makeupaid3Two weeks strong. It doesn’t seem like much compared to my old method of posting multiple times a day, but I guess there’s a thin line between obsession and passion. I didn’t sleep last night (a cuppa tea too late in the afternoon is to blame) so I woke up, had an extra shot in my latte and have been on the move ever since. I know when I crash, I’m going down hard so I don’t want to commit to it yet. Brendan and I made plans earlier this morning to go see a movie tonight (since we both have off Mondays, I suggested we make it a regular date night). He isn’t feeling well which sucks but he’s willing to go…if I can stay awake. So, having cleaned the bathroom and vehemently avoiding the laundry, I am here, completely my weekly goal of blogging to the fabulousness that is the Internet. I’ve been struggling with a lot of intense anxiety lately, usually a result of my OCD. I have dermatillomania, also known as compulsive skin picking as one of my compulsions. It makes my fingers bloody and swollen and generally awful looking. It’s been harder to hide this week because of the extent of the damage. Every finger is raw and red. This got me thinking about self-image. I’ve never been one to love myself…like, ever. I’ve always been too something, too fat, too stout, too this, too that. Or, if I found myself lacking in a particular quality, it wasn’t a slight deficit. It was like a huge, gaping hole. You know, the typical thought distortion of someone with low self esteem. Well, on a drive out with Brendan, a song by Kendrick Lamar called “No Makeup” came on and it stirred up some thoughts.

In the song he’s saying his significant other puts on makeup, though she’s beautiful with or without it. I have always admired the level of skill it takes to apply makeup in basically any capacity. I can do the basics: eyeliner and mascara. I think my eyelids are too fat (see, there I go again) for eye shadow; it just never looks right. Anyway, with makeup being the biggest trend right now for everyone and anyone, you would think finding a tutorial online would be easy. Learning how to contour and highlight should be as simple as opening a new window on the web browser. The thing is, my self-image is distorted to the point that I don’t think even makeup will save me from myself. It might make me more appealing to other people. I am ashamed to admit that that does play a factor here, but I can’t deny that I would still find myself unattractive. Which led me further down the rabbit hole…

There’s a certain point when someone with major depression is recovering that professionals worry. Once they’ve managed to pull themselves from the bottom of the bottom, their energy picks up just slightly, they suddenly can do what they could only imagine doing before: taking their own lives. When you’re severely depressed, you feel it physically. But once you start down recovery, you get some of your energy back. And that newfound life may still be distorted by depression and exerted…unhealthily. Okay, where am I going with all this? Self-image can be like that. Once you think absolutely nothing of yourself: wake up, go through the motions and pretend that you’re some sort of gray, blobbish thing that doesn’t have distinguishing features so that people won’t see you, you’ve hardened yourself against opinions other than your own. When you open that door, believe that you can improve, you can change your perception of yourself, don’t you run the risk of feeling that sleight? Don’t you leave your freshly uncovered wounds open to criticism and others’ opinions, which will, undoubtedly, lead those wounds to reopen and you to retreat even further into your cocoon of self-loathing? Personally, I don’t know which is worse. Subjecting yourself to the psychological torture of needing others’ approval of your appearance, or not giving a single fuck what you look like and still knowing that people don’t approve of you. It’s easy to pretend you don’t care but it’s not always the truth. I see myself in pictures and regret my particular choice of sweatpants that day. Or my constant need to choose function over form, and ending up looking like a bag lady that’s visited every clothing drive she possibly could.

I guess that’s sort of what recovery is, though. Coming to grips with yourself, in whatever manner you may want to, and rising above the experience of others’ in favor of your own. I’ve always envied people that knew exactly who they were for that very reason. Other people’s opinions of them didn’t matter. They liked what they liked and they lived their lives. I, on the other hand, would loathe those people for being so comfortable in their own skin, for never going through the dynamic of change. But really, I was jealous. It wasn’t about their lack of change or the development of their character. It was about the fact that they were comfortable enough to not give a hoot what someone else said. I feel like I can circle back around to bullying right here, but for argument’s sake, I’m going to leave it alone. That’s another bag of worms that I’m pretty sure I’ve unleashed on here a few times before.

The point of this exercise is not to tell you to love yourself (although that should probably be what take away from this whole thing). My point is that maybe society’s standards don’t matter. Maybe we all care way too much or way too little but for no reason at all. I need to stop picking my fingers for my own health; I don’t want to lose fingers or even hands to infection or sepsis. Who gives a damn what other people think? I sure as hell don’t! But maybe that’s my very problem…


PSA: If you enjoy makeup, if you know you’re fierce with/without it, you rock! I’m just venting my own personal problems. It’s not with the makeup, it’s my perception of myself…and my fear.


God, I remember when this was a thing. This was a multi-day/week occurrence with me. I couldn’t go without sitting in the library and pumping out at least one entry, while writing stories on top of it. But now? Now I don’t write at all. I watch everything. I never read. It’s a shame, really. And I don’t know what to attribute that to. Is it my current relationship with Brendan? Is it that I don’t want to write? Is it that any idea that I do scribble down gets scraped for the next thing until I’m left with a trail of unfinished scripts for the same story in my wake? I don’t know. I do know that once someone spirals down this rabbit hole it’s almost like getting better isn’t in the cards. I don’t care what anyone says about “recovery” and all that bullshit. Because it’s just that, it’s total bullshit. You’re going to have your good days and your bad days just like any other human being, sure. But most other human beings don’t need pills, drugs or the threat of death at their own hand to motivate them into the next tomorrow. I follow a lot of people on Instagram. Some have chronic health problems like me and others have mental health problems (again, like myself). That unspoken view on life we all share was once what was so appealing about following them. When I was depressed, I loved knowing there were other people on this Earth that had experienced the same things I had. But now? I’m not sure if it’s a hindrance, a trigger, I don’t know. I see someone post about the ever-revolving door that is healthcare and I’m inspired to call my doctor and complain about my treatment. I see someone else post about how close thy were to taking their own life a few hours ago and I wonder what exactly I have going for me that I can just sit here with aimless abandon and do nothing. I watch shows and want to know where these characters get their passion, their drive to spend countless hours working for the greater good of someone else. I sit in the library, sometimes watching those shows, and wonder what inspires someone to bring his tutor flowers, or another dude to watch Trump rally videos the entire time I’m here. I used to use this stuff. I used to sit there and attempt to understand the human experience, to write with wild abandon, even if I was only one reading it. Now? Now the only solace I get from my boyfriend, my pathetic attempt at being an adult and my ever empty bank account is sleep. And even that is forced now. To get any sleep of decent quality, I have to drug myself. And once those drugs kick in, it is the greatest thing ever. My mind runs with wild abandon. I’ve even begun to relish my nightmares and let me tell you, that part of my head is a place even Stephen King wouldn’t go. Part of the sleep problem is the fact that Brendan is taller than me, I only have a full bed and the dog and cat insist on sleeping in it too. So, I’m short-changed in the space department. If I stay up, I’m literally up all night because the three of them are taking up so much space that my hips and back end up paying for it. I don’t have an excuse for the rest of it. Laziness? School? I don’t know. But it hasn’t happened. Writing used to be the way I got things out, it used to be the way I processed things, the way I understood the world. I mean, it got to the point that I wouldn’t go anywhere without a piece of paper somewhere on me. I can’t explain how many napkins have idle musings or story excerpts on them. Once, I had no paper, no napkins and a dying light. Still, I wrote in the margins of my wordsearch book until all of those were completely full. The next morning I went back and couldn’t make sense of most of it because in the lack of light, I’d double-backed over my own writing. But it was out. The idea was no longer this virus inside my own head. Now, though, that’s all I seem to have. And the only way to escape them all is to sleep, which doesn’t much work since once I fall asleep, I’m trapped with them. I’m trapped with the gruesome thoughts, the murderous fears, all of it, until my alarm sounds the next morning. And then I wake up, and guess where I am? Back in the cramped bed, in the disgusting house, with way too much to do and no motivation to do it. When I first saw the Matrix, I remember riding to school on the bus (this was in high school, sometime before my license so maybe early 10th grade? 9th even? I’m not sure) and having the same freaky thoughts just about everyone has when they first watch that movie. Is all of this real? Am I in some sort of Matrix? Up until then I’d only experienced one tragedy in my life and created this world of fear and doubt on my own. I was relatively naive at the time and m parents had done a fine job of trying to prevent that from changing. Eventually, the thoughts led to a few story drafts, none of which went anywhere, but the fascination with the storyline changed from utter obsession to mere enjoyment. The possibilities the Matrix creates by questioning our very existence was revolutionary. That’s why that movie is so revered. And in my high school mind, there was some bleak amount of hope that this really wasn’t it. That there was more than waking up, going to school, learning shit I already knew, going home and generally being miserable. Now, though, I sort of feel like Thomas A. Anderson. No, not Neo, the hero of the free minds in Zion. I feel like his Matrix counterpart, the man before Morpheus, the one with his mind still plugged into the Matrix. I’m the one Mr. Smith hasn’t even started looking for because as far as that program is concerned, I’m just another mind plugged into the machine. Sleep is the only time my mind is free. And then, when it’s allowed to roam and fight off society and other radicals, it’s trapped with the Matrix that is my body. I have nothing to do. I’m literally frozen by my own body, stuck to drift through whatever mindset or thought my brain has until the next one appears and the door continues to revolve. Maybe the Matrix isn’t quite the analogy I’m looking for. Maybe it’s Avatar. No, not the Last Airbender with Aang and Katara (though that is one boss show). I’m talking about the blue aliens subjected to human terraforming for some rare mineral on their planet. Jake was a Marine with the loss of his legs. Once a Marine, always a Marine that much is true, but Jake’s body didn’t know that. The only return to the life of walking he was accustomed meant he had to close his eyes and upload his mind to his avatar. When his avatar slept, his mind returned to the shell that was his human body. That’s what I do every single night. I operate this avatar that looks like me, sounds like me and generally shares the same feelings but the only time I actually, truly feel is when I’m asleep. When I’m alone, when I’m sad, all of that is genuine too but if a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, did it fall? Does it count if I’m not sharing the experience with someone else? In both movies, they had someone to share all that with and were the better for it. Me, I have someone to share it with but don’t know how. I don’t know how to do what I want and do what he wants. I don’t know how to function on my own unless I’m on my own. Ask me to share that experience with someone else and it’s like giving the reigns to a blind horse and trusting it to lead me home. I can’t. I just can’t. I guess I’m going from one extreme to the other and back again. I was utterly devoted to Mara, with no thought about laying down my life for hers. There was no doubt in my min that it would have been a loss for anyone else but when it came to her happiness, devotion was the only thing I knew. Then, when we stopped talking, I became a loner. I was literally locked in my room with a subscription to Netflix and unwavering Internet access. I ate on and off, either starving or gorging to the point of topping my own previous weight by nearly half. I absorbed series like there was no abandon and found solace in the sad, the ugly and the beautiful. I found my way out of that hole for a brief moment in the sun. I righted wrongs, I did things I hadn’t thought I was capable of previously and so on and so on. Now, though, I think I’ve scrambled back into the nearest foxhole. I hate it in these things, as most soldiers do, but can’t seem to stop diving for cover the second things get tough. I’m in a relationship with Brendan and find myself compromising on the same things I did with her. I find myself enjoying the moments I have alone more than the moments when we’re together. I want to use my family as an excuse for just about anything. I never do the things I love and loathe the things we do. I always refer to whatever I’m doing as what we’re doing. At first, I took some liberty. I was happy to use we instead of me because it meant I had someone to “we” with but now, now I can’t stand it every time it comes out of my mouth. Now, I’m forced to correct myself for those times I’m not even referring to the two of us and just mean myself. My former empathy has turned to bitterness, my former companion has become my foe and I have no idea what to do.


I’ve got a million things to do. I’ve already done a million things this morning. And I’m pretty sure my hair is falling out as a result. I don’t even know where to begin. My emotions have been all over the place, from elated to down right depressed. Brendan is suffering as a result. I’m suffering as a result. Like…can you tell that my brain is scattered to the farthest reaches of the wind?

Graduation: I’m trying to graduate this semester. I found out I only need one credit before I continue on my pathway to higher education but, as there are less than 6 weeks left in the semester, acquiring that last credit seems nearly impossible. After spending a day running around from different ends of campus, I found someone willing to adopt me into their independent study course, normally worth 3 credits but since it’s so late would actually amount to 1 credit. Great, right? No. Trying to cram even 1 credit’s worth of work into a 6-week period has turned into pure madness. Graduation is in May, and I have yet to purchase anything for it, let alone actually start the paper that I’m supposed to write. I’ve done a teensy bit of research but between writing a paper for an incomplete course last semester and trying to keep up with the class that I’m legitimately taking, I’m swamped. I even missed a meeting with the professor supervising me this morning while trying to do every other thing I had to do. Ugh. My mom wants me to graduate this semester, I want to graduate this semester, but trying to do all of this in such a short time sort of kills the vibe of graduation. It’s supposed to be a fun, exciting time and just like high school, this is turning into a desperate race to the finish line so I don’t have to deal with it anymore. Just like everything else in life. That’s sort of how I roll but I don’t like it. That’s the actual, underlying problem. I am so short-sighted that I end up doing everything like this. Sloppy and half-assed. I’m sick of it. I’m ashamed of my accomplishments because they aren’t accomplishments. They’re throwing myself across the finish line, despite having quit a million times before. It’s not overcoming an obstacle, it’s not accomplishing a goal, it’s being in the right place at the wrong time. I hate it. And I hate myself for doing it. Every. Single. Time.

Sparks: I’m currently residing in my grandmother’s house, that was previously occupied by a family for nearly 12 years. The patriarch of the family was an independent contractor who worked on estates and accumulated a lot of stuff through his job. Cabinets nobody wanted, furniture that didn’t have a home, that sort of thing. And it accumulated in the house. As we go through and get it ready to sell (it was built in the 30s so his lack of care and the fact that it’s old as dirt does not help anything), we find problem after problem. And most of it can’t be fixed cheaply. Painting, holes in the drywall, problems with the furnace, the (practically) toxic water in the well, it’s all horrible. It’s depressing since it’s my grandmother’s house. It’s got sentimental value, especially for my mom. Her siblings share ownership but don’t seem to share te same attachment to the property that she does. They haven’t helped a lick with the entire thing. It’s upsetting to hear her complain and stress about the house, being powerless to d anything. And then I keep finding problems. My mom is digging herself into this hole with this house and all I’m doing is reaping more dirt on her. It’s hard. So hard.

Body: I lost nearly 50 pounds over the course of the last year. I worked hard, ate clean and felt so empowered in my skin. There were still improvements to be made but it was the happiest I’d ever been with my weight. Well, guess what? I’ve gained it all back. I watch My 600-lb. Life and hate myself because I can relate to what the people are saying. I can understand eating as a stress-relief, eating to disappear, eating to make people stop looking at you, to hide behind food. I hate myself, even for typing it. It’s disgusting. And I’ve started picking my fingers again. My thumbs are bloody and scabbed, and every little piece of skin that tries to grow over gets pulled off. I get stuck, picking and pulling rather than doing homework or completing the task in front of me. I leave a trail of little white flecks behind me because I’m pulling so much skin off. It’s horrible. And as a result of all this hate, I want to cry. I want to cut. I want to express the hatred I have. But rather than change my habits, rather than fix things the way I did before, I’m taking it out on my corporeal form. I’m blaming my body for what I’ve done and it’s paying the price.

I can’t explain what else is going on because there isn’t a direct reason for it. Like I said, my emotions are all over the place. I feel stretched too thin and squished all at the same time. I’ve got lots of homework to do, lots of responsibilities that aren’t really my problem to deal with and finding a way to swim through it all.

