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.

********

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.

*******

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.

****

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.

****

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

****

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.

The Abused Becomes the Abuser

********

I’ll never forget the time he pushed me so hard I fell out of my chair. His palms hit my chest like a grenade going off.

SMAAAAACK.

then

BOOOOM.

I fell straight back.

It’s a good thing I was near the ground already. That’s the thing about having OI, you can break a rib by simply sneezing, but sometimes you fall out of your wheelchair and you’re perfectly fine like a non-disabled kid might be. Though most times it’s the former and not the later that happens.

I lied there in confusion. He actually hit back this time? He actually hit me?!

After the shock wore off, I sat up from the carpet, trembling. He knew never to lay a hand on me–or rather to be exceptionally careful– because if our parents got home and found out he’d hurt me, he’d be in trouble. He broke my arms and legs on several occasions but always on accident. This was the first time he’d put physical force to my provocation. It must have been difficult to play and deal with your little Tasmanian-devil sister who has a brittle bones condition and a serious anger management problem.

****

“Aaaaaah! Motherfucker! You could have broken my bones! And my back! You could’ve snapped my back!” I yelled. I was still trembling.

“Well, how do you expect me to act when you’re so fuckin’ mean all the time?! HUH?! Always hitting and scratching me, yelling and cursing at me and throwing shit at me! HOW SHOULD I FEEL!? How do you think I feel?! You need to calm down! You treat me… I’m just… sick of it. You treat me like shit, so how do you expect ME to feel and react?”

I listened to his lecture with burrowed brows, pursed lips, flaring nostrils and a lowered head. My heart beat faster and faster with every word and I just wanted to attack. But I listened to him go on about how I’d end up an old, lonely, bitter woman if I went on like that (yes, he was saying this to a thirteen-year-old Negative P). I listened to him go on about how he was sick of my abuse and how I needed to change. On and on he went. As his voice droned over me, I began to stare down with a passive, stark look as if it didn’t faze me. As if I didn’t care.

“Are you done?” I looked up.

“No I’m not done!”

“Well, why don’t you just hit me then you fucker, push me again and you’ll see! You’re not my dad! And you’re not my mom! You’re shit!”

“See what? What the fuck P? What’s your problem? Man, I ain’t doing shit to you! I’m only trying to make you see clearly! And you’re not even listening! I’m trying to teach you something so you can learn not to act like this.”

There was a painful silence as we both stared at each other in the hallway.

“You don’t care do you?!”

I didn’t answer.

He sighed and squinted his eyes as if to search for what I held so tightly in my chest. I would not let my pain show, not even in my eyes. The tears would come later when no one could see. He stared at me with indignation until the spell in him passed. Then he stormed off to his room and I was left sitting there alone with my thoughts and overwhelming feelings.

****

I went to my room. I cried and cried and hurt myself all evening–scratching, biting and banging my head against the dresser. I had to make up an excuse for the bruises when my parents got home. They actually bought it, or so I thought. I don’t recall much of that part.

And I didn’t apologized to him until many years later, but then again, neither did he. He was only trying to do his best as an older brother, despite the futile and misguided attempt.

I was in middle school then. And with middle school came rejection and isolation. I was a tiny bottle of nitric acid, fuming at the edges, bubbling at the brim ready to spill and corrode anything I touched. It was a matter of time before I’d self destruct–explode or implode and consume anything around me like a black hole.

****

Shortly after, sometime that same year, I discovered the band Orgy. They had just made a remake of New Order’s “Blue Monday” and I would get all giddy when the music video came on MTV. This week I chose that song because it reflects the transition I made from being the “abused child” to becoming “the abuser”. I’m sure my mother had the same transformation after years of being devalued, beaten and watching her parents nearly kill each other with kitchen knives, furniture and broom sticks. I don’t blame her for the violent ways she dealt with me; I know she had been traumatized, was a child herself. It still doesn’t make it right though.

