what a wonderfully crippling world.

And ya’ll actually thought I had given up on writing. It was pretty believable for a while there. My facebook page is gone, and I haven’t posted a single thing since July 3rd. But here I am, here to tell you the things in my life that I don’t always know if people will care about, but are still relevant to the mental health community.

So the move happened, and I’m finally settling back into this life of living at home and regrounding myself. The beginning was rough. As soon as I got off that airplane, and walked out into the 95% humidity, I immediately started crying and regretting the decision I made to leave Colorado. And for about 2 to 3 weeks following coming home, I was pretty depressed while still trying to figure out what I was really doing here.

Familiarity is always good. Feeling the warm hugs of people who genuinely love you make you remember that life isn’t always so lonely. Sitting down in front of the easel you abandoned so long ago and just painting every color that you feel in your blood and soul is an instant release of everything that feels bad. Seeing my old therapist in person was weird, but ultimately relieving. Even when you go back to the gym you used to go to and see the same people doing the same things feels both homey, yet slightly sad, but I mostly find it hilarious. Finally, after one good night, it’s like something in me finally opened up, and I finally felt like I could dig myself out of my depression once again.

One night towards the end of July, I peeled myself out of bed on a particularly dreary rainy night to go see Andrew McMahon in Baltimore (if you don’t know him, please do your mental health and your soul a favor and look him up). Standing in the crowd of all types of people I would normally hate, there was this weird community where we all felt that Andrew had changed our lives in some way, and was still continuing to do so as he sang his little heart out on the stage of Ram’s Head. After the show, it was pouring down rain. I mean POURING. I got a flash flood warning on my phone. But regardless, I had gotten this far, and I decided to be an idiot and stand out in the pouring rain for an hour because I was that determined to meet Andrew for some weird life-fulfilling reason.

After waiting in the rain for an hour, or so it felt, Andrew finally steps out of the venue with no shoes on, and a giant plastic cup filled with wine, looks at us all standing in the rain waiting for him, and with a huge smile on his face, says “What’s up, everybody?” He made his way down the line of people and when he finally got to me, I gave him a hug and started crying while I told him how his music saved me when I was the most alone I had ever been while in Colorado. I’ve never felt like anyone has actually listened and understood how I felt in that moment until then when he looked me directly in the eye, and gave me another hug like there was nothing more that needed to be said, and I could move on now.

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sometimes people make you feel the impossible

After that night, I started using my synesthesia for painting. I stopped caring about making my painting good, and making them look how I felt emotionally and physically. Synesthesia presents itself in different ways, so for me, I perceive emotional and physical sensations as colors. Instead of feeling the warm fur of my cat, I sense a warm campfire orange. If that makes sense. Feel free to ask me more.

I was painting everyday. I was painting so much that I was stepping over the paintings in my room to get almost anywhere. And it felt so good. I looked forward to just sitting down with a bottle of wine and my paintbrush and watching the colors form across the canvas. And as I kept doing this, I kept feeling more and more at home, and happier in some way, which is a weird thing I’ve never felt.

A couple more weeks passed and I had never felt so great. I was beginning to feel at home with my new job, some new friends and old friends I had reconnected with. I could socialize comfortably for the first time in years. I started doing great workouts at the gym and was starting to feel comfortable in my own skin after months of hating my body. I felt great, I looked great, and I knew it. Each day was better than the next. I would try new things, and do things I wouldn’t normally do, and that was totally ok because I was finally stepping out of my comfort zone and into this new, confident, happier me.

But finally it hit me. This “new” me, wasn’t me. This was hypomanic me. This was the uninhibited, no impulse control with nothing in my brain to tell me to “stop” me. I wasn’t sleeping much, would eat a lot or nothing at all, and got annoyed when people would try to stop me. I felt invincible. I was a goddess and nothing could bring me down.

And it’s amazing what small things will bring a person down from that kind of high. This post is brought to you by my post mania depression that resulted from a bad night of drinking, yelling at people in the street, and spraining my ankle, my wrist, banging up my knee and elbow and ultimately, an extremely bruised ego. I can’t walk, can’t exercise, can’t paint. I went to my first ceramics class of the semester yesterday and walked out feeling completely defeated because my ankle hurt too much to use the wheel and everyone was making beautiful pieces while mine kept falling apart.

I guess the lesson in all this is that it’s not a bad thing to have unmedicated bipolar disorder. I wouldn’t trade my hypomania for anything because it’s the best thing I could possibly feel and it feels like a gift to feel so alive, and to feel something that no one else can. Sometimes it’s even worth the horrible, crippling depression that follows and the stupid mistakes you made (like wearing heels while drinking and dancing). But there’s a difference between managing your mental illness, and living with it. And obviously, I can’t just live with it and expect to be okay. It’s not okay to start acting psychotic and screaming at people in the street because voices are screaming in your head. It’s not okay to become a total klepto during a hypomanic episode. It’s not okay to let depression make  you sleep for 3 days straight despite having an ankle injury and avoid contact with everyone.

