Monday, June 28, 2010



Sleep has really been working against me here. To say that I'm not a morning person is a gross understatement. I typically fall asleep sometime between 430 AM - 600 AM and wake around 100 PM. With seminars starting at 930 AM, waking up is quite difficult, and especially so on those days when I need to over medicate to bring myself down or if I've been having bad anxiety.

Last night I realized I had been caught in a hypomanic cycle for the past couple of days, and so I decided I would need to take my meds earlier if I was going to take the extra dose of Seroquel to bring me down. Then a thunder storm started, so I had to take a PRN. Well, as you can imagine I woke up very sedated. At 430 PM. Which means: I missed class, I missed a lecture, and I missed both of today's games. I've been keeping it hush hush, but I've been late to seminar by 1/2 hour once already, missed today's, and missed two public lectures due to sleep. I really don't know how to solve this dilemma at the moment. Thankfully, back home, classes start at 600 PM, so it's not a permanent problem.

I still haven't secured an appointment with a therapist here. My boyfriend is visiting me this Thursday (whee!), so I need to have one for the 8th, the day he leaves. As someone with BPD, something like that is really enough to make me very unsafe and potentially headed for the hospital. Hopefully it doesn't fall through and I can get something for that day.

As for my studies, it's been intersting but political theory is somewhat new to me, so it gets a bit tiring. I've decided to spoil myself today and work on my thesis instead! I know it doesn't sound like the time of your life, but for me it's a refreshing oasis in the land of governmental analyses. A foundational part of my thesis is an interpretation of Roland Barthes's Camera Lucida, one of my favorite texts of all time, and possibly his most well-known work:

Anyways, one of his essays was published in Aspen, an art mag founded in the late 60s. They were functional for only a couple of years but had some really amazing issues. has them digitally archived on their website and I've been having fun looking around. The one that contains Barthes's essay is linked to the image below, but do peruse the archive. It's a fun mag! And if you ever have a chance to get your hands on them, they are fun to play around with as well.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


A note while I was in residential at McClean, the day before I went back into inpatient (go figure):

Taking one's own life is the most selfish act.

That is why it's so amazing.
This is for ME.
This choice is MINE.


Obviously, I'm still here. And I guess that's just as much of a choice too. I guess.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


WARNING: Some complaining and possible triggers ahead.

You know, I really thought today would be one of those rare days when I would have a completely positive post. Last night, I thought of all the wonderful things I'd be able to post today. I should've realized this wasn't going to be the case once Korea lost to Uruguay.

Well lo and behold, that was only the beginning, not the end. I slammed my laptop closed and retried calling health services to get an appointment for counseling services (which I desperately need soon), but apparently they don't take calls on weekends, despite what the woman told me yesterday. That was a no-go. So I went out for a walk to relax and instead ended up going to a Chinese restaurant for lunch, fully aware that I have about $20 to my name, but deciding to splurge on a meal anyway. The meal was... how do you say -- horrible. Unsatisfied, I started to head back home, but decided to stop at a Japanese restaurant instead. I ate another full meal, and left feeling like I was going to explode. After the major B/P sesh, I thought I'd get distracted and call my mom.

Instead of distraction she reminded me of my unfortunate impulsivity by lecturing me on how in debt I am upon opening my credit card statement. It just made me dwell on how horrible my addiction to food and my impulse to buybuybuy is, if I'm not drinking/using, or _______, or doing whatever other fucking negative coping behavior I'm engaging in. After deciding to boycott my mom by shutting off my phone, I SI-ed before I headed out the door to catch the U.S. and Ghana game at a shop across the way. FOR SURE, the U.S. will win, I thought. And they did put up a good fight. But in the end, they lost, and I left the shop quickly, feeling even worse.

But thankfully, there was one thing I knew would save the day -- a screening of Metropolis with The Alloy Orchestra playing an original score! And it was aurally orgasmic! They were great! Unfortunately the youtube video below is of much lesser quality than in real life, but you get a taste for their musical style, which i thought was beautifully appropriate. You can almost guess what scenes they're playing though you can't see the screen.

