“There Must Be More Than This…”

downloadDude. The semester is over. I’m taking summer classes so I’m still in school, but still…I have completed a year. So much has changed and happened, where to start?

Okay, I’ll start with my diagnosis. It’s been changed from Major Depression Disorder to Bipolar Disorder, Type II. Why? Well, because I have these uncontrollable rages I go into that last for extended periods of time. They aren’t caused by anything, and make no sense really, but they happen. I thought perhaps it had something to do with my period but it doesn’t. I map all that stuff, record it diligently, and now I’m on birth control, but it doesn’t make a difference. They still happen. And they are exhausting. I think I’m entering one right now. I used to hate the thought of being Bipolar, not because I have anything against those with it, but because I felt like it was too much a “go-to” for doctors. Any time someone experienced any sort of happiness when they were depressed, or coming out of a depressive episode, doctors wanted to automatically say they were Bipolar. No…that’s not really how it works, people. But, the more I learn about this stuff in school, and accept my illness, I understand that I am, in fact, Bipolar. But that’s okay. I would rather be correctly diagnosed and treated, than misdiagnosed and mistreated. Now, for the Borderline, I’m still uncertain sometimes. There are times when I wonder if it all belonged to Mara. Was my soul simply reflecting hers, and I’m not really that bad? Or is it truly and purely me, developed and twisted from the time spent with certain people and having survived certain circumstances? I don’t know. And there’s no way to tell. My mom is certain it fits, and sometimes, I am too. But not always, and that makes me question things.

Brendan (formerly known as Vlad here) and I are still together. Through this whole revelation, he’s endured mistreatment like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve come close to ending it several times but been talked back from the ledge several times by Jackie and Allister. Even right now, I have an extremely strong urge to punch him in the face but 1) he isn’t here and 2) it isn’t fair. That’s the problem I have. My vision gets so narrow with anger that all I can think about is the rage. I can’t see reason or understand anything that’s happening with the external situation. I just want to satisfy the rage beast. And it is usually thirsty for blood. I even started going to Group again last week because I felt like spending extra time in “therapy” would help. And it would be a good refresher to remember ways to handle the anger. Because usually, I can’t. It doesn’t help either that my friends are nonexistent. I hang out with Brendan, and Brendan only.

The class I’m taking right now seems like it’s going to be interesting but a lot of intensive work. It’s a sex differences class, so we talk about the inequality between men and women, straight and gay, that sort of thing. It’s an upper level and that’s not a problem, but she’s expecting much more work than I was for a summer class. And a group project. The loathing of my student existence. I hate group projects with every bit of my soul. There’s only ten of us in the class so I don’t even understand how that’s going to work but that’s her problem, not mine. My latest problem is that she requires a lot of submissions online after each class and my Internet at Sparks is currently down so I have to travel elsewhere to do such things. It’s a pain in the ass and makes me quite inclined to do no such thing, and stay home and watch Pitch Perfect.

I can’t explain what I’m feeling right now. Part of me is excited and ready to go. I’m focused on all the stuff I have to do at Sparks, with the cleaning and the yardwork. But the other part of me is stressed to the max with just how much work needs to be done, and then me. I can’t quite describe that part of it. Like, people comment on my weight when I post pictures but to me, I’m not skinny enough. Then, when I post pictures, people want to hang out but I don’t have money so it’s facing the fact that I have no job and am totally broke. Or finding something to do with no Internet, no money, being completely alone, and it’s raining outside. How am I supposed to deal with that? It’s the 21st century, not 1753! I’ve watched every movie I’ve owned twice over since I’ve been there. Sometimes I think about moving back home, but whenever I am home, the problems with my dad arise and amount so quickly that I can’t stand being there for just a weekend. I feel stranded. Like, I’m stuck on some desert island where I won’t be able to be rescued for at least another year. And I know that, but I’m already running out of supplies and such. It’s annoying and confusing. This is one of those times when I question the Borderline. Borderline= easily bored. Right now, I’m bored out of my fucking mind. Nothing is satisfying. Nothing. I don’t know what to do. About any of it.

