These are my, ‘reasons why’.

I want my family, friends, colleagues, strangers on the street who I pass by and say “excuse me” to, doctors, bosses, government officials, indigenous tribes and golden retrievers to know what living with mental illness is like, is because you can’t see it. But I do, it’s like a filter, distorting the picture in a different way than how the next fella may see the world. Go ahead, it looks way better in Valencia than it does #nofilter.

I can’t just, “get over it” Mr. Porter. I’m nearly 30 years old now. It’s a familiar recommendation, but the reality is, I’m likely going to be hard on myself over a mistake the size of a speck of sand on a beach off the coast.

Here are my 13 reasons why my behavior is so shy, and awkward and shaky. Why I’m great at writing and terrible at talking. These are the reasons why I skip showers sometimes and avoid phone calls always. Why I doubt on a daily basis the people that love me really care. These are my 13 reasons why I need your empathy when I’m at my lowest points. Because it’s not something you can take on by yourself.

1 – Just as we discussed, mental illness often takes the form of an invisible disability. I’m not in a wheelchair nor do I have a cast on my skull or stitches on my chest to heal up the everyday heartbreaks. Take note the power of invisibility is real.

2 – My feelings affect my decisions. And in turn, some of my shittiest decisions sparked and reflected my feelings. Guilt hunts me with a sharper eye than death. Oh how there are moments I greatly regret the past. Including today, and likely tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

3 – I do CBT, I see a therapist, a psychiatrist, I journal and cheer people on in online support groups. And no, it’s not a cure all cocktail. Pay your dues, work with all your heart, proactively adjust your thinking strategies. But it’s still alive inside of me. It never leaves.

4 – Stigma is real. Even self stigma. I spent two years doing empirical research on stigma about mental illness in a university environment. All of us affected think, “change needs to be made” but Paul Revere is out for the season and we’ve run out of tea bags filled with Prozac to toss into the water.

5 – It’s not JUST bipolar disorder, or OCD or ADD. I’ve had Lyme Disease for 13 years, I never went into remission. I don’t take antibiotics anymore. I don’t remember what it feels like to be pain or irritation free, to not have a double dose of brain fog. I don’t talk about it, so no one knows or remembers. I’m no longer a vegetable shipped between hospitals with a PICC line. So who cares? There is no support for me here, about this, anymore. And I swallow the bitter taste of it.

6 – I dropped out of business school and joined the field to help people. Not just people with invisible disabilities, but people with visible ones as well. And strangers. And animals. Not Zombie’s though, I’m on the first responder team for a Zombie outbreak. I get bit and kicked by autistic children on a daily basis. I’ve been spit on by an older woman with an IQ of 6 while changing her diaper. I can tell you how stressful it is to take 4 women with moderate to high degrees of mental retardation to the supermarket to find food for the home I used to run before I became a RBT. I can tell you how great it is to hear a little austistic girl you’ve been working with for a year say, “yay!” as a replacement behavior for a shrill squeal stimm. I’m glad with all my heart I became a therapist.

7 – And as a therapist, who’s been promoted and recognized for my quality direct work, I in particular now than ever take feedback poorly. I’m told to take it and swallow, no speaking up for things I did or didn’t do no matter how minor, just move on, don’t take it personally. We all make mistakes to grow my boss tells me. Make sure you do more yoga with your aggressive client. The fact I didn’t during that overlap cut me with knives made of cursed bones for months. Self hatred flourishes when feedback is given and anticipatory anxiety spins fierce uncuttable webs through my chest and stomach where my anxiety manifests.

8 – I ache missing the people I’ve lost in the storm cloud of knicked and cut up relationships I couldn’t save. I miss a girl I haven’t spoken to now for 10 years, she’s like a sad picture in my mind I can’t manage to set fire to as opposed to store in the attic. I miss a boy who was a breath of fresh air just a few months ago, just to turn around and suck the air from my chest without explanation. I fear a falling out before I’ve finished parking in the top lot.

9 – I am chronically fatigued.

10 – I have difficulty concentrating.

11 – I’m angry I can’t control what you think about me. And how you act toward me. All of you, silent readers, neighbors and best friends alike.

