Those of you that have been with me here on WordPress since the birth of this blog are already familiar with the rare connective tissue disorder I was born with: Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) aka Brittle Bone Disease.

As I started writing this blog, I realized I wanted to explore the relationship between chronic illness and mental health. I wanted to share how the two have blended in my own experience. To an extent, I’ve done that, though not as much as I’d like. And when I found out about the BPD diagnosis, I began to look deeper at how my medical condition has been a factor in my development of “BPD symptomatology”.

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The first therapist I went to see in 2008 was more of a general counselor at the university. Her specialties were not relevant to my mental problems. But it was because of her that I was able to accept the fact that I’ve dealt with a lot of traumatic experiences.

“Your mother has been abusive to you P,” she said quietly, “and on top of that, you’ve had to deal with a lot of medical trauma. Give yourself some credit! You deserve it. Don’t you think?”

I’ve always refused the thought of being a “trauma survivor”. In The Buddha and the Borderline, Kiera Van Gelder says something I completely connect to: “And while I still resist seeing myself as a victim of trauma, it’s becoming clear that I have some lingering unresolved issues…”

Lingering and unresolved. Don’t we all have some of the lingering and unresolved?

I think about what I deal with on a day-to-day basis–the triggers, the anxiety, the high-voltage electric current of emotions and suicidal ideations. I start to connect things. For example, I’m easily triggered and flinch with certain things that remind me of past fractures. If my brother does a sharp turn while pushing me in my wheelchair, my heart leaps, then stops. And I instantly get a chill up my spine. When I protest, he reassures me by saying, “Don’t worry. I got this shit Shorty. How many years have I pushed you?” I know he won’t drop me or let me fall, but my reactions are like clock-work despite my best efforts. I’m beginning to think I may have a form of complex post traumatic stress (C-PTSD), something very common with those who also have BPD (borderline personality disorder).

I think of these last seven months.

When February hit, I was already suicidal again. But then I came down with Bell’s Palsy. And then I broke my T-Rex arm less than a week after playing a prank over at Monkey Man’s apartment. All hell went loose in my head after that. I mean, the Pretty Little Demons had their way with me, leaving a wreckage in my head. I’m glad and lucky to have survived this last “episode” thus far. And though it feels like it’s lessening, it’s far from over. I’m not out of hell yet; I’m just in the suburbs now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to drive farther out of it when I start therapy Thursday (yeah, we rescheduled yet again).

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It hit me hard, the fracture. Those first two months after the fracture coupled with Monkey Man L’s death were too much. And it hit me not so much because of the physical pain. I deal with chronic pain; it fucks with your life, but it is what it is. And what’s funny is I can talk about that pain with people but I can’t talk about the mental/emotional pain even with those closest to me like my brother.

So what hit me most about the recent fracture was the inability to do certain things on my own, things I’ve grown accustomed to doing. I’m pretty independent and mobile despite the physical limitations, so not being able to do things as simple as getting into the shower on my own ( it was hell waiting on my mom to help me wrap my cast in a bag and carry me in everyday), plunged me to the bottom quicker. I hadn’t broken a limb since I was sixteen, so even though I’ve fractured dozens upon dozens of bones, it all seemed new.

It’s amazing how quickly we forget the intensity of the pain once it’s gone just as we forget we ever experienced joy when in the midst of deep depression. I also find it amazing how a new life seems to emerge out of these deep dark cracks in our lives. Mine has many, like the Grand Canyon. I don’t know what life I’m in at the moment. Life number ten or eleven?

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Anyway, as I mentioned in Whiskers and Lashes, I’ve had a ton of cartooning ideas milling around my head but the Mouse hasn’t been able to catch one, even with my rebirth and the PLDs quieting down some.

One of the ideas I have is a little comic strip explaining OI, like “OI 101: Adventures of Mr. Healthy Bone and Mr. Brittle OI Bone” or something silly like that. Then I started thinking about the mad anxiety I’ve been having lately–the damned morning panic attacks that have been waking me.

Little P and Little T circa 1993-4. my dad left this on my desk last week. He must’ve found it while working in the garage. The furry guy riding behind me is Tito, the one I found huddled with pigs in a pen at the Mexican flee market.

I’ve struggled with loads of anxiety since I was a child; it’s only now I’m beginning to realize it. Chronic indecision is often reflective of high anxiety levels. When I was fitted to get my first electric wheelchair (see picture), I remember sitting in a physical therapy room with a giant binder full of samples and a tall man (all men are tall to a tiny girl) flipping through sheet after sheet of fabric colors. I got dizzy looking at what was to me a monolithic block of color. I got physically ill from looking through. I wanted to cry because the choices overwhelmed me as they do now. Would I make the right choice? Who was I do decide? Pink is always for girls, why? No, I like the blues! Why do they keep asking about the pink?

“Can’t I just have all of the colors!?” I finally yelled. They had a rainbow-colored option for the belt which the man kindly suggested!

But I digress.

For the last few weeks, maybe a month or so, the deep depression–the core of it–seems to have lifted, mostly. It has lifted to the extent that I feel as though I’m emerging from that hell, shedding a layer of skin and climbing back up from the grave of that ninth life. But with this emergence something else has come up–increased awareness of the jaw pain.

Funny enough now that the emotional pain isn’t at a constant crisis level, I feel the physical pain coming back. It could also be the anxiety that’s tightening the muscles on my face and causing the pain to return. (My arm still hurts but that’s not as disturbing as the jaw pain.)

Ugh, the fractured jaw and nerve damage incident! Talk about fuckin’ trauma. They jacked up my jaw! I’ll have to write out that story some other time.

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Several days ago, I ran into a comment on one of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) Facebook groups.

“Any of you have horror stories from the past, from the hospital, from doctors and nurses and such?” the group’s creator asked.

Replies came in almost immediately. I replied that I’d waken up during the end of a surgery in my femur, among other things. It’s a surreal experience being a twelve-year-old, waking up naked (with the exception of a tiny towel over the crotch), surrounded by half a dozen doctors and nurses covered in blood and tubes and beeping machines closing in above your head.

I sat there thinking, Horror stories? Hell’s yeah I got them. I got Post Traumatic Stress up my ass! (Literally, my bum’s been messed with.)

A mom in that Facebook group has a little eight year-old girl with type II OI (I have type III). This lady is on there chatting away as much as I’m here in WordPress. She’s constantly talking about her little one. The girl has broken over 500 bones! Jeezus! I think I just barely passed the 100 mark. But 500? I can’t imagine, or rather, I don’t want to. I wonder how many of us have PTSD from just the fractures alone! Monkey Man L was having his leg turned for an X-Ray when, BAM, they SNAPPED it in two. It was already broken and they just added another break! All more reasons for me to think of this PTSD and BPD correlation.

So, on Sunday, I started researching: “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Osteogenesis Imperfecta” and “Trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder”. I found some interesting things, but more on that later. 🙂

Yep, that’s me. I think I was three years old in this one.

I have a bisphosphonate infusion to look forward to tomorrow. It’ll be the second time I get one. Wish me luck!

Much Love from the Mouse

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Oh and here’s some info on bisphosphonate therapy for osteogenesis imperfecta.

