“There I Was, Cold, Isolated, and Desperate for Something I Knew I Couldn’t Have”

imagesSitting in Barnes and Noble, you see the funniest characters. There was once an episode of Family Guy, where they were making fun of people who go to Starbucks and places like this to be seen using their laptops in public. They’re hipsters. They aren’t really doing anything useful or important, they just want to seem like they are so they go to a public place that most people perceive as cool or like upper-class and sit there and pretend to be watching their stocks grow or pegging their investments. I’m sitting in a Barnes and Noble, the same one I was in yesterday and the same one I’m in every Thursday with my laptop, waiting for my appointments with Allister and Dr. Glover. There’s an elderly couple here, talking and laughing over pastries and coffee. They’re some of the smallest older people I’ve seem and the man has a bit of a ducktail (something Thomas would be proud of). But they seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves. There are a few people (including me) on laptops, with headphones in, all with drinks of different kinds, doing God knows what. Actually, a lot of the laptop people are peering around at the rest of their cafe mates. There are a few odd couples here: two women who look like they might be on an interview, a man and a woman that might be studying for something. And of course, the slew of single people, all doing random things like talking on the phone, juggling the cutest little girl in the world while reading a magazine about vintage cars, staring out the window at the passing cars instead of at their computer screen. Or simply staring at nothing in particular while sipping their coffee, with their sophisticated headphones around their neck instead of over their ears. It’s really interesting what kind of people this places attracts. And I think that’s part of the reason when I run away from home, when I try to escape and leave all my problems behind, I come here. Part of the reason is because it’s far away and I know the area. I’m pretty comfortable with the streets and the roads down here. Albeit, I still get lost like it’s nobody’s business, but down here, it’s a little trickier to do that. Partially, also, because I always hope that if I pop over to Hunt Valley, if I swing down the winding, curving roads that are super dangerous but overly thrilling, I’ll find my grandmother, waiting on the porch for me. I’ll find my childhood on pause, waiting for me to step back into it. But when I get there, when I pull up in front of the house, I find someone else there. I find someone else’s cars, their stuff, and I have to speed off before they see me and think I’m a creeper. Even trying to reconnect with an old friend, the boy who lived in the next house over, is difficult. We’ve gone on and lived our separate lives. We’ve grown up. We’ve done things and met people and moved on. Something that seems totally impossible for me to do. Mara (I know, totally random) stole the last year of middle school, all of my high school and a good portion of my college life. And right now, I’m sort of stuck on the fact that I won’t be getting that back. I won’t get to repeat that stuff. I won’t be able to take those memories of prom and graduation and scrub them clean of her disease and filth. I can’t undo what was done. Everyone says I should forgive myself and that I am forgiven but I can’t believe that. The crime was so heinous and there is no punishment for it. Except this mental one. This mental prison that I’ve locked myself in. I’ve been trying to run from the responsibility I now face since graduation. I’m supposed to find a job, supposed to be a productive member of society until I can start on my bachelor’s program in the fall. And no one, no one, thinks I did this the wrong way. No one thinks I did this backwards, or out of order or anything. And I can’t get around that. How is that possible? There is an order to life. We’re supposed to do things in a certain sequence, and I royally fucked things up by being Mara’s “friend” but no one thinks I deserve any retribution for it. My dad, whenever he talks about his mother, always says that when he got a job or was in school, he would help her pay the bills because his father wasn’t there. Of course, she was noble beyond all reason and didn’t spend a lick of what he gave her, but the point is is that my father was an adult. He grew up. He accepted his responsibility and moved on. He didn’t fuck shit up like I did. My mom, when Laura said she wouldn’t be her friend anymore, just sort of moved on. She didn’t linger, she didn’t let it destroy her life. I did. My brother has the reflexes of someone who’s been abused because of the way Mara and I used to attack him. We used to physically beat Thomas for fun. Not like, until he was unconscious or anything, but he definitely had to defend himself. And because of that, Thomas’s reflexes are freakishly fast. He doesn’t hesitate to tell me that either. I don’t think he knows what he’s saying is hurting me, otherwise, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t say it, but still. It drives the knife in that much deeper every single time. These people sitting in Barnes and Noble with me…they don’t see Mara. They see a girl with makeup on her face, a teal dress on, gray boots, a sweater, jewelry…it’s a nice facade. I look normal. “If you hear horses in Central Park…” But I’m not a horse, I’m a zebra. And making people understand that is impossible. I can’t keep blaming her for my mistakes. People tried to tell me over and over again that she was bad news and I didn’t listen. This whole situation, this whole undoing of my life is my fault. I was telling Jackie how depressed I was yesterday and she was sympathetic. I was saying that no one does that anymore because people expect this to go away sort of like a broken leg. It’s there and then after a while, it’s not. It’s not supposed to be an ongoing problem. Yesterday, it definitely was. I was suicidal, cutting, depressed, reckless. You name it, I was feeling it. Except happy, don’t name that. I wasn’t reaching out to anyone either. DBT was there but it was on the back burner. I told you, I feel like my life is just crumbling around me and I don’t even have the energy to blame someone else. I don’t feel like I have the right to blame someone else. This was my doing. I made this bed and now I have to lie in it. But how easy is it to say that when you’re simply looking at the bed, or thinking about it? When you’re actually lying in it and it’s itchy and your back hurts and it’s uncomfortable, you want more than anything to be in Fiji, soaking up sun and drinking mojitos out of a coconut with Hugh Jackman next to you telling you he signed the divorce papers this morning and that he is officially a single man. I guess the whole point of this runaround story is that I’m sort of coming to realize…this is my life. This is what it is and this is what it always will be. An endless stretch of days and nights, an endless sea of ups and downs, darkness and light, varying shades of gray, never a glimpse of white but always flashes of black. And I have no one to blame but myself.

