•November 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

There’s a line in a song by Pink. 

“I don’t wanna be flawless/When I go, I want the cuts to show.”


It resonated so strongly with me that it took days for me to figure out why. In the end, I realized that my tattoos are my socially acceptable way of marking who I am on my body. I suppose I’ve known since I was sixteen or so that suicide was a very possible part of my life and its end. I think that line resonated because on some level it offends me that all my illness and all my trauma are hidden inside, sometimes in a very literal way.

Someday, when I die, if it’s tomorrow or when I’m eighty, I want someone, somewhere, to look over my empty flesh and see that I lived. 

Marking Time

•November 12, 2012 • 2 Comments

Marking Time

Between the moments when
I can revel, enjoy, feel alive
I exist without inspiration, trapped
In a constant ache of ennui
I stare at the fan over my head and imagine
Rotors of an airplane I am falling into
A villain’s table saw I am inevitably headed for
The water in the tub as the drain spins red in my mind’s eye
Lingering in dreams better than reality
A haze of chemicals ebbing through my brain
I wonder how I will ever be more than this
A shell, hiding the emptiness inside
Like a chocolate rabbit, terribly cruel
Disappointing a child on Easter morning
A typewriter when they wanted a new computer
The foolish, useless little broken doll of a child
Who has grown up.
I dwell there until the light cracks through the drapes on my window
Until the sky becomes less grey
And the shell seems less hollow
But when I am in the dark watching the fan
Staring at the drain
Sleeping in the hopes of never waking
I am only marking time.

Normal sleep.

•February 27, 2012 • 2 Comments

There seems to be this strange notion, this utterly baffling assumption that there is “normal sleep time” and if you are sleeping outside of that “normal sleep time” you’re fair game for waking up. This particular issue irks the crap out of me when I travel, particularly, because I do social events with sleepovers or convention type things. Now, I don’t have a problem with scheduled events. If the rest of the world wants to start functioning at 9am, that’s fine, and I can choose whether or not to participate. What drives me bonkers is sharing a large room full of beds with “normal” sleepers.

Example. This weekend, there I am, asleep from 5:30am until 10am, at which point one of the room people came in, whined, “It’s 10am! Do we really have to keep the lights off?!” I tried to be considerate and compromise, so I said, “Why don’t you turn on the light over there by your bed and I’ll try to sleep with it on?” Rather than presuming my sleep time was important and accepting my compromise, said whiny pile of cow shit stomped over and proceeded to bicker with her husband at full conversational volume while dropping their bags on the floor, then on the bed, then on the floor again as they sorted through to find a specific object they needed.

How is that okay? How is it okay to walk into a room where someone is sleeping (let’s say, napping, midafternoon) and start arguing with someone ten feet away?

Sadly, there’s no answer to this question that is going to satisfy me. I’m quite positive that the person involved will just whine and be a bitch about it, and it’ll just cause more stress. So I plan instead to just remove myself. Make a foam bed and set it up in the back of our SUV (it’s a 7 seater and they all fold down) and just go park in the shade and sleep as late as I damn well please.

Sometimes people say something incredibly daft about how isolation and withdrawal are terrible and we should all try to be closer. Today, I say well maybe if people were more considerate I’d want to actually be around them.

Misanthropic Grocery Shopping

•February 9, 2012 • 1 Comment

The local grocery store I prefer is open until midnight. Usually I go no earlier than 10:30pm. I wish I could say it was just to flirt with the cute guy who works evenings.

Really, I’m just far more able to cope with the late night crowd. The few sparse misanthropes like me, clad in pajamas with post-work hair and no make up, shuffling along in clogs that look more like slippers. There’s no kids, no parents mismanaging them, no women on cell phones and no men officiously lecturing someone they’re with about how you’re ‘supposed’ to grille.

There are no carts in the aisles, no people to run into as I round a corner, no obnoxious customers standing right in front of what I need for two minutes while I politely clear my throat and try to reach around. No gaggles of high schoolers loudly talking in that we’re-unsupervised-haha way, sharing their in jokes and looking at me sideways because I have the nerve to weigh more than 140lbs.

There are no lines of people sighing and showing me with their posture and body language that their time is more important than mine and I should get out of their way. No one shouts at me to walk faster as I cross the sidewalk. Nobody cares if my hair has gone flat or I’ve changed into comfy house pants.

I like shopping just before midnight. No one there but me and the other misanthropes.

