Life

Fighting Anxiety

We were driving back from dropping the kids off at my mom’s when my husband says “this was the first anxiety you faced” or something like that. We were on a short, low bridge. I hate bridges, and used to grip his thigh tight when going over them. That was the first bridge I walked across, and we did it randomly when taking walks together. I still have issues going over the bridge into Jacksonville, however. I play games on my phone or close my eyes so I don’t see it. You do what you gotta do, right?

I have a lot of anxieties, which feed into other issues I have. Vicious cycle right there.

I told my psych that my goal is to go to Jacksonville pride in 2018, and that I’m trying to work towards it. I’ve been doing little things here and there to push myself. She told me that she was proud, and that meant a lot.

Now, I’m ready to tackle my next anxiety.

Body hair.

Yup. Body hair gives me wicked anxiety. Correction: MY body hair gives me wicked anxiety.

Story time!

The first summer after I moved to CT from FL, I was signed up for summer camp. The day kind. Well, there were high schools who worked there. Swimming was one of the activities. Now, up until then I had no issues with my body. It never occurred to me that I was fat, or hairy. To me…I was just me. One of the high school girls there changed my life forever with one word: gorilla. She was about 17, and here I was at maybe 10. Sure, I looked older, but that was besides the point. She mocked me while I was in my bathing suit- about my size, and my body hair.

I told my Grandmother that I never wanted to go back there. She told my Uncle, who knew the people that ran the camp. She was fired, but then her words were still backed up. My Uncle told my Grandmother it was time I start shaving. I was told that it would stop the bullying. Never was I told it was natural, never was I told that she was wrong. Just that I should shave. So, I did.

For awhile, I shaved only in warmer months, not bothering when I was in pants. And then one Christmas, my then step-father saw my calf, and asked me why I hadn’t shaved. When I told him it was cold, so I didn’t bother, he laughed. He told me that guys don’t like hairy legs. I can’t recall how old I was, but it shouldn’t matter.

I’ve shaved since. Even my arms. If I go more than 2 days, I get anxious. I panic. I feel disgusting, and dirty. I completely support women not wanting to shave- legs or anything else. I envy them, to be honest.

So, that’s where this comes in.

I shaved day before yesterday. That means I’m on day 2. Goal? 7 days. I plan to go 7 days without touching my razor. We have the Dollar Shave Club subscription, which is amazing. It’s affordable, convenient, and the razors are the best quality. Even so, shaving is time consuming, and I want to be over this aversion to body hair.

Feel free to join me ladies. We got this.

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Life

An Open Letter to my Abuser’s New Family

Dear new family of his,

I’ve been thinking of writing this for months. Words tumbled in my mind over what I could possibly say. What words could even begin to encompass the feelings and thoughts that I wish to convey. And, honestly, I’m still not entirely sure.

I had given up on the hope of writing this. At first, this was meant to be private, sent to only his new girlfriend. At first, this was meant to be a private plea for her to save her girls from his vicious warpath.

And then, I watched a two part autobiography on Elizabeth Smart. I’m sure that you’ve heard of her. But, if you haven’t, google her. Read about her strength, and about the hell she went through. She gave me the words needed, and the courage to not hide away.

I know that you have an inkling of what he’s truly like. Don’t pretend that you don’t. Don’t pretend that you haven’t felt the fear that he’d lash out at you. Don’t pretend that you havne’t felt that shiver of dread when you hear his voice. I’m sure that you’ve also seen the side that he shows most people. The side that makes it so you don’t think people would believe you. The side that makes him seem like a great guy, and so easy going.

He’s not.

And, I believe you.

I wish I could say I simply suffered underneath the fear, the depression, and more for just 17 years years. I wish that finally getting away from him ended it. That I moved on, and let it stay in my past. The truth is, that’s not how my life went.

My 29th birthday is 2 days from now, and I’m still suffering, all these years later. His actions, his lack of compassion, and his words will haunt me for the rest of my life. I will never escape the consequences of a lifetime of knowing him.

In 2013, I was diagnosed with PTSD, something that I’d been suffering with for years, it seems. I was also diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, OCD tendencies, and severe anxiety. Fast forward, and I had a near break down. I was almost to the point of checking myself into a hospital. I went to group therapy, and had binge eating disorder added on to my ever growing list.

