Anyway, I think I mentioned in my last entry that I got a job as a part-time bank teller. It’s fairly lame, but it made sense at the time, and still does to an extent, I suppose. My plans to go to grad school for writing in New York had just fallen through and I was spending all day in bed, as per usual, and everyone was insisting that I get a job. I saw the ad for this job and applied because it seemed like it would just be an easy, part-time thing (which it essentially is), and I figured with the economy being as poor as it is/was, it might take ages to find a “real” job, and I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated to look. As it was, my mother had to basically drag me to the bank to fill out an application. I was very afraid of getting a job because I didn’t think I could handle it, even though the position I applied for was only fifteen hours a week, and the position I was hired for was twenty-five. It’s kind of sad, but I had really reached a point of essentially being nonfunctional that summer, so it felt overwhelming. I was spending up to twenty hours a day in bed and struggling to do things such as shower and brush my teeth. I really didn’t think I would stick with it, but, well, I’m still there over a year-and-a-half later.
This is good, of course, because I didn’t think I’d last a month, but this job was also meant to be a very temporary, in-between type of thing, and that hasn’t exactly been the case. There’s a whole lot to say about school and future plans and all of that, but even the idea of writing about it feels draining right now, so I’ll save it for another entry, I guess. Hmm, maybe this will actually force me to write another one after this and help me get back into the swing of things.
The job is OK—fairly boring, and it isn’t anything that interests me in the least, but it’s easy and causes little stress and once a day is over, it’s over; I never have to think or worry about it when I get home, in other words. This was something I always found difficult with school, the fact that, unless I was on break, I never really could escape it. I only spent so much time in class, of course, but there was always reading and studying to do and papers to write and whatnot, so I had to constantly worry about getting everything done and could never really just enjoy free time, because I always had something for school to do. I have to say that it’s been very, very nice to be free of that kind of thing. When I’m home I can do whatever I want without always having all of the things I need to finish for class still in the forefront of my mind, because those things simply don’t exist anymore. It feels like being free of a huge burden. When I was in school vacations and breaks felt like the biggest gift, not so much because I didn’t have to go to school, but more-so because I didn’t have to even think about school; there were no longer assignments and readings and exams and papers hanging over my head. Now it’s like that all of the time, and it’s amazing.
Anyway, while this job has never meant anything to me—it’s nothing I’m interested in, is unrelated to anything I want to do, and is dull—it’s given me a reason to get up every morning and shower and make myself look good and has forced me to interact with people on a daily basis. I have to say that working with customers all day has made me much more comfortable simply interacting with other people. It hasn’t done anything to improve my issues surrounding actual relationships or anything of real substance, but it’s made me much capable of simply talking with people, if that makes sense, and that’s been a very good thing. Plus, it often forced me out of my always-toxic mind, at least a little. Unfortunately, the job isn’t working out so well anymore, because my managers have just become too difficult to work with. I am constantly taken advantage of and mistreated. I was able to downplay it and more or less ignore it for a very long time, but I just can’t anymore. I find myself upset and angry so often now, and I cannot deal with anger; this is another thing I could write a whole entry about, so I won’t get into it all here. It just keeps building and building, and something happened a few weeks ago that really felt like the last straw. I never liked the job, but I never disliked it either. There wasn’t anything really good about it, but there also wasn’t anything really bad about it. It was good for me, and it isn’t good for me anymore. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this yet.
Other than the job, which isn’t much of anything, there hasn’t been much going on. I still live at home with Mom and Dad. Working as a bank teller twenty-five hours a week doesn’t pay the kind of money that could possibly allow me to get my own place; it simply wouldn’t be affordable even if I wanted to do it. This is OK, though, because I’m close with them and generally get along with them well, and it helps keep the loneliness at bay, at least to a degree. I was just so, so isolated throughout all of college—living alone, eating alone, walking everywhere alone, doing everything alone, barely ever talking to anyone. Being at home with my parents and working at the bank has forced this to change some, and I think that’s a good thing. My sister moved out and got an apartment with her boyfriend a few months ago, so now it’s just me and Mom and Dad. There’s a lot I could say about this, too, but since this seems to have become just a fact-by-fact update and is already getting long, I’ll also hold off on all of that.
Other things are still the same. Every day still feels like a struggle. I force myself to get up in the morning, go to work for five hours, and come home and go back to bed. It’s an improvement over how things were, but I still find myself spending so much of my free time there and cannot seem to change this. A big thing in therapy has been trying to form meaningful relationships—friendships, maybe even a boyfriend—but it’s essentially gone nowhere. There’s just so much there to work through, and sometimes I feel so hopeless. Sometimes I don’t even feel as though I would even want it for a number of reasons. It’s sad, to essentially have no friends, no real relationships outside of my parents. I mean, I’m twenty-five and they’re the only people I “hang out” with, so to speak. At times I find myself thinking of everything I’ve missed over the past years, and everything I do not have, but I don’t really let myself go to that place—it’s too upsetting, too devastating. When my mind wanders there, it’s dangerous, so I work very hard to prevent this. I’m twenty-five, I guess, but in so many ways I’m not. I veered off the path so drastically years ago and missed out on so much, and sometimes it feels like I’ll never get to a place where I can be at all caught up, at all “normal.” There was simply too much lost, and it can feel hopeless.
There’s always the ever-present anxiety, but I think I’ve learned to cope with it over the years to an extent. The depression is always just such a struggle, though. The constant feelings of just intense, deep, unshakable self-hatred…they seem to define my every thought, my every word, my every action. I don’t know how to change it. I cannot escape it. I even have horrible dreams all the type revolving around what a horrible person I am. Sometimes I experience episodes of pure hell and I don’t know what to do when they occur. I’m not sure what to call them—extreme emotional disregulation, intense agitation, crisis, instability? Something will trigger something in me that sends me completely over the edge—sadness, despair, fear, anger, and, above all else, self-hatred. It’s hard to predict when these episodes will occur or what will trigger them, but when they happen I become helpless. My thoughts simply spiral deeper and deeper and the self-hatred becomes out of control and I want to kill myself. I’ve never actually made an attempt, but sometimes I feel frightened afterwards by how close I come to doing this. I’m out of control, and it’s scary, and it feels like there’s nothing I can do. I usually engage in self-injury (cutting) to calm myself, although I know that’s obviously bad. Again, sometimes I scare myself; I’ve cut to the point of seeing fatty tissue without even feeling like I meant to do it. Thankfully these episodes aren’t super frequent, but they terrify me. I’m constantly afraid of one occurring at work, and I don’t know what I’d do. I’d have to leave. I know I’m very, very scary to watch when it happens (though I’m almost always able to isolate myself completely from everyone at these times), and I simply cannot stay calm, and it shows. I’ve been lucky so far, but it’s always a fear of mine.
Sorry to go off on a tangent there. I guess I just deal with things the best I can, although I don’t know how successful I am. I self-harm regularly but not frequently, if that makes sense. It almost always happens during those episodes, but I’ve learned to control the more “everyday” urges somewhat, so that I can usually keep myself from doing it over something upsetting or when I’m feeling certain negative things. I feel sad now over the number of scars I have, even though they’re in places that are easy to hide and no one really sees them. It’s unusual for me to do it more frequently than once every couple of weeks, and I can sometimes go several weeks. Never more than that, though, it seems. Still, I suppose it could be worse.
Of course, there’s that one big topic left to touch upon—the eating disorder. It’s been a bit up and down. When I graduated college I went off the high dose-Abilify that caused me such hell with my weight for so long, and actually did quite well for a good number of months. I think they were perhaps the best months I’ve ever had in terms of my ED during the whole nearly decade-long duration of it. My weight had gotten high at that point, in a way. I wasn’t overweight (I was even on the low end of normal, I suppose), and it wasn’t actually high, really, but it was by far the highest it had ever been, and it was a good deal higher than the goal weights that had been set for me by various treatment providers and facilities (and I really am not talking a few pounds here—I mean fifteen or twenty). The whole thing had been complete hell for a couple of years, but when I came off the Abilify and knew things were back in my control, that I would no longer gain and gain, that I could lose weight if I felt the need or desire—it was just such a relief. I felt like it was my body again, and I felt like I could eat somewhat normally and be OK, and that’s kind of what I did for a while. Well, it wasn’t really normal, but it was still good. I knew I could change my body if I wanted to, and I just stayed where I was for a while. I hated not being thin, but I’d also gotten used to it in a way. I obsessed about my body less, talked about my weight less in therapy, and spent less time reading about EDs, looking at websites related to EDs (and by that I don’t mean pro-ana websites, just to clarify), etc. I was still eating disordered, no doubt, but the grasp of the ED had loosened some, and it was a relief. (By the way, if we’re talking about topics I could write entire posts about, the whole business about the Abilify and all of the dishonesty that surrounded it and the lasting effects of that could perhaps take the cake,)
I wanted to get back to my set-point, but I knew with any weight loss, even weight loss that was OK, came danger, so I waited. About a year ago I decided to start dropping the excess pounds. I thought I could control it. I was wrong. It was disappointing that I got out of control, but I guess it wasn’t surprising. Anyway, long story short, it didn’t work. I lost what I “needed” to, and I kept going. I’m not at an extreme, super dangerous place with my weight, but I’ve taken it too far. I’m certainly below where I’m supposed to be. I haven’t had any super serious health problems and am not in medical crisis by any means, but there have been some issues. My blood pressure has dropped a lot. One day my blood work showed that my blood sugar was 45 (which is kind of pathetic), and I have fairly frequent blood sugar crashes if I’m not really careful about what and when I eat. I feel weak and tired and achy again. I’m disappointed by the hair loss that has happened in the past several months, and it won’t stop and it’s aggravating me, but of course I know the cause of it and that it’s in my hands. I love long hair, and I want long hair, but I can’t have long hair anymore, because it just gets crappy and looks dead and gross and stupid.
