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 8, 2010

Such and Such

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , at 8:27 pm by eddejae

Today was my last session with my current therapist. She just moved to San Jose and will be working there full time. I’m going to be transitioning to another therapist that she recommended, but I’m still sad. I’ve worked with her on and off for about two years now, and it will be strange seeing someone else. However, this therapist she recommended seems to be really good, and he specializes in borderline personality disorder, which is a major plus. Also, she’s going to talk to him about me and give him my file, so I don’t feel like I have to completely “start over” and retell my entire life story. Trust me, there are things in past I really don’t want to have to bring up again. Still, I don’t know him, so I’m a bit nervous, but my therapist said she feels I’m in a really good place right now so she’s not too worried about the transition. I’m sad to see her go though… She’s seen me through a lot.

Anyways…This constant fatigue is really frustrating me. I mean, I know I’ve been doing a lot of mental and emotional work lately, and I’m still adjusting to my medication but… Come on! You’d think I would be able to get by without sleeping 11-12 hours every night and then needing a nap in the middle of the day! I’m doing everything right in regards to eating well and exercising… But maybe I need to force myself to adjust to a more normal sleep schedule. Staying up until midnight and sleeping in until noon just isn’t practical. So one of my new goals this week is going to bed by 10pm and not letting myself sleep past 9am. Hopefully I’ll be able to scale my hours of sleep down to 8 or 9 hours a night eventually… But this is a start. I’ve also worked my way up to 60 min of exercise a 5-6 days a week, and I’m going to add in working on my abs as well.

Sigh… speaking of tired…I’m going to sign off. Goodnight.

<– Me… sometimes… when I feel like it… 🙂

February 24, 2010

It’s Now or Never

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:57 pm by eddejae

Today is a brand new day with brand new goals!  I have to say, I’m pretty excited to start the program I’ve created for myself.  The two over-arching goals that I will be constantly working on, even as I master other goals, are:

1) Stick to exercise and nutrition program to achieve weight loss goal and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Start with 30-min cardio/day and work up to 60 min cardio, 5 days a week.
  • Gradually incorporate strength training 2 times a week and stretching every day.
  • Eat 1,200-1,400 calories/day – high protein, complex carbohydrates
  • Cut out any excess sugar and caffeine.
  • Weigh myself once a week to track my progress.

2) Attend weekly therapy sessions and work on applying skills discussed.

  • Journal what is discussed during therapy
  • Identify skills I need to work on and set up a plan of action with therapist

The other three goals I will be working on now are:

3) Daily scripture study and prayer, and weekly church attendance.

4) Reading assigned therapy materials.

  • Read at least a chapter a day in one of the books I’m reading and take notes

5) Practice my piano and singing.

  • Practice piano at least 30 min every day
  • Do some amount of vocal exercises every day

And, of course, blogging every day 🙂

I think my medication is finally starting to take effect… The last few days I’ve had a lot more mental and physical energy than I’ve had in a long time. I’m currently on Seroquel (an anti-psychotic) and Lexapro (anti-depressant). The Seroquel still makes me sleep 11-12 hours a night, but I’m a lot less sleepy during the day. I’ve also noticed less obsessive thoughts and mood swings. My uncontrollable urges to cut myself or overdose have also left almost completely. After trying so many medications that either made me a zombie or made me suicidal, it’s such a relief to finally be on something that seems to be working for me.

I still struggle with urges to binge, but I’m hoping that by sticking to a healthy eating and exercise program, that will decrease as well. Also, since my binging or restricting urges are usually a way for me to escape or distract myself from emotional stress, I’m working on turning to other outlets when I’m feeling triggered. That’s where my 3 goals come in… Practicing my music is a huge emotional release for me, and nourishing my faith and continuing to learn from my therapy books will keep me motivated to choose healthy coping skills.

I will be honest… I’ve never been good at sticking to things or keeping promises to myself. But I know without a doubt that if I don’t stay committed to my goals and to my recovery, I will never have a fulfilling life. It will just be the cycle of depression and self-destructive behaviors, over and over again. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t accept that anymore. I know what kind of life I want, and I will do whatever it takes to get there. For the first time in my life, I feel truly committed to something. Sure, I may make mistakes … It’s kind of inevitable… But as long as I “fall foward,” and pick myself up again and again, there is no way I can truly fail. I will make it, step by step…

February 23, 2010

The Plan

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 6:54 pm by eddejae

As follow-up to yesterday’s post, I sat down today and wrote out the qualities of the person I want to become in the following areas: physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual. These qualities/characteristics (in bold) are my “long-term” goals, with bullet points underneath that constitute my short-term goals. My plan is to choose three short-term goals at a time to work on (each from a different area). Once I feel I have mastered those, I will move on to three more, and so on (while continuing to work on the previous three goals of course). Many of these short-term goals will actually wind up breaking down into even more specific, daily, “bite-sized” tasks.

