Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Hamlet Decision

As I mentioned in my first blog post I will be exploring and writing about the things in my life that I struggle with. Some of those things are ugly and dark and this one is one of the darkest I've written so far. It is of course the truth and although it is about one of the dark times it is a reminder to me that I survived. Not that I was kidnapped or forced into heroic deeds to save myself or others from impending doom. This fight was against myself and it is still one of the biggest fights of survival I have faced. Depression and self hatred is one battle that is fought on almost every given day. This day in particular was life and death. I'm glad I chose the first one. I have been on both sides of the coin. When I say this I mean I know what it's like to lose someone from suicide. 3 someones in particular and knowing what it feels like to be in so much emotional pain and woe that it seems like the only option. I sympathize but I pray I never hurt my family and love ones in that way.

“To be or not to be...” this opening to a Shakespearean soliloquy is one of the most frequently quoted partial lines I have ever heard. Hmph! Shakespeare would be the one to make the prospect of suicide poetic. Truth of the matter, being in the moment of contemplation is anything but. It can be a form of madness, a chasm of grief, but poetic? Sad to say I have thought about this more than once and I have been in and put myself in situations that it is a wonder that I am here now writing about it and not six feet below in a dirt nap.

Working in an office no matter where can be a dehumanizing experience and with the idea of global corporate takeovers things can become even more so with drab cubicles and mundane ideas of buying out something being run by people who care, and have feelings to an artificial form called a corporation. Corporate is black and white. People have gray areas. Those gray areas are what make people different it is what makes Sally outgoing and happy and what makes Mary shy and sweet. Corporation’s job is to squash all of that. Take that out of an equation and make Sally and Mary the same. As an artistic type, that was the beginning of work week misery.
(Okay, I hate the corporate ideal. You got that part. Don't worry, I'm moving on.) As a person dealing with depression, I would like to mention that I hadn't at this time been seen or treated chemically for this matter. I hid my sorrow publicly with jokes and sarcasm because it was a coping mechanism that had seemed to work so far. This particular day was different. Aside from the self injury rituals I was performing almost daily, I was also starving myself. In two months I lived off 4 foods celery, raisins, pickles, and on occasion half of a 100 calorie snack pack. I was also purging when I slipped up and ate a pear or cookie. Anything that varied was a reason to hate myself more. This particular dark day was evaluation day. The day most people look forward to as a day to get a raise. It's also known as the day your boss gets to tell you how you don't measure up according to corporate (Oops! Thought I was done). I had gone above and beyond my job description by being available to doctors and some staff as the “Spanish translator” some people teased me with that. Truth is I should have sent corporate a damn bill. My job was to prep charts, relieve front desk, relieve switchboard, answer the phone as medical records, which was another umbrella for whatever the heck no one else wants to do. I also had to get records from satellite clinics for insurance companies on behalf of patients. Not to have to go into exam rooms and see people in many forms of undress and tell them that they have cancer. In any language that sucks! I did get a thank you but it followed with how I will never get a perfect evaluation because we always have something to improve on. Those words rolled around in my head all day and by the time lunch came around I was screaming in my head that I was worthless and no matter what I do in my job I will never be perfect. I will always be striving for something always unattainable! At that moment I was done. I had been longingly gazing at the parking garage every time I passed one of the offices with windows. Not because my car was there and I wanted to drive off in the sunset and give corporate the proverbial finger but because I had started having twisted fantasies of throwing myself off the top. On most lunch breaks people make decisions between the spaghetti or the salad, to eat outside or inside, to eat what is in the brown bag you brought from home or spend extra cash on a restaurant choice. That day mine was Shakespearean. I stood at the top of the parking garage slight breeze blowing the hair across my forehead and I touched the wall. It was warm. Not what I was expecting. The sun had been beating down on it. “Is this high enough?” My spoken question startled me. I had spent most of the day in my head. Every question and every word had been unspoken. I glanced at the lager hospital parking garage visible from where I stood. Nope. Too close to the hospital. Need to make sure this is over. I need to make sure not to waste anymore space. I stood there playing tug of war with my psyche. Angry with myself for not achieving enough and knowing this would be penance. How? This would be a nuisance to whoever had the unfortunate job of cleanup. This place is better without you. You are poison. Will my bills be a burden to my parents. This place is better without you. You are poison. How will my best friend handle this? This place is better without you. You are poison. Everyone of those questions were answered the same. Now I had to look for a car old enough not to have an alarm. One close to the wall I can climb on and see where I would land. No, I might change my mind if I look. This place is better without you. You are poison. I need to get a bit of a run and leap. Do I really want to do this? Yes, this place is better without you. You are poison. My dog, what will happen to Freckles? This place is better without you. You are poison. Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! “Shut up!!!!” For the first time ever I told that negative voice that reminded me all my life that I wasn't enough to shut up! Why? I don't know really. Maybe it was the India that wanted to live. Maybe because I stopped being selfish and thought of how my precious beagle who had done nothing and had spent earlier years chained to a stake outside until I brought him home to live with me. He deserved a good life and I couldn't insure that unless I was here. (Call bullshit if you want but at that moment that is what I clung to).