So, I’ve dug myself into a hole. I need to gain weight, and I need to eat more, but it’s becoming increasingly hard to focus on this. I still haven’t fallen full-force into the ED trap and mindset, but it’s harder to hold on. Before I was always set on losing as much weight as I could, always. People discussed ambivalence, and I parroted their words, but I was never actually ambivalent; I never had any intention or desire to maintain a healthy weight or to not reach the lowest weight I could. This time I felt that. Weight loss always provides a thrill, and I always want to go lower and lower, but I didn’t know that I really wanted to go back to a life that was completely about anorexia, a life spent in hospitals, a life spent thinking of nothing—nothing—outside of weight. I’d gotten a taste of freedom from that, however small, and a part of me wanted to cling to that. The idea of losing lots of weight, of having a relapse, and getting bad, was OK in the moment, but I knew I would not be able to stop it. I would not be able to get really sick, get help, get better, and stay that way. I would be stuck. I would get really sick, get help, get better, and get really sick again, and so on. It would become a complete trap, and I am trying to hold on to not wanting to fall back there, but the pull is so strong, and my desire to fight it is waning. I’ve gotten thinner, but I see myself as bigger despite knowing that’s irrational. I know I’m bony because I can feel it, but I can’t see it. I keep cutting things out of my diet—slowly, and in small ways—but again, and again, and again. I need to cling to the motivation to stop, but I fear I’ve passed the point of no return now, even though there really isn’t such a thing. It’s up to me. I can do it. I just have to really want to.
And that’s that. I go to therapy twice a week, and it’s helpful. I’m lucky I have a therapist I have a good relationship with and whom I’ve worked with for many years. I started seeing a new psychiatrist last summer, because my previous one decided to stop seeing private patients. (She works at Mass General Hospital.) She seems nice and competent, but meds have never done much of anything for me, and that continues to be the case. It seems almost silly now, trying this and that and then trying things again and again. People seem to have run out of options to try. In addition to Lamictal, I’m currently taking Lexapro and Wellbutrin for antidepressants. I’ve taken both of those before, years ago. If my options have been depleted to the point of trying the same things again, why are we bothering, really? I don’t know. I got a new PCP—an adult doctor, finally—who weighs me and checks my vitals and whatnot regularly. It was hard to switch because it was nearly impossible to find someone for adults who had experience with EDs. All the doctors I could find were for adolescents and didn’t see people my age, and it took a long time to find one who did. You’d think there would be more than one adult doctor with significant knowledge about eating disorders considering this is the Boston area and all…sheesh. I ended up finding someone, though. That’s about it.
I guess I just need to keep on trying to move forward, or at least trying not to move backwards. I had gotten to the point of doing nothing—absolutely nothing—when I started the job at the bank, but I’m working my way back to doing more things. It’s hard seeing as I don’t have many hobbies and have struggled with serious anhedonia for a long time, but I’m trying. About a year ago, I started reading at work—books of stories or essays, and I would read one story or essay over the course of a day. It eased me back into that. Fairly recently, I started reading at home, too—things like novels and memoirs this time. I just started the Hunger Games series, and I’m interested in reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Game of Thrones series as well. I play video games fairly regularly. I bought the anime series Magic Knight Rayearth on DVD and have been enjoying watching it. TV doesn’t interest me much, but watching it can be a decent way of passing time—I like The Middle and the Big Bang Theory, and Revenge has become my secret pleasure. These are all pretty basic, almost dumb things, but they are something. I just have to keep trying. What else can I do?
OK, so this is now obnoxiously long. Hopefully I’ll get back to updating frequently again so that I don’t end up in another position of having gone a long time without updating and then having to write something obnoxiously long. We’ll see. Here’s hoping.
Things are more or less the same as they were a couple of months ago. My hours were changed at work; I work full days on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays now and no longer work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I think the old schedule was better. I have trouble with the longer days, although I'm handling them better than I had expected to. Plus, it's not good for me to have days off. I've wasted every Tuesday I've had off since my new hours started. All I do is sleep. Thursday are a bit better because my mother's home and makes me get out of bed and because I tend to schedule appointments then, but getting up is still an issue. Sometimes I get so frustrated by how much I sleep, but I can't seem to get myself to cut down. I suppose part of the issue is that there isn't much else I want to do. I'll try to do things like go on the computer or play video games, and sometimes I can keep myself out of bed that way, but other times I'll end up deciding to go back to bed anyway. I don't know. I can't be that tired. Sometimes I get tired at night before I go to bed (particularly if it's a day I've worked), and I guess that's how it' supposed to work, but I think a lot of the time I go to bed when I'm not feeling tired at all. I know it might be an avoidance thing; I suppose at the very least I don't have to think and live in my head when I'm sleeping, but I often have dreams that reflect what I think and feel anyway. They're terrible dreams, and I have them nearly every night/day. I wake up soaked in sweat. To me that says that sleeping isn't any better than being awake, but I choose it anyway.
Meh. I feel like I have so many things to write about and talk about, but I don't know where to start. I don't know how to organize this. I don't know how to write coherently anymore. I think what I need to do is update this journal more regularly so I'm not left feeling like I have a mountain of things to say and then feeling completely overwhelmed, which is how I feel now. I need to get Microsoft Word back on this computer. It doesn't feel right trying to write otherwise, and by write I mean even just things like this. (Before I'd always write my entries on Word and then copy and paste them on here, but I can't do that right now.) I feel weird not being able to fix spelling mistakes (I'm not the best speller) and proofread and edit to the extent I'd like. I think that's why I'm not updating, maybe, or at least part of it.
Well, I guess that's my goal: get a working version of Word on my computer so I can get back to updating this thing regularly. I suppose that's something tangible and relatively small I can work on. That's always a good thing.
Um, I'm still kind of in eating disorder limbo. I think I'm eating OK. My weight's low but not too bad; my guess would be that I'm just above 85 percent ideal body weight, so not quite clinically anorexic by DSM standards. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm not sure how I feel about anything. There's kind of been a lot of drama with that whithin the past couple of weeks in terms of me seeing my weight and my weight being wrong and people telling me the wrong things and miscommuincation and all sorts of garbage, but I don't feel like getting into it now. I guess I could write a lot about it, though, but I'm not sure what to write because I'm not sure what I think and feel. I don't know. My doctor got me to start seeing a nutritionist again, but on the second visit I essentially told her I didn't want to come back, so that was that. I've never found that to be all that helpful, to be honest, and I knew the odds were I wouldn't do anything she told me to anyway. I was just kind of feeling fed up, I guess. I've been getting all sorts of mixed feedback about my weight and whether or not I should be concerned, and, well, I just don't know. I've been told I've been losing too much, that it's been stable, that it's too low, that it's not too low, and I think the best thing for me is to step back. All this contradictory feedback and newly paid attention to my weight is making things worse, not better. It makes me think about it more and focus on it more, and that's bad, very bad. I understand if I'm at a critical place that people really need to follow me and pay close attention to this, but half of the feedback I'm getting says that's not even true. Preventative stuff doesn't work with me anyway. If I'm set on losing twenty pounds (not that I necessarily even am or anything), sending me to appointments with nutritionists and whoever else is not going to stop me. That's been proven a million times. I don't like it when people make something out of nothing, and I feel like maybe that's what's happened over the past few months. This isn't just my assessment either; it's based on some of the feedback I've gotten. Then again, other people have said otherwise, so I don't know. Ugh, thinking about this is making me mad, so I need to move onto something else.
