that time I got a new DSM diagnosis and needed to go back to Wonderland

The DSM is a book made for insurance companies. And not even really that because half the conditions in it aren’t even covered by most health insurance companies (i.e. dissociative disorders and personality disorders). It’s just a stupid book that if you read it, you will find yourself relating to every disorder listed. Don’t look through it. You’ll diagnosis yourself with antisocial personality disorder (aka sociopathy and psychopathy).

Anyway, where was I going with this? Right. Psychiatrists. For the past year or so I’ve had the same DSM codes listed on my record and there’s always only 2: one of general anxiety disorder and one for some kind of “persistent dysthymia.” But my last visit to my psychiatrist resulted in me walking out with THREE codes. Curiosity killing me, I obviously googled the unrecognizable code and guess what he diagnosed me with.

Alcohol dependence.

Okay, so hold up. Yeah I have a problem with alcohol, I completely admit to that, but dependence??? In that case, every person who works in food service has alcohol dependence. And I know exactly why he gave me this diagnosis. He asked me if it was possible for me to stop drinking completely, to which I responded “yeah, I could, but I like looking forward to a glass of wine or a beer after a long day.” Apparently this is dependence. Granted, I’m nursing a hangover today. I guess maybe this is spiraling out of control a bit as much as I really don’t want it to. The problem? I don’t fix myself until something drastic happens. Everyone’s telling me to slow my roll and I keep telling myself to slow my roll because I don’t even like myself when I’m drunk.. let alone when I’m sober. Drunk me is (see a previous post) Alice-Emily and ultimately explosive and unattractive.

While we’re on the topic of Alice.. check this out.

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The extension of my Alice in Wonderland sleeve! Let me explain a bit. So there’s this video game, Alice Madness Returns, that’s loosely based on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland movie. Remember that one? The trippy one that had nothing to do with the original Disney movie or the book but I’m still sure that Lewis Carroll would have appreciated it? Yeah that one. In the game, there’s the normal Alice (who’s tattooed on the other side of my arm)

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Super old picture from when I first had this done, but there’s my other Alice! The good Alice. The sane Alice. That’s the me Alice. This other Alice? That’s the Hysteria Alice. Out of control, relentless, powerful, and ultimately destructive. That’s the Alice me that happens when I drink, or when I’m feeling particularly manic and get out of control in that Alice type of way. In the game, when you’re low in power, you can convert to Hysteria mode that causes more destruction to your enemies but doesn’t give you the same rewards for defeating them. This totally doesn’t make sense, does it? Let me break this down a little more.

I always identify with the good Alice. I long for Wonderland, for peace, tranquility, but while maintaining her power. This other Alice, the Alice that I used to “transition” into is the Alice that is the Hysteria Alice. Make more sense now? Hysteria Alice is the one who comes in for the kill. There will always be a part of me that is this Alice, and that’s okay. I acknowledge her. We’ll find peace someday. Hysteria Alice says DRINK ME.

I just have to learn not to get so low in power that I have to convert to drinking, to hysteria.

How fine you look when dressed in rage. Your enemies are fortunate your condition is not permanent. You’re lucky, too. Red eyes suit so few.
-Cheshire Cat, Alice Madness Returns

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that time it hit me that I’m running away from my life/that time I realized I’m going to miss my mom

All this talk about Colorado and making plans and meeting people and figuring out how to simplify everything has all become a blur. It’s finally hit me that I’m literally running away. And the timer to that is ticking fast. It’s only 3 months away! Holy. Shit.

It really just recently hit me that I’m actually leaving. And by leaving, I’m leaving everything behind. 2,000 miles is far enough that for the first time in my life, I have to learn how to adult for real. Whaaaaatttt?!?!!

But I’m leaving behind a lot of good memories. Part of me doesn’t want to leave my hometown because there’s still so much good stuff here, but I know I made this decision because I needed change. Everything’s going to change. Am I ready for that?

My mom and I had brunch recently, and she likes to do this thing where she reminisces about the good times of my childhood (like when I wedged a pencil into the front door lock orĀ that time that I had a pet goat named Q-tip. Both true stories). I think she’s trying to piece my memory back together for me because I finally got it across to her that I don’t remember my childhood. Everything up until about 6th grade is just a fog or non-existent. What was I blocking? So yeah, apparently I did have some good memories. And all of those will forever reside in my hometown that I’m leaving behind.