Every single one of them can be tied back to him. His voice echoes in my head to this day.

I had my potential stolen from me. I had my life taken. I had my dreams dashed before I even knew what I’d be missing. I wanted to go to Duke University. Instead, I dropped out of high school. I wanted to live a full, fun, outgoing life. Instead, I’m terrified of going out, I’ve never been to a club, I’ve never done things that most people my age have. I missed out on so much happiness because of him.

“You haven’t seen him in almost 12 years, move on.” Oh, I wish I could. I wish I could move on. You have no idea what that would mean to me. When you are raised around someone who devalues everything about you, who is controlling, vile, cruel, and is there all the time? That’s your inner voice.

There’s the nightmares.

There’s the medication to be able to function.

There’s the fear of crying in front of people.

There’s the anger that comes with the memories.

There’s the mourning for a life you never had the chance to live.

There’s the mourning for your dreams.

There’s the lost hope.

There’s the lost faith.

There’s the lack of trust.

You still have a chance, I hope. You still have the chance to get far, far away from him. There’s hope for the innocent lives that he touches. I barely survived to this point, and it’s only a matter of time until he’s responsible for someone’s death. Either by murder, or driving them to suicide.

He has shaped every aspect of my life, and some days I don’t know why I bother trying to reshape it. It’s so hard. It’s incredibly difficult, and painful to try to fight the memories, to try to make it through the day. When the main thing you feel is pain, you wonder what the point is.

My kids push me through.

Save yours from a fate that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Save them from years of pain. Save them from years of self-loathing, from possibly bad coping skills, from searching for the acceptance they’d crave.

Stand up to him, and show him he isn’t the all mighty lord he sees himself as.

Show him that people are willing to put a stop to his abuse.

I used to pray to a God I no longer believe in that a heart attack would kill him. Clearly, I never got my wish. So, give me this. Don’t let anyone else suffer because of him.

Don’t let Robert win.

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Life

I Make Them Uncomfortable

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The rule of them when speaking about mental illness is simple. You don’t. You keep your mouth shut, slap on a smile, and deal with it behind closed doors.

It makes them uncomfortable. It’s hush hush. They like to pretend that it doesn’t exist.

I make them uncomfortable. Because I’m not quiet. I speak up, and I make it loud. I let the ugly monster show it’s face. I don’t play nice. I don’t put on a fake smile as much any more. I talk about what people want to pretend doesn’t exist. I show them we aren’t what they show on television. I show them that we could be anyone you care about.

Sure, they want us to get help. They want us better. That’s what they like to hear about. They like to hear about how Susan down the street with a rich husband was able to take a nice little getaway for her mental health. They like to hear about the hot guy two cubicles down talk about how jogging helped his depression.

Guess what- we aren’t all Susan. We aren’t all some hot guy at work. It gets ugly. It gets painful. You can’t pretend to want us to get help if you won’t support is.

It’s a lonely road because of our forced silence.

I quit that silence, and people don’t like that. People don’t like to hear that I had a breakdown. People don’t like to hear about how I had a panic attack. People don’t like to hear about how I had a binge last night, and nearly threw up. People don’t want to see the truth.

They want easy. They want the other side of the rainbow without dealing with getting there.

You can’t have it both ways.

I’m an addict. I’ll stand up and say it whether you think that’s a “very personal topic” and “needs to be discussed discreetly”. Well, you can fuck right off there, you neurotypical bitch. Addicts are less likely to get help for this reason. We’re less likely to say we’ve relapsed, or that it’s a rough day and we need, oh, I don’t know? Fucking support??

I suffer (yes, fucking suffer) from more than one mental illness. I won’t fake it like your wife there, pretty boy, because “that’s unladylike” or something. I won’t hide behind closed doors while breaking down alone because society is so damn selfish and lacking in empathy they’re uncomfortable with the concept that sometimes a pill and talking doesn’t cut it.

There’s something I noticed lately. The more I posted about recovery in any way- the less people interacted with me. The more I posted information about things that effect my life in a massive way- the less involved they were in my life.

Smile, don’t be depressed. Do yoga. Exercise. Go jogging. Paint.

