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I really have come too far

May 26th, 2010

One day I hope to have all the hurt out of my body.  I don’t rest well in my skin when I know I have hurt stuck in there.  I get illnesses and depression.  I know that some hurt has to stay where it is until it’s ready to come out.

This hurt, this particular hurt controls me.  Maybe I let it control me.  I expected you to protect me, to protect her, protect the ones you love.  My expectations getting in my way again, causing me to have resentment.

People cannot give what they do not have.

I thought by taking care of you that it would take care of the all of us, maybe I’d even learn to let you take care of me.  I know I’m not perfect, I have my own issues.  This really is my issue, because I am no longer able to deal with it.

I thought you were ready to do that work too.  It’s ok that you aren’t, I understand that knocking down walls isn’t for most people.  I also realize that I’m probably not meant for a long term commitment.  Not because I can’t commit, I’ve certainly proved that to myself once and for all.  Maybe I expect too much from my partners.

A Doctor recently told me after hearing my story, “You’ve come too far to settle”.  I nodded my head and agreed with her.  Not in some “superior” way, in a way for my own journey.  I HAVE come a long way from my humble beginnings, and my fucked up scars.

My heart aches for the loss we’ve suffered, and I’m not sure that it’ll ever stop aching, it goes really really deep.  It’s attached to some major core stuff for me and I’m powerless over it.  I’ve tried to make it something other than what it was.  Truth seeker that I am, I wasn’t successful.

Just a simple call or text can send me spiraling out into crazy land.  I love her, I love her so deeply it’s alarming even to me.

I can honestly say that I tried every avenue possible.  This isn’t me running away like it used to be.  I dug in my heels and willed it to get better, then I sought outside help.  I can comfortably say that I did the very best I could, tried everything I could, experienced heart wrenching pain for the both of us but to no avail.  A partnership only works if both are willing to work at it.

There are two sides to you, and 99% of people only see the one side.  I’ll be the “bad guy”, I know that’s important to you.  I’ve carried that title for many years now, and was blamed for things that I had no involvement in.  I let it be like that because I didn’t know another way and I thought it was the solution.

I’m not a bad guy, I’m just a regular person trying to survive just like everyone else.  And I can only take so much medication before I become a zombie.

I’m worth more than that and I’m grateful that I finally saw the truth, before I lost myself forever.

I love you.

Circling the drain

March 14th, 2010

Uterus contracting, feels like it will fall out.

With each contraction a sad reminder that even more eggs are escaping, never to be developed into another human.

Heart sad, heart broken, had to put my best friend to sleep.

He served me well, watched over me and bit the ones that needed to be bitten.

Machines are breaking, money needed to fix, money not available.

Life goes on, churning each day running to the next.

People smiling to cover their sickness, people laughing when they should be crying.

Pretending to be something they aren’t, rotting corpses behind their smiles.

I need a break, a break from it all to remember who i was before i fell.

Fell a long way, deep down into the hole of what I thought was the “right things to do” drain.  i knew better, yes I did.

Roads less traveled are not for the weary, the weak or the frail.  I chose this road.  Knowing, it would throw me out of my glass house.

Windows are broken, blood spattered on the walls, water damage from the tears, backing up in the pipes and threatening an explosion of epic damages.

Life is what this is.


Mental illness is what I have; seen as a disability, maybe it’s just the way some of us are.   The way squirrels are nervous.

Some choose not to be here, some choose to leave early, some walk with me shadowed by their own distractions of their own path.

Grateful to feel, grateful to live, grateful for the opportunity.

All that appears to be “in the way”; simply the scenic route.

Lessons to be learned, beauty to be admired, love to be tasted.

Above all, I must remember.


This, is a life NOT wasted and there are no magic answers.

“Sorry, Your Princess Is In Another Castle.”

February 16th, 2010

I call bullshit.

I call bullshit on people saying, “You’re so brave.” Look, I know it’s a nice thought, and nicely meant, and I should be flattered and all, but the truth is, there’s no bravery involved when you have no other choices.

I simply had to find my way out of depression. Even though I was productive while I was depressed (almost freakishly so), I knew I couldn’t continue at the pace I was running at for too many more years. I’ve never had a backup plan—no parents to swoop in, no partner to stave off the hand-to-mouth scenario.

