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…

April 27, 2010

Turning Point

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:34 am by eddejae

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anais Nin

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. ~Robert Frost

Come to the edge, He said. They said: we are afraid. Come to the edge, He said. They came. He pushed them, and they flew. ~Guillaume Apollinaire

So much has happened over the last few days, I hardly know where to begin.

I’m not sure I know how to adequately express what a roller coaster I’ve been on. I have run the gamut of emotions from ecstatic joy to intense fear. I am exhausted yet I sit here in front of my computer at almost 1AM knowing that if I don’t write about all of this I will regret it. I can’t let it build up like I’ve done so many times before.

As I stated in my last post, I am in love. Now, I have this hunch that for most people, this is a perfectly natural thing bringing nothing but unadulterated joy. Unfortunately, dealing with BPD makes love and relationships much more complicated and emotionally stressful than they need to be. It seems that even the most positive emotion gets muddied by insecurity, fear, pain, jealousy, and even desperation. It is difficult to feel happiness in its purity when bits of memories, past experiences, and the things you are most scared of threaten to drag you back down into misery.

But I’m not going to let that happen, no matter how hard it is or how scared I am.

I must live.

I must love.

Or there will be nothing else left but to die.

I need to give a little bit of background. My now-boyfriend, who I will call… Todd. Yes, Todd. Good name. Anyways… “Todd” has been in my life for six years. He is my best friend and always will be. He knows me better than anyone on the face of the planet, especially myself. We’ve been through so much together. We have dated on and off for the last several years, but it seemed I always ruined it. We could never figure out why I was always pushing him away and then clinging to him for dear life; breaking up and getting back together; the fights; the jealousy; the hurt feelings and broken hearts… I never meant to hurt him. I always loved him with all of my heart, and neither of us could understand why I would say and do things that hurt him, that hurt the relationship, and that hurt myself… especially myself.

We parted ways back in August, which was right before I experienced the hypomanic episode followed by the suicidal crash that sent me to the hospital three times. We had stopped talking, and he didn’t find out about what I had been going through until just a few months ago. He and my mother (who had always been like his second mom) started talking and she was able to fill him in on what had happened. Once he found out I was diagnosed with BPD, he went and bought every book he could find on it. I knew he was communicating with my mother but wasn’t ready to start talking to him yet. I still felt in a fragile state and I didn’t want to mess anything up. I missed him, I knew I loved him and wanted to be with him and was pretty sure he felt the same, but I wanted to wait until I was “ready” for a relationship (because I knew that is what it would become as it is hard to be “just friends” with someone you have such strong feelings for). So I’ve just been going along, hearing about how he’s been doing from my mom (he’s in the Air Force and quite busy with work and training right now) and becoming nice and cozy in the fact that he would be around whenever I decided to come out of my cocoon.

Well, that happened sooner than I thought. And I wasn’t even “ready” yet. We talked on the phone Thursday night for the first time in 9 long months. I broke down. I cried and told him everything I felt for him. How I didn’t ever want to be with anyone else; how sorry I was for hurting him; how badly I felt about my situation; how I was afraid of letting him down, of failing. He told me how much he loved me and missed me. I forgot what it felt like to be loved so unconditionally by someone who could name quite a few reasons for hating me if he wanted to. It was amazing…

And then…

I started to get scared. Scared of failing. Scared of hurting him again. Scared of loving. Scared of having him back in my life. Scared because I knew that talking to him inevitably meant loving him, which would lead to being with him, which would lead to… oh my gosh… living life?!?! I told him, “Give me a month. I”ll be ready to see you in a month.” Just another way to put off what I wanted the most and yet was desperately afraid of.

Loving him meant living my life as I always dreamed it could be.

Loving him meant opening myself up to him and to others.

Loving him meant letting myself be imperfect.

Loving him meant accepting myself as worthy of love, here and now.

Loving him meant not running anymore from the things that make life worth living

Loving him meant becoming alive again.

Loving him meant not WAITING until everything, including myself, was PERFECT.

And. I. Was. Terrified.

As I hung up the phone with Todd, I started to feel like I was sinking into an endless black pit of fear and pain. I had just experienced two hours of complete elation and hope, and suddenly I was falling, falling, falling…

Something became very clear to me.

At that very moment I was standing at a fork in the road. I had a decision to make. There were two paths I could take. Two options, each in complete opposition to each other. The fear of living pulled me one way, the yearning to be loved and to jump back into life again pulled the other. One way seemed less frightening and demanding. The other way appeared risky with the possibility of failure and further pain.

