vacant

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i used to love the blog https://fifty2letters.wordpress.com/.  i miss it sometimes, like a weird form of internet kinship of people who have never spoken but are the only ones speaking. only ive stopped speaking, too.  not for reasons like hers (she completed her project, for better or worse… maybe she has another blog somewhere now, who knows).  ive stopped because im not suffering horribly and i dont know how to talk about things when they are only kind of miserable to sometimes ok.  actually i sort of hate when people talk about being sort of miserable and talk about being ‘mildly depressed’. i dont know why, im kind of a shitty person i guess, but it just frustrates me.  so i silence myself.

im sitting on a panel representing students at a mental health conference next week.  i am dreading it, as per usual.  im not sure why i always agree to do these things.  i dont like doing them. and someone from the CFS will be there too, which is awkward since we seem to have this completely unneeded dislike of each other. lest the student movement work together. (oh left, always so divided…).

jon left and work feels like chaos though its really not much different i just hate the project im working on. and i shouldnt, its theoretically in my ballpark.

sam’s kidneys have failed and shes going into the hospital in a little over a week. she is probably the strongest person ive met, maybe too strong for her own good.  she never complains. she never feasters in her own depression, somehow. i worry about her a lot.

Sometimes i think about writing letters on here, like Mara did, but I dont have anyone to write them to.  no one has died. theres no one to fill in that i dont have the ability to fill in (though i tend not to bother). i think the construct might help me have things to say though. I dont know.

i feel like drinking.

im actually really unhappy they discontinued my favourite liquor. actually they didnt discontinue it, canada just decided to stop selling it. i have a giant bottle i bought in the states but its going to run out.

i feel like being drunk.

i feel like feeling nothing and loving everything and everyone and not caring about anything but everyone. i miss when that was a thing i didnt associate with being raped.

i feel like feeling safe.

i miss feeling safe. that doesnt come back.

new shiny wife

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I’ve been gone. I could ramble about that but theres no reason for it, so I’m just going to skip over it and act like it never happened.

Jon moves tomorrow. his last day of work was friday. i feel sick about it. I keep having dreams where the world is ending (literally) and for some reason I’m at work and like trying to save it. its not a very well masked dream. or nightmare, i guess. im sad. im so so sad. and terrified. we are completely flying blind without a full time ED.

speaking of which.
i was offered the ED position; almost took it. ultimately, through many weeks of extreme distress, turned it down. my therapist thinks its a good thing. i do too, but it enrages me e that it is a good thing. im so tired of being sick. im so tired of not being normal. im so tired of not being able to take a giant promotion because im me.

in other news, i moved. on april 1st. i stopped living with brandon. or anyone, actually. i live y myself in a too expensive apartment in the north end under donna and kale. i really, really like it. we go to value village and the far away cheap grocery store every week. we alternate who has who over for dinner. we joke that i am kales second wife. im shiny and new so he listens to me. but i have my space and no one is in it and sometimes thats really nice.

but jon is leaving. and i dont do well with change. and this might not go well alone. so maybe we will see.

my parents are in china. they cant communicate because China sensors all things google, but i think they are having a good time. who wouldnt, really? my dad is going to some clinical trial in arizona after they get home. he seems to be feeling fine. thats all you can ask for, really.

i’d planned to actually write something but kale and i need to leave in 20 minutes and im in my pjs with bedhead, so i suppose ill go deal with that. im sure ill be back to cry and mope on monday. bipolar me doesnt handle losing support systems well.

“Passively suicidal is your baseline”

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My therapy session on Monday ended with that sentence. “You sound passively suicidal, which if we are being honest is kind of your baseline. So it sucks, but it’s not crisis mode.”

I don’t know how one is supposed to take that, although its completely true. It just sort of feels like the problem in mental health care. “Ok, so you have cancer, but its only stage 3. So it sucks, but it’s not crisis mode.”  Somehow I don’t think people say that.

So. I’m sure everyone who pays attention to academic news, feminist issues, or hell, just watches the news really, has heard about the major scandal at the Dalhousie school of dentistry. My job places me somewhat in the periphery to middle of the whole debacle. A lot of press statements, media commentary, riding fine lines. For those of you who aren’t familiar, a group of 4th year dentistry men had a facebook group in which they made ‘jokes’ about chlorophorming female classmates so they could fuck them, had polls on who they would “hate fuck” and generally made a lot of rapey comments. Public outrage has ensued, particularly because the students worked in the public clinic – ie, with chloroform, on the public.  Public doesnt like how the school is handling it, everyone is commenting on it.  the canadian dentistry board has commented on it, for christ sake.