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Wednesday

June 20, 2012

TODAY has been a good day. I woke up feeling like death, like my blood pressure was low and I would faint and vomit, but all went well at the end of the day. I haven’t been bombarded by suicidal thoughts, I went swimming for an hour, AND I designed a “50th Wedding Anniversary” invitation card for one of my dad’s clients!

I don’t like making invitation cards for his clients. They always want to muddy up the card by adding all their kids’ names (and they’re hispanic guys, so you know that’s usually a lot) and fifty Hail Mary’s and Thanks-Be-To-Jesus prayers on there. Seriously, just invite people! It’s an invitation card! Give them the time, place and date and maybe throw in a “thank you” or “thanks to our kids for putting up with us” or “thank god we’re still married after fifty years; it’s a miracle”. That’s it! I’m proud of being Latina, but damn some of these old-school Catholic country-latino folks’ ways get on my nerves!

It’s tacky and embarrassing guys! You’re messing up my design with all this other mess! But we need the money to pay the light bill, so I did it. I just did it and if felt good just getting it done despite the anxiety. I did it in just three hours too! That’s a feat for me. I’m all “spaced-out” half the time.

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Perfectionism and the Anxious Neurotic

One thing I had to learn from my Ex-Young Therapist is that I need to just get things done without obssessing, especially when the time calls for it! I’m a perfectionist, and despite what I was told about employers loving it when you say you’re a perfectionist, I can tell you perfectionism–I mean hardcore perfectionism–is torture! It is self-sabotage and self-harm at its finest!

A perfectionist mentality maximizes your anxiety, and if you’re mental like me, that’s a lot of anxiety, which leads to less productivity because you end up lying in the ground all catatonic-like thinking you’re having a heart attack or an aneurysm, which makes you not want to do anything anymore. “I can’t do anything right because I can’t do anything perfect!” Mouse says. Well, no shit Mouse.

So today, I set aside my perfectionism, and instead of  trying to make the card look really good, I just tried to make it “somewhat good”. And I got it done! It’s not for me anyway! It’s not my pet project, my baby, my ultimate design. It’s a damn invitation card for country folks!

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Drugs Once Again

I took this picture bellow. It’s a picture of my current “meds” , which reminds me of the argument I had with Mr. Mackey last night. He kept telling me to remember about the drugs and alcohol and I said, “I got it, geez. Am I boozin’ right now? NO! There are wine, vodka and whiskey bottles in the kitchen and I’m not even touching any of it. You don’t have to keep telling me!”

Then I got angry.

“Hold up Mr. Mackey, just hold up a second. If drugs are so bad, why do these licensed doctors give me so many?! I know Mr. Mackey. I know they’re the tested and approved drugs and all that, but why did the psychiatrist want to ADD Risperdal to the mix when I told her about the weeks after the overdose? I mean on top of everything Mr. Mackey?! Hmmm? I said no to her Mr. Mackey. I said no. I mean, I was barely getting off the Wellbutrin then and I know, I should’ve told her, but you can’t even contact her! You have to ‘go to the emergency room’ if you think one of these drugs is killing you or if you think you’re gonna kill yourself. And that emergency room is filled with like a hundred and fifty people despite the maximum capacity being a hundred. And some of those hundred and fifty are wounded with blood and guts and whatnot! But anyway, I said, ‘I just… I think I need to go to the hospital, but maybe not right now. Uhhh, no, no. I’m not right now. I’m not going to overdose again. I’m not sure. I mean, yes right now I’m ok. I’m sure I’m not going to try right now, this very minute, but I’ve been flipping so much. I just don’t want another drug is what I mean.’ So that’s what I said to her Mr. Mackey. I was being my own advocate, I think. Is that decision mmmmmmmkay? Is my decision to stay on what I’m on mmmmmkay? I don’t know. I really don’t Mr. Mackey. Mmmmmmkay, now what do you think?”

Mr. Mackey left, didn’t even answer, just blinked with dumbfounded eyes and floated off. Poof. Flew out of my bedroom window, high above my roof with his big balloon head.

“Mr. Mackey?”

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Sometimes I do think that since I started the Fluoxetin/Prozac–became a part of Prozac nation a month and a half ago–the “depressive symptoms” have improved, well some of them. I don’t even know what I mean by that. That’s how ambiguous these things are. I mean, I have more energy overall, I think. I can get out of bed much easier, but that’s still not easy you still wake up feeling hopeless, having panic attacks and feeling nauseated.

The Wellbutrin could’ve been doing a better job. Doesn’t that name sound funny, like it’ll make you “well”. Then again, I’ve just been bat-shit-crazy  bouncing off the walls going from the depths of hell to the highs of heaven in ways I can’t even describe. I have energy like I’m on crack! I hardly have an appetite. And I’m not sure I like that saying “bat-shit-crazy”. Bats aren’t shitty and they’re not crazy because don’t have such a complex psyche as we do, unless there’s something we don’t know about them and they’re secretly plotting to take us down.

But anyway, how would I be able to measure the efficacy of the “meds” since I don’t get to talk to the psychiatrist until the end of July? And besides, she never does any proper evaluations or anything. Plus, summer has come along! And my body almost always reacts kindly to the Sun or vise versa. And my mom got a janitorial job at a local gym, so I’ve been able to swim more regularly there. Here’s the thing, I was bouncing off the walls five-six-seven weeks ago to the point where I was going to put myself inpatient at one of those horrid state hospital wards. I’ve made it thus far though. The ride’s been bumpy, Himalayas bumpy, but I’m here.

I’m still feeling generally unstable though, so I don’t know. I’m scared.

Shit, considering how this year’s been thus far, considering I still don’t know how Monkey Man L–one of the closest persons to me ever–died and I haven’t been able to let that go, considering the increment of my feelings of worthlessness, considering the immigra–well you get it–considering all that and more, I think I’ve gotten a handle on it as much as I can. And though my anxiety is still sky-high most of the day everyday (hell, it seems to be worse), I think I’m alright today guys!

I’m chip-chip-chip-chipper! haha.

I currently weight 46 pounds, that’s roughly 21 kilos. Here’s a list of the drugs I’m on:

  1. 40mg Fluoxetine/Prozac – A fairly potent Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor. Those are the white caps with the little dashed lines. The reason why I have two different kind is because one is a 10mg (I was initially on 20mg, then the psych decided to up it to 40, so I now have the 20mg. It all adds up).
  2. 400mg Carbamazepine/Tegretol – These are the little round yellowish-beige colored pills with the orange circle in the middle. They were initially for the neurological pain I started experiencing two years ago after I got the Bell’s Palsy for the second time and for he third time in January of this year. Oh, snapples! I never got to writing my Bell’s Palsy Part II did I? Hell, I think I’ve promised too many “Part II’s”. I need to stop doing that. Oh get this though. Carbamazepine is an anti-convulsant, so it helps reduce epileptic seizures, yet it’s used for neuropathic pain which is what I have on my face, BUT… BUT… get this: It’s also used as a mood stabilizer! So, it’s of label use is for bipolar disorder. Am I getting a “two for one deal” here. It doesn’t seem so. It seems like this shit my be making my moods flail around and flagellate my soul more?!  (You can read Bell’s Palsy: Don’t Fight It, Just Be Part 1 here)
  3. Drisderol LF 50MU – That’s the green one. This one is actually for the Osteogenesis Imperfecta-OI (aka Brittle Bone Disease, er, Condition). It’s actually a new drug that doctors are trying on patients with Osteoperosis, which I also have due to the OI, but they said it should help. It’s essentially just high absorption vitamin D.The genetecist and the orthopedic doctors discovered that my bone density has gotten even lower since I broke my arm in February. Got, it’s been five months already! We’re already halfway through the year. Anyway, Drisderol is what I take only on Wednesdays: “One capsule by mouth once weekly for three months, then twice a month for three more months.” Wednesdays are the days I designated for the Drisderol.
  4. I ran out of Caltrate and fish-oils but I’m still taking B-12.
Meds

