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

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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 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 25, 2010

To Live = To Love. To Love = To Live.

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:18 pm by eddejae

Well, I promised to divulge the secret of my new-found outlook on life and the turning point that I experienced, but… I am too tired! So sorry. I will say this though…

The greater your capacity to feel pain, the greater your capacity to feel joy.

I am not cured, but I have greater hope I will be. I still feel pain, but I know it will lessen more and more each day. I still have problems, but I have greater courage to face them. I am still me, but happier and more hopeful.

To wrap it all up with a cute little bow…

I’m in love.

Whew. Glad I got that one out!

Now, before you roll your eyes and get all cynical on me, I ask you to please refrain from any sort of jaded mental jaunting (don’t act so surprised – I can hear your thoughts quite loudly!) until you hear the story in its entirety and how this relationship factors into my recovery process. Suffice it to say that I had two choices:

One. To die.

Or two. To live.

I chose to live.

And I chose to love.

Life.

And love.

These are inseparable in my eyes.

I’m off to bed soon. I am posting this song as it expresses almost perfectly – in word, in rhythm, in melody – what I feel right now. Seriously… what would I do without music??

Goodnight
To the city and the sea
To the strangers in the street
Goodnight
To the ghosts out in the hall
The paint peeling off the walls
Goodnight

Sometimes I
Stand between the sidewalk and the sky
And just stare into the clouds as they pass by
You have to leave the ground to learn to fly

Goodnight
To the TV and the clocks
To the rain that never stops
Goodnight
To everyone I know
Shut my eyes and let em go
Goodnight

Sometimes I
Stand between the sidewalk and the sky
And just stare into the clouds as they pass by
You have to leave the ground to learn to fly

There is something beautiful dying every day
And for the first time in my life I’m not afraid
Cause there is nothing in this world that doesn’t change

Goodnight
To the person I have been
To the place that I am in
Goodnight
Tomorrow hello to the sun
Are you ready here I come
Goodnight

Sometimes I
Stand between the sidewalk and the sky
And just stare into the clouds as they pass by
You have to leave the ground to learn to fly