Concern Trolls

•January 27, 2012 • 2 Comments

An ex of mine and my best friend hooked up, and then I found out they’d been together all along, when people in my family revealed that they had walked in on them coming out of the shower at the same time.

The thing is, my family didn’t tell me at the time, and I honestly feel like given how things played out, I’m glad they didn’t. The alternative is the person who told me they were together. I was at a camping event. We idly ambled down the hill, and someone asked, “Oh, is he coming to this weekend?” and the person next to me said, “Well, ***** is sick so I suppose not.” I got a cold feeling in my stomach, the culmination of a thousand fucking hints and shit I called them on, and I looked at her and blinked and said, “Why would that matter?”

She got this unmistakable look, a look I know so well I could identify it on anyone’s face. It’s a semi-smile where they know the punchline of the joke. It’s a hint of a laugh forming in their belly while they try so hard to look like they’re sympathetic.

It’s being a concern troll. Someone who is your friend and they’re just so concerned for you that they can’t fucking wait to be the one to break bad news to you. They see the cast list for the play you both tried out for, and they come to tell you with that half-smile that you get to be someone’s maiden aunt. Or you get to play a guy! Oh, her? She got the lead. But she’s so excited for you. So you can’t be mad.

These are the kind of people who have people you hate on their Facebook or G+ or Livejournal or whatever, just so that they can run to you and report all the nasty shit they’re saying about you. They act like they’re just friends with them still to support you, to watch out for you. They’re there for you. They’re SUFFERING through all this horrible drama and have to put up with this odious person just to be there for you.

Except they’re not. They’re Concern Trolls.

A concern troll doesn’t love you, like you, or even really give a shit about you. They care about managing you. They want to be the one to comfort you when you freak out – to earn cred with you, or so that they get to take all the things you say and go back to the other person. They run to you after someone puts a nasty forum post up about you so that they can turn around and maximize their social currency by being in the know about your reaction.

I can’t speak for what the best way to do anything is, but this is what I feel.

If someone’s a concern troll – if they’re haunting your blog telling you shit about another blogger, if they’re using terms like, “some people are saying” or specifically only telling you about shit someone you already hate says – ignore that person. Cut them loose.

A person who cares about you won’t come running to tell you nasty things other people are saying. There’s no altruistic reason to silently observe someone trashing your friend, remain quiet, and run to tell them – only drama.

Avoid the concern trolls. They’re only there to exploit your hurt feelings.

When to say no.

•January 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Over a year ago, I dated someone for a while. We got to a point where I realized I wasn’t stable enough to be dating. I realized that I was fundamentally too self-focused at the time. I didn’t want to go out, commit time to him, devote daily time to contacting and communicating with him, and the end result was that it was time to cut it off. So I did, as politely and calmly as I could.

A year later, I very gently got back in touch with him and made overtures to be friends again. One thing led to another over a month and eventually we were dating. We had a decent fall together, and as winter drew on he began to act strangely. Despite being right there with me, he would withdraw and become nearly catatonic and unresponsive. His responses were monosyllabic and he seemed disinterested. After the first two times I started just letting it go because all attempts to talk to him about it failed and were met with shrugs.

Eventually he admitted he’s been depressed, but it’s no big deal. I spotted a scar on the inside of his wrist, and I put two and two together. It’s very old, but apparently some years ago he attempted suicide. I pushed gently to get him help. He finally agreed to see a doctor, but not a therapist, because he “couldn’t talk about it.” I told him that the talking half is vital with the meds, because they open Pandora’s proverbial box. He didn’t believe me and said I was pushing too hard, that medication should be “enough.”

Time passes. The doctor put him on Celexa. First week in, and he was a different person. I sleep during the day because of night time sleep issues, and apparently he (like many others) decided that this means my sleep time isn’t really all that important. Every day for about two weeks there were texts and messages about how he was falling apart at work, how the world felt dark and everything was horrible, how he couldn’t get through the day. It got very, very difficult to handle. His perspective narrowed to the point where I certainly felt like he was unable to see past the end of his nose. He would say things like, “But I’m stressed so something HAS to be wrong LET ME CALL YOU.”

This culminated on Christmas Day, when he turned suddenly moody and withdrawn at midnight when I wouldn’t go to bed with him, and left my house in very expressive despair, waving off taking one of his Christmas presents with him. I would call it melodramatic, but I understand his perspective was skewed. I get that.