“I’ll Follow You Into The Dark…”

West Coast Vacation 599In Personality, the class that makes me want to delve ever deeper into myself, and rip my eyeballs out a the same time, we’re talking about child development. Child development of the personality. Most people don’t think kids have personality. Well, Miss Margaret Mahler thought even infants had a subconscious personality brooding in that tiny, cherubic little head. She outlined stages, which is what we talked about today. And I, of course, left feeling like I was going to cry enough to solve the drought problem in Brazil. One of the last things we covered was “emotional refueling.” Everyone knows what this is, she just gave it a name. It’s when kids that just learned to walk are exploring the world, running all over the place to check things out, fall down, get back up and shriek their way somewhere else. They come back to their caregivers for some love, some recognition that they’re still there, still tethered to existence, to Earth, and the caregiver responds with a pat on the head, a smile, a nod, anything, and off they go again. For some reason, my fritzy, spritzy brain doesn’t like to remember things before Thomas was born. I don’t know if it’s because that was a “trauma” in my life and so it’s repressed or what. Hell, maybe I’m analyzing too deep and none of that stuff is just that important that’s worth remembering. But a lot of people, in fact, almost everyone, I talk to seems to remember little insignificant things about life prior to the age of 5 or 6. I can’t remember most things before the age of 8. I know most people remember things because it’s implanted or built around pictures they’ve seen and accounts they’ve heard from other people but still, I’m pretty foggy on most of the details. There isn’t much of it there. It’s kind of freaky. But Thomas’s life, I can remember with glaring detail. Which is my roundabout point with Mahler’s “emotional refueling.” When we were younger, Thomas and I had this game. He would speed off, shrieking and teetering like any little kid. I would run off behind him, eventually getting in front of him and yell “Stop! In the name of the law!” He thought it was the funniest thing in the universe. He would giggle and shriek uncontrollably, dare to run around me and speed off again, teetering past me. I would huff and roll my shoulders dramatically as I chased after him, only to do it again a few feet down the sidewalk. This was how we walked…everywhere. Our parents could be yards down the sidewalk. If I knew our final destination, this is how I walked with Thomas. I would “steer” him by playing this game with him. Now, with everything that’s going on at home at this current time (oh my God, I think I am going to cry), hearing all of this stuff about development and how a child is affected by the relationships they form, even at this age (Mahler talked about people from 1 month-14 months. Dude.), I’m not thinking about myself, for once in my fucking life. Let me back up and explain the steps that led to this…

I had to run to Jackie’s house unexpectedly on Sunday morning because I was so overwhelmed with news Thomas had told me nonchalantly in the car just a few minutes beforehand. I dropped him at home (he was here for the weekend) and raced over there. He had confessed to me that he had hit himself last weekend after a tense social situation at school. He’s really feeling the pressure that my parents, society, just, everyone puts on him all the time, and when a friend didn’t come through to study with him, he cracked. He started punching himself to the point that he had bruises that were still there this past weekend. My parents knew about this. Last weekend. I was the last to know, and I’m not quite sure he was going to tell me in the first place. But, what really concerns me is that fact that my little brother is self-harming. Jackie pointed out that he would probably get help much faster than I did because he’s paid attention to, and not taken for granted as badly as I am in my house (she has no problem pointing that out, though it usually pains me to do so.) She also pointed out that even though I seemingly raised Thomas, it’s a normal reaction to college and that sort of pressure. He didn’t cut. He didn’t do drugs or binge-drink or try to jump off a bridge. And he doesn’t let out his frustrations any other way so really it was almost, sorta, kinda to be expected. I feel though, like that little boy that used to run and shriek and giggle when I would run in front of him, is gone, and I’ve failed him. I have massively and utterly failed Thomas as a parent, a sister, a mentor, any other word you could possibly use to describe an older sibling. He’s not supposed to become me. I’m not supposed to become my parents. I’m not supposed to respond with cold analysis, and no answers. I’m supposed to be able to have support and unconditional love for him. And I do, oh, I fucking do. That boy is so perfect. But, I can’t change the world. He knows that. I know that. The world knows that. And still, I can’t help. When I was in this same situation, and my parents reacted this way, I turned further inward. I got worse, so, so much. And even though I know what’s going on, I can’t help. I can’t do anything. He’s slipping into that same, tarry, darkness and all I can do is watch and cover my ears as he cries for help.

 

“I’m Bad Behavior But I Do It In The Best Way”

Left- Dad (superego) Middle- Me (id) Right- Mom (ego)

Left- Dad (superego)
Middle- Me (id)
Right- Mom (ego)

