It’s The Courage To Continue That Counts…Or So They Say

This world is kind of cruel.

Yesterday was a shit show. Today didn’t turn out much better, either.

I didn’t sleep well, so I’m exhausted now.

School was really difficult, but not in the usual sense. I had my last day of classes today. In communications class, whoever hadn’t gone yet were giving their debate speeches. The final topic of the day was doctor-assisted suicide, or as they phrased it, “dying with dignity”. Many of their examples were obviously people who are terminally ill. The topic combined with the examples brought up a lot for me. I couldn’t stop thinking about my dad, and his death process, and obviously how it affected me. It’s hard to explain, but the feelings emerged again, full-force. That happens sometimes…it’s not a specific memory that triggers the feelings, it’s the feelings from the entire process/experience. They just emerge out of nowhere. No matter how many times I’ve tried to “deal with it” in therapy, sometimes that just happens. It’s hard for me, because there’s no specific reason I’m crying and shaking…I just am. So I don’t always know how to soothe myself.

I suppose a plus for me today was that I chose to reach out to my professor. I don’t even know her that well, but my options were to ask her for help, or go into the hallway and break out in a panic attack in front of everybody. I said, “I know you’re not a therapist, but can I talk to you?”, and she brought me to her office. I was crying and shaking some but it didn’t end in a full on panic attack. That’s pretty good for me. I took the time I needed to calm down, and went on to my next class.

I made a really big move today as well to pay off all of my medical debt. That was a difficult decision to make, seeing as how my debt was extremely high. I have medical accounts in collections dating back to 2011. I couldn’t even tell the lady at one of the companies what my address was at the time for that account. I did live in Florida for one of the accounts, but I a) don’t remember my living there (besides the main fact that I lived there), and b) don’t have a clue what my address was when I lived there. It’s kind of awful. I still can’t get over the fact that I don’t remember my time living there at all. I really don’t understand how this experience was just entirely erased from my memory. My mom has told me the main facts of the situation, but…it’s just weird. I wasn’t having electric shock therapy while I lived there, so I don’t think that’s the reason I don’t remember. Or maybe it is. Maybe it was a delayed thing? I know I did have ECT around the time I lived there (as in before that event and after that event, in the surrounding years). I’ve tried recalling the information several ways in therapy, and none have worked so far.

There’s other events of my life that have been erased somehow. I went to Ireland with my dad/siblings before he died in high school, and sadly I don’t remember that trip at all. That one I really don’t understand, because I didn’t have ECT until about two years after that event (and I hadn’t had it before). I’d just like to know why my brain erased it.

Moving on, though. I’m pretty tired, and hoping tomorrow won’t be shit as well. Until then, I’ll netflix and chill.

I will add, I’ve decided to take advantage of the Starbucks school reimbursement. I was accepted to ASU online for the fall semester. I looked at the classes they provide there, and I can’t wait. They have so many amazing class options! I want to take so many. Maybe I will, just for the heck of it.

That’s all.

-May 1, 2017

When You Read a Book That Sparks a Light Inside of You

I bought a book the other day from Barnes and Noble. Well, I bought several, but this one was read first. It’s called, “The Princess Saves Herself In This One” by Amanda Lovelace. While there are several pages I have tagged, and I did make a word document out of all my favorite passages/quotes, I think I’ll talk about these two today:

Pages 96-97: Fuck the idea that there is such a thing as destiny, that there exists some kind of mysterious master plan, that there is a god who simply does not give us anything we cannot handle. The pain did not make me a better person. It did not teach me not to take anything for granted. It did not teach me anything except how to be afraid to love anyone. I am far too young to be so goddamn broken & if I could go back in time & give myself her childhood back, I would. –what was the point?

Page 142: I let myself know that my life doesn’t have to be over just because theirs are & I went ahead & painted the sun back into my sky. –I am allowed to live my life

I’ve been working on this a lot- living my life even though my dad can no longer live his. Living my life despite the fact that several people have lost theirs in the past few years. Living my life despite the fact that I have no idea why it was them and not me.

I’ve always been so angry with the world about this topic. Why did God take my dad? There was no good reason. No one can argue with me that, like she said, there is some “greater plan”. I bought into that for a bit. I believed that there was some reason for everything, some explanation I wasn’t aware of. I thought, maybe it’s (I don’t have a good word, because “tolerable” and “okay” are not it…so fill in that blank yourself), because now my parents aren’t fighting. I don’t have to live a life at home in constant fear. I don’t have to feel on-edge at every moment, because there won’t be any more of the screaming, the banging, the tears, the wasted energy…the hope that maybe one day it’ll stop. Because it has. It has stopped. Silence has greeted this house, for once.