But I will be okay. I always am. And at least this time, I’m not alone because I’m finally home.

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What you need to know about people with social anxiety

I haven’t been able to answer the question of “How are you?” with a truthful “I’m good!” in about 2 months. I’m never really okay. Sure, some days are better than others, and sometimes it might look like I’m doing just fine because I’m smiling and I still go to work. So clearly, I’m totally okay.

I’m not.

Over the past few months while tapering off my klonopin, I reached a new level of anxiety: completely debilitating social anxiety. No, socially anxious people aren’t just “socially awkward.” It’s a complete fear of other people. Fear of being judged or ignored or disliked.

Just because I don’t answer your text right away doesn’t mean I’m mad at you. I’m just afraid of saying the wrong thing.

Just because I can barely go to the grocery store without having a small panic attack doesn’t mean I’m weird.

Not being able to be around a bunch of people I don’t know doesn’t make me antisocial. It’s just not comfortable.

Dominant personalities terrify me. I go by a script to talk to customers at work and it’s really hard to deviate from that without panicking.

Just because I’m “here” doesn’t mean I’m “here.”

It’s really hard to hold a job. I stopped going to one of my jobs because it made me so anxious and I was too scared to call my boss and call out or quit. I left her a voicemail.

I’m easily irritated. It’s hardly ever personal.

I’m really bad at starting conversations with new people. That doesn’t mean I don’t like you. You’re probably pretty cool and I just can’t think of anything to say.

I’m easily startled.

I really don’t want pity. Don’t tell me I’m falling apart, I know I am.

What am I trying to say here? Society needs to be more aware of how they treat other people. If someone looks like they’re not okay, they’re probably not, so please treat them that way. Quiet people don’t need your dominant personality thrown in their face. I’m not asking for special treatment, I’m just asking for people as a whole to be more considerate of others because you don’t know what someone is going through.

Some days are better than others. Sometimes I can go out and run errands and be okay, and other days I don’t leave my apartment unless I absolutely have to. When I completely stopped taking my klonopin, I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep at night. Truth is, I sleep like a baby now because I put so much energy into trying to act normal when I go out, that when I get home, I’m mentally and physically exhausted.

I know that it’s just withdrawal anxiety, and eventually it won’t be as bad. But in the mean time, I’m okay with not holding a full-time job and spending my Saturday nights alone.

writing is hard

And it’s even harder when you work a 9-5 in which you spend in front of a computer all day wondering “what random crap can I look up on the internet today?” and you come home and the last thing you want to do is stare at another computer screen. But here I am because it’s post Valentine’s Day and I’m sure you guys know what that means.

To be honest, most days at work I spend browsing Craigslist missed connections and damn I’ve learned a lot. Apparently Fort Collins has a glory hole?* Those still exist? And to the guy who’s wondering why there’s not enough traffic at “the local glory hole,” I’m going to find that glory hole and stick my vagina in there. Or get some other girl to do it. Hopefully he doesn’t have mouth herpes but considering a guy who is literally sitting in a bathroom stall waiting to suck some dick, the odds may be never in his favor when it comes to acquiring herpes. And why do guys get all the glory? I find this incredibly sexist.

Also I found where to buy TruckNutz (actually spelled like that on the official website), that cell phone use while driving is legal in Colorado (except texting), and peanut butter and pickle sandwiches are a commonly prepared sandwich in some sick part of this universe that I don’t want to know where or who or why. Same thing with peanut butter and mayo. You people on the internet sicken me.

So how did my Valentine’s Day go? Well, better than last year, but not as good as the year before in which I ran a mile in my underwear under the influence of redbull and vodka to raise money for children’s cancer. There is internet evidence of this.

Why did it go well? I think we can start with the fact that I’m not dating a sociopath who convinced me to eat a lamb burger and told me my blog doesn’t make sense like the DC metro (really, Blob, the DC metro still doesn’t make sense to me). See last year’s post.

Instead, I realized that Sweet D and I know each other too well superficially (that’s the word I was looking for last night, D, just FYI). I can order a pizza without even asking him what he wants on it (pepperoni and pineapple), I always know what he wants to watch on Netflix (Scrubs or whatever he happens to be binge watching), and I know that if I get up to go to the bathroom mid-Netflix, he wants me to grab him another cookie while I’m up (I’m a good girlfriend and made him non-vegan peanut butter cookies). And of course, he asked me if I wanted to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Well, duh. It’s Valentine’s Day. Sometimes just knowing these seemingly superficial things about your significant other can actually make you realize that you do legitimately care about someone. Also when D is being too quiet for no reason at all, he has to pee (sorry D, but you know that I know it’s true).