Not even going to degrade you with apologies about how long it has been. I’m waiting for Behavioral Statistics to start…in another hour and a half. But that’s fine with me. This has become my routine and I like it that way. I’m left alone in this classroom for stretches at a time, and I can do what I please, for the most part. But that’s not what has drawn me back to these digital pages. That isn’t what has brought me back to the gentle clicking of the keys as I bang out what I’m dying to say. Nay, what has brought me back is a bit darker. I’m taking a personality class for my major in the 8 o’clock hour (yes, if you are paying attention, that’s the hour just before this one) and as it is supposed to do, it is getting to me. We’re analyzing Freud but, before you misjudge, Freud was given a very bad reputation by school systems at large. He is not some weird pervert who just likes to talk about sex all day. There was a point to it all that seems to always be glossed over when you cover him in Psych 101, or go through history books. Anyway, today we discussed Dr. Sigmund’s Structural Model of the Mind. For those of you not familiar, that’s the id/ego/superego version of human psychology. Brief rundown: id is the instinctual, pleasure-seeker in all of us that simply wants to do, ego is the rational, logical one that follows the rules and drones on like a good, little human being, and superego is the conscientious, guilt-ridden, devout one that never slips from their moral path. Alright, so as this conversation is going in class, we’re rolling through these, and I’m getting a bit freaked. We get to the superego (the pious one) and my teacher breaks out this continuum. Down at one end is the id, that’s where all the pleasure-seekers are. Think Sherlock, the Benedict Cumberbatch version, he says. At the other end, is the superego, patients who are so locked into what is right and wrong that even ending their own lives becomes an issue of morality instead of what they want to do. My classmates are all scrambling to write this down, as I am, but in the back of my mind, I can see myself, casually riding one of those little red tricycles up and down this continuum like it’s meant just for me. Perfectionism at an extreme, he interrupts my thoughts for a moment and locks eyes with me. Superego is regulated by the ego, reasoning and logic, but if that sort of reality base is skewed, this can effect both the regulation of the id and the superego. A shiver literally went down my spine. And like I was being pulled backwards through open doors, I was running through all of my stays in the hospital, every therapy appointment, every failed psychiatrist appointment. My teacher told us this was what the class was meant to do. It was meant to stimulate our brains (duh, that’s what the whole purpose of college is) and make us take a good, long look in the mirror. But that’s all I ever seem to do. The image staring back at me is forever changing. It’s like instead of a mirror, I’m staring in a pool of water that is being stampeded through by a herd of rhinos. It doesn’t matter what I do to see myself, the image isn’t clear. For a while I was managing my symptoms, things were going okay. But after that last class? I feel like my skull has been cracked open, and someone is staring at me naked, while I cower in a corner of my own brain. Hold on, I don’t feel like I’m being clear in what the problem is. Imagine 2 children standing on either side of a parent. The child on the left is id, the child on the right is superego and the parent in the middle is ego. That is how a normalized model would be. That is what Dr. Freud would call a “healthy” individual. Now, my issue, my reasoning for freaking the fuck out right now is that when my teacher started opening this can o’ worms is that instead of having everything nice and even like that, and taking my id and superego to the park to kick each other in the sand like normal kids, I’m not doing that. My model is more like: id is the child on the left, ego is the child on the right and superego is the parent in the middle. And they are constantly shuffling. When I was friends with Mara, the single parent was the id, and most of the time, her two kids were trailing far behind. I know with things like this, nothing is set in stone, and people are forever changing and adapting. But with superego in charge of two rambunctious kids, well one that is more closely related to a sociopath (id) and one that is probably closer to an actual human being (ego), how am I supposed to function? Superego cannot please everyone, and even that goes against its every principles. Principality cannot run a kingdom, or rule a nation. It cannot govern a state, or much less, a person’s life. I’ve tried it this way and it got me nowhere so why would it work now? I’m confused and I’m scared. And I felt like my professor knew that. Like a shark, he could smell blood in the water. Maybe he’s just that good at what he does. I don’t know. His eyes locked on mine and I felt like he was piercing through me, reading my thoughts. I endured the class, stayed the length of the hour, but regardless, I feel as though my superego has been exposed. Does that mean I should find a phone booth and change, tell the world who I really am? Or should I just run up and ice him because he knows too much? Comic books run on id/superego logic and well, we all know that works out in real life. Because it doesn’t.