One was to end my life. I admit I seriously contemplated this. Being in love meant feeling. Living meant feeling. Feelings terrify me. As far as I’ve come in my recovery, they still tear me apart. No matter what they are, positive or negative. At times, I would rather die or spend the rest of my life in a mental hospital than to feel. Than to live. Than to take that leap into the unknown.

The other, of course, was to throw myself into life and love. This meant feeling. This meant risking everything. This meant happiness and sadness, joy and pain, sorrow and elation. This meant opening myself up to healing. This meant going outside my comfort zone. This meant no more hiding.

I knew, in that all-important moment, that it was one or the other. I realized I couldn’t mull around in this in-between place anymore, in this limbo, in this stagnant place where I was not going backward, but I was not going full-speed ahead either – more like…drifting with the current. I realized it was driving me insane, that I have been retreating more and more into my own head and withdrawing from life and from other people again. Afraid to live. Wanting to stay safe inside my little shell. I knew I couldn’t do that anymore.

It was either end it all or bite the bullet and jump.

I grappled with this decision. I went back and forth. Between love and fear, hope and despair. In a moment of complete desperation and confusion, I wound up cutting myself pretty badly. I asked my mom to take me to the hospital. She said, “No. I will NOT let you do this to yourself again. I will NOT let you cop out. We are bandaging this up and you are going to be strong.” At first I fought it, I protested, I cried, I screamed – I threw a tantrum like a three year old. Don’t make me live! I’m scared! God, don’t make me do this!

After a long night of crying, and a visit to my therapist in the morning (which I only got through thanks to my the nifty little defense mechanism called disassociation)… I realized that I did NOT have two choices.

I had ONE choice.

Death was NOT an option for me. Or rather… I could not LET it be an option.

I could not let the monster win. I had to fight it.

ONE choice: To live.

ONE choice: To love.

ONE choice: To be with Todd and thereby letting my dreams come true.

ONE choice. To let myself be happy.

So here I go. Taking that leap, that plunge, that ultimate risk called life. It is scary. It is tumultuous. It is what I was born to experience, and experience it I must. Experience it I shall.

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down. ~Ray Bradbury

All I have is here, today, now. No more living in the past, no more living for tomorrow. Loving Todd and jumping back into life in all its uncertainties and complexities means forcing myself to live in the present, to accept myself for who I am IN THIS MOMENT. This is the hardest thing in the world, but we LEARN how to by DOING it.

It is by jumping off that cliff that we learn how to spread our wings and fly…

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about getting out there and dancing in the rain.

My own experience has taught me this: if you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won or lasting happiness achieved. ~Maurice Chevalier

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live. ~Leo F. Buscaglia

Life can be magnificent and overwhelming — that is the whole tragedy. Without beauty, love, or danger it would almost be easy to live. ~ Albert Camus

April 22, 2010

Red Rain

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

WARNING: This poem may be triggering to some. I had a breakdown a couple of nights ago, and I felt the need to write about it.

The jagged scars of my disquieted mind,

Jolted from the asphyxia of apathy,

Begin to bleed.

The despair-born disease leaks

Into my thirsty, eager veins,

Searing a pathway into the

Tenderness of my heart.

The burning pressure builds,

The pulsing heat unrelenting,

I ache to release it,

To cut through my flesh

And mingle blood with air,

Running down, cooling my fevered skin.

Move. Move. Itching urge to move.

Run. Run. Forever blindly running.

Drive. Drive. Driving through the

Cascades of cleansing rain –

Streetlight shadow procession –

Mocking my desperate striving

At deliverance.

Faster. Faster. Never to outrun

The demons that jeer and scold.

I cannot cry.

Something stops me.

I scream for relief

That will not come.

I pray for tears

That will not flow.

My feelings buried in the depths,

Ambushed by fear,

Trapped inside an

Impenetrable wall.

So instead I cry

Rose red tears

On the unforgiving pavement.

Streetlights flicker and cease to shine.

I am alone in my numbness.

Me.

And the rain.

And the proof

My heart still beats.

April 21, 2010

It Is Time

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:24 pm by eddejae

I have been working up the courage and emotional energy all day to tackle what I think is the one thing I have yet to actually confront, and it something I hope to conquer.

It is something I am deeply ashamed of.

It is my eating disorder.