I also know he hates my alarm. It’s okay. I think most people would be aggravated by hearing Heat of the Moment every day at 7am but how else am I supposed to wake up in the morning? No apologies. And “sober as a gopher” is code for “I’m drunk.” I guess I just spilled all my boyfriend’s secrets on the internet (not all, but a good amount). Not sorry, D, you’re just too cute even when I slather face product all over your face while you’re sleeping and you wake up to your face being super red and irritated. I should really stop attacking my boyfriend with overpriced face products as my own personal experiment.

Writing is hard when the only thing you have to talk about is the weird shit you found on Craigslist that day.

*to you innocent souls who don’t know what a “glory hole” is, here’s all that urban dictionary can tell you about glory holes.

all that and a pint of ice cream and bottle of wine

The blog hiatus is still pretty real. To be honest, I thought this was the end of my Wallflower Waterfall blog journey. After scrolling through all my social media accounts after the inauguration, I realized (as much as I really do care about it) that I don’t want to see all this stuff clogging up my newsfeed. And besides that, since it seemed that that was all that people wanted to read and write about, who would want to read my blog in which I completely avoid talking about politics?

The answer, I found, was still a handful of people. So I’ll keep writing for you guys, but you’re gonna have to look hard for it amongst all the political rants and articles that are probably clogging up your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram pages as well. And for that, you all will get a lot of virtual hugs and maybe cookies if you live near me (I guess we’re back to the cookie bribery). Also, I realized that as of next week, I will have had this blog for a year.  Definitely baking cookies for myself. And because next week is Valentine’s Day and I’m sure you all know how much I LOVE Valentine’s Day … queue sarcasm. See last year’s post numero uno and the Valentine’s Day follow-up of post #2. For the record, my mind is still like the DC metro (see the second post). I also totally take back what I said about teddy bears and all the cheesy Valentine’s Day crap. I fucking love flowers and those stupid little heart shaped boxes of chocolate. But only good chocolate. None of that Russell Stover excuse for “chocolate.”

I guess this year probably won’t be much different besides the fact that I’m not dating a sociopath, but vegan Ben & Jerry’s, wine and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind will probably still be in the mix. I really don’t know why Valentine’s Day always gets me down. Every year, I watch Eternal Sunshine to remind myself that people come and go, and life can continue on regardless. Yesterday, the tattoo itch kicked in so badly that I sat through six hours of getting my entire left side of my torso tattooed with the quote from the movie. It’s been six months since my last tattoo. And since it’s close to Valentine’s Day, I only felt it was appropriate:

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How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot! The world forgetting by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d                      -Alexander Pope

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll get it. If not, well I just planned your Valentine’s Day for you.

A spotless mind, one that is untainted, and innocent. Eternal light lives in the minds of the innocent. But are they happy not knowing?

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I guess we’ve all felt like this at some point. I thought this would be me this year. But second chances are always a thing. Sometimes even third and fourth chances if somehow it’ll seem worth it. But who am I to talk about relationship advice. I mean come on, I dated a sociopath for over half a year.

But disclaimer? I’ve actually been binge watching the Twilight series. 50 Shades of Grey will be on the queue for later. And then back to the beautiful tragedy that is the eternal sunshine.

 

there’s no passion in sobriety

Yeah, so I did give up drinking as my New Year’s Resolution. I finally figured it’s time to kick it to the curb and go American History X on it. Wow that got racist fast.

Anyway, it’s been 6 days so I finally just decided, hey, I can do just one glass of wine. I deserve it for reasons xyz (REASONS INCLUDING THAT I GOT A REAL JOB FINALLY). And for the record I’ve been nursing this one glass for the past hour. But as I’ve been drinking this, and really wanting another glass/the whole bottle, it made me realize something: I can’t find passion without altering my brain, whether that’s smoking or drinking or whatever.  Continue reading “there’s no passion in sobriety”

The Official 2016 Wrap Up and My Unofficial Resolutions

My mom sent me an email this evening (okay like 20 minutes ago) wishing me happy new year and that she said (and I quote)

