Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wow -- has it really been more than a year since I've posted?

I see a lot of people that I follow aren't active as much anymore. In the wonderful world of mental health blogging, this either means a lot of people are doing better, or they are doing worse. I hope it is the latter. In either case, I miss randomly rambling and the connections I found on here.

So much has happened since my last post!!! Summary:

1. I passed (sort of, but long story) my MA exam, and officially hold an  MA from my dept.
2. This means I have my QEs (qualitative exams) next semester. :(
3. My bf and I ran into a rough patch and took a break, but we're doing amazing now.
4. Part of this is due to him being able to find work and starting to do things he's proud of. Yay! I'm very happy for him. We were literally living off pennies for a little bit.
5. I had 2 IP stays within the last year, but have been hosp. free since February!
6. I've officially become a crazy cat lady. I foster cats, and right now am housing a nursing momma -- Taneesha, w/ her 4 3-wk olds -- Apple, Pickle, Pepper, and Brocco(li). :)
7. I've only cut twice in the past couple months! Almost hard to think there was a time when self harm used to be every day. Almost.
8. I went to IP ED treatment last summer. It was really helpful, but it got cut short due to insurance issues. I only was there for 3 weeks. It has really helped me in the long term, though I still bp. But I have to say once a day/couple times a week is a relief compared to the 5 times a day it used to be.

Of course, there's details, but I think that's good for now. I'll be back soon. Time to go play with chubby kittens.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Daily life has been really challenging to maintain the last week or so. My PTSD has been intense this past week w/new memories and flashbacks. I've been struggling do things like shower and sleep, and just being awake in general is hard. I had to drop a class, unfortunately, but I think it was a good decision.

I feel kind of sad that it has to limit me, but I guess I'm glad I tried. And I suppose that's what matters. A lot of the times it feels like two steps forward and three steps back, but I'm trying to look on the upside -- less stress, which means I can give my other classes that much more attention.

Here's to finishing off this semester. Hopefully it will be another one without a hospitalization! I'll be proud of that achievement when it comes.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I ruin everything I touch.
No, I manage to ruin anything I even think about or manage to utter with my voice.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Revelation.

Two weeks ago in therapy, I finally, for the first time in my life, really figured out why I'm so resistant to recovery (ED as well as other issues).

I was talking to her about how I felt pressured to go back into ED treatment by other people in my treatment team, and expressed my frustration. It wasn't just the pressure, I told her, I don't even know if I want to get better! Well, the next session, she straight up asked me what exactly we were doing together if I wasn't trying to get better. After freaking out inside my mind about the possibility of her cutting our relationship, I stated my default reasons ("I've been this way so long. I don't know who I am without this." "It's hard word and I'm scared I won't be able to do it." "I'm angry that I'm the one to clean up this mess." etc. ). Don't get me wrong, these reason are valid and make sense, but what I confessed a couple minutes later made me realize that these feelings only pointed to the actual reason.

I said, "My behaviors are my voice. If I don't have them, how will anyone hear me?" (Or, something to that effect.) As I was saying these words, I came to an understanding of my resistance on a core level. I could finally articulate my emotions. This really is my biggest fear, for if I cannot voice myself, then how will someone locate me? How will someone see that I exist, therefore something or someone to be loved? I guess it was so revealing, because it not only unveiled my emotions (I'm scared to..., I'm worried that...), but pinpointed the function of my reluctance to recovery.

I think a couple of things are lending itself to this realization at this point in my life. One, it's awesome that my therapist can be up front with me about what she is perceiving to be preventing my recovery. She put me in check, and I think I need that. Not just emotionally, but intellectually. Second, I think for once, I am in a relationship with someone who really loves me for me, and doesn't use me to somehow fulfill themselves emotionally. So it helps to have someone who will respond to me just as much when I am doing well and drama free as much as when I am kneeling at the gates of hell. I no longer have to resort to extreme behavior for someone I love to pay attention to me. In fact, in this relationship, it doesn't usually work. It's not like with ____, who deprived me of basic needs when they did not get what they wanted from me. It is not like with ____, who suddenly vivified when I was in crisis, and exploited my vulnerability.

Well, I told my therapist that this is actually what I conceive my biggest problem to me. Not the cutting, the b/p, the PTSD, the depression, whatever. It's that I fear that if I get better and no longer have these behaviors to express myself, I will have no voice.

This realization is twofold. This newfound knowledge and understanding feels like a blessing and a curse. One part of me feels forced to confront the fact that I DO have a voice besides these behaviors, whether I want to admit it or not. On the one hand, this new clarity makes me feel like I can really begin working on my issues now that I have exercised my voice to express my fears. On the other hand, it makes me want to run the other way screaming towards the cliff.

Hmmm....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I saw this excerpt pasted on someone else's blog. I love this quote. I think it describes my experience of EDs exactly. Maybe you can relate:


“I wanted to kill the me underneath. That fact haunted my days and nights. When you realize you hate yourself so much, when you realize that you cannot stand who you are, and this deep spite has been the motivation behind your behavior for many years, your brain can’t quite deal with it. It will try very hard to avoid that realization; it will try, in a last-ditch effort to keep your remaining parts alive, to remake the rest of you. This is, I believe, different from the suicidal wish of those who are in so much pain that death feels like relief, different from the suicide I would later attempt, trying to escape that pain. This is a wish to murder yourself; the connotation of kill is too mild. This is a belief that you deserve slow torture, violent death.”