After the movie, I came home and talked to a friend and the boyfriend, read some sweet FB comments people left me, and even decided to talk to my mom again (Though I had to lie to her about the SI when she asked.), all of which sorta brought me back up. Or at least baseline. I guess that's better than bad? So here I am, back to square one. Oh well, whatever.


Just had one of those "Oh, SHIT!" moments, thinking there was someone in the bathroom waiting for me outside the stall because I saw a blur in the crack between the door and the post. Then, of course, I had to walk-run back to my room freaking out, with that horrible feeling that someone is behind me, following me. I think the whole (semi)public bathroom thing just freaks me out. It always makes me think of dead people for some odd reason.

Deep sigh.

Seroquel, why aren't you doing your job???

Okay, maybe it's unfair to blame it entirely on the meds. Especially when... ihaventtakenallofthemtodayyyyoopssssss. It is probably sleepiness kicking in. I just spent an hour writing a Facebook note about soccer instead of doing some reading. (Also posted below.) Since I'm done with it, I think I'll be heading to bed now. After all, I have a game to catch in five hours!


"The more successful he is the more money he makes, the more of a prisoner he becomes. Forced to live by military discipline, he suffers the punishing daily round of training and the bombardments of painkillers and cortisone to forget his aches and fool his body. And on the eve of big games, they lock him up in a concentration camp where he does forced labor eats tasteless food, gets drunk on water and sleeps alone. [...] And one rotten day the player discovers he has bet his life on a single card and his money is gone and so is his fame. Fame, that fleeting lady, didn't even leave him a Dear John letter." - Eduardo Galeano

"The Beautiful Game"

They say soccer is the beautiful game. And on most days, I'll wholeheartedly agree with the simple statement. But the game is beautiful to me not only because watching Ronaldinho play the sport gives me butterflies in the stomach, or even because I actually spill tears over matches. No, the game is beautiful for more reasons than that. It is beautiful because it brings to the fore, briefly, the dynamics of 32 countries. And moreover, because what is brought to the fore is not always pretty. It is not always the lovely footwork of Maradona pirouetting with the ball nestled in the crook of his angled foot. It is not always the joy of sharing beers with your closest friends at 4:30 A.M., yelling and banging fists on the table together. The game of soccer is beautiful because it also reveals publicly, the racism, the power of money, government, the desperateness of poorer countries as the games are televised around the world, at all times of day.

It is this aspect that I would like to direct your attention to -- to a game played between Portugal and North Korea on June 21, 2010. North Korea's second to last match in the qualifying matches against Portugal was painful one to see, fan or not. Resulting in zero goals pitted against Portugal's seven, it is not hard to imagine the failing spirit of the players as the game continued into the final minutes. Having to make it to class, I caught the tail end of the game at a coffee shop while walking to school.

At 6-0, I overheard a young male making a sarcastic comment about the likelihood of Korea progressing from the group. In passing, this is no big deal. There are worse crimes than making a snide remark about a team that ranks 105 in the world, and was not expected to even make it into qualifying. Portugal, who ranks third, is bound to gather some more loyal fans. So yes, this remark in a general context does minimal harm. Yet, upon hearing the remark, I could not help feel any less than pain. I felt pained because North Korea being disqualified cannot be comparable to a country like the U.S. being disqualified. No, for a team who has to reuse kits by peeling off names of old players and sticking their own on, and for a team who cannot trade shirts at the end of the game because it is their only one, this is not simply disqualifying.

There are more anecdotes such as those above, but like much of what happens in North Korea, no one can be sure of what is happening. But rumors continue to abound. The players supposedly return to work in coal mines, an imposed penance, despite the fact that the game was possibly lost due to the directives of Kim Jong Il. But there are more harrowing consequences. There is the sadness that comes from the reassertion that you are still the underdog of the world. There is the regret of not having been able to take full advantage of such a grand opportunity as the World Cup. There is the deep sorrow that comes from realizing your definite separation from a world that just seems to have it so much easier than you. There is that pang of loneliness that thus perhaps becomes manifested for the first time.