So in the moment of hopelessness and despair, what do you cling to?

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to Throw Yourself a Pity Party

You know the expression When it rains, it pours? Well it has been raining excrement on my head for the past couple of weeks. I was already dealing with depression when I recently had to be rushed to the emergency room in horrific pain. Pain so bad I thought for a minute I was dying. The kind of pain where after it was over I had bloody fingernail marks in the palm of my hand from clinching my fists so tightly. I sat in the emergency waiting room for over 2 hours crying uncontrollably. Apparently the nurses employed in the hospital didn't see me as an emergency. After two and a half hours the pain went from a horrid 12 (on a scale of 1-10) to about a tolerable 6. I convinced my father to take me home and I waddled out to the car and into my house. I slowly made my way into my room and collapsed on my bed. I was still in pain but the thing that immediately came to my mind was that I was worthless. I know that sounds really odd now that I think about it. I mean, I guess the normal reaction to such an ordeal would have been anger and frustration at not having my needs met. I instead took it as my level of importance in the world. I let that idea roll around in my head. I let it nest there and there was no surprise really how the rest of my week and the following week turned out because I was still focusing on how and why I was so worthless. More pain issues the rest of the week and the following week had me thinking that I somehow deserved it. These pains were a penance of some long over due wrong doing or sin I had committed. When my car decided it would no longer take me where I needed to go I began to think I obviously didn't get punished enough the first time. I was attacked by mosquitoes in the five minutes it took for me to walk to my car to get something and bring it back into the house (don't laugh and call me petty at this one) I'm allergic to bug bites and it looks like I have chicken pox all over my body. A close friend of mine and I have a drastic and awkward change in our relationship all of a sudden. My father decided that once more I was one of the biggest disappointments in his life because … because...who the heck knows this time! I just am! I think I kind of know how Job felt. For those not familiar with the bible he was tested and lost all his riches, was struck with boils and lost his family and his wife told him to curse God and die. He didn't and I'm not going there either. I remember looking in the mirror (I usually avoid doing that if I don't have to) I saw my body with all the infected sores and I lost it. Sometime back I had burned the word worthless on my forearm I still see the faint outline of that word every time I look at it and I started to think that maybe I should have made it permanent. Maybe then that would be full on proper penance. Maybe then I will have paid for being such a horrible person. By this point I knew my issues with self esteem had turned into daily subscriptions. I was left to sit in the middle of my living room surrounded by my dirty laundry, bills, and ridiculous car repair estimates and throw myself an immense pity party. I know what you're thinking... Okay, I don't really but now that I look back on the situation all I can think is “Wah! You cry baby! Stop blubbering, put on your big girl pants, build a bridge, and get over it!” (as you can see I'm not very nice to myself a lot of the times). But at that moment I let myself feel bad and let myself say “Woe is me.” (not really but you get the point) I let myself cry and throw the biggest pity party I could. Afterward, I must admit I did feel a little better. Sometimes you just have to do it. Sometimes you have to throw yourself a pity party. Now that I have finished my wailing and wringing of hands I consider myself a bit of an expert and have put together these helpful tips on how to throw yourself a proper pity party (try saying that 5 x fast).