“I Have Been Here Many Times Before…”

joffreyI’m only human. Right? There have been epitomes written about that very statement; written to describe the pain and agony that comes with trying to convince the writer himself that there is truth behind those 3 1/2 words. And it usually doesn’t work. Usually, like Christina Perri so eloquently sings, things “come crashing down” and fall apart because “I’m only human.” I thought things were getting better. I thought this perpetual cliff that I’m magnetized to was loosening its grip on me and I was able to take a few steps backwards. I was actually enjoying things for once: a relationship with Vlad, school, although tough and frustrating as hell was a refreshing challenge. My health still isn’t optimal but it isn’t the worst it’s ever been. I mean, I’m not dying. Basically, the sun was a bit warmer on this side of the rock. Then, shadows started dancing and flickering their way across the surface and things got alarmingly cold. Mara has managed to creep into my everyday conversations and while she doesn’t hold the same anxiety and nerve-wracking dread she used to, she still holds something. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is but, after a short conversation that she was involved in (I didn’t speak with her directly, but she was included in the conversation), I got upset and managed to feel unimportant and…small). My high school friends want to include me in things again. Pete, Tasha, and Grace hang out on a regular basis. Tasha moved to DC for a job but everyone still gets together to drink and have fun. Ever since it was established that they all thought my break from Mara was an overall smart decision, we’ve been in contact and have even gotten together a few times. One of those times, Mara was involved. We were at Pete’s house, drinking and playing games. And I was genuinely okay. Things were fun and I had a good time. I didn’t feel guilty, bad or anything. I was just having fun with some high school friends. This conversation though, was different. Lexi was involved in this conversation. Other people from high school that I never really had a personal vendetta with, but stopped speaking to just through association, were linked. And plans were being put in motion for ski trips, and New Year’s Eve get-togethers. That wasn’t what was bothering me though. The fact that I was actually participating in this conversation and then being selectively ignored by a certain someone? That, that was what was bothering me. Even after all this time, after all this shit that has happened, the bridges crossed, burned and then spilled with oil so the river they tumbled into could be ignited, her pedestal cannot be toppled. Hell, it can’t even be touched. And the fact that I’m bothered by it? Someone please shoot me. I am slowly, but surely, becoming a confident person. I mean, would I have even been able to type that sentence like a month ago? I know that for New Year’s Eve, I don’t want to be drinking and dancing wildly in some club, losing my mind and the short-term memory of what’s happening right then so that when I wake up on New Year’s Day I feel like total shit and am so hung over I spend the entire day in bed. I do that on a regular basis anyway, and it’s not by choice. So no thanks, I’ll skip that part, thanks. I’ll be spending my New Year’s Eve with the people I love: Vlad and/or my family and remembering the moment I bring in 2015. I don’t know if it’s because of the special circumstance of having a chronic illness, but I don’t understand the purpose of getting drunk. Like, getting high I can understand. Heavy duty drugs even make sense up to a point. But getting “wasted” just seems like such, well, a waste. Plus, being on all the drugs I’m on and mixing alcohol is not the best cocktail out there.

That magnet is pulling me closer for another reason though…

I’m at the lowest weight I’ve been in a year and a half. I feel amazing. Lighter, more able-bodied (as able-bodied as can be expected with CRPS, anyway), and just generally better. But every time I move, every time I look in the mirror, I’m reminded. I’m reminded that now I have to maintain this. I have to stay this size. I have to stay small enough to fit into all of these new clothes, to stay this small to keep these jeans, these new pajamas. I feel like I have to stay this small to keep my parents happy. And then I feel like I’m not small enough. I can feel my hip bones and the tendons in my legs. If I flex certain ways, I can grip chunks of my body very easily (like my collar bones and my armpits) but, I still have flabby arms and thighs. I still have a bit of a paunch and my hips are definitely a bit muffin-topped. When I was fat, I was invisible. People saw me, but they didn’t. They looked at me to look long enough and be disgusted. Being smaller, people look and scrutinize. They look to make sure I match and my hair looks good. I can’t handle that sort of pressure. I like leaving my house looking like a wreck. But even more than that, I like to feel like I don’t have to worry about what other people think. When I’m in public with other people, it’s easy to fend off the opinions and thoughts of others. I can put on blinders and defend myself through sarcasm and humor against what people say or do. But when I’m alone, the voices in my head, real or imaginary, are much too loud and I’m defenseless. I can’t escape them and suddenly I’m cornered. Today, I skipped going to a market because I didn’t want to go alone. Going alone meant being the sole object of a person’s scrutiny. That is not acceptable. And eating. God, I feel like I’m self-diagnosing. And I honestly don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t eat. Yesterday, I had one sandwich on gluten-free bread (that part is kind of important because it’s really small slices). Today, I had one sandwich and about 1/4 cup of gluten-free granola. That’s it. That’s all I’ve eaten all day. And for the past 4 hours or so, I’ve been fending off the urge to go downstairs and pig out on Gushers because we have like 5 boxes in the cabinet. Why do we have so many? Because I went on a binge the other day and ate like 2 boxes by myself and asked my mother to kindly buy more. Now, we’re stuck in that rut that sometimes occurs when I have this problem. We’ll buy them for a few weeks until this particular cycle is over and then I won’t crave them anymore. Definition of a binge eater. I want to stay thin. I want to stay this size and wear these clothes, these jeans and get these compliments. The problem though, is that I want to be thinner.

