when you can’t be in crisis.

I wish that I could accept support when it was offered to me. I’m engaging in a lot of behaviours, even as I reassure all of my friends that I am completely fine; that I am in a good space to be the support.

Some context is that for the past 3ish months, I have been the main support of some close friends. And I have done as much as possible to do this. For the past month specifically, I have held myself together in order to hold all of them together. And it’s exhausting. It wasn’t until this weekend that I realized I couldn’t keep going like this.

I have what’s called Dysthymia or what some call “High-Functioning Depression” and oh I am so high-functioning. So much that I like to deny it most of the time but I recognize the dangers of that because of the lack of care I have towards myself. For the past month, I have been doing everything at 100% full-throttle in fear that someone may see through a crack or I may have too much time to think. Basically, if I’m not moving forward or being productive, I’m not doing anything worthwhile.

So imagine the dangers of when your friends are in crisis and you put all of your mental strength into supporting them because it’s all you know how to do and then you are running low on steam but have a full time placement (starting tomorrow) AND a part time job and parents to keep happy and friends to reassure. Would you be able to do it all? Probably not…

Yet here I am, trying to do it all. And I am breaking. I have not been in crisis for months…minus one night when my drug use got really bad.

For the first month or so after treatment, I was living with my parents and spent most of my time in bed with little to no energy.  And then I left for the youth shelter where I spent most of my time sleeping in a commons area or searching for jobs…and using drugs. And then I moved back to my parents for 2 weeks and forced myself to get a part time job so that I had a reason to leave the house and I was miserable. And then I moved back into the shelter, worked my job, used almost everyday, and supported my friends. And then I quit my job, began using everyday…basically, got introduced to harder drugs; used to not feel and then crashed so badly that I would use right after. And then I applied for a full time job training/placement program, slept everyday, and tried to cut down on using. Eventually, I got so high that I couldn’t feel my face because it was so numb from being so high…it was terrifying.

And then I got sober because of the job program, because my friends needed me, because I was so tired of trying to numb everything and FINALLY had some goals.

Here is my current list of goals:

  • College in the Fall (2018)
  • Recovery from my eating disorder
  • Housing/Save for an apartment
  • Hold at least 1 job
  • Continue photography
  • Work for at least 1 publication
  • Rebuild my relationship w/ parents
  • Work through trauma
  • Visit my grandfather
  • Stay out of the hospital

Seems pretty easy but it’s actually terrifying how difficult this feels right now. I feel like I’m climbing the side of a cliff. I can’t be in crisis because others need me right now. I hate when people ask me what I need because I honestly don’t know. I can’t express my depressive thoughts because they don’t exist. My passive suicidal thoughts are second nature to me at this point. Nothing is changing but I have to stay okay because I don’t know what else to do.


Here are some webpages that might help you understand what this is like or maybe you can relate to:

What Are the Signs of ‘High-Functioning’ Depression and Could You Have It?

Read This If You Say ‘I’m Okay’ (And You’re Not, Really) Because You Don’t Want To Be A Burden

The Dangers Of High-Functioning Depression And Anxiety

 

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resurrection.

It only seems fitting that as we celebrated the Jesus’ resurrection, I was resurrecting my eating disorder from the grave in which I buried it only months ago. Except I didn’t really bury it, did I?

From the moment my feet hit the ground, I was running. I was trying to move the boulder from the mountain. A grave I didn’t spend enough time on. Instead of burying my eating disorder, I buried myself. Pushed myself inside a crevice. Stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Instead of healing, I found suffering. Instead of sunlight, a black hole. There’s no such thing as beauty here. Silence kept. There was no word to share. No help to be given. Black holes are too destructive. I dug my grave long ago but I didn’t think I was worthy of saving.

The Bible says “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wiped from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town” (Luke 10:9-12)He believes that the power to heal, is in all those who believe. I’ve never believed in healing.

So instead, I have learned how to shrink away. Morph into someone so fragile and small that disappearing seems like the only real option to me. I heard once that God heals through both explainable and unexplainable ways. I guess they meant through science and through prayer. I’ve never asked someone to pray for me; too wary of asking for help – reaching out doesn’t seem to be my thing.