It’s sad though, really. Now that I know I’m about to leave it all, I keep finding the things from this place that I really do or did enjoy, the places I remember, the people I knew. The dock at the boatyard that my high school best friend and I would get high and stare at the stars and dream of what was going to happen to us. The pavilion in the park where my high school friends and I hop the fence to and chug Miller Lite. The tattoo studio where I’ve gotten all my life-changing tattoos and formed some awesome relationships with the artists. The art supply store that I still technically work in and have since I was 14. The wonderful people there that will gladly welcome me back whenever I want to. There’s the community college where I spent a lot of time trying to figure my life out after I flunked out of the first college I went to. The park underneath the bridge where I’d climb on the rocks with my friends or by myself and watch the waves and sailboats go by. All of these things and all of these memories are all going to remain here.

But I’m also leaving my cat (temporarily), my neurotic pitbull 9 year old puppy, and most importantly, my mom. In the end, I wanted to get away from everything and everyone and start over, as if I didn’t ever live in Maryland. But in reality? I love my mom and I will miss her. She’s done so much for me and put up with all 22 years of my bullshit from climbing out of my crib as a baby to crashing her car multiple times. This woman will drop everything to have a conversation with me (like the time I completely fried my hair off with bleach and I called her while she was at a conference and she actually talked me through my crying and freaking out. Overdramatic, but my hair was past my shoulders and I had to get it cut the shortest it’s ever been. Yes, it’s traumatizing to see bunches of your hair break off of your head). So I’ve decided to take a piece of her with me.

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Before I leave, I’ll get this tattooed on my forearm to remind me of home. My mom is a closet Lord of the Rings fan (she wrote her senior paper or something like thatĀ about LOTR in college, before the books were even well known. Pretty hardcore if you ask me). LOTR will always remind me of my mother. I think she likes to live her life by these books when I think back on it. She’s always encouraged me to go after the impossible, knowing the setbacks, how far it is to climb to anywhere, but to know that everything is possible if I really want something. I hated her at the time for pushing me so much, but now I know that she only wanted me to keep going even when it seemed hopeless. She taught me that courage is found in unlikely places. I’ll keep that close to me.

So this is for you, Mom:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

that time that my mother told me to go to AA

The worst thing about mental illness is that you don’t realize it’s happening until it’s too late. You see the train coming, but you know that you have the sense to move before it gets too close. But trains travel a lot faster than you think.

So I just spent an hour talking on the phone with my mother. That’s seriously a record considering I only call her when I need something and I usually put the phone down and walk away while she’s talking and she doesn’t notice. 10 minutes is usually my limit. But it’s true: she told me I should go to AA. She does this freaky thing where she can suddenly get me to tell her everything that’s going on in my life from who I’ve hooked up with to how much alcohol I consume on the daily. Things that you usually don’t want to tell your parents. I am way too hungover for this shit. And shaking with anxiety.

I transitioned last night. So that’s a thing. Thank god it didn’t last long but Alice did leave me high and dry with a shattered phone screen. So that’s another thing. Drunk Alice me is apparently extremely unattractive. I asked Blob what he found unattractive about her and I think the word he used was the most accurate description of her: explosive. After angrily telling him to just go home after work instead of coming over, I started driving away and started crying, then called him and begged him to come over. I felt better once we got home and I cracked open my bottle of wine. Alcoholism at its finest. I don’t understand how that man puts up with me on a day to day basis. Or really anyone. But those who do put up with me I guess are the ones who are worth keeping around. And the ones who get up early and make you awesome breakfast after the whole episode are definitely worth keeping around. Don’t let your ego get too high, Blob. You still annoy the fuck out of me. This is just an appreciation paragraph.

Why do I cry so much now after having a total dry spell for a year? I might have to call out of work because I can’t stop crying. I’ve skipped class a few times because I can’t get out of my house without my face being a total wreck. Why do I wear so much makeup? My eyes are always red and puffy to the point that only black eyeshadow can cover up this damage. I am a wreck. You know how on the internet you find those little inspirational quotes that say things like “those who suffer from mental illness are the strongest individuals” and shit like that? Man, I don’t know who came up with that because we are such a train wreck. But I guess those who don’t have any mental illnesses would not be able to deal with the kinds of things I go through on the daily. I guess I gotta give myself some credit here. This is just an appreciation paragraph for myself. Bipolar disorder/DID is a gift and a curse. I can feel things that no one else has the ability to feel, which sounds great sometimes. Mania is awesome, who can argue that? But with mania does come the depression that just drags you down like you’re tied to a 3 ton boulder. Days like this are difficult. I’m trying to find some silver linings.