I’ve gone through cycling phases of accepting it and denying it, giving in to it and fighting it. Yet it wins, time and time again, in one form or another – anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder.

In one form, I restrict calories and I over-exercise. At one point a few years ago, I managed to keep my calorie intake down to about 800 calories while working out 3 hours every day and abusing laxatives.

When I was 16, I stopped eating almost entirely. I weighed less than 90 pounds.

At other times, I have gone on eating binges and then purged through throwing up or taking laxatives and diuretics. In both cases, I would go on an extreme diet until I felt I had compensated for the calories I had consumed.

Now, I’m on a constant binge/diet cycle. I will keep my calories below 1,000 cal/day and exercise at least 60 min/day for a week at the longest. Then, my body gets depleted. I start having cravings and urges to binge, and my body is exhausted. So I binge for a day, two days, maybe three or four, depending on my emotional state. The more depressed I am, the more likely I am to binge. Then, after I’ve had enough and I feel awful about myself because I’ve gained 5 pounds or so, I go right back on a strict diet to lose what I gained – promising myself I’ll never binge again. But I always do. The cycle has repeated itself a hundred times at least.

My whole life is centered around food. Counting how many calories I’m consuming, how many I’m burning, how long it will take me to lose a certain number of pounds. I have a goal weight in my mind, and I never, ever get there. I’m never good enough. And because of my binging episodes, I always feel like a failure. I begin to feel like that’s all I am. A failure. I have no self-control.

Of course, I know that my binges serve a bigger purpose than merely satisfying physical craving. They have become a coping mechanism, even an addiction. For the moment, it numbs me. Anxious? Eat. Depressed? Eat. Lonely? Eat. I have often felt like food was my only friend. It’s always there. Always something I can count on. Always comforting. And you know what else? It protects me from relationships. As long as I am putting on weight, as long as I am uncomfortable with my body, I am kept from putting myself out there; I am not at risk of being hurt; no one can touch me; no one can love me… and… no one can leave me. I am alone, but I am safe. If I feel bad about myself, I don’t socialize. If I don’t socialize, I don’t have to feel anxious and self-conscious. It is a vicious cycle of self-harm and self-hate. I eat to hurt myself. I eat to soothe myself. I eat to punish myself. I eat to reward myself. I eat to keep from cutting. I eat to keep myself from putting myself in a situation where I could be taken advantage of by men. I eat to avoid social anxiety. I eat to stay put. I eat to stay in my comfort zone. I eat so I don’t have to FEEL. It numbs me to the world. It is my drug of choice.

But it is ruining my life.

Eating too much or not eating enough. Never a middle ground. Never a balance. Just extremes. It becomes a game I play with myself. It’s something I can control. It’s something I know. As long as I focus on calories, on exercise, on making lists of things I can and can’t eat… I feel like I’m in control. It is a coping method. When everything else is chaos – my emotions, my social life, my family, my mind – that one thing can stay consistent. It is a true obsession that is all-consuming. Not a minute goes by that I am not thinking about what I’m going to eat next or how I can keep myself from eating when the hunger pangs come.

Listen to my body? I don’t know what that means. I live my life by the clock and by calories. “At 10:00am I can eat 150 calories. I can’t eat again until 2:00pm at which time I can have 200 calories.” These thoughts are at the foreground of my mind almost constantly. You’d think “Eat when your hungry. Don’t eat when you’re not hungry” would be simple, self-explanatory. Not to me. I don’t know what that means. My body and I don’t communicate much.

I constantly compare myself to other girls. Girls on the street, girls in movies, girls in magazines. Any girl. And I usually come up short.

My clothes are old and ragged, because I refuse to buy new ones until I’ve reached my weight goal. Even when I’ve lost weight, I wear baggy clothing to hide my body.

People throughout my life have told me “You’re so beautiful!” or “You’re a perfect size”… I’ve never been able to believe them. It’s so hard. I feel like I should… I want to believe those things about myself… I want to believe I am beautiful and perfect and worthy of love. But as long as I am not my ideal weight, I can’t believe it.

I don’t know what made me like this. Maybe the sexual abuse I experienced during my childhood. Maybe the destructive messages from the society and the media. Maybe influences in my life growing up. Maybe I’m just a perfectionist. I don’t know.

I hate looking in the mirror. I disgust myself. I wish I could love myself. I am so jealous of girls who are comfortable with who they are and what they look like… I envy that freedom.

I want to be free.