Another way to spell FAITH is R-I-S-K. I heard this in Alpha (Episode 15 | Does God Heal Today?) last night; I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from such an amazing program. Maybe this is something that I can believe in. For me, believing that God has the power to heal through others (both explainably and unexplainably) is a risk. I find it difficult to believe in healing through prayer because I don’t understand how some are chosen to be healed while some are not. In the book of Hebrews (11:1) it says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” 

A risk that I take everyday, is to believe that by the Grace of God things will get better with time. They say that the body heals itself, however it’s all through God. And I hope that through time and the space that I am allowed to embody, I will heal. Keeping hope gives power to believe in the risk-taking that will assure my healing.

I can’t heal without taking risks to better myself everyday. I breathe, pray, and believe that better things are coming.

He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)

hit the restart.

I keep restarting this blog post like one of these times, the magic will fly through my fingertips and I’ll finally get what I’m trying to say onto this page – the answer is that it won’t. No matter how hard I try to be poetic about what I am feeling these days, it comes out as if I just write ‘blah’ over and over again. So I guess this is starting over. And over. And over.

I’ve found some good music recently so that’s cool. A lot of new stuff came out on January 26th which was weird but I’ll run with it. That’s also the day that things restarted again. I left home on January 15th and returned on January 26th. I did a lot of thinking and searching while I was gone. I mean I wasn’t really gone but I was gone. I went to a youth shelter and tried to sort some parts of me out. Except I didn’t really sort anything out other than to realize that I have been pretending for so long that I know exactly what I need and don’t want to give that power to anyone else. And that I’ve been running for a while from anything that might actually help me.

Hard to explain but the only solid diagnosis I can run with right now is my eating disorder. I was never fully diagnosed with depression and my GAD (anxiety) was diagnosed at a very young age. So really, nothing is set in stone because mental health fluctuates with time…as does anything else !! really !!  So now I am home and hoping to get a real solid diagnosis and some direction of what to treat it with. I’ve been throwing towels on a flood FOR YEARS and let me tell you something, it’s NOT working. So I’m looking for something that might work better. Something that might hold.

I’ve been losing faith in myself, my parents, the system and God for a while now. I’m really unsure of where I’m going or what I’m doing right now. I’ve been running from what I think is one answer to another and its just making things worse right now. Nothing is getting better and it’s exhausting and all I do is KEEP IT TO MYSELF. How are people so open with everything except what is really happening???????

This is about the time in a post where I would pledge to something but I can’t because I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring or the next day or the next day. I’m not sure how to live for the day but I sure as heck cannot live for whatever life is going to throw in my face. It’s just not ideal.

I just want to be #livingmybestlife and right now, that’s just taking small steps forward. Kicking ass slowly. 

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(cred)

 

addict? alcoholic? both.

I’m home this weekend for a change. This time it’s different though, I’m not trying to figure out what I want out of treatment and I’m not neck deep in an eating disorder. I am home because I am doing well, I am recovering. And it’s strange, I feel heavy yet light. I feel like my hopes have been lifted, that my dreams are no longer muted.

I’ve been reading the Steps in hopes that I will begin working towards something more. I haven’t been able to say it in a meeting yet. I can’t even fathom saying it to my therapist but I can put it here. Something to look back on in a few years.

Back when I came home in November, my mother had gone through my room and searched for all the things that I had hidden. And when I came home, I found the items that she had not found; the blades and laxatives. So this time, she came to my room and I took it all out, I handed it all over. I surrendered to recovery, whole-heartedly. It was hard. So hard that I wanted to cry or scream a few times. It was when I found the last cigarette that her trust in me really crumbled. She was disappointed and worried; I understood. I had been smoking on and off since grade nine, I was relying on alcohol to get through some days since grade eleven, and I was using marijuana just to cope with the underlying chaos. All of this took a toll on me, all the missing memories, empty wallets. If you thought just having an eating disorder was bad, imagine restricting so hard and then getting high just to eat before coming down and purging just to light another cigarette to ease the empty feeling and drinking to forget it all again. This was my life for a while; on and off for years.

The worst is the justification: “I’m a responsible addict. I’m a responsible alcoholic.”

There is no way to be both responsible and an addict. There is no way to be responsible and an alcoholic. It’s not a lifestyle worth living. It’s fucking hell. It’s planning out your day just to use without being caught or needing to go home. It’s missing social outings because you’re too weak or hungover to move. It’s having to do more and more each time just to numb any feelings. It’s the pain you feel when you come down.