12 – I am a living rock. Every experience good or bad on my daily adventures chips away at the marble. You may be a sculptor and not know it, the way you chip harshly or buff smoothly at my curves. God only knows how deeply I wish the artists who made the boldest dents in the softest parts would look back to see I was not the same hunk of rock they left me as. My carved eyes long to have another chance at those few.

13 – And lastly, I thirst. It’s a deep thirst that wants someone I look up to, to tell me I need to be writing. A woman I admired planted seeds in me 12 years ago. As the Lyme pains became bearable and the manic pre-diagnosed bipolar full fledged obsessive compulsive disorder rose to power I lost track of something that had always been important to me, and that woman and I also parted as life goes between teachers and students. Complications in invisibility have laid bed for a dust storm that has dried the land. I lap up puddles for blog posts. I walk endlessly toward the ocean.

I am more than my faults. It’s just that my faults, are more or less very visible, they’re easy to interact with, and thick enough to mask the marble. Easy enough to walk away from.

Those are my 13 reasons why. What are yours?

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Bipolar, OCD, and My Cousin’s Wedding

I went to my cousin’s wedding this past weekend out-of-state. If I could change one thing about myself it would be not to brood over things like she’s much younger than me, has known her fiance for a way shorter period of time than I’ve known my non-fiance, and has a picture perfect public relationship with him. Doting over each other and whatnot. Making productions of kisses. That’s just a clogged emotional artery though. Guilt that I’m a couple of years away from 30 now and just finishing up my undergrad, a semester behind my cousin, to add to the embarrassing feelings. Blood however is still pushing through my veins, and thank God for that.

Turns out I had a nice time, and got in some family bonding with extended family that I enjoyed very much. I took a million pictures and was proud they had good composition and decent lighting. Photography has been a hobby of mine for years now and though I don’t currently have a working nice camera, I still managed to use the technology available to take shots. The key is to keep snapping away, and then skim off the crap ones, then skim off the not so great ones, then keep the good ones but show off the great ones. In my opinion at least.

The night we arrived at the hotel I ran to a Walgreens to pick up a card after we ate a late dinner. (I went with my immediate family). I ended up bluntly exposing my feelings about why I wish I had a closer relationship with her (and it’s true, I wish I did). Mental illness was the key component, and the stigma revolving around the subject made me cringe and tear up while writing it.

This was the letter. She hasn’t read it yet as far as I know. They were busy all day and are going on their honeymoon in the morning. I both want her to read it and don’t. I’m scared of her reply. More so I’m scared to be let down by her reply.

“Dear C,

I am very proud of you. I remember little blips of walking down the hospital hallway to see you when you were first-born. I remember dominating bowls of black olive appetizers at your birthday parties at your old Chicago house and playing games like ‘Elefun’ in that living room.

Something old: childhood memories.

Then, to speed this up, you guys moved, later yet i got sick with Lyme and all my confidence flew away and I’ve spent the days since fighting major depression, ocd and bipolar disorder. There IS a point to this recap. You need to know that for those reasons, I have sabotaged my relationships with family and friends for years. It’s an enormous regret of mine that my little cousin is 21, a college grad and getting married i hardly know her. And you hardly know me!

Something borrowed: my ears are yours anytime. I’m a great secret keeper and of course a growing psychologist.

After grandpa died, one of my biggest fears was that if grandma passed away the BARBIE side of the family would fall apart. I’ve meant to start mending gaps and making up for lost time but how do you explain to a perfectly normal extended family  that you carry around a constant sadness and fear that’s not reasonable 90% of the time and it makes it hard to socialize with them because you’re super far from comfortable? Putting that out there for you right now is super terrifying. If you know though, maybe that’s the first step toward having a solid relationship.

Something blue and something new: the color you now know I secretly carry.

You’re about to start a brand new chapter of your life and I’m so happy for you. I felt that if I didn’t tell all that to you, you would never know on the happiest day of your life so far that your big cousin loves you so so much and always has.

Now get out there lady! Get married!!!

‘Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts.’ -William Shakespeare”

Well that’s it. That’s what it was. Of all my impulsive ideas this one wasn’t so bad I suppose. Now if only I could use some of that impulsive energy to knock out so I get some rest tonight. Maybe after accomplishing as much as I did after we got home and additionally emptying my mind of all the thoughts I was saving up to get out, that’ll do the trick.

G’night moon, G’night stars, G’night WordPress.