Um, I started seeing a new psych for meds. She seems nice. In the second meeting, though, she suggested that she strongly believed my best option was my most hated: the atypical antipsychotic. I have a PRN prescription for low-dose Risperdal, and her idea was for me to take it every night. Given my near-zero response to anti-depressents and mood stabilizers and the way my thoughts seem to work she felt this made the most sense. She wasn't forcing me by any means; I told her about the Abilify, and she was respectful of how I felt. Still, it was just, ugh, I don't even know. It's a very low dose, so very unlikely to cause weight gain (I was on a high dose of Abilify), but I just can't go back to that. I can't. I was so unsure of taking it, and then the whole weight drama of the past couple of weeks happened, so that was kind of that. When I saw her on Thursday she had a new suggestion. There's some prescription vitamen people who don't have much of a response to anti-depressents can take that's supposed to help them actually experience some effect from those drugs, and she gave me a month supply. I haven't taken it. I'm not sure I can explain why; maybe I can, but it will take a really long time, and I don't feel like it right now. I'm trying to get myself to take it, though, and I have some hope I'll be able to. Of course, perhaps it's the issue of hope that's so tricky. I've just been without any for so long.
I'm not sure what else there is. I'm still thinking of applying to MSW programs for next year. I suppose that's what I'll do, although, to be honest, I don't think much about anything related to the future. I just can't. I'm still socially isolated. It's kind of sad to think about. I think of all the typical social things of a person my age, even small things like text messages, Facebook posts, whatever, and I have none. Who did I last text? I don't know. Probably my mother or father. I'm so disconnected from everyone, and kind of even from everything. I'm twenty-five, but, really, it's more like I'm fifteen. I think of the things that would have been typical experiences of the last ten years, and just none of them are there. I'm so far behind. I've missed out of so much. I can't think about that, though. I might not be able to handle thinking about that.
I guess I'm so afraid not to live such an isolated and restricted life. My therapist and I have been discussing this. I feel like I'm this awful person and I have to do everything I can to keep that awful person hidden, even if that means having no relationships, having no interests. I can't say or do anything important. Meh, that doesn't make sense. I'm not sure how to explain it. I don't want to be a bad person, and I'm afraid if I don't keep myself as tighly controlled as possible I will be. I have to do everything I can to help out around the house and at work; if I don't I won't be able to live with the guilt. I apologize automatically for everything and anything. I do everything I can to keep the guilt at bay. I can't stand the guilt. It makes me hate myself. It makes me want to hurt myself and kill myself. It's hard not to feel guilt, though, when you're a terrible person, so I have to do what I can to hide that, to convince myself and everyone around me that I'm not a horrible person. It never ends up being enough, though.
This doesn't make any sense, and I'm frustrated by my ability to make sense right now. I just don't want to be that borderline woman the whole world hates.
I don't know. I have so much to say but I don't even know how to be coherent, how to make sense. I think I need to stop writing for now and maybe start again another time--another time soon. Maybe if I get it all out in little bits and pieces it will feel less overwhelming and make more sense. I don't even know. I really hope to update this more, though. I know I'm rambling, and reading this is probably annoying, but I can't think about what others might be thinking. I need to just focus on updating more, I think. I have to try to do that.
I suppose I should give some background as to what happened and where I've been for the last year. I think I last wrote in the early or middle part of last summer. Anyway, at some point pretty early on last summer I more or less stopped functioning altogether. Of course, this had been an escalating problem for some time--during my last couple of years of college I did only the bare minimum amount of work, which was incredibly out of character, and excessive sleeping had been a problem for a number of years--but it really reached its peak at that time. Many days I spent roughly twenty hours in bed, and much, if not most, of that time was spent sleeping. Between five or six and nine or ten at night were my out of bed hours, so to speak, but I always found myself at a complete loss as to what to do during that time. There was nothing to do. I couldn't write, and I couldn't even read. I tried reading my favorite Harry Potter book at one point because I thought that maybe would work, but I got to the end and just couldn't finish. I had a few new vidoe games, but I couldn't play them for more than a half-hour or so, and I've always loved video games. My parents bought me an Ipod nano and it remained in its package for months before I even opened it. Watching TV was just about intolerable. I'm essentially friendless, so going out with people wasn't an option.
OK, so you get the idea. Believe me, anhedonia is nothing new to me, as I can remember struggling with it in a major way as far back as the beginning of junior high school when I first became depressed. (It was actually one of the first symptoms of depression I experienced.) This was a new extreme, however. Naturally, I stopped funtioning in other ways as well. Showers became even more infrequent (and that's saying something). My goal was to brush my teeth even once a day, and flossing wasn't even given a thought. I didn't wash my face. My room became messier and messier, and I didn't do my laundry. Again, you get the idea.
I was supposed to be moving to New York in late August to start an MFA program for writing. I went out there with my parents once early in the summer to look at apartments, but never made any effort to prepare beyond that. My mother was scared about me moving anyway because she was afraid I would get really sick with my eating disorder and lose tons of weight, but it got to the point where no one could see how it could possibly work when I couldn't get out of bed each day. How could I do my own laundry, hold a job, go to class, shop for groceries, etc? People kept bringing it up and I said it would be fine, but I wasn't even making any effort to find a job or a place to live. I felt no motivation to do so. I didn't care. Money was an obstacle as well, as I would have to take out huge loans. It's not really that I chose not to go or that anyone else made that choice for me; it's just that the time came and I didn't have a job or an apartment or anything, so that was that.
Honestly, I wasn't upset. I had stopped caring about going some time ago. My parents said I had to get a job. My psychiatrist wanted to admit me to the psych ward. I didn't care about those things one way or the other. I made no effort to get a job. My mother heard about a part-time job at the the local bank, I said I would look into it, she said to call and make a resume, I said I would later, she said do it now, I said I'll do it tomorrow. Blah blah blah. She dragged me to the bank and I ended up with a job.
I was very scared at first. The job I applied for was fifteen hours a week--five on Thursday afternoons/evenings, five on Friday afternoons/evenings, and five on Saturday mornings. The job I was offered was twenty-five hours: Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 2:00. I didn't wan to take it, but I felt I didn't have a choice. I figured it didn't much matter because I wouldn't last more than a couple of weeks anyway.
I actually still have that job. It took a while to acclimate, but it worked out OK. Getting up in the morning went from hell to a challenge. Showering went from every three days to every day with a few blips. I wash my face and do my hair and floss my teeth. I talk with customers and I even come off as friendly. I never call out sick. In other words, I actually do it.
In intensive treatment I always considered therapeutic scheduling a load of BS. OK, I still kind of feel that way. I mean, I remain unsure as to how scheduling my weekend down to what I'm going to do every hour is going to make me all happy and healthy. I will admit, though, that I have to give having structure some credit. Being forced to go to work everyday gets me out of bed. Being forced to interact with people gives me a bit more normalcy in my life. It's something, even if it's only a little something and not always a particularly successful something, that gets me out of my goddamn head a little. And that's more important than anything.
And that's what I've been doing. It took a couple of months for me to feel up to doing basic things like updating this journal again, and then I felt overwhelmed because so much had happened and so much time had passed, so I couldn't get myself to do it. I figured I had to just bite the bullet at some point, though.
Now I'm planning my next step. I decided (and this was separate from not going to grad school and is a decision that I made later) that I don't think I want to get an MFA and have a career in writing. I don't do well in an academic environment, and I'd likely end up teaching. I want a job that I can leave when I go home, not one that will force me to constantly be doing all sorts of stuff ourside of work. I don't want to face constant deadlines and be under constant pressure. I like to write, but it wouldn't be a good career for me. I applied to MFA programs because I was set on going to graduate school. I liked writing and was good at it, so that's what I picked, but I never thought about it beyond that. I never considered if it was actually something I wanted to do for a career. I just knew going to grad school after college meant living away from home but not in a dorm or college housing, which meant I could lose as much weight as I wanted without my parents or a college health center staff interviening. That's what mattered. I simply chose the first grad program that came to mind.
I still don't know what I want to do. I have no interest in banking. I actually don't mind the job--it's boring as hell most of the time, but it's realtively easy and stress free. (I only work as a teller; I don't think I specified that.) I've been thinking of social work and nearly applied to MSW programs this past winter/spring, but I didn't have things ready in time. Obviously I have reservations about this. I mean, I know for sure that I would avoid doing anything with eating disorders like the plague; I know some people are actually drawn to that and that my experience might give me something extra to bring to the table, so to speak, but I know it would be a bad idea. Many people can go on the work with eating disordered individuals after recovering, but I don't think I'd be one of those people. Beyond that it gets tricky. I've considered this issue many times. I feel like the one good thing that has come from my own struggles is an increased ability to be empathetic. I'm not judgmental the way others are. I'd have to go into a lot of detail to really explain this, and I feel like it's extremely important, so I'll save that for another entry. I don't feel like I'd be triggered by people struggling with non-eating disored issues that are the same as mine as I would be by spending time with people with EDs. I have doubts, though. Is it a good idea, for me and for the people I might help? I really don't know, and I think about it a lot.