I was warned for years of the dangers behind addictions. I was first addicted to the pain, and then to the numbness. I was never able to believe that I was worthy of anything else but the pain. I still struggle to see that I am worth it on a day to day basis. I was told it was hereditary, and I replied that it “wouldn’t happen to me”. I was the good kid. I was the responsible kid.

Addiction and mental health walk hand in hand. Both are deadly. Both can be silent killers. But they are best friends. At some point, I forgot what it was like to actually feel anything. I’ve missed so much because I was just working to numb the pain; a full time job. Something I couldn’t quit, EVER.

Somedays I am ashamed of what I have done and the fact that I can never pick up a drink without falling down a rabbit hole. I’ve dug myself out as best I can by myself and now I surrender everything to a higher power and begin a journey to feeling. I know I can’t do it alone any longer, too many slips and relapses to point it out. I can only be me; unapologetically. I can’t reminisce for who I was in the past and I can’t worry about who I am going to be tomorrow but just for today, I can be myself.

I was 4 months sober last week. It’s going to a long and hard journey but here I am, doing it.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – 1 John 1:9

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” – James 4:10

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goodbye ed. you are no longer a friend to me.

How? How did I end up here?
Neck deep in my sorrows, drowning in empty tears.
Mind battered with lies and deceit.
How did I not notice for so long?
Why did I continue on this path to self destruction?
You. You with the sharp cheek bones and sunken eyes.
You, with the bony fingers pointed at my body and pale lips kept in a tight smirk.
You, caused me pain instead of happiness.
Broke my spirits down to pebbles.
My thoughts and behaviors no longer ensured my safety.
When I was weak, I was weak because of you.
There was no strength hidden in your words,
My bones were achy, constantly twisting, testing how small I could warp my body.
All I wanted was to disappear but you, you made me stand out.
My body was a battlefield.
I tore my skin and poured sadness onto paper.
Journals filled with the dark tales of how I managed to hold myself together,
as I fell apart almost simultaneously.
You pit my anxiety and depression against each other.
Made the world seem too heavy most days.
Filled my lungs with concrete.
Held me under.
You kept my secrets, buried as deep as the earths core.
I sold my mind to the devil, when all I wanted was to find my soul.
And so my soul aches, ebbing and flowing with sadness.
Thoughts flood the dams, my mind no longer a vault.
You sucked breath from my lungs and nourished yourself with my tears.
Liquid calories are okay anyway.
You stole glances in any reflective surface and absentmindedly touched
Finger to thumb, finger to thumb.
wrists dainty and magical.
You were a death trap.

Masking failure and pain with the promises of accomplishment and happiness.
You weakened my body.
No longer a warrior in your eyes.
I was too weak. To fight you. To please you.
A pain I could not silence.
You awaited my courage and then struck with grief.
Reminded me that my self worth compared to that of a tiny speck of dust.
I was already dead on the inside and you smiled.
You followed me into dressing rooms.
Disappointment filled my ears, wisps of hair grew brittle.
Waiting rooms held secrets.
Shaking and crying, screaming and shame.
Subtle glances or pitied looks.
Darkness always loomed overhead.
Outside, sun shone lightly.
Peaceful.
Waistband held room against skin.
Too much leeway, too much space.
Not enough space.
A disappearing act, I knew too well.
A prized possession I would never hold.
Thumb and finger, too much room.
But room was good. Room meant growth.
Room meant recovery.

 

reasons.

I have struggled with finding the reasons for my recovery recently. It might have been due to the conclusion that being a touring photographer might not be the healthiest & recovery-centred career right now. It might have been the realization that late nights spend on buses instead of sleeping or driving for 7 hours, sleeping in the morning and working late into the evening, isn’t ideal. Maybe in the future but not in the Spring or the Summer or next Fall for that matter. A few years down the road when things are changing fully for the better and I’m no longer holding onto my demons in a way that “protects” my soul.

As I ponder these things, I create a list of Reasons To Recover. Something I should have made so long ago and sure I did, here and there. But this is concrete. This is real. This is why I need to continue to fight for my freedom.

  1. To return to school.

I was in a program that was detrimental to my mental health before this treatment visit. But I had also been accepted to a program to further my craft in digital media – something I so badly wanted to persue. For treatment, I had to withdraw from the program and have to reapply for next Fall. This time has given me the time to ponder on whether or not that is exactly what I want for my life.

