“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?

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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.

Debt

fear_of_drowning_by_starfishyy-d5cqnvkSomething’s wrong. I feel like I’m walking down a long, dark tunnel with a stubby little candle as the only source of light. I’m wearing a long nightgown, with bare feet and no glasses on. How the hell am I supposed to see when the boogyman jumps out at me? That’s exactly how I feel. Shortly after coming back from Virginia, my mom shared the fabulous news that Uncle Fish was in the hospital with pneumonia. Normally, that wouldn’t be as much of a concern because Uncle Fish has always been a healthy person. But now? Now, it’s like a 5-alarm fire because he’s sick with lung cancer and what does pneumonia affect? Your lungs. What does chemotherapy and radiation do to a person’s immune system when they have lung cancer? They napalm it. So class, what’s the lesson that we’ve learned today? Lung cancer + pneumonia + a weakened immune system= serious problems for Uncle Fish. I am not handling the stress very effectively. I joined Planet Fitness after my little trip to see him so I’ve been going there for the past 2 days to sort of physically exert my stress onto something else. That’s helped a little bit. And of course, I saw Allister 2 days ago. I go to group today. I’m doing all these things to try and cope with the fact that my uncle is on his exit from this Earth. Dealing with it now is like dealing with the sunset. You know it’s inevitable but for now, it’s a long way off. Except this sunset is getting closer and closer. I’m not ready to go inside and eat dinner. That’s what my cue used to be. When it was dark enough for the street lights to come on, I had to stop playing with my friends and go inside to eat. Except this time, I don’t want to. Normally, I would’ve been happy to call it quits from kickball or hide and seek because going inside meant food, it meant warmth (or AC if it was the summer), it meant my favorite TV show (The Rugrats) and it meant hanging out with Bryan and baby Thomas. Well, one of those people has prematurely departed, the Rugrats was canceled a long time ago and I have a license, a car so the street light philosophy ended a while ago. What am I supposed to do with it is suddenly being enforced again? And I don’t mean to confuse anyone. No one is literally making me play outside until the street lights come on. I’m just saying if Uncle Fish is like the sunset, our time together is growing short because the street lights are starting to flicker on and I can hear my mom calling for me to come inside. I don’t want to say goodbye to him. Last night, when I got home from NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill), I went straight upstairs and started cleaning myself. I took almost a 45 minute shower because I couldn’t get the dirt off myself. It wasn’t physical dirt. I hadn’t been rolling around with pigs or anything. No, it was psychological dirt that I felt like I could feel on my skin. I’d been thinking impure thoughts and I had to scrub the sin away. I was thinking that maybe Uncle Fish should stop fighting. Maybe he should just give in to the illness and die in peace. Him dying now or 20 years from now wouldn’t make his death and easier on anyone but at least he wouldn’t be so tired. As soon as I thought that though (and even know, rethinking it), I had to get home and wash the impurity away. I’m human so sinning is my nature and I believe in an all-forgiving, merciful God but Catholics do penance for their sins, right? Why shouldn’t I? I’m not Catholic but apologizing to God by scrubbing the human filth that is my thought off my skin seems appropriate. I owe God. I don’t know the exact number of my debt but I know it’s huge and it’s going to take a lot of pay him off. And I don’t think I can do it before Uncle Joe passes away. Oh my God. This is all my fault. I’ve been wanting to cut for the past few days but I haven’t done it. Not yet, anyway. I’m not sure how to get out of this little spiral I’m in. Hopefully, someone will reach down and pull me back to the surface before too long.

I’m Ready to Stand Trial

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged last. I need to catch up and blather on about the holidays before I burst. Okay, Christmas Eve was fun. We had decorated the tree a few days before and even hung lights outside on the porch. We went to churhandcuffsch as usual and had a beautiful service. I watched White Christmas and stayed up until like 1 AM, finishing wrapping and labels and such. On Christmas day, I was up first at like 5:30 AM. I tried to be patient and managed to stay in bed until Daddy went downstairs about 6:15. Thomas was up by 6:30 and it was only a matter of time before Mom was up too. We unwrapped presents and for some reason, I had more things than Thomas. Normally, the packages are pretty even, except when I get clothes. Thomas doesn’t like getting clothes for Christmas because he’s so picky about the way things fit him. I got some clothes this year but not as many as other years. Anyway, I got the iPod I’ve wanted, a few movies, clothes and an emergency car kit. I was so excited for that one! I wasn’t expecting it because I’d only mentioned it once to Mom. It has a window masher, seatbelt cutter, flashlight and beacon on it. You know I’m paranoid about going over bridges and such so having this thing is perfect! After Christmas, we came down to Virginia to visit Uncle Fish. Of course, I was really apprehensive about going but we went anyway. It wasn’t so bad. Uncle Fish isn’t better but he isn’t worse. He’s talking and watching TV rather than sleeping all the time. It’s refreshing to see him doing a little better. I resolved that I would stay when my parents left because I don’t have to go back to school until the 28th so that’s where I am right now. I’m sitting in Uncle Fish’s dining room, writing to you fabulous people and wondering what the hell I’m doing here. Being with Uncle Fish has been a little easier since I’ve been down here but it seems like everywhere I go, there’s a constant reminder that this could kill him. And I don’t know what it will do if it does. I can’t handle death, I just can’t. Hell, I can’t even handle leaving the house anymore. My compulsions are getting worse, especially now that I’m down here. But I feel like I’ll regret it if I go home. And I’m so effing sick of living in regret. I’m so sick of it. It’s not good karma to live in regret. I’ve been praying as I should be and protecting my family by doing what I’m driven to do. I know that the treatment to OCD is to fight the compulsions and deal with the anxiety that comes with that but I just can’t do it. I just can’t. If I do and something bad happens, I would never forgive myself. Ever. And there’s already so much that I don’t forgive myself for. Bryan’s death, Grandma’s death, Bruce’s death, the estrangement of Kim and my dad, my mom’s miscarriage. I never knew that I was supposed to be doing the compulsions but if I had been then none of that stuff would’ve happened. And now I feel like I’m going to cry because it’s so true! I don’t understand why I’m being punished. But I feel like I need to right the wrong. Even saying that I don’t understand feels so horrible because a criminal should know exactly what their crime is without the judge telling them. I mean, you should know what you’re accused of before the trial right?  My keys are all greasy and I don’t know why. I always get stuck at this part of the entry. Well, sometimes I get stuck. My head is so heavy and full of ideas that I can’t get them out on the screen anymore. It’s hard. It really is.