(Believe me, that’s not a complaint—you can’t buy motivation like that.)

For a not insignificant number of years, I tried to be gentle with myself. I reconciled myself with the obvious conclusion that I was doomed to be a writer-slash-artist. Rather than hide that, I tried to let it grow strong. This was when I was just beginning to get an inkling of how messed up things were; luckily, at the time, I had no inkling of the work that lay ahead. I cried to friends. I cried in therapy. I cried during massages. I cried in the car.

Oh god, all those poor ex-boyfriends.

It was all about Releasing and Getting In Touch With My Feelings.  That sounds trite, but it was what it was. Spade called. Then, after a few years, I realized that, even though I was making incremental progress in my behavioral choices, the pain I was in just wouldn’t budge.

So I manned up.

As hard as it was, I forced myself to shut some parts of my healing process down. I had to move on. I had been trying to wait ‘til everything resolved itself organically, but all of a sudden I knew that would take years longer than I had already spent. I was living with my mother, and that had to stop before I could truly get better. In order for that to stop, I had to get a better job than teaching four-year-olds how to make tiny boats for Thumbelina in the afternoons. In order for that to stop, I had to become a less cryey person in the mornings. In order for that to stop, I had to shut down. What kind of job was I ever going to get that had flexible hours and time off for uncontrollable sobbing?

So I did the corporate dance. And I liked a lot of it—it was social and I liked working hard. It seemed healthy. Made me forget my sadness a lot of the time. I got promoted time and again. But I gave too much, and so I’d burn out and feel like a failure again.

So I became a Pilates instructor. It was social, it was movement-based, it was something I loved doing anyway, and it could happen on my own schedule, around my writing and teaching artist jobs for several non-profits. It took me three years to realize that, while I loved all of those jobs, none of them paid enough, or had regular schedules, or any sort of reliable income.

So I became an Office Manager.

Except this time, instead of straight-up corporate America, I worked at a non-profit. Non-profits organizations are great to the artists who work for them, because they don’t care what you wear and there are no meetings. There’s no paid vacation, but they give you comp time. This was in early 2007, when I was first diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and all those other things I’ve blogged about before. And this was the job that supported me while I opened up all those messy things I had tucked away and worked through them. I had been blogging about them for five years, but I hadn’t actually been working on them with someone.

I was ready.

I was so ready that it actually didn’t take very long to unplug myself from the destructive and misguided thought patterns that were making me depressed. In a way, I was lucky, because my depressive behavior was caused by external events that had happened early and had sent me down the wrong path. It was like I had been working my way through a massive video game for decades, only to reach a dead end.

“Sorry, your princess is in another castle.”

When my therapist said she thought I was out of the woods, I asked if I’d have to stop coming there. I was only paying $7 a session on a sliding scale, and I pictured a long line of unhappy people on the other side of her door. She said, “Oh Hell no! We’re just getting started.”

Turns out it takes a bit of work to be not depressed. It’s like you *thought* you knew how to use a bike, but what you’d been doing all along was hoisting the bike over your head as you waded through water. Sure, it’s technically easier to ride it on pavement, but you still have to learn from scratch. You need the training wheels and the encouragement. So for the next year, once a week, I’d report back as to how things were going, and my therapist helped me calibrate my responses and find my balance.

Now it’s easy peasy.

For those of you who’ve been reading my blog since I moved to New York in late 2008, you know it’s been logistically tough. The biggest challenge was moving three times, each time leaving behind stolen possessions, leaky apartments, or a pantsless roommate. But the counterpoint to that was the good job I found at the start of the recession. And now, after almost a year and a half of uncertainty, it seems I have some slightly more solid options before me. I’m one step closer to maybe someday being a full hire with paid holidays/sick/vacation and health insurance. Maybe even two steps closer, hard to know.

What I’m trying to say, in a thousand words or less, is that if there’s a big difference between carrying a bike through water and learning to ride that bike, there’s an even bigger difference between learning to ride a bike and riding that bike well.

You remember how it feels, right? You’re wobbling along, afraid of every pothole or stick in the road, when all of a sudden you look up and realize that you’ve got this, you know this. You’ve known this all along. It’s easy. Just go headfirst, into the wind. The bumps will work themselves out.

Now that I’m no longer fighting with my bike, I find myself zooming down a wide, flat road on which there are some choices coming up. For the first time ever. Kind of. Yeah.

