I stepped on the scales this morning with much trepidation, knowing I had gained weight over the three months of ups and downs I’ve had since the start of October. However, I still didn’t expect the results I saw. I’m twenty pounds up since October. Twenty. Pounds. Up. I had no idea things had got that far out of control.
Now comes the time of working to get healthier, just like half the rest of the world. We cling to health and weight loss as new year’s resolutions, but I feel this is a fight for my life of sorts. I feel the effects of the weight, both mentally and physically.
As an always recovering bulimic, the desire to lose weight is particularly precarious. And this is where the numbers game comes in to play. I needed to know my weight in order to have a starting point. I don’t, however, need to start calculating every calorie in terms of how it will affect my weight loss rate. I don’t need to push it to get to a tiny shape as soon as possible; I don’t even need to make being skinny a goal. Healthy should be the goal, whatever that looks like for me.
So here’s to health. And weight loss. And training the mind and body to make healthy choices. This is my resolution, regardless of how silly and cliched that might be, and I hope to achieve it through slow but steady progress toward my goal.
I include the question mark because so many people struggle this time of year. For me, issues with deep grief and ritualistic trauma frequently permeate the lighter side of the season. This year I have made a concerted effort to participate, rather than hide myself away somewhere. I have gone Christmas shopping and made plans for both Christmas and Chanukah celebrations. This has helped, to some extent, but I find my agita spiralling as the holidays near.
My sister’s death from suicide on 7 December 2000 is the most painful thing I’ve ever been through, and its sting is still just as sharp as it was that day. I have had quite a few other losses, and they all still sting. My sister’s death, however, still drops me to my knees sometimes. She was my second self. We were rarely separated, and I still hold myself partially at fault for not seeing the signs in her. That day was just as painful as ever this year, and it started my mind down the spiral of grief and fear. I’m trying to bring it back up.
If you are struggling this month, please hold on. Somewhere out there, someone needs you more than you know.
In the UK & Ireland: Contact the Samaritans 116 123
In the US: 1-800-784-2433; TTY: 1-800-799-4889
I’ve been cycling. As a matter of fact, I’m still on the downswing. It started with hypomania that I didn’t even recognise. My therapist pointed it out to me. This went on for roughly two weeks (which is why I haven’t posted). My thoughts raced madly, and I wanted everyone to shut it so I could keep talking. *Nothing* moved fast enough.
From there, the mixed state set in. The latest DSM did away with mixed episodes. The disorder, on the other hand, did not. This is the dangerous stage for me. All the despair and suicidal ideation of depression with all the energy of mania. I had racing dark thoughts. I didn’t want to talk anymore because I didn’t want anyone to get in my head. My paranoia shot up. *Everything* was dangerous.
Now I’ve fallen in to a light depression. It’s inconvenient and uncomfortable, but I feel I can cope with it safely. If not, I’ll definitely phone up my therapist. This completes my cycle, though. A couple of weeks of mania, followed by a week or so mixed, followed by sometimes months of depression. Here’s hoping this stage passes as quickly and as easily as possible.
My thoughts have been going down that road all weekend, and it’s dangerous. I look back on certain situations in my past and wonder how they might have turned out if x had or hadn’t happened. This is futile at best and dangerous at worst. A decade ago, something happened in my life that lost me quite a few friends. It’s been an entire bloody decade, and the thought of it still floors me. I felt I had everything going for me. Then, one person and one event tore it all down. The logical part of me realises that means it simply wasn’t meant to be. The emotional part of me wants to stamp my feet and demand the chances back again.
This has left me quite depressed. I’m not suicidal, but I keep having these fleeting thoughts like ‘what would happen if I just slit my wrists.’ Maybe I just want a visible indication of how I feel whilst the smile sits on my face. I wish I could somehow communicate to someone exactly how miserable I feel, but trauma dictates that I keep smiling and avoid bothering people. Therapy this week. Hopefully, I’ll drop the facade there and actually process this stuff. In the meantime, I shall sit here typing away and trying to stay in the present. The past is just so hard to resist.
I got the job I really wanted. And kept it for less than an hour. I had been looking forward to this position, even hoping it might lead to full time one day. My housemate, however, had other ideas. He phoned up the temp agency, said he was my boss, and cancelled my position. They phoned me to confirm. With the threat my housemate poses, I had no choice but to tell them I couldn’t take the job. I was– and remain slightly– crushed.
A funny thing has come out of this, though. I know I’ll be ok. Financially, things are dismal. This job would have solved many of my problems. It obviously isn’t possible for me to take it, though, so I’ll just have to make do with what I have. And, for the most part, I know I can. See, there is something resilient about the human spirit, and I can see that part of myself. I will persevere. In fact, I will live well. Afterall, I am the only person who can truly ruin my life. They will never break me.