I want to be free from this obsession, from this self-hate. I want to be healthy. I don’t want to starve myself. I don’t want to binge. I don’t want restrict my activities and even fail to reach my potential because of this heavy baggage I carry – the baggage of weight that is so much more than just physical. It is mental, emotional, spiritual. My whole identity is wrapped up in my body image. I just want to be free.

Many of my nightmares have to do with how I look and my shame about my body.

I am so tired of it.

I need help. I’m crying for help. I’ve kept all of this inside for so long. It’s been my secret obsession. It can’t be secret anymore. I need support. I need help to overcome this. Lately I’ve been playing around with the idea of engaging in anorexic behavior again. This is a major part of the reason I had a complete breakdown last night… I just couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like I would do ANYTHING to be skinny, even stop eating completely. And if I couldn’t… Well, I don’t want to go that place in my mind. I had stumbled across some pro-anorexic websites that were very triggering. Did you know that there’s an entire Facebook community of individuals deep in their eating disorders that support each other? It’s terrible. They post pictures of skeletal models and encourage each other not to eat. It’s terrifying. And yet it was strangely alluring… I don’t want to become that.

I’m afraid. I’ve lived with this obsession over food and weight so long, if I let go of it, I’m afraid I will feel a void… which leads me to believe that I must replace this obsession with something else. But what? And how do I stop the obsessive thoughts? How do I start accepting myself for who I am? How do I become happy with my body?

For most of my life, I have equated thinness with happiness. I need to change my thinking. But how? How do you change something that feels so ingrained in your soul?

How do I live… REALLY live… without this fear, this inner ache, that drives me into these self-destructive patterns?

I want to be free.

I have to set myself free… Thus far I have been determined to make the disorder, the cycle, work for me. I now realize that is has done nothing but destroy me. It has not brought me anything but pain and misery.

No one else can do this for me.

I can’t live with this anymore.

It is one of the last things I have to cling to, but I have to let it go if I am to be truly healthy.

I will overcome it, no matter what it takes…

Dear God, please give me strength…

And so it begins…

(This song describes exactly how I feel right now about all of this. I don’t know what I would do without music to help me express what I cannot…)

I told another lie today
And I got through this day
No one saw through my games
I know the right words to say
Like “I don’t feel well,” “I ate before I came”
Then someone tells me how good I look
And for a moment, for a moment I am happy
But when I’m alone, no one hears me cry

I need you to know
I’m not through the night
Some days I’m still fighting to walk towards the light
I need you to know
That we’ll be OK
Together we can make it through another day

I don’t know the first time I felt unbeautiful
The day I chose not to eat
What I do know is how I’ve changed my life forever
I know I should know better
There are days when I’m OK
And for a moment, for a moment I find hope
But there are days when I’m not OK
And I need your help
So I’m letting go

I need you to know
I’m not through the night
Some days I’m still fighting to walk towards the light
I need you to know
That we’ll be OK
Together we can make it through another day

You should know you’re not on your own
These secrets are walls that keep us alone
I don’t know when but I know now
Together we’ll make it through somehow
(together we’ll make it through somehow)

I need you to know
I’m not through the night
Some days I’m still fighting to walk towards the light
I need you to know
That we’ll be OK
Together we can make it through another day

April 20, 2010

Alone

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , at 7:22 pm by eddejae

Crying, pleading, feeling so alone.

No one to tell me it will be ok.

I feel like I’m falling into never-ending emptiness.

With no one to catch me and hold me close.

Why do I feel so lost right now?

With every breath I hurt.

The tears are painfully frozen in my eyes and refuse to fall.

So tired of being strong on my own…

What is happening?

Rescue me…

April 16, 2010

Psych Ward ~ Part 1

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:47 pm by eddejae

WARNING: This series of blogs is going to be very blunt. A bit gutsy. A little angry. Extremely cathartic. Possibly offensive to some, as I don’t plan to censor any language. I apologize ahead of time.