Now we’ll see if I’m brave.

The Ones We Leave Behind

January 28th, 2010

My mom has an incredibly annoying habit of starting conversations with me with the phrase, “What’s wrong?”

Example:  It is the day after Christmas.  I have been downstairs eating cake for breakfast in my pajamas.  I walk up the stairs and see my mom.  Startled, she looks at me.  “What’s wrong?”

Nothing. I say.  I was just eating cake downstairs.  Everything is perfect.

Example:  My mom calls me on the phone and leaves a voice mail.  I return her call.  She answers the phone—no “hello”—but “What’s wrong?”

It wasn’t always this way.


I don’t know what it is, what makes her do this.  It unnerves me to no end, makes me feel like she’s always on edge.  I have my theories, of course—that our relationship is forever changed by the knowledge of my mental illness, that she feels guilty that she didn’t know I had so many problems.  Guilty because she discouraged me from getting treatment the first time around.  Scared that it could happen again, a snap of the crazy finger and everything changed, or gone, again.

Once, when I was 21 and in the middle of the arduous task of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I spent the night at home.  It was Daylight Savings Time, the one where you spring forward and lose an hour, the same lost hour that started everything the year before.  The boy and I were both upset—him with me, and me with myself.  In the middle of the night, I slipped out of my bed and left a note saying I had gone to sleep at his house.  Later, in the early hours of the morning, someone shot a gun outside my house.  My parents awoke, saw I was out of bed, and immediately feared for the worst.  I got my mom’s panicked call on my cell phone, out-of-breath and hysterical.

I’m here. I said.  I’m alive.

But it was eye-opening, having a glimpse into the fears they had about my life and my illness.  The fact that they thought it could have been me has always shaken me to my core.


An essay on suicide and its presence in my life:

In 2002, a month before starting my senior year of high school, one of my best friend’s fathers committed suicide in the woods outside their house while no one was home.  Her mother, out of town and worried that she couldn’t contact him, called my friend on the phone and my father, brother and I drove home with her.  While we were in transit, he was found dead.  One of his employees knew me and knew that I was a friend of his daughter.  Trying to track her down, they called me.  We were halfway there.  We pulled over in the rain and I got out of the car.  At the age of 17, I had to tell this girl that her father died, that he’d committed suicide.  And then there, in my arms, were the pieces he’d blown apart with his gun.  I held the one who’d been left behind.

Last week, one of my closest friends called me—after a string of numbed-out half-started words, he finally choked out that he’d lost his college roommate.  I went over to his house and we sat outside as he smoked cigarettes.  He told me about the questionable nature of the death, about the erratic driving and an overcorrection of the steering wheel that flipped a car and left its driver DOA.

“His father told me that he’d been on pills, and I knew that he was having some problems.  But nothing like this.  And he never told me how he was feeling.  He never told me.  Why wouldn’t he tell me?”

He was asking because he knows about my experiences with mental illness, because he knows that I’ve been depressed.

So, I told him the truth.  That sometimes we don’t tell the people who are closest to us because we don’t want to change their perceptions of us.  We don’t tell them because we can’t bear the sideways glances, the frightened looks that make us feel crazier.  That we can’t stand the thought of hurting and worrying the ones we love.  That when we tell the closest ones, that’s when it really hits us.  That’s when it’s real.

It’s easy to tell strangers and people you’ve just met.  They don’t have any emotional investment in you or your well-being.  They don’t worry at night or when you call them on the phone.  They never will have to ask you, “What’s wrong,” and be scared of what the answer might be.

So he’s quiet and drunk and upset—all the things I’ve been before, when someone I knew unexpectedly died.  And he looks at me, and repeats himself.  “I just wish he had told me.”

And here I am, once more—holding in my arms one of the ones who’s been left behind.


It’s not my intention to proselytize or blame.  I’ve been on both sides of the matter, flipping back and forth like a metronome from experience to experience.  I know what it’s like to wallow in desperation and sadness that feels like it will never end.  I’ve visualized it in my head a thousand times—what it would look like to rake a razor down my wrist, what my feet would look like hanging from a rope or the moment of clarity I would have just as I jumped.  I’ve wished for cars to hit me in crosswalks, and I’ve thought incessantly on rough days of turning the steering wheel and careening into a tree.