So they say soccer is the beautiful game. And I agree. But it is beautiful insofar as the losses can be as monumental as the wins.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I love water. It calms me. Nothing in the world compares to the feeling of peace water can provide me.

An afternoon dip after class this past Monday:

Monday, June 21, 2010


How many PRNs do I need to take to make this stop?

6/23/2010 - 2:26 A.M.
Answer: 3. Jesus, I woke up so sedated. Have not been sedated like that since the magical land of McLean.


I wish the smallest things didn't set off anxiety attacks.

I wish I had this under more control.

Until then, I wish I had a better PRN.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I know this is wierd, but like, I really can't decide what my blog should look like.

Like, should I be like everybody else who is cool and minimal and have an all white or all black background? Or should it like have design-y stuff like I'm in HS, and this is my diary? Or should I try to find a happy medium, which is where I think the current one is at right now?

Anyways, thanks for bearing with me while I put your vision through a circus of layouts.

ADDENDUM: I gave into the whiteeeeeeee.... OMG OK, now I have 424780912740 pages to read before class in the morning.

P.S. I think I'm gonna give up on the whole theme thing. Seriously, who cares?

GOOD MORNING FROM 8..... 2..... 12 AM?

My internal clock is thrown off. No, it is more like shaken, broken, and thrown on the floor and stomped upon for good measure. Unless I am in class, I never have any idea what time it is anymore! It's very odd. I'm usually aware of my night-owl tendency. And as funky as my circadian rhythm gets, I can still keep track of the ungodly hour at which I am awake. 516 AM? Hmm.... I should sleep soon.

Now, I wonder -- 2 PM? and look outside to find no sun in my window. I am confused, and stare at the bottom right corner of my computer screen which reads 1259 AM. Wtf? Is it the odd nap times? The hypomania? My usual issues of fear surrounding sleep subconsciously subverting of my desire/need of sleep? I am not sure. But I think today will be another day of no night time sleep.

Other things:

1. My reading is slowing down. This is a sign of my depression or whatever it is kicking in. Hopefully I can manage to stay focused a little longer though. I really need myself to stay on track here, since I have my MA thesis due in September on top of all this SCT stuff. But I sense my studying is steadily worsening. I technically have all ADD symptoms, but am not diagnosed with it because one diagnostic criteria of ADD is that nothing else can account for it. And for me, well... I have _____, _____, ____, etc,etc,etc,theneverendinglaunfrylist of issues that account for them instead. In any case, studying has become a bit more tedious these past couple of days, and I am encountering some cognitive impairment here. I was at normal reading speed before I got here. I am at about 10-15 a night right now. Not too bad, but I will really need to step it up. But then again my worst is about paragraph a night, lol. So as long as I don't get there, I won't complain much about it.

2. I am amazingly broke. Whee!

3. Did you know that both BPD and bipolar disorder used to be on the same spectrum as schizophrenia? They are no longer anymore, and are very disparate disorders, but I recently learned this and find it very interesting. And while they should not be confused, and I'm not schizophrenic, or schizoaffective, or schizotypal, etc., I can see how this makes sense! I can now see why, I find the paranoiac filmic worlds of David Lynch relatable in a very literal way. He captures so well the tension, the bizarre sense of reality, the fear.

What it feels like to live inside my skin past sundown?:

Thursday, June 17, 2010


It is only day four since I've flown out here from LA, and I am already falling apart.

Today was okay. Yesterday was not.

I had a a little downer -- not fun. I am notoriously bad at being away from home. I don't know what it is.... I think it kicks my BPD into high gear, which equals increased stress, anxiety, etcccccccccccccccccetcetc. And I know it's only been four days (three days last night), but everything has already started to crumble. I started to collapse internally, brain went into shut-down mode, body went into fetal position. Well, after a little boo-hoo-ing and self-destructive behavior, I took two PRNs. They kicked in. Then about an hour later, I started getting hypomanic. It was fun for a while, but I started to come down again. Bad. Back into fetal position. Yay for rapid cycling.

