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.

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*TRIGGER WARNING- body image and self-harm discussion*acinq-launches-lightning-network-android-wallet-eclair

This is going to be a regular thing. I have to make it a regular thing or I will lose my fingers…and my sanity. I’ve been picking the skin on my fingers to the point that friends, coworkers, people that didn’t know I picked are suddenly aware of this disgusting compulsion. My fingers are bleeding, catching on fabrics and I’m sure, grossing out people at work. I need to stop but I can’t. Why?

Anxiety has been a big part of this whole process called “recovery”. I think mental illness is a lot like lightning and I’m a firebender (pardon the Avatar: The Last Airbender analogy…it’s an awesome show, though! Haven’t watched it? You should!). Rather than control, possess and master mental illness, I’ve simply learned to redirect its energy. Now, that being said, that redirection is not always positive (haha, electricity pun!). My depression was overcome through Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. That was overcome by focusing on Borderline Personality Disorder. While that one, is arguably, insurmountable, my manifestation has presented itself once again in OCD and anxiety.

The lack of control I feel (not true to what I actually have) is so extreme that I’ve taken to obsessively cleaning, destroying my fingers, spending money in insane amounts (I’ll explain this one) and generally just hating myself, my journey and who I’ve become (and who I was, frankly. It’s not good either way).

Despite what I know, logically, are accomplishments, I feel nothing positive towards myself. I hate my body: my weight, size, uncooperative hair, general build, my bloody fingers, my voice. I hate that any progress I’ve made has come to a complete halt. I am simply existing in my dirty apartment, my dead-end job and my self-loathing. How do we fix this? I have the tools. I know what I’m supposed to do but struggle on a daily basis to do something about it. And any time I do manage to pull something off, other monsters come and plague my brain, unraveling the progress I made that day. I’m stuck.

I’ve started leaving the house in actual clothes, rather than sweatpants and leggings, in an effort to improve my body image. I wear earrings to work and I accessorize when I go out. While it doesn’t help my fingers, it sometimes does help me…tolerate…myself. Ugh, that word rolls off the tongue like a nasty pill. Are you supposed to tolerate yourself? Or are you supposed to love yourself unconditionally? If you can only tolerate yourself, is that the cap? Is unconditional love now impossible because you’ve set your own limit? I have sex with my clothes on. I count calories and worry about what I put my mouth and how it will affect my hips. I see other people, plus size or not, and am jealous of the effortlessness in which they carry themselves. How they know they’re gorgeous and it doesn’t take the slightest ounce of effort to be that way. They glow with self-confidence while I have shrunk so far into the shadows of self-doubt, I’m not sure I was ever in the light.

Another problem is that I don’t have an outlet for this…jumble of panicked emotion. Any sort of hobby I may have once had has become boring or uninteresting. My days consist of household chores and watching Netflix, or working. That’s all I do. I want to do so much more but I get stuck. The thought of reading a book, or learning how to play the ukulele is thrilling, in theory, but the second there may be some reality to it, I lose interest. Maybe this fear is what’s driving everything. Maybe this deep, unseated fear that I have that things will never be up to expectations is what is causing so much anxiety and intense emotion.

My life will never be what I wanted it to be, so why try to make it something else? Re-frame my future, and things might improve. But I would have to forgive myself for making those egregious mistakes, allow myself to move past them, and embrace the intense dread I feel whenever I start something new. So, you know, no big deal.

 

“We’ll Just Laugh Along Because We Know None Of Them Have Felt This Way”

bubblesI have this horrible habit of only writing when things are really in the shitter. I mean, that’s the only time I seem to be able to step back and ponder the true questions of the universe: is there an afterlife? Does God exist? Will I ever get over this? Is world peace possible? What happened at the end of The Sopranos? When things are going well, the turquoise-tinted (my favorite color, and a beautiful stone. Rose is so over done!) glasses come on and there isn’t a single problem. Even things that would normally upset and cause an issue become nonchalant; tiny little molehills compared to the mountain of delight you’re feeling. On Easter, I got really sick. Hospital, surgery, the whole shebang! Afterwards, I felt much better. So much better in fact, that things seemed…good. I use that word so tentatively but that’s the best way to describe it. Things were good. I was in a good mood, the weather was nice (except for those horrible rainstorms), I was busy with appointments, friends and family. I was in a pleasant place. But it sort of happens like a bubble. You create this beautiful, color, vivid thing but it’s so fragile, so breakable that the slightest touch can pop it. This little bubble of suitability popped. I was doing fine when things got a little dicey. Because of my surgery (and even prior to it), I wasn’t eating well. But now? Well, now it’s a problem. I’ve become a little obsessive with it. I admitted it to Dr. Glover earlier and immediately regretted it. Now, I’m being roped into seeing a nutritionist. I haven’t seen/talked to Allister about all of this. I’m just freaking out. And of course, there was no way I was going to tell my parents. This is all happening so fast. My little bubble of contentment was so perfect and great. I was thriving and doing well. I was looking for volunteer positions, medical assistant jobs, hell, I got accepted to a school to finish my bachelor’s degree! (Okay, that process was started long before this little bubble was created but getting the news sure did help keep it afloat!) And now, it’s unraveling and it’s all my fault. I’ve always been tempted by loose threads. You have one on your shirt and, as you get older you know what’s going to happen, but you pull it anyway. You watch the hem come undone, then the first layer and so on and so forth, until you’re standing in a city square, topless, wondering who the hell stole your favorite sweater. Well, silly, it was you. You did it. A little while ago, as I was falling asleep, I got one of those Earth-shattering ideas. The kind that makes you wonder why you’re even bothering to fall asleep because you could so totally cure cancer right now. I was wondering why people get offended when they’re called “normal.” Everyone wants to fit in with the curve, be the same, swim up the same river, go with the flow but as soon as you suggest that they’ve succeeded in this attempt, they draw back and refute any evidence. They get upset and declare that they are the king of freaks, that there is no one who is further from normal than they are. But when that sort of thing happens, it changes the normal. “Everyone’s special…which is another way of saying no one is.” I’ve been searching for the “normal” in my life. A job, a degree, some semblance of what society deems acceptable so that I can continue in my life. But when I stop and think about it, all of those things aren’t going to change anything. People are so dependent on material to make them happy and I do not want to be that type of person. I think about death a lot. Just out of habit. And I often wonder what people will be remembered for. What will I be remembered for? Coloring in the lines and being so mainstream that I fade away without even a puff of smoke to celebrate my existence? Not cool. If this whole eating situation becomes something, it becomes something but I am not going to let it define me. I refuse to be my diagnosis. I refuse to identify as the person who’s always sick, the one who is teetering on the edge of hospitalization (no matter the kind). That won’t be me. I like Doctor Who and I want to be able to say that I could be his companion. Before I always denied it. I always said there was no way it would happen. There was no way I could leave this routine, leave my medication, leave my family but you know what? I need a dose of adventure. I need something in my life that is going to change me for the better, not add extra weight to the cinder blocks that are already on my feet. Sometimes, I feel bad for people that don’t experience emotions the way we do because it’s not as intense. It’s not as powerful and they can’t express it as…effectively. Alright, alright, the way I express my emotions isn’t necessarily effective but you get what I mean. They’re soda cans under pressure, waiting to explode and I’m sitting over here like a bottle of water that’s been spilled. Everything is out and flowing. And as of right now, that’s okay. That’s okay.

*quote paraphrased from The Incredibles…love this movie!

‘”Can I Get Some Help Around Here?”