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“It’s The Best Time of the Year”

IMAG0169Christmas is almost here. “You grew up hearing about it, but I never figured I’d be there.” I wrapped a ton of presents today and I’m actually still not finished. For a family that doesn’t place much value on material objects, we buy a lot of crap for each other. I’m stressed to the max though. Of course, like everyone else on the fucking planet, Lucy, duh. Gosh. No, but seriously. Like I said last time, the feelings of anxiousness and compulsion are super strong because if I stay still, all the darkness of every single molecule in time and space is closing in on me. I can’t describe it any better than that. And my mood swings, this all-or-nothing thinking. I can’t even wrap my brain around why this is happening. My mom said the usual: it’s stress, you just finished at the community college, you’re at a transition in your life, bla, bla, bla. But I don’t buy it. I don’t know why I can’t handle transitions like everyone else. Powerpoint presentations have an easier time transitioning and they aren’t even alive. And I’d like to think that I’m sort of, well not really but kind of, over the whole “self-sabotage” thing. I know I say it basically every time it happens, but that’s not what this feels like. God, I’m quoting and rolling my eyes at myself. Maybe that means that’s exactly what this is. I’ve been cutting practically every day for one reason or another. And usually, the reasons, in hindsight, are really stupid. But at the time, the feelings, the emotions are completely overwhelming and I feel like a supernova. The smallest thing will set me off. So I have to relieve the pressure. I look like I’m turning into a zebra. I thought I was making headway with the DBT skills. It was getting easier because rather than having to consciously think about using them, they would sort of just come to me. I could be like, “oh, I should be distracting myself right now,” or “I need to do some opposite action” and it would naturally occur. But then, all of a sudden, I’m slicing up my wrist like a Christmas ham and freaking out because I feel like everyone in the mall is staring at me accusingly. After all this time, after all this shit I’ve been doing, you’d think I’d have a handle on it by now. Part of me feels like this is bullshit. You know, the whole I’m-going-to-quit-therapy-and-go-join-a-commune. But then I’m like…nope, that thought doesn’t even finish. I can’t give myself credit for all the “work” I’ve done. Other people don’t have this problem. Other people don’t have to do this, so why should I celebrate what I’ve been through as an accomplishment and not some form of punishment for some crime in a past life. I talked to my dad a few mornings ago, and he said he was proud of me. And he acknowledged everything I went through. He told me that he knew it was difficult, and that with the hospitalizations and the therapy and the medications, he knew it was a struggle to complete school. But I did it. And that, that moment, right then, was the first and only time I’ve believed that my dad was actually proud of me. But, of course, the moment was more fleeting than a speck of dust in a tornado. I subconsciously reminded myself of everything I just said and it simply went “poof!” And now my parents are talking about sending me to get my bachelor’s degree while my brother is pursuing his. And they don’t think there’s anything wrong/weird about this at all. But I think it’s very, very weird. I mean, if the school has a good program then I want to attend, but I also want to preserve the relationship with my brother. I don’t know. Something about this, just doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re suggesting I go to the school that the favored child go to. Just like sloppy seconds. Again. When they suggested Thomas go to Rowan, the school of my choice if I hadn’t fucked up, I was crushed. Why would you send the child you prefer to the school of choice for the other child? Like that just seems really weird, twisted and messed up to me. But they don’t think this is strange in the slightest. I don’t know, I almost feel like they’re trying to turn me into Thomas. Like they’re trying to make me conform me into his little mold, hoping that if I fit, if they manage to stuff me in there and make it work, I’ll turn out like him. Of course, telling them this would be ridiculous. They wouldn’t listen. It would be me being ridiculous, me reading into things too much. I need a cigarette.

