31 May, 2007

Incurable cases?

It Gets Better - Jenni Schaeffer

This is my personal inspiration for today, which I thought I'd share with all of you. After actively fighting this disorder for almost a year and a half (as opposed to passively, which constitutes the latter half of my life) I often feel like I should be well now. I should be eating regularly, enjoying it, maintaining or gaining weight --- especially not losing and not caring, or finding vicious celebrity gossip 'thinspiring'.

I do miss being under a hundred. I miss being dizzy all day. I miss the bruises all along every ill-padded bone. I miss regular self-injury. My eating disorder has been nothing but abusive, spiteful, manipulative, selfish, ruinous, and yet perhaps I will always miss it.

Lately, you've been watching me relapse to some extent. Perhaps it's not been much of an active relapse, but I've still not been doing a whole lot to fight it too hard. The past few weeks have been the sort wherein eating somehow feels like an exhaustive, distasteful chore whose purpose is obscure and value inconclusive.

Today I'm trying to reinforce the understanding that it is okay to relapse. Probably this is not the statement most professionals would want me to be saying, but be realistic here. Relapse will happen. I'm not saying it is okay to embrace it. I'm saying it's okay for it to happen. It is okay to accept bad days along with good.

What's not okay is to welcome it, engage with it, actively pursue it and see how bad it can get. Today I'm trying to look at my life and say, all right. I've been having some bad times lately. My eating has not been what it should be and my attempts to thwart it haven't been up to par. Now that I understand this, I can accept it as something which happens from time to time instead of beating myself up about it for being the worst recoverer ever. I can acknowledge the bad and try to pick myself up again instead of saying, crap, I failed again, I must just not be cut out for this health thing. I can let the relapse be what it is and then let it go.

One thing Jenni wrote in her article in particular stood out to me: her realization that the belief she held about being too ill to recover was false. I remember many, many journal entries along those lines and can now realize that even in the midst of a bad spell I'm still able to see how far I've come toward health and that I'm still moving toward it even despite a two steps forward one back progression.

I still often feel that this disorder may always be with me. But I know now that it does not and will not always control me. I AM NOT TOO SICK TO GET BETTER!!! I was not the sickest, I was not the least sick, but I AM getting better in spite of everything!

Be encouraged!!! You probably feel like a hopeless case. Like no matter how many people say they understand, they really, truly don't. They can't see inside you and realize what a horrible, twisted, incurable creature you are. Like I'm full of sh-t for saying that I know what you're feeling. I won't claim to be all-knowing or all-answer-ful. But I will say that I have felt that before. Sometimes I've felt that my core evil was so warped and disgusting and pervasive as to be a tangible force. I've felt that it defined every part of my being so inextricably that all I would ever be able to be was worthless.

So not true.

Please, please don't listen to the lies this disorder tells you. It tells you you are worthless because it makes you easier to control. Would a person who highly valued and loved herself be as easily inclined to destroy herself as one who thought she were worthless? It's all a power scheme. A vicious and effective one, but only a scheme.

It is possible to break from this disorder and grasp the health that seems so impossible.

30 May, 2007

A Bizarre Turn of Events

After a few hours thought and cross-referencing, I've decided that this is indeed legitimate and, as such, warrants an entry. On first encountering this bit of celeb gossip on a friend's livejournal page I really didn't believe this thing was true. It's just so out there, so ridiculous and offensive and insane that I didn't think it could possibly be anything but spiteful, manufactured, grab-for-attention rumours.

And then... I found it referenced on MSNBC. Gossip rags and celeb tabloids I can overlook. MSNBC on the other hand is a pretty reliable source.

Apparently, Ms Nicole Richie threw a Memorial Day party over the weekend. Her e-mail invite to friends somehow got leaked to the press and is now causing a big stir... Reason being?

My fellow Americans its that time of year
To celebrate our country by drinking massive amounts of beer
Let's stand together as one, live the American dream
Take shots, pass out, & wake up with our pants ripped open at the seems
Let's glorify this day in your sluttiest tops and your tightest pair of tsubi jeans
Even though we have no f----g clue what Memorial Day really means!!

There will be a scale at the
front door. No girls over 100 pounds allowed in. Start starving yourself now. See you all then!!!

Can you see why I thought this fake?