“It’s Not the Pain of Letting Go That Hurts the Most…”

Oh my God. I am having some serious issues right now. There was a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. The gunman’s mother worked there. He, supposedly with the help of his younger brother, walked into the school, opened fire and injured 20 people. He killed 20 more, all of whom were children before turning the gun on himself. Stories are still breaking about it because it happened earlier today and I can’t shake the feeling that it’s my fault. I want to cry for those families and those poor innocent children but the tears won’t come. I don’t know why. There is so much evil and hatred in the world that I’m not sure I want to be a part of it anymore. Those deaths, the deaths of innocent and pure souls, is so tragic. And I couldn’t do anything to stop it. How sick is that? And my mom and I were discussing what I’m going to do over winter break since I don’t function well without a schedule. She suggested I spend some extra time at Uncle Fish’s. We’re visiting him for New Year’s since we usually spend Christmas alone and she was saying I should stick around after they leave to visit. That would normally be ideal but Uncle Fish is dying of lung cancer, remember? I don’t know if I could handle being around him for New Year’s with my family, let alone being around him without them there. It’s just so tragic. I feel like I should be mourning him and he’s not even gone yet. It’s so sick. I don’t want him to leave us. And I don’t know what it’s going to do to my dad. He keeps everything in because he was raised under the belief that men don’t cry but we all know that it isn’t healthy to hold in your feelings. He looks up to Uncle Fish so much, I mean he’s his big brother! And Uncle Fish is going to one day leave us. I can’t handle this. I don’t know what I’m going to do when it happens. The doctors only gave him 6-18 months to live. And that was in August.

lifeofpi

I typed that last night before going out to dinner and a movie with Thomas. And let me just say, that was a much needed movie. We saw Life of Pi. It’s about this boy whose family owns a zoo in India. The economy is changing so they plan to move to Canada and sell the animals to different zoos in North America. They get passage on a freighter and while they’re sailing over the Mariana Trench, there’s this horrible storm. The ship sinks, except Pi and a few animals from the zoo make it onto a life boat. I’m not going to get into more detail just in case those of you who read this plan on seeing the movie. Let me just say though, that movie was a like a sign from God. There’s one part where Pi is explaining how hard it was to not be able to say goodbye to those you love. Letting go isn’t the hard part. It’s not being able to say goodbye that makes it hard to live with. And that was exactly what I needed to hear last night. My fears about Uncle Fish are well-founded, well sort of. I mean, it’s my OCD, what can I say? But not being able to say goodbye would be more than devastating. Despite my fears, I think I’m going down there during winter break. I’ll stay as long as I can tolerate it but like I said, that movie last night was a sign from God. That was exactly what I needed to hear. It was a really good movie. Particularly emotional for me because of what Pi goes through (I cried more than once) but it was beautiful. I had dreams of getting lost at sea last night but I didn’t wake up with the normal dread that I do when I have nightmares (which lately, has been every night). I’m not saying that I hope I get lost at sea one day but if I ever did, I know I have God with me. Mental illness can lead people to do selfish things. Even people who aren’t naturally self-centered, tend to envelope themselves in their own affairs. I think that’s what happens when I get particularly upset about one thing or another. But when it comes to visiting Uncle Fish and making sure he sees his family as much as possible in the time to come, I can’t do that. I can’t focus on myself. I need to focus on him and his comfort. It’s not going to be easy (God, that sounds so terrible. “It’s not going to be easy being selfless.” You’re such a prick) but it needs to be done. It’s 8:40 on a Saturday morning and already my mind is reeling about life’s deep and existential questions. I hate when I get like this.