March 30, 2014 § 3 Comments
When I was a pre-teen during the Spice Girls Crazefest, I always wanted to be Baby Spice. She seemed so sweet and bubbly, so approachable. She seemed like someone everyone loved.
We all dream. “The grass is always greener” and all that.
The truth is, I’m Scary Spice. I scare people.
I should have predicted that this would be coming, another depressive episode I mean. I used to have them every two weeks so when I hadn’t had one for three weeks, I foolishly thought I was “cured.” I was feeling so good this afternoon that I even thought of going off my meds, thinking that maybe I’m better and no longer need them.
That’s not how mental illness works, kiddo. Didn’t you see how well that worked for Dad, going off his meds whenever he felt like he didn’t need or want them anymore instead of following the doctor’s orders? That was a stupid, stupid thought and you better not have it again.
This week is going to be an especially hard one (again, I should have predicted a depressive episode on the eve of it).
It’s my birthday. Birthdays have been pretty rocky for the last couple of years. I had to put Cleo down just days after my birthday last year and the year before that my Grandmother had to take my Great Gran off of life support around the same time (almost to the same day). Makes it kind of tough to look forward to your future birthdays when you remember so vividly the grief that surrounded the last few birthdays. This year my favorite aunt’s mother died, but it was a few weeks ago so I’ve been schizophrenically wondering who is going to die in the week following my birthday.
There are other issues too. I don’t have many people to celebrate with this year. My friends group has all but dried up, I’m totally single, and the only one who seems to really care about my birthday is my grandmother.
There isn’t much to celebrate either. I’ll be turning 26. I feel like I have so little to show for it. So few goals reached, so few life milestones crossed. Quitting Facebook has helped alleviate that feeling of failure some but it’s still there. As a teenager, I thought I’d be married by now. I thought I’d have a stable career. I thought I’d be somewhere exotic or ultra cosmopolitan.
Boy was I wrong.
I was already feeling alone, as I often do on the weekends, but I’m in a slightly different situation than I used to be. I used to not know how to ask for help, so when I ended up sobbing hysterically and hyperventilating, I at least thought that if I could bring myself to do ask for it, I could get help from my nearest and dear.
But the few times I’ve revealed that side of me, a true depressive episode, I’ve scared my nearest and dear. I am Scary.
I don’t *want* to scare people. I don’t want to scare my family and friends. I don’t want to look in their eyes and realize that their perception of me has shifted significantly, that they’re going to approach me in the future with caution and concern.
So when I’m bending over trying to catch my breath as I sob so uncontrollably that I can’t breathe, I think about how alone I am because I can’t share this side of myself without scaring someone.
Perhaps I’ve seen too many Disney movies, but I have hope that Mr. Right will be the perfect person for that job. He’ll be someone who knows that he can’t say or do anything to make me feel better and that he shouldn’t even try. He’ll be someone who holds me and rocks me until I stop crying, someone who will wait out the storm with me without being afraid of and for me. Someone who can deal with my Dark Side rather than being terrified of it.
Does such a person exist? Or will I always be crying alone?
Even those closest to me, who I would think know me the best, don’t seem to know me very well.
Last night I identified a strange conundrum or contradiction in my relationships (friendly, familial, and romantic). When I’m upset about something small, somehow everyone can tell even though I’m trying to hide being upset. They know I’m upset.
But when it’s something big, people for some reason *can’t* tell that I’m upset. They accuse me of acting like I “don’t even care” that our hearts are breaking simultaneously. I LEFT the STATE for a MONTH. Surely that’s a sign of the double heartbreak I was experiencing? Or did people honestly think I was just going to the beach for something to do.
It worries me that people think I’m that cold, that I’m so uncaring. But I guess that fits with Scary Spice. No one would accuse Baby Spice of being uncaring. Everyone would know when her heart was broken. Everyone would realize that she’s a human being.
I worry too about my trust issues. Lord, have I got them, especially after the last year. My now ex-best friend lied to me repeatedly for almost a year. My now ex-boyfriend held my hand, looked me in the eye, and made me a promise but mere months later, he broke that promise and said I deserved it. My dad says he’s here for me, whenever I need him, but he doesn’t keep in touch or check up on me by reading this blog. Guess he’s not really concerned, huh? I remember I was in the midst of a depressive episode when I was in Dallas and actually called my dad–the first and only time I’ve reached out for help like that–but he didn’t bother to call me back for hours. He said he was away from his phone, that he couldn’t hear it ring, which I suppose is legitimate but if you know you have a depressed (and potentially suicidal) child, you should probably keep your phone handy especially when you tell the kid that they can call you anytime they need help.
But hey, nobody’s perfect, right? I’ve heard that a lot lately: “Nobody’s perfect.” What, like I don’t know that? Like somehow I’ve magically made my way to age 26 without learning that lesson a thousand times over? Yes, I understand nobody’s perfect but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have lines, boundaries, basic expectations and self-preservation strategies. Trust is one of my most important and unmovable lines. If I can’t trust you, I can’t be in any kind of meaningful relationship with you. Nobody’s perfect but honesty and sincerity aren’t something I can compromise on. And I don’t think I need to apologize for that.