Wednesday’s drugs, mmmkay.

addendum: Oh at the pool today, two old ladies asked my mom how old I am. I was in front of her. Really? I know I’m tiny and use a wheelchair, but I’m not mentally retarded or deaf, well, I’ slightly deaf and mental, but still, ASK ME, DIRECTLY! I used to get really upset when this happened but now I only get mildly upset. Sigh. Ignorance is everywhere.

addendum 2: Speaking of Bell’s Palsy, I got the strangest search term today — “Fiona Apple Bell’s Palsy”. Weird. I don’t think she’s ever had Bell’s Palsy but then I wouldn’t know, would I? Oh well, at least I didn’t get anything about a “hairy Hulk” or “girly Avengers”!

Much love from me and the Mouse, or just twice the love from me, a much more chipper Mouse!

*minor trigger warning. mention of the death of sometimes-lover/mostly best friend aka Monkey Man L, other general depressive shit and brief mention of self-harm*

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Dear Dotty’s Words of Wisdom: Grieving for the Mentals Can Be Worse  

Dear Dotty was right. There’s something I knew but hadn’t been giving much attention to, not enough attention to at least. A trigger. A trigger beyond triggers, a stressor beyond stressors has set all of me bouncing more and more off the walls, down the corridor, down he street, like a rubber ball down a seemingly endless cobbled stone road. It’s the loss of Monkey Man L.

Yes Dear Dotty, thank you dear. Much of what I’m going through is grief. But how much of it adds to the mental mix dear lovely lady? That’s what I wanna know.

Today marks the second month of his death. JUST TWO MONTHS AGO! ONLY two months ago! Actually, we don’t even know if he died that day or two days before. It doesn’t fuckin’ matter. All I know is that on March 22, I got the horrible call.  What is up with people dying at twenty-seven? Fuck, I’m about to be twenty-seven.

Sigh. I don’t even know if he died by his own hands or if his body just gave out from the combination of his past self-abuses and his present condition as well as the Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). His spine was compressing his chest, he’d become a chain smoker, etc.

All I know is that I’d seen him a week before. And a few days after, when I saw the Rapper K, I talked to him on the phone. And that was the last conversation we had. He didn’t pick up my other calls that weekend. I only got a measly text message in reply, saying, “I just want to be left alone right now sweety”. So that’s what I did. I left him alone. And that was the last time I talked to him. The day I’d seen him that week before, he looked terrible.

In the post I wrote about him after the funeral, I mentioned doing my best not to let myself fall into guilt. Well, sometimes that guilt tries to come up and take over.

He was found in his apartment sitting on the couch as if he were watching T.V. That’s all I know. And I keep thinking I could’ve been there; I SHOULD’VE been there. And I know this has me bouncing more that I would have been.

Then there’s the added factor that I was ALREADY falling, spiraling into a deep depression–I don’t even like using that word, “depression”–but that’s what we’ll call it and that’s how I was before his death. Depressed. And now what?

February was hell, then March came with the news. “He’s gone”.

This. THIS is one reason why I’ve been so much more mental than my usual mental. That, and in terms of this week, it could be the hormones added to the mix. I think this week I’m having the PMSS. That extra S was put there on purpose. It’s what I call the Premenstrual Suicidal Syndrome. It’s when my suicidals get more intense just before the cycle. I know the APA has a name for it, it’s premenstrual dysphoric disorder but fuck their labels and their making everything a disorder.

I’m just bouncing too much. Off the charts…

Looking back on that trigger my brother’s girlfriend set off when she innocently mentioned Vicodin, I realize it was actually a double trigger, no a triple trigger. One, it reminded me of what I’d done to myself the Sunday before last–or was it Monday?–anyhow, it reminded me of the incident. Two, it reminded me of my own problems with painkillers in the past. Three, it reminded me of Monkey Man L and his addiction. And that, THAT was the ultimate trigger because I was fucked for the rest of the night (it wasn’t the good fucked, nope).

No one prepares you for what you’ll feel when you loose someone you cared for so much. No one. We were co-dependent. We had an intense, tumultuous relationship. No one prepares you for grief just like no one prepares you for the feeling you’ll get when you become a parent. Sure there are books out there on parenting and on grief (what a lovely combo no?) but they don’t actually TEACH you how to FEEL about being a parent or how to FEEL  about a LOVED ONE when that loved one is no longer there to say anything back.

This was not my idea of “(mis)adventures of a mentally unstable” mouse. When I started this blog, I had meant to write about my past misadventures not my present ones. But life has a funny way of throwing more at you. They say things come in threes and they did. First, my face and the Bell’s Palsy; then, my arm, and lastly, my L.

Threes. One. Two. THREE. I wonder if there’s some sort of cosmic thing in that or if we’re just trying to make sense of what seems so incomprehensible.

Then after Dear Dotty reminded me, I began to think about mental illness and grief–there’s another set of words I don’t like to use “mental illness”. I think my dislike for the term has something to do with my Christian Science upbringing, though I suspect it’s much more complex than that.

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But is it really much more difficult for a mental? This grief thing. I mean, can it send an already distraught person over the edge? Of course it can! If it can send a non-mental over the edge, then fuck… Then again, I think what makes the most difference in grief is the nature of the loss. I had such a turbulent relationship with him and I know this will make my grief more complicated. Also, the the fact that he died so tragically at such a young age complicates the grieving process further. The nature of this grief is inherently complicated.

After the incident last week or the week before last or god knows when (I forget), I talked to the New Male Therapist-Who-Is-Really-a-She and told her what had happened, the freaky dream about him, the thoughts, the pills, more or less descriptively than here. I find it easier to write feelings out than to talk about them. My writing is stronger than my verbal communication. Maybe that’s what makes me a “poet”, ha, then again, maybe that’s just what makes me become more mental. Anyway, I told her, strangely enough, that the week before last, I’d began obssessing about my hearing loss again–something I hadn’t done in months.

“Could it be I’m combining my griefs?” I asked her.

“Yeah, possibly,” she replied.

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Stages of Grief

According to the Kübler-Ross model, there are five stages to grief . They are:

  1. Denial (a funny one that denial)
  2. Anger (my best friend who’s no good for me… Actually, that’s not entirely true. In small doses, anger is motivating. Anger is part of our innate autonomic response to danger. It tells us a lot about our experience.)
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression (oh look another friend)
  5. Acceptance (when? six months from now? a year? years? a lifetime?)
Yesterday, after a family friend was over, I found myself crying in the bathtub again. Why does washing dishes and showering go so well with crying? Anyway, I found myself BARGAINING. Of all the stages, that’s the one I said I wouldn’t get into. Silly me, saying what my brain will or won’t do. It wills itself sometimes.