Physical

1) Fit, toned, healthy and vibrant

  • Stick to exercise and nutrition program to achieve weight loss goal and maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Engage in enjoyable physical activities such as biking, dancing, rollerblading, hiking
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day

2) Well-groomed with a unique personal style

  • Treat myself to a “make-over” (new hair style, facial, manicure, etc)
  • Go through wardrobe and throw out baggy/unflattering clothes
  • Shop for new clothes when I have the funds

Spiritual

1) Develops relationship with God and nourishes faith daily

  • Daily scripture study and prayer, and weekly church attendance
  • Journaling thoughts and impressions
  • Get involved in church-related activities

2) Is confident in sharing faith and God’s love with others

  • Pray for opportunities to love others and be a positive influence in their lives

Emotional

1) Able to use healthy coping skills to deal with stress

  • Attend weekly therapy sessions and work on applying skills discussed
  • Read assigned therapy materials

2) Sets healthy boundaries

  • Practice assertiveness and saying “no”

3) Able to love others and share myself with them appropriately

  • Be a good friend but don’t let allow people to drain my energy

4) Is honest and open with self and others

  • Be true to myself in social situations (not doing/saying what I think others want me to)
  • Saying what I mean and meaning what I say

5) Has respect for self and high self-esteem

  • Practice standing up for myself and not letting others take advantage of me
  • Be my own best friend (positive self-talk and refraining from self-destructive behaviors)

Social

1) Makes plans with friends and follows through

  • Make an effort to get together with friends (instead of isolating)

2) Is comfortable in group settings

  • Gradually get to the point where I can go to dances and parties without being overwhelmed

3) Spends time with family (put family first)

  • Be sure to spend time with each family member and be a positive example for my siblings

4) Is involved in volunteering

  • Find a program to volunteer with once a week

Intellectual

1) Constantly develops mind

  • Tackle my reading list
  • Learn something new every day
  • Take classes

2) Develops talents and shares them with others

  • Practice my piano and singing
  • Work on my music writing
  • Overcome nervousness by practicing performing for others

Two of the above goals are kind of over-arching goals that I will be constantly focusing on, in addition to the two other goals that will eventually be switched out once they are mastered:

1) Stick to exercise and nutrition program to achieve weight loss goal and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

2) Attend weekly therapy sessions and work on applying skills discussed.

I will talk more in depth about the other three goals I’ve chosen tomorrow. And just so y’all know… not EVERY post is going to be about my goals or my progress towards them… It’s just my main focus these last few days. Once I kind of get in the swing of things, more of my posts will be about my thoughts, feelings, and experiences as I work through therapy and adjust to my new life in recovery. However, setting goals is an essential part of my journey, so it’s a good beginning.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”…

February 22, 2010

Wait… Where am I going again?

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:06 pm by eddejae

I’ve got to say, this virus is really kicking my butt! Headache, fever, sore throat, cold… Recipe for misery right there!

But after resting most of the day, I am finally starting to feel better. I’m looking forward to feeling at least 80-90% tomorrow (here’s hoping) and being able to get back to work on my goals. I just realized something though. Not only do I have trouble setting realistic, attainable goals (as I pointed out in my Saturday post), but also in formulating specific goals and writing them down.

I realized this while I was trying to decide on what to write about today. I was feeling a little uninspired so I asked my mom to pitch me some ideas. Her response was, “Well, what are your goals?” I realized that all I could really say was “Umm… good question! Just get healthy I guess.” Good goal, but pretty vague, don’t you think? So I started pondering on what “being healthy” looks like for me. What exactly am I trying to attain? How do I define “healthy” and in what areas?

Dennis Waitley (motivational speaker/writer) gave a pretty good outline for the goal-setting process that I would like to follow. He said “The secret to productive goal setting is in establishing clearly defined goals, writing them down and then focusing on them several times a day with words, pictures and emotions as if we’ve already achieved them.”

Once I’ve settled on a “picture” of what I’m trying to attain and then breaking long-term goals down into specific, short-term goals, the next step is to write them all down. This will be my main project tomorrow –taking time to sit down and really figure out what I’m specifically trying to accomplish during the healing process and who I want to become.