“I’ve wasted a year of my life. And maybe everyone out there is a liar. And maybe the whole world is stupid and ignorant. But I’d rather be in it. I’d rather be fucking in it than down here with you.” ~Girl, Interrupted

My “Patient’s Journal” lies open next to me. The handwriting is tiny, almost impossible to read, as I didn’t want anyone possibly peeking at it behind my back to be given any kind of advantage. It is from my first “incarceration” in a psych ward, from which I was submitted involuntarily and released after five days on account of good behavior. I am typing this it just how it reads, with minor changes made only for clarity or anonymity. Here goes.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2009

I’m sitting here on my bed at the mental hospital. Wondering “Why am I here? How did I get to this place?” My roommate just opened her big, blue eyes and said “My name is Christy.” I said, “My name is Edde. Nice to meet you.” “Nice to meet you.” Her eyes close. I’ve been her roommate nearly 24 hours. I arrived here at approximately 2PM Monday, November 16, 2009. I am here because I drank a whole bottle of Nyquil and cut my arms and neck. I don’t know who I am anymore. I change one day to the next. “Severe depression.” “Borderline Personality Disorder.” What? Not me. Surely not me. There are two people inside me. The one that got me here and the one that is amazing. The two don’t get along very well. Who do I think I am? So many people so much sicker, having suffered so much more. Where do I get off being depressed and suicidal?

Time has seemed to stop, even turn back. I keep feeling it is 2003 and I am 16 years old. This is where I was at 16, then 19, then 21, and now. Over and over. I don’t even know the real reasons, and when I think I’ve found the answer and life is good, I crash again. And now, I don’t feel anything but confused. Tired. Apathetic. Angry with myself for being so stupid. I used to watch over girls like me, and now I’m one of them. [I worked for six months at a residential treatment center for teenage girls with severe emotional issues.] I used to study people like me, and I’ve become one. Or maybe I’ve been this all along. Two people. One happy, one sad. One energetic, one tired. One caring, one apathetic. One cynical, one hopeful.

I shouldn’t be here at all. These people are crazy. I just have self-loathing. Christy is so thin, when I first saw her in bed all I could see was a head and sheets. She sleeps all day and all night. There are strange bottles and rags above her bed. She seems about 45, but her demeanor is that of a shy child.

I myself am behaving strangely in this place. When I first arrived I wouldn’t talk to anyone, and avoided eye contact. I knew from the moment the medics rolled me into the lobby that this was not the place for me. I sat in the hallway in a rolling chair in nothing but a hospital gown which barely covered my back. I sat there for 15 minutes alone while they scrambled to figure out what to do with me. Try to ask me more than basic questions and I say “I don’t know.” I just don’t want to talk. I’m still dizzy and groggy from the Nyquil. I want to see my family. I don’t understand why I did this. I didn’t even feel at my lowest. I didn’t feel ANYTHING but “Ok. This is the plan.” It was the same lack of feeling I had when I drove to San Francisco last summer [The main event precipitating my hypomanic episode followed by the suicidal crash that brought me here].

Christy is a skeleton. I’m so tired. My head hurts. The kind South African man came in to give me my meds. I used to give people meds. Selexa for depression and Ativan for anxiety. I wonder if it will make me feel any different. Prozac made me feel like a zombie.

What kind of person OD’s and cuts herself? Is this a huge joke I’m playing on myself? Did I think that because I cut myself once, I should do it again and again? That downing Nyquil was safe? Why wasn’t I sleeping? Or eating? All that coffee? What is real and what’s not? Am I really depressed or am I playing some kind of part? What the hell is wrong with me?

That man just looked in my room. Saied. He scares me. Last night he came into the day room where I was reading and started talking to me, low and fast in some Middle Eastern language. It was awful how he looked at me. I got up and moved away, slipping out the door before he cornered me. The old lady with the dark glasses and walker with tennis balls yelled, “Leave the poor girl alone. Look, you made her run away.” “She wants it, she wants it,” he said. I hovered by the front desk and watched him skulk back to his room. He made obscene comments to me this morning. Derek sits by me to make me feel better.

Derek is my favorite person here. He doesn’t belong here either. He’s not crazy. He is a little taller than me. Slight. Blue eyes, small features. Light brown shaggy hair and a goatee. I met him last night. “Are you Edde?” “Yes.” “I’m Derek. You didn’t eat dinner either?” “No.” I hadn’t eaten all day and when they made me come to the day room to eat, I threw away the lunch box and went back to bed. “I OD’d, that’s why I’m here. Is that why you’re here?” he asked, pointing to my arms. I nodded, “Partly.” Later, after visiting hours, when they wouldn’t give me the clothes my parents brought me, he gave me a pair of shorts, a T-shirt, and a sweater. He is very kind. Sad that such a nice person would have to be here, and would almost kill himself with drugs. But I understand how that goes.

BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER?????