“I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad…I find it kind of hard to tell you ’cause I find it hard to take…”

“Winters Come, My Love The Winters Go…”

polar-bear-face_1811615iHowdy do. I’m just gonna skip all the formalities and apologizing (mostly to save myself the humiliation and embarrassment at having been underground for so long) and get right to the bare bones: things have been…well, weird. I’m finished my first semester at Towson State. My teachers were ethically questionable and a bit insane but I passed all of my classes. I would have preferred higher marks. I have to listen to my parents brag about Thomas’s grades for the rest of winter break since he got (almost) straight A’s this semester. And it’s his first semester at college. He’s home right now though because yesterday was Christmas! And quite a Christmas it was! My dad is suffering from a bad case of gout, coupled with a UTI so he’s pretty much immobile and had to stay stationary for the unwrapping of presents. Once all that was over, he was forced to retreat to the basement, where he stayed with fever and chills the rest of the night. I played with my new touchscreen laptop (it folds too so it can act like a tablet!) and other gizmos. It was quite a Christmas. I baked a lot too, something that I don’t normally do. Cooking isn’t really my thing. I just don’t really tend to stay committed to the whole task. It starts off really fun but then I get bored and don’t want to do it anymore. After presents though, I got a massive migraine, where my face hurt and the roof of my mouth felt like it was being jammed up through the top of my skull. It was horrible. I had to lay down and stay in bed for a few hours until it subsided. Besides that, Christmas was relatively quiet. But that’s not why I’m writing. Christmas is a holiday that Christians celebrate all over the world so it’s pretty uneventful, as sad as that is to say. What I wanted to talk about is the fact that a) I’ve lost even more weight and now I’m suddenly very body conscious and b) my doctor treating me for CRPS approved me for the spinal cord stimulator. I called the pain clinic and am now waiting for the game of phone tag to proceed so that we can get this surgery scheduled. It’s the Friday after Christmas so I’m not expecting much, and they schedule these things way in advance but the sooner I get it done, the better. I’m going into a flare right now; I can feel it. I’m already in doctor-ordered physical therapy (which is not helping) and I’m trying to be as mobile as possible but I can only do so much. This flare won’t be stopped for much longer. And that’s not cool! I’m having a good time for once. Me and Vladimir are in a really good place. He got me a penguin Pandora charm for my Pandora bracelet for Christmas. He even drove all the way to my house just to see me for an hour or so on Christmas when I said I couldn’t drive because of my migraine. We’re going to get married; I know it. Then, my foot has to rear it’s ugly…self and remind me that it can’t be that simple. And my body image is acting the same way. I’ve finally dropped closer to my ideal weight, the number I set as my goal when I suddenly woke up and realized I’d gained 50 pounds. It’s great and wonderful to be fitting into smaller clothes and moving easier and all of that but now I’m also panicked about gaining the weight back. I’m constantly worried about how my “extra” skin looks and how everything appears from the side. I even thought about taking laxatives earlier because I had eaten a bit more than normal and didn’t know how to even things out. What the hell?! I don’t think I’m a vain person; I have no problem walking around in public without makeup on and looking like a total mess. It takes quite a lot to embarrass me. But all of a sudden, now that I’m smaller, things matter. My complexion, the hickeys Vlad gave me (that was an awesome time), whether or not you can see my gut in these jeans, all of that matters now. If my nails are cut evenly, if my glasses are on my face straight, if my pants are both tucked in or pulled over my shoes. I operate under rules and regulations. That’s the only way my world functions, even if I’m the only one who knows those rules and regulations. But having the sudden, added pressure of not knowing what rules are more important than others, of not knowing what rules are being broken and what rules aren’t? That is something that I cannot handle. I never know what is going on, what people are staring at. I don’t know where to put my hand, or if I have a booger or if they can see the crease of my underwear. It’s humiliating and totally exhausting. Public outings are costing me energy and effort that I sort of don’t have. And then, when I lay back, and feel the tendons in my hips, or clutch my ribcage and count the individual ribs, I know it isn’t enough. I need the exaggeration to be more exaggerated. I am extreme person. And there is no limit to the amount of extreme I will go. And honestly, standing on this little piece of ice, this quickly melting piece of ice, staring into the abyss, not knowing if there are narwhals or orcas or polar bears in there…is absolutely and utterly terrifying. But thrilling at the same time.