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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2017 UPDATE: somewhat manic, mostly reasonable

Note to self: do not post manic ideas as a blog post.

That last post was pretty unnecessary. Manic induced ideas can be awesome. That’s how I came up with the idea to go to U of Edinburgh for school (to get out of taking the GRE) and the idea of painting skate decks for money (possibly still a good idea for side money). I actually did spend a large amount of time researching where to buy blank skate decks and what type of varnish to use, etc. etc. But as much as I would like to extend my artistic talents into the world of skating, I think I’m better off doing something more realistic now that my mania has subsided.

For the first time since moving to Colorado, I finally feel a bit settled. Why’s that? Well I’ll tell you why even if you don’t care.

I finally have a REAL JOB. I START TOMORROW. Like, big girl 9-5 job. Okay it’s actually 8:30 to 4 and I have to work at 7:30am on Saturdays but a set schedule? Damn I feel spoiled.

And then after spending a month and a half of unemployment, I had a lot of time to think about long term. Long term commitments are scary. I couldn’t even decide on what I wanted to major in in undergrad until I realized I might as well major in psych just because I had enough credits for it. Bad decision, but probably ideal for someone who wanted to graduate ASAP.

But anyway, I recently realized how much I hate modern Western medicine and practices. These drugs that doctors have been shoving down my throat since I was 14 have done nothing for my mental health besides permanently damage my brain and have only acted as a band-aid. Honestly, the happiest I’ve been is when I start with treating my body with respect. It’s cliche, but my body is a temple. Treating my body right is what will eventually lead to having a healthier brain. I decided a more holistic approach to my health would be a better long-term decision for myself. Through eating a plant-based diet and exercising regularly, I feel better. When I started getting outside more and more when I moved to Colorado, I felt even better. Waking up sober everyday (this is sobriety Day 9 for me!!) helps me feel more productive and overall better. Doing yoga and meditation before bed calms me down and helps control my anxiety. Drinking teas with natural and beneficial herbs in them have helped my body through this alcohol mental and physical withdrawal. And of course, I’ve been going to acupuncture every week for the last 3 months.

Initially, I went to an acupuncturist because my allergies since moving here had gotten so bad that I was getting sick every week and I felt like I was constantly miserable. Taking massive amounts of painkillers and Allegra and Mucinex would barely help and just felt like poison to my body. A month into acupuncture, I realized I hadn’t gotten sick in weeks. Either my body finally adjusted, or acupuncture really did help. Acupuncture can be used to treat an extensive amount of ailments so I decided I wanted to start working on my mental health since it seems that I’m finally no longer a prisoner of allergy induced sickness.

Leading this more holistic lifestyle based on Eastern medicine has began to fascinate me. Every time my acupuncturist puts a needle in my skin, I always wonder, “why there?” During treatment, I like to meditate. Yesterday, I told my acupuncturist that I wanted to work on my depression and energy levels, in which he then placed three needles in my head. My mind spiraled into a crazy, manic-esque state but at the same time, calm and reasonable. At the time I was still thinking about the skateboard thing but something in the back of my mind reasonably talked me out of it. Eastern medicine is my calling. Coming from a psychology background, this would be perfect. I want to treat mental illness with more holistic approaches instead of shoving drugs down everyone’s throat and telling them what they should and shouldn’t do to cope with their minds.

That’s the short version. Yesterday, I was a unstable and depressed mess. When I finally found passion in something, that finally subsided. I found a purpose. I found a goal. I ordered books off Amazon on traditional Chinese medicine and started my application essay for a couple of TCM schools. I’m suddenly inspired to learn again, and I’m excited. I can be the calm little center of our ever chaotic universe. Zen, focused, and passionate about something for the first time in my life.

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Also, no GRE scores required, did I mention that? Don’t worry though, I won’t ever abandon writing. My crazy mind will still be on the internet for all to see.

frozen bread and trash cookies

So lately, I’ve realized how food and drink obsessed our society is. Like, whenever you want to go do anything, food or a drink is almost always involved. Getting dinner is a date. Hanging out with a friend to go grab a drink or two. It’s literally impossible to avoid food culture unless you’re a hermit like me who eats trash cookies (more on that in a bit).

This whole “getting sober” thing is one of the most impossible things. Alcohol is considered a “normal” part of everyday life. I can’t watch a single show on Netflix where alcohol isn’t involved and in the show, it’s totally normal. Even if a character drinks a lot, they’re not an alcoholic. They’re just quirky and a party person or depressed. I guess I fall in the latter. Ever realize how on almost every show, getting a drink after work is a daily thing and no one even questions it? It’s not alcoholism. It’s just socializing. Well, I wish it was that easy. I wish I could just “go out for a drink” after work to decompress, socialize, whatever.

The media sets these unrealistic expectations of both men and women when it comes to eating and drinking. Characters on tv don’t think twice about knocking back a 6pack every night, or having a Ben and Jerry’s binge, yet if I do that, I’m looking at getting plastered and depressed or consuming a disgusting amount of calories. What people do on everyday television, I feel like I have to go on the elliptical for an hour afterwards because I’m not trying to pack on unnecessary weight. For people like me who have a weird range of some type of body dysmorphic disorder/exercise bulimia/anorexia etc., being around people or socializing or seeing anything that has food or drink involved is a total trigger. I see the beautiful, skinny, healthy women in shows sipping dirty martinis and all I can think about is how badly I miss that crisp, saltiness of an extra dirty vodka martini, but knowing that I can’t drink, and the calories aren’t worth the amount of exercise I did that day.