  1. Comfy clothing. The last thing you need is to have something else to whine about. Throw on those sweat pants or pj's in case you literally decide to wallow around in your sorrow.
  2. Call someone you can trust. Better yet, invite them over and have them bring ice cream, wine, enormous slabs of chocolate cake, anything that is a comfort food or drink. You gotta have refreshments for a party and this is no different. (When talking with a friend over food the sad moments aren't sure to last and it's hard to stay gloomy when spending time with a good friend)
  3. Pull up some of your favorite tunes on your listening device. They say music soothes the savage beast and the name of your beast is gloom and despair. (I would avoid Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah”, Billie Holiday's “Gloomy Sunday”, and David Bowie's “Space Oddity”) avoid anything that may make you want to swan dive off a cliff.
  4. Find a good movie, a favorite, better yet a comedy. Nothing helps squash the blue's like a good belly laugh. Use the above discretion and avoid heart tugging dramas.
  5. Get some paper. If you are an artist grab some paint. If you're a writer grab a pen. Sometimes things aren't so bad if you write them down or express them artistically.
  6. Grab the tissues. Sometimes you just have to cry.
  7. Stay away from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or any social networking site. It's okay to reach out but a pity party is a private party. Send a personal e-mail or note if you need support. (One sad post is okay 10 is a bit much)
  8. Prep for an early night. A good night sleep does wonders. Things always seem a little better in the morning after all it's a fresh day with no mistakes in it.
  9. Don't party too long. The point of a pity party is to be in that moment and recognize that you are feeling sad and that is okay. It happens to all of us. It's one of the annoying parts of being human.

With all that said. Party on and enjoy your humaness!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The square root of the problem.

Einstein said that Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Well, in my life that proverbial tree was mathematics. Don't get me wrong, I handled the simple stuff like basic addition but when long division came into play in elementary school. I somehow found myself having a major misunderstanding. To sum things up (yes the pun was intended) math and I became enemies. I hoped for a reconciliation at some point but then teachers started including in my tutelage things like decimal points and percentages. Then they even added letters (what in the heck was that about??? I loved to read and write! How dare they desecrate letters in the name algebra!). Now back to the problem at hand. I will at some point have to take an algebra class if I want a degree. I am about as excited about taking this class as I am contracting influenza. I have friends in high math places (luckily) to help me out but I'm still terrified. Why? I have what I believe is number anxiety. Not particularly related just to math but I believe that is where all the number issues started. I usually miss questions on tests related to dates in time as well and I get nervous and immediately go blank if I have to add the simplest of numbers in my head in front of others. I could be fine on my own but I immediately start judging myself for the other person when I have to do it in front of them. “Oh my gosh what an idiot!” “Is she seriously taking that long to figure out an equation that my 9 year old can do in their sleep?” I know I'm pretty hard on myself but I just have a fear that I'm a bit simple minded and the people I love and respect will find that out. My whole academic life is based on fear of being found out that I'm an idiot. I didn't even want to take a questionnaire to find out if I had ADHD for 1, fear of passing, (yes, I know that would mean I had ADHD) and 2 of failing thus solidifying my fear of just being and idiot.

As far as ADHD goes there was a bit of a stigma when I first heard of ADHD. The world had this view of kids running wild and rabid like feral children until they were dosed. I was a bit squirmy as children are but my “H” in the abbreviation came as a mental thing. In other words I was a daydreamer. I figured out early the best thing about my math book was that it was thick (not because I was particularly studious and wanted to spend every waking hour working with numbers till I understood) The truth is I was a bit short and riding on the bus made it hard to see well so sitting on my math book made for good rubbernecking opportunities of road kill and glancing into the automobiles riding by. The same went for my history book. I did like history just not when I was expected to know the date when something happened. So I guess I need to try and take Einsteins words to heart and believe that I am a genius but if I continually judge my extremely right-brained self by my ability to calculate left-brained equations I will be damning myself to an eternity of feeling like a loathing idiot. So my little blog fish, what is your proverbial tree?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

...and then the tidal waves crash...