But I know, too, about the ones we leave behind.  Friends, family, teachers and acquaintances.  The ones who will sit in doorways, mouths drooping with cigarettes and veins running with vodka, the ones who will ask “why” and “how” and blame themselves, no matter what anyone else tells them to the contrary.  I’ve been there too many times, and the pressure of these times is always enough to push me back.

But in the light of this most recent experience, I feel guilty for being so frustrated with my mother.  She asks “What’s wrong?” because she worries that the time she doesn’t is the time it will matter.  I want desperately to tell her that she shouldn’t worry.  That the truth is that, if that time came, she wouldn’t be the one to know.  No one would.  Our hearts are full of secrets and lies, of deceit and worry and fear, of questions that have no answers.

But I want to reassure her.  I want to reassure all of them.  “Don’t worry,” I want to whisper.  And even if I can’t guarantee it, I’m pretty sure.  If I could, I’d write them all promises.  “No matter what, no matter how hard it gets—I won’t leave you behind.”

Working on the Balance

January 25th, 2010

Since I’ve cut out half of my meds, started sleeping better, and been through hormonal hell (miscarriage & aftermath, then back on hormonal birth control for a month), I’m beginning to think I just have a natural mental imbalance rhythm with the seasons.

I’ve also realized that hormonal birth control is not for me. I went back on birth control for one month only so that I could go to Las Vegas for my 30th Birthday and be able to “enjoy myself” — drink alcohol — get drunk — self-medicate. (Well also I get all-day sickness and me in the first trimester ain’t purty.)

I’ve always been sort of skeptical about people’s claims that they OMG absolutely CANNOT take hormonal birth control because I took it from age eighteen to 25 without any effect, right? RIGHT? Well, now I’m not so sure.

My time in college was one of the most devastating periods of depression in my life. Of course I was in therapy and dealing with some really heavy stuff (Dad’s alcoholism, death, abuse of me & my family, etc.) so it would be expected to be at least down, but this was years long fog.

Back to my point. The month back on made me realize that the additional hormones just made me feel BLAH. A continual veil of BLAH hanging over my mood, with periods of downright sadness leading into a dark cave of depression thrown in there a few times a week.

Back to the seasons. I started mentally mapping my moods over the past few years when I HAVEN’T been on birth control or SSRI’s. I started seeing patterns in my behavior — wilder, more risk taking in the late spring and in the early fall; SAD (seasonal affective disorder) slash depression in the winter; somewhat stable in the summer with moments of being down.

I figure if I can understand my patterns, I can understand and manage my depression more effectively.

I’m also thinking of weaning entirely off of SSRI’s because my son, crazy as he makes me, needs a sibling. And of course, I’d kinda like another baby. ;)

I’ll keep you posted as to the state of my imbalance.

Figuring Out the Balance

January 20th, 2010

I’ve cut out one of my medications (Wellbutrin extended release), which was prescribed to me this spring to ‘aid’ the Zoloft that I am taking.

Never mind that MORE MEDS WILL FIX YOU. Clearly.

I like to say that I get ‘just regular ol’ depression.’ I’m not sure why I feel a need to qualify my mental illness; it’s possible that if I diminish my illness, I can out think it, or think that I can at least.

Is this what we call denial? Or is it self-preservation?

I’ve gone from feeling slightly manic to having hours long episodes of feeling down. I guzzle more caffeine to try to artificially elevate my mood. I eat chocolate to make myself feel better.

Self-medicating instead of prescription medication.


Perhaps not quite the fix nature intended.

Happy Binary Palindrome Day–01/11/10

January 11th, 2010

Hi everyone. A ton of great stuff is happening that I hadn’t planned on, including a job promotion that gets me back to full-time status, and shooting my first short film.

After years of fighting to get to a place where I felt like I was on solid ground, I’m at a place where changes are happening so rapidly and I’m overwhelmed with positive thoughts for the first time in my life. I used to spend so much energy at first getting sucked into depressive thoughts, and then applying the tactics I had learned in therapy to manage those negative thoughts. Now I’m suddenly in a place where I am happy and excited for all sorts of wonderful new things that are coming into my life.

I’m looking forward to reporting in February with a post that spends more time on all this good stuff for which I am so grateful. I wonder how my writing will change from being so happy.

It almost feels like I’m a new person.