I tried to ignore my self-destructive thoughts tonight, tried to blank out my brain every time a tempting glimpse of sharp metal flitted across it. But denial is unsuccessful, of course. So I tried bargaining instead: I made a deal with myself that if I still feel like putting a blade through my arm tomorrow, then I can. But for tonight, we should hold off because we’re in a dark place that is far more dramatic at nighttime than in the fresh light of a new day.
Seems like a good compromise. Both sides of my brain seem satisfied.
Tomorrow is a new day. Take your meds. Go through the routines. Plaster a smile on your face. And scare no one.
Scary Spice was everyone’s least favorite anyway.
March 26, 2014 § 2 Comments
Did exercise save my life? I’ve been pondering it a lot recently. I’ve been feeling sooooo good lately but I’m still really worried that this is just temporary, that I’ll go back into my dark place at any minute. I keep trying to track in my mind when exactly I hit rock bottom, but there were so many times in the last few years that I thought things couldn’t get any worse that it’s pretty hard to pinpoint when things truly were at their worst.
I still have dark thoughts, but they’re fleeting. Looking at the sheen of light on my knife as I’m chopping veggies for dinner, for example, still makes me want to slice it across my arm. My inner voice still says, “Just do it!” But I don’t. The moment passes in seconds and I’m back to my current happy self preparing a delicious meal after a full day of living.
Generally, though, I really do feel fantastic. Exercise has done that for me. Joining fitness classes really was my moment of true genius, the one thing that actually turned things around for me in what feels like a lasting way. I’m learning to use my body in new ways, gaining more control over it while developing quicker imitation skills. I’m also feeling challenged, which is always great for me, and I feel stronger with every class I complete.
I don’t think my body looks much different, but it’s only been a few weeks. I definitely feel a lot stronger, like my muscles have woken up and realized what they’re supposed to feel like, how they’re supposed to function. I’ve had a hard time going up and down stairs and even going to the bathroom because my muscles are so sore. I basically just fall into chairs instead of sitting down in them properly but eventually my legs won’t be so sore. My triceps have had a hell of a week too but thankfully I don’t have to lift heavy objects often (in fact, I actively avoid lifting heavy objects). I’ve got Zumba tonight which is easier than the other classes.
Normally I wouldn’t be this sore, but this week is Spring Break at UAB so the workout classes are on a slightly different schedule. So when I thought I was going to easy-peasy Monday Zumba, I actually ended up in Total Body Conditioning which I’d previously avoided because I thought the class would kick my ass (which it did). But I actually really liked it. If I keep up with it, I’ll be in damn good shape by the end of April. I really like the class (and hate it) because it works arms which was one of my fitness goals. My arms are pretty flabby-looking so I’d really like to have toned arms in time for summer.
I’m actively focusing more on how I look and feel than what I weigh. So what if I weigh 150lbs? As long as I have a flat stomach, I really don’t care. Plus I’d rather not lose too much weight because all my cute clothes won’t fit and I don’t feel like buying a whole new wardrobe. We’ll see!
I think I’m giving up cycling classes on weekends (because they’re fucking miserable) in favor of doing outdoorsy things instead. I joined the Birmingham Adventure Group and am going on my first hike with them this weekend! I’m taking Asha along with so I’ll have someone to talk to if I’m too awkward to successfully make new friends. The exercise and fresh air will be great, but I need to start building a new friends circle so I’m hoping this will be a good way to do it. And hopefully my legs will have recovered from this week’s workouts enough that I won’t die on the trail. I figure 8 hours of workouts per week plus weekend outdoors activities is a pretty solid fitness routine!
There’s something about surviving a rigorous fitness class that makes you feel accomplished and ready to take on anything. It’s very empowering. Morning yoga is still working out great, though I’ve been a little late this week because I’ve been having really intense dreams that make me super groggy in the morning. I miss the days when I first started on sleeping pills when my dreams were short, sweet, and fuzzy.
Still haven’t heard back from the job I interviewed for last week. I’m certain that’s causing some anxiety. Plus I’m working up to “reclaiming” spaces in Birmingham. I’ve had a lot of worry about running into certain people which means I’m avoiding places I really like to be. That’s got to stop. I live here now. This is my city. I should feel free to go where ever I want and not live in fear of awkward situations.
So I’ve got plans to go to every place I have a history within the next two weeks.
A big undertaking? Yes. Emotionally it will be challenging. But this is necessary. If I run into people (statistically unlikely though I have a long history of running into people unexpectedly) then I’ll deal with it and probably no longer have that pressing anxiety about worrying I’ll run into them. I’m breaking the discomfort barrier and reclaiming my favorite spaces.
This is my city too. And dammit, I want to *live* here.
March 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
I’m spending the weekend basking in the glorious warm rays of hope. Helps that the weather is equally glorious and warm.
My interview went really well, but since Komen turned me down after a two hour interview, I can’t bring myself to feel very confident that I’ll get the job. Not shitting you, though: this job seems like it was specifically designed for me. This would really get me on a solid career path because I think I could make the position grow with me, letting me stay for 5-10 years here, and I think I would do really well there.