But god fucking forbid you talk. God fucking forbid you work on erasing the very dangerous stigma around mental illnesses. Because that would make people come out of their little bubble of ignorance. And they like that bliss.

Pop, mother fucker.

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Life

Hello, sailor

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I’ve mentioned before how much I suck at relationships. Pretty much of all kinds.

In 2008, I met Anthony at work. He was the one training me. At the time, I was in an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship. Just 2 weeks later, and me and my cat were packed up, and living with him. He’s been through so much shit with me it’s insane.

From day one, our relationship was looked down on. Why? Because I was 19, and he was 42. Simply from them looking at us, they judged. We were called disgusting, people would glare, leave the line we were in, and I’m sure people talked among themselves.

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That’s our very first picture together.

He’s dealt with my highs, my lows, the days where I want fuck all to do with anyone, and everything in between. Talking about putting up with someone, man.

On November 15, 2013- I remember because it’s the day before my birthday- I was finally given diagnoses that made sense. Before then I was scrambling. I told him what my therapist had told me, and he didn’t even blink. He knew life would get harder before it got better. I can barely put up with myself, yet he does it, and has for over 9 years.

For 4 months after my rape, I didn’t hold his hand, I don’t remember kissing him, or sleeping curled up next to him like I had for years before. Not once did he get upset with me. He let me go at my own pace, and still does. I wasn’t big on physical contact before that, and it just made it worse. He understood how it effected my anxiety, and to this day, if I see a man in a military uniform, I freak. We were in a gas station, and about 5-10 came in. I told him I couldn’t do it. He simply handed me the keys, told me to breath, and that he’d be out with our drinks in a minute. He pushes me to be more, but never, ever, does he push me out of my comfort zone.

I can sit here and know with 100% certainty, that if he hadn’t saved me from that relationship, I wouldn’t be here right now. I wouldn’t be alive. He literally saved my life. Still does.

I’m on birth control for migraines. That’s $10.
I’m on thyroid pills because I only have half. That’s $10.
I’m on Trazodone because I don’t sleep well. That’s another $4.
I’m on Vyvance for binge eating. That’s $50.
I’m on Viibryd for anxiety/depression. That’s another $50.

Those all get refilled the beginning of the month. That’s nearly $125 just for me. Thankfully, my birth control and thyroid meds are 3 month supplies. That’s not including my copious amount of doctor’s visits- primary, therapy, and dermatology. One appointment is a $12 copay, plus gas.

It all adds up. I have the worst luck when it comes to health, and he just shifts life to work around it. I’ve spent years saying I’m sorry for things that I had no control over, and I still do. He doesn’t need me to, though. He gets that I get worn out, he gets that I get overwhelmed, and he gets that half the time I can’t even explain to him what’s going on in my head.

I spent ages hiding that something was wrong. I spent years pretending that I didn’t need help. That’s what you do, right? Because being mentally ill is seen as wrong, or dangerous. He’s the first person that’s truly seen me at my worse in real life. My online friends have seen it like that- but never the need to curl up with my stuffed pig, Herbert, put in my headphones, and squeeze my eyes shut.

I’m still fucked in a lot of ways, but I’m better than I was. I don’t feel as broken as I once did.

I’ll never be completely okay. I’ll never know what it’s like to just live without having to plan and overthink, but I have him to help with that. He lets me ramble, and pulls me back when needed.

He bought me a necklace with an anchor and it says ‘I refuse to sink’. He’s my lifeboat.

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Life

Healthier Living

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If you know me, then you know me and energy drinks. They’re my security blanket so to speak. I don’t want to fathom how much I’ve spent on them in the last year alone, let alone from the time that I started drinking them (at 17!). Many times you can find me with a Monster or a Rockstar in hand.

It’s a habit. Every shopping day, we get gas, grab us energy drinks and a snack, get the kids their drinks, and their snacks. I have a bad day, and we have a few extra dollars, he’ll stop on the way home and get me one.

They don’t even give me energy, to be honest. I just like the flavors.

We are working on getting healthier now that his garnishment is over. Many times we would buy what was cheap (and unhealthy) to get as much as we could. Now we can focus more on health.