I decided I needed some help while I'm here and that I would call counseling services today. Turns out, I can't go to the school since I'm not technically a student here. This is not good, since I was hoping for a med change. Klonopin "works," but just not fast enough you know? I feel all calm and sleepy after about 20 minutes. But what's the point in that when by the time those 20 minutes are over, your body looks live you've got a case of stigmata and you've spewed like the girl in The Exorcist? Nothing. So, I need a faster-acting Benzo. I'm still in the process of working with the school so that I can get the support I need while I'm here. Hopefully it doesn't fall through.

As for the not-so-bad-today, I just got back from a garden party for our program. I was debating missing it -- I'm not much of a schmoozer. But it actually wasn't too bad, and I even managed to make some people laugh with some stories.

JK. That's a scene from Wedding Crashers. But it really was a lot like that though. Very shi-shi East Coast.

Now, I'm at home and a little nervous I'll have a repeat of last night. Box of chocolate chip cookies and chocolate bar are ready at hand. (Please let me know if any of you reading find this too triggering, I will be more cautious.) Oh, and bottle of PRNs. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Today was our first public lecture (which means everyone at SCT plus open to public). Given by Saidiya Hartman, she began her talk by discussing the photography of Thomas Eakins, and more specifically, a photograph of a reclining nude Black girl taken by Eakins. She appears about 8 years old. It isn't necessarily pediophilic, but there is certainly a discourse of power present. Hartman decided to embody the subjectivity of the little girl to engage in this discourse of power (and later, she includes violence) and narrate the experience of the girl.

Much of the narrative was of the positions Eakins wanted to put her in, the way his look and touch felt, etc. Some of it was merely descriptive, but all of it was uncomfortable. Anyways, this is just all bad news for me, so I started feeling not so great. I started to numb out (I am a master numbing-outter.) but then she kept on going and going and goingggggggggggggggggggg. So I sat there torn between the desire to rake my pen across my arm, imagining the expressions of those around me once they saw blood, and the desire to walk out of the lecture defiantly, clearly showing offense that my sensibilities had been offended.

Well, in the end I did neither. I sat through it. I sat through it until the paper shifted to a discussion of W.E.B. DuBois. Then I thought of some pretty good ideas during the rest of the lecture. Then I left school. Then I ordered a pizza and buffalo wings on the way home. Then I ate while watching "Inland Empire" (Great movie, btw.) And then, I finally let my ED flush away all the bad feelings down the drain.

On a lighter note, I noticed these colorful little pinwheels attached to the top of the fence that guards the gorge on my way home. There's also really pretty colored elastics that weave in and out of the fence. I think they're supposed to deter you from killing yourself or something.


Bad time for a nap. Yes, there is such a thing, and I never learn my lesson.

I have night time issues, which means I should never fall asleep in the daytime to wake up to night time. Borderline, PTSD, blah blah blah, related stuff. Anyway, I fell asleep at 730 PM, already knowing I shouldn't be. Well, I woke up at 845 PM. Surprisingly, it was still a little light outside. But not light enough. So I forced myself back to sleep. Anyways, I didn't wake up until it was light again outside -- 430 AM ish. Either that, or I felt really guilty about the piles of reading I have to do for today.

So here I am, awake at an ungodly hour, with a couple hundred pages of reading to go.

Schedule for today:

1000 AM: Catch some of the game at a local bar where they are playing EVERY SINGLE World Cup game (eeeee!) before heading to the library orientation. Or stay at the bar, if Portugal is on a losing streak.
1230 PM: Head back to Downtown. Who knew I'd need a thick sweater in summertime New England-like weather?
230 PM: Catch the Brazil and Korea game
400 PM: Public Lecture
600 PM: Back to hitting the books

Monday, June 14, 2010


I finally got to Ithaca last night at 928 PM.

