Thursday, December 9, 2010

trauma in list form

I'm starting a group therapy program in February. It's an educational support group for women who have experienced trauma. It lasts 12 weeks, and each week we'll learn about a particular technique or strategy to deal with things like flashbacks and panic attacks. But we're not supposed to talk about what actually happened to us that was traumatic, because it might be triggering to us or someone else in the group, so we're only supposed to talk about what's happening in our lives now. So that might be a challenge, but I guess I'll see. It still feels far away.

I've been on the waiting list for something like 6 months. I had the assessment interview today. Not quite your usual interview. No "congratulations, you've got the job."

Congratulations, you've got trauma?

It wasn't a long interview, but it was surprisingly thorough. I guess she went through some sort of checklist for things that normally crop up after trauma...depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, flashbacks, dissociation, panic attacks, insomnia, headaches, muscle tension and pain, eating disorders, substance addictions, self-injury. It was a bit overwhelming, realizing that I'd experienced everything she asked about except full-fledged substance abuse. But it was a bit reassuring too. Sometimes I worry that there's something fundamentally wrong with me, something that's just not put together right; otherwise why would I have so much that's wrong with me? It seems like I recover from one disorder, have a brief moment where I convince myself I'm okay, only to develop something new and equally destructive. But if it can all be linked back to trauma then at least there's a reason for it, some sort of ugly root that I can take aim at and work on.

It would be so, so amazing to one day look at that list and have none of it apply to me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

drink your coffee

I will. Once I'm done cleaning the bedroom. And the bathroom.

You don't have to do all of that. You just said you were going to vacuum.

I can't clean partly. I can't do anything partly.

I know...but we can do things entirely together. Let me help.

It's okay, it's almost done.

...Okay...Well, take a break, have your coffee at least. You're getting an F for coffee-drinking right now. And a D minus for food intake.

No, that should be the other way around. There's far more coffee in me than food.

This week feels like it's run backwards. I've thrown up twice. He doesn't know that. I have gauge marks on my shoulder blades from my nails. It would have been worse if I still had my old razorblades with me, and if I'd had a moment or two alone. He doesn't know that either. I feel guilty about not telling him. Mostly, I just don't know what to say. I don't know why I did it, why I lost control over those impulses after so many months of being better. I don't understand it to myself; I don't want to try to explain it to someone else.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

still with me

I do have an update on that dinner night with Dad - it went well actually, and I want to talk about it more, but my mind's not focused on that today and it will have to wait.

I almost caved three nights ago. The impulse surprised me - I hadn't felt it so strongly for so long - but there it was. I was at a Halloween party. I'd had four beers and didn't feel at all drunk, and as I became aware of that, I thought that it must be because I weigh more again, and so my tolerance has gone back up. And suddenly the three slices of pizza seemed like far too much, and the room of loud and happy and drunk people was suffocating, and I left for awhile and wandered the halls and found myself looking at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. And I could see the stalls in the reflection behind me. And suddenly I wanted to just be empty again.

No. It's not worth it. It's been nearly four months, your teeth have started to get strong again, don't do it.

But once in four months isn't so bad, really, surely just once more won't ruin my teeth.

And I spent a long time in the bathroom, arguing with myself, instead of at the party with everyone else. When I finally went back - still full, still uncomfortable with it - the party was moving to another pub and I was being ushered forward. I didn't want to go. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to be with my boyfriend, who might not know why I was so upset, or then again he might, but either way he would hold me until the impulses softened.

But then an old friend started telling me about his problems with his girlfriend, and I could tell he needed to talk, and so I went along to the next pub and bought him a beer and listened. Maybe I was hoping that listening to his problems would get my mind off my own, or maybe this was a throwback to the days when I thought my only worth was my ability to make other people feel better, or maybe a bit of both.

Then again, sometimes I still think that's my only worth.

I get like this sometimes, usually when I'm drinking and at a party, and I'm beginning to think it's not the drinking that has me feeling so flawed and inadequate, it's the party. Because sometimes I drink with smaller crowds, a friend or two, and then I don't feel so self-destructive. I think it's the large crowds that get to me. Something about seeing so many carefree people, and realizing how far I am from that, makes me feel like despite all my efforts, I'll never be like them, there's something wrong with me, something that can never be fixed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

one last chance

Lately I'd been thinking that I want Dad completely, totally out of my life. To the point of having my wedding, whenever that day comes, in another city just so he wouldn't be the one to walk me down the aisle. To the point of not going to his funeral, when that day comes. I figured I would be safer, happier in the long run that way.

But...that car ride with Dad was probably the most honest conversation we've ever had. And it got me thinking, maybe we can make something work after all.

Maybe I could give it one last chance.

So I called him...and I could tell he was a little confused. I never call him. I never really talk to him. Even when I call Mom and he picks up the phone, I just ask to talk to her, and not to him.

I asked if we could get coffee or something after school.

He said sure, maybe we could go for dinner, he could bring Mom too.

I told him I was thinking it'd be nice if it was just the two of us, and we could talk.

Silence. More surprise, I guess.

And so we decided on dinner, just the two of us, at 7:30.

My boyfriend said, "your funeral."

But there's a small spark of hope in me. Maybe tonight will go okay. Maybe it will lead to other times that go okay.

And if least I gave it one last chance.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

we've all been here

I have a fancy meeting tonight, which means I need to wear fancy clothes.

Clothes I haven't worn for a couple of years.

And of course they don't fight right.

I'm trying not to let it get to me.

I want this day over.

Monday, October 18, 2010

a fun morning with dad

"Let me tell you something, now that I've got you in the car and you're not going anywhere. I didn't appreciate your telling Mom that you were leaving because of me. I had to sleep outside that night and we almost got divorced over it."

" wanted me to lie to her?"

"Don't go and move in with your boyfriend and then tell me it's because of something I did."

And so there it started.

Oh, I knew Mom talked to him about it. How could she not? She'd thought - and so had I - that I would live with her until I was married, that my leaving would be a happy occurrence, with me moving on to the next phase of my life. I wasn't supposed to leave because my emotional survival depended on it; it wasn't supposed to be like that, and she was angry at him for making it so.

But he'd denied he had anything to do with it from the beginning, insisted on it, until both Mom and I believed his mind simply wouldn't accept any other possibility.

And then for him to bring it up on his own - well, I definitely wasn't expecting that. Maybe he was, actually, wondering whether he'd done something to make me leave. Maybe he wanted me to reassure him that he hadn't.

Not a chance of that.

I told him things I'd wanted to for a really long time. That I needed to leave because living there, with him, was giving me panic attacks. That he was emotionally abusive. That most of the time he was not a good father. That he never said he loved me or was proud of me; all I ever got from him was anger and criticism and swearing. That if he'd hurt me physically the way he'd hurt me emotionally, child services would have taken me away years ago.

It went by in a blur. He was angry, but not as angry as I thought he'd be.

And it was so, so strange for him to be the one to bring it up.

Friday, August 6, 2010

sometimes a breakdown is a good thing

I think I may have had something of a breakdown. A breakdown, and then an epiphany, or maybe it was both at the same time.