I was there crying, “Dear god, I’ll take his place. No, wait, I’ll take the six fractures he had after that accident last year. I’ll take more. Fuck, fractures are nothing, I’ll take as many as it takes. Just bring him back!”

These stages aren’t quite lined out in chronological order. I mean, mainly they are, but you can experience them simultenously or even switch from one to another and then back again. I found I’ve just gone all over the place. It’s my style of doing things.

But I’m too lazy to go all out and write about these stages. Besides, this post is getting long and I’m opting for non-monumentally long posts at the moment.

So here’s a great little post by Sailor Carrie titled “The Five Stages of Grief”.

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Emotional Instability, Repression and Acceptance in the “Borderline” Mind

Another dear fellow blogger’s recent comment brought something else to mind. Well, two things: 1. I have no close friends or FEEL like I have no close friends and, 2. I don’t know how to open up to people which is why I feel like I don’t have close friends.

Isn’t it funny that I find it easier to run a knife down my thigh than to tell my dad “I’m upset”? Or that I find it easier to pop a dozen pills than to call a friend and say, “I need someone to talk to”?

Yeah, quite funny P.

The support network we mentals generally need but often neglect or just plain don’t have, that’s what came to mind. We often lack support strategies or non-destructive exit-strategies, coping mechanisms, distress tolerance, or call it what you will.

If I didn’t have maladaptive coping mechanisms and maladaptive friendship patterns, I wouldn’t have been in therapy in the first place. That’s what the therapist was for–for DBT, CBT and retraining on how I can reach out to people more effectively.

In responce to said fellow blogger’s comment, I said, ” I have trouble with communication”. I was a communications major; another funny thing P. But that’s what’s at the core here. Fellow blogger suggested friends, which is great, but I have trouble with friends. Aren’t people too busy to talk to nowadays anyway?

Getting myself to actually TALK to friends was something I was working out in therapy before Young Therapist had to leave. See, I said in my comment, “a ‘healthy’ coping mechanism someone without a dysfunction might have is to run to a friend in time of deep distress. I do the opposite. I run into a hole and throw on a cover and don’t let anyone in, which only makes it worse in the end. Despite knowing this, I find it EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to just reach out and say ‘I’m desperate…'”

A therapist can do something a friend can’t but a friend can do something a therapist can never do–be a fountain of mutual support. That is, if you have a good friend and therapist to begin with.

Why do I have such a terrible difficulty reaching out to people? Why can’t I express negative emotions besides anger?

Here I am, deeply in need, needing to confide in a friend all the while feeling completely unable to. Sadly, I can’t think of but one friend I’m comfortable talking about this “suicidal” stuff with and she’s pretty mental, so I can only let her have so much. She’s the BPD friend I mentioned in earlier posts, the one who I keep at close distance. Besides her, there was L and well, fuck, he’s gone! ha. He’s the reason I started this post.

Not being able to talk to people about my emotions, or just not reaching out and having enough social interaction to begin with is what the Young Therapist was trying to get me through; it’s what we were working on, finding solutions for. Sure, I can talk to people at parties or in social situations. I seem “normal” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) but really, I’m not. I’m constantly thinking, “Oh my god, I wanna get out of here, I wanna get out of here,” and if I’m not thinking that, I’m thinking something else that’s pretty similar to that.

I just can’t think of a friend I can confide in and that just made me very sad to think about, realizing how lonely I’ve let myself become. I’m glad I live with my parents and little Luna is the best, but I’m becoming uh oh, here it goes, “empty”?

B., a friend from college came by last week. I wasn’t able to make it to his graduation so he stopped by. How nice of him, right?  And I wasn’t able to tell him about L because he came by with his mother who just came in from AUSTRALIA(!) and well, I was being a good host. I was meeting his mother for the first time so telling him was out of the question.

Eloise, who lives in Florida, was the only person I’d told but well, she lives in Florida. She called me last week and I haven’t been able to muster the courage to call her back. Yes, it actually takes some courage from me to call people! Even the close friends like Eloise (oh wait, I do have a close friend)! Because calling people gives me anxiety!

Maribel also knows. I told her only because she’d called me to tell me her mom died and she needed someone to talk to. Funny, I can be the support but not reach out and ask for it.

It would be nice if L and I had mutual friends because then I’d be able to call them up and say, “Hey man, yeah, you miss him too?” But we didn’t have any mutual friends. Not one.

Only A.F., his stepsister, but she lives all the way up in New York City and even so, she hasn’t called me again after I called her and we had our last talk a month ago. She’s probably really busy with her little three-year-old and the baby.

I can’t even talk to my brother about most of this. I mean, sure my brother’s been kinder to me. He’s a sweetheart. But we are just beginning to rebuild the bridge I’d burned between us last year. See, six months ago, my brother and I were not in speaking terms.

“I’m not talking to your fuckin’ crazy ass again! Don’t contact me, just don’t!” he’d said.

Yeah. I’d pushed him away again.

I know telling him some of this might even make our rekindling stronger, but then I get discouraged. Every time I try to bring up the BPD diagnosis, he seems a bit aloof like he’s not really listening (of course, that could just be my misinterpretation). I haven’t even been able to muster the guts to show him that Five Faces of Borderline video I posted, which I think he’d find funny. I just, ugggh. I mean, I listened to him rant about his OCD. Why is it so difficult for me to simply do this?

Emotional Acceptance

I started looking up information about BPD and the inability to express certain emotions. I found these really good, really simple and straightforward  links:

How Accepting Emotions Can Improve Your Emotional Health (from about.com)

Defining Invalidation as a risk factor for developing BPD 

Post Traumatic Stress, BPD and Suppressing Emotions (from about.com)

A common string I’ve found connecting a lot of this BPD literature is the notion of invalidation. Invalidating environments is a hallmark for BPD.

See, I always assumed invalidation equated to neglect. But “I WAS NEVER NEGLECTED” I’d say to myself. Yet I realize invalidation can come in so many flavors. For L, it WAS CLASSICAL neglect. His mother would get high and leave him on the toilet for hours. She’d forget to feed him. Yeah. My parents ALWAYS made sure to feed me. When my mother couldn’t, my grandmother would. Even at our hardest times, when my dad was getting bread baskets from a local church, I WAS ALWAYS fed. Well fed!

So what flavors did my invalidation come in then? I wonder. My parents never outright said, “Don’t express yourself P! Don’t talk about your emotions P! We don’t wanna hear you crying P! None of that in this house P.” No, not at all.

Then I begin to think, of course! My invalidation is definitely there. I can see it. I can see it in my Christian Science years. I can see it in my mom running away when I screamed in agony in the hospital beds. I can see it before then. I can see it in a very subtle way. Invalidation for me was not overt.

I’ll give you an example. By the time I became a toddler, I stopped crying when I’d break a bone. I mean shit, after you’ve had your fiftieth fracture well before your fifth birthday, you just don’t cry about that shit anymore–unless it’s a femur, because femur fractures FUCKIN HURT LIKE HELL!