That said, you can do a lot with social work; mental health stuff is just a small fraction of it. That makes me think it still might be a good idea, although I still have reservations, although I won't get into it all now. I do think I'd like to help people. I'm considering getting a new job, one that is actually relevent to this, and applying this winter/spring for school. I'm worried that i might have to work full-time, though, and I don't know if I could handle it. I'd have to get my license, too, but that's a different story.
Anyway, that's what's been going on. Of course, that's just the surface stuff. What really matters is what's underneath. I'm not sure how I can explain what's been going on. I guess...I just feel like I'm at a loss right now. I feel like I've done everything I can and nothing has changed. I don't know what's left to do. I just don't know how much longer I can tolerate this.
I'm functioning more again. Sure, I still nap most afternoons after work, and I still have no social life, but it's a little better. I've been reading a bit in the last couple of months, and obviously the hygiene stuff's better, and, of course, I'm working. I just can't tolerate my own head, though. I just can't stand thinking, living, being. And I don't know what to do or how much longer I can take it.
I'm not sure how to even explain this. I could say I'm depressed, and I'm miserable, but that kind of just goes without saying. I just can't even stand my own mind anymore. I hate myself so, so much. It's not that I have bad self-esteem or anything, or that i thnk I'm fat or stupid or ugly. I'm skinny (more on that later), I'm probably even a little smarter than average, and I'm decently pretty. I'm very good at my job (although I guess I kind of should be because I'm way overqualified for it). It's not that type of thing. I just hate who I am. I just think I'm an awful, terrible person. It sounds stupid, and maybe it seems like I'm just saying that. I can't explain it. I don't think I can say this in a way that can truly capture how I feel. I just believe, honestly and truly and at my very core, that I am awful. I feel frustrated writing this because I know it's going to sound stupid to anyone who reads this, and I know I can't get across what I really mean. I just live with this self-hatred, self-hatred that isn't even based on any specific thing, and it seems to dictate almost everything I do, feel, and think.
I am completely isolated socially. I made no friends in college, and obviously I lost the small number of friends I had in high school years ago. Again, I'm not sure how to adequately get this across. because I feel like it's just one of those things people always say. The only significant relationships I have are with my parents and my therapist. I have hardly any relationship at all with my sister. We live in the same house and I go days without speaking with her. As I said, friendships are practically nonexistent. I have very little--mainly just a call or email here or there, and, honestly, that's only something that's improved a bit recently because a friend of mine decided to get back in touch with me (why I can't understand). I can speak with co-workers and customers and all sorts of people everywhere far easily than I ever could before, I guess because of my job, but nothing can ever go beyond the surface level. I'm afraid to have a relationship. I don't know if I even want a relationship. I don't know how to make a friend, how to be a friend. It would be selfish to want a relationship because I'd only end up hurting the person. It wouldn't be intentional, but it would happen, so it would be unfair of me to enter a relationship. I know myself, and I'd just hurt and mess the person up, and that would be the last thing I'd want to do. Maybe this is really just more of my selfishness speaking, though. Maybe I'm just afraid of getting hurt myself.
I just don't know what to do. My thoughts are so warped and distorted but I don't know how to escape them. The longer they stay like this, though, the worse they get. They feed off of themselves. I keep digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole and getting farther and farther from normalcy, but it doesn't even seem to be because of what I'm doing or the choices I'm making. It's justs because of how I'm thinking, but how do I stop that? How do I change it? Things have just gotten worse and worse over the years in my head and in my mind. I'm not talking about my eating disorder or cutting or social isolation; those things have their ups and downs, but that's not what I mean. My thoughts, my feelings, my way of seeing myself and everything around me has just become more and more wrong, and I don't know how to stop it from continuing.
Every morning before I wake up I have terrible dreams. They're not nightmares because they're not frightening, but they're awful. It can be a variety of things. Sometimes it involves physical punishment; people are beating me, pulling me limb from limb, slicing me open, setting me on fire. Sometimes it doesn't. The theme is always the same, though: I am horrible. That's the dream, people telling me how awful I am. They tell me all of the bad things I've done, and I try to apologize, but they won't listen, and then they tell me I've done things that I haven't even done, and I try to tell them that, but they won't listen. Over and over. I apologize and beg and plead for them to stop, but they won't. I can't escape my head even when I'm asleep. Not ever.
I live in constant fear of my parents giving up on me. I know they love me, though I don't know why. I know they like me and like to spend time with me. What I don't know, however, is how much longer they can live with me, how much longer they can watch me like this. They can only take so much hurt, and eventually they will have to leave. They won't be able to take it anymore. Then I will be alone, and once I've lost them I will know I have lost everyone, becaues they're all I have left. Perhaps that's what I'm waiting for, though. Perhaps I'm waiting for them to give up so I finally can, too.
I try to look towards the future, but what could I possibly see? I picture anything and everything: marriage, no marriage; kids, no kids; living here, living there; this job, that job. I picture things that are supposed to make people happy. I try to fantasize, but there are no fantisies. The simple fact is that no matter what happens, I will still have these thoughts and this mind, and, therefore, I cannot be happy.
And that's that. I don't know what to do. I try. I've managed to keep self-harming behavios to a minimum, although when it happens it tends to happen badly (more on that another time, perhaps). I go to work and do what I'm supposed to. I endure the terrible episodes when they come, the epsiodes when the self-hatred becomes intolerable, when rational thinking leaves completely, when I want to end it all. I do not end it all. I'm waiting for things to get better, and I'm willing to do what needs to be done to make them better. How long, though, should someone have to wait?
I guess that's what's happening now. There's the eating disorder, but I'm not sure what to say about it. It's different. I got off of Abilify a year ago, but by then it had made me gain a ton of weight . I tolerated it for months. It was awful, but I did it. I decided to lose a little, though. You know the story, and it's there, but it's different. It got out of hand, but it was more unintentional than it ever has been. I wanted to lose weight, and I tried to lose weight, but I was also well above what's normal for me. I wasn't sure that I wanted to go lower than I was supposed to, but it happened. I can't say it was out of my control--I chose to eat what I ate--but it was different. I wasn't dead-set on losing tons of weight. It wasn't a case of trying to get as low as I could, end of story. That's the way it's always been. I've never had any ambivalence about weight loss. Not before now.
The ED specialist I had sort of kicked me out in late October. She's an adolescent doctor, and I'm too old. For months I saw no one, and my mother became concerned. Eventually she brought me in to see my PCP to be weighed. My weight was down a lot, but I was still relatively OK. (Remember, I was well above my set-point.) A month later my weight was down more and was no longer OK. Threats were made and I started seeing a ED specialist for adults in June. I was glad to have lost weight, but there was that new ambivalence. I wasn't sure that I wanted to go back to where I'd been. I'd grown to tolerate my body more. I'd learned to stop looking at every girl I'd see and compare myself to her. I didn't spend nearly every waking hour thinking about food and weight. I added back what I'd cut out of my diet.
It hasn't worked, though. I've kept losing, and I'm surprised. I really think I'm eating enough. It seems like enough. Yeah, I know that means nothing coming from someone with a chronic eating disorder, but I'm really confused. I've starved myelf. I'm not starving myself. I'm not engaging in any other behaviors, and I have no real desire to. Maybe being on Abilify for years and having to cut my intake so drastically as a result really has altered my view of what's normal.
It's not so much that I'm trying to lose weight. I think maybe I just don't care enough to try to stop. I don't think being emaciated will make me happier; I no longer live with that delusion. Frankly, I don't think anything will make me happy, not even that. I don't want to end up back in eating disordered land, surrounded by people who cry over pieces of fruit and hide cheese in their socks and wail about how fat they are when they don't even weigh one hundred pounds. My mind is no longer there, and I don't want it to be there. Yet my body is bringing me there. I keep losing. My weight is too low. I can see and feel the bones. My pants don't fit; even the new pants I bought to replace the old ones that didn't fit are becoming too loose. My hair is falling out at a more alarming rate than usual, and my digestion is crappier than typical. I'm shaky and weak sometimes, and I thighs ache when I walk up the stairs. It's getting awkward and uncomfortable at work because of my weight and appearance. I'm an adult; they cannot force me into most types of treatment. Frankly, intensive treatment focused on eating disorders does me more harm than good. It always has. If I must be hospitalized or admitted to an inpatient unit there won't be anything I can do, though, and I know it's up to me to stop that, and I'm not stopping it. I don't want my mind to go back to where it was in terms of food and weight. I don't want to see myself as fat when I'm not. I don't want to be afraid of eating anything but a small number of things. Of course I value my weight and size more than I should. Of course my definition of thin is stricter than typical. My mind isn't where it used to be, though, not in terms of this. If I don't change things it might end up back there, so why am I so reluctant to do what I need to do?