I know there are things that I shouldn’t eat because of anxiety, I just learned there are foods to avoid for PTSD, and there are foods I should avoid because of my hypothyroidism. There are also foods I should eat. Yet, those lists have been largely avoided. “Life is short!” I would say “I want to enjoy this!” I would cry. Yet, I feel like shit. My mental health hasn’t been improved by this mindset, and neither has my weight.

He’s 52 as of this year, as well. We both want to be strong and healthy for our kids. I sat down and made a list of foods to avoid, and foods to avoid. We’ll work on eating the foods in the house, but only buying limited amounts again for the kids. Anakin is thin, and needs the calorie rich foods, so we don’t really limit him. We do try to focus on ‘hidden nutrients’ in foods, though.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Coffee and other caffeinated drinks
  • Candy
  • Alcohol
  • Hot dogs
  • Sausage
  • Processed foods
  • Fast foods
  • Refined sugars
  • Refined flour

Now, I know saying I’ll never touch these foods again is laughable. I will try, though. I quit smoking, and I haven’t touched cigarettes since. What’s so different about this? Having my husband’s support is a huge help.

Foods to Eat:

  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Bananas
  • Milk
  • Oats
  • Cheese
  • Soy (limit for thyroid)
  • Nuts (especially Brazil nuts)
  • Peanut butter
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Leafy greens
  • Legumes
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits
  • Brown rice
  • Eggs
  • Whole grain bread
  • Tuna
  • Greek yogurt
  • Beans
  • Seaweed
  • Shellfish
  • Berries
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Broccoli

Changing from an unhealthy lifestyle, to a much healthier one is hard. Sugar is addicting, for one. However, bettering our lives is more important. And how can I want my kids living healthy lives if we can’t do the same?

I’ll still allow myself alcohol for like my birthday, or New Years, but that’s about it.

I just took the last sip of my last Redbull.

Wish me luck, my fellow bloggers.

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Life

Trying

Impulse is something that has always been an issue with me. Not even gonna go into detail on how that’s gotten me into shit in the past. No need.

I’m not the best with money. I didn’t even know ‘excessive spending’ was something that was common along people with borderline personality disorder. Apparently, it is. I do try. I really do. I try to be smart about things. And the truth is, I’m not. I want to spoil everyone around me. I know it’s a flaw.

I’m trying to work on it even more now. I’m trying to be smarter. However, coming face to face on how I fuck up constantly isn’t fun. I put myself down daily. Always have. Then when something comes up that just adds to that, I feel worse. I know that no one is perfect, and that people make mistakes. I totally get that.

When you’re raised with things drilled into your head, they stick with you. For example, needing to do things perfectly, or not making problems. Shit I am pretty good at.

Now I need to suffer the consequences of a shitty coping mechanism that I started who knows when. I need to be an adult and give up on things I really want in order to pay for my mistakes. I want 2 tattoos after I graduate group, and I have to put them off now. I fucked up, and now I have to deal with the negative reactions.

I’m not saying that I won’t whine about it. I’m not saying I won’t get pissy. I will. Part of me never aged past being a child. And that part comes out at times. I whine. I pout. *shrugs*

Tackling all your problems at once is hard. I can’t turn to another ‘unhealthy’ habit to deal with the strong emotions of fixing another.

I can’t eat to deal with money shit.

I can’t shop to deal with facing my binge eating.

I can’t drink to deal with everything. More like shouldn’t.

I can’t cut to deal with strong emotions that I never learned to process.

I can’t get high just to not care.

When you finally come clean and admit that you know that you shouldn’t be doing things, and that you want to get better…you feel guilty for even wanting it for a split second. You feel like a failure for just wishing for one of them for a moment. And then you want one because you feel like a failure.

It’s a vicious cycle.

I know that I’m making progress, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have my bad days. Fuck, I have more of those than I’d like to admit. My mind is constantly going, and it’s exhausting.

I’m always scared of not doing things right. I’m scared of fucking things up, because that’s just what I do.

I go to bed and the house isn’t as clean as I’d like it, I feel lazy. I go to bed and the dishes aren’t done, I beat myself up. I could go on, and on.

I know there’s no ‘quick fix’ for the shit that’s wrong with me. I know that I can’t just snap my fingers and magically be a little bit more okay. I know I can’t avoid things forever. It’ll beat me down more than it has already.