A little over a month ago, dad and I fought. He's so good at making me feel so worthless. I'd been looking forward to a long weekend, to relaxing and enjoying it. I'd had a good streak of taking care of myself, of dealing with my emotions without cutting or starving or purging. I thought I was making progress.

It wasn't the first fight we've had, and it wasn't even the worst fight we've had, but it was bad enough to trigger a panic attack. I tried to ride it out, just let it run its course without doing anything self-destructive, but I couldn't. I fell back to old habits, and I fell hard. By night, I still felt so panicked that I locked myself in my bathroom and slept on the rug.

The next morning, I tried to think of what I could do or say to make dad understand how his anger affects me. But I couldn't think of anything I could do or say that would make a difference. I've tried talking to him before, and it just doesn't work.

And I realized something, maybe for the first time. It didn't matter how much therapy I had, how much time I devoted to learning better coping mechanisms, how hard I worked on becoming assertive and rebuilding my confidence. If I stayed in that house, he would destroy me.

So I left.

And it's indescribably wonderful, to be out of that situation.

And I've gone 34 days now without throwing up.

Monday, July 5, 2010

asleep on the bathroom floor

We fought. We fight often, and though neither of us ever wins, it seems I always lose more.

But everyone has a breaking point.

And this is mine.

With a burning throat, an empty stomach, and blood dripping down my arm, I know this is mine. If I stay here, you will destroy me, and I don't want to be destroyed. I need to save myself while there's something left to save.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

a brief history of a tangled mess

I started this blog, originally, in January 2010. It was more or less impulsive. I didn't know why I was starting it, what I wanted to do with it, what I thought it would accomplish.

Now I feel like most of those old posts missed the point somehow. Perhaps it began with too shallow of a context - before I'd really started figuring out what I needed to figure out.

There's a lot I need to figure out.

My parents had five children, and I am one of two who survived to see our first birthday. I understood death - really understood it - before I was two years old. I've watched my mother struggle with cancer, autoimmune diseases and various complications since I was seven. At eight, I was sexually molested - not raped, at least - but terrified and scarred nonetheless.

At sixteen, my father was in an accident that robbed him of his youth and mobility overnight. As the years progressed, he became depressed, angry, overly critical and emotionally abusive. Sixteen was also the year I stopped my best friend from killing herself. And the year I half-heartedly attempted suicide, and the year I was hospitalized to prevent me from whole-heartedly attempting suicide.

At eighteen, I learned how to trust a boy and fell in love. By nineteen, bipolar disorder had turned him into someone different - emotionally abusive, cruel at times. I tried to help him and almost destroyed myself in the process. I closed up again.

I've starved myself. I've binged and purged. I've cut and I've burned. I've deliberately refused to take care of myself and I've been creative about it.

There are still pieces of me I want to destroy. But somewhere, in that tangled mess of memories and emotions and things I've never managed to deal with, there are some pieces of me worth saving.

This is the story of a girl trying to put her pieces back together.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

(possibly) overthinking the significance of a dragon fruit

Dad bought me a dragon fruit.

I love fruit and would happily live off nothing but fruit. And when I say that, I mean it - it's not the calorie-conscious part of me saying it, it's the flavour-loving part of me saying it. Give me the choice between chocolate and a dragon fruit, and the fruit wins, hands down, every time.

Dad does not typically splurge on groceries. He buys no-name everything. If something is on sale, he packs our freezer with it. He has refused to get certain things simply because they cost more than something else we can buy in the same food group.

But he bought a dragon fruit - a sole dragon fruit - and gave it to me.

It confuses me when he does these things. Denies me a type of cracker one week, buys me a dragon fruit the next. Mom said, "maybe it's his way of saying he loves you."

Maybe it is. Dad comes from a family that doesn't express love easily. He doesn't express love easily. He's quick to criticize, slow to praise. Growing up, I always knew when I'd done something wrong, but I never knew when I'd done something right.

Growing up like that has its consequences. Never hearing "I love you" or "you've done well" has its consequences. An occasional dragon fruit or mango does not change that.

But maybe it's a sign that there's hope?

But maybe it's not?

I really don't know.

I've all but given up on having any sort of healthy relationship with Dad. He's terrified me with his temper. He does not take an interest in anything good I do or accomplish. The times I've tried to take an interest in one of his hobbies, to form a bond of some sort, it's always backfired, lowered my sense of self-worth and ultimately driven us further apart. It seems like anger or indifference are all I can get from him, and I really doubt that will ever change.

And that's what I told Mom when she brought up the idea of family counseling yesterday.

We've tried this once before, when I was 16 and hospitalized for being suicidal. When I was still an inpatient, we met a couple of times with a family counselor, who quickly recognized that Dad was not a healthy influence in my life. Most of those sessions focused on how his behaviour had negative impacts on me. He denied it at first, then said he felt picked on. I think he did manage to learn to be a little gentler with me, for awhile, but it did not last.

And so now, thinking about family counseling again, I really don't know. I don't know if Dad would agree to go, and even if he did, I don't know if he can change. I've only just gotten to a point where I can brush off his comments instead of letting them sink into me like shards of glass. I got to this point by giving up on the idea of ever having a good relationship with him. I feel safe, now, just believing that there is no chance of a good relationship, just biding my time until I move away from this house and its screaming and its memories.

And if I try to have a relationship with him again, if I let myself hope for that again, and if it backfires...I don't know if I want to take that risk. It's taken so, so long to get to a point where he can't hurt me so much emotionally. Giving him another chance of being a good father is also giving him another chance to hurt me.

I just don't know.

I need to think about this.

In the meantime, I will enjoy this dragon fruit.

And as a side-note, does anyone else think a dragon fruit is Mother Nature's idea of a joke? The ultimate drama queen of the fruit world? Just look at it. I remember the first time I had one. I studied it, this bright pink fruit with its green-tipped, floppy spikes. As if that wasn't unusual enough. Then I sliced into it and burst out laughing. Black and white on the inside? Really? What kind of a fruit is black and white and bright pink? What's the evolutionary reason behind that?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

i need out

Sometimes I come home and wish I hadn't.

Sometimes I walk through the front door and feel like the air inside the house has turned to poison.

I left school for the day a couple of hours ago - purposely leaving late enough that I wouldn't be home for dinner. I usually try to minimize the amount of time I spend at home. Everything's just easier that way.

I had a plan for all the things I would do when I got home. Make a coffee. Finish some assignments I've been procrastinating on. Burn a candle in my new candle holder. Feed the fish, water the plants, pet the cat. Make tea and go to bed early.

So much for most of that now.

I came home to a house filled with tension. Mom warned me to stay upstairs. Dad had set my brother into a panic attack over something stupid that my brother wasn't even responsible for. My 5-foot-7 excuse for a father can make my 20-year-old, 6-foot-6 brother so upset that he can't breathe, and so angry that he inadvertently clenched his fist so hard, he broke his glasses. I knocked on my brother's door and found him buried under his blankets, just sitting awake in the dark.

This is not the way a family should be.