I’m also daydreaming about actually having money in the bank. Even if they give me $5,000 less than I asked for, I’ll still be able to easily pay rent, pay bills, get a handle on my student loans, buy a used car, and put food on the table. I’ve been doing some research on what kind of car I want (I’ve never actually had a choice about the car I drive, so it’s a pretty big decision!) and I’ve got a little used car picked out for under $10k. We’ll see if it’s still available if I get a job offer.
I’ve got other plans, too, though. If I get this job, I’ll have the money to join the Junior Patrons at the art museum and at VSA Alabama, which brings art to children and adults with chronic illnesses and disabilities. I’d also like to join the Junior Board at Hand in Paw, an organization that provides services for animal-assisted therapy. It sounds like a lot, but really it’s just a 2-10 hours a month. Hardly anything!
I’d also like to start saving some money for a Europe fun trip as well as a Habitat for Humanity or other humanitarian/aid trip to Sri Lanka, Brazil, or somewhere else. I’ll probably just do the cheapest trip out of the country, go build some houses or dig some wells or construct some schools for a couple weeks then come back. I’m ***hoping*** that I can do two trips a year of two weeks each, one trip that’s humanitarian and the other that’s personal. We’ll see what happens. I’d have to be real smart with my money (unless they pay me what I asked in which case I’ma make it rain erry day) because for both trips I’d probably need to save up about $10,000 total each year. Hahaha saying that in text just makes me laugh. Like a crazy person.
This all sounds a bit much, doesn’t it? I realize that, but I’ve spent the last twenty years of my life feeling exhausted, anxious, and depressed so now that I actually feel good I’m ready to make up for the lost time. I’ve spent so little time volunteering, I think I’m way past due for giving back to my community and helping other people. I’d like to tentatively investigate some volunteer opportunities for helping other people with depression, but I think that’s in the distant, rather than immediate, future.
This weather (mid-70s, sunny, light breeze) is my absolute favorite. Lazing around my apartment in a tank top and shorts with the windows all wide open… I just love it. That’s why I knew this apartment was for me — the deck, the huge windows, all the natural light with the perfect corner unit to catch every breeze. I’m going to have to install some kind of doggy-friendly screen for the back deck so that Asha can come and go as she pleases without letting every single Alabama monster mosquito inside. She loves laying out there, lazing in the shade and trying to catch the occasional bee. Thankfully she hasn’t managed to catch one yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Mia wants to be inside with me, of course, but that’s fine too. I just wish I had a bigger couch sometimes. Well, lots of times. Maybe one day.
I took the girls to Railroad Park today since the weather was so wonderful. I’m not going to lie… it was tough handling both of them by my lonesome with all the excitement and many distractions of the park. We did okay but I got tangled lots and lots of times in the two extendable leashes. They didn’t run around as much as I thought they would so lesson learned I guess. They both passed out in the back seat on the short ride home and then napped for the rest of the afternoon. Mommy was a very happy lady!
I walked them over to Good People but couldn’t bring myself to go in. It’s such a natural thing to do–go to the park, get sweaty and tired from the sun, then relax at GPB and drink a cold beer–but I’m still not ready to reclaim that space as my own instead of mine and Mark’s. Maybe next weekend I’ll be up for it.
I’ve also made the discovery that it’s fucking impossible to delete your Match.com profile. I think I successfully hid it so I’ll stop getting irritating messages from guys I have zero interest in, but I can’t actually delete my account which is frustrating.
They should put this on the front page of their website:
March 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
March 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
March 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
1. HAVE A VERY EXCITING INTERVIEW ON THURSDAY
2. PhD kid never texted me again. I’m super relieved I don’t have to break up with him and crush his little heart.
3. Mia has started pooping in the house and eating it. Beyond disgusting. And I don’t know how to get her to stop going to the bathroom in the house. I’m hopeless!
4. I’m doing pretty well at my current job, but lots of fingers and toes are crossed for my thursday interview.
5. My morning yoga classes are great except my balance is terrible (I’m 20 lbs heavier than when I did so much yoga in college, so I guess that’s to be expected) and planks are still beyond torture/impossible.
6. I’ve gotten much better at following the steps for Step class but it’s still kicking my ass. Dripping sweat. Everywhere.
7. Working out like that just makes me want BEER AND BURGERS OMG. That’s not how you lose weight, kid.
8. Got a reality check on the house dream. But there’s always next year! 🙂 Gotta get some money in the bank first.
9. Ready to have a social life but have no idea how to make it happen. No friends left really so I’m trying to pretend like I’m in a new city. What would I do? Where would I go? How to meet people… as a very awkward adult…
10. Mom and Dad will be in town on Friday! Food + art = excitement. Also decided we’re going parasailing for my birthday (wayyyy cheaper than skydiving).
March 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
So I actually made a calendar (complete with alerts!) for my workout schedule so I can track what classes I’m doing and when rather than the impulsive “I guess I’ll do this class today!” approach I used last week. My abs are still sore from my last Step class so hopefully Cycling today will just be bike stuff! Please. God. I am really looking forward to yoga tomorrow morning though. The instructor on M/W is easier than the Tu/Th lady.