And this is my job. Politics, post secondary education, students. This is my job.  And it is unbelievably triggering. which feels like such a cop out.

I dont even know how to talk about it. ive been the victim of sexual assault and now talking about sexual assault makes me queasy?

—-

I’m fighting with my mother, of all people.  I havent been answering my phone. then my brother emailed me, and it happened that shortly after i chose to look at my phone. so i emailed him back, and then called her. and apparently im a terrible person because i couldnt even deign to tell her that i was ok, but id email my brother. and “obviously im fine” because im “hosting a party” tomorrow. My party, being having 4 people over, all of whom I would describe as my best friends, all of whom Ive gone to bawling because I thought I might kill myself. But you know, I can go “party” so im fine and just being ever so melodramatic.

I honestly want to punch her. I cant help it. I really do.

Speaking of which, my father was a dick over Christmas. Im not going to get into it, it was mostly butting heads but it was just.. I just cant. I need to not deal with them.

Brandon is gone for another 3 days.  Its sort of nice. Its probably sort of dangerous. I dont know. Passively is the word of the day, I suppose.

I bought mini quiches and egg rolls and crap for tomorrow. I dont know why. its 5 people.

forcing myself to deal with other people. food is some sort of buffer. here, eat this, be distracted. dont ask me things. lookit, red lipstick and coordinated outfit. im fine. so fine. not like that time i went psychotic and didnt brush my hair for two months. but you didnt know that because i didnt leave my house then, either. whoopsie, dont mind me, haahaha have a mini quiche.

—-

Jons leaving work.

Im probably going to have to quit.

did I mention Ive stopped sleeping?

I’ve watched 2 seasons of Gilmore Girls and 2.5 seasons of Ink master though, so Ive got that going for me.

Rocking this living life to the fullest thing. Rock-fucking-ing.

It’s World Suicide Prevention Day.

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Most of you who know me know this is a cause I’m not so quiet in advocating for, and here is why:
-Globally, suicide in the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15-29
-Globally, more people die each year from suicide than murder and war combined.
-One person takes their life by suicide every 40 seconds.
-For every completed suicide, 20 others attempted

Please take the time to learn the warning signs, and make the effort to reach out to those who are in need. People do not die of suicide, they die of despair and hopelessness. We owe it to one another to take any action we can to stop that.

If you are suffering, please tell someone. Tell a friend, a family member, a mentor, me or a random stranger on the internet. Reach out to someone, anyone. The situation cannot become worse if you are already at this point.

Communally, we must come together to improve. Unlike other illnesses, this is one that both individuals and our community have the ability to change.

Try.

flash and back

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its been a long time since i’ve written something worth writing.
i think that’s been the hardest part; the loss of my own voice.

i picked up a mug i made at clay cafe this week. i apparently painted it in early september. i have no memory of it, even after seeing it. but i wrote my name on it, and its a pattern i was drawing on everything for awhile. its a nice mug. its the little reminders of insanity, you know? it says ‘get well’ on the bottom. i feel a strange comfort and unease when i drink out of it.

people keep asking me to speak places. on stigma, or living with mental illness or disability policy. like i have something to say. like i have an opinion. like i know something. did i used to know something? was there something i used to have to say? i dont want this anymore. i want to stay down here, in my mess and my discomfort and not have anyone notice or judge me. i dont want to get up in front of people and talk. i dont want to be seen as someone with answers. i wish i could be silent.

i see things, sometimes. when im typing on laptops and i can see the open word document that isnt there. the scrambling pace of clicking keys that i know aren’t currently moving. the intense sinking feeling of panic in my chest; the thoughts rushing through my head. the frantic, desperate depression.

grounding techniques they say. 5 things in the room with you, 4 things you can hear, 3 you can touch, 2 you can smell….

im getting flashbacks of being psychotic.
what a fucking weird sentence.

i get them from the rape, too, but those arent nearly as disturbing. i get those in public all the time. almost every time we go to the bar, really. i just need a couple minutes and i can keep going.

but not these. these just break me. these make me fall on the floor and cry.

it doesnt really make sense, does it?
this lives inside me. its settled there, buried. but i keep it. it doesnt leave. its mine.
it is legitimately my greatest fear, and i always know its there.
waiting.