I hate to say it, because it is a horrible thing to say, but the rest of us would be better off without Dad. He's capable of sending my brother into panic attacks and making it so he can't breathe. He's capable of sending me into panic attacks, only instead of losing control of my lungs, I take it out on my body. He's capable of making Mom cry.

He's not physically abusive, but there are other forms of abuse. And while I don't believe anyone should be left completely alone in the world...I also know that he does a lot more harm than good. He doesn't show love. His mood is unpredictable, sometimes cruel. I've tried to build some sort of a relationship with him, numerous times, and it only ends up hurting me. Repeatedly. Consistently.

I know I can't fix myself, mentally, as long as I stay in this house, with him. But I don't want to go. Mom has a long list of serious health problems that aren't going away anytime soon - more likely, never - and I want to stay here to support her.

I'm torn between wanting to stay here for Mom's sake, and needing to leave for my own.

comfortably uncomfortable

March was not such a good's hoping April will be kinder.

I did get my letter, on the very last day of March. It said what I'd hoped, but didn't dare believe, it would say.

I'm incredibly relieved.

But getting this letter, incredibly good for me as it may be, also reinforces some not-so-good thought habits.

Like feeling absolutely worthless whenever I haven't recently achieved something grand. Like equating self-worth with objectively determined accomplishments.

But maybe thinking that way just works for me. And I don't know how else to think. No matter what I accomplish, I never feel satisfied with myself for long. I constantly need to do something else to prove my worth, despite the fact that people around me tell me I'm good as I am, that I've already accomplished a lot. On a logical level, I know they're right. But deep down I never feel sure of myself, never quite feel comfortable in my own skin.

I don't know how to change that.

I'm not sure if I want to change that.

At the heart of it, I'm afraid of changing it, afraid of how it would change me if I were to actually feel comfortable or safe or secure.

Friday, March 26, 2010

everything and nothing

"You're precious."
I met his eyes, and look away.

You're crazy, or
you're lying, or
you're biased.
Regardless -
you are wrong.
There's no piece of me that's precious,
no piece of me worth saving.

"You're the best part of my life."
His eyes met mine, looked away.

I'm not crazy, or
lying, or
Regardless -
I know that look,
and I know he doesn't believe me.

We are so much the same.
Equally damaged, our broken pieces align.
It's beautiful; we are everything to each other.
It's tragic; we are nothing to ourselves.

I can't deal with being average. In anything.

I couldn't sleep last night.
I started trying to figure out why I'm such a perfectionist - which is something I've tried before, and made some progress at, but recent therapy sessions have pointed out some factors I hadn't considered before.

I started filling pages and pages of my tiny writing, scrawling out the things that made me what I am.

It's a time line, it started early on in my life, but it's so interconnected that it's no longer linear; the reasons overlap. The reasons reinforce each other. There is no changing it. I will always be this way.

It's so much a part of me, you might as well ask me to amputate a limb, as ask me to stop trying for perfection.

I cannot do it. I will not do it.

It is who I am.

And waiting for that letter is driving me mad...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Right now
I am perfectly,
The self-destructive part of me, ever present,
is a perfect match
for the drunk part of me, which I'm afraid of indulging too often.

I am neutral.

And so
I will gently fall asleep,
instead of self-destructing
instead of over-drinking.

And I will forget
for a few blissful hours.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

waiting on the verge of panic

I've been away for awhile, up and down, up and down.

I'm waiting for a letter in the mail, one that may or may not come. I've been waiting for 23 days and it's wearing me down.

It's a letter, but it's more. Reassurance that I can still do something right, reassurance that other people believe in my abilities even if I don't.

And still more. The freedom to leave home whenever I feel like I can't live there anymore. The freedom to start a new life away from the past, a life where I can work on fixing myself without the constant daily reminders of why I'm broken to begin with.

But the letter hasn't come yet, may not come ever, and the longer it takes, the easier it is to believe that I have failed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

love and trauma

So last post...I started talking about my first really serious relationship. It wasn't my first relationship. I'll probably write about them all eventually...but here's a quick summary:

I had a "boyfriend" / playmate when I was in grade 2, and although that hardly counts as a "relationship", we did call each other boyfriend and girlfriend, we did kiss (on the cheek), we spent Valentine's day together and we gave each other small gifts. I am actually very grateful that I had this relationship before I was molested. It gave me a reference point to compare with my later relationships. At age 7, I was comfortable holding hands and kissing on the cheek; at age 13, I was not. Obviously something had changed.

I had a boyfriend when I was 13, that lasted about 2 months. We met on vacation in the summer and lived in different cities; after the summer, we drifted apart. I didn't mind drifting apart; I hadn't really been comfortable with him and was just starting to realize that I had some issues to work through around relationships.

I met a boy with beautiful eyes over a staring contest when I was 15. We dated for about 6 months, but he was too intense and wanted to kiss me too soon and basically scared me away.

I dated a friend of a friend for about 5 months when I was 16. I felt more comfortable with him. I was able to tell him about being molested when I was younger, and he understood that he needed to be careful and go slow with me. Although I did feel like running at the beginning of that relationship, I was able to kiss him eventually, and able to actually enjoy it. I was just starting to wonder whether I wanted to take the big step of saying "I love you" when he stopped returning my phone calls. Apparently he had found a new girl and didn't feel it was necessary to inform me. It hurt at the time, but I don't regret the relationship and now we're friends.

Up to this point, I had a childhood sweetheart and three relationships where I struggled with my feeling of wanting to run away.

And then I started my first serious relationship about a month before I turned 18. I think this was the first time I was really "ready" for a relationship.

There was a lot of good and a lot of bad in that relationship. It healed some parts of me and wounded others. I left him 5 years ago, almost to the day. I don't know why the memories feel so fresh this year. I think it might be because I'm starting to realize how much of my past I've dissociated and fragmented, and I'm trying to resolve the painful memories instead of just burying them, and I never actually resolved the bad parts of that relationship. In fact, the point where I went numb and couldn't feel anything anymore in the relationship was probably when PTSD set in. And so I never dealt with those memories.

My team does know about it, but not the whole story, not yet. There's just so much of it to tell, and there are other things I'm trying to work through at the same time. I'm talking to my main doctor (Dr. Z) on Friday, and looking forward to sorting some of this out. I'm pretty sure I'll cry...but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I always feel better after I cry in therapy.

Interesting tidbit from last week's therapy session: I told Dr. Z about my new doctor (Dr. F), and how she told me that I have symptoms of PTSD and that had taken me by surprise. Dr. Z asked what surprised me about it, and I told her I hadn't really considered my life as being traumatic. She asked how I would define a traumatic event. I didn't have a hard answer for that, but when I thought of 'trauma', I thought of something more violent and sudden, like a car crash where someone dies or surviving a tornado or something. So she pulled out her copy of "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" and read the definition they use for a "traumatic event":

a traumatic event is a situation where both of the following occurred:
  • The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event where there was the threat of or actual death or serious injury. The event may also have involved a threat to the person's physical well-being or the physical well-being of another person.
  • The person responded to the event with strong feelings of fear, helplessness or horror.
Going by that definition, she said I had at least 3 sources of childhood traumatic events, and probably even more than that, and some of those sources are still active.