Part of the reason I've hesitated so many hours before writing this is that I have no idea how to respond to it. It's just so bizarrely over-the-top offensive. Just... Damn. Her rep (and she herself, in interviews) claims it was a joke, that she's 'not a serious person' and people shouldn't take her as such. At the same time, her friend Mischa Barton collapsed at the party and had to be hospitalized (apparently from a bad mix of antibiotics and too much liquor...? That's what they're claiming, anyway). A psychologist from one of the tabloids theorized it's her way of acting out; a big giant f you! to recovery.

This whole thing just sickens me. How to respond to something so obscene? Nicole Richie is to recovery what Mel Gibson is to racial tolerance, it would seem.... God. Maybe after I've slept on this I'll have something more helpful to say but right now I'm left looking for answers as much as the next person.

Thoughts on this? Anyone? They would be greatly appreciated.

Monsters And Critics

27 May, 2007

Scares and scars

Short entry, just some thoughts for the day... Thirty-two hours worked since Wednesday, putting in more tomorrow.

At the intake Tuesday, new therapist Shelley saw my scars and said that I was a keloid healer. Back when I was big into getting new piercings, keloids were a phobia of mine, so I didn't believe her when she told me my scars were keloids.... After some research today, I've determined they are indeed NOT keloids. For one thing, it's incredibly rare for white people to get keloids; fifteen to one ratio black/hispanic to white/asian/other. Also, keloids are more tumorous in appearance - my scars are just raised, red, and uglay.

Conclusion: they have healed abnormally, but are call hypertrophic scars, not keloid. The biggest reason this is a comfort is that hypertrophic scars reduce in time. Keloids get bigger. Also, h. scars are much more treatable than keloids; because the latter get bigger over time, removing them will just cause an even larger keloid to grow in more than half the cases.

For comparison, keloids vs. hypertrophic, this proved quite the useful link. DO NOT GO THERE if scars will trigger you! Please, please know and respect your limits.

In other news, my scars hurt today. They're like my trick leg... Any change in the weather makes them prickly and painful.

In other news.... Sleep. That is all.

25 May, 2007

The search for a cure

My fingers can barely lift themselves from one key to the next tonight. Washing my hair seemed like too much effort, with all the lifting of the arms and the scrubbing of the fingers. My entire body is dead weight.

After a couple phone calls from the new therapist, Patti, last week, I've begun again the search for a new therapist. She felt that it would be good for me to look more for someone who could provide better continuity of care since the CU Denver counselling center takes frequent, long breaks during the semester periods, as well as the fact that since the therapists there are interns they switch out regularly.

Another factor is that they ARE interns there... To be honest, I got the feeling that she was a bit overwhelmed by my needy crazyness (as therapists so often have been when dealing with me). She mentioned that it'd probably be best to find someone more experienced. To me, this means, "Holy hell, kid. You're a nutjob. Go find someone with a doctorate and roughly twenty-five years dealing with clinical crazies and maybe they can handle you." I'm sure that's not the exact translation, but it's close.

All that said, yesterday was intake number one of god knows how many. I really liked this therapist, though I don't think she's the right one, either, unfortunately. Her name is Shelley, she's an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker), been in practice since 1989.

That last bit is a big plus for her - many of the docs I've seen in the past haven't been in practice all that long. I like that she's experienced. On the other hand, though, (and this is a big reason I think it may not be the right fit) her experience does not lie where I need it to. I forgot to ask exactly what her areas of expertise are, but I gathered enough to know that she has not dealt much at all with dissociative disorders and has only had a couple of cases of eating disorders. Both these are rather major issues. In the case of eating disorders, the clients she did have were both well in to their recovery stages. While I think I'm well on my way, Crystal isn't so sure - and I've learned that she frequently has better judgment about my mental status than I do. Particularly lately it's been rather clear that I'm not as recovered as I seem to think I am, as I've been losing weight and eating less and caring less about the fact that I'm eating less.

Really, as much as I liked her as a person, appreciated her method and felt comfortable with her, she did not have enough qualifications treatment-wise, I think. The biggest positive things about meeting with her were things like feeling comfortable talking to her, not feeling threatened by her or condescended to, feeling like I was truly listened to and taken seriously. These indicate that she's definitely a good therapist but don't necessarily say anything about whether she's the right therapist. Follow?

She, like every other brain doctor who spends five minutes talking to me, seemed deeply concerned and quite adamant that I get back on meds as soon as humanly possible. Ironically enough, only when I'm having a saner day can I see the logic behind this. I still struggle with the concept of medication. It feels like a crutch, a fake cure, a symptoms-masking treatment that does nothing to actually cure. It feels somehow, in some not-easily-explained fashion, like the easy way out when I should be able to work my way out. Do not pass Go! Do not collect that two hundred dollars, hippie! You march your ass through each of those spaces and figure it out the HARD way. ....Aand the reasoning itself makes only about as much sense as that poorly planned metaphor.