So my parents interpreted my not crying about fractures as: “This here is a brave one! Much braver than her wimpy brother! She doesn’t cry about ANYTHING.”

And I interpreted that as: “I have to be the brave one. Be BRAVE P! BEING BRAVE IS ALL YOU CAN BE. Braver than my cry-baby hermanito! I cannot let people discover that I DO cry. I cannot let people see me cry or else they’ll see I’m a faker! And no one likes a faker! I’m a mean challenger!” I think that’s more or less how I started to develop my calloused sense of self.

Then there was my mom’s bullying. “And blah blah blah smack, blah blah, BLAH BLAH BLAH, smack smack SMACK, SMAAAACK.” You just can’t let a bully see you cry. That would only give them power over you and you wouldn’t want that.

Just yesterday my dad asked me, “Have you been crying?”

“Yes, but sometimes I cry you know,” I replied trying to be assertive of my discovery.

And he replied with something about him not being able to withstand my crying because it tore him up inside.He didn’t say this in a way to hurt me. He said this as his way of expressing his OWN hurt, sure and his love. It was a bit selfish though. It’s maladaptive but he doesn’t know better. It works for him. He was hurting when he saw my swollen eyes.

I realize that now. He just doesn’t know how or understand how someone like me can twist those words up; how someone like me can distort them so. He doesn’t know how to effectively express his hurt while acknowledging and validating my hurt and my need to let it out.

That’s my flavor of invalidation. The child me, years back, would’ve seen this as, “Oh no! I must NEVER ever let him see me upset again or cry in front of him because it will DESTROY him! TEAR HIM UP INSIDE! And I don’t want to destroy dear daddy. No, I cannot kill my papi.”

********

I’ve been thinking about texting Warrior D. She’s a friend who also just graduated. Just got her masters in Social Work. She’s someone I’ve been getting kinda close to in the last year or so. Oh yeah, she’s the other person I told. She’s great at listening. Trouble is, I tried to get her to meet up with me after L’s death and she got back to me but didn’t follow through with plans. I understand she was in the middle of her end of semester mayhem but it hurt me to wait, expecting to talk and go for tea and then not. So now I’m hesitant. This is why I feel I do need therapy still. Young Therapist would help me find ways to deal with this situation and call Warrior D. Truth is, I said in my last post that I’ve gotten along all these years before without a therapist. But come to think of it, I JUST BARELY got by.

I might’ve/might end up like L if I would’ve kept getting by the way I was.

****

addendum: I went swimming yesterday evening at my mom’s friend’s gym and it was awesome! Took pictures of the cold, cold water.

…so I can’t stop changing all the time” ~ Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine

I’ll try and make this one a quicky because the one below this is a bit long. It was my first attempt at “scheduling a post” heheh. I had forgotten all about it until I saw a “like”.

*********

Anyway, I’ve been feeling ambivalent about blogging lately. VERY ambivalent. And the last few days I became painfully aware of how much of myself I’ve put out there. If it weren’t for my semi-anonymous voice, I don’t think I could’ve ever expressed some of this. And even so, I’m holding back on what I call some of the “darker stuff,” most of what the Pretty Little Demons feed me. A fellow blogger, well two actually, recently wrote about such conflicts when it comes to writing a personal or somewhat personal blog.

I submitted the photo and felt ecstatic at the reply I got from Broken Light , but I also felt very self critical.

“What are you doing? You only set up the first shot, even then it was a mutual take. You’re not even a photographer. You’re an amateur, a whanabe. What are you anyway? What are you doing exposing yourself like this? Do you want pity?”

No, I’ve always hated the pity people have showered down on me! This is fucking expression of art; it’s NOT a pity party! Besides, it’s cathartic, therapeutic even and what if I inspire someone? Quit being so overcritical P!

“Ok, ok. I’ll stop being so critical, so harsh. But really, are you this narcissistic? You need to tone it down! What if you embarrass your family!? hmmm? They don’t even know about your little drug adventures anyway, not most of them at least.”

Ugh. If embarrassment is the case, I’ve done that already and the only one I’ll really be embarrassing is myself. That’s been done too. I’m used to being uncomfortable, remember?

Here’s where I realize that the other voice is just my punitive parent trying to punish me for expressing myself (and hell even indulging myself), much like the guy in the video I shared in my Five Faces of Borderline post.

********

Then today, something odd happened. I was feeling alright, well, let me go back a little…

Last night I hung out with my brother, my brother’s girlfriend, his girlfriend’s little daughter and a new co-worker he’s been showing around (he just got here from Britain and is originally from Iran). We went to a park in downtown called Discovery Green. They play movies on certain weekends. We packed up fruits, pita chips and other snacks. It was a beautiful starless night. The weather was gorgeous, slightly windy, slightly cool and NOT HUMID–so unlike Houston. And despite my worry about the Bell’s Palsy returning (yeah, my lips ain’t right) I had a great time.

Oh, we watched ET on a big projector they set up on the park hill!

On the way home, I sat in his girlfriend’s car while my brother rode with his Iranian/British co-worker in his co-workers rental. And for the first time, I warmed up to her. We ended up having a great chat on the way to my house. She seemed to have warmed up to me too, telling me about her difficulty with trying to stay in nursing school while having C, her little girl, and having to drop out in the end. We talked about our mothers and all sorts of fun nonsense.

****

Then this afternoon, my brother stopped by again with his girlfriend and her little girl. He’d brought fish tacos for me and some other food for us to eat.

Well, we were having a good ole time, a good ole talk when all of a sudden, they started joking about drugs. I don’t know what prompted this. But it made me very anxious. See, my brother has never been a drug user or abuser like me. He’s very nervous about putting things in his body for fear of contamination. The only thing I think he’s done is weed and alcohol and alcohol is probably one of the worst drugs ever in my opinion, but anyway… weed, eh, I don’t really see it as much of a drug, though it is a substance and here I go contradicting myself. So yeah, I’m kind of the black sheep of the family in that aspect.

Then, out of nowhere, my brother’s girlfriend started saying, “I just don’t like to be out of control. I don’t like not being in control of my thoughts or my body. I even freaked out when I had to take a Vicodin after I had C. [her little girl].” She started to giggle but I didn’t. I couldn’t even FAKE a smile. It was a trigger.

Holy shit, it was a HUGE trigger. I began to panic. The mere words, “I took Vicodin…freaked…took Vicodin…freaked…took Vicodin,” sent my head spinning.

After what happened when I wrote the “Voluntary Hospitalization Post” I’ve been so wary of talking about anything related to painkillers, especially VICODIN. Of all things, why did she… of all things? (Vicodin is the same thing as Hydrocodone by the way)

So I quietly removed myself. I pretended I was too busy clearing the dishes to hear her. And once they were in the living room watching TV, I was washing the dishes, bawling my eyes out. I ended up having flashes of L and I downing painkillers. And after I was done with the dishes I went to my room to cry some more. I hope they didn’t notice but then again, I feel like running and telling my brother, “I don’t know what to do anymore”.

Good thing is I managed to cry just enough and re-enter the living room looking calm and collected. To a certain extent I was. I was being mindful of my thoughts and feelings–of everything around me. I was changing.

“I’m used to being uncomfortable so I can’t stop changing all the time”

This, my friends, is what it’s like to live with BPD. Any little thing can trigger you.