I really don’t want to go to AA. I’m such a stubborn person. I know I have a problem but I just can’t stand the thought of being Marla Singer in a support group. I am Jack’s wasted life. No thank you. So here I am today sitting at my computer and trying to get the courage to get up and out and hopefully make it through the day without having to end it on a drunk note. My mom told me to try not to drink tonight. I’ll try. I’ll try to color or play with my new hula hoop that’s coming in the mail tonight. I’ll try to not disassociate from myself. I’ll try to not run away from everything.

I’m always running from something.

I just can’t outrun my brain.

that time I French kissed a goat

But actually I kind of did. Goat selfies all day. This is Malcolm.

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Some days you just have to push yourself out of bed to do the simplest things. Even if it’s just reaching for your laptop so that you can read over notes from class for a test, or get up and make yourself coffee.

Today was a lot different. I got out of bed for social interaction right off the bat. And it was totally worth it.

Big group outings are not my thing, obviously. As the socially anxious person that I am, group outings are terrifying even if I know everyone there. Today was just a day out with my coworkers who I am totally comfortable with at work and usually I enjoy their company outside of working. You guys are great, really. Despite my hatred of hardcore vegans, some of us are actually pretty chill about it. And get way too excited when we find vegan donuts (that was them, not me. I’m the freak that doesn’t like donuts), play with farm animals for a few hours, and binge on veggie sushi (who said that you can’t od on vegetables? I mean maybe you can). Us vegans can be very chill creatures. We just like animals.

So anyway, I woke up this morning and told myself “Yeah, you can go out!” And I did. Wow. We all made a trek down to a farm animal sanctuary to visit some rescued farm animals and I have to say that it was totally worth all the anxiety I had about getting out of the house. And yes it’s true: a goat totally licked me on the mouth as I was kissing it. I’ve always loved goats. As a kid, my mom worked on a farm that had about 20 goats, a cow and several ducks and geese. My favorite thing to do was hang out with the goats, which today then brought out the goat lover that I am. And animal lover. And I never wanted to ever say this, I understand this whole “being vegan” thing now. Not that that actually has anything to do with how I eat, but embracing that vegan lifestyle is really about loving all animals in every way you can. That includes hangin’ with some farm animals. I can’t argue with that.

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Yep, that is me cuddling with a goat. He was happy. I was happy. Anxiety gone. I could do this everyday. Thanks to Sara E. for the photo.

What else happened today? I signed a lease for an apartment in Colorado. As of August, I am actually going to be living in Colorado! There’s plenty of farms with goats there too, right? Being outside makes me feel more alive than I ever have (despite the wicked sunburn I got. I’m actually a lobster) and oh boy will I get outside into the beautiful Colorado mountains whenever I’m able to once I’m there. Adventure is out there! I just had to make that big step.

I guess I could say that today was a good day. That’s really all I need in my life right now: good days, one at a time.

This post is brought to you by me finding several missing pieces of myself in a single day. Without alcohol.

that time I realized that I am Jack’s cold sweat

Good days for me are the ones where I accomplish things. And by accomplish things I mean I went to the gym, ate breakfast, showered, and went to work. A really productive day would be that, but I also went to the bank, put gas in my car and even bothered to shave my legs while in the shower. That was today. I am exhausted. If I make time to see someone somewhere in the midst of all that then, damn, that was a really good day. But you know, people like me who have the most crippling social anxiety are just proud of themselves for shaving their legs or making it through the work day while maintaining a good mood.

I’m just going to tell myself that today was really productive because I studied for an exam I have this week, but really, I kind of just glanced over my notes and read them and I’m telling myself that that is better than nothing but knowing that when I get to that test, I am going to have no idea what is what. And then there’s that anxiety of knowing that but being kind of unmotivated while also overanxious about having to study in the first place. See, this is anxiety. Anxieties have anxieties and it’s always a downward spiral. So how do you stop it? Anyone?

In the past, my anxiety could be avoided by me saying goodbye to the world for a few hours while my alternate personalities take on my life for me. Now it’s just me and my brain. My overly emotional, hypersensitive, overly anxious brain. It’s a really dark place in here. Earlier this week I felt great about myself. I knew that yeah, I have a lot of issues, but damn my makeup is on point and I felt alive and free being outside playing with a hula hoop. Now I look at that hula hoop and I feel sad because I’m frustrated about it. I have social events I’m supposed to participate in this week that I’ve had several months notice about but I just can’t bring myself to go.

So I decided that eating a whole box of cookies and writing would be a better option than hooping for a bit, having a glass of wine, listening to good music and then getting some possibly well-deserved sleep. And now I’m having anxiety over the fact that I just ate a whole box of cookies and that’s why I’ve been gaining weight lately. The worst part is that anxiety isn’t even really an emotion. I don’t feel sad or depressed. Anxiety is just this state of being.

