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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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.

“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.

“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.