I came to realize gradually that I had become his therapist rather than his girlfriend, and again, I pushed him to go see a therapist. He resisted and resisted. Said he wasn’t ready, he couldn’t, he couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I fought with myself and eventually lost my ability to cope. On the one hand, it was unethical for me as a psych student to let him use me for therapy, because I wasn’t qualified. On the other, it was wrong of him to ask his girlfriend to be a therapist, because therapists get paid, and are paid to be on call.

He saw how stressed I was and that I was pulling away, and pushed for “when can I see you again” type things. I gently said that I wanted to wait and see him set with meds and therapist before we hung out, or at least establish some sort of plan for how to deal with it if he went all depressive again.

A few days later, he railed at me over text communication that I was refusing to see him until he got better. Things got tetchy. This was the second time that he had ignored my request for a coping strategy and instead said that I was just refusing something. He had also said I “refused” to meet his family, when I had said repeatedly that I just wanted to meet them separately and out at a restaurant or something – I’d even treat. I just didn’t want to go over and meet all his sisters and his mother at once. Especially not for a holiday.

After all of that mess, it came to a head with one conversation. To make a long story short, he got very petulant and pissy because I didn’t reply to an instant messenger conversation fast enough and with the answer he wanted. He went off to sulk in what I felt was a childish way. I ignored him for two days. Then I broke it off.

I realized that it’s like chemo. Recovery to a place of balance with mental illness is like chemo, because you’re going along with this horrible thing inside you. They pump you full of toxic drugs that give you all kinds of side effects. You get fat, or you lose your hair, or you pick it out of your scalp because something has given you a neurotic condition. You utterly change from this person with maladaptive coping to someone who utterly falls apart before they start to cope again from square one.

I couldn’t be there for his falling apart, because I just barely got through my own alive. I feel bad about that, and I’m sorry for it. I wanted to be. I wanted to support him and to offer him my help, but he wasn’t letting me take a role that was healthy for me. The thing is, I have to respect my own limits, and my ability to say when.

I spent many years dating the wrong person for too long, far after I should’ve known it was over. I can’t do that anymore. I can’t live that way. I have to stick to those boundaries I set.

Another step forward.

•January 15, 2012 • 2 Comments

I’m back in school again. It’s taken me over ten years to get most of the way through my degree, after high school. I’m ashamed of that, but it’s also not entirely my doing. When I finished high school, until I was twenty-four, the federal financial aid paperwork made award decisions based on what my parents should be contributing, as well as the state.

My parents, predictably, didn’t put a bent nickel away for my education, so I couldn’t go to school until I was twenty-four. Then I had crisis after crisis, until really the person most frustrated with my drama was me. I was undiagnosed Bipolar II, with complex PTSD. For those not in the loop, CPTSD is where the ingrained reactions were put in place at a young age and reinforced so much that it’s not going away easily. This differentiates from the model of “single traumatic event” PTSD and long term abuse/patterns of family behavior.

Going back to school is good; it’s given me a feeling of accomplishment and I feel like I’m achieving, which is nice. I’m going to school at night, at a community college, where 80% of my classmates are over 30, and everyone is there because they desperately want to improve their lives. It’s a very different ballgame from the state college I went to when I started this blog, where entitled kids who didn’t do well enough to get into a big name university went to wear slouchy pants and Uggs and drink where their parents couldn’t see them.

Ironically, I’m taking an abnormal psych class. We’re required to offer anecdotes, frequently, and I’ve developed a case study on myself where I talk about this other girl who has all these problems. It’s oddly therapeutic.

I’m back on medication. I made the decision because my stress and sleep issues were going to be a problem and I really needed to put them on a leash. I’ve spent the last few years learning how to be hypervigilant of my behavior, how to operate with no medication, how to keep working through it. I’ve learned to pathologize myself to a reasonable degree, to look at something and say, “That’s my tendency towards grandiosity cropping up.” Or, “My anger is not proportional to this situation.” But with school, which is a hotbed of conflicting personalities, and a schedule that is both irregular and somewhat trying, I needed to let go of my hypervigilance and ask the Lithium to take over for a while.

I’m not happy about being on it; it makes me gain weight, and many other annoying side effects. But it is what it is. I need my degree more than I need to be thin.

Life goes on, and I need to catch up. So I put my faith in myself, my family, and my need to succeed. I listen to music that gives me hope and I try not to listen to the parts in myself that say I will fail.