Hi! Am home this evening. No plans, but I have always hated New Years. –  too many expectations and unfulfilled resolutions. Am going to clean out my file cabinet in the den, as I always do for NY, and run the wood stove.
Yup. That’s my mom. She spends every new years eve/day cleaning out one filing cabinet in her house. Meanwhile, I’m doing laundry and plan on shaving for the first time in 2 months while consuming some NOT $5 wine and rewriting the lyrics to Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day (obviously, to be titled Wake Me Up When 2016 Ends). This may end up in a Green Day listening marathon and trying to awfully cover some Green Day songs on my guitar. Check the Instagram feed on the right side of this blog if you wanna see what happens after I’m through a couple of glasses. Sorry, Mom. I love you. I hate New Years too.
As far as resolutions go? Well, I did look back at my resolutions from last year (thank you, Facebook) and they go as follows:
1. Get back into yoga and running (I did not)
2. Stop buying $4 bottles of wine (any of previous posts will prove that didn’t happen. Sorry, but I’m a broke, unemployed alcoholic)
3. Graduate and move to Colorado (THAT I TOTALLY DID DO, where is my diploma UMBC???)
So I set some more realistic expectations for this year.
1. Seriously stop buying $4 bottles of wine
2. Reinvent my guitar career (via my room and entertaining my stuffed animals and boyfriend)
3. Overcome social anxiety (not sure how realistic that is, but we’ll see)
4. Climb a 14r. Definitely doable out here.
5. Don’t associate with sociopaths and fuckboys (definitely doable)
6. Get off of my klonopin
7. Stop vaping so I stop looking like such a douchebag
8. Not chop off my hair into a pixie cut so I regret it for the entirety of growing it out
9. Visit potential cities to move to (maybe just “city,” I’ll start with Seattle or Portland, maybe somewhere in Cali)
10. Quit therapy
11. Get serious about my writing career (you guys are reading my blog, aren’t you?)
12. Taxidermy something
13. Go to a music festival and actually have fun
Less realistic expectations:
1. Join Americorps
2. Move away from Colorado (yeeeahhhh we’ll see)
3. Overcome social anxiety (I put this in both categories, because let’s be honest, I’m such a social flaky croissant wreck)
4. Get tattooed by Kat Von D
5. Take the GRE (HAHAHAHHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
6. Quit drinking…………………………
I should really rethink these but really, I would like to thank for anyone who read my blog this year. You guys are awesome and deserve to be furiously happy with a cupcake and cherry on top. Unless you’re already there. Good for you.
And for real, RIP to everyone who died this year, especially my two 4 legged friends, Zeke and Gonzo who died in the same month.
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They didn’t like each other. But they were still my babies nonetheless and died quite tragically (Gonzo of pneumonia, and Zeke of an ear tumor).
Happy New Year everyone, I’ll be here with Xander and Finn and a bottle of wine.

A letter to my friends who think I’m a huge flake but I’m actually just a social flaky croissant shaped trainwreck

I guess that title said it all. I am the flakiest friend that if I was a pie, I would literally just crumble into a pile of dust. Pie dust. I guess you could sprinkle me on a more stable pie and then it’d be like, some serious pie on pie action. Or any kind of pastry. Except that I hate pastries. So there’s that. Where was I going with this?

Oh yeah. I’m the definition of a flake, and I don’t mean to be. I really do love my friends. They’re great people. But I have reached a point in my social anxiety where being around more than 1 person at a time (maybe 2, and that’s pushing it) is basically a nightmare for me. Get some alcohol in me and I’m fine. But otherwise I’m just a gross flaky croissant from Safeway or King Soopers (seriously Safeway, your “croissants” are just a curly lump of buttery, over salted dough with burned flakes that get f**king everywhere).

I’ll stop talking about pastries now. Because they’re gross. Especially eclairs which are basically a phallic cream filled ball of especially disgusting dough. Case in point.

I didn’t really realize how much of a flake I’ve been until D texted me and pointed out that I’ve been bailing on my friends a lot and asked me if I’m okay. Answer? Absolutely not.

It’s not that I don’t want to see my friends, I really do. Since D has been back home in Maryland the past couple weeks, I’ve been really lonely. I told myself that I was gonna use this time that he’s away as an excuse to see my friends, but instead, Netflix and my bed and a bottle of wine have been the only friends I want to see (side story: don’t drink a 1.5 liter bottle of wine in one sitting. Or attempt to. I don’t think I need to expand on that story actually. But please, for your own health and sanity, don’t do it).

I know that I should push myself to get out of the house more and socialize more, but I’m kind of just okay with not being okay right now. Yeah, social withdrawal is one of the biggest signs of depression, but by pushing myself out into the great unknown of socializing, that just makes everything worse. I’ve also reached a point where I’ve bailed on everything I was invited to this week to the point where my friends are threatening to kidnap me. I guess that’s what makes them good friends.

If you know someone with this kind of anxiety, don’t make them socialize if they’re literally hiding in bed crying about it and comparing themselves to flaky pie dough. Text them so they don’t have to talk on the phone. Bring them their favorite food and watch Netflix with them so they don’t have to leave the house. Social anxiety isn’t just being awkward around people. It’s a legitimate fear of engaging in social activities. It’s the fear of not having an escape route for when I need to climb back into my anxiety cave.

So, I’m sorry friends that I’ve bailed on every holiday thing that happened this week. This isn’t a good time for me. I love you all. Come kidnap me if you wish.

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