maid005B.123114107So, I’m useless. It’s been confirmed by an outside, third-party, not-in-my-head source. Alright, the source isn’t so third-party. It’s my mom. But she did say the word “useless” in a sentence that was used to describe me. She didn’t mean it like that but it sure as hell hurt like that. I’ve already been feeling pretty shitty: eating my weight in Fruit Gushers everyday (you know, those little gummy snacks that spurt juice when you bite into them?) and getting killer headaches no matter what I seem to do about the light situation in my room (turn it on, turn it off, dim it, no TV, with the TV, doesn’t matter- migraine ensues). Plus, I haven’t heard anything from Towson and what I did hear from those jobs, well, that was described post-post. As maternal figure put it, I need to find something to do and not be so “useless” around here. See why that stung? Now, in my defense (at least while I’m feeling up to defending myself), I don’t think I’m completely useless. Not in the house, anyway. The kitchen and family room are straightened everyday, the foyer is picked up and pampered, the dog doesn’t poop in the living room (dachshunds are notoriously hard to potty train, even in their older years) and sometimes I go OCD off the deep end and something that needed cleaning gets super cleaned. It might not look as good as if Merry Maids did it or Serv Pro or something like that but note: I’m not getting paid in extraneous cash. I get free rent and utilities, which may seem nice, is not quite the same thing. While Thomas is off getting quizzed about what he’s going to do while he’s at school in the fall, you know, what he’s going to major in, what teams he’s going to join, who he’s rooming with, all that jazz, I’m stuck here reliving the horror that was my first year out of high school. I’m not in any way saying that I’m not happy for him. Hell, I was posting pictures of the college decal his school sent in the mail that I immediately slapped on my rear windshield with pride. I mean, I can’t say I have one of those. I can’t say I ever gave my parents one of those. And now, it’s gotten to the point where people don’t even bother to ask anymore. We saw our pediatrician today (a visit for Thomas but I was there) and she didn’t even ask about me. I can’t even try to give her the benefit of the doubt of not knowing how old I am or not knowing whether or not I’ve graduated or anything like that because I’ve been in that office on more than one occasion with Thomas and she’s asked me then. I guess my answers have just gotten so boring that they aren’t even worth pretending to be interested in. I mean, even volunteering has limited me. With the pain from my RSD spreading into (what seems like) my hands, I have become physically incapable of a lot of things. Typing this has taken me much longer than it normally would. I got Starbucks today and after walking halfway around Target, Thomas had to take the cup because I couldn’t stand to hold it anymore. How am I supposed to be useful like that? Most of the time, people want volunteers that can move things, haul things, you know, are physically sound. They don’t want people that are in questionable health. They don’t want people that may not show up for work one day because they don’t feel well. How am I supposed to compete with…the rest of the universe? How am I supposed to compete with everyone that has a degree, feels fine or actually functions for that matter? I’m prouder than proud of Thomas, I really am, but there is no way I can substitute his success for my shortcomings. His amazingness and achievements in life will never be the same as me achieving things and becoming amazing on my own. Part of this comes from the ever so deeply-rooted, practically biological need to make my parents proud. But it also comes from being so tired of having failed. I’m not a failure. My name and “failure” are not synonymous. And yet, somehow, they are. I don’t even have that much to say on this subject right now. I’m so pissed off and flustered. I’m going to bed.

“Easy Street…Better Get There Soon!”