Crooked

I ran out of episodes of Girls to watch so decided it was time to crawl into Buck’s bed where in a few hours I’ll get woken up by two hungry dogs. I can’t wait to take another luxurious shower tomorrow with the music playing, dancing and singing while I wash my hair with very expensive shampoo.

I’ve picked up a nanny job again once a week for three hours. Since ignite doesn’t want me I need some kind of income even if it just pays for gas. Then there’s the tutoring gig. There are still jobs out there, I’ll find a real one eventually.

I’m going through withdrawal without the tears tonight. It’s hard waking up knowing you’re not going to get a smiling good morning text, even if it’s just small talk thereafter while he’s working. Ah there come the tears. I feel like I’m doing it all wrong. When people have kids they say they feel like they’re doing it all wrong because there’s no manual for parenting. I feel those same emotions right now.

I want to get on the book writing train but I’m so impatient about the whole process. I get a writers high just publishing a blog post because of the instant gratification. I’m turning into the coffee and cigarettes artistic writer with red lipstick and a pessimistic attitude but that kind of writer also cuts the bullshit out and gets down to business. I can see myself on that diet too. I probably would have ignored eating today entirely if it weren’t for David who wanted to get dinner.

The mentally challenged dog I’m looking after was just trying to tip over a garbage can in the bathroom. I jolted up to see what she was destroying THIS time. Minutes before she was barking at the other dog for laying on the couch. Can’t she just go to sleep?

Tomorrow I get my ADD drugs. They use stimulants to treat that crap so I’m hoping to feel a little high and very focused when I start them. Maybe then reading and writing will be easier…reading. we were supposed to finish more books together. I’ll miss our book club. I miss everything and I regret that I’ll be missing out on even more now. I can only hope this “thing” is over when he comes home.

One can always hope.

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Just being

The microwave is on top of the refrigerator which houses extra spicy salsas,  organic roast beef and a pitcher of filtered water that tastes untouched by man. 

I’m dog sitting. The lucky girl is half Rott half Doberman. The unexpected daughter of two prized show dogs who suffers with arthritis. She barks at animals on TV and bounces up and down at the screen. I learned this once watching some ducklings on my very first episode of “Too Cute.” She prefers to cuddle and lay at my side as opposed to loafing on her bed. She looks down and presses her head onto me when I scratch behind her ears. Her head is lean and warm. She is Roxi, and I love her.

The apartment is small. Just enough room for one person and her dog. The bed is tall and firm. Not what I’m used to. My bed has a feather cover and full body pillow “nest” that envelops me in my shared room. It’s not the cubby bed or pull out sofa I use when I dog sit Taz.

The walls are white in the living room with very warm colored art on the walls. Roxi is at my feet on this couch covered by a soft beige blanket. The “suede and cashmere” candle has been burned to the bottom of the jar. It has two wicks and I near burned myself trying to shove my hand in there with a gas station lighter.

She has a framed and folded flag from her service to our country and a photo of her late nice. In her room is a beautiful duo of jewelry boxes and along either sides of the mirror are countless metals from runs and triathalons. Her trusty bike sits ready to roar next to the living room couch, sandwiched between it and the wall. It’s blue and white with thin wheels, balancing a matching helmet and the front wheel rests on a physical chemistry book, which makes me grin.

I’m watching Ancient Aliens. I’m not used to satellite TV. Roxi takes ME for walks. It’s been a nice vacation from everyday life.

I could live in a place like this. The backyard is magical. Red woodchips, red patio with white plastic chairs that are dirty and a stairway up to the neighbors apartment.

The lot is fenced in and when you step through the gate you’re in a well lit city alley. There’s a small house at the far end of the yard that could be a garage or maybe someones small home. This building is only a few feet from the neighbor building. You can see through the blinds of that house into the kitchen.

I’m here until Thursday morning when I’ll leave the place looking untouched. I’ll leave the dog with a big treat as a finale to all the spoiling I’ve been doing to her. Then I’ll go back to the norm. I always feel a little sad leaving my doggie getaways.

Should I Work on My Story in Chunks on WP?

Or should I keep it to myself out of the public eye so no one steals my ideas? I don’t know if WP constitutes as a publication in which someone could steal my idea/writing.

This is the first line of the story I want to write.

When I was born, like most children I was confused. “What’s this light?” was my first thought, followed by “What is light?”