No wonder I had such a hard time working at S___. Deep down I always felt like the blind leading the blind, the student teaching the student, the 4 year old taking care of the 3 year old.

Saied just became violent. I heard a lot of banging and screams and everyone was sent to their rooms. What am I doing here??? (And why am I writing so small?) They gave me a red band. I’ve graduated. Whoopee freakin doo. Can I go home yet? “Doesn’t take much to set him off.” I could’ve told you that, retards.

Mike (South African man) says to me, “Don’t let nobody take your joy. Take your weakness, make it your strength. Use it. Have your cry. And use it. Be a phenomenal woman like Maya Angelou. Don’t let nobody steal your joy.”

Enter Christine AKA “Crazy Cassandra.” She is tough, streetsmart, fast-talking. “Blah blah blah” syndrome she calls it. She is thin and worn, but pretty. She’s a year younger but decades older than me. I find her rough yet gentle demeanor attractive. I can tell she has a good heart. I want to be near her and here her talk. She has that charm about her, and stories to tell. She offers me a job as an “escort”/stripper. “You don’t do the dirty. It’s just like a date.” “I’ll think about it,” I say. Right. Later when they told me I was moving from Unit B to Unit C she said “You want my number, you give me your number, or is this just goodbye?” with a smile. I hesitated and grinned, “Just goodbye.” Later I wrote on a piece of paper with my name and number and “Let me know how things work out for you” and went back in the day room to give it to her, but she was gone. I handed it to Michelle, quiet and sweet, and asked if she could give it to her. I’m sure she did. But I didn’t get to say goodbye to Derek, the boy who gave me clothes to wear. Or the old lady with the glasses who told me to eat and yelled at Saied. I miss them.

Here, there is Theresa, who OD’d on coke and has “anger problems.” She wears an orange jacket. She is pretty and nice in her own way. Her group called me over to chat with them, but then tried to get me to talk about why I cut myself and proceeded to discuss some creepy guy who left yesterday who would try to get girls in his room. Great. Thanks.

There is a thin lady with long, blonde hair who must have been very beautiful once. She is talkative and has the air of “I’m queen of this place!” She takes charge of groups and handing out food when staff are less than enthusiastic. She dances for herself in front of her reflection in the day room window, and sings show tunes in a loud, warbling voice. She’s like an old, crazy actress or ballerina from like the 1930s. What’s the word? She’s… Anachronistic? I need to work on my vocabulary. My bank of words is not doing this place justice.

No peace or privacy anywhere. I can’t sleep for the constant commotion. I think I’m having night terrors. My jaw hurts from clenching. It’s cold and my bed and pillow are hard as rocks. I thought I saw someone crawl in my room, up to my bed, making snarling noises. I tried to move but was paralyzed. Finally I sit up and whatever it was, was gone – if it was even there in the first place.

Everyone keeps telling me I didn’t cope right. I don’t know why I cut myself. Or drank the Nyquil. Surely there were better options, and I knew it. I didn’t have to go to San Francisco thereby driving a knife in my boyfriend’s heart. I didn’t have to run away from home and do things I knew were wrong. I didn’t have to drink. Or smoke pot. Or get violent. Or run off in the middle of the night in the ghetto. But I did. Why? I don’t know.

Crazy lady wouldn’t stop talking to me last night. She followed me into the day room. 4AM and she is pacing the halls looking for the next victim of her incessant ranting and babbling. “You can’t trust anyone. They’ll steal from you. They’ll rape you. Don’t trust me unless you can see a halo. Can you see my halo? Then don’t trust me.” I got tired of it and went back to bed.

Theresa doesn’t like me for some reason. Either that or she likes Joweli better. Whenever I sit by her she moves, and didn’t want to sit at my table during lunch. I can’t figure her out. She has self-proclaimed anger issues. Perhaps she’s angry at me.

Steve is here because of something that happened with his 15 year old daughter. He has a lot of regret and says this is a wake up call. He would definitely rather be home than here – it’s more depressing here. I heartily agree!

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2009

Best quotes of the day:

“People don’t realize that Farah Fawcett died the same day as Michael Jackson and people don’t remember that C.S. Lewis died the same day JFK got shot. But his books live on. Pig poop. It’s the wave of the future. Swine flu? BAHAHAHAH!!” ~Heather the Feather (blonde dancer lady).

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.” ~Shelly, the angelic Asian girl who paces the halls singing.