********

Oh and I know I haven’t been coming up with anything funny as of late. Sorry. I think the recent overdosing/relapsing incident drained all the funny juice, well not all, MOST of the funny juice out of me, but I know I’ll refill soon and be a little funnier and less depressing with these posts.

p.s. FREE HUGS FROM COPYRIGHT BOUNCER BEAR Y’ALL! COME AND GET’EM! SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY ONLY!

HEY HEY! NO SHOVIN’ NOW. EVERYONE WILL GET THEIR TURN!

Art is my salvation.

May 2, 2012

Today has been a nerve wrecking day. I woke up at six in the morning. I don’t know why I’m still bothering taking that Ambien. I will quit soon, I tell myself. But I’m not sleeping.

I woke up, got a banana, mashed it up with almonds and a Kashi cerial and that was my breakfast. Took my new set of 10mg fluoxetine and two 100mg of tegretol, my B12 and Calcium1200+D600 IU. I got down on the floor and organized some paperwork while listening to Garbage. I’ve been having that song “Stupid Girl” in my head all week. I swear, I’d never thought about it that way, but it’s such a “borderline girl” song. It should be called “Stupid Borderline Girl”. ha. It was one of my teenage girl anthems and I swear it always will be, especially now that I call it my “Stupid Borderline Girl” anthem.

Anyway, I reviewed some of the immigration paperwork I had stacked up. It looks like I’ll be seeing the lawyers again on Friday. YAY! I have the money this time. It’s $420 that has to be paid to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for the I-130 form for petition of relative. My brother paid me that amount for helping with the wedding videos and with his IRS files. I’ll explain more of what that immigration form is later. There’s just too much shit to explain in one sitting. Immigration laws are so ugh, how do you say, always changing and indefinitely unpredictable? Illogical? Aggressive, inward or outward? Difficult to read? They’re worse than a borderline! Actually, I shouldn’t even compare and insult my fellow borderlines. ANY borderline would be more reasonable than these outrageous laws!

****

I eventually got the stacks in order and then pulled out my appointment slip for today. I was scheduled for a 1pm appointment with endocrinology. I eventually went back to sleep until ten. At that time I was going to the living room and my dad called me. His photography “studio” is in a den area right between my room, the kitchen and the living room. So I have to get through there regardless. It sucks when you don’t know clients are over and your hair is a mess and you’re still in pajamas and get called over to do a business deal of all things.

See, I’ve restored photographs since I was a kid. It’s something I learned to do back in the day before Photoshop was so prominent. So you mainly used airbrushes then and all sorts of cool oil and oil pencil techniques. I love Photoshop though. Anyway, my dad calls me over while I’m still squinting from the light and trying to prop myself awake.

Two men introduced themselves and handed me an old damaged photograph. “How much will you do this for?”

“I’ll have to assess the damage and I’ll give you a quote in a minute.” Fuck! I need to go brush my teeth first.

I brushed my teeth, went out to take Luna to pee and then got back in. “This will cost you $130.00” I explained the level of damage and why I’d charged that much. I actually undervalue my work but I don’t know why people that know my dad seem to think I’m overprising it. These men didn’t though. I’m just complaining from past experiences and the fact that I’m a terrible sales person. And my dad sweetens up clients too much! It gets on my nerves. Well, that was eventually over with!  I gots me a fifty buck deposit so that means I’ll have money to pay for my own appointment today! Woohoo!

I made one of the men sign a contract, thanked them. I then excused myself and went to shower and get ready for my doc appointment.

****

The traffic was hell. What was even more hellish was the community hospital’s parking garage. Seven floors and not one damn spot available! Besides, my mom took me today (she hardly ever does) and I have little patience for her low patience.  Well, people fuckin’ honked from behind and from in front. WHAT THE FUCK PEOPLE!? We’re all in this together, can’t you see!? Baghaghagh.

Eventually, we were in. And it was crowded! I mean CROWDEDEDEDED. It’s a good thing I control my social anxiety more now. It was like a New York subway station on a Yankies game day.

I eventually got called, two hours later. And when the doc–really sweet girl–told me about the possible reactions I might’ve had with my first biphosphonate infusion last year for my Osteogenesis Imperfecta and what they can do to improve my vitamin D deficiency and my osteoperosis, she looked at the computer chart and then back at me and said, “How’s your chest feeling? You’re being followed by cardiology too, right? I see your aorta is dilated!”

WHAT THA FUCK!? Dear god/universe, why don’t you send Zeus again! Please!? Three months ago when he threw his lightning bolt at our house, he missed me.

“No, I’m not being followed by cardiology. I thought my heart was fine.”

“Oh, you’re not being followed? That’s strange.” She looked back at her computer chart, “Oh, hehe, yes… Oh, I’m so sorry. My mistake, your heart is perfectly fine!” She patted me on the knee, “Sorry about that.”

I felt like I’d just gotten me a Dr. Hibbert moment from the Simpsons, when he gives Homer the worst possible diagnosis only to realize his mistake and just does his signature chuckle. “Oh I’m just teasing, oh hoo hoo. heheh hoo hoo.” Yeah.

simpsons-julius-hibbert-edit

Dr. Julius Hibbert

Then she asked if she could examine my bones. (She just wanted to cop a feel on me guys.)

After feeling up my arms and legs and back, she asked me to lift my shirt and started feeling up on my chest. She asked about the malformed, protruding sternum, “And this one’s from birth?”

“Yes it was a prenatal fracture that never healed properly.”

“Is it more pronounced now? As your bone grew, I’m sure it got more pronounced.”

“Yes, yeah it is. When I was a kid, it was hardly noticeable.” Great, now I feel self conscious.

It went well overall though. And I’ll be getting a call from them about some new treatment that might be available for osteoporosis but that may also be helpful in improving my risk of fractures caused by the Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI).

****

I got home and not long after popping my shoes off and lazing down to listen to a little more Garbage, I got a call… from… MR. BILL COLLECTOR!

Remember that awful letter I’d gotten from the university? (Click here if you don’t) Well, yep, they’d wanted to know what I’d planned on doing about paying that money I owe. (If any of you have dealt with this and have any advice, please do give me some. Also, if you’ve heard of the Bill Collector Mafia asking for me in Blogland, tell them I’m not here!) He was really good at not being too pushy though. And I didn’t have a panic attack. Now I just have to figure out what the fuck to do about this.

Moral of my post?

I want to do something artsy fartsy now.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~ Pablo Picasso

I found this too and absolutely loved it:

****************************************************************************************************

addendum: You know what really pisses me off? I mean, irks me. It’s seeing all those fuckin’ McDonalds bags everywhere at every hospital. Why do most hospitals (I don’t know how it is overseas) seem to have a McDonalds in the cafeteria?Really? Really, you’re going to capitalize on people’s health? It’s a fuckin’ hospital! Let the drug and insurance companies do that since they’re experts at it! This HOSPITAL should be promoting HEALTH, not food that really WILL dilate your aorta!

addendum 2: Oh god. oh god. There are two things that have me getting nervous. OH OH OH GOD. MY FIRST APPOINTMENT WITH NEW DR. MALE THERAPIST IS TOMORROW!  And the Bell’s Palsy was getting better but these last few days, NO, NO NO. I’LL MENTION IT LATER. IT’S TOO MUCH.

