The counselor helped to a point. I'm out of state-funding to keep going back, but more than that, I think I've gotten what I can from her. When I ask her questions about how to balance between two things that I need, like not being too tough on myself vs. having high expectations, she says "I don't know."


So, for practicalities, it seems I have to muddle along and decide for myself whether I keep driving out of town to her office anyway.

And for deeper issues that I have...

This part is hard to write.

She and I have talked about self-esteem; she thinks it should be based on deciding that I'm a good person based on values like honesty and being nice. I agree that that's necessary but not that it's sufficient. Similarly, she talks about how some of her favorite research is examining happy people to find out why they're happy, so that the rest of us can imitate them and be happy too. Like happy is the ultimate value and goal. The obvious conclusion is that I should be happy; I disagree with the assumption.

I cannot convince myself that I deserve to be happy. I know that most people take this as self-evident, and go on to use it to prove that they should do something because it will make them happy. It isn't self-evident to me, and I can't find the proof for it. I used to have a non-rigorous proof, consisting of the fact that I was going to help people, and helping people was a good thing so that made me valuable. My plans to have a career based on helping people, though, keep falling through - so that proof no longer applies to me.

I can't even convince myself that I deserve to be alive, when I haven't been able to contribute anything to the universe, like I planned. I believe that "everyone has the right to live" in the sense that, as a general rule, it is wrong to end another human being's life. I can believe based on that, that no one would have the right to shoot me or run me down in traffic, but there's a gap between that and being able to convince myself that my existence is justified. This is another thing where I realize that other people take it for granted. How could I assume I should be happy if I can't even say with any certainty that I should be alive?

And I already know what you're all thinking, "this girl must be planning to jump off a bridge." I'm not. Because whether I can justify my existence or not, suicide is a selfish decision; it means deciding that the pain you're getting out of is more important than the pain you cause in the process. 

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Better Living Through Chemistry?

My doctor put me on a well-known depression/anxiety medication. This is something I have a great amount of anxiety over, especially since looking up the laundry list of possible side-effects. Damned Google, why do you provide so many answers? But seriously, I'm going to keep taking this stuff and get this Dialectical Behavior Therapy underway.

My shaman tells me that we must look for the medicines that help us, whether they come from plants or from a pharmacy. I agree, especially since this disease, if left unchecked, will ruin the lives of my loved-ones, as well as my own prospects for a better future. I suppose a bit of indigestion or diarrhea will be worth it. I just don't want the confusion, convulsions, heart palpitations or the most serious, serotonin syndrome, which could be fatal.

But I need to eat. I've lost nearly thirty pounds in the last few months ...I need to eat! But, since my circumstances have changed, I simply haven't had the energy to cook anything. I've been eating junk, mostly, which is better than nothing, but I'm still losing weight. Even choking down chocolate has become a bit of a chore for me, and it's one of the things I love! I suppose I've been subsisting on what little junk food I've managed to eat, water, coffee, nicotine and tea. Food just isn't appealing to me right now. Junk food, water, nicotine and caffeine are basic food groups, right? I'm not sure what to do about this part of what's happening right now. When I do eat, I get full quickly and sick shortly after.

Well, Bandmates, that's my update. I hope you are all well out there in the internet. Love ya!

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Depression Hangover

I don't know where to start. I have had dysthymia for as long as I can remember. My new therapist says it is like a living a half-life. I guess it is. This year, it slipped into something worse. This year has been one of the worst years of my life and I have had some pretty bad years. I had a relationship end, I started a bout of major depression that left me 70 pounds heavier, I had two surgeries, I am in a job that I hate, and on November 21st, I lost a dear friend to cancer. I can't stop thinking that I wished it had been me. I feel trapped by bad choices. I have nothing left to give anyone anymore. I feel dead inside, but I hide it well. No one really knows how many times I came close to killing myself this year. I grew up with an alcoholic, I grew up in a violent household where I never felt safe. I was molested several times by several men and one female relative.

I feel trapped in this fatsuit. I feel like the best years of my life are behind me. I feel damaged and broken. I am trying to get help. The mental health resources where I live are spread pretty thin. I get to see a therapist once a month, if I am lucky, and I see a doctor for meds for ten mins a month. He switched me some of my medications because of the weight gain. I have tried about ten different anti-depressants and all of them had some kind of unpleasant side effect. I keep hoping I will find one that actually works. I also take an anxiety medication. I take it to control the panic attacks I get when I am out in public. I take it to quiet the loop of negative thoughts I have going through my head everyday. 

This is my first post. I come here and I know that I am not alone. I thank the brave people who share their stories here.

I am trying to get better.  I am with The Band.


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The Catch

Whenever something good happens to me, I always assume that there's a Catch. Most of the time I am absolutely correct - there's always something.


Thanks to the wonders of artwork sites and mutual interests, what started as some back and forth communication and chit-chat about all things relating to art and nerd shit, with a fellow nerd with similar views/interests, soon developed into a friendship that has lasted a little over a year now. We grew as close as you can get to someone you have never - and will never - meet in person, though her tendency to be so open, and to share really personal, and HEAVY, stuff led me to perpetually think I was being trolled. Nevertheless, she was still my friend. We talked about so much shit via email and instant messaging, and we were "there" for one another.

Over time, she started displaying some behaviours that were a bit erratic. Like fear of abandonment, extreme depression, shit like that. I always had a far-off feeling that something wasn't quite "right." There was something keeping me from trusting her a full 100%, but I thought that perhaps it was my imagination. I have a tendency to be paranoid because of my own issues (I have some epic social anxiety, and I'm Bipolar II as fuck), but I shook it off because she proved time and again that she wasn't Catfishing or trolling. Even when she was being really weird, I continued to be there for her because that's what friends do. She's my friend, and it would suck if I just bounced whenever she was having a shitty day. I know I would feel horrible if someone did that to me.