And then there’s social anxiety. In the past, I’m normally saved by alcohol. If there’s going to be alcohol involved, then yeah, I got this. Funny, charismatic Emily brought to you by Alcohol. If there’s not alcohol involved? Well.. Maybe I’m just gonna have to either bring a flask or flake at last minute. I am that notorious friend who flakes last minute. I guess that makes me what they call a “flake.” It’s not that I’m a “flake,” I just can’t do social situations that don’t involve alcohol. Clearly, I’m a social drinker.. or maybe I’m just an alcoholic. You decide. We all remember that time in Fell’s Point when I had 10 drinks and.. oh yeah that time at the Phoenix when several beers in.. and that other time when I ran away from my boyfriend at the time.. oh and I guess everyone definitely remembers that time I drank too much tequila and took some Xanax and ended up in the hospital for 3 days.

And now there’s that time when it took drinking a whole bottle of wine just to write a fucking blog post, play with my hula hoop, and say “yeah! I’ll be there tomorrow!”

I am Jack’s wasted life.

 

that time I decided to do something about myself

Isn’t #motivationmonday a thing? Probably, but it’s not Monday. But you know, I realized lately how much I’ve been living my life just trying to get through the day and wanting nothing more than to get plastered every single night so I can forget about what happened that day and what’s going to happen the next day. I call that “living in the moment.” And then you wake up the next day 3 hours after you planned to, you feel shitty, and get nothing accomplished. This has been my life for the past year.

I gave up on being vegan because I went on a rampage of hating vegans, but you know what I realized? I just hate people. So all the love to you vegans, and still fuck you for being a person anyway. I’m going back to eating vegan. I know I said I felt better not being vegan, but right now my body absolutely hates me after having consumed eggs on a daily basis, cheese and skim milk chai lattes from Starbucks. Did I mention I gained 5 pounds since that? Yeah, ok. Back to this vegan thing. I can tell that I’m not healthier on this diet.

I gave up on school because I have the worst senioritis. I’ve been in school for 2 years non-stop; winters and summers included. Not gonna lie, I think drinking has gotten in the way of this. I’m so unmotivated.

I’m going nowhere with this post. I’m posting it anyway.

that time I decided to embrace being antisocial

If you’ve ever been in a relationship, and the inevitable end is nye, no one comes out without some battle scars. If you’ve gotten out of a relationship and there’s no hurt on either end, you are lying to yourself or both of you are actually sociopaths. But I don’t think that sociopaths really like to date each other. Real sociopaths anyway. Some of us don’t feel as much as others, but that doesn’t make us sociopaths.

Me? I feel everything to the point that I feel nothing.

Sometimes things just end in a “….” and you don’t know what to do except to let that keep going until there’s finally a “.” Sometimes you run out of things to talk about. Sometimes you look at the person and feel nothing for them. You feel nothing, you can’t tell if they feel anything, and the conversation ends in “see you sometime.” Looking at them makes you feel emotionally exhausted. Things aren’t done, you don’t know what you’re feeling or what to do or even know if it’s worth doing anything. Doing the “official” break up hurts because it’s like a bandaid that you rip off. Letting things trail off is like slowly pulling back the bandaid. But you just want to avoid that stabbing pain. So the conversation ends, you walk away to your car, and drive away right as Adam’s Song by Blink 182 comes on the radio. You feel sad, but you can’t feel sad. You feel numb. Stuck. You want to cry but you’re tired of crying. You want to go home and consume every ounce of liquor in your house but you’re trying to get sober. And then you’re stuck.

You get home, eat food that you don’t really want, decide that getting high is a better option than drinking your life away, and then lie in bed staring at the ceiling feeling nothing and everything at the same time. It’s still daylight. There are friends you could see that you’ve put off seeing. There’s homework you could do, art you could make, video games you could play to put your mind somewhere outside of itself. You could play with your hula hoop that you’ve been obsessive about for the past month. But you’re tired. So you scroll through Facebook, Instagram, old text messages. After feeling so high for so long, your brain stops firing and you’re back to square one.

Anhedonia. The worst of the low feelings. So low you don’t have the capacity to feel anything, even sad or depressed. It’s a dark closet you’ve been locked in and you don’t know how to pick the lock and you’re too tired to kick down the door.

And then you start to think. You don’t know if you ever want to be with anyone anymore. You also start to realize that despite a drastic life change called the “geographic cure,” your problems will follow you. You can run away from your life, but you can’t run away from yourself.

You realize that you didn’t know you were losing him until he was too far gone. This is the story of another failed attempt.

“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”
-Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower