I’ve been feeling rather dizzy lately, albeit “stable”. When I say life’s been better these days, I’m talking about stability–emotional and mental stability. I’ve cried a few times in the last three/four weeks, but it hasn’t been a gut wrenching, shake inducing phenomenon followed by an all-encompassing emptiness and urge to die. In other words, I’m not laughing and jumping ups and down and then wanting to jab a knife into my neck. I want to live! I want life!

A few good things are happening too. Good is such a relative word. But anyway, other than having blogger’s block, I’m keeping busy. Therapy, swimmin’, washing dishes, cleaning up, reading, immigration paperwork, rolling around with Luna, trying to keep her from rolling around on her own poo and then licking me. Shit like that.

This past week was really nice. I mean nice. Just “happy days” where I don’t give a damn about the bullshit in my life, in life. I wasn’t particularly happy about one thing, except for maybe the fact that the immigration situation, the work permit, is becoming a reality despite the hold-ups. (Yeah, I’ll mention those later as I always say I’ll do).

All I have to say is this and you can stop reading the rest of my nonsense:

Fool, I’m feelin’ fresh like fuckin’ Fonzie here! On the plus size, I also feel aaaaaliiiiiive. I’m mostly high on life; not just merely existing.

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I’ve had one of those weeks where I can laugh at humanity and not be too cynical about it. “Child,” I tell myself, “these are happy days aren’t they?” Yes, yes yes. the Mouse nods in agreement. I have to. This year has been hell–like much of my other twenty-six years– and I’ve finally driven out of hell, or so it seems. I’m always a bit suspicious though. I suppose what matters is that I am presently feeling pleasant, feeling calm. I’m ok.

My mood has just been too good to be true. And I’m not even on drugs… wait, I kinda am. But anyway.

And we all have our quirks, our little weird secrets (though some more than others). Don’t we?

What the hell do I mean? People are strange. That’s what I’m sayin’.

A strange week with (MOSTLY) good feeling. Let me start with Monday–this is last Monday, October first.

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The Monday Mentals

Monday began, and as usual, I went to the gym where my mom works to do my daily swim. I’ve been keeping track of how many laps I do. I told the therapist this and she said it’s a great idea to look back on my progress. Chronic pain gets in the way of this sometimes, but anyway. I’d planned on doing some blogging after my swim only I had the bloggin’ block going on in my head. And like Sara Draws says, I think I’m getting the “brain rot”. (Back on Lamotrigine after a week off of it).

I just can’t seem to sketch or play the ukulele or write, except for now. I’m writing now, ain’t I? I don’t know.

My brother and I are building our relationship again, after a major fight involving him saying he wanted me out of his life because of something impulsive I did. I’m glad we’re talking again. And we’re not just talking; we’re “friends” again. He’s been calling me up every couple of days or so and asking if I want him to pick me up to go over his apartment.

Ever since Monkey Man’s death, he’s been there for me, more or less. That’s what I love about my family. Things get crazy between us sometime, like when mama busted my brother’s nose throwing a phone at him (not a cellphone) and then he…or when I… ugh.. I’ll leave the rest for a private post. But what I’m saying is my family is here for me. And I realize that now. I always have, it’s just the depression gets in the way of these things–of FEELING the good things around you. Of feeling the love of those in your life. Of truly absorbing life, takin’ each breath and feeling the oxygen fill your lungs, pumping through your cells, in your blood, in your veins and fueling the engine that is your heart.

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My brother called me Monday and asked if I’d come over. I said sure, since I’m working on being a little more open. Once we settled in his apartment, we started watching Alien, the original 1979 version. All was good until he asked me to try some wine he’d bought. Well, I said to myself “P, you don’t get a chance to drink fine wine often. You’re doing well. Just half a glass.”

“Only half a glass,” the Mouse whispered. But…Half a glass turned into nearly three-fourths of the bottle and I got drunk. Really drunk. I was still fine though, just enjoying myself. It was a surprise, actually, to feel “happy drunk” because usually I become a somewhat psychotic and “angry drunk” or a very depressed drunk.

My bro went off to bed because he had to work early in the morning and I sat there on the floor with my wine, clicking around Netflix until I saw MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR!  Mel Gibson was still a young, sexy actor who wasn’t as misogynistic as he is now. But then again, I don’t know for sure. Shit, I digress.

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So I was watching Mad Max: Road Warrior with Mel Gibson, getting drunker, lickin’ every last drop. Then I got heavy-eyed and figured I’d go to bed. By then it was probably midnight and my brother was asleep. I went over to my brother’s spare room and then to the restroom to brush my teeth, and that’s when I decide to start reading some blogs instead of curling up on the futon. Around this time is when the mentals hit me like a spear to the spine.