I hadn't thought about my life in those terms before, but everything she said made sense, and I'm starting to recognize some of the things I do now that are rooted in those past experiences. Friday's session should be...interesting...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

the trick is to keep breathing

March 17, 2004. I was celebrating St. Patrick's Day with friends. My boyfriend at the time was in another city, where he went to university, celebrating with his friends.

He started drinking very early that day. He got so drunk that he woke up in the campus observation room; his friends had brought him there, worried about his health. He left the observation room semi-sober and continued drinking. As he drank, he got angry at himself. He cut. He'd never done that before.

March 18, 2004. He called me. Apologized for not calling the night before. Told me what happened. Told me he didn't know what led him to that. Told me it had scared him.

His words chilled me. I had hurt myself only once before that, two years earlier, out of sheer hopelessness and desperation. I knew the mental anguish it took to get to that point. I wanted to fix everything for him. I didn't know how.

St. Patrick's Day has been a little rough on me ever since then. It always reminds me of that conversation with him; of the sharp contrast between what we had together before that day, and what we slowly lost in the year afterward.

I met him about six months after recovering from major depressive disorder. I had learned to be happy again. I trusted that there was good in the world again. He was the first boy I ever felt entirely safe with. I loved him, intensely. I felt everything intensely. We talked about getting married, decided we would wait until we graduated university. The future with him seemed so certain.

Then that conversation, and things changed. He drank more, even knowing what it did to his mood, even knowing that he would likely wake up the next morning with new scars. He became suicidal. He would disappear for days without telling me, without telling his housemates, leaving me wondering where he was and if he was okay. I worried constantly. I hated the miles that kept us apart.

He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but refused to take his medication - he liked his manic phases and wanted to keep them. He wasn't honest with his doctors, eventually stopped seeing them. Which left me as the only one who knew it all, the only one he leaned on for support. It was more than I could handle; I started breaking down.

Months passed. I was always on edge. I had nightmares. My hair started falling out from the stress. I went days without eating.

More months passed. I stopped feeling. I was numb. I couldn't cry, I couldn't laugh, I couldn't even feel love for him anymore. But I was afraid of leaving him, in case that drove him to kill himself.

A full year passed. I realized I had to leave. For once, I had to put my own needs first. This was no longer the relationship it once was; it would never be that relationship again. It was tearing me apart, and I had to leave before I had been broken into pieces too small to be saved.

And so I left. He didn't kill himself. And I'm in a better relationship now. It was all for the best.

But I still have nightmares. I still don't take care of myself. I still don't eat properly. I still don't fully trust the future. I still assume anything good is only temporary.

I can feel again, but everything feels muted, like my emotions are being played in black and white instead of full colour. Sometimes I want to feel everything again; most of the time the thought of it scares me.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

yoga 1, panic 0

Thursday was an upsetting day.

I can't really go into details with what upset me, but it made me feel insecure about my financial security for the next couple of years, and it also made me feel like a failure. I started to panic. I started to feel like I wasn't good enough, that I'd screwed everything up. And my mind circled in on itself like vultures circling their dying prey. I felt awful.

I wanted to go home and hurt myself. But I didn't.

Instead, I went to yoga.

I had made plans, before the upsetting thing happened, to go to two yoga classes on Thursday with some friends. Once I was upset, I really didn't feel like going, but I didn't want to cancel with my friends, so I went to yoga anyway.

After the first class, I felt a little better, but still jittery. After the second class, I felt calm. I didn't want to hurt myself anymore. I felt good, actually, good. And very, very glad that I'd stuck with my plan to go to yoga.

I'm new to yoga - those two classes are the third and fourth time I've gone, ever. But I think this is the start of a good thing. I know that when I'm stressed out and in a panic, I deal with it badly and usually self-destructively. And I know I want to change that. I usually don't care, at the time, about how I deal with feeling bad, but afterward I usually regret what I've done. Not so much for my own sake, but because it makes people I care about sad and worried. Which makes me panic again; it's a bad cycle.

But yoga isn't self-destructive; far from it. It's definitely a healthier way of dealing with bad feelings, panic and stress. It might be the key to breaking that bad cycle.

I saw one of my doctors yesterday morning, and told her about what happened to upset me so much on Thursday. She said it was a confusing situation and it seemed like someone else had made a bad decision that wasn't fair to me. At the same time, she said she could understand how easy it was for me to misinterpret it as being my fault, and that it was important for me to keep a logical perspective on it. My first instinct is to feel like a failure; if I take a logical approach, I can see that I'm not.

Then she said, "you seem pretty calm about it today." So I told her how I went to yoga and essentially chose that over hurting myself. She said that was a really good step on my part. Then we talked about yoga and what style of yoga might help me best.

I found a yoga studio not far from school. They have a lot of classes, and they offer the option of either paying for classes in packages or buying an 'unlimited' pass. I think, once this school term is over in May, I'll sign up for an unlimited pass. That way, if I start to panic or start wanting to hurt myself, I can go and drop in on the next  available yoga class. I think that flexibility will really help.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

overwhelmed...but determined

I haven't been sleeping well this week.

I've reverted to sleeping with a stuffed animal ever since Mom was hospitalized, but even he hasn't been able to keep me calm the whole night through, not this week. Sometimes it helps if I turn on the blue LED lights strung over my headboard.

I feel like a child again, afraid of the dark.

Afraid of my dark.

But I've done some thinking; what else is there to do at 3 a.m. when you can't sleep but are too tired to do anything else?

And I've realized that none of this is new.

Nothing in that pit I've opened up is new. Nothing in it is foreign to me - it's all happened to me, in the past, which means I faced it once and survived. I may not have dealt with it entirely at the time, but I survived, and this time I won't be facing those things alone. I'll have a lot of good, experienced people helping me sort through and empty out that pit. And teaching me how to keep it from filling up again.

It's still a scary thought.

But running away from it won't make it go away. I know that pit is there now. I know it's not healthy to leave it there.

Mom started seeing a psychiatrist recently too. Mom has never had a peaceful life, and she deals with it all the same way I deal with it - burying it, going on, always the strong one. She asked her psychiatrist if that stress, over all those years, never vented, could have contributed to her streak of cancer and autoimmune diseases. The answer: "More and more doctors are looking at it that way. We can't say that stress 'causes' cancer, but it certainly seems to aggravate it, maybe make people more susceptible to it. It seems to play a role but we haven't figured it all out yet."

It breaks my heart to see Mom so ill.

I want to have a family one day. I want to have a daughter. I don't want to break her heart.

I will be strong. I will face the things I'm afraid of. I will let people help me. And I will emerge, whole and stronger, in the end.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Sometimes I wonder if I could become a qualified psychiatrist based on personal experience alone.

I'm amazed at how much help I'm being offered. I will soon have a "team" of psychiatrists, all working on different parts of what's wrong with me. It makes me this is a dream, I'll wake up and I will go back to being the way I was in January, before Mom was hospitalized and before I fought with Dad and before I made the first step towards talking to someone.