My hunch was right!

I do have a fan, an Australian fan!

I figured out who it is too. And who knows, there may be more than one. There may be a dozen Aussie fans clicking away at my nonsense. There may be little Aussie fans multiplying out of that one fan–kind’a like Bruce Campbell’s character multiplies in that scene in The Army of Darkness with the mirror that shatters on the ground, leaving reflections of himself everywhere and all those tiny Bruce Campbell–tinier than me–reflections pop up out of the mirror every-which-way trying to kill him, only I don’t want to get killed by demented Aussie fan(s) or the demented reflections that came out of that one fan. I just want to be read by the Aussie fans (demented or not) as much as I love Australia.

(By the way, if you haven’t seen Army of Darkness, think Gullivers Travels when he gets caught by the little people in Lilliput and Blefuscu, only in a comical horror-adventure film–not nearly as good as it’s predecessors Evil Dead I and II–instead and everyone seems to be on some sort of psychotropic drug in some other strange, magical and medieval land. Coincidentally Lilliput is where Australia should be.)

Alright. Alright.

I don’t think I have a point to make tonight, if I ever did have one any other night and today is lacking, then I apologize in advance.

But I will say this, I think this blog’s been a good thing. It’s helped me write again, and writing again means I keep my mind full of less demons. Pretty and little as they may be, they are vicious and I’ve been telling them to vacate for nearly fifteen years and though sometimes they do scurry out, I somehow keep finding them back in there in my mouse hole, in my skull lounging about. And when they see me eying them deliberately, they scatter about like roaches but screech louder and more consistently than cicadas. They just don’t die entirely.

They started coming by again sometime in mid December soon after I’d opened up this blog, so it’s good I’m writing, right?

********

I went to Texas Children’s Hospital today because I’m participating in a longitudinal study on Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). I’m not getting paid shit for it so my dad kept asking if I was going to get reimbursed for gas. I told him yes even though I’m not so sure. It’s all in the name of good science. I’m glad. Too bad that after dropping me off at Children’s, my dad broke down twice, once in the freeway I-59 which is congested as hell. I could just picture him there on the side of one of the busiest highways in Houston in the midday sun standing off to the farthest, rightmost lane while hundreds of cars swoosh inches away from him each minute.

Something would’ve been nice, like a consolation prize at least. I spend my good half of the day there at Children’s and at the end of it, when I did the pulmonary function test, the nurse screamed “go go go, push, push all that air out, go go go, push!” like I was lifting weights or giving birth or something. I asked if I was getting a prize, a scratch-and-sniff sticker at least and all she did was laugh.

I figure, instead, I’ll give a prize to my Aussie fan–the one getting me big headed, or bigger headed since my head-to-body ratio is low, something like 1:3 or 1:4 (Totsymae can attest to that).

Anyway, I’m gonna give this Aussie fan her present even though she, I mean she or he didn’t reveal themselves to me: it was what I had asked for remember? Ahem, don’t worry Aussie fan, I won’t reveal you just yet! I don’t want the other Aussies to get jealous ’cause I found you and liked you before I’d found out.

Turns out THE beautiful Aussie (whom I’m not disclosing just yet clickhereifyouwanttoseesomethinandsomethingelse) had awarded me one of those sweet awards going around.

The thing is, although I’m extremely, extremely flattered and excited and what-have-you, I’m still dealing with a lot and cannot fully accept to do the whole deciding and passing on. And I’m not that versatile am I? I mean, I just keep blogging about myself. Blegh. Also, I’m barely catching up on my favorite reads, so I’ll be slow at this if ever.

Besides, I’m a strange, indecisive girl and I don’t usually follow instructions well.

So here’s what I’ma gonna do.

Aussie fan, you get to choose something you like and I’m going to draw it for you! It has to be just one thing, like for example, I’d have a Nintendo controller for myself. Then, depending on what thing you choose, I’ll add another thing.

It may not be good, but it’s just for you.

Think about it and email me or post it here.

It’s my own personal challenge too. It may take a while because it takes me forever and a day and a half to get things done. In fact, I rarely finish what I start. I probably have over half a dozen half finished posts on here and a list full of shenanigans to put in my shenanigans page. (I uploaded old sketches there by the way.)

Anyway, blogging and writing and mental health…. 

PAZ December 2011 through April 2012

Me the last four months or so
copyright PAZ 2012

Today I’d be looking like She-Hulk instead of this.

Me broken arm

And this is me smiling at the blogosphere people who’ve made good suggestions, said thoughtful things, inspired me at one point or another and just plain read my nonsensical rambling. Here’s to the one’s that have made me smile, chuckle, giggle and laugh and spill my coffee like dear Dotty Headbanger. And, the mental health bloggers I’ve found are so addicting. I can really relate to you guys; it’s comforting to know.

It’s good to have a voice.

So here’s my consolation prize to yous guys who are not THE Aussie.

A little sketch.

Me smiling at yous

See. I’m SMILING. I’m smiling at YOU.

My arm actually hurt after doing those sketches, so you better like them!

You better, even though Id’a liked to sketch them better.

Really, not to make an excuse for my poor skill but I’m shaky as hell lately, like more than usual shaky, which sucks balls, old, hairy balls. I know, excuse my language guys but that’s how I speak sometimes and that’s how much it sucks. Anyway, I told the psychiatrist about this yesterday when I had my appointment but, egh. I may write about that later.

To be honest, I’m raging today. I’ve been raging for several days now, but the rage escalated today. I’m not really, really raging. But I’m fuckin‘ raging. I’ve been raging all day. Almost everything everyone says pisses me off. And I feel bad about it so I have to put myself in time out.

I helped my mom out with an application today (finally she does it) and I was raging. It was so bad, that rage, I even wanted to flip that computer keyboard over her right then and there.

The heat, that hellish salty and breathy heat I was talking about snuck by for a couple of hours while we were stuck in traffic, then I got home to a swarm of flies and mosquitos because we’re not turning on the air conditioning just yet to save up. I don’t mind that. What I mind is the damn flies and mosquito invasion.

There had to be another massacre today, too many mosquito and fly bodies to count.

My dad leaves the doors wide open and I have that sweet blood they like. So I’m raging and I rage some more from the three dozen mosquito bites I got on my legs, my arms, my shoulders and back and face and eyelids and forehead and foot (that one really itches) and I even got some up my thighs and butt.

Man I’m raging. I want to smash things so I better go lie down..

I drew a little to placate the rage but then raged some more.

Anyway, this one is for you guys. Not the rage, the smile.

Oh god, am I still alive?

February 25, 2012

Dear God/Universe,

I sit here groggily in this pale Saturday afternoon sippin’ on my cold coffee. It’s just the dogs and myself today. All’s quiet and lonesome. But little Luna, the cutest and sweetest little bitch ever, is laying beside me, leaning her furry back against the desk, taking care of my emotions–and she’s doing a better job than I am. She kept me from crying my half paralyzed eye out. I know, it’s not the soggy eyeball that’s paralyzed; it’s the muscles connected to the eyelid, but  whatever, same shit. Anyway, you should know she also kept me from gauging it out like ole Oedipus there.