Then the battle began- did I do this? Every year, when I blew out my birthday candles, I wished my parents would stop fighting. I went to bed hoping that tomorrow, things would change. That the chaos would cease.

I battled feeling like God misinterpreted my prayers, to telling myself that I’m really not that important/this can’t be my fault, to being angry with God for doing this, to disbelief in any higher power listening to me anyway.

And that’s where I remain now.

It’s hard for me to believe in any higher power loving me, taking care of me, watching over me, or giving any justice in this world. My dad was a good person. He was smart, he was funny, and no, I will not agree that it was “his time”. He could have done so much more in this world.

I spent years trying to work through this mess. I nearly killed myself in the process. Yes, I am “together” today, for all intents and purposes. I’m alive. I have learned things. But I feel like I could have learned them another way. It doesn’t take my dad dying to make this happen.

People die- that’s life. I understand that concept. But I don’t agree with how it happened for me. I don’t agree with a lot of deaths that happen. It’s not fair. And no, I don’t care that that is a childish statement. Sometimes, it’s just not.

I had to learn the second quote eventually, though. I had to let go of a lot of that anger, the “it’s not fair” attitude. While that statement remains true, I learned I cannot live out that statement. I cannot ruin my life based on the fact that it wasn’t fair that my dad died.

I still hold some of that anger inside of me. It’s extremely difficult to ditch all of it. And I did learn that I have to “paint the sun back into my sky”. I can’t live my life in anger with something that I can never personally change. I can’t will my dad back to life…but I can progress in my own life and try to make him proud.

Sometimes I forget that intention. The more I was sucked into the eating disorder, the more I believed I had already disappointed my dad- and there was no way out. I imagined him looking down on me, wishing I wasn’t his daughter. Or worse, not even recognizing me.

I was someone completely different after he died. And I am someone completely different now. Some things stay the same, and I know he can see that. All things I learned from him…people-watching, cat loving, getting lost in books, writing poetry…they’re still there. And I’m proud of that. And if I’m proud of that, I think he would be too.

My dad was an amazing person, when it comes down to it. I got the pleasure of spending 16 years with him. While I have a long list of regrets, I always have the love in my heart that I need to believe he can feel. I choose to believe that if he knocked on my door today, we would smile together instead of feeling shame.

I still don’t agree that death like this is necessary…but the ability to keep going despite it, is.

-February 22, 2017

 

Sink or Swim Territory

Is it a problem if it’s not defined? How will I know when to stop? How will I know how to stop? Is there a certain line where it transfers from “sort of” to “absolute”?

It seems I’m losing focus. When I think to reach out to someone, I hold back. There’s always some reason I shouldn’t do it. There’s always the hesitation that “it’s really not that big a deal”. I can stop when I go too far, right?

I’ve never been able to stop before. I don’t even know if I can stop now. It’s worrisome to me, but I somehow think I have the ability to make it through. I have before. I will again.

I don’t like to think this is a “lapse”, much less a relapse. It might be, though. Secretive behaviors never really amount to any good. For me, or anyone, that is. For the eating disorder, it’s a joyous state to be in.

I know I can get high on the behaviors. I can wrap myself completely in the ED blanket and spend all of my time thinking about things that normally, wouldn’t matter. Weight, size, people’s perception of me…my perceptions of myself. I would really rather be concentrating on the semester that just begun. I’d like to retain this information, not sit in the class at the end wondering what just went down.

My ability to retain is hurting. I listen to my teachers in class with that exact situation…I hear them. I know I’m listening. But I have no idea what they just said.

I want to listen. I want to learn. I want to move forward, not back.

I feel that I’m inching towards “in too deep”-territory. But no one knows. I’m too scared. Or too protective. Or both.

I’ll need to gather courage to tell someone soon. I can’t let this be how 2017 begins. It’s disheartening.

-January 18, 2017

Something About Death

Hey, just a thought I’m having today. 

Carrie Fisher died yesterday (I believe) from a heart attack at age 60. I’m sure if you’re on social media, you’ve heard/seen posts about it. 