Snow ballSo…this week has been rather eventful. And it’s been swinging both ways. For some reason, my anxiety has been through the roof and my OCD has been spiraling out of control. I’m constantly cleaning and straightening things up, even when I’m not in my own house. It’s like I’m the Energizer bunny. I can’t stop moving, no matter what I’m doing or where I am. Even in the shower, which is usually my safe haven, I have to be dancing. This energy makes my mom happy because I’m cleaning but she knows that’s a fine line to walk because I’m becoming obsessive. And it’s not just about that. It’s about my weight too. I’ve lost 50 pounds since April and I plan on keeping it off. Being able to fit into my size 16 jeans was like the best feeling I’ve ever experienced. I like being able to shop in my own closet for clothes that are smaller than the ones I’ve been wearing for the last 6 months. But Dr. Glover (my psychiatrist, in case you forgot. It’s been a while) increased my Lamictal (for picking/cutting) and my Seroquel (for the anxiety and depression), which she casually mentioned might cause weight gain. Of course, to her, that doesn’t mean anything. To me, it means back into bigger clothes, eating more, hating myself more…it’s just an ugly cycle that I’d rather not repeat. Coupled with my anxiety, it’s led to constantly weighing myself, obsessively watching what I eat and constantly worrying about what I look like in my clothes. And then, when I sit still, when I slow down because there’s nothing left to clean, nothing left to do, the bottom falls out from underneath me. I am dropped into this dark abysmal place, where I can’t see anything, where I can’t breathe, where I can’t think of anything but no longer existing. I can’t help but think of terminating myself. And it’s exactly like that. Usually when I think of ending my life, it’s sort of this dramatic, operetta-type deal. I imagine the whole scene. But when this place swallows me, it’s not that…emotional. It’s cold and calculating. I am not important enough to have such a grand farewell. I don’t deserve to have a standing ovation upon my passing. I need to exit stage right like a shadow, like the set designers that organize the props for the next scene, dressed in all black and invisible to the crowd that is enthralled in the show going on around them. I go out more like a candle, than a 4-alarm blaze. But as soon as I’m up, as soon as I’m running around, doing things, occupying myself, I’m fine. It gets even better though. BPD has very distinct behaviors, just like every other personality disorder. And now that I am aware I have BPD, I can more easily recognize those behaviors. And lately, they’ve been rearing their ugly heads like snowflakes in winter. I can see myself doing it, I can see myself being manipulative and bitchy. I can see myself being defiant and switching between all-or-nothing. I can see myself behaving in this way that I’ve worked over a year to not behave in. And all of a sudden, it’s not working. It’s almost like I’m a third-party observer. I see what I’m doing, I realize how I’m acting, but I can’t stop myself. It’s greedy, and shameful and horrible. And the snowball keeps turning…I beat myself up for being a bitch, for being fat, for being energetic, for being on Earth. And the holidays are extra weird for me because I’m not used to going broke buying Christmas presents for people who aren’t family and treat me like dirt and then having to do the same thing in 2 weeks because it’s their birthday. Speaking of which, I did something the other day that even surprised me a little bit. I messaged Lexi on Facebook (since you can do that without being friends with someone) and apologized for being a horrible human being. We’ve been texting/talking ever since and we’re working through it. I had to recount my story for the millionth time but like I told her, that is my cross to bear. In order to repair the relationships that were severed by my stupidity, I’m going to have to tell that story a million more times. It’s good to know that I have someone like that playing on my team again. She was always a better friend than Mara ever was. But even with this type of healing going on, even with her hopefulness for the future of our relationship, I’m still dealing with the problems mentioned above. I’m still trying to figure out why I had a meltdown half an hour before my pinning ceremony last night and told my mom I wasn’t going to go, then completely changed the planned outfit and wore something totally different. I’m still trying to figure out why I was super conscious of what I ate for breakfast but then pigged out at lunch and am super worried about dinner because I’m supposed to be going out with Dick to eat tacos or something. Oh, and then there’s the problem with him. He lives a good bit away, which has been a strain on our relationship but it hasn’t been a major factor. We always seem to work things out. But lately, because my moods have been, well, BPD-ish, driving that far and committing to something that long-term (even though it’s only a few hours) is really hard. And even getting him to come out here and then sending him home after an hour or 2, would be really ridiculous! This relationship is literally the best I’ve ever been in in my entire life. My parents like him, I like him, I think his parents like me. I can see myself marrying him. I don’t want this to end but I don’t know how to get around this little snag. Because, of course, it’s my problem. Things are always my problem. It’s never someone else’s. And, of course, that’s a BPD standpoint. Things happen to me, not because of me. That’s the shit I’m talking about. I just sort of slip into it and by the time I realize I’m doing it, it’s too late. The behavior has started and it’s too late. The gasoline has been poured and the match is lit. I just feel so out of control. I don’t know how to stop it. I’ve been diligently taking my medicine; that’s never been anything I’ve struggled with. But this inconsistency in my moods, in my energy, in my anger…it’s ridiculous. And Dr. Glover will probably try to say it’s Bipolar Disorder. I don’t have Bipolar Disorder. This is not a manic episode. I know my body and I know what I’m going through. I know enough about that disease to know that this isn’t that. I don’t have anything against people with Bipolar; I just know I don’t have it. If I’m slipping though, if this is the beginning of another end, I kind of need to brace myself. I can’t do that right now. I have too much shit to do. And I can’t handle that on top of everything else. That sounds so cold and heartless but it’s the truth. That’s how everyone else deals with me, so I’ll deal with me like that too. Easy enough, right?