But yeah, I do have the weirdest eating habits. I became aware of the fact that I’m definitely what has come to be known as “freegan,” in which I only eat food that’s free. Ok sometimes I pay for food. I hate paying for food because I’m still not working yet and I’m kind of broke. So when your roommates throw perfectly good cookies in the trash, you fish them out. They were wrapped in two bags and I don’t feel bad about eating these “trash cookies” that were going to be wasted anyway. Also have you ever eaten frozen bread? I’ve gotten to a point where whenever I buy a new type of bread, I have to see if it’s good frozen or not. Some breads just aren’t as good as others. Like, some breads just taste stale when they’re frozen or some are still weirdly fluffy and just taste cold. I can defend my habit of eating frozen bread: the butter doesn’t melt and it’s like eating toasted pita.. but cold. It’s fine when you dip it in soup because it just becomes soggy either way.

Have you ever eaten a cookie while falling asleep? Drank your coffee on the toilet? Eaten soup or beans straight from the can? Left the fig newtons open so they’ll become stale and crispy? No? Okay, it seems I really am the only one here. I swear I can defend all of these statements. But then again, I just like food, and I’m a binge eating exercise bulimic so maybe I should have thought about that when I made my new year’s resolutions.

But I have gone back on my sobriety stint and it’s been almost 4 days. A rough 4 days. I’m at the point of wanting to ditch Netflix, pour out all of the alcohol I have in my apartment and just going back to eating trash cookies and becoming a tea addict* (I’m pretty sure drinking a whole bottle of wine has more calories than eating a bunch of cookies, let’s be honest). And okay, I actually did do some of that. I poured out the rest of the Jose Cuervo that sat on top of my fridge and actually made a point of opening and pouring out an entire beer. Can I REALLY ditch Netflix though? How else do you think I do 50 minutes on the elliptical every day?

Society, you’re killing me. I’m climbing back down the rabbit hole and drinking tea with my real friends. They don’t have croissants there either. Just a lot of blanket forts and tea parties.

img_3087In case you ever wanted to know what $15 tea looks like. Dead soggy flowers.

*some teas are basically drugs. And it tastes good. If I’m a junkie for herbal teas then so be it. And yes I bought a $15 bag of tea yesterday because I’m just going to assume it’s like wine or beer and the more expensive it is, the better it is. Let’s just leave that there. Tea Addicts Unite. Tea Addicts Anonymous (TAA)?

 

 

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”

being unhappy doesn’t make you miserable

So yesterday I wrote about all the things I want or try to do when I get catatonically depressed. One of these things was read The Oatmeal. It works. As I was stumbling through the Oatmeal last night, I found this comic. And I realized how okay it is not be okay. That it’s okay to be unhappy. Being unhappy doesn’t mean you’re depressed. It just means that you’re not HAPPY with fireworks coming out of your asshole and giant sparkles and stars for eyes, but you’re not a complete miserable blob either. You’re just middle ground. Just unhappy.

Read this and you’ll see what I mean.

It’s okay to not be happy.

Have a nice day everyone (and yes it’s already almost 1pm and so yes that’s the beginning of my day because I take no shame in waking up late everyday and not being a productive member of society, but I should probably keep job hunting.

things I do when I get catatonically depressed

  1. Look up pictures of fluffy dog butts on Pinterest. Corgis have the fluffiest butts, hands down.
  2. Watch my rats attack each other in their little t-rex way. The winner is the one who manages to stay up on his hind legs and push the other one over. The winner gets to groom the opponents belly.
  3. Pretend that I’m Adele and horribly belt out songs with my guitar. This isn’t so good for my self esteem. Note to self: do not record.
  4. Free association writing. Pick up some paper. Write down some random shit. Tear it up and throw it away (well actually please recycle it, unless you want to burn it, then that’s okay too).
  5. Eat something healthy because I know I really want to eat all of the cheese in my fridge and drink all of the beer I have. Strawberries and health tea make me feel superhuman for a second.
  6. Wear the comfiest socks I own.
  7. Put on non waterproof mascara and cry for the satisfaction of the emo look. It mostly just ends up being random streaks of black on my face.
  8. Clean my room. OCD tendencies are instantly satisfied.
  9. Pick up a damn book.
  10. Do not look at Facebook. I repeat. Do not. Look. At. Facebook.
  11. Read The Oatmeal
  12. Look at these cuties again. It was so cute I cried and sent the picture to my boyfriend.
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Holiday Blues and a premature 2016 wrap up

Well, 2016. You’ve been quite a trip. Every year brings new surprises both good and bad, but at least I can say that I crossed off some of my 2016 goals. And then dealt with some unexpected things as well. Wanna hear them? Too bad. Here they are. Continue reading “Holiday Blues and a premature 2016 wrap up”