****

We all have a punching bag. Some of us only need a small punching bag. I needed one much, much larger than myself, especially those years–my angriest, raging years–so I chose my brother and myself. Even that wasn’t enough for the beast that lay within me. Then Eloise came to live with us and, to an extent, I made her my psychological punching bag too. I’m thankful the two of them are still my friends.

And that’s how the abused becomes the abuser I suppose. How does it feel? Like fuckin’ shit.

********

Oh, I included both versions of “Blue Monday”. The first version represents that little abused and angry, explosive and bloodied thirteen-year old mouse bordering on psychopath-to-be mouse. It will forever remind me of that time he pushed me and the many times we fought and how he would often lecture me to no avail (it was the first time he pushed me but definitely not the last). I even made my poor brother cry on numerous occasions. If only he knew how much I was hurting though… If only someone had known, had told me I wasn’t a bad kid for feeling so angry, self-loathing, sad, suicidal, empty and alone.

I sat there with my bruised head thinking, How should I feel? No one asks me that. How the fuck should I feel? Everyone tells me how I should feel but no one really asks.

********

Orgy’s remake, 1998

New Order’s original version, 1983

It rained all day yesterday and much of the day today. I love summer rains!

****

There’s a sun roof just above the tub in my parent’s room. A lot of flowers and leaves from the neighboring tree fall on there.

I had a razor set up by the tub and then I thought, “This is ridiculous P! Go get your camera and shoot these droplets and pretty leaves instead. You’ll go swimming tomorrow and don’t want that arm all cut up.”

Photographing helped snap me out of this strange sensation for a while. I was able to just focus on the patterns the leaves and flower petals made as they fell along with the droplets of water.

****

After shooting these, I was able to settle my mind. Then I was about to get ready to cook something when my serendipitously brother showed up and I spent the night at his house with his girlfriend and her little girl. Then when the little one was asleep, we decided to have an Alien/Aliens mini marathon but the “file” on my brother’s media player was “corrupt”.

I ended up passing out on his couch.

A flicker of hope burned within me last night. It swiftly swayed, but all too quick like the wings of a hummingbird. It was small as it fluttered in there, in that barrel chest of mine. It burned ultra-violeT. It was unseen by the naked eye. No difference could be seen in the color of my flesh, but I felt it there hot inside my breast, then cool around my cheeks.

What was this hope you may ask? Oh, it was a bursting urge! A bursting urge to live wholeheartedly.

********

Then today, I woke up crying. I hadn’t cried like this in a few days.

It was the complete opposite of how I woke up yesterday–with boundless energy and an urge to cry but something keeping me from doing so, almost like constipation but worse. Far, far worse.

The showers had subsided and I was relieved. But honestly, I don’t know what’s worse not being able to cry or not being able to stop crying. It’s all too tiring. Too, too tiring.

I keep telling myself, “Things are looking up kid! Just hold on. Look up.” I don’t believe myself when I say this but I know I will hang on.

I just don’t get it.

****

I went swimming yesterday, the first time I got to go since Thursday and I think that may have been what helped light the flickering hope. But that’s the thing with me these days–most days–most of my life I have to keep fueling that damn flicker. It’s like when you’re trying to light a cigarette on a windy day and you only have on small, very small hand to keep the wind from the flames.

I’m always fanning the flames.

****

I had another weekend breakdown. It seems my “rhythm” for the last two weeks has been one okay day followed by two awful days . The “okay” day just means I haven’t had extremely dramatic mood swings or panic inducing anxiety.

Saturday my dad decided to throw a party for my mom’s 50th birthday. Eloise’s sister Isabella, the beautiful ballet dancer, also arrived on Saturday. So it was a chaotic day and needless to say, I couldn’t go swimming.