Needs and Numbers

Les_Mis_Day4_blogI wish I was still in bed. Unfortunately, I’m sitting in the public library. I came up here to find something to read since I never do that anymore and to pick up a bunch of CDs I ordered so I could update my iPod. Since I seem to blog best in the library, I thought I’d take a shot at it while I was here. But let the record reflect, I’d rather be at home in bed, asleep. I woke up this morning at 7:00 because I couldn’t sleep anymore. I found out last night that Uncle Fish is being put in a nursing home today. Which is definitely not cool. And of course, I feel like it’s my fault. I sit at home and do nothing day in and day out and what happens to him? He gets shoved into a home like someone forgot about him. My dad traveled down there to make the transition a little easier but I don’t know how much of a difference it’s going to make. I know how much having to depend on other people is weighing on Uncle Fish and this is going to be the ultimate cake-topper. It hurts me that he’s hurting, it really does. I cried this morning because I felt so defenseless, so helpless. There’s nothing anyone can do. We all just have to kind of sit and wait with him and that’s scary. And this is so incredibly hard for me because it’s like staring death in the face. Uncle Fish looks so physically sick every time I see him. Whenever we go down there, he looks worse. I don’t know what to do with myself when I see him. Like I want to leave the room because I almost can’t handle it. I have such issues. Speaking of which, I need to declare to Allister (well, since he’ll be reading this at some point between now and our next session [Hi, Allister!], he’ll know it for himself!) that I want therapy to be more serious. I want to get to the real heart and soul of the problem. I don’t want to scratch the surface anymore. I’ve never cried in therapy, and most of the time I leave feeling perfectly fine. Am I suppose to? Aren’t I suppose to leave feeling like crap? Aren’t I supposed to be upset and hysterical? I just don’t know if the deeper, like root-of-the-problem problems are being dealt with. Like when I bring up my self-esteem issues in group, it’s really difficult to talk about and I feel super self-conscious, but when I do the exact same thing with Allister, I feel like I deflect with humor and avoid the subject so expertly that in the end, it’s never really discussed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking forward to it. I’m scared shitless. I don’t want to do this at all. But I know that in order to get better, I need to. I’m taking Medical Coding this semester for my Medical Assisting degree. There’s a numerical code for every recognized disease on the face of the Earth and it’s all contained within this book called the ICD-9-CM. Borderline Personality Disorder’s code is 301.83. Major Depressive Disorder’s code is 296.2. And OCD’s code is 300.3. That’s my life contained in code. I could add one more for generalized anxiety but that sort of ties in with the OCD. On a piece of paper, that’s the definition of Lucy Burnett. It was kind of like a holy moment for me and I don’t know why. To see myself the way clinicians see me was really like, Inception-esque. I don’t know how to describe it. The cutting, the crying, the sleeping, the lack of motivation, the guilt, the sorrow, everything is contained in 3 sets of 4 digits. It’s really scary. I feel like Jean Valjean from Les Mis. 24601. Except mine is 301.83, 296.2, or 300.3.  I don’t know. I start with a new psychiatrist on Monday because my last appointment with Dr. Ordella (which was on Wednesday) was a disaster. Allister found this one. She works at the Center. Hopefully, she’ll be willing to help me so I don’t feel so contained by the numbers and the diagnoses. On Wednesday, I brought my mom with me to see Dr. Ordella because I knew I wasn’t going to stay calm at all. First, Dr. Ordella made me sign a release, with my mom sitting in the room right next to me, saying that she had permission to talk to my mom. As if my mom being there wasn’t permission enough! Then, she started going in on me about how she would’ve switched me if I had asked (basically calling me a liar again) bla, bla, bla so I stopped listening. Eventually, my mom reasoned with her and we started on a low dose of Prozac. Right now I’m weaning off the Effexor so I start the Prozac in a little while. We’ll see how it goes with this doctor though, she might have other plans. I think I’m ready for a nap.

“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.