I was reading one of my favorite poet-bloggies and she had a link to this music duo. I dug it, so I looked ’em up on YouTube. I found THISIt’s the duo singing a cover of Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars”. This here–this song, Between the Bars— is a song that has an intense affect on me. I was learning how to play it on the uke back in December before I headed to Florida; before I got facial paralysis; before I became increasingly depressed; before I broke my arm; but most importantly, before Monkey Man died. And if you guys have read about what happened to Monkey Man, all those depressing posts I wrote about him… yeah. It’s been six months already!

A song that was once dedicated to Monkey Man–that now rings truer than it did in December–turned on the PLDs and maybe some of the borderline in me came out. I immediately snapped and picked a paperclip from  my brother’s desk. You can imagine what happened next. But the paperclip wasn’t good enough, so I ended up in the kitchen with a bloody knife and a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey. I don’t remember much after cleaning up the sink except I wrapped my arm in toilet paper and went to bed (the futon) crying.

Here’s the strange part. The next day, I was fine again. I had to keep my arm from sight when my dad picked me up, but otherwise, I was back to my cheery self.

I found a sketch of a monkey with a guitar that I drewcbefore running into the song and it’s terribly cute. Just above the crooked ears I must’ve drunkenly scribbled. It reads: T.H.L 1984-2012

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Wonderful Wednesday

Tuesday. I’m not gonna bother recapping Tuesday since it was just a chill day, apart from swimming fourteen laps and hiding a still-bleeding gash on my T-Rex-Duck arm.

Wednesday… Wednesday was wonderful. There’s a happy day.

My friend Sandy came over with her little three-year old boy. I hadn’t seen them in months. I had finished ten laps earlier that day and was feeling like things really are turning up. So Sandy came by with sushi which we ate. We then watched a kiddie movie and talked. I think we were more into the movie than her boy. She’s very different from me, Sandy, but despite that, we get along pretty well.

Sometimes I can only get so much of her though, but I’ve been pretty social lately, so my anxiety about people is subdued a bit and my patience has grown a bit. I’m still a very anxious person; I’m still having lots of anxiety, but as long as I’m not having panic attacks, as long as it’s not crippling I think it’s manageable. I’m good to go.

After she left, B came by and we talked. Here’s where Sandy and B differ. B and I can have very deep conversations: we’re like-minded. He’s a very intelligent fella and he gets my sick sense of humor which is always a plus in a friendship (for me at least).

That was Wednesday. Nice, peaceful and full of camaraderie.

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As mentioned before, these little installments I came up with is a series of songs I randomly choose. They are songs that colored my youth in some way or another.

This week I took a trip down to my early teens. They were not happy years from what I remember. Sure, there were high times, but most of it involved bullying at school, violent fights with my mother, isolation, depression, discrimination, surgeries, insomnia, chronic pain, anxiety, self-loathing, rage, self-harm, etc. Though I’ve always been more of an introvert, I was a loud child. I was aggressive; I didn’t seem timid. I became increasingly timid when I hit middle school (isn’t that a rough one for everyone?). Anyway, since I felt so out-of-place, I rejected the boy band thing. I loathed Nsync, Backstreet Boys (for the most part), and especially the Spice Girls. Sure I loved the “girl power” thing, and the little feminist in me didn’t mature until I was in my twenties, but I always had a bit of anger towards girls. Guys, I could hang out with. Girls, not so much.

I generally haven’t been into much pop music since my early teens–even in my younger days I was more into gangster rap like Biggie, Tupak, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, ha–however, Savage Garden is a pop duo I will forever love. I think this song came out when I was twelve or thirteen. That was when I started thinking about drinking a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide and sniffing glue–not, not that white Elmers’ glue, the heavy duty construction worker glue in paste and jars– to see if it would kill me.

This song represents that little lost “borderline” girl in me. That girl that was never given room to grow, the girl that would become a little metal-head, a little punk and do anything to stop the pain.

I think as a result, I’ve had a taste for more contemplative music, if you know what I mean. Oh, and I love the shots of New York (near Brooklyn bridge) in this video.

She’s taking her time making up the reasons
To justify all the hurt inside
Guess she knows from the smiles and the look in their eyes
Everyone’s got a theory about the bitter one
They’re saying, “Mama never loved her much.”
And, “Daddy never keeps in touch.
That’s why she shies away from human affection.”
But somewhere in a private place
She packs her bag for outer space
And now she’s waiting for the right kind of pilot to come
And she’ll say to him,
She’s sayin,

“I would fly to the moon and back if you’ll be, if you’ll be my
Baby.
I’ve got a ticket for a world where we belong
So would you be my baby?”