The self-injury sparked by yesterday’s flashbacks has me thinking. I feel ashamed of the behaviour, in part because I feel I should have grown out of it by now. I buy in to the stereotype of the teenaged girl with a razor. But that isn’t an accurate picture of self-injury. It comes in many forms, both genders, and a wide range of ages. I’ve heard as young as 10 and as old as 62.
One significant problem here is that adults who self injure have very little support. Entire treatment programmes exist for children and teens. Adults are expected to outgrow that and magically become able to cope with stressors upon reaching adulthood. It doesn’t quite work that way, though. Even with a great therapist and a new bag of coping skills, I fall back on self-injury sometimes. Maybe I always will. I *hope* that isn’t true and that one day I’ll stop forever. From where I sit now, though, that doesn’t seem realistic.
If you are an adult who self injures, please know you aren’t alone. There are many of us who understand and who are riding along this struggle with you. I wish for you peace and for the ability to learn new coping mechanisms that will ease your pain without creating more. It’s never too late to ask for help.
That word defines my mother. She was at once child and adult, beauty and darkness, safety and absolute danger. Her multiplicity threw an interesting hook in to our relationship; I was more often parent to her than child. She was very abusive to me and even moreso to my sister. Even in her death, she left a sting. The suicide note blamed me.
It’s taken years for me to accept that her death was not my fault but a bad choice on her part. It’s taken years for me to learn that her treatment of me was not a reflection of me as a person but of her dealing poorly with her own Stuff. Now, as I make changes in my life, she is on my mind. I’m thinking of her as what she was, though: a person, separate from anyone else.
My mother had a very difficult life. She told me in graphic detail about things that happened to her as a child. She met my father early in her 20s. A handsome soldier, he must have seemed heaven sent to rescue her. She told me once he pitied her and married her for that reason. Instead of rescuing her, though, he brought her to a cult where she was abused further and used basically as a breeder. In an odd sense, she probably felt more wanted there than anywhere else. Early in to it, before the serious harm would have started, the cult must have seemed like the first place to *need* her. That breaks my heart.
She ran out of time at aged 51. She made the decision to end her life because, if the note is to be believed, she thought I wanted her out of mine. I had been making plans for both of us, though. Had she just hung on a little longer, I really think things would have improved for her. As it is, though, none of us will ever know.
It occurs to me that, since I have started blogging again, this blog will likely take on a new direction. I’m not the same person I was when I first started the blog, and I haven’t got the same concerns. Back then, life was all about finishing graduate school and coping with the recently-divulged secret of my multiplicity. Now, grad school is a distant accomplishment, and I am fully integrated. Life has definitely changed. Looking back at old posts, even the tone of my writing has changed. Frightening and exciting all at once.
So what am I doing now? Glad you asked. Now, my life focuses primarily on bipolar disorder– something that can’t be resolved via therapy– and veganism/animal rights. As well, I am proudly Wiccan and involve many Pagan practices in my daily life. These are the pieces of me that remain post-integration. I still deal with trauma flashbacks and will likely write about that subject from time to time. It’s no longer a daily focus, though. Now, my life is about using my beliefs to walk as gently as possible on the Earth. I feel whole in my mind and spirit, so my focus is sharper on the causes I support.
That’s the funny thing about change– it’s ok! We all change as life progresses, but we never lose our value. Thanks for following along with this new leg in my journey, dear readers. I hope you continue to share parts of your journey, as well.
I’m slowly learning that taking chances doesn’t always mean failing or getting burnt. Mercury is retrograde, which is typically a bad time to make business decisions or important changes. Before I realised that, however, I made a request of my bosses and waited all day to see how it would turn out. It was *amazing* news.
Taking that one chance has opened up the door to another chance that will open the door to opportunities I have been missing. If things work out as such, some of my financial stress will be lifted, and I’ll be able to put money in to my savings account for a rainy day fund. I won’t have to be so careful with every tiny cent. I won’t be nearly rich; in fact, I’ll still be under the poverty line. From taking this one chance, however, I stand to be one step closer to where I want to be.
Taking chances is so difficult. It is also so necessary sometimes.
Today, I feel some hope. This is as surprising to me as it probably will be to you, dear readers. I’m cautious in my hope, though. My brother-of-choice pointed out that I seem to have ‘time warped,’ and he is absolutely right. This helps my perspective. I can see the old tapes for what they are: the thoughts that were meant to hold me down. My living situation complicates things, but it doesn’t make life impossible. I need to remember that.
Tomorrow is my job interview for the part-time position that I *really* want to get. I tried not to get my hopes up, but they are. To some extent, this is a good thing. I didn’t think I’d feel hope again any time soon. Hope I shall, though, that this job works out, that life outside of my house happens again, and that reconnecting with myself is an attainable goal.