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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's not actually that I lie....

I have been accused recently (and throughout the last 20 years actually) of lying. I have even termed my actions in my own head from time to time as lying. But that's not exactly accurate. I guess in the strictest sense my actions could be termed lies of omission, but as there is absolutely zero malice aforethought, or malicious intent I am uncomfortable with classifying them as such.

See what I really do is hide. Not lie, but hide.

Driven perhaps by fear, shame, disappointment, or a need for protection. I started out life incredibly gifted. Both intellectually and athletically. I was even rather cute so I guess you could say I had it all. I was gifted, lucky, and incredibly happy. Unfortunately such gifts and good fortune tend to bring about jealousy in others. My first experience with this came at the age of 8 or 9. I was in grade four and was verbally attacked at recess for not dressing like everyone else in my one-horse prairie hick town. I was mocked and told I was a snob because I had left the tiny local gymnastics club in order to train and compete with a club "in the city". At 9 years of age I was told that what I liked was stupid, and going after my goals was ridiculous. I didn't realize at the time how much this affected me. I wish that I could say I got past it and thrived despite it, but I didn't.

The bullying continued. For some reason I seemed to attract friends who found it easier to be jealous than supportive. It all came to a head in high school when my already shaky self-esteem took a hit from a friend from it it would never recover. This blow triggered repressed memories, leading to to PTSD, and eventually a diagnosis of Bipolar 2 disorder in my early 20's.

I am sad to say that at 35 years of age, my self-esteem has never recovered. I am still that 9 year old. Sitting on the swings crying. Wondering what on earth is so wrong with my outfit. And why anyone would ever think going to gymnastics and wanting to do well is a bad thing.

So I hide. I choose what and how much of myself, my life, and my reality at any given point I reveal to every individual in my life.

No one knows 100 percent. No one. The last person who knew about 90 percent broke my heart and left me. So right now no one even knows much more than half.

And which half they know depends on who they are. There are people I've never met and probably never will meet that know more about my current mindset and mental health than my family will ever know. I can't do that to them. I'll feel like I'm letting them down. Like I'm hurting them. Again.

I moved to Vancouver just over two years ago for a fresh start. For a change that was supposed to turn things around and get me out of the rut that rural Saskatchewan and bipolar had sucked me into. New province, new rut. My family doesn't know this. I can't disappoint them. And I cannot let my parents know that there are still days, more days than I wish to admit, that I feel like nose-diving straight off the Cambie Bridge. I can't do that to them. I can't cause them anymore pain. My mother sat at my bedside day and night for nearly 4 days while machines breathed for me after I became too weak to go on. I cannot cause them pain or concern. I've put them through too much. Whether my fault or not, their false belief that I am well and life is good makes them happy and gives them hope. I feel like I owe them that much.

I edit myself with my friends, what few I have, as well. I have enough trouble believing that anyone would ever willingly spend time with me or like me, so I reveal the pieces of me that I think will be appealing to whomever I'm with. I never make things up, or pretend to be something I'm not. I just only let out the pieces of my true self I feel will be the most appealing, or least offensive to my present company.

As you can guess, this is not a very good way to meet new people or maintain meaningful relationships so I spend a inordinate, and most likely damaging amount of time alone. And I hide there too.

I hide in my house because it is easier than going out into the world to risk judgment and failure. I hide in my bed because it is a cocoon of protection and denial that keeps me from realizing how much time I'm wasting being afraid. And I hide from my thoughts which are often frightening or judgmental, but even when they are inspired and positive manage to make me feel guilty for never acting on them or following through.

I hide because it is safe.

I hide because there is less risk.

I hide because even I don't know what or who I really am. Or what it is I really want.

I hide because I am ashamed and afraid.

And I hide because it is easier.


I am sick of taking the easy way out.

I AM SICK OF TAKING THE EASY ROAD.


So often brilliance and madness intersect. I was shamed for my brilliance so I hide in my madness. I use it as a shield, an escape. I must find my brilliance once again. It does not lie in science and math the way it used to. Over the years my experiences have morphed it into something else, changed its focus. The trick is finding it again.

Where did the brilliance go? And how can I use it well? I am convinced that the path to recovery and survival lies here.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

tested....

Last night's resolve is already waning. After my positive epiphany and mild progress, a very not mild anxiety, fear, and anger attack. Followed by a major mood drop, minor self-harm, and a bottle of wine. Luckily I passed out before doing anything too stupid or damaging.

Ugh. I have no other words than ugh.

No, that's not true. I have these words: really??? Really???!!!! Are you kidding me? Seriously? Unbelievable.

I woke up feeling like an empty hollow punching clown again. Not a good start.

I want to stick to my one fun thing, one cleaning thing, little less TV plan. I really do. But I am currently trying to figure out the most miniscule cleaning thing possible, and I am not even sure I can do that. Deflated heap here I come.

Ugh.

One step forward, seventeen steps back. Every time. Every fricking time.

Ugh.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Just a boring Monday night????

I was sitting around a a few hours ago and I thought to myself, "ugh it's Monday night and I have absolutely nothing to do."

I sat there bummed out for a few minutes until a now rather obvious thought hit me like a truck; I have a ton of shit I could do, why am I not doing any of it?

I have clean laundry that needs to be folded, dirty laundry that needs to be washed, the bathroom could use a good scrub, the kitchen could use a good scrub, the floors need to be vacuumed, a good dusting wouldn't hurt, my kitchen cabinets are screaming for a reorganization, my front storage room/office is a disaster, my bedroom closet needs a good purging and reorganization.

Ok, so I don't have anything fun to do on a Monday night.