I'm twenty-five-years-old now. My birthday was Thursday. I cannot think about this, though. I cannot think about what I have lost, about what might have been. I will feel sad, and I might even cry, and that I cannot tolerate. I am a coward, a coward who is so afraid of feelling sad or angry or upset that she has managed to warp her thinking so severely that it keeps her from feeling these things. Is it really better, though? If not, how do I undo it? Maybe I really cannot tolerate feeling these things. Maybe if I start feeling them I will not be able to stop.
I guess I've rambled enough. Again, I don't expect anyone to read this. I don't want anyone to feel obliged to keep up with my journal either. This was long and whiny and ranty and illogical and potentially triggering to others, so I guess it might not have been a good way to get back into things. Still, I think it was an important thing to do and a step in the right direction.
I’m sorry for the lack of a real update recently. We did end up going to Washington, and, though I had WiFi access, I didn’t really have much time to use it. It was an OK trip, I guess. We went to two of the Smithsonian museums (Museum of Natural History and Museum of American History) as well as the Library of Congress and toured the Capitol Building. We also saw the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery (we stayed in Arlington, Virginia, which is really close to the city) and went to the shops in Alexandria, VA (home of George Washington). It was nice.
I tried to have a good time, but it was hard. The first problem was my feet. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I have a structural problem with my feet that makes staying on them for long periods of time (either walking or standing) very painful. It doesn’t affect me much in my daily life because I’m not on my feet much, but whenever I do a lot of walking or standing it gets bad. It usually takes about as long as takes for me to walk the mall for the pain to act up (about an hour or an hour-and-a-half, I guess), and the longer I’m on them the worse it gets. I basically spent all of Monday and Tuesday on my feet, and the pain became quite unbearable. I had to miss out on several exhibits at the Smithsonian because I couldn’t stand and walk anymore and had to rest my feet, so I sat somewhere while everyone else went to the exhibit. It kind of sucked.
My mother did something regarding the whole foot pain thing on Monday that made me really, really angry. There Metro (the Metro is Washington’s version of the subway) stop that was closest to our hotel was a long walk away, so we took the hotel’s shuttle to it on Monday morning. When we came back via the Metro on Monday night the shuttle hadn’t arrived yet, and my mother decided that she didn’t want to wait for it and that we could just walk…despite knowing that walking was causing me really intense pain. Like I said, this was not at all a short walk, either. It’s like she didn’t even care that I was in pain and that she was causing me more pain. I brought it up several times (more on this later), and she never really said she was sorry. I know I shouldn’t think this way, but it just sends home the same message I seem to be getting from pretty much everyone regarding pretty much everything: Who cares if Kara suffers? It doesn’t matter. I can’t help but wonder if it would have been different if it had been someone else who was in pain. I know that’s ridiculous, though.
Anyway, I spent much of our two days walking very strangely and literally limping, and, as a result of how I was walking, I seem to have injured my right shoulder in some way; it’s still hurting me now and was killing me the whole ride home on Wednesday. I suppose I should do something about my feet. I saw a doctor about it in elementary school, and was given shoe inserts to wear, but they didn’t seem to help and I didn’t like wearing them because I could only wear them with a certain pair of sneakers and because they made my feet look fat, so I stopped wearing them. Surgery was the next option, but I figured I’d just sort of deal with it. I’m not someone who gets scared by surgery or anything (I’ve had several and never really had a problem with anxiety, and I have a very high tolerance for pain), but I didn’t like the fact that I’d miss several weeks of school because of it. (It wasn’t exactly minor surgery, although it’s not like it was something super dangerous or major like open-heart surgery or brain surgery either.) I’m beginning to think that maybe I should look into some of these things again, though. For example, I could never hold a job that would require me to be on my feet for hours at a time; it would just be too painful. I suppose I could try the shoe inserts again or something and I wouldn’t necessarily have to jump right to surgery. I should really do something, though, I guess.
I’ve been having a lot of problems with feeling angry lately. I’m just really angry at my sister for behaving the way she did last Saturday. My parents sort of just let it go, as they always do (she didn’t apologize this time and never has), but I can’t seem to be able to. I’m just so fed up with the way she acts and treats others. It’s not right at all, and, frankly, I’ve had about enough. I feel like I have all of this pent-up anger towards her that’s been building up for years, and it’s gotten to the point that nearly everything she does makes me angry, and I mean really little things, like the fact that she won’t clean her hair out of the tub when she takes a shower or the fact that she always has to say mean little remarks. I hate the person it’s making me, because it’s like I can’t even stand holding a conversation with my sister or being in the same room with her because I’m too angry. I feel like I must be some sort of monster.
I can’t express the anger, though. If I say anything to her she’ll blow up and start screaming, and that doesn’t go anywhere good, and my parents just brush it off by saying things like, “Well, that’s just how she is” and “She’s like that to everyone, so don’t take it personally.” The fact of the matter is that I’m not really allowed to express anger period. When I was really angry at my mother for making me walk on Monday, I decided to say something. I was perfectly appropriate; I did not yell or behave inappropriately in any way. When I said something, though, my sister started snapping at me and saying all these stupid things in my mother’s defense (I’m not sure why, because I wasn’t angry at her and it was really none of her business), and then my father yelled at both of us and told us we couldn’t say another thing. That was the end of that. Well, so much for trying to express anger in a healthy way instead of just letting it build up until it reaches the point that I cut myself and become acutely suicidal. Once again, I’ve received the message that that just isn’t allowed.
I also keep receiving messages that my anger, and my feelings in general, aren’t justified. I emailed Cherrie yesterday and told her that I was still angry at my sister, and she basically said that she couldn’t see why I was angry at my sister because she hadn’t done anything to me or argued with me and that she thought it would be better if I could just forget it because it would only make things unpleasant. Yeah, like it’s that easy. I saw her today and we were talking about memoir writing in the car and, specifically, how it’s hard to say things about other people that are true but that don’t paint those people in the nicest light. I brought up the example of how I briefly mentioned my father’s yelling in my thesis and how my thesis committee wondered why I didn’t elaborate on it more and if I was trying to protect my father by refusing to go into details about what really went on. This is what she said: “Well, I think that’s OK, because you were really writing about how you were feeling and your experience, so your father’s yelling wasn’t that important. Besides, I mean, every kids’ parents yell. I was yelled at a few times as a kid, and so is everyone else. There isn’t anyone out there who hasn’t experienced that.”
That last part was like a punch in the gut. She basically invalidated my feelings completely. Something that was really hard for me really wasn’t anything at all, and I have no right to feel bad about it. I’m not allowed to feel upset about it, because it’s something everyone goes through. (Is that even true? I guess perhaps it is.) It’s nothing…nothing. My father’s yelling had a big impact on my life and really affected me for many years, but apparently it shouldn’t have, because it’s something everyone goes through. It’s nothing. If everyone else gets yelled at and everyone else is just freaking fine, well, I guess I should be, too. She actually did this once before several years ago. She was telling me that her friend had a daughter (slightly younger than I am) who found high school so stressful that she ended up having to go to a difference school (a therapeutic one in Boston) because her school worked her too hard. She kept going on and on about how this girl’s school was so difficult and that it really wasn’t fair to work the students that hard. I said that I had similar problems in high school and the fact that I felt so overwhelmed in and stressed by my honors and AP classes was one of the things that led to my development of an ED the summer before junior year. (Obviously there were many other things that caused it, though, some of which were much more important than that.) She said that this girl’s school was way harder than mine and that I just went to a normal high school and whatnot and didn’t face the same stressors as this girl. Basically she had a legitimate reason to become ill; I didn’t. I started crying and tried to explain why I was so upset, and she just could not get it.
I can’t tell you how much it hurts to constantly have my feelings and experiences shut down as invalid and wrong and inappropriate. I’m not supposed to feel the way I feel. I’m not supposed to be the way I am. I have no good reason to. This is something I’ve worked on with my therapist for years and years. I feel like I have no good reason to be depressed because I haven’t experienced anything “bad enough” to cause such a severe reaction. She always challenges these thoughts, of course, but it seems like whenever I start to make a little headway crap like this has to happen. It’s no wonder I’m so stuck on starving and losing weight; its’ the only way I can feel like my suffering is legitimate and that others will take it seriously. My therapist keeps telling me that this isn’t true, but she’s always proven wrong.