Carrie Fisher was bipolar, and open about her struggles with mental illness. Everybody seems to be posting quotes from her, articles she’s spoken in, interviews she’s done…etc. 

I believe it’s good that these quotes are being so widely publicized. My only question is…does it really take someone dying to make what they’ve said so relevant?

I’m not trying to bash anyone…it’s just something that happens when people pass away. You think about what they’ve said, or done, or impressions they’ve made on you. With someone famous, their lives are spread across social media. 

I believe what Carrie Fisher went through and what she has to say about it is very important. I think my point is, I wish what she had to say was of relevance and utmost importance every day of the year. 

When you have a mental illness, it is not your fault, and there is nothing to be ashamed about. Yet so many of us feel such intense blame, guilt, and shame over what we go through, and the actions we make because of it. I desire most that we live in a world that is constantly making us aware that we are not alone. One where people who have been through what Carrie Fisher had been through, or anything similar, could freely come forward and be secure in sharing their stories. One where someone’s death doesn’t have to be the reason we’re aware of mental illness.

I hope what I said here portrays what I’m actually trying to get across, and not anything offensive. If not, I’m sorry. 

And Rest In Peace, Carrie Fisher. 

Here’s To You, Dad

Eight years ago today, my dad passed away from pancreatic cancer. He was an incredible, fascinating person, and I miss him very much. So much has happened in these eight years…enough for a lifetime, in my opinion. I’m still sorting out my thoughts on the whole religion deal, but I still like to believe he’s somehow able to see me now. I’ve struggled a lot through these eight years, and I’ve nearly lost my own life more times than I’d like to count. I feel like it has taken so much to get to where I am today, even if that isn’t a perfect place. I’m doing better than I ever have…and I just want my dad to know that. I want him to see that I am working hard, doing my best, and ready to make him proud.

I wish he could meet my friends, meet my boyfriend, and see my apartment. I wish I could talk to him, have a conversation about pretty much anything (he seemed to always have an answer for every question I asked). My dad was probably the smartest person I’ve ever met. He was born in 1939, so he lived through so much. I never got the chance to ask him about it. That plagues me every time I think about him, or think about it.

My dad always had perspective. He knew what was important, and he encouraged me to make up my own mind. But I always thought he was right about everything. I can’t explain to you the wisdom I found through him. It was profound.

My dad was a people-watcher. He observed, and picked up on a lot of things that people miss every day. Sometimes the important things.

He read books, loved cats, and was a more quiet person…all traits I inherited from him. Like my dad, I prefer to be an observer.

He loved us in his own way. It’s hard to think about, but I rarely told my dad I loved him. It just wasn’t something that was always said. I think it was more implied. But I loved my dad. I still love my dad. I want him to know that no matter what, he will always be my number one guy.

I was about to say I had a good cry last night, but it wasn’t really that great. By that I mean it wasn’t pleasant and it didn’t soothe my soul. It was more of a panic attack sort of sobbing, which left me feeling lonely, broken and exhausted. If only crying made me feel better…

Nothing really makes it feel better. That’s what I try to explain to people who haven’t lost someone they really love. Nothing anyone says, does, etc. will make you feel resolve about it. The fact is, I lost my dad, that hurts me a lot, and I’m still angry that cancer stole such a beautiful soul.

That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate when my friends/family tries to comfort me. I do. It just doesn’t lessen the pain of not having a dad.

I’ve spent a lot of these eight years wishing I could die early too, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with losing anyone like that again. Coping with death is hard, to say the least, and I don’t even know today if I could handle it again. Hopefully I can, because otherwise, where will that leave me?

My biggest fear is losing my loved ones. I wish it was heights, or bugs, or something that doesn’t inevitably happen repeatedly through your life.

I can never prepare myself for losing loved ones. A lot of it is because of the regrets. I didn’t anticipate how many regrets I would have with my dad.

Anyway, if my dad can see me, or hear me, or anything…I hope he’s proud.

-December 4, 2016

Question #39

Question: What is true strength?

Answer: True strength is having everything against you, but doing what you believe anyway. Strength is not wanting to do something that is good for you, but doing it anyway. Strength is being yourself in a world full of hate. Strength is not wanting to live, but choosing life anyway. Strength is saying goodbye when you need to. Strength is walking away when you need to, but maybe don’t want to. Strength is making a balance between what’s right for you and what’s right for everyone else (but valuing yourself in the process). Strength is eating that bite of food, when you don’t want the calories or guilt. Strength is staying away from the bathroom after you’ve eaten a meal. Strength is stopping yourself before you make an unwise decision. Strength is going to that meeting instead of taking those pills. Strength is doing what hurts, but knowing it’ll be the best in the end.