God/Universe, I know you know I love you but why do you do me this way sometimes? Are you trying to get rid of me? Why so soon? Why so often? I no longer shout mean, spiteful names at you. I try to eat healthy (when there’s food to do so). I try to eat even when I don’t want to, and that’s often these days. I actually prefer fruits and veggies. I finally got myself in a city-based physical therapy program, and I’m still in psychotherapy. I take my vitamin B12, my Caltrate, my psych shit and my fish oils. I rarely drink sodas. I try to eat as little processed food as I can. I’m not even taking painkillers right now! And I promised I wouldn’t get rid of myself but then you go and whack me repeatedly from behind? What in the fuckin’ fuck?

I thought we were cool man. It’s ok though. Really. I won’t resent you. And you don’t have to answer the first question, but at least tell me if you’re ridding yourself of me. If you are, do it quick. I’m not up for another slow death and resurrection. Tell Zeus to get his lightning bolt ready or something. I know it’s partly, ok mostly, my own creation. But come on! And I know you also know that I’m in pain here and I can try and negate it all I want but it just keeps tagging along. I thought I’d remind you in case you forgot.

My arm? No, that’s actually not hurting now. The recasting was done a lot better this week. Nice fella, the casting tech/nurse/whatchumacallem. And the face is slowly waking up, enough for a half-assed smirk. But this damn eye… I just… ugh. I’m seeing blurry here.

God/Universe, I do want to thank you for all of the patience you granted me with my brother this week. I’d like more of that. I had stocked up on a lot of it during the holidazzzee but I feel like I may run out soon. I have to admit though, we did a hell of great job on that video. I’m not too happy about the sound quality of the voice over in that last sequence, but fuck it. Everyone loved it! And we didn’t even have time to really polish it with finishing touches–no color correction or anything. We’re geniuses! Well, not really but you spotted me with some ideas on that one. You really did. Too bad I don’t get to see him often, and when I do, he usually just gets a hold of me to get something like get help with editing a video he desperately needs to turn in to angry clients. But I can to do the same, so no blame there. The important thing is we got it in and they were happy (better be too with all that work we put in). That’s the thing about my bro and I. When it comes to creating shit, our minds sync up. Too bad we both have that perfectionist tendency and he’s got the OCD thing going. Regardless, Universe/God, I thank you for that.

There are just a few things I wanna request though. I know you saw it coming. So if my brother asks for another editing favor, can you get him to pay me next time (granted there will be a next time)? I know, but I already asked him. I just thought maybe you’d remind him every so often when I’m not around. I don’t like doing too many reminders. It’s cool this time. I’m glad I can help. It made me feel less useless actually. But next time, just a little at least? You know my desperation.

Also, if you send me work, please have them pay too. No more freebees. Fuck that I can’t get a Social Security! Fuck feeling helpless! No more. I will work, regardless of what “the law” says! The fridge is empty and my momma, eh, I’ll write you another letter about her later. It’s not really so bad, I mean, I just need to stay busy so as not to be tempted to burrow back under the covers and stare at the faceless ceiling all day. But how? I couldn’t even add twenty and forty-eight the other day. I swear I’ll do my part about the work though. In fact, I’m watching a tutorial on how to interview a client. See! I’m watching as I type this request with one hand, well I’m not getting much our of it but… I’m going to watch it again… I’m prepping up for motivation and some concentration.

I just… I’m nervous about making this website for my dad (another free job), and I’m anxious about making it at all in life. I mean what the hell? What I even mean by that? Am I still alive? I don’t feel it. Aside from the innermost ache, it’s all still a bit numb, most days. There’s a tingle of life, yes, a little. But not today, not most of these days. You know how fuckin’ shitty this immigration situation can be. Can you grant me something for that? Anything? I don’t want to have to marry L. I don’t. This week, I saw these cool pro-bono-ish lawyers at the university and they gave me a similar prognosis as all other immigration lawyers do. So I really would hope for more encouragement if I weren’t already so vapid.

God/Universe, one more thing, can you tell the Sun to stop calling in sick? It’s getting really heavy and burdensome in this in this stifled city. No, the air is fine, more than fine, but it isn’t enough. And can you tell Karma (if it really is her) that I’ve had enough of her this month? I think she’s overstayed her visit for the year and has given me more shit than I’d like right now. I just don’t think she believes me when I say I’m sorry for any harm I’ve done on this earth and to any living being in this lifetime or any past lives–if, indeed, there were past lives.

And I promise, I won’t write you anymore sappy letters. Ok maybe I will, just not this sappy. I also promise to keep this blog free of too many lengthy or cheeky posts. Just, please help me out here. At least enough for me to focus on this tutorial? (Heehee I accidentally typed “titsoral”. Why do I want to giggle like Peter Griffin? Am I really that childish?)

Anyway, I don’t call on you much, if at all. And I don’t really think I’m useless per say–even with this temporary one-handedness I have going here–but at least, with your help, I can convince myself that I’m not.

I realize acceptance is best. Can you help me with that too? Pleeease.

Love,

PAZ

p.s. I once heard that this little earth I’m on is just another cell in your body. But I happen to know it’s just another subatomic particle full of energy, pirouetting in your endless anatomy. So I’ll understand if you don’t reply.

p.p.s. Kisses.

A week and a day ago my crooked smile disappeared. What I had left of a smile is now gone. Gone.

Poof.

It has vacated until further notice. It’s split and left no note or anything. You may be thinking that I’m speaking metaphorically when I say, “I have no smile now” or “I just can’t smile,” but no. I wish that were the case. Actually, I don’t because that would mean I would be severely depressed to the point of near catatonia again, and I definitely don’t want that. What I mean is that I’m saying this quite literally because the right side of my face is immovable, zombie-like, paralyzed. But now that I conjur metaphor, I will say that I also mean it metaphorically. After all, it’s difficult to smile inside when you lose such a basic function. It can be devastating.

On Wednesday morning of last week, just a day and two nights after arriving back in Houston, I woke up unable to move the right side of my face. The skin just hung there all soft and wobbly, like a dangling pancake. When I got up to get ready for my first therapy appointment since November, the delicate, pancake muscles on my cheek, lip, eyelid and eyebrow all slowly drooped; the nerve filaments microscopically scintillated inside.

Then, the tingling began, tiny sparks, growing stronger by the minute. That’s when I knew. I knew the facial paralysis, or rather Bell’s Palsy, had swooped in and struck me overnight.

When Bell’s Palsy strikes, it likes to do so incognito, in silence. It strikes like a ninja assassin sent to snap your seventh cranial nerve right there behind your ear. You may get the occasional warning–a spasm, soreness of the face, neck pain or a migraine perhaps–and many people do, but if and when you do, you’ll find yourself already struck before you can lift a leg for a roundhouse kick. In this case, however, you can’t even raise your brow to the mighty heavens and yell a crisp and clear “THE FUUUUUCK?!” because you can’t move your lips. Instead you sound like you have a moderate to mildly-severe retardation that causes your speech to slur and become nasally. Instead, your cry wheezes out with a lisp. It’s reduced to a faint, wispy whimper, “ph-puh-uuuck. “P”s, “M”s, “N”s, “B”s and “F”s are especially hard to enunciate .

This is the third time it has happened. The first time was in 2006…