Had an incident with an unruly staff member or two today. First asshole, Larry, comes in my room with the nerve to ask me why I’m so quiet and why I cut myself. “Your boyfriend break up with you or something?” Don’t mock me you douchebag. Then there was Archie. I asked for my belongings and he blew up at me, then chastised me for crying. “You’ll be here longer if you cry!” Which of course just made me angry and cry even more. Then I got pulled into the office with the doctor who tells me that he’s going to keep me here 2-3 more days. So I went to my room and bawled, totally breaking the rules by doing so. Oh my. Imagine a depressed person crying! Unthinkable. Let’s not be human, ok? My whole problem is the robot syndrome – put on a happy face no matter how I’m feeling inside. Smile for everybody. Pretend. Didn’t think I had to do that here, but apparently, it’s expected.

April 1, 2010

Damage Control

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , at 7:14 pm by eddejae

Drum roll please!…

…*Drum roll commences*…

I made it through the day!

AND was finally able to accept the fact that what happened on Tuesday is not a reflection of my self-worth. The guy was a… um, jerk… (I had to censor myself here) and I’m very glad to be rid of him. I’m learning how to set boundaries and to separate myself from poisonous people. And while I’m still in kind of a fragile mental state, I was able to get through today without succumbing to any self-harm urges and got myself to exercise, clean my room, and work on my blog.

Plus, I made an appointment for tomorrow with yet another therapist. It’s a woman, which I’m more comfortable with, and my old therapist said that she has a similar counseling style to her own. Wish me luck!

March 26, 2010

Throwing a Mental Fit

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:06 am by eddejae

It is 8 o’clock in the morning… AND I AM AWAKE.

And I have already been up for TWO HOURS. This is highly unusual for me, especially as I didn’t go to bed until midnight. With the Seroquel, I usually sleep 9-10 hours. But I woke up at 6am, and just didn’t feel like sleeping anymore! Astounding.

Well, I promised myself I would write about yesterday now that I’ve had time to sleep on everything. I guess things always do seem better in the morning, or at least less emotionally overwhelming.

I have a confession to make. As I knelt down to say my prayers before bed last night (yes, I actually got on my knees instead of mumbling a prayer as I’m falling asleep as is my usual custom haha), I said “Dear Father in Heaven, I must admit, I am not very grateful for this day.” Then I just started laughing because I don’t think I’ve ever said that in a prayer before… but I’m pretty sure God has a sense of humor and was laughing along with me (I hope). But really, I wish I could have just skipped the day entirely.

For you see, yesterday was my first session with my new therapist. All day leading up to the appointment, I was a nervous, anxious wreck. I basically threw a mental fit that went something like this:

“What if I just lock myself in my room and refuse to go?”

“No, you can’t do that. You have to go.”

“But I just want to run away instead! Please please please don’t make me go?!”

“Grow up Edde. What happened to your commitment to recovery? This has got to happen no matter how nervous you are!”

“I know, I know. Fine, I’ll go… But I’m not going to like it!!!” (*insert pouty face*)

I think the worst part was sitting in the foyer waiting for the foreboding moment when the door would swing open and I would look upon the face of this stranger to whom I was about to “tell all.” Yikes!! I almost had a panic attack right then and there, but forced myself to breathe and calm down. “Get control of yourself Edde!”

At last, the door opened. He was tall. And intimidating. And very… professional. He shook my hand and said “Nice to meet you. Come on in this way and have a seat on the couch.” So there I sat, hands clasped, bending forward, while he nonchalantly leaned back in a comfortable lounge chair. I half expected him to prop up the footstool and maybe reach behind the chair for a bowl of mixed nuts, but he didn’t. All I knew was that while I was fretting and sweating and wishing I could be anywhere but there, this was all just a matter of course to him, and he was as relaxed as if he had been in his own living room watching tv. In any other circumstances, I would have found the entire scene to be incredibly humorous, but at the time I couldn’t feel anything but dread at the torrent of questions to come.

Sure enough, in his calm, quiet, articulate voice, he asked me about… Everything. For most of the hour we reviewed my entire life history from age three onward. It is stressful in the first place to have to talk about everything you have ever experienced, but when it is a complete stranger you’re talking to, it’s at least ten times worse (add to that the fact that I was intimidated, self-conscious, and wondering with every word I spoke whether he had “sized me up” yet). My heart was pounding, my breath short, my muscles tense, and my chest tingling with anxious energy. I was not comfortable at all.