Strength is looking at life, knowing you’re scared, but you keep on going anyway.

Feeling The Past Truth

Time to get real.

I’m constantly hesitant to post anything “real” on this page. Sometimes, I do, and I believe it’s worth it. But many times, I’m worried because this page was made to create a portfolio for a college class. I’ve had a separate blog going for years, but decided it was too much at once to have both going.

I always want to post what I’m really feeling, really going through, and not just “programmed”posts. I hesitate because my professor or my class might be reading.

But when it comes down to it, this life is for me. I was planning on continuing this page after the class ends as my new blog, so why not start creating “real” posts now?

And I shall.

This past weekend has been so good, and so hard. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my boyfriend, which is nice for me. He is extremely understanding and supportive of me in everything I do. It’s nice to have my best friend with me.

It’s been difficult with other aspects, though. I’m not sure why, but my body image has been plummeting. Over the past few days, or maybe week, I’ve become more and more focused on the dislike of my physical appearance. It causes me to stress about everything I consume, and think twice on eating something when I’m actually hungry.

Sound familiar? It does to me. I know (to some degree) that it’s my eating disorder trying to stage a comeback. It does this, from time to time. I’ve been able to win over the past year/plus.

But man, is it convincing.

After leaving treatment, and over the past year, I have lost some weight. It was not intentional, and honestly I’ve tried to ignore it or justify it when it comes up with my treatment team. They constantly ask the questions, “What if you were to gain weight? Would that be acceptable to you?”, and, “When will you be concerned that the weight loss is too much?”.

I know my answers to these questions. Most times, I say that gaining weight wouldn’t be terrible. Not a lot, but some. I tell them that the weight loss isn’t too much because it’s not intentional. I am just living my life, and maybe that’s where my body wants to be.

And I do believe this theory. I am not intentionally restricting, and my weight is not critical by any means.

(See, I justify).

But anyway. I’ve felt pretty shitty this past week, because it feels like I have gained some weight back. If this is even true (which sometimes it isn’t), then my previous answer was incorrect. I could not have gained a substantial amount in a week or two, or enough to make me realize that my body has totally changed.

Yet…I feel that it has. And it’s causing me distress.

Why does it matter? Why do I care? I have a lot more things to worry about- more important things that a few pounds here or there. But it’s on my mind. That’s the thing about eating disorders…they demand the attention, even when it’s totally unwarranted. I am in school full time, as well as working full time, as well as dating someone and attempting to have a social life. Those things alone take up enough of my time. I do not need to waste time worrying if my stomach looks larger than yesterday.

And yet, I do. Why is this? I can list off the “logical” reasons; the reasons you learn in treatment as to why the eating disorder is a part of one’s life. Am I stressed out? Yes. Does the ED pop up when I’m stressed? Yes. Does it help me become less stressed? No, not really. I just divert my stress-attention to my body and eating habits. Is this efficient? Not at all.

I can logic my way through this dialogue, but logic plays no part in the ED-life. My ED has never responded to logic.

I am writing this all out, not because I have some magic cure to my stress areas, but because writing helps me cope. Maybe someone out there will read this and understand where I’m at. Maybe someone can connect.

To top it off, this is the eve of someone’s death for me. November 14, 2012 was the day he died. My crazy life…I went to a certain inpatient treatment facility for many years. Most every time I went inpatient, I was on the eating disorder unit. A few select times, I was on the “young adult” general unit. There I met someone, Phil. Phil and I dated for awhile. We broke up, then were getting back together…and then he committed suicide.

To think back on my life at that point is hard. It’s even worse when I acknowledge that during this time, I was receiving ECT treatments. My memory is pretty shot. A lot of what I know is from my mom telling me.

I don’t have the privilege of remembering much of my time with Phil. However, I continue to feel the ache, and the pain of his loss.

So that is what’s going on for me in my life right now. My eating disorder is probably attempting to stage it’s comeback through my stress and grief. In the past, it would have been very successful. In the present, it is less.

I hope that tomorrow doesn’t bring too much pain. And if it does, there’s hopefully maybe tomorrow’s that won’t.

-November 13, 2016