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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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.

 

the truth about PTSD

Note: This post took me an entire afternoon to write, despite that it usually only takes me under an hour to write a post. Talking about this is hard to put into words.

To an extent, everyone is permanently traumatized by something. Maybe you got bit by a snake when you were little and now you have a completely crippling fear of snakes. Seeing snakes makes your skin crawl and the fear floods through your blood stream. Early childhood trauma can scar someone for life and may trigger other mental disorders later in life (this is usually one of the foundations of schizophrenia and most dissociative disorders and even some mood disorders).

This is PTSD. Continue reading “the truth about PTSD”

But home is nowhere

I went home for the first time since moving to Colorado. And it was weird. I didn’t want to leave. I guess that’s a story for another post because really I want to post what I wrote while I was there. I thought about changing up my whole blog completely and handwriting everything, scanning it, and then uploading it as an image because handwritten writings are a lost art. But, I’m kind of computer incompetent, impatient and also lazy so I’ll just have to stick with typing until my fingers fall off.

This writes more like a diary entry, but I’m ok with that. Let’s start with what I had written prior to the writing I was planning on posting from a couple months ago when I had just moved here. Continue reading “But home is nowhere”

that time I realized I was no longer allowed to be vulnerable

I never realized how much one person can break you so easily. In most relationships throughout my life, I’ve always been the one to end them and as time wore on, I was able to brush it off more easily. Until this one time.

Relationship abuse is a tricky subject because most people don’t even realize they’re being abused. But remember in health class when your jock gym teacher started talking about the difference between emotional and physical abuse and you probably still associated abuse with the physical type? Well, to be honest, the emotional abuse has left me more damaged than the physical abuse because at least I knew it was wrong. I could fight back or know instantly that I needed to leave. I was trapped in a cycle in which I was being pushed to be as vulnerable as I could be and being assured that I could be vulnerable, that they could be trusted. I was caught in a dream world where I was imagining things and putting this person up on a pedestal, thinking that they were someone they weren’t. As time passed, they slowly started pushing me away. They didn’t want to hear about how I was feeling or how my day went when they had pushed me so far to be vulnerable around them. In a way, I was betrayed. Suddenly, I felt like I was being punished for having emotions. They would shut down, they wouldn’t answer my texts or just sit in silence and do nothing while I’d be depressed, crying, and hiding in my bed while in the past they would tell me to let it out and that they would be there to comfort me. And they did for a while until they slowly started withdrawing from me. They didn’t understand or they didn’t care. I still don’t know which.

I should have known they stopped caring. One night, I hit rock bottom while I was with them. I started binge drinking to make myself feel better but it only made it worse. They shut down. In my drunken blur, I took a handful of Xanax. Realizing what I had done, I told them what I did and they did nothing. I remember lying on the couch wondering if I was dying and they sat beside me and said nothing. We sat in silence. It wasn’t until I texted a friend and told him what I had done that an ambulance was sent for me and I was hospitalized for 3 days because my blood pressure had dropped low enough that I was at risk of going into a coma. They visited me in the hospital. Brought me food and books and comforted me as I wallowed in my self pity. They played the boyfriend role for those few days. I told them I loved them and I thanked them for being there for me and they told me they loved me too. I later found out they only said that because they thought it was what I needed to hear. In those moments, I thought they actually cared. After I recovered, we went back to our normal routine as if nothing had ever happened.

I was lead to believe so many things that turned out to be untrue. I was more alone with them than being by myself. They said that they still cared, but I couldn’t see any hint of that being true. And when it ended, they denied us ever being a thing despite that we were more than friends for over 7 months.

I’ve suddenly come to realize all the lies I put myself through. I trusted them and let myself be vulnerable only to have that backfire and be punished for being vulnerable in the first place. Is that why I took the pills and landed myself in the hospital? My drunk self must have known something that I didn’t. The truth was right there in front of me and I refused to believe it because I have a bad habit of always trying to find the good in people. But sometimes, you have to realize that there are some truly awful people out there who maybe don’t mean to hurt you, but leave you with scars that won’t fade. You can’t even look them in the eye in passing or be around them without feeling like your throat is going to close up and you spend the rest of your work shift in the back hallway trying to not have a panic attack, pushing away all the PTSD-esque flashbacks and trying to keep yourself busy until you’re allowed to leave. I still have nightmares. I still have trouble being intimate with anyone.

All those times I spent trying to defend them was just a waste of time. I was lying to myself and to everyone else. And the worst part is that I’m more angry with myself than I am with them. Angry that I let myself be so vulnerable. Angry that I trusted them. Angry that I let myself push through it believing it was going to get better and they would come back to their old ways when they sent me surprise flowers and took me to the aquarium.

Because of all of this, I have to force myself to be vulnerable. And even then it still feels fake. I feel fake. After years of me breaking people apart, the universe decided it was my turn to be broken.

that time I realized I needed to be vulnerable

Despite a very long blog hiatus, let’s talk about something serious: vulnerability. Ok, so I just watched this TEDTalk that my therapist recommended to me and I’m still coming down from the feels that I got from it (I’ll post a link at the end). But think about it, how do you define vulnerability? And, how many people are actually willing to feel vulnerable? Continue reading “that time I realized I needed to be vulnerable”