Wrong again. I could knit, read one of the 12 books that I have started in the last year and not finished, paint, listen to music and dance around my apartment, do some pilates, head out for a walk since it stopped raining, text my daughter, call my mother, write my grandmas each a letter, learn some speed reading exercises, organize my photos, search online for fantastically awesome and thoughtful Christmas presents to buy my family, or research volunteer opportunities and toy drives in my city.

At any given point there are probably well over 100 things I could be doing. I am not well enough at this exact moment to be working so I have a ridiculous amount of time to choose to anything at all that I want. Despite this fact, at any given moment I am usually sleeping, watching tv, eating, sitting around, or perusing Twitter and Facebook mindlessly clicking on links and whatnot.

My brain just smacked me upside the head with what a waste that really is. Sleep is good, but not 12 hours a day. TV and movies are great, just not 8 or 9 hours a day. Twitter and Facebook are fun, but not 104 times a day.

So then I says to my brain I says, "brain, why on earth is I bein so stupid?"

No, but honestly, why?

It took a couple of hours and some pondering, eating, and distraction, but I think I have it figured out. It is not that I never have anything to do, it is that I never have any want to do anything. And not just the tedious obligatory cleaning related stuff, but a want for the fun and productive stuff is missing too. I pretend I do. I tell myself the little white lie that I really wish I had more to do, but I often don't. This is what an incredibly long and painful illness has done to me. I don't want to do anything and I don't care that I don't want to do anything. Or at least I haven't cared up until this point, as I have done nothing to change it. This is the apathy and surrender that the horrible depression associated with my Bipolar 2 has caused.

This realization got me quite motivated. For about 6 1/2 minutes. Then I just got sad. Then numb. Then sad again. Then discouraged. More sadness. And now I am writing about it all.

So how do I get my want back? I assume, as with most things, baby steps. Start small. Day 1 do one cleaning thing, one fun thing, and watch just a little less tv. Day 2 increase that, and so on. My problem is not only resolve, but follow through and commitment. Sometimes I will get all motivated and attempt activity and productivity for a few days, and then I will get either bored, distracted, depressed, or scared and I will stop. I have a SEVERE inability to set goals and actually see them through. This pisses me off. Before my Bipolar 2 symptoms began I was one of the hardest working, most dedicated and driven kids you would ever meet. I have not been that person in a very long time. That makes me angry, and sad. Feels like something else stolen from me by this illness. Another area where control has been lost, and it is such an exhausting fight to get it back.

My only hope right now is the old saying, "the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem". It is true that there are certain periods of time in my life where it is not that I don't want to do things, it is that because of my symptoms I literally can't. But this is a smaller percentage of days than 95% so I need to get off my ass and do something.

Hi. My name is Cristina and I am a TV and Internet addict. I hide in these activities because the real world scares me. I am afraid of failure, and even more afraid of success. I don't think I'm likeable or interesting so I shut myself off in order to avoid humiliation and hurt. I hide away inside my illness and myself because so many years of fighting have beaten me down and worn me out. It is easier to hide and to not try, than to go through anymore rejection, failure, blame, and judgment.

Hi. My name is Cristina and I am sick of hiding and taking the easy road. Whether motivated by lack of focus, motivation, energy, and direction, or by fear; I am tired of it. I have resolve at this moment. I will take baby steps. I will try to keep fighting. And although I have said this before and not followed through that does not mean that I cannot follow through this time. I CAN succeed, and if I slip up I will forgive myself and start over. Because the only failure is in not trying. The only way I truly fail is if I give up. It will take however long it takes, but if I am still trying and fighting then that is success.

I need to remember that most success is not big, huge and quick. It is a series of small successes. A learning curve. A string of slip ups that you pick yourself up and then learn from. I need to practice patience. And I need to be kind to and forgiving of myself.

It's really all I can do.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I don't even know where to start.....

I need to write. But I don't know what to say.

It feels like I am riding a gigantic high-speed coaster all alone. Screaming and begging to get off but they won't stop the ride. Over and over again. Up, down, backwards, sideways, upside down. At top speed. At ridiculous slopes. I can't do it. I can't do it anymore. I need to get off this ride. I am nauseated and exhausted. Please, please, I beg of you. Stop the ride.

Meds messes me up. Lack of meds messes me up. I just don't know anymore.

The uncertainty is bad, but I think it is the lack of control that is the worst. At 15 years of age I lost control and bipolar took the wheel. I lost control of my moods, my energy, my sanity, my diligence, my energy, my motivation, my mind, and my future. Loss of control is a disabling thing. An incapacitating thing. I have been trying to take the wheel back, but regardless of how many positive healthy things I do my mood can go at any time. Regardless of how well I'm doing, 10 minutes or 10 days later my mood could swing and ruin everything.

I have tried so hard, so many times to take back control. I'm just so tired. I'm too damn tired. The loneliness, emptiness, seclusion, and doubt are debilitating. I feel so empty I'm convinced I'm hollow. Like the next depression, mania, or anxiety attack could deflate me like one of those blow up punching clown toys that develops a leak. I feel like a punching clown. As if life, this illness, and the people who refuse to understand have beaten me senseless and left me in a heap in the corner. Like the Wicked Witch of the West, afraid that the next insult, judgment, or setback will be the water that melts me into a useless pool of nothing.

I'm tired of waiting for the bomb to drop. Tired of depending on external events and other people for my sanity, stability and happiness. Tired of this dependence allowing others the control. Control in the form of insults, judgments, rejection, and negativity that can send me into full-blown anxiety or catatonic depression.

I don't know what to do. I feel truly lost. Completely stuck.

I just know that I need to get off this ride.

Please, please I beg of you, stop the damn ride.........