She can’t remember a time when she felt needed.
If love was red then she was color blind.
All her friends, they’ve been tried for treason
And crimes that were never defined.
She’s saying “Love is like a barren place
And reaching out for human faith is like a journey
I just don’t have a map for.”
So baby’s gonna take a dive and
Push the shift to overdrive
Send a signal that she’s hanging
All her hopes on the stars
What a pleasant dream
She’s sayin,

“I would fly to the moon and back if you’ll be, if you’ll be my
Baby.
I’ve got a ticket for a world where we belong
So would you be my baby?”

(Hold on, Hold on)
“Mama never loved her much.”
And, “Daddy never keeps in touch.
That’s why she shies away from human affection.”
But somewhere in a private place
She packs her bag for outer space
And now she’s waiting for the right kind of pilot to come
And she’ll say to him,
She’s sayin,

“I would fly to the moon and back if you’ll be, if you’ll be my
Baby.
I’ve got a ticket for a world where we belong
So would you be my baby?”
~JONES, DANIEL / HAYES, DARREN

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I dedicate this particular post to my brother’s ex-ex-girlfriend who made his life “miserable”. But really, now that I know, I suspect she has BPD. They were together for five years and lived with us for about three. She’s my age and also loved/loves this song. Hell, she probably loves it more than I do. Sadly, she was in denial about her problematic behavior and didn’t get help when we asked her to. The entire world was against her. When I repeatedly asked her to get help, I was “antagonizing” her and siding with my brother. Mind you, this was shortly before I was asked to get help too. haha! She had it rough though. I thought my family was crazy, until I met her.

At least my family was there for me in some way or another. At least they showered me with lots of love. At least my mother never made me sell drugs at sixteen, despite her violent ways with me. At least my mother never kicked me out of the house (although she did tell me to get the hell out plenty of times). At least my father never walked out on me. I never had a sister in prison and with seven kids by the age of twenty-one. I don’t have another sister who survived a suicide attempt and then went on to have terminal cancer. It was sad seeing her go… and god, the kid.

I didn’t grow up in Fifth Ward, one of the roughest neighborhoods/parts of Houston. I only grew up in the “semi-ghetto,” not the full blown ghetto, and the principal transferred me to a “rich kids” school in sixth grade because of my good grades. My brother wasn’t in prison, hell, he’s never been in trouble with the law, except for one public intoxication misdemeanor (the story was funny as hell too). We were the only family she thought she had. I’m not even going to begin or try to explain how alone she’d been in this world. I’m surprised she was alive that long and I hope she’s alright these days and that life is treating her well.

I miss you Dee. I hope you finished your mechanical engineering degree! I’m sorry things didn’t work out with my brother, though they may have with me. heheh. I joke that I fell in love with her more than my bro did.

I have a question for all of you bloggers that are writing personal blogs in an anonymous or semi-anonymous fashion the way I am. In particular, I want to ask the Beepers (those with Bipolar Disorder) and the Borderlines (those with Borderline Personality Disorder), but really, anyone who just writes about their experiences day in and day out.

Yesterday, after I wrote about my grieving, I began to realize that one of the reasons why I have not shared much of the stories or “misadventures” as well as the adventures in as much detail as I’d like is because I have fear of discovery. Also, there’s just not enough time with all that’s going on with me.

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Fear.

I fear that my family and/or friends or just people I know in my personal life will find this blog and feel insulted that I’ve written about them. Or that they’ll feel like I was distorting the truth. I also fear that those that are only distant friends and aquiantances will eye me differently if they read this. I realize I’m being a little paranoid. But there’s some genuine, founded concern in some of this.

I tried to keep as much of my family out of my earlier posts, as much as possible without being dull, but I realized how futile that was considering the nature of my blog is to: A) crack jokes and make comic-y doodles, B) talk about immigration and how my personal immigration experience has been, C) share my experiences of what it’s like to be mental and D) share my experience as a mental person who also has a physical disability/chronic illness.

Taking all of these factors into account, there’s no way in hell I can just write about my mental problems without writing about my familial problems and some of my fucked-up experiences growing up. There’s no way to separate one from the other. I’m not blaming my parents for how I am, but there are forces at play here beyond me, and we cannot deny how much our environments shape us and break us.

Here’s the thing though, when I wrote yesterday’s post and gave a brief example of what I think some of my invalidation growing up has been, I feel I mirepresented my dad. I also feel I oversimplified the whole “invalidation” thing (which I will get back to sooner or later), but I think you got that being the smart bloggies that you are.

