Friday, October 28, 2016

I Am Mentally Ill

This is not a surprise, or shouldn't be. Those that have seen me in the last 20 years have probably noticed the scars on my arms and legs. That's a pretty big clue. Prior to that, people in high school may remember me as a pathological liar, very dramatic, or just awkward.

While some of those scars (which are OLD - like, at least 10 years old) are from the typical instances of self-harm, some (a lot) came about because of a psychotic break around fifteen years ago where I was convinced if I dug through enough skin I'd find my actual exoskeleton because there was NO WAY I could be the same species as the rest of the people walking around, whom I didn't understand.

But that's not actually my mental illness, because it was a temporary delusion caused by a extreme external stress and abandonment. I got better.

What's really wrong with me is depression. And anxiety.

My depression is actually under control. It was such a relief that Welbutrin worked for me. It meant that I was actually suffering from a chemical issue. It wasn't just me being stubbornly sad or (worse yet) right about everything.

My anxiety is more insidious. Unlike my husband, who has generalized anxiety that's pretty much always around, mine will sneak up on me. I can see trends behind what might cause a panic attack, but not the exact formula, because I'm not some kind of mathematician or something.

I can experience a new place if I have enough familiar people around. Or if It's a business transaction where I'm not expected/required to chat with anyone I'm not paying.

I can experience new people if I'm in a familiar place.

But, if the ratios are wrong, my stupid brain refuses. I can't force myself to go, can't breath, can't forgive myself for not being able to JUST BE A NORMAL PERSON.

Once upon a time, drugs acted as a crutch, but I let them control my life and depended on them to function like a normal human. People who knew me about 11-12 years ago probably have trouble conceptualizing me as someone with social anxiety. I used to throw huge parties (familiar place, speed/alcohol/ecstasy/acid/etc. acting as a buffer). I used to hop into any environment ready to have fun.

Today, I'm so shy and awkward until I'm comfortable with people that it takes someone exceptionally kind to put up with me until I warm up.

Last weekend, I was actually (sort of) able to beat my issues. I went to a party for someone I'd like to call a friend, but I think is actually just putting up with me because she's exceptionally kind and being nice doesn't cost her anything. For the first half, I couldn't talk. I sat in my seat, clutching my purse, clutching my husband, gulping drinks. After that, I was able to chat people up, but was more annoying than charming because I was drunk.

Tonight, I missed out on attending a huge party of some acquaintances because, when I drove by, the number of strangers sitting outside of a house I'd never been in caused me to tell Jon that I couldn't do it. Then, I cried on the way home because I was so disappointed with myself while he tried to cheer me up by playing fun music and giving me affection, because he's a good husband.

Unlike my depression, which was pervasive and all-consuming, anxiety doesn't rule my world. And I wasn't always this way. As a child, I was incredibly outgoing. Somewhere along the way, I began falling behind my peers in emotional maturity and was fat - neither of which really invoked friendships with other kids. As a result, every interaction I had straddled the line between hopeful and fearful, which is exactly what my anxiety today feels like (except MORE). Even though I can see how it happened, I can't see a way out of it.

I can go days without it impacting me. I'll confidently make plans, and end up having to flake, which makes people want to make less of an effort with me. 

I guess this is just a venting session because I was really upset with myself tonight. I also guess it's time to make another appointment with my therapist.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ugh, Diabetes - Still?

It's kind of funny. I first created this blog after I found out I had diabetes as a way for me to come to peace with it and myself. However, I've not really talked much about it. Probably because I don't put much thought into it.

My sugar has been stable for a long time. Obviously, I don't pay much attention to carb counting. Once in a while, I'll remember to test my sugar.

Today, I was once again forced to confront it in a way I hadn't in quite a while.

I went on Wellbutrin a couple of months ago. My miracle worker of a doctor recognized a severe and lifelong depression in me and told me that I didn't have to feel that way. What a curious thought: I didn't have to feel the despair that idealized suicidal thoughts and anxiety that made all social interactions nearly impossible without drugs or alcohol. Obviously, it was an option that I'd chosen for a few decades, but I had other choices.

One of the off-label effects of Wellbutrin is a reduction of cravings/binge-eating/appetite. Not everyone experiences it, but I have. It's actually just as freeing as the lack of depression. No longer are food cravings so intense I can't think of anything else. No longer am I falling into food as a cure for boredom. It's freaking lovely. While I haven't lost any noticeable weight (or possibly any, as I stay away from scales to avoid disordered eating), having that level of control is amazing. I'm still struggling to figure out how much food I actually want and over-ordering/buying/cooking, but that's a great problem to be dealing with.