- Marya Hornbacher, Wasted

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

So, I guess it's time for a more practical update (Of course, during finals week. Very timely.). It's been a lot of me trying to conceptualize what I've been going through, etc. And I suppose that is practical in one sense. But here is an entry that's a bit less abstract. Well, I guess words will always remain abstract -- that's the nature of trying to linguistically capture emotions and ideas. But here's my attempt.

Okay, maybe this will just end up being more of a ramble.

Yesterday, during my paper writing frenzy, I had a mini breakdown and I began wondering, "How the f*ck do people DO things? How do people get through life -- go to work, go to school, sleep and wake up on time, eat normally, throw on clothes without rethinking it 10 times, go to the bathroom the appropriate number of times?" You get the idea.

Well, I just wanted to make the reality of being in grad school more transparent. Because I think the image is that people go through college, go through grad school, as if it's the most natural thing. They shoot out three 20 page papers in one week during finals, go out to dinner happily with their classmates, read 184029584 pages in five days, always know the perfect question or comments to say during seminar, and on and on.

This is not me. And I suspect it's not most people. But on the surface, this is what it looks like. Even as an insider. I'm lucky if I can go a whole year without hospitalization (And actually, aside from partial, I haven't been back IP in a whole year! Which I'm quite proud of!) I guess I just wanted to write this entry, because for me, this is the part of the reason I have this blog after all. I want to reveal that being in academia is not a smooth ride. Sometimes I don't finish all 200 pages or reading, because I spent all day binging and purging. Some days, I don't go to class because my eyes are too swollen from crying all night and my arms are freshly covered in cuts. Other days, I'm late to teach my students because I had a late night, paralyzed by frightening hallucinations. And days like yesterday, I let myself be held captive by an overwhelming insecurity, and only managed to write 16 pages for a 20 page assignment.

I'll probably get a B (and we alllll know that a B in grad school is like DEATH). But you know? I tried. Honestly, I feel stupid and useless. I feel like everybody else is smarter than me, functions way more normally than me. But you know what? I gave it what I could. Maybe it wasn't 150% like I wish it was. In fact, it wasn't even 85%. But I have to remind myself that I have disabilities, and sometimes staying in school the whole semester is enough to be proud of. I'm trying to be positive about this.

Well, that was a long ramble, but I wanted to reveal a bit about what it's like to be in grad school with a mental disorder, or multiple disorders. I also wanted to say that it sucks sometimes, and I doubt myself endlessly. But, it CAN be done. You may not get straight As, you might not be able to read all 200 pages for all three seminars in one week, like everyone else, but you're there. I just wanted to make this all a bit more REAL. So, there ya go.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Failure of a human being. Must starve." These are the thoughts that run through my head when I begin to feel a hint of sadness, anxiety, anger.

I know there's more to me than this. But somehow, I can't get past the horrible feeling of FAT.

And this exactly is part of the eating disorder. It protects you. It doesn't let you get past your skin. It doesn't let you acknowledge the depth that is under it -- the pain, the trauma, the horror of things past. Instead, your ED transforms these things into the superficial matter of BMIs, numbers on the scale, nutrition labels. The ED creates a barrier, to make these things manageable.

I know there's more to me than this, and this is the problem.

Now, to try and write 10 more pages before 4 PM tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What kind of life is this when even the triumphs are sad and lonely?

Monday, November 28, 2011

I popped in a CD I burned during college (four years ago), when I imagine, I must have been in a similar emotional place that I am in now, and this song came on:



Things are not as bad as they were then, and I don't really want to go into details about that, but this past week back in LA brought up some things. Staying at my parents for the holiday wknd, having to eat in front of a lot of people (for Thanksgiving), drinking and using -- this wonderful cocktail stirred with the usual insecurities and negative thoughts....

I'm drowning and I need to breathe. Most things will just have to go on hold. even if it's just for four days. Maybe not doing any work this week. Well, kind of. Being in grad school, I can't shirk off everything. But it's totally bare minimum for me till Friday. Not finished grading those papers? It's ok. My students will survive. Not able to start on my thesis yet another week? Not the end of the world. I have bday celebrations on Friday, which I'm really looking forward to. But I also want to ground myself a little before I head back down to LA. No idea how I'm going to do it, but it's that or keep sinking further and further from the surface.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On Friday, I decided to quit ED treatment. They required me to come in a minimum of three days a week, and I could only afford to come in for two. Well.... that's half the reason. The other, more honest half is that maybe I decided to give in to my eating disorder.

I couldn't handle being in treatment only three days a week and having all these issues brought up, and then being left to deal with it all on my own for four days. I don't know how to do that. If I did, I wouldn't be where I'm at. So, i figure it's 5 days or IP, and I wasn't ready to give up school for treatment. I know it would help in the long run, but I just am not willing to sacrifice my first semester of my PhD. I've had to drop out of school for hospitalizations before, and I don't want to do it again. I need to prove to myself that I can get through this. Besides, when have EDs ever been logical?

At first I was really sad and disappointed in myself for not being able to handle t. But I realized, I made a positive decision. I made the decision to commit myself to school. I have something I want to work hard at and am excited about. And that's a good thing. So the eating disorder may have won one battle, but I've won one too. And I'm okay with that for now.