I really didn't think I needed this much support. I feel like I've cried more since January than I've ever let myself cry before. It's mainly been in therapy sessions, but still, I'm not used to letting myself cry. It's like I've buried everything bad that's ever happened to me in a pit deep inside myself, and I finally took a peek at that pit when I started talking to someone in January, and now I'm absolutely overwhelmed by how deep that pit is and how awful the things inside are, and part of me just wants to snap the lid back on and forget about all of that and carry on as if that pit doesn't exist. It's like now, that I've let myself start crying, I'm afraid I'll never be able to stop.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

it's more productive...

and you might say it's self-indulgent
and you might say it's self-destructive
but, you see, it's more productive
than if i were to be happy...
-Bad Habit, The Dresden Dolls

I met a new psychiatrist today. Her specialty is mood disorders related to reproductive life cycles, including pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The doctor I see at school said "it's clear to me that your mood is being affected by hormonal and situational triggers, and I think it's important to see someone with a knowledge of the hormonal effects on mood," and so now I have two doctors. One for situational triggers, one for PMDD.

Except we didn't really talk all that much about PMDD today.

This new doctor was incredibly thorough. We talked about everything...being molested when I was 8, feeling like I was never good enough to make Dad happy, the 6-month-long period that had me suicidal by the end of it, the various health problems Mom has had to deal with, the bipolar boyfriend who first triggered my restricting, the way I deal with things now by pretending I'm someone else, the cutting.

And this one said "You definitely have at least some of the symptoms of PTSD." The acronym threw me off for a moment. "What's that?" "Post-traumatic stress disorder."

I wasn't expecting to hear that. I was never involved in a natural disaster. I haven't witnessed a murder. I haven't fought in any wars. I was molested, true, but it wasn't full-out rape. My life hasn't exactly been calm, but I never thought it met the criteria for 'traumatic'.

I'd told her, at the beginning, that I wanted to be able to handle my PMDD symptoms without needing to stay on zoloft forever. And she said that would likely be possible, but that I need to be realistic; that point is at least 3 or 4 years away. There's too much going on right now for me to go off the zoloft. I'm constantly being triggered by my everyday life, and I need to deal with the situational side of things before I can really tackle the hormonal triggers.

And she came up with a long-term plan. I'm getting a referral to start trauma therapy, with both individual and group sessions. And I'll continue seeing her once a month to check on things, and seeing my doctor at school every week. And once I've developed ways of feeling safe, even when I'm in a stressful situation, then I'll work with her more to develop techniques to deal with PMDD.

I'm a little overwhelmed. I really had no idea I was so messed up. I don't let myself feel things. I'm afraid of feeling things.

She also said she'd recommend increasing the zoloft, that studies have shown that trauma patients benefit from the use of medication like zoloft to allow them to cope as they begin to deal with their trauma. She said that might be hard for me, because 'hyperarousal' is a symptom of PTSD, and some patients don't want to give that up because they feel like they're losing their 'edge.'

And that does scare me a little.

I am defined by my edge.

I hate a lot about me. But I love that my body and mind are constantly on alert, ready to do whatever I need to do at a moment's notice. It's exhausting, sure, but I love that I can function perfectly well in extremely stressful situations, on little to no sleep, with little to no support. I work well under pressure, I thrive on stress. I push myself incredibly hard because I know I can get away with it; my mind will still function and my body will still hold me up.

I really think most of what I have accomplished, I have only been able to do because I haven't had a calm life.

Can I be happy and keep my edge? Can I keep the adrenaline that stress gives me without succumbing to the panic attacks that crop up every now and then?

Monday, March 8, 2010


Last week's goals:

1. I will not hurt myself. - check. Though that mostly reflects the fact that I had a fairly calm week, not that I'm any better at handling panic. Still, a goal met is a goal met right?
2. I will destroy my midterm tomorrow. - jury's still out on that one. It wasn't what I expected. I'll get it back in class's hoping...
3. I will spend 28 hours in the lab, being productive and maybe making something cool. - mostly check. I did make something kinda cool, but I still could've been a bit more productive.
4. I will get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. 8 would be better, but I'll start with 7, it's better than my usual. - not quite check. I probably averaged about 6, 6.5. Not awesome but not too bad either.
5. I will not throw up. It might mean I spend an hour at the gym every day and stick mainly to eating vegetables, but I will not throw up. - failed on 3 days. But on the bright side, it's now been 4 days since I last threw up, which is the longest I've lasted for a very, very long time. So it's still progress.
6. I will give myself a pedicure, because I like the number 6 better than 5, and I want something relaxing to look forward to.- fail. This should've been the easiest one to do, but somehow I didn't manage it. I need to take more time for myself, spend more time relaxing.

Goals for this week:

1. I will not hurt myself. This will stay a weekly goal until I find myself in a situation where I really want to hurt myself, but manage not to.
2. I will not throw up. This will stay a weekly goal until I go a solid 3 months without throwing up. So it'll be up here for a looong time. But not forever. That's the important part.
3. I will get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
4. I will clean the cages of my various pets. It's not a job I look forward to, but I've procrastinated long enough, and this week I will do it. And I'll transplant my seedlings too.
5. I will start working on the presentation I need to do for a class I'm taking. It's not due for another couple of weeks, but if I put in about 5 hours/week starting now, that should make things easier on me later.
6. I will go to yoga class - twice.
7. I will give myself that pedicure. This puts me over 6 goals, and I like 7 less than 6, but I want that pedicure and I need to make time to relax.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

i can't say it

Sometimes my boyfriend says "and..." and then pauses. It means he's trying to get me to repeat what he's going to say, one word at a time. One word at a time, because it's usually something I need to hear, especially from myself, but don't want to say, and so he waits patiently as I fight against each word before I'll say it.

Last night, as I was talking about something I was working on, he said, "and..." And he waited.

It was my turn. "and" "it's..." "it's" "okay..." "okay" "if..." "if" "it's..." "it's" "not..." "I'm not going to say it. I can't say that. I can't."

"It's okay if it's not perfect."
"No, I can't say that. I can't."

"It's okay if it's not perfect....because..." "because" "you're..." "you're" "already..." "already" "great." "great."

"There, see, that wasn't so hard, was it?" "No, because it's true, you are great."

"No, that's not what I meant....let's try this again...because..." "because..." "I..." "...I" "am..." "" "already..." "...already" "great..." "...great."

"Easier said than done, thinking that." "Well, you didn't even say the whole thing, not really, so that must mean it's really hard to do."

I don't think he really realized just how much I needed to hear that, even if I couldn't say it myself.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

jealous of normal

I had an appointment with a dermatologist this morning. It's a routine, once-a-year thing. Mom's side of the family has horrible luck with various types of cancer, so once a year, I get checked over for any signs of cancer - including skin cancer. No bad signs this morning. In fact, he commented on how "great" my skin was, "even colouring, pale, no sun damage." I've given up on tanning once I realized how much cancer runs in family; just seems like a good idea not to tempt fate.