There's an organization called Aurora Mental Health which I've thought about trying and which Shelley strongly recommends. She used to be on the board there and says they could find a way to help hook me up with medication until my insurance coverage resumes in August. Additionally, they've got a broad base of experience and knowledge for all things crazy, so chances are good that they could match me up with the right doc. So they're my next stop on the mental health errands...

Haha, don't you love how my coherence dissipates the longer I write and the tireder I get? Yes, tireder, you heard me punks. I've got to be at work again in less than twelve hours now. Perhaps next entry will come sooner than the ridiculous break this last has been... Sorry, readers.

This is Frasier Crane, wishing you all a good day and good mental health.

16 May, 2007

Is this really what passes for a blog these days?

So basically, the more I think about it, the more convinced I am to move to Canada once Crystal graduates. More on that later, I guess...

It's been incredibly difficult to think what to write. Despite having days off and an overactive mind, I can't seem to focus any of these thought trains into a chiseled sort of entry or, for that matter, any form of writing longer than a disjointed paragraph. Additionally, as I've tried to consider topics worth discussion, I've been painfully aware that most of what's on my mind is depression-related and depression at my level is excruciatingly boring. Friends often challenge me to write a book and I can't seem to convince them how any book I could poop out now would be little better than Dr Zhivago right now. The depressive's mind, by nature, ruminates on topics like a cow that ate a bag of mulch and gravel. Endlessly. And often with indigestion. Depression is an endlessly churning sack of monochromatic muck.

Even exciting events can be turned dull when viewed through the depressive lens. I could tell you about the hail we received or Amber's graduation last night or how we almost got killed after a booksigning in Denver a few days ago. All these things, in the appropriately caffeinated fingers of a witty person, could be turned into side-splitting or riveting anecdotes. At the moment I'm more likely to say, "Yeah, we went to see Barbarah Kingsolver talk a couple nights ago and there was this big thunderstorm and then we walked home in the pouring rain and got chased by a raving drunk who was packing heat." (Granted, that one may be kinda interesting REGARDLESS of the bare bones explanation.)

Side note about the experience in Denver: I am about fifty times more frightened of downtown Denver than I EVER was of Washington, DC. I was less afraid walking home alone in DC than I was walking three blocks to a LightRail station with Crystal and Jody the other night. Because damn. People can officially give up on trying to convince me to look for an apartment downtown.

I ought to write about how pants that should be too small are baggy, about how depression kills my appetite kills my motivation kills my giving-a-shit. I should write about how my new therapist broke up with me after two sessions and I'm back looking for a new one again. I should write about the fact that I'm working six of seven days this week.

Sooo many topics to cover! So many books to write and bills to pay and t'shirts to make/send and apartments to look at and the rest and the rest!

Instead, I watch Michael Moore films while crocheting doilies and getting ready to leave for work, and when I DO finally get myself to open ze laptop and attempt ze entry, it looks like THIS.

Mental illness is ridiculously frustrating.

07 May, 2007

Confrontational feeding

It's always hard to tell where you draw the line between wanting sensitivity and understanding from others and trying to recognize where you yourself are perhaps being too touchy. All through childhood my dad was quite insistent that I took myself 'way too seriously' and needed to learn to laugh at myself... Personally, I often felt that was a bit of a harsh judgment, but that's neither here nor there.

In any case, on this particular occasion, I've got little to no doubt that the comment in question was out of line.

I've been through more than a couple managerial transitions in my time spent working the restaurant industry. I've had maybeee....two? general managers that I've liked. Yes, two, that's the right number. I like this particular, current general manager least of all so far. He's very heavy with the sarcasm when displeased, and not afraid to bitch people out publicly either. He's a good six foot something, all football player looking, a bit snaggle-toothed and overall quite intimidating. Quite the asshole.

On Sunday mornings he gets extremely stressed out. He always locks himself in as the expediter to make sure ticket times aren't running too long and the foods all get out correctly and whatnot, since Sunday brunch has a slightly different menu and can be stressful for the kitchen. Because of this, Sunday mornings he institutes a unique rule which I have the most impossible time remembering: employees may not make any modifications to their meals.

As I, granted, frequently do, I forgot about this rule yesterday when ringing in my food before going on break. I remembered almost immediately after sending in the order....but unfortunately, once done is done.