2.  Be able to travel.

Something that has been a trigger for so long. Going on vacation has never felt like a vacation with constant thoughts of how to be productive, how to lose weight, how to restrict meals, how to hide my body. All of this energy put into “protecting” myself instead of enjoying what life has to offer. My dreams to travel to the UK and other countries have been put on the back burner for life because of this eating disorder. I know that not eating means I won’t have the energy to exist outside of my hotel room. So I leave this fear behind, and jump into wholesome recovery.

3. Regain interests I have left in the dust.

Yeah, that’s right, I had interests and hobbies once upon a time. Sometimes I forget that someone existed before my eating disorder but it’s true. There was once a girl who twirled in skirts and who smiled to light up a room and doubled over in laughter. And that girl, was me. I used to play guitar and sing all of the time; the radio was just really intense karaoke…I used to play soccer and basketball. I enjoyed snowboarding on days off and walking the dog with my parents. All of these things that I lost interest in because my eating disorder decided what was okay and to what intensity. I want that girl who laughs so hard her stomach muscles ache and twirls in skirts back. I want me back. And I’ll leave my eating disorder in the dust this time.

4. Experience and describe real emotions.

One of the biggest losses of this relapse is that I forgot what it felt like to feel real emotions. I hid behind my hair and sarcastic remarks. I listened to my thoughts when they told me to arrange my place setting properly and eating in alphabetical order and make sure my liquids were at matching amounts. It was exhausting and heart breaking and I saw it as a safety net. Nothing could go wrong if I did these things. I didn’t feel immense sadness or shame or guilt because everything I tried to control could be justified by any thought. I was using my wise mind against itself. Feelings aren’t meant to be buried and forgotten, they are meant to be felt and shown. So why did I try to suppress so much, for so long?

I write these reasons out as I dive back into the worksheets I need to complete. As I take time to think about all I have accomplished even while my demons have tried to silence my thoughts. I am no longer just a diagnosis or walking, talking zombie. I am a human. Almost 20 and still piecing myself back together. It might take some time but at least I’m starting to move forward. Again and again and again.

I will fight for this. 

‘And David danced before the Lord with all his might.’ (2 Samuel 6:14)

pass.

I’m home. Oh boy, I am home. And I am terrified. A 48hr therapeutic pass is not how I wanted to spend the rest of the week but it’s also not something I wasn’t expecting. Yeah I’m struggling. But struggle is just another word for GROWTH. So I guess you could say that’s exactly what I am doing; growing. It only fits that the card I chose earlier this morning in Horticulture was “growth” and what I wrote while I had felt drawn to this card, speak for themselves. That’s the cool thing about vibes and stuff, they really speak to you when you need them to.

I guess it’s the same thing about God, eh? He’s there when you want him, and there when you might not but He doesn’t push His wisdom upon you. He lets you wander without worry or fear but He also lets you make choices that may make life harder. It’s all a learning process. Honestly I’m not processing as I write this post; something a staff member told me to do while I journaled during these next 48hrs.

While I recount today based on when I awoke to now @ 10:30pm, here are some victories I’d like to share and remember:

  • got out of bed and dressed before breakfast
  • wasn’t late for groups
  • took team meeting well and was mature about decision
  • called mom and asserted my needs about needing a ride home
  • figured out 2 days of meals & most of my pass plan for 48hrs
  • owned up to mistakes and told the rest of the community
  • fucking pissed ED off and ate dinner!!!!!
  • talked to mom in car about recovery needs/goals
  • went grocery shopping with mom
  • had snack on time (+extra fruit) cause hunger!!!!
  • felt full & planned on showering but instead did some work and didn’t isolate
  • used “check the facts” skill effectively
  • refrained from body checking in mirror when i went to shower
  • did not body check after shower or follow urges to find scale & weigh myself
  • did my laundry
  • took nighttime meds!!!!

Yes the car ride home was over 2 hours long and it pushed some things back but I still managed cause sometimes that’s what happens and you just gotta roll with the punches!! So yeah, ya gurl is back.

FUcking 4 hours home and the motivation is already building. Also did something cool and reached out to my youth leader, J, about coming by to talk/visit this weekend since I won’t have a pass once I am back!!!!

Also getting my hur did tomorrow morning #recoverygoals