He also noticed the red spots on my face, from the last electrolysis treatment, so we talked about that briefly. He asked if I'd had my blood tested to see if there was a reason for the hair growth, so I told him I was diagnosed with PCOS in November. He was surprised at that - "Well," he said, vaguely gesturing towards my stomach "it's just that you don't fit the usual PCOS case." Meaning that I'm not obese or particularly overweight.

That's the third doctor to have that reaction now. It makes me want to laugh. I have no idea what my natural body shape should be; I haven't eaten normally in years. Take a syndrome that causes weight gain, add an eating disorder, mix it up in the same person, and what do you get? Someone with a body in between. Someone like me.

Speaking of eating disorders...

I've had nothing to eat but cauliflower and carrots today. I'm afraid of eating, because it always seems to end with me throwing up. Sometimes, I think the only way to stop throwing up every day is to stop eating, and this is one of those times. It's simple; nothing in, nothing out. Of all my not-so-healthy tendencies, I hate throwing up most of all. It's the most pointless, self-destructive, embarrassing thing I do. And even knowing that, I can't seem to stop it.

There was once a time when I went years without throwing up, without even having to think about it. Most people live like that. Every day I go without throwing up is a constant fight. I have to plan out my day to avoid triggers, I have to eat certain things, I have to be active, I have to constantly remind myself that I am trying to break this cycle. It's exhausting, and more often than not, I lose the battle at the end of the day anyway. Then I look at the people around me, and I realize that they're doing exactly what I want to be doing - going days without throwing up - with no effort at all. It's frustrating. That's just normal for them, and I'm jealous. I wish it were normal for me too.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Goals for this week:

1. I will not hurt myself.
2. I will destroy my midterm tomorrow.
3. I will spend 28 hours in the lab, being productive and maybe making something cool.
4. I will get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. 8 would be better, but I'll start with 7, it's better than my usual.
5. I will not throw up. It might mean I spend an hour at the gym every day and stick mainly to eating vegetables, but I will not throw up.
6. I will give myself a pedicure, because I like the number 6 better than 5, and I want something relaxing to look forward to.

still hidden

Crisis averted. I made it through the weekend boyfriend visit without him noticing what I'd done. It's easier to hide it from him during the week, and it'll be healed over by next weekend. He'll never have to know. I'll never have to explain.

Part of me wonders if I should be hiding this at all. The rest of me is sure I can somehow stop doing this on my own, without anyone's knowledge or help, and then I'll never have to hurt anyone by telling them about it.

And now off to studying. I have a midterm tomorrow, I have no idea what to expect from it in terms of difficulty, no idea what I should focus on while I'm studying. At least this will keep me busy for the rest of today.

This week will go better. I'll make sure of it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I don't know how to hide my wrist.

It's mostly him that I want to hide it from. When his wrist is sore, he wraps a bandanna around it, so I did that. I figured it was a plausible explanation for why it was covered.

Then my brother saw it.

"What happened to your wrist?" "I hurt it." "Hurt it how?" "Sprain."

At this point, he raises his eyebrow. "Are you lying?"

I look away. He caught me off-guard, I don't know what to do, I hesitate, and then he picks up on it and he knows.

Well that stayed hidden about all of 5 seconds from my brother. I wonder how long it will hold up against him?

Please, please, please let him think my wrist is sore, in a muscular-ache kind of way...

Friday, February 26, 2010


I've realized some things.

1. I'm afraid to be too honest with people. I'm afraid to let them know when they've hurt me, afraid my speaking up will make them feel badly. I would rather be the one feeling badly, and the more I care about someone, the more effort I will put into keeping them from ever feeling bad.

2. I don't react well to people being upset or angry or sad because of something I did (or didn't do). It means I've failed to keep them happy, that I'm useless, that I'm not good enough for them. If I were better, then I could keep them happy all the time.

3. I don't think much of myself. I sort of treat myself as expendable. I think that's why I have problems expressing negative emotions. If I feel sad or angry or upset in any way, most people around me would never know it - I'll pretend, I'll lie, I'll hide. I won't express it, not in front of someone; their happiness is worth more than mine and I don't want to upset them. If I do express anything negative, I seem to only be able to do it in self-destructive ways. I'll starve myself, or purge, or hurt myself. And then I'll feel better. Problem solved - it's a way of getting rid of something really negative without hurting anyone I care about.

Now that I re-read those three things, there's actually a lot of overlap between them. I'm only just starting to sort these things out. But the overlap's not important here.

What's important, is what these things mean. I think this explains my tendency to freak out and hurt myself.

Going back to what happened on Tuesday.... My boyfriend was angry (or strongly annoyed, as he rephrased more recently) about something I did. I felt horrible for doing something that made him unhappy. I didn't want to express that I was feeling horrible, because I was worried that would make him feel bad for being angry, and that would be counter-productive to my goal of making him happy again. So I kept it inside, went to the pub, laughed, pretended I was ok. When I was alone again, I still felt bad, and didn't know what to do with those emotions. So I hurt myself, stopped eating properly, and just generally did not take care of my body until I was feeling better again.

Normally, that would have been the end of it. Everything back to normal, no harm done to anyone I consider important. Except that the cuts on my wrist are still there, and are obviously self-inflicted. They won't leave scars - I never go deep enough for that - but I'm worried that he'll see them, guess at the cause of them, and feel bad about that. Luckily it's winter and I can keep them covered most of the time by wearing long sleeves, but because of our relationship, I can't hide them forever without it becoming suspicious. I'm just hoping they'll heal before he does notice.

Obviously, his being upset at my self-harm is not good, especially because of how much I want to keep the people I love happy at all costs. I've been trying to figure out why I reacted the way I did, and how I might have been able to do things differently, more 'healthily.' I think the healthy way to deal with it, would have been to simply ask him why he was angry. Then I'd understand what happened and maybe be able to prevent it from happening in the future. I was afraid to talk about it because I was afraid of upsetting him.

And here's the point where my psychiatrist's influence has started to help me make changes. I asked myself why I was afraid of upsetting him. When I'm afraid of doing something, she suggested I ask myself, "what's the worst thing that could happen?" And I realized I was actually afraid that he would react the way I reacted - that he would blame himself, get angry at himself, possibly hurt himself. But most people don't react that way. I do sometimes, and my ex would have sometimes, but despite me knowing two people that react that way, I realize that most people don't. On the other hand, if I had just talked to him about the whole situation, then there's the possibility of actually resolving it and even preventing it from happening again.

It took me until last night to figure all of that out. I took a deep breath, called him, and asked him what I'd done to make him angry. That wasn't the first thing I said when he picked up the phone, since I didn't want to jump right into that, but eventually I worked it into the conversation.

And you know what?

It wasn't so bad.

He said he didn't mind spending time with me, but that it annoyed him when I tried to plan our days out (or parts of them anyway) just to spend a couple extra minutes together. That if I want to spend time with him, just tell him, and he'll come over for an hour or an evening or whatever.

Then he asked if it had upset me. I knew he would figure that part out - otherwise why would I ask about it two days later? So I said yes, a little. He said sorry for that. He also said he over-reacted, that he wasn't really angry at me, more so annoyed at the time, and he didn't realize it would affect me so much.