Still, I’m conflicted with the relief writing brings me, the unrestrained flow and the fear that I’m mirepresenting him or anyone, or that someone will misinterpret what I write. I feel like–and I have to use “feel” instead of think in this case–I made it out to seem like my parents never let me cry and that’s not the case at all. One thing about Borderlines is the sensitivity level combined with invalidation or perceived invalidation. It can get quite layered. I just hope that’s not how I made it seem. My mother was very violent though, especially with me, and often ignored our needs (my brother’s and mine) but she came from a far more abusive household, so the cycle was just repeated with me in a lesser extreme. She didn’t know better then.

See, my dad has been a very loving father, generally speaking. He’s actually much more affectionate than my mother is. He’s the “lovey dovey” type that always asks for hugs and gives you kisses and showers you with little sweet surprises on your birthday (even if he has no money) and buys you ice-cream, etc. But I think some of his affection actually stems from his own fear of abandonment. He grew up in Colombia, was born in the 1940s to a single mother. That stigmatized him a lot in a country and at a time in our history when a single mother who’d had her child out of wedlock was akin to being a “whore,” thus making my father–her child–nothing but a “bastard”.

What I’m getting at is, that I have some anger issues about a lot of things still–clearly–and that leads to my mixed feelings about all of this. I want to share the bad because I feel this has been one of the only outlets where I can talk freely about some of my family’s dysfunction without fear of being reprimanded.

Besides, from an early age, from the time I could write I used it as a tool to cope. When I got older, I toyed with the idea of becoming a writer. Yet I fear that I’ll veer too much into the negative with this blog. I want to show the light too. And then, more importantly, I fear they will find this and not like it, not approve.

I say to myself, “Fuck what they like, it’s your blog. It’s not like you’re disclosing their names or anything identifying.”

I’m still hesitant.

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What do you guys think? I mean, have you experienced this ambivalence about writing about your friends, families, etc? I guess the memoirist and non-fiction writer must get some of this inner conflict as well. How do you reconcile the two–the freedom this writing gives you with the fear of reproach, of hurting those you write about? Do you fear reproach?

I’d love to read your replies but you don’t have to answer all of the questions or any of them. Feel free to share your experiences/conflicts about blogging however you like, or don’t.  I just thank you for reading. 🙂

I appreciate those who’ve read and those I’ve shared ideas and experiences with in particular. Also, since NO ONE seems to click on my other pages 😉 (e.g. my Disclaimer page), hehe, I figured I’d put it in a post and MAKE YOU READ IT. muahahah.

Much love to you bloggers. Blog on!

addendum: I forgot to mention, I got my 100th follower sometime last week. When I started this blog, I didn’t even know that was possible. And I’m at 3,939 views. Not that that should matter much, but it just shows me what dedicated readers and WordPress addicts you all are!

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The Disclaimer

This blog is not for the faint of heart. Some content may be triggering so if you have a case of the mentals and believe you’re feeling unstable, look away. I joke a lot but I’m not kidding here. I’ve had to back away from other’s triggering posts too and from blogs I generally enjoy reading, so please note this.

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If you are offended by any content here, should you take offense, well then… you’re a big wiener. LIKE THIS WEINER!

In all seriousness, I don’t mean disrespect, but… you’re still a wiener, a flacid one at that.

I appreciate and respect different points of view, but hate talk will be ignored. I admit though, I can also be harsh, vicious eve, especially when it comes to IGRNORAMUSNESS.

A lot of conversations have been translated from Spanish to English so things may be lost in translation.

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Names have been abbreviated or fictionalized for discretion to protect the innocent and the guilty. These stories are not a representation of their person as they are based on my perceptions and/or my distorted memories and tendency toward employing hyperbole for comical effect. (Readers, I don’t underestimate your intelligence so I assume you already know this but I gotta watch my back y’all.)

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I make a LOT of assumptions and statements about psychology, psychiatry, mental disorders and mental health/illness but I am NOT a mental health professional. Sometimes I bash psychiatry, other times I cuddle it. My statements are not empirical. They are merely based on reading from mental health professionals, my own research of other’s research and my personal experience as a mental health patient as well as observing, reading and hearing the anecdotes of other mental health patients. To me, that personal means a lot, however.

By poking fun of mental health issues, I am not trivializing mental disorders. I’ve lived with a number of them most of my life, so I have no wish to trivialize and further stigmatize my own mental struggles as well as those of others. I am making fun of how others trivialize and misinterpret mental health/illness. I’m merely a mental humorist and a poet (aw sheeeit, note what I just did there?). Besides, I just have to laugh a hearty laugh before I finally put the barrel in and pull the trigger.

bukowski crazy

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If you think you know me, you probably don’t. Even if you do, you don’t know a lot about me. So if you do, please don’t mention anything personal about me on here or elsewhere. Please leave that to me, myself and I and yo and je. Oh wait, never mind, I just won’t approve any of your comments if you do!

I don’t wanna take myself or anything too seriously even though sometimes I tend to.

*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.”

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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.

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