It's actually turned me into the girl who forgets to eat. It's like I've turned into a unicorn.

Which leads to this morning. 

In the past, I've skipped breakfast and still took my Metformin without issue because my sugar was high enough that I wouldn't dip into a dangerous low. Jon and I had a movie to get to at noon, so we rushed out, planning to grab something on the way. Timing was off, so we ended up just going to the theater.

Sometime in the movie, I began feeling headache-y. Then severely nauseous. For those of you without diabetes, that means my body is trying to warn me that my sugar is getting low and to eat something. Being in the middle of a movie, I didn't want to get up and miss some of the plot. Then, I got exceptionally cold. Followed by struggling to keep my eyes open. Followed by shivering.

After the movie was over, I had to give Jon the embarrassing news that I hadn't cared for myself enough and now needed an emergency juice. 

When I was first diagnosed, I developed severe carb/calorie restricting practices (tied in with daily weigh-ins, obsessive food journaling, and blood sugar chronicling) that forced me to monitor my sugar closely in case it got too low. I really don't want to develop those habits again, because it began looking like an eating disorder and was ruling my life. However, it looks like it's time to keep my monitor on-hand and some glucose tabs in my purse. 

Also, eat breakfast, stupid.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I'm Gross

I am a miserable person.

Normally, I can ignore how awful I feel by surrounding myself by other bitter, unhappy people. However, whenever one of them begins to feel better through therapy, medication, self-improvement, etc., I'm reminded of how truly horrible I feel about life in general.

The worst part is, I've felt like this my whole life, with brief chemical interludes interrupting my despair. I'm just this fucked up toad who convinced itself that the world was populated by other bumpy amphibians, but finds out most people are fuzzy bunnies or squirrels or some shit.

I wasn't cut out for life. I'm trying, but I think I've reached the end of my potential. This is as good as it gets.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Where Body Positivity and (My Own) Fat Acceptance Conflict

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to meet with a group of women I share some traits with.

These women were bold, and each had their own fierce style. They were charismatic.

And they were fat.

First, let me talk about the joy it was to be among other fat women. I've had the occasional fat friend, coworker, or acquaintance. This was different. This was a coalition of the clinically obese. This was an association of the adipose. This was a flummoxing of fatties.

For the entire two hours we were gathered, it was constant chatter. Maybe I'm projecting, but it seemed like everyone wanted to talk about the fat issues they've been dealing with, had worked through, or had newly experienced. So much conversation! Mah gawd.

One such conversation revolved around body positivity vs. fat acceptance.

So, agreed. Everyone who has a body should be a body positive activist. As one lady said, everyone has their own body issues. No matter what you look like, there is some part of you that you have issue with.

Truth. Be body positive.

Fat acceptance goes down a layer. Basically, even a fat body is a good body that deserves love.

That one's hard.

So, first: Does my body deserve love? Like, really, does my body deserve love? I guess. I mean, it's the only one I get. So, I love it like I loved my mom. She had her flaws, but I loved her; she was mine. I also hate it like I hate my mom; I can't help but pick at it to expose layers upon layers and many years of disappointment.

I have bad feet; I'm diabetic; I don't have endurance; I have asthma. My thighs not only touch, they keep my feet from touching. My arms are disproportionately big. My breasts are large, but not large enough for my body. I'm not good fat, where I have a scaled up hourglass figure. I'm clumsy. I can't dance because my body and I aren't very good friends.

The problem with fat acceptance is that I'm not only fighting myself, but also public opinion. None of us knows whether I deserve to love my body.

For most people, body positivity is learning to accept yourself. For me, it's that plus trying to get people to stop being disgusted by me.

In my mind, I'm never pretty; I have a pretty face. I'm not sexy; I'm acting sexy. I don't look good; my makeup or outfit is cool. No one can convince me differently because I know how I'm viewed by most of the world.

I honestly don't know where I'm going with this.

Maybe just... It's a constant battle. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose. If I win the battle with myself, then I still have one to fight in the world. If we ever win over the world, I'll still be battling myself.

Regardless, if you ever find yourself with an opportunity to participate in a flummoxing of fatties, I highly recommend it. It's so choice.