Fearing the Wise Mind

wiseowlLast night I don’t feel like I got my point across very well. This is a very complicated emotion thus the struggle I’m having in effectively communicating what the hell it is I’m feeling about it. First off, let me explain what happened. Ever since I was little, I’ve felt my parents have favored Thomas. It was always little stuff like giving him more praise for a good job in school but its effect was felt. Rather than get mad and become evil and bent on total domination or human destruction, I internalized everything and pushed myself to be better than Thomas so that I could, one day, receive the same love and affection that he did. I want to make it clear that I was never angry about it. I was hurt and each time the favoritism was evident, I was more determined to win over their love. Well, this internalization, we (as in me and Allister) believe, led to my many problems today. Perfectionism? I got that down. Unrealistic expectations? Check. The problem with this little theory though, is that 1) I don’t want to be angry with my parents and I feel like that’s what is being said. I feel like I have to be. But, after giving it consideration last night, the reason I don’t want to be angry at them is because, in my mind, being angry at them means not loving them. Using my rational mind, I know that’s not true. I know that no matter what I’m feeling towards my parents that I love them. My emotional mind is saying something completely different. It’s saying that being mad at them means there’s no room for loving them. It means I would have to revert back to the way things were a while ago when it was constant fighting and just bitter hatred. So what’s my wise mind saying? Well, it’s saying that it’s okay to be angry and still love them. But, me being the willful person I am, I don’t completely trust my wise mind. I still haven’t successfully separated my emotions from things like love so how do I know it’s different this time? What if it’s not and I’m destined to become that child that shoots up a school or something because in her eyes, her parents never loved her enough? I mean, that’s what it really boils down to. Thomas receives more love than I do. God, even typing that was hard. See, whenever I bring this to their attention (and I have on numerous occasions), they always have some rational explanation for their behavior. And at first, it makes perfect sense. But the more I think about it, the more it doesn’t and I’m even more pissed off that I fell for it in the first place. No parent wants to think they made mistakes. I get that. But when the kid who’s supposedly favored even sees it, that’s a problem. And Allister stated the obvious yesterday, which is why I think I got so upset. I’m never going to get an apology from them. I’m never going to hear them say they’re sorry for what they’ve done. And worst of all, I’m never going to be on equal ground as Thomas. And this is where radical acceptance comes in. That’s the hardest skill of all, one that I’m not sure I’m ever going to master. How do you radically accept that your parents love you less than your brother? I don’t hate Thomas or hold any animosity towards him over this either. Actually, Thomas and I are very close. But accepting that, in my parents’ eyes, I will never be on the same level is like the dagger to the heart. I already drive that point home every time I think about all the ways I’ve failed in life so radically accepting that on top of all of those failures…well, maybe it’s a point of accepting them too. Oh God, there’s so much acceptance to be done! When it comes to that, I just freeze up. I can’t do it. I don’t know what it is about radically accepting something that I don’t get but I just can’t seem to grasp the concept. I think it’s the finality of all of it. It’s the fact that once I’ve accepted whatever I’m accepting, I’m resigned to whatever fate accompanies that acceptance. And the more I think about it, accepting the fact that my parents will never love me as much as they love Thomas (God, that sounds so terrible! Maybe it’s ‘the fact that my parents will never love me in the same way they love Thomas.’ Yea, I like that better), the fate that I would be resigned to if I accepted that is Recovery. It would be a step in the right direction, a step I would be taking without my parents. Although it would be a step for me, it’s a step without them and that scares the crap out of me. Fear is a powerful motivator. But it’s also a powerful inhibitor. And I think it’s keeping me from truly getting better. So how do I get around this practically insurmountable object? I mean, Allister said the exact same thing to me yesterday in therapy and what did I do? I completely shut down. I went home and slept for 2 hours. I avoided. I ran away from my problems. Something I’m even struggling not to do right now. I’ve hovered my cursor over the ‘Save Draft’ button numerous times while writing this, wondering if I had the strength to continue. I think I have some serious work ahead of me. It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be fun. But it needs to be done.

“Why Can’t They Understand The Way We Feel?”