I even asked if he thought I was too needy, and we talked about that too. He said he didn't think I was too needy, and that it was ok for me to want to spend time with him when I'm feeling down, but that I need to tell him that's why I want to spend the extra few minutes with him, otherwise he doesn't realize that on his own.

I'm kind of proud that I got up the courage to talk to him about that. We're getting along fine today. We saw each other this morning, and we're going out for dinner tonight. I'm even going to eat normal amounts of food.

I'm still going to try to keep him from seeing my wrist until it's healed though.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

still too

I'm feeling somewhat better today (then again I am also drunk as I type this, at 6 in the morning, as I struggle with my insomnia).

I still think I'm too needy and dependent. I treasure my time with him and will go out of my way to plan my day around catching a few moments with him, even if it's just walking him to class. But he will not do the same for me. That much has become clear. I don't know whether I've suddenly become better at reading his negative emotions lately, or if he's just becoming more annoyed by my neediness lately. It doesn't really matter I guess; either way, it means I have to stop being so pathetically dependent on those moments.

There was a time when I wasn't dependent on anyone for anything. Now I'm wishing I'd stayed that way.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

inconsistency is...

using vitamin E gel on my face to heal scars, less than 30 minutes after making new ones on my arm


too needy
too selfish
too sensitive
too damaged
too inconvenient
too worthless
too greedy
too slow
too fat

I wanted to spend time with him. The only reason I wanted to go to the pub at all was to spend time with him. He's the only thing that makes me feel ok sometimes, and I didn't see much of him today, and I wanted to walk with him to the pub instead of just meeting him there. And for some reason that made him angry. And then I regretted wanting to spend the time walking with him.

We walked. We didn't touch the entire time. Our eyes didn't meet. Our footsteps, normally in sync with each other, were awkwardly mismatched. I wanted to crawl into a hole and cry. I didn't. Not then anyway.

I'm back in the lab, alone. Wanted to throw up; realized there's nothing in me except booze and coffee. Wanted to cut; realized I don't have any razors here; remembered my pocketknife.

There's so much about me I hate, I can't stand someone else being angry at me.

New goal: let's see how long I can go on nothing but coffee.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

through the looking glass

Yesterday was wonderful. Something of a break through.

I woke up at 2:42 a.m. Thursday night (Friday morning?), convinced I heard my alarm going off and that I needed to hurry up and get dressed. I stared at the clock in confusion for a few moments, finally realizing that I should still be asleep.

Despite my not-so-restful night, I still woke up at 5:30 when my alarm went off for real. A girl I work with is really into sports and fitness (in a healthy way, I'm trying to learn from her), and we've become gym buddies.We both like going to this "total muscle conditioning" class that starts at 7 a.m. on Friday mornings, so we've made a deal that we'll go together. That way, when my alarm wakes me up at 5:30, I'm less likely to say "screw it, I want to sleep some more," because I'll know that my friend will be waiting at the gym for me.

Except she wasn't there; she'd slept in. But I went. And it was great. The class itself was good - we mostly worked on upper body muscles, arms and back stuff, and my shoulders are still sore today. But I like doing this on Friday mornings for more than just the gym class. I love walking around the city when most people are still asleep, when the sun is just coming up. It's calm and peaceful and an absolutely amazing way to start a day.

I didn't worry too much about calories yesterday. I had all-you-can-eat sushi for lunch. And even ate some things that were fried, like the tempura and the spring rolls. Then finished it off with a mango ice cream. 

I went to a cirque show on campus at night. It was based on Alice in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter was the host, complete with green and purple clothes, wild hair and make-up. He introduced the three acrobatic acts: Alice falling 'through the rabbit hole' (and twirling around a suspended hoop); the White Rabbit 'late for a very important date' and twisting around two black straps hanging from the ceiling; and the Queen of Hearts (played by the same girl as Alice) who did an amazing routine with red silks.

They were serving finger food, beer, wine and cocktails at the show. And there was a table of chocolate too. I sampled all 3 types of solid chocolate, and even had a shot of the iced 'drinking chocolate'. It was delicious. It's been so long since I ate chocolate just like a normal person would, without turning it into a binge.

I got home a little before midnight, slightly drunk and in a great mood. I realized I was still a little hungry, so I had a sandwich with cheese, something else I don't normally let myself eat.

This morning I weighed myself; I still do that every day, I can't help it. And despite all the food I had that I normally don't let myself eat, I hadn't gained any weight. It was something of a revelation. It's possible to eat those things without getting 'fat.' I don't think I'm ready yet to stop counting calories everyday, but maybe I'll be able to handle some of that 'unplanned' food without freaking out so easily.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

i am a tangled web

...and I need to start unwinding my knots.

I'm starting a second blog to help me with doing that. This blog will stay focused on the present. The other blog will be where I sort through my past. There's a lot of stuff that I don't think I ever really faced and dealt with, and I blame that for the panic attacks and general "I'm losing it" feelings I get. I want the panic attacks to stop; I want to treat myself better; I want to be free of the things that sneak up on my mind and haunt me at times. So I'm going to write about them, and analyze them, and figure out what still bothers me about them, and then (hopefully) figure out what to do about it.

It's going to hurt at times, I know it, but I also know that I need to do this.

I also don't want to hold anything back in the new blog. I'm going to use details, real names, real places. And so that second blog won't be made 'public', because if anyone I see in real life were to stumble upon it, it might give me away. But it doesn't have to stay completely private either. If anyone following me here wants to follow that one too, let me know.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I don't know why I called them. I wouldn't have under normal circumstances. If Mom hadn't been in the hospital, if Dad and I hadn't fought (but then, we nearly always fight), if I hadn't temporarily run away from home, if I hadn't seemed upset enough for a friend to recommend a place at school I could go to talk to someone. "Yeah, I might need to talk to someone by the time all this stuff is over with." "Why not now? You're going through a lot, it might help." "Yeah, maybe I will..."

And so I made an appointment for a phone interview. I found a semi-quiet place at school for the phone call; I didn't have a 'home' at the time, nowhere that was really private. A lady with a nice voice asked me questions, I answered them. I told her I was upset because my parents were sick, that I fought a lot with my Dad, that I had panic attacks I couldn't control unless I hurt myself to make them end. That I'd been hospitalized for being suicidal when I was 16, but that I wasn't like that anymore; I hurt myself sometimes but I don't want to die anymore.

Our half hour was up. She said there was a waiting list, but that she would try to rush me through a little bit, to expect an in-person appointment in 3 to 4 weeks.

I saw my new doctor for the first time the next day.

I was confused. Why did they want to see me so soon? I'd told them I wasn't suicidal anymore. By that point Mom was finally home from the hospital, Dad was acting as if nothing had ever happened to drive me out, there was a fragile sort of peace in the air and I moved back home. Life had returned to its usual state of somewhere between bad and good. I was starting to wonder why I'd felt like I needed to talk to someone at all, and yet they thought I needed to talk to someone right away. Why?