Swimming has become my new addiction. I noticed myself getting withdrawals all weekend. I’m even having swimming dreams! I had a really bizarre underwater dream several nights ago, where I had to find my way out of  a sewer, only it was endless and I was in scuba diving gear. That faded into another one of my zombie apocalypse dreams. Only this one was very Tim Burtinesque. It was a musical zombie apocalypse with singing zombie-robots that shot human zombies! At that point, I knew I was in a dream so I stopped being scared of the zombies; I started killing those snail-paced fuckers whilst singing along with the robots! (I have a lot of lucid dreams. More on that later.)

****

Alright, I’m not to proud of my journaling style of blogging lately, but I can’t seem to let the blog go completely either. I have been more reserved in what I say as oppose to what I want to say. This blogging thing has become a push and pull with me. And I’ve come to the realization that maybe my funny juices have completely run out. I can’t do a humor blog. I have all of these ideas but my hand just won’t keep still to draw them out. I’ll give it some more time, but I’m just not feeling them squish inside, they vanish tooquickly-the funny juices that is, not the PLD’s–so I’m down to just doing the “dear diary” thing.

****

Oh yeah Saturday.

Saturday, all was flowing well. My brother dropped off Isabella at one of the local universities which will be housing her for her summer dance program. Yeah, I thought she was going to be staying with us, but that was just me jumping to conclusions. We still do plan to take her out and visit and whatnot. But I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to go to the airport since my mom and dad were running around with all of birthday preparations. And that’s what I really meant to write about.

As I’ve mentioned before, I “quit drinking,” relatively speaking. I say relatively because I have had a few drinks here and there on social occasions. The last time was on Mansie’s birthday. That night I ended up crying in B’s car.

After that I said, “No P, you shouldn’t drink, especially now that you’re mourning L’s loss”. But guess what I did Saturday? Yep. Yep. I drank. I got wasted.

Let me explain.

While everyone was eating the ribs my dad had made, I was munching away at my Spanish rice. And then ny brother shows up with his girlfriend with three  delicious glasses of expensive wine (my brother is the money-maker of my little family of four).

But… but… it’s expensive wine and he’s handing me a glass. One sip won’t hurt. Ooooh god, that’s delicious! I never get to have wine this good. Oh, yes, ok. I’ll have just ONE glass.

Well folks, one glass turned into three glasses and three glasses turned into an additional two bottles of Corona Light.

But hey, hey! Looky looky! I don’t feel teary-eyed and all depressed and shit like I normally do when I drink. No, this Corona Light has me feeling alright.

Then, I see my brother being all smochie noochies with his new girlfriend. And don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy for him. We all know this one is a much more positive influence than the last one. In fact, she’s growing on me. But that’s not the point! No! I started thinking about Monkey Man L dammit! I started thinking about how fucked-up our relationship was sometimes. I started thinking about how I’d never really had a formal “boyfriend” and don’t even care to know what that means. But do I? Am I just bitter? Am i just fooling myself?

I laughed. We took pictures. Just about everyone was tipsie and I thought, God I gotta get outta here!

I noticed I was drunker than I thought. I no longer have the tolerance I used to. I went into my dad’s office which used to be my room when my brother still lived with us last year. I’ve been using his computer in that office since my laptop’s been shutting off on me again. Here, there are various types of photographic and printing studio equipment–four printers (one large-scale printer), a scanner, some card-making paper, ink-needles, an easel, paintbrushes, oils and an exact-o knife.

Wait, where’d the exact-o knife go? It was here all week? It was here a minute ago. Oh no, well shit, I better wait for everyone to leave.

Now guys, here’s where I should stand up and do my AA introduction, I suppose:

“My name is P, this here is Mouse who lives inside me and we/I am an alcoholic.”

****

While the party dwindled down to just two guests (by then even my brother and his girlfriend had left), I started reading blogs. I’m sure I left some of you drunken messages and or comments with loads of absurdities. I apologize. I know I left THAM an annoying comment about Luna and I do not care to look at it. I also professed my love to Totsymae. Lady, I don’t regret professing my love to you though!

What I do regret is what follows. And I do say regret is a silly thing but let’s roll with it until I flush it out.