and the shittiest part is, that its set off by stress. so its always going to be like this; its always going to be tragedy turn psychotic meltdown. im never just going to have a bad thing happen. im going to have a bad thing happen and then be completely non functional, altered states and inconsistent understandings of realities.

how do you move through the day with that?

im moving forward. Im making it through the class I’m in. I still cant look at the studentsNS work… its such a bad trigger. its awful. ive developed an intense phobia of a stack of paper.
theres nothing that makes you feel weaker. honestly.

i made soft pretzels today. or tonight.. or this morning, i guess. my sleep schedule is messed; trying to pull an all nighter to correct it. the pretzels are good. new things are good. food and step. food and step.

everyone keeps telling me how much better i am.

thats all, i guess.

the flip side

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I’ve been messed up for awhile now. Really, seriously, morosely messed up. I’ve felt it in my bones, in my soul, in the pressure of my eyelids over my too dilated pupils.

and I’ve written. I’ve written all the bad, scary things that live within me. I’ve written the the shit no one talks about because it is fucked up, incomprehensible, and feels stupid and small yet vast and cavernous at the same time. I’ve written about all these things that are detracting from the life I want to lead. That are pulling me apart from the inside out.

But I haven’t written about the rest. The good, the normal, the decent… I have those too. Sometimes I don’t recognize them, or sometimes they simply cannot compensate enough for the bad and scary, but I have them, just the same as everyone else. They are the fragments of the life I know that I’m fighting for. Because I am fighting… thats what all of this is. Its the constant desire for betterment; a blind faith in something not yet experienced, a life not free from symptoms but managed, understood, and contained.

I lose this belief sometimes. Not in the fact that it exists (I know it does. somehow.), but in my own capabilities to achieve it. I know I am working as hard as anyone can work, but I am not patient. It is hard to be just scraping by for so long. To be entirely dependent on a support system of other people to ensure you make it through the day, hour, minute. And there is nothing I can do but try. So we move forward, inch by inch, through sheer force of will and the strength garnered from gracious others.

But the fact of the matter is, for all my dark and morbid, or my psychotic and colourful, there’s been a semblance of regular life. And I think, honestly, this is the part people on the outside struggle with the most– the inability to reconcile the words of a seriously depressed/manic/suicidal/whatever person, with that of a person continuing to lead an apparently functional life. You’re one or the other; you’re sick or you’re healthy. You’re perfectly normal or you’re so insane anyone who looked at you would notice. I think this is something I suffer from myself… like if I can do anything at all, I’m not that sick and there’s so many people who are sicker than me because I can still do such and such and real sick people couldn’t get through that. So I should just suck it up and get through it and stop complaining, because somebody somewhere is really sick, and I’m just failing. Stigma’s a bitch.

So I’ve decided to talk about the normal. The flip side. The bits and pieces that fill my day while I’m busy being bipolar. This is my good.

PEOPLE.

I have been moving forward. And although that choice is mine and mine alone, it’s been made with the help of many others – some of whom realize it and some of whom do not. And yet I’ve never written a thing about them. So here goes.

1. My family
My parents are extremely invested in my well being. I am 27. They not only let me, but encourage me to go home for weeks at a time when I’m not well. They drive me to doctors appointments, they pay for my prescriptions, they cook my meals, they drag me around on errands with them so I’m forced to leave the house. My dad got me to take daily walks on trails when my pills were making it hard to move without getting dizzy. They don’t push, they don’t yell, they don’t try to make sense of it. They just try to be supportive and to get me help. I am unbelievably lucky.

But aside from all that, my family.. like the whole thing… is really close. We have dinner every Thursday night out at my parent place- me, my sister and her husband, my brother and his wife and their two kids. Every week. So we all get together, I get at least one full, balanced meal a week even when I’m too gone or too broke to make one myself, and I get to be in a room full of people who dont give a shit if I didnt manage to get out of my pajamas or shower that day. And my brother’s kids. I love those kids. They just don’t give a shit. It’s really hard to see absolutely no hope for the future when a 3 year old is asking you to be their friend. It just is. It doesnt fix it, or negate it, but for those 10 seconds, it helps a little bit.
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2. The Poop Circle

This is the ever so affectionate name I gave our circle of friends. There’s apparently a bird that poops in a circle and lays its eggs in the middle. If the egg is inside the circle, it protects it as it’s own; should the egg roll outside the circle, it no longer recognizes it as it’s own and attacks it. Seemed accurate.