After a series of erratic events that spanned the winter, she decided to hospitalize herself because it was clear that there was something very wrong.

So, remember that Catch I mentioned? Yeah, it's Borderline Personality Disorder. We shared short emails here and there while she was hospitalized, and she finished her three-month stint just last week. 

I started to feel like something was up. Something wasn't right, and I couldn't place it. I'm extremely perceptive, so I asked point-blank via email if there was anything wrong. 

Here's where The Catch comes back into play because, well's a goddamn catch.

You know how people with BPD will idealize people, and shit like that? Well, she admitted that she had become obsessed with me. Like, to a creepy extent. To the extent where she and her wife decided that one of the best options is for her to limit contact with me as she continues to get sorted out. She told me all of this because she wanted to be 100% honest with me. I knew something was up, and I would have kept asking until she told me because ...Spidey-Sense.

Her treatment has helped her a LOT; this is something that I can feel, and she is a million percent sincere in her apology. She has stated that she no longer thinks of me as "some ÜBER-human" (her words), and will understand if I decide to cut off all contact with her, since, apparently, friendships with BPD-folks are basically impossible to maintain. 

In light of all of it all, I have blocked her access to my Twitter stream and I switched her Facebook access to "Restricted." The less she knows about what I'm up to, the better, right? But I don't know what to do. I don't want to block her out. I don't want to lose her. I absolutely adore her, and I want her in my life, but again, every piece of literature that I have read, as well as what her doctors say is that this friendship is doomed. Plus, you know, that whole idealization thing in the first place (which has left me with a lot of questions that I fully intend to ask her). I know that's part of the disorder, but I'm still trying to process it.

And now I sit, at a proverbial crossroads because there's always a goddamn catch.

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A Telltale Sign

I could only afford a year of college. I guess if I'd had a different major, I could have gone to a school in my home state, saving myself the out-of-state tuition, but I had a very specific major in mind, so that eliminated any local colleges.

My chosen college was 500 miles away from home, but only 125 miles from where my sister was going to college. Between the distance, and the fact that I didn't have a car, I was only able to go home for Christmas, and I'd only been able to go visit my sister for Thanksgiving. By the time spring came around, I was incredibly homesick.

Also, even more than I wanted a career in my chosen profession, I really wanted to be a wife and mother. I would very much like to go back in time to shake myself for this, but during that year, I was on the hunt for a husband. Preferably one who already had residency in that state, so I could continue school with in-state tuition. I know now I was much too young and naive for that back then, but that's where I was in that stage of my life.

Which meant I was an easy target for a much older, career college student who was looking for someone to control. He found in me a girl who was willing to do anything to please him, and he started the brainwashing process immediately.

He started by talking himself up. He owned his own home. Despite his continuing education, he did have a good job. He had a car (something that meant more to me than just about anything at that point). He loved to garden, and he had lots of rosebushes - one of my very favorite flowers - in his yard. And he wanted to get married and have kids. Soon.

Once I was hooked, he started breaking down my self-esteem. He didn't come right out and say the following things in so many words, but the message was clear:

"You're fat."

"You're not as smart as I am."

"No, I'm not the best looking guy around, but you don't deserve anyone better than me."

Probably his weirdest technique was when he tried to convince me that the reason why he had been attracted to me wasn't because I was pretty or had a fun personality, but because he claimed I showed traits of being abused. He claimed that abused people are always drawn to each other, and he had been abused. He tried to tell me that he could prove that I had always given off the image of being a target by asking me if I'd been picked on in junior high. Uh ...who WASN'T picked on in junior high? That is a HORRIBLE stage in life, and kids are constantly mean to each other. As far as he was concerned, that was his proof, he was determined to "help" me figure out who had abused me as a child.

By the time we had dated for a few weeks, I had developed a strange physical reaction to him, that I still use to this day to recognize my body trying to tell me when something is very, very wrong.

I would shiver uncontrollably. 

From the time we first started talking about marriage (much too soon), I was never warm around him. I didn't notice it much at first. I just figured I was genuinely cold. 

Then, there was that day in May. 

We were going to spend the day at his house, planting flowers and being together. I got up early, around 5:30 am, and decided to wait outside for him, rather than risk waking up my roommates. It was a gorgeous day. There was a light drizzle, but I had always preferred planting in a light rain, and the air was very warm. I was happy and content with myself in that moment. 

As soon as he picked me up and we went back to his house, I couldn't get warm. I kept shivering, my teeth chattering constantly.

We planted flowers. I shivered.

We watched tv. I shivered.

We curled up on his bed, wrapped in blankets. I still shivered.

"What is WRONG with you?" he asked me angrily. I told him I had no idea.

Eventually, he drove me home. 

As soon as I was safely back to my dorm, I was fine. Perfectly comfortable.

We had started planning our wedding. I had stumbled across an unbelievable price on the perfect wedding dress, and bought it. He had broken the news to his roommate that he was getting married, so the guy would have to start looking for another room to rent. My family had met him. I was ready to spend my life with him.

It wasn't until the day that I realized I could see myself telling my children how to avoid angering him that I realized what a messed up relationship I was in.  I broke up with him the next day.

The shivering stopped.

It still comes back every once in a while, and I've learned to pay close attention when it does. The last time was one day when my ex-husband was lying to me about his whereabouts. I knew he was lying and that he had really been with one of his mistresses. I shivered the entire time he told his story. 

It's very weird, but it's a blessing.

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