For so long I hid how bad things really were. I was terrified to be honest. I was scared to admit how scared I was. I never told people when I was suicidal. I never told people when I was breaking inside. I never told people when I wanted to throw up because I was so disgusted with myself. I never told people about how I don’t know how to process emotions. Do you have any idea how tiring that is? Having everything on your shoulders, watching everyone smile around you, and you faking it? You smile because you should be happy. You smile because that’s what expected.

People always question what people have to be depressed about. What do they have to be anxious about. Why can’t they just move on from some event. Why do they let memories effect you now?

I wish I could turn off depression. I wish I wasn’t so fucking anxious all the time. About everything. I wish I didn’t let shit from the past bother me. There’s no off switch. There’s no goddamn erase button.

When a neurotypical person tries to tell someone with a mental illness how they should feel, it’s disrespectful. We’d love to be able to be ‘normal’. We’d love to function without medication, or therapy. Some of us can, and that’s fucking awesome! Some of us can’t, and we don’t deserve any less respect than anyone else.

Mental illness has been something that’s been hush-hush. You don’t talk about that. You don’t admit to it. You smile. You fake it. And you deal with it in private. That’s a big part of the problem. The stigma surrounding this. Hollywood gladly uses mental illnesses for a plot point, they gladly make a star anorexic to add drama. The news uses it to explain why white men commit acts of terror.

And then we’re seen as dangerous. We’re seen as unstable. We’re seen as lunatics. We should be locked up. We shouldn’t be parents. We shouldn’t do this. We shouldn’t do that.

It makes people like me afraid to come forward. I could have been dealing with this years ago, but everything I saw around me warned me not to. Told me to push it down, and to keep quiet.

I couldn’t anymore. There was so much pressure building inside me that I exploded. I couldn’t add anymore pain or lies to what I was already holding on to. I couldn’t keep secrets that were only doing more harm than good.

In high school, I could walk all over town. Crossing streets, walking in neighborhoods I didn’t know, and hanging out at the park after dark.

I’m 28 years old. I cannot cross the street myself. I cannot be outside my house in my own backyard at night without panicking. I can barely walk in my own neighborhood.

As I get older, the worse I get. The worse I get, the worse I feel. It’s got to stop somewhere.

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Life

I Don’t Know

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Today in group, I knew no one. I had a different therapist, and different people. And still, I opened up. That’s a major improvement for me.

I talked about where my PTSD came from.

I talked about shit I want to forget.

I told them something only a handful of people know.

I gave advice. I spoke without being asked to. The therapist even noted it was excellent advice that he’d never thought of. That made me feel really good.

I’m the only one with borderline personality disorder in either group. So, every time if comes up, doc refers to me. I’m by no means an expert, and I make sure to always add ‘for me’ when I start. I have insight that he doesn’t, as I live it, but man. It’s draining. Thankfully, it doesn’t come up all that often.

Once doc asked why I don’t like going outside. I told him simply ‘there are people out there’.

When the female therapist took over, we worked on some techniques to get us through rough spots. She asked how I deal with being in public.

Her:  When you’re out, what do you do if it’s busy?

Me: I cling to my husband.

Her: What’s your thought process?

Me: I don’t want him to go far…?

Her: But there’s more to it, what is it? Why keep him close?

Me: Because if he goes to far people get close?

Her: Keep going.

Me: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Her: Why don’t you want people close?

Me: I don’t like people being close to me?

Her: But why? What do you think about in that moment?

Me: I don’t? There’s no thoughts going through my head. I just do it. I don’t like people being close.

Her: Why?

Me: ….Because I don’t like people in my personal space?

Like. I get what she was trying to do. But wording things differently won’t change my answer. I want to work through my shit. I want to be a halfway normally function human. I do, but that’s not gonna do me much good. Help me work on the issues we know I have, and I’m pretty damn sure other things will get worked on in the process.

Teach me how to not focus on the shit from my childhood. Teach me how to deal with my anxiety at the core. All my issues are connected- I know that.

I just want to be able to function. I want to have a life. I don’t know what it’s like to not worry. I don’t know what it’s like to be able to just live. That’s all I want.

I start Viibryd on Saturday, and I hope that it helps. Have any of you tried that? If you have, what were your experiences?

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