Anyway, theres about 15 of us, give or take. We all invite each other to everything, everyone makes an effort to include everyone in plans. Everyone made an effort to invite me to things even when I was ruining everything by crying in the corner or having panic attacks at the fair. I have friends who sat in hospital waiting rooms with me. I have friends who answered the phone at 5 am and talked to me while I was literally psychotic and they had no idea I was even bipolar. I have friends who will drop everything and help me, if I really, honestly need it.

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Brandon, the roommate who actually worrys about my well being.

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Sometimes they get me to put on make up, even.

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Kale waiting with me in the ER.

3. My thesis advisor

Angie. Angie is the only reason I have gotten through this year in tact. Angie fought for me well above and beyond the call of duty. Angie helped me get my medical deferrals when I was too sick to do it myself. Angie met me over and over again, talked me through things, calmed my anxiety. Shared experiences. She made me feel ok. She made me feel like even though I may have had a massive mental breakdown, I was still smart, and still belonged in school, and was still the best in my class. She helped me when she could have easily let me slide, fail, or leave. She pushed me when I couldn’t do it for myself.

4. My therapist

Ok, so maybe this is stupid because he’s my therapist, aka I pay him and it is his job, but I have had a lot of shitty mental health professionals in my life so I’m counting it. Matthew is awesome. He gave me is cell phone number for emergencies. His actual cell phone number. And he answered it at 10pm on a Saturday when I ran home from a party, everyone else I knew was drunk and I was holding a knife and a bottle of pills. He fucking answered.

5. Eddie

Eddie is a random I met on OkCupid, but who lives in another country and thus remains a total random. And this is weird because I know he will read this. But anyway, I talk to Eddie more or less daily in the early morning hours, about nothing, or something, or somewhere in between. I don’t feel like he judges me. He’s interesting and distracting and he helps me get through the night, every night. I’m unclear if he realizes this.

6. Jon

Jon was my boss at StudentsNS, but since I had to… shall we say leave?… that position, he’s just my friend now. and that’s pretty killer. because you know what? He hired me, saw me have a mental breakdown and screw him over, and he called me up and was like I want to be friends, lets get a drink. And you know what, that made me feel awesome. That is awesome. Jon is awesome.

This is my support system. These are my people. They are many, and they are awesome. I couldn’t ask for better.
Some of them know how bad it is, and some would be shocked.

Sometimes having a support system like this is enough– you always think it would be when you’re down and entirely alone (I have been there before), but in reality, there are somethings a support system can’t do. I do my best, they try their hardest, and with any luck we will make it to the other side in tact. But whatever happens, I am someone to all of these people. And that means something.

paralyzed

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it’s 3 am. I’ve stopped bothering to try to be on a normal schedule.

I haven’t written anything in awhile; I feel like I have nothing to say. The weeks have been up and down and a little topsy turvy. I had trouble leaving the apartment for awhile, I went to my parents for awhile. I made it to Nocturne (the art festival) and to my friend Nicole’s birthday party. I started some class work. I stared blankly at my thesis. I had a panic attack. I cried. I’m strongly considering taking the fail just to avoid having to go through the pages of text that now only remind me of being in hysterical, psychotic disrepair, and being raped. Sadly, in this context, those are actually two separate and concretely different events.

I can’t look at it. I have to write maybe 5 pages. I have already written the other 150. I have already defended it in front of the department I already went to the national conference and won a national award. It is good research. No one has done it before. It is incredibly publishable and Angie has been pushing me to edit it down for publication submission since we were half way through the ethics debacle. I worked hard. I worked so, so, so hard on this thing. I got threatened with the criminal code. I wrote a 200 page rebuttal. I fought an ethics board and won. I did the work, I know the research. I did this. I did it. I did it better than everyone else and I cant write five damn pages because looking at it makes me panic so bad I sob in public.

It has nothing to do with my thesis. My thesis is good. My thesis is a master’s level thesis. Its the bull shit. its the association of being broken and unable to cope. Its the memory of staring at my computer screen for hours, fingers aching to make minor edits while having a mixed episode. It the sudden realization that the words I was typing didn’t make sense next to one another, it’s that moment where reality struck just long enough to call a crisis line. It’s the unabashed truth that that I went crazy in ways I’m not ready to deal with yet.

I’ve got 10 days to have this thesis finished or I fail it. I’ve gone through all the medical deferrals they can give me. This is it. How do you put that all aside and write? Why cant I put that all aside and write?

I shouldn’t be here yet. I’m not ready to be here yet.