Actually, I got to D.C. on a connecting flight, then got to Philly for my second connection. Then, my flight to Ithaca got delayed. Then, due to bad weather, it got canceled. Then all Ithaca flights got canceled, and so we were rerouted to surrounding airports. Then all those but the one to Syracuse got canceled. Thankfully, I had chosen to go to the Syracuse route. But then the Syracuse flight got delayed two hours. After bumming a ride with someone to Ithaca, THEN I finally got to Cornell. Also thankfully, I took two Klonopin for good measure before this fiasco.

However, I was appeased by a couple of things in the various airports:

1. I stopped by the kitchiest store I have ever seen, while at D.C. Everything was AMERICA! this, AMERICA! that. Life-size cut-outs of the Obamas and Sarah Palin stood out in front, and I asked the employee if she could take a picture of me standing next to them while country music about terrorist attacks, 9-11, and protecting the country played in the background.

2. Au Bon Pains! I could actually care less about ABPs, but they carry Harney & Sons' bottled tea and juices and Cape Cod potato chips, two of my favorite things about the East Coast. So I OD'd on some Harney & Sons while waiting.

I realized I was much happier arriving at night than the day. With my SAD (social anxiety), even the thought of simple things like rolling luggage around campus and seeing people in the hallways in the dorms makes me quite nervous. Fortunately, there was not a single soul around and I got to do everything in solitude.

For those of you who don't know, I am at Cornell's SCT program for the next six weeks, here in Ithaca, NY. The course I'm taking is The Poltics of Religious Difference with Saba Mahmood, and it looks like a promising summer. Productive, at least.

What I have seen of Ithaca so far is gorges! (Haha, get it?) There's one gorge across from my dorm window and I hear it all day, which I love. However, the actual gorge is very difficult to see now. They've put up chain link fences all around the gorges due to a spree of suicides last spring. Personally, I think this is ridiculous. If you're going to kill yourself, you're going to kill yourself. Not to mention the fencing is low and some areas are not fully protected. Me and another girl were pointing out all the different spots you could still jump from on our way to lunch today. Anyways, what you once could see was this:

Now, this -- where you cannot see past the first line of trees:

Well, I eventually made it to my dorm room last night, and what can I say? Dorm rooms are dorm rooms -- something like a hospital or German jail cell (have you noticed how nice those are?) While my OCD is very mild -- especially the actions (they are mostly the thoughts for me), dorm rooms kick in some special OCD gear inside me. So I spent the next two hours, untill 1130 PM arranging and rearranging. I've finally found an acceptable arrangement, and I even managed to throw some color into the drab room. THEN! I thought it would be a good idea to start a new blog at 1 AM, so between this and trying to finish reading Locke's A Letter Concerning Toleration, I made it to bed by 440 AM. The room is a little depressing at night, but I've been managing okay. Eating is not even an issue right now since I've been so busy.

Things haven't been too bad. This school is by far the most well-labeled school I've been to, which does wonders for those of us with anxiety disorders, lol. The first class today went well today, and for not having focused on religion for a while, I found the return to the topic quite provocative. The students didn't make me too nervous, and the professor seems invested and approachable. I even managed to speak up once in class! However unintelligible or irrelevant the remark might've been, that's a good step for me.

My future posts won't likely be as long, since I won't have to do all this introductory business. Till next time, then....


This blog is much like my other one, in that it will remain mainly concerned with my journey through mental health. However, I hope to write in this one more frequently and more broadly, as well as focus on struggling with mental health within academia. So rarely do people associate or mention mental health alongside academia. Going to school at an Ivy League or getting your PhD in Physics? Maybe double whammy -- getting your PhD at an Ivy League? How could you possibly have any problems when you go to Yale on full scholarship? Don't you have to be at least normal to make it that far? Don't you have everything you could ever want now? Aren't you happy?

Sometimes. Sometimes, no.

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Oh, disclaimer: I'm not going to Yale for Physics.