I kept the appointment. Why? What did I want help with? What did I want to work on, to change, to deal with? I didn't know. I still don't. I don't usually admit I'm not fine, even to myself.

If something hurts, I ignore it. If something hurts so much I think it might break me, I tell myself it happened to someone else. I distract myself from it. I've had a phobia of boredom since I was 15. If I don't have something I need to do, if my mind is quiet instead of racing, then my mind can turn to things I don't want it to think about. So I don't let myself slow down or stop. I keep myself so sleep-deprived that by the time I do sleep, I'm out right away, there's no time for my thoughts to haunt me in the space between waking and sleeping. No quiet time, no boredom, no unwanted thoughts, no pain. I go on.

I've seen the new doctor 5 times; I've cried during 3 of those times. I don't think I cry easily, but there I was, crying about things that weren't even recent and sometimes not even knowing why I was crying. I was angry at myself for being so weak, for wasting time crying, for letting things that happened so long ago still hold power over me.

Maybe I never really dealt with them. Maybe they're what I still run from, in my too-busy, perfection-driven schedule. Maybe they're what catches up to me when I have a panic attack and feel like I'm losing it.

Maybe I need to, somehow, deal with them. Maybe that's why I called.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I lasted 3 days.

Didn't throw up Monday night, though it was really, really, really hard. I was fine until I got home from school...then my family's left-over dinner was still out on the counters in the kitchen. I picked up a plate. Lifted it, started walking away with it. Stopped myself. Forced the plate back down. Stared at the food. Breathed in and out, in and out, in and out. Walked away, empty-handed, and went to bed. I almost caved. I almost promised myself "just this one last time." But I walked away.

Tuesday and Wednesday were easier. I planned ahead of time what I would eat and when, and avoided foods that I know usually trigger binges.

Thursday...caught me by surprise. There was a lunch party at school I'd forgotten about. Couldn't avoid. Couldn't control. And there mia was, waiting. I didn't eat as much as most of the people there did, but I felt like it was too much and I couldn't keep it.

Even though I only lasted 3 days, this, in itself, is an accomplishment. For some reason I thought I've been fighting this for 3 years. But no, now that I stop and think about when it all began, it actually started in November 2005. So it's now been over 4 years. And since it started, I haven't been able to last a week without mia unless I was on vacation with friends and surrounded by people nearly all the time. And even then, sometimes we've managed to sneak away, me and mia, in the midst of a party or a restaurant in a city I don't even live in.

So I'll consider those 3 days as a starting point, as the first signs of change. And I'll last longer this time. And I'll try harder to avoid surprises.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

so a psychiatrist and a girl with low self esteem and control issues sit down in a room...

How much do you weigh now?

And how tall are you?

And how do you see yourself? Do you think you're fat? Obviously your body wasn't happy being 120 lbs if you're back here. It's amazing how hard our bodies will try to correct themselves...
I'd say ... I'm...average I guess...

Yes, so would I.

...but I've never been one to be happy with being average.

Monday, January 25, 2010

back in control...

31 hours living on nothing but coffee and alcohol
Just had an apple now, but only because I need to do some chemistry
And I shouldn't be doing that unless I can concentrate perfectly.

This has me feeling more confident again
It's been so long since I've eaten so little,
I was afraid I couldn't do it anymore,
And now I know I can.

I should have remembered to take the vitamins yesterday though
Since I doubt coffee and alcohol have much (any) nutritional value
Must remember to take them tonight

Sunday, January 24, 2010

someone else's anger

Yesterday was horrible.

I was looking forward to it at first. My parents had 4 free tickets to a Cirque show at Rama. I love cirque shows. Everyone in them is so lovely and graceful and the costumes are always amazing. So they gave the second pair to me and him, and we all went up to Rama together. But even before we'd left the city, I knew it wasn't going to go the way I wanted it to. I knew he wasn't so into cirque shows, that he only agreed to come because he knows I like them. But then the day of the show crept up on us and he didn't really want to go anymore and it was too late to back out. And Rama is far away, so it was a big trip out there and back again for something he didn't really want to do in the first place. So I felt horrible for asking him to come with me before we were even there yet, and I got more and more nervous just sitting in the car and wishing I'd never asked to go in the first place.

We went to dinner before the show. Buffet, of course. I managed to avoid anything fried or with breading on it, but I still ate far, far too much. Then we went to the show. Which wasn't quite as good as I'd expected it to be, but then again, that might have been just because I was so worried about him being angry at me that I couldn't really let myself relax and enjoy it. Then after the show my parents insisted we couldn't leave right away, that it would be a traffic jam trying to get out of the parking lot for at least half an hour, so we might as well stay there and gamble a bit. I hate gambling, ever since I watched my Dad lose $450 in the span of 15 minutes one night, so he and I just walked around the casino for awhile, him getting more angry and quiet and me getting more anxious. By the time we finally got back to the car to go home, I just wanted to crawl into a hole and cry.

We got back to Toronto just before 1 a.m. He wanted to go home, so I drove him, since it's faster than him taking the subway and I felt like I owed him for asking him to go to the show with me. I knew he was still angry, and he knew I knew that and it was making me anxious, and so that probably made him feel worse, and then I felt guilty for not being able to keep a poker face on my anxiety. And by the time I got home, it was too late to purge.

That was a total fail of a day in every sense that matters. Not only am I a pig of a human being, I can't keep the people that matter to me happy.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

another change

I found something out about myself today. I'm overly passive. It makes sense now that I stop and think about it - I'd just never really stopped to think about it before.

I took a workshop at school called "verbal self defense for women." I signed up for it thinking, specifically, that I wanted to be able to deal with my dad better. We fight a lot. I'm told by other people that he loves me, but the only time he really has anything to say to me is when he deems I've done something wrong. Nearly every conversation turns into an argument, and normally I just stay quiet as he slowly shreds my self-esteem, in hopes of having it end quickly. Sometimes I shout back, but he always has the last word. And the end result is always the same. Every fight with him - and there are a lot - makes me feel completely worthless. Which makes me want to hurt myself, and sometimes I do. Whatever anger should be directed to him, inevitably I turn on myself. And I want to try to change that, because that's a messed-up way to react. So I signed up for the workshop.

We talked about passive, aggressive and assertive behaviour; about why we wanted to become more assertive and what was holding us back from doing that. And the more we talked, the more I realized that there have been a lot of times when I've let other people take advantage of me and treat me badly. I don't stop them from hurting me, and when they're done doing that, I get angry at myself for letting them. And eventually I take that out on myself, in one way or another.

I knew I was on the passive side of things; that much was obvious. I guess I just never realized how big that problem was, or how much that's affected my own opinion of myself. I didn't realize that being passive led to feeling worthless.

So here's something else to add to the list of things I want to change.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

a new page

“I thought how strange it had never occurred to me before that I was only purely happy until I was nine years old.” – Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

I’m 24. I seem normal to most people; I’m good at pretending I’m ok. I’ve had years of practice.

That quote from Sylvia Plath resonates with something in me. If I were to draw a line through my life, and separate out the good from the bad, it would be at 7 years old. Before that, life was all candy and laughter. After that, things got…complicated.