While I proceeded with my “word vomit,” he furiously jotted notes on a yellow pad of paper, which made me paranoid. What was he writing about me? What conclusions was he coming to? I hadn’t even finished the session and I was already over-analyzing! We went over the various things that I struggle with – in fact, he made a detailed list and read it over with me to make sure we got everything. Then we picked two things to work on first – binging and the urge to self-harm. So that was ok. What concerned me more were his observations about the source of my mental and emotional instability.

First, he said he believed that the abusive relationships I found myself  in during college were probably more traumatizing than the sexual abuse I experienced as a child. That was a strange concept for me at first, but he said that as he watched me describe both experiences, it seemed that I became more disoriented and emotionally distraught when describing those traumatizing relationships than I did when discussing my childhood experiences. I recognized that as well, and I believe that is because I had already worked through those things with my previous therapist, so it is not as stressful for me to talk about anymore. Also, it wasn’t until after those relationships that my borderline symptoms really became severe, even though I have manifested a number of them since I was young.  His conclusion was that on top of the depression, anxiety, and BPD, I am also suffering from PTSD. Super. Collecting diagnoses now, am I?

Another thing he pointed out was the contribution of what he perceived as my “isolation” during my later childhood and teenage years. I was homeschooled from second grade until college, and he believes that because of that I wasn’t able to develop good coping and social skills. I’m not sure if I completely buy that, but I do see how my feeling “different” contributed to my issues with self-esteem and relationships. I was always “the smart one,” “the talented one,” “the good girl,”  – I was made to feel somehow different from everyone else, which was tough when all I really wanted was to fit in. Even in college, I never quite fit in socially. I have always felt that there was something somehow “wrong” with me, that I was a social/intellectual/emotional “misfit.” I think it was because of this that I began trying to be what I thought people wanted me to be. I became a chameleon of sorts, attempting desperately to blend in with whatever crowd I was with. Their interests became my interests, their values became my values, their attitudes towards me became my attitudes towards myself, etc. I lost all sense of self in conforming to whatever situation I was in or person I was with. At the time… It worked. I finally had friends, I finally felt like I was “fitting in.” But the trade off? I became a hollow shell. I had a hundred different masks that I could switch from moment to moment. While I was bright and lively and fun on the outside, I was dying on the inside.

At the end of the session, he gave me a list of books he wanted me to check out, and also a website where I could download “hypnosis” sessions. I’ve never been involved in any kind of hypnosis… I’m not opposed to it, but I’m curious how it will work. My only hang-up is that it costs about $12 to download one session… And he wants me to start off with at least three. Without a job right now, money is tight… But I guess I have to make sacrifices, right?

On the way home, I just cried and cried. For some reason, I felt hurt and I didn’t even know why. I felt somehow invalidated, for no real reason!  Looking back, I think my it was because when I told him I had been diagnosed with BPD (by two different psychiatrists, I might add), he smirked like “Well, I’ll be the judge of that.” That’s fine… But I just have a repulsion to the whole “know-it-all” attitude that some therapists and doctors have. I don’t know. My tears were not only of emotional exhaustion, but also of sadness and anger that my previous therapist just had to move two and a half hours away. I miss her so terribly. She was so reassuring, and always said everything perfectly. And she never made me feel in the least bit uncomfortable, invalidated, or intimidated. I still plan on calling her today, because I don’t know if this new therapist she recommended is the right fit…. Though maybe I just need to suck it up and stop being a cry-baby.

I also found out yesterday that my Cobra insurance will only last as long as the company I previously worked for exists. Turns out, the company will likely be dissolving next month which means… Bye-bye insurance coverage! If that happens, I will have to go back to the counseling services provided by my church, as they charge half of what a typical therapist would. Even then, I will be paying from my savings account, which I’ve already spent more than half of with all the medical bills I’ve collected over the last few months. Sigh…

Well that’s my rant about yesterday. Thankfully I’m not feeling anxious about it anymore, which is progress for me. Typically things like this stress me out for days at a time, but I’m pretty much over it now… Well… Until the next session… 😉

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.

Emptiness

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , at 12:17 am by eddejae

I feel invalidated. I made my lip bleed chewing it out of anxiety. I hate the taste of blood.

I felt that familiar emptiness inside today. It frightened me. It is that empty ache that leads me to self-destruct or run away from everything…

I do not think I should be left alone.

I walked outside and looked up at the stars, and felt lost…

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