I feel like crying. I feel like cutting. I think I’ll do the latter as soon as I finish writing this. I just don’t think I can make it much longer without doing something. Thank God for therapy on Monday.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the possibility that I might be borderline. My case manager at McLean was pretty sure I was last summer. He said that when someone suffers from depression and an eating disorder for as long as I have without ever really having periods of being well, it often means that something else is going on, too, and his idea was that it was BPD. I balked at the idea completely. There was no way I was borderline. I pictured people with BPD as angry and loud and mean and aggressive and manipulative (which I realize is totally unfair because I was largely relying on stereotypes) , things I certainly was not. I was completely sure he was wrong, and I made sure I let the woman who did my assessment know that. I didn’t exactly lie during the assessment, but I wasn’t exactly truthful either, mainly because I wasn’t being truthful with myself. The woman determined that I had many “borderline features” but that I didn’t meet enough of the criteria to warrant the diagnosis. My case manager kind of thought she was wrong.
I’ve spent the last year thinking about it a lot and realizing more and more that I do meet many of the criteria of BPD. I do not want to be borderline. People with BPD are seen as hopeless cases and therapists and psychiatrists often hesitate to take them on as clients because they’re notoriously hard to treat. It’s a lifelong diagnosis, though symptoms do supposedly get better with age. On the other hand, it would explain a lot of things, such as why I’ve never gotten better from my depression despite being on a dozen medications and having tons of therapy. Most people with unipolar depression don’t have it for years and years; they may relapse from time to time, but it’s not a constant thing for many, many years. When I was at McLean last summer a guy asked me how long I had been depressed for; I told him I had been depressed for ten years and he was in absolute shock. He said he had been depressed for several months, and that seemed to be the norm for most of the other patients there; they may have been depressed earlier in life, but the depressed had gone away and then come back…it hadn’t been the same for ten years straight. The only other people who had experienced that were the people with bipolar, another lifelong illness. I am definitely not bipolar (I’ve never been manic or even hypomamic), but I think something aside from regular severe depression might be going on. The more I think about it the more I realize that I do meet a lot of the criteria for BPD including, yes, being angry. I suppose it’s something to think about and research and discuss with my therapist.
Anyway, I suppose I should end on a good note. I’m going to visit two apartments in New York tomorrow. I will describe them in detail and let you all know how it goes tomorrow.
We’re supposed to be going on vacation to Washington, DC, tomorrow, but my sister and my father just had a huge blow-out…over laundry. My sister was whining and complaining that my mother doesn’t iron her clothing well enough or often enough, and she started yelling at my mother and it made my father angry. The fight escalated in a way that I haven’t seen their fights do in a very long time. My poor mother was crying and asking them to stop, but they wouldn’t. Eventually my father left, and then my sister started yelling at my mother. She said she would never apologize to my father and that she wouldn’t go with us tomorrow.
Believe me, I hate the way my father yells when he gets like this, and I get why my sister was saying that she doesn’t want to be treated that way, but, come on! She’s the one who started yelling for no reason; it’s OK for her to yell at him and my mother but not OK for him to yell? She was whining and complaining when she had no right to, and then she just started yelling; maybe my father shouldn’t have yelled, but did she really expect him not to react? I don’t get it. Why is it OK for her to yell and snap at people all of the time and to treat them like crap, but it isn’t OK for others to challenge that? She needs a really big attitude adjustment. Sometimes I really wish she would come to family therapy so I could give her a piece of my mind. I’d be too afraid to do it outside of a safe environment, though.
I’ve been hiding in my room the whole time. My anxiety is through the roof. I hope my father comes back.
I’m not sure when I’ll be updating next, because I’ll (hopefully) be n Washington until Wednesday, but I will try to do a more complete update soon.
Edit: Well, it looks like tomorrow's trip is off. My sister said that she wouldn't go, and then my father decided that he didn't want to go anymore either. Now my mother's super upset and she started taking it out on me, so I ran away to my room. This sucks.
I’m feeling a little bit better now, but Thursday was a disaster. I don’t even know what happened. I was on my way to renew my learner’s permit (it keeps expiring,--this will be my third or fourth one, I think…I really need to get my license) with my mother, and my thoughts just sort of started spiraling out of control. I kept thinking about my relationships, about my friends and how they never seem interested in me. (They never said anything about my graduation when I saw them last week, which was kind of hurtful.) Then I started thinking about Cherrie and how, no matter how hard I try to be a good friend, she’ll never like me as much as these two other former students of hers (more on that later). I started to feel pretty bad, and my thoughts kept getting worse and worse.
We arrived at the RMV, and I had forgotten the necessary forms of identification I needed to take the permit test. My mother was pretty mad, and she kept saying things like, “Well, I guess the permit application will just sit on the table for a month along with your job applications” and “That was a real waste of time and gas” and “All you ever do is stay in bed all time,” and I just kind of lost it. My thoughts just got worse and worse. All I could think about was how I couldn’t do anything right and how I’m such a waste of space and how no one likes me and how I’ll never be good enough. The thoughts and feelings became overwhelming. I was wringing my hands and shaking and pulling at my skin, and I didn’t think I could make it home. I thought about opening the door and throwing myself out of the car, but I knew that wouldn’t work because we weren’t driving on the highway.
As soon as we made it home I ran in the house and into the bathroom and grabbed tissues and band-aids so I could cut before my mother could notice. I very rarely cut at home and when I do I always do it at night when my mother’s asleep so there’s no chance of her catching me. I couldn’t wait, though; I had to cut then, so I did. I made two quick cuts (one was pretty deep, though, and now looks, like, black and brown, which I’ve never seen before—could it be infected?) and quickly cleaned up and bandaged them.
When I get like this cutting usually helps calm me down, but I did not feel any better. I lay down in bed and was shaking. This is the part that kind of scares me. I kept thinking that I had to do something, and the only thing I could think of was swallowing all of my pills. All I could think was, “The pills are right here in your room; all you have to do is run downstairs and get some water and then you can take them all.” The thought would not go away. I was so, so close to doing it. I don’t think I wanted to die; I just felt like I needed to do something to stop the overwhelming thoughts and feelings.
I didn’t do it in the end (obviously), mainly because I was afraid I would succeed, and, like I said, I didn’t really want to die. It still scares me how close I was to swallowing all of those pills, though. What if I can’t stop myself next time?
I had therapy the next day, though, thankfully. (I got the dates confused in my last entry; it was Friday, not Thursday.) I told my therapist what happened, and we spent most of the meeting processing it. She kept asking me what I was feeling at the time, and I honestly could not say; after talking it over with her for some time, though, I think I’ve figured it out. I think that, aside from the usual feelings of depression and anxiety, I was feeling really, really angry.
I have a very hard time identifying angry feelings. Growing up, I was not allowed to feel angry. My father yelled at my sister and me a lot when we were young, and a lot of the time I was yelled at for being angry or cranky. If I snapped or talked back to my parents, I was screamed at. If I tried to defend myself, I was screamed at more. I was also not allowed to cry; if my father started yelling at me and I began to cry, the yelling got worse.
At some point I learned to shut down all angry feelings. I stopped feeling angry. Expressing anger meant getting screamed at. When I was in treatment for my eating disorder in high school and early college, we talked about anger a lot in groups. I always said that I did not get angry, and I really think that was true…to an extent.
From time to time, though, the thoughts and feelings become unbearable, become different from the normal depressed and anxious thoughts and feelings. That’s when I have to cut. That’s when I really start to think about suicide. I’m beginning to realize now that that’s when I’m feeling angry. I guess I just didn’t know I was feeling angry, though. After all, for many years I was convinced I was incapable of feeling angry.
On the way home, when I was freaking out, my mother snapped at me and said, “What do you have to be angry about?!” I replied by saying, “I’m not angry,” because I really didn’t think I was. The thing is, though, that when I said that I sounded really, really angry, and even I noticed it; it surprised me. At the end of Friday’s session, when my mother came in, she told my therapist that I was really angry at her on Thursday. I didn’t know it at the time, but I guess I really must have been angry.
When I told my therapist that my mother asked me what I had to be angry about, she asked me what I would have said to her in that moment if I could have said whatever I wanted. It only took me a minute to come up with something. “Why can’t I ever be good enough for you?” is what I would have said.
