us are perfect, but we are perfect for each other.

“I learn so much from your strengths, but I learn even more from your weaknesses.” ~Todd.

On the drive home, this song came on the radio… I’m not much of a Miley Cyrus fan, but the message was so appropriate for what I am going through right now that I had to share it.

I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. ~Agatha Christie

I can almost see it
That dream I’m dreaming but
There’s a voice inside my head sayin,
You’ll never reach it,
Every step I’m taking,
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking but I
Got to keep trying
Got to keep my head held high

There’s always going to be another mountain
I’m always going to want to make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle
,
Sometimes you going to have to lose,
Ain’t about how fast I get there,
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing,
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes they knock me down but
No I’m not breaking
The pain I’m knowing
But these are the moments that
I’m going to remember most yeah
Just got to keep going
And I,
I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on,

There’s always going to be another mountain
I’m always going to want to make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle,
Sometimes you going to have to lose,
Ain’t about how fast I get there,
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

There’s always going to be another mountain
I’m always going to want to make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle,
Sometimes you going to have to lose,
Ain’t about how fast I get there,
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

Keep on moving
Keep climbing
Keep the faith baby
It’s all about
The climb

Rest in peace Kellie Taylor… Fly free sweet little bird…

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