I searched for that exact-0-knife and I started listening to my dear Fiona which was probably a poor move because although I love her voice, I was not in a good mindset. It only amplified my woe. And, I just did the slicing with my nails. Not much, but I did. I tore at myself and nails are too blunt, not sharp and fine like exact-o knives. It was ridiculous.

Eventually, everyone was gone and I took a painkiller from the few I had left. Once again, I went on looking for that exact-o-knife. I really had an urge that wouldn’t quiet then. And that’s the thing about alcohol. It completely lowers my ability to resist this type of self-harm. With me, drinking and cutting have always come together. I can’t seem to separate the two. I hate to admit this. I need to get it through my thick skull if I’m going to tame this beast: You, P, cannot drink! Simple.

I eventually gave up on the exact-o-knife search. Maybe the heavens were looking out for me. Maybe Monkey Man L was looking out for me. I don’t know. All I know is it wasn’t here and it wasn’t in the other office. It had been here in this office all week and I’d been resisting it. Then comes Saturday and it’s missing. And since alcohol lowers inhibitions, all resisting from me was down to almost zero.  In spite of not finding the knife, I did some other kind of injury instead. I’m not proud of it.

I was crying in that office like a battered child–only I’d battered myself–calling out to L repeatedly. All I remember is mumbling some nonsense about how hard it’s been to live without him.

Not so simple is it?

****

I need to find a way to tell my family that I cannot be around alcohol as much as I’ve been. I mean, they’ve practically been waving it under my nose. But I want to be the one that says no. Kids, um just say no. I don’t want to tell them, “Hey, if you see me with a bottle in my hand, snatch it from me.”

I don’t.

Mr. Mackey says to P, “Uh, mmmkay, so alcohol is also bad P, ’cause you can’t seem to control yourself or your Melancholically Manic Mouse, mmmkay? Mmmkay P?”

Mmmkay Mr. Mackey. Mmmkay.

****

I did finally get a call back from the university where Ex-Young Therapist used to work. I’ll be seeing my new therapist Monday! I think that’s a good thing, no?!

I’m extremely nervous about meeting her on Monday, about so many things going all at once. I’ve been invited to a meeting, so I’m planning on being “involved” again. Can I do it? I hope so. I hope I don’t just drop everything half way. Hope is still flickering within, it’s just that I have to keep re-lighting it. That’s all.

I got a message from A.F. That was warming. Yes yes, things are looking up kid. Don’t mind the slip up. Oh yes, so much to do! Don’t panic. Shhhh. Calm. Calm. Quietly breath. They are lookin’ up kid. Just keep swimming when you can; just keep swimming when you can’t.

*Trigger warning? Read tags*

This one is self explanatory. It’s “numb” by Portishead, lyrics written by the beautiful Beth Gibbons, music by the guys. And I can tell you, from my experience, that the “borderline’s” tendency towards feeling “chronic emptiness” is embodied in this song, for me at least. These songs are only here because of what they mean to ME. Please don’t take this as my interpretation of them as what they are supposed to mean for you, and especially not the writers themselves. They are not songs about “borderline girls”. I don’t mean overstatements and overgenralizations, so apologies ahead of time.

********

I just got back from Mansie’s surprise birthday party. It was wonderful! And I was ready to write one of my “Good Lists” for Saturday/tomorrow, but I had a trigger on the way home. B was driving me back. I’d drank a little at the party, and though no one from the activist group of friends besides C. and his girlfriend KJK, went out back with them. I went out and I smoked with the two of them, KJK and C, out in the back patio of the J. House. God, I’ve missed Mary J (yeah, yeah, I know it can be a depressant, especially with alcohol not to mention I’m on two different meds and took clonazepam to calm my nerves).

********

See, B and I were in the car when all of a suddenl, as if to break a momentary silence, he asked, “You ever been to Victoria, P?”

Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Is that enough times? God no. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria.Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria.Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Not enough still? Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. I’d say more. I’ve been to Victoria more than