When I went to get my food from the line and take it to the back for my break, the GM was up in his usual spot and decided to make a scene, or maybe just an example, of it. As mentioned before he's a big man and has a big voice to go with it, so when he raises his voice at all it's definitely audible.

"Tina. Hey, Tina? Next time would you do me a favor and just not eat?"


That very morning over coffee with Crystal I talked about the fact that I've been really struggling with body image the last couple weeks. (Wow, I forgot to write this anecdote... When I went to the doctor last Saturday I realized quickly the part I'd forgotten to put in my medical istory: anorexia. The reason I realized this was that when they took me into the back the first thing they did was to put me on a scale. Fully clothed and facing forward. At this point, I realized that, fully clothed, wearing shoes, and having just eaten, I was a good ten pounds less than I was when last weighed, without all those other factors. Unfortunately, to the eating disordered mind there is nothing like finding you weigh less than you thought to trigger the desire to lose more.)

The whole affair triggered a panic attack and rid me of any desire to eat. I guess it was evidence of how far I've come, though, that I still did eat my lunch.

02 May, 2007

More of the latest

Off to the right hand of the screen you may notice a new page element. To be honest, I kind of feel like a douche for creating it in the first place and, as such, don't know if I'm going to keep it... But yes.

For those who've followed my blog/life for a while, you probably know that I had to drop out of school when I lost the battle with FAFSA and AU financial aid. Both sources explained that because I still have occasional communication with my family, they cannot prove or believe that I don't still get money from them and, therefore, refuse to acknowledge me as a financially independant student.

End result? Your tuition is due. Pay or drop out by...TOMORROW. (True story. I had twenty-six hours notice to pack up and evacuate.)

I've long wanted to start some sort of personal fund raiser, but, again, I feel really douche-y doing it. I know that people can respond in absolutely incredible ways when there is a need... I don't know. I guess maybe I'll stop before more desperation is revealed. I hope that somehow, eventually, something will work out and I can go back to school. Maybe this (and you guys!) will be able to help.

Motivation? Anyone? Anywhere?

There's nothing like hacking your lungs out on a beautiful, breezy, sunny day off work. I mean seriously. You should try it sometime. Because wow.

Actually, today's been anything but exciting. I tried to get downtown first thing today for my second appointment with the new therapist but it didn't work out so well... Crystal and I forgot to set the alarm and as such were out the door about ten minutes later than we should have been. By the time we reached the LightRail station (in a breathtaking eight minutes instead of fifteen...yay sports car!) the lots were all full. At this point in time I was feverish and sneezing and completely out of it. I vaguely remember giving Crystal a tearful "I GIVE UP THERE IS NO POINT LET ME DIIIIE!" speech, but it's hard to say what really happened, given the fevered memory.

Although it was only around 9:30, it's at least a forty-five minute trip downtown from the station and that is assuming you can find a place to park. My appointment was for 10, meaning the soonest I could arrive would have been about 10:20, and since it's a training facility they're really strict on the fifty minute session rule - i.e. I'd be lucky to get thirty. I tootled around the parking lot for a while, determining to call the therapist and let her know I'd be missing today's session. Considering I am still pretty sick I figured it wouldn't be that far a stretch to cough a little more than necessary and play up the hoarse, croaking quality my voice has adopted.

Next stop was the bank. I found out Friday that some lame-ass company has been trying to make fraudulent charges to our checking account, so we needed to close it out and transfer the funds to a different one. This, my friends, is a major pain. (To be fair, I am really glad the bank caught it early and we didn't have a whole bunch of disputed charges to deal with.) Sooo we had to do that, closing out our barely three months old account in favor of an even newer one. (And then I had to come home and figure out on just how many different sites I had to change my account info.)

I've been sick with this cold thing since Sunday, I guess it was, and it's zapping what few mental faculties I had left me. I was trying to reflect about this in my journal yesterday, but the thing I hate most about major depressive episodes is that I get really, really, really damn boring. I can't think. I have no energy. I can't write worth a load of monkey dung. I honestly lose whatever it is that makes me feel like a mildly interesting, or at least not totally dull, human being. Damn cyclothymia or disthymia or bipolar whateveryouare! Give me back a little hypomanic spark, why don't ya? I need to be productive again!

What's better? Monochromatic depressive episode or frenetic, sporadic mania?

...God, this is depressing. My train of thought has already fizzled out in spite of all the grand plans I had for an entry. I apologize to all my readers, or what few of you remain in spite this insipid progression of words. Blah blah blah blah!