Okay, so Tuesday was my last group therapy since outpatient care and after processing (more like marinading in my own past juices)  The flood of memories, thoughts, and emotions started to swell and lap up against my brain.  Each small wave licking at something buried long ago in an attempt at survival.  Each time a wave would recede it came back harder and heavier than before crashing against my skull in an attempt to escape.  Each wave bigger and wider and I began to drown in my own thoughts.  With each slam of each wave of memory I began to ask why. Why am I "the weird kid"?  Why am I more sensitive than my siblings? Why do I hate myself?  Why do I hurt myself? Why do I have anxiety over the tiniest of things? Why do squirrels run into the middle of the road then look to see if a car is coming?--sorry, I did mention in the previous blog that I have ADHD.  (I must learn to pull the shades when I write near a window).  Although I couldn't stop the pounding waves that later erupted into a stress headache I was able to keep it from turning into an emotional tsunami with no survivors.  The one thing I will give myself credit for is not hurting myself.  I have a tendency when it comes to fight or flight to choose the latter and my way of coping with emotional pain (which I don't get, like, or usually know what to do with) is to turn it into something I do know how to deal with and sadly enough that is physical pain.  For those of you still in the dark about my methods of unhealthy coping skills I would usually burn horrid words onto my skin.  I'm trying really hard not to do these things hence the start of this blog which in a way I just realized makes me accountable.  Hmm...

Anyway, I guess I could ask why till the end of time and still not have an answer, so pulling away now from all the earlier water references I see this walk or journey I'm on to try and better myself as an unpaved road filled with potholes.  Some of those potholes are filled with murky disgusting stagnant in the heat for days water harboring mosquito eggs (sorry I like water references and have a hard time pulling away from them) I find my self doing okay sometimes walking along and carefully repairing holes filling them back up with earth and gravel but sometimes I get lazy and walk around the potholes denying they were even there in the first place.  Sometimes I get cocky and leap over the potholes accepting that they are there but refusing to deal with them.  The biggest problem that these temporary coping skills have is that eventually I trip, fall backwards, or not leap far enough and find myself in the bottom of one of these potholes.  Sometimes I climb out and realize I need to fill it so I don't have to deal with that particular hole again.  Sometimes I climb out and haul ass running as fast as I can and end up falling into a deeper hole.  Sometimes I just lay there and wallow in it.  Getting dirtier, muddier, and  deeper in the depths. Sometimes I don't fall at all and like a squirrel get hit by a quickly approaching car. Not always road kill. Sometimes I end up running off my road and take a detour from my journey.
So I end this blog entry with a question and I wish you luck. How will you handle your potholes today?   

Saturday, May 5, 2012

This is a place where I will empty out the labyrinth that other people refer to as my head.  I will ramble about meaningless dribble or pull out my soapbox.  I will have late night posts of insomnia induced silliness or tell heartfelt stories (some fiction).  Why?  Because I need a healthy outlet.  I am someone who suffers with what some would call labels (I'm not boxing myself in) I am who I am and although sometimes I make apologies for that I hope here I won't have to. Now on to the name tags that professionals of the mental health community has stuck, written, and scribbled in their almost illegible handwriting (yes apparently those long stints in university was to break you of any semblance of English letter structure) about me.  Clinically depressed, (not really until 2007. apparently before I saw anyone in a clinic about depression I was just depressed. *shrugs* Who knew?)  EDNOS (for those of you who like me didn't go to doctorin' school) Eating disorder not otherwise specified, SI (don't you just love abbreviations?)  Self injurer, and lets not forget the abbreviation almost everyone is familiar with ADHD.  I think I have mostly everything covered. If you have any questions about any of those I will be happy to answer them with what I know but this internet thing has lots of information and you could probably pull up your answer faster than I can respond so I will probably answer with what I know about me or my experiences.
Now, about why I call myself a writing fairy... well, I started doing that when I wrote my first story in kindergarten.  I always wanted to be a fairy (purple wings) and I was going to write stories about my imaginary alter ego.  I did but I have no idea where those tattered pages are now.  I did write and draw lots of pictures.  So this is my first blog entry and I hope for many more.  please enjoy!

"Feet what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?"  - Frida Kahlo