Have you ever received a compliment and laughed it off? I do this all the time. I have learned how to accept compliments with genuine enthusiasm, but I am instantly dubious of the other person’s intent. I can’t possibly be worthy of a compliment, so what’s your angle? What are you trying to do to me by telling me this false nice thing? I’m a fraud, an imposter. I’m not good at anything. I’m not even good at being alive. I feel very ambivalent about it. Today, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. I spent hours trying to tell myself that my small goals were good enough, that I showered, went to my therapist, went to my psychiatrist, practiced my Ukulele, etc., which is more than I’ve done in weeks. I try to say well I’m back in school so I’m working on that goal. But it feels too slow and I still feel like I don’t know anything. I feel like I won’t be able to do the work in the fall and I’m just faking my way through these courses. Nevermind my actual grades. They don’t mean anything. I still know nothing. Continue reading “Impostor Syndrome”
Yesterday I had an energetic epiphany and decided to take a shower for the first time in a while. I will refrain from saying how long because it’s sad, and I don’t want to be sad. Suffice it to say this was an accomplishment for me, and I feel better for it. I had my cousin over for hang-out time last night and that was refreshing as well. We goofed around on my Ukulele (which I’ve been spelling wrong forever??). Today I got up and actually went to CVS to pick up my meds. It was the first time I’d left the apartment in over a week. It was nice to be a part of the world again. Sometimes I forget that it’s not the end of the world to leave.
Sometimes I feel as though my mental health issues rule my life. Bipolar can take over whenever it feels like it, sending me into spirals of mania or depression of its own will. I do lots of preventative things, like taking my meds, going to therapy regularly, sleeping appropriately, etc. But that doesn’t always keep the demons at bay. BPD is similar, because the rapid cycling moods and sensitivity can be more than I feel like I can handle. It makes it easy to write a blog about mental health because mine is constantly shifting, but it doesn’t make it easy to live in the world. It’s hard not to get my identity wrapped up in these diagnoses. For one, as someone with BPD I’m prone to an unstable sense of self, so sometimes identifying with a disorder is grounding, but it can become all encompassing. I want to remember that I am ME in all of my flawed glory. I am more than these disorders.
I asked my Twitter community if it was possible to be in denial about depression, and the consensus was yes. I am experiencing a depression without my most typical depression symptoms. I have some of the normal ones: difficulty showering, isolation, trouble getting out of the apartment, lack of affect. But I don’t have my usual sadness, hopelessness, lack of appetite, increased or decreased sleeping. What I’ve concluded is that I might be in a mild depression. My therapist has been pointing me in that direction. It’s not hindering my life too much right now, but she worries that it will continue to worsen until I’m not functional at all any more. I worry about that too but I don’t see it happening right now. I’m generally in too good of a mood.
In times of trouble, I always find myself writing. I journal, I write to people, I blog, I tweet, I go on Facebook, etc. Written words are how I exhale my feelings. I can process them because I put names to faceless feelings and give them life. It allows for a conversation instead of a monologue. It’s the best way I know to work on feeling better.
Yesterday I used a lot of words. I wrote, I talked to people, I saw my therapist, I was honest about the place I was in and the needs I had and it paid off. I feel better today. This is probably also because I’ve been taking my Xanax every day and doubled up on my Abilify, but I’m also sure that it’s a combination of me actively working to feel better and my meds helping me to get there.
Right now I am just afloat, waiting to see how functional I can be. I’ve talked to some incredibly thoughtful people in the last few days and they have helped support me tremendously. Even a bunch of likes on Twitter makes me feel better because I know I am connected to somebody (somebodies) and I’m not alone in my struggles. I want to help people, but sometimes I have to ask for help.
Reading really helped me get through my times in the hospital. Our apartment is littered with books because one day I was manic and decided to order everything I might want to read while I was away at the new psych unit. When I was able to focus, when the meds weren’t draining my brain so much that I couldn’t make sense of the words, I ate books. They were great escapes. They let me leave the walls of the psych ward, escape the eyes of the staff, forget that I was feeling trapped in my own feelings. I like to read memoirs in particular. Continue reading “Great Escapes and Silver Linings”
So, my memory isn’t exactly what it used to be. Between years of drugs, hardcore meds, and ECT, I am operating at a surprisingly high level of memory. However I do repeat myself, and for that I apologize in advance (or maybe I already said a lot of what I’m about to say, so in that case I apologize in retrospect). In many ways repetition is good. As Zenyatta says, “Repetition is the pathway to mastery.” Anyway, sorry if I repeat myself. I am trying to become excellent. Continue reading “Forgive me if I repeat myself”
I live in New York City, which is the worst place to be around Christmas time. Midtown, Times Square, Rockefeller Plaza, and now, mostly because of Trump, 5th avenue are all tourist traps and full of people both flocking home for the holidays and on vacation. It is mayhem and misery for those of us who actually need to do stuff in that area of town. Traffic is insane so it takes so much time to get anywhere, and the subways are crowded and uncomfortable (even more than their normal crowded and uncomfortable). Plus it’s freezing outside so it will be hot and sticky in the subway, or expensive in a cab or Uber. Whine whine whine. First world problems. Continue reading “O Rockefeller Christmas Tree, how you suck”
18) “At home find a keepsake or rummage through a ‘junk’ drawer and find something that has a sentimental meaning to you, write about it. What or who does it represent? Alternatively find some old photographs and tell me about one of them.”
I have a lot of keepsakes. I connect emotion with object very easily. I think that part of it is the Borderline tendency to be attracted to transitional objects (like a kid’s teddy bear or blanket that they can’t live without and represents constancy). I think the possession I would be most heartbroken to lose would be my childhood bear Huggie. My mother says I grabbed him from a shelf in Continent, a French department store like Walmart but you know, French, and would not let go of him. I was about a year and some old. I don’t know what Huggie used to look like but he has always been flat with two simple black eyes and a little black plastic nose. He has a ribbon around his neck that was, at one point, wide and wrapped into a bow. Now it is tattered and hangs sadly from his neck. Because he was attached to me, his fur is now matted and flat, but will still fluff up when you rub it. He has one silk tag that is so worn that nothing written on it is intelligible. He is blue and I think his original French name was something along the lines of “blue bear.” Continue reading “Grief and Borderline and Bears, oh my”
17) “Write about meeting someone you admire (real or fictional) in an empty elevator; you have 3 minutes to make conversation. What will you say? What do you want the outcome of the conversation to be? You could even write out the conversation in a script format.”
Gwen Stefani looks at me out of the corner of her eye, trying to assess if I’m going to be a crazy fan-girl. I probably will be. First I tell her that Tragic Kingdom was the first album that I learned from start to finish, that I traveled all over France with my discman listening to it. I’d explain that I decorated my walls with all the No Doubt magazine cutouts I could find. I’ve been to so many of their concerts and then her solo ones. I love collecting her memorabilia. I think she is a genius and has been such a powerful voice for women everywhere. I think the way she handled her latest obstacles is inspirational and a great example for women everywhere. She is iconic. I’d like to tell her that her music got me through some of the most difficult times, and that her music is the true soundtrack to my life. She made such a difference by demonstrating what a woman can do just by putting her mind to it (with talent to back it up). Her greatest songs are all about overcoming pain, putting difficult relationships behind. I would gush, I would want her to understand how much she meant to me, and then I would ask for an autograph, selfie, and a hug because I’m greedy. Continue reading “Heroes, Fears, ECT”