44youllbecddeFor some reason, I like to write early in the morning. Or would it be considered late at night? It’s 3:06 AM on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. I have class today at 2:10 in the afternoon. About 11 hours from now, actually. I took a Melatonin last night because I knew sleeping would be difficult but obviously it isn’t working. I slept literally all afternoon yesterday. I woke up at noon, got up for an hour, then went back to sleep until 3:00. It was ridiculous. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I laid in bed the rest of the day. My mom had me call Dr. Ordella but I don’t know what that’s going to do since we basically abandoned our doctor/patient relationship last time we had a visit. I highly doubt she’s going to be of any help. And I don’t see Allister until Wednesday. I’m at a loss. I do everything I’m supposed to do. I do Opposite Action (except for yesterday, yesterday I didn’t do squat!), I practice resistance when it comes to cutting, I attend therapy and group every single week, I visit with my psychiatrist once a month, I take my medicine every day and what? What happens? I’m still miserable. I don’t understand. And I’ve recently learned that this whole ‘chemical imbalance in the brain’ thing might not even be true. Some scientists believe it was gimmick made up by the drug companies to make people take medication. That’s really promising, right? That’s really reassuring that the one thing that I actually took solace in, the one thing that actually convinced me this was an actual disease might not even be true. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this knowledge. Ruin other people’s lives? Shatter other people’s hopes for treatment? Deja vu! Whoa! I’m listening to “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins. It’s on my Anti-Happiness playlist on YouTube. I’m depressed, okay? This song always reminds me of my dad. I’m so scared I’m going to lose him and this song perfectly captures that feeling. Okay, anyway, back to the issue, I don’t know what to do about this depression. And no one else seems to know either. I almost feel crazy. I feel like I’m in gym class, climbing that rope where you have to ring the cow bell at the top. Well, I’m at the top, ringing that stupid bell and no one’s around to hear. And no one’s around to tell me how to get down. I’m stuck up here, alone, screaming for help. I have no idea what to do. And I’m sick of feeling that way too. I’m sick of feeling like there’s no hope for me. I’m sick of feeling out of control. I feel like there’s no hope for me. I need control in my life. I need to be able to handle some portion of my life somehow. But how? I don’t know. I’m lost. And I don’t know how to find my way back. I’m getting sleepy.

“Is This What It Feels Like To Really Cry?”

I wish I was asleep right now. In sleep, nothing matters. Nothing exists. There’s no pain, no happiness, no suffering, no joy, no nothing. Everything is nothing. And I like it that way. When I’m awake, which clearly I am, I have to feel everything. But it’s nothing at the same time. I know, I’m not making any sense but that’s exactly how I feel right now. I feel so many emotions right now that I don’t feel anything at all. It’s as if I’ve imploded. Rather than outwardly explode into a million pieces, I’ve become a black hole. My whole being has been sucked inside and I can’t seem to find a way out. There’s no light, it’s dark and it’s cold. I want it to be over. I want everything to stop, to cease and desist, to disappear and never come back. I’ve been listening to sad music. I’ve been lying in bed, watching Netflix all week. It’s reached the point of being unhealthy. I went out today to get my nails done and rather than actually go through with it, I freaked out and raced home to hop in my bed. I didn’t leave the rest of the day. I’m exhausted all day and then when it comes time to go to sleep (like right now), I can’t sleep. I thought, in the beginning, that it was my birth control. I got my period and around the same time, I started feeling like this. Well, that’s come and gone and I still feel like shit. I tried to write it off as boredom from having such a long break. Well, break’s over next week and I still feel like this. There’s no excuse for me feeling so bad. I have to come to grips and face facts. I’m depressed. I don’t know what that means for me. I see Allister tomorrow and I’m really struggling with it. I never have a problem with seeing Allister but going tomorrow means having to talk about what the hell I’m going through. I don’t know if I can do that. Even while typing this, I have to stop every few words and pull myself together. I’m not crying or anything but this is emotionally draining. I tried to blog the other day after I cut (twice!) but it ended up in the scrap pile. Halfway through, I caught myself staring at the screen for 20 minutes so I just closed the computer and went to bed. I’m actually really surprised I made it this far. Oh yea, I’m not trying to completely gloss over the fact that I cut twice on Friday and Saturday but I don’t feel like I had a choice. I tried every other DBT method my training has taught me but nothing worked. I needed to feel something. I told my mom that I wanted to cut earlier today and she asked me why. I told her I wanted to feel something and her reply was that I’d said in the past that cutting makes you feel nothing. It’s a complicated action. Sometimes, that’s true. When you’re feeling too much, cutting is like opening a drain in a pool and letting all of the emotions and pain slither down the tubes. But when you’re feeling nothing? When you’re so numb, it’s as if you’re a leper; you could take a meat cleaver and amputate your hand and you wouldn’t notice, cutting is the perfect release then. It’s the same drain opening up and letting all of the emotion and feeling back into your being. Even now, the urge is there. I’m listening to this song called “Cry” by Kelly Clarkson. “Is it over yet? Can I open my eyes? Is this as hard as it gets? Is this what it feels like to really cry?” I keep asking myself those questions. I feel like my road has come to an end. I don’t have a map or enough gas to get back home and there’s no one around for miles. How the hell am I supposed to get back to my life? How am I supposed to feel again? Because right now, it doesn’t look like I ever will. cry2