With my goals put into words, the next step is “focusing on them several times a day with words, pictures and emotions as if [I’ve] already achieved them.” The first part of this is fairly simple – I will type them up and put them somewhere I can see them frequently, like above my desk and on the bathroom mirror (and here, of course). It’s the last part of Waitley’s statement that seems a bit trickier “… with words, pictures, and emotions as if we’ve already achieved them.” Hmm. I guess this idea here could be that “You become what you think about.” If I envision myself already achieving my goals, and try to feel the positive emotions associated with the achievement of those ideals, the better my progress will be and the more motivated I will feel to stick to the plan. I could also incorporate my music and artwork into this, surrounding myself with positive and creative influences that will help keep me on track. For example, decorating my mirror with inspiring quotes, or listening to motivating music—anything that will encourage me to keep on going.

I also came across a site with some tips on writing goals that I found pretty helpful: http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/writing-goal.html). To summarize:

1)      Write your goal in the positive.

2)      Write your goals out in complete detail.

3)      Write in the present tense as if they are currently true (Goes right along with Waitley’s quote!)

4)      Re-write your goals – words written repeatedly and rephrased have maximum impact.

Until tomorrow…..

February 20, 2010

“There must be opposition in all things.” Touché.

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:41 pm by eddejae

I woke up this morning with some very lofty plans for the day. I was going to wake up early, exercise, tidy my room, do laundry, and spend the rest of the day reading, writing, and maybe even getting out of the house a bit. (Doesn’t seem like much, I know… But when your typical day consists of sleeping 12-13 hours a day due to medication and spending the rest of the day in front of the TV because you have no energy or motivation to do anything else…well… Aiming for a normal day of activity feels as daunting as running a marathon!) As luck would have it, I had a restless night and woke up late in the morning with a migraine, sore throat, and cold.

So, instead of having day full of productivity and goal-setting as I had planned, I wound up spending most of my time blowing my nose and sitting in front of the television with my laptop. My natural inclination is to view this as a failure. Yes, I know it’s not my fault I came down with a cold. Yes, I know I shouldn’t push myself when I’m sick. Which is why instead of being hard on myself (perfectionist that I am), I’m going to look at this as just another “fall forward.” I may not have accomplished what I wanted to, but the day was not a total waste. Even if writing this blog entry was the only thing I did today (which… well… it pretty much is haha…), I could still count today as a successful baby step towards recovery.

As it happens, I was able to do a considerable amount of brainstorming while in my somewhat debilitated state. I’ve recognized that a large part of my struggle in moving forward towards healing is my inability over the last few years to set goals and persevere until I reach them. One of the symptoms of BPD is the proclivity towards extremes. I set goals that are unrealistic and then either punish myself when I fail to reach them (example: not letting myself go to a party because I didn’t lose five pounds in one week), or try to attain them in unhealthy ways (such as attempting to lose weight by starving myself). Or, I give up on myself and don’t challenge myself enough. Then I end up stuck in a rut, experiencing no progression or growth.

I think I will continue to use weight as an example, since it is something I struggle with. My “black and white,” extreme thinking has led to serious problems such as anorexia, bulimia, yo-yo dieting, and binging. It is difficult for me to stick to a healthy and reasonable plan of diet and exercise as I tend to slip into “over-doing” it (overly restricting calories or exercising excessively) or giving up entirely (binging). Often this becomes a cycle. Well, I’m tired of it. And I’m not going to do it anymore. My physical health has suffered greatly from what I have put my body through. What I do to myself is related to my issues with low self-esteem, body image, and sexual abuse I experienced as a child. I’ve never liked my body. This is something I am working on in therapy and is probably going to be one of the biggest hurdles I will have to overcome, as it is something very deep-rooted and the behaviors are very ingrained. However, no matter how many times I have tried to break the cycle and failed, I have picked myself up and tried again.

And here I go again. Falling forward. Lately I haven’t been treating my body very well, but that is changing. Starting now. Instead of saying to myself “I have to be this many pounds by this date,” I am simply starting a healthy nutrition and exercise program that I will be able to maintain. I will reach my goal weight whenever I reach it. As long as I am sticking to my plan and avoiding the binge/purge cycle by using the coping skills I am learning in therapy, then I will feel successful every day. The key is not giving up. I CAN do this. I AM strong. Though health and eating issues are not the sole focus of my recovery, I believe that if I can overcome this particular struggle (or at least being able to feel confident in my ability to master it in time), it will give me even further motivation and strength to tackle the other areas of imbalance in my life. Ultimately, everything is connected to each other, and improvement in one area will affect the progress of all the others.

Hopefully tomorrow I will feel better and will actually be able to begin my nutrition and exercise program, as well as do some important reading for therapy. A good night’s sleep will help… So I’m off to bed. Goodnight… Whoever you are. 🙂