Growing up, when my father would yell at my sister and me, he’d always say the same thing. No matter what bad thing we’d done, he’d always say, “Other kids don’t do this. You think so-and-so down the street behaves this way?” It made me somehow feel like I was worse than other kids, like I was a really, really bad daughter, like there was something wrong with me. I learned how to keep my father from yelling, how to be a very, very good child. I was also a very, very scared child.
My mother used to comment that it made her sad that I was afraid of my father, and I’d always say that I wasn’t. Looking back, I think I was, though. It’s not that I was afraid he would hurt me—he never laid a finger on me or my sister despite his yelling and his anger problems—but I was afraid of his yelling. Mostly, though, I was afraid he would get so mad he would leave us, and it would be all my fault because I was a bad daughter.
I became a model child after a while, but my sister never did, and the yelling continued, directed at her. It still scared me, because I was still afraid he would leave. When he yelled I would run to my room and shut the door and cover my ears, and I did this well into my teens. One time he and my sister got into a huge fight and the yelling was really bad (she always yelled back—I never did), and I had the worst panic attack I’ve ever had. I couldn’t breathe, and my mother got so afraid for me that she wanted to take me to the ER. I was seventeen.
A year or so after my ED developed, my father stopped yelling. I believe the last time he yelled at me was after my first stint in inpatient treatment. I wasn’t doing very well, and he was mad about it. I forget what was said, but my father actually went into his bedroom and started crying. To this day it’s the only time I’ve ever heard or seen him cry, and the thought still freaks me out. He never yelled at me again, and he’s only yelled at my sister a few times since then, and even then it wasn’t with the same force or intensity. He’s just plain stopped.
His yelling really took a toll on me. For a while yelling and even just plain old loud noises had horrible effects on me. I couldn’t hear people yelling and not freak out, even if it had nothing to do with me or even my family. (For example, if a fellow patient started yelling while I was in the hospital, I’d totally lose it.) Loud noises made me jump a mile. I don’t think I had full-blown PTSD or anything, but it was sort of like that.
I have a very hard time talking about this. I’m afraid people will think badly of my father when I say these things. He’s always been such a good father, and our relationship has improved so much since he’s stopped yelling. I can say that I’m not afraid of him and actually mean it now. He (along with my mother) is like my best friend. I just feel so comfortable and happy with him now. He’s thoughtful and caring and does nice things for me all of the time. Ironically, he’s actually less quick to anger and say mean things than my mother is now. The thing is, that he’s always been a good father. I’m always afraid that when I say these things people will think he’s some kind of monster and think badly of him, and that thought just hurts so much because I love him so much. I don’t want anyone to think badly of my father, which is why I very, very rarely talk about his past yelling problem. I just don’t want people to judge him badly. That thought hurts so much. If I think about this for too long or talk about it it actually makes me want to cry.
I’m not sure why I feel like I’m not good enough. I guess I understand why I feel like that with my friends, because that’s the message I’ve consistently been sent, and even the rational part of me can’t see it otherwise, but I’m not sure why I feel like this with my parents. I know they love and that I am good enough for them on some level, but part of me just doesn’t believe it. When they point out that I didn’t study as hard as my sister did in college I feel like I must not be good enough. When my mother keeps pointing out all of the things I keep failing to do, I feel like I must not be good enough.
Anyway, I’ve been feeling better since then, but it took me until pretty late on Thursday night to recover. My parents knew something was wrong, but they never really asked me about it. On Friday my mother told my therapist that I had been mad at her, and that was about it. I was an inch away from attempting suicide, though, so she (and my father) really has no idea just how bad things were. (They also don’t know about the cutting.) That seems kind of wrong in some way.
I saw Cherrie yesterday, and it kind of made me feel the way I was feeling on Thursday again. I’ve always tried my hardest to be so, so good to her, and I’ve always tried to be thoughtful, but I know that, no matter how I try, I’ll never be her favorite student. No, that prize goes to my friend’s twin brothers, who she had in class two years after me. She talks about them and how great they are all of the time. They’re just so smart and nice and all that. She tells everyone that, including me, all of the time. I don’t think she ever says those things about me. Even when I’m with her, she always has to talk about them and how great they are. We went miniature golfing the other week to celebrate my graduation, and she said, “Oh, this will be good practice for when I go mini golfing with Joe and Tom!” Um, what about me? Is that all I am, practice for when you see them? Yesterday we were talking about my friend’s (Erin’s) wedding, and she said she hoped she would be invited. I’m in the wedding, so I thought maybe she would say something about being able to see me or even about being able to see Erin (it is her wedding, after all), but what does she say? “I can’t wait to see Joe and Tom in tuxedos!” Couldn’t she at least pretend to be interested in me for a minute, considering she was, you know, with me? I’m in the wedding, too, you know, and she was with me, not them. She talked about them until she brought me home.
Maybe I’m being ridiculous. I know Cherrie likes me. She wouldn’t want to do things with me and buy me things and tell me I’m a good writer if that wasn’t true. It just hurts because I’ve tried so, so hard over the years to be the best friend possible, and she still doesn’t like me as much as she likes Joe and Tom. I mean, who was there when her mother died? Who was there when she hurt her foot? Who visited her in the hospital every day until she was discharged when she had surgery? Even my best will never be good enough. I’ve done everything I can, and I’m still not good enough. I will never be good enough…not for her, not for anyone.
I hate that I get jealous of other so easily. I’ve been like that since I was little, so I guess it’s just part of my nature. I wish I could change it, but I can’t.
I guess not feeling good enough really does make me angry (along with very depressed, obviously). It really fuels my eating disorder and self-destructive behaviors, too. When I was little and my father would yell at me and my parents would get mad at me I’d fantasize about running away. When I was a teenager and my friends were treating me poorly I’d starve myself until I was very sick. Now when these things happen I seriously consider suicide. I want to hurt others through hurting myself. I want them to see what they’ve done to me through mistreating me. I want them to feel bad about it.
Anyway, I am feeling a little better now, although I still feel quite crappy (and writing this entry and forcing myself to think about certain things in the process of doing so hasn’t helped). Reading raspel’s entries about New Orleans and getting an apartment has helped, because they’ve made me excited about looking for getting an apartment in New York, which I will be doing in less than two weeks. There are some on craigslist that I’m interested in, although the one I really wanted is gone. I received an email from the director of graduate housing at Sarah Lawrence saying that there was information about housing and roommates on “MySLC,” but I can’t find it, so I had to email him back asking for a link. (He must think I’m pretty dumb.) I’m still waiting to hear back.
I’ve been feeling pretty crappy physically. I keep getting headaches—like, everyday. Maybe it’s the pollen. There’s also something wrong with my stomach, though I don’t know what it is. I thought I was just hungry all of the time, but it’s definitely not that. It’s very weird and annoying and has been going on for five or six days. I don’t see my doctor again until early July. I’m supposed to see a cardiologist, too, to check out the tachycardia one last time before I head off to grad school in late August. My ED doctor just thinks it’s anxiety, though (which is complete and total BS for about a million reasons, but I won’t get into it). I’m so sick of people not taking my ED seriously because I’m not super underweight.
Long entry is long!
I’m sorry I haven’t updated in, well, forever. Things haven’t been great. I feel especially bad because I know some of the people on my FL have been struggling, and I haven’t been the least bit supportive. I don’t think I’ve commented on a single journal entry of anyone’s in a week or more. I will try to be a better friend.
Anyway, I really thought I had a grip on this whole going off of the Abilify thing. I was doing pretty well, all things considered. I mean, I got up super early for all of the graduation activities, and I think I handled not getting high honors in English (and being the only one) pretty well. In the past week, though, things have gone downhill. I don’t think that I’m super ridiculously depressed like I was last time, and the urges to cut haven’t been nearly as strong (I haven’t even done it since going off of the Abilify), but I am so, so agitated. Yes, I think that’s the right word. I don’t know what in the world to do with myself. I’ve been having some trouble sleeping, and I normally love to spend all day in bed. I get agitated when I’m in bed, though, so I get up, but then I have no clue what to do, so I just go back to bed…and thus it continues. I just keep thinking that I have this whole day to get through, and I have no idea how I’m going to do it because I just don’t know what to do.
It’s like nothing, and I mean nothing, appeals to me. Last night was terrible. It was 8:00, and I just had no idea how I would make it to 9:00 or 10:00 (when I figured I would go to bed) without going crazy. I literally felt like I was going insane. I was down in the living room and I was shaking and bobbing up and down and I just didn’t know what to do. My mother suggested that I watch TV with her, and I just didn’t think I could spend the next hour or two watching TV; I didn’t know how I would get through it. We ended up going to Walgreen’s and the Christmas Tree Shop, and that definitely helped, but for a while I really thought I had lost it. I just don’t know what to do with myself; I don’t want to read or write or play video games or anything. Nothing interests me. I mean, I haven’t even been able to get myself to update this journal or comment on people’s entries.
Still, I don’t think it’s quite as bad as last time, because I’m not outrageously depressed (I mean, I’m depressed, but I always am); I’m not thinking about suicide and cutting all of the time. I just feel like I’m going crazy, though.
I need a job, something to do with myself. I applied for jobs at two Borders (book stores) near where I live, and last night I picked up a job application for the Christmas Tree Shop that I plan on filling out tonight. I hope I hear something from somewhere soon, because I feel like I’m going insane, and I think having something to occupy my time with will help. Plus, I could definitely use the money.
I have therapy tomorrow, thank goodness. I’m definitely going to tell my therapist what’s been going on. Hopefully she’ll be able to help me. Also, I’m really hoping that she and my psychiatrist have had some success in finding a psychiatrist who specializes in EDs who might be able to help me find an alternative to the Abilify.
I’m feeling kind of down because I saw some friends last week, and no one congratulated me on my graduation or even commented on it. Yet one of my friends got reaccepted to college (she had to leave because she was failing), and we had a big celebration for it. I’m happy for her and all, but what about me? They know I graduated, and it wasn’t easy. I don’t know. I was also supposed to go to a cook-out Saturday, and they said they would call me about it, but they never did. I feel like they must not like me, but that’s probably just me being ridiculous.
I’m such a terrible friend. I went out with Cherrie last week to celebrate graduation, and I couldn’t even bring myself to email her to say thank you. (That’s how bad things have gotten, I guess.) I have a confession to make: after a few days had gone by and I hadn’t been able to email her, I told myself I would see how long it would take her to email me; she knew I was going off the Abilify and said it worried her, and I wanted to see if she were really worried (figuring that if she were she would email me to see how I was doing). God, I’m such a bitch. She did end up emailing me, but it took almost a week, so I guess she couldn’t have been that worried.
I haven’t been feeling great physically, either. I’ve been getting awful headaches almost every day, and I’ve been feeling nauseous a lot. By far the worst part, though, is that my hunger has increased ten-fold and I don’t know why. I’m so freaking hungry all of the time that I can’t stand it. I haven’t been restricting too badly (though I have been restricting, of course), so I don’t understand it at all. I’ve never been this hungry in my life (even when I was really starving, it feels like), and it’s totally freaking me out. I don’t know what to do.
I thought I would buy myself something nice to make myself feel better and to congratulate myself on graduating, and I’ve always wanted the Sailor Moon art books and found a couple of them on ebay for a good price, so I placed some bids. Now I feel awful. I feel so, so guilty. As soon as I transferred money from my bank account to paypal I became incredibly anxious and just felt awful. I really thought this would make me feel better, but it hasn’t. I’m bidding on the Materials Collection (which is going for 75.00 dollars) and Art Book IV (which is going for 71.00 dollars). I also found Art Book I and Art Book II for 24.00 and 25.00 dollars, so I’ll probably buy those. (Those are under “buy it now” and not auctions, so I can wait a little while.) In total I’ll have spent about 200.00 dollars on the four, which is a good price, because they’re very rare and usually very expensive. After this I’ll only need Art Book III and Art Book V and my collection will be complete, but I’ll probably hold off on buying those, especially because Art Book V is usually very expensive. (There’s technically another art book, the Infinity Art Book, but it’s ridiculously rare and expensive, so I doubt I’ll ever own it.) I’ve really only spent a small fraction of the money I got for graduation, but I still feel terrible.
Here are the links to the auctions.
Both the bids are mine. The cover’s in bad condition, but this is the only way I’ll be able to afford the book, because it usually goes for between 300 and 500 dollars.
Art Book V.
I finally received an email from Sarah Lawrence about housing, but it didn’t really contain any information, just the email address of someone I should contact. I’m going to email him after I finish this update. I’m going to Washington, DC with my parents in a couple of weeks, and we thought we would stop in New York on the way there or back to look at apartments.
I guess that’s it. Blah.
I know I should be happy right now—really, really happy. I guess I kind of am, but there are some things that are really getting me down.
I touched upon the fact that I didn’t get high honors for my thesis and only got honors in my previous entry, I think. I was pretty disappointed about that, but I kept telling myself that maybe high honors was really hard to get and maybe only a few people got it, etc. Well, what if I told that there were nine theses in English, and that one of them got summa cum laude/highest honors (which I wasn’t eligible for because my GPA wasn’t high enough), seven got high honors, and only one got honors? Yup, I’m not even kidding. My thesis was the only thesis in English to get honors; everyone else got high honors or above. My thesis was judged to be the worst thesis in English.
Talk about a freaking slap in the face. I mean, didn’t they realize that giving every single thesis but one high honors would make that one person feel pretty damn bad? Did the department really not realize that that one person who wasn’t judged good enough would feel slighted, insulted, and, oh, I don’t know, a little hurt? Honestly, I would feel a million times better if even only one other person in the department was given honors, but that wasn’t the case. Being told that you’re the worst, though…that freaking hurts.
OK, so maybe I’m not the worst. I’m sure there were other English students who took Independent Study and who set out to write theses and who didn’t end up with any kind of honors; I can pretty much be positive of that. Still. I just don’t see how they could give high honors to everyone but me. Did they really think I wouldn’t notice? Did they really think I would be OK with that? Did they really think I wouldn’t be hurt?
I can try to tell myself certain things. My advisor was never supportive of me; maybe she told the department I didn’t deserve high honors, and maybe it was all her fault. Maybe the department didn’t want to give everyone high honors because they would look easy or something, so they decided to give honors to one. (Still, wouldn’t they have chosen the worst one?) Maybe they looked at things beyond the thesis, like my grades in my literature courses (which they’re probably not supposed to do, but whatever), and decided that, based on that, I didn’t deserve high honors. Maybe it was because I wrote about something so controversial, something so out of norm from the typical literary analyses pieces and short story collections. Maybe.
The thing is, though, that I really don’t think like that. The same things keep playing in my head. My thesis was the worst. Everyone else was better than I was. I didn’t deserve high honors. I didn’t work as hard as everyone else. I’m a bad writer. Everyone else is a better writer than I am. I don’t deserve good things. I’ll never be good at anything. Everyone hates me. I shouldn’t be going to graduate school. I’m nothing more than a wannabe. I suck. I’ll never get anywhere in life. I shouldn’t even try to write, because obviously I’m terrible at it. I don’t deserve to live.
OK, so maybe that last one is a little extreme, but it does pop up now and then. I just don’t know what I did wrong. Did they think I didn’t work hard enough? My thesis was almost 160 pages; it was by far the longest one there. (Yes, of course, length isn’t everything, and I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity, but the fact that I wrote so much should at least show that I put a lot of time and effort into it.) I’m tempted to email my advisor and just ask, Why? I won’t, though.
I know I should be happy. It’s honors, after all, and lots of people in other departments only got honors. To be told that you’re the worst, though, that you aren’t as good as everyone else, well, it just plain hurts. Even Cherrie, who has been teaching for a long time and who is known for being very strict about grades and stuff, thought it was pretty mean to give high honors to eight people and honors to only one. I mean, no one wants to be singled out as the worst. I guess it’s what I deserve, though.
I also pretty unhappy because I uploaded the pictures from graduation to my computer, and I look downright disgusting. I’m freaking gross. I cannot believe I look this fat. I feel so ashamed of myself. The fact that I even weighed eight pounds more than I do now up until January completely freaks me out, because I don’t even want to think about what I looked like then. I don’t look skinny at all. I look like a freaking fatass. I’ll attach some pictures to this entry as proof.
I need to lose weight, to restrict as much as possible. I want this stupid Abilify out of my system as soon as possible. I’ve been off it for over two weeks, but it stays in your system forever, supposedly. God, I can’t stay like this. I can’t look this fat.
I guess I should look at the positive. I graduated, and the ceremony was nice and I was glad that my mother, grandmother, and Cherrie were there. (My father and uncle were at my sister’s graduation.) Laurel Parade was very nice. I found out from American University that I was accepted. (LOL, talk about last minute! I won’t be going there, though, because Sarah Lawrence is way closer and will end up costing a whole lot less.) Getting into almost half of the MFA programs you apply to is pretty impressive, given that they’re ridiculously selective. I received a lot of money for graduation, and it will definitely help with living expenses; I think if I work at school I’ll be able to pull it off. (Before receiving this money I wasn’t so sure.) It’s hard, though.
The worst part is that it will only get harder. The Abilify will be completely out of my system soon, and then things will really start to go downhill. This, my friends, is probably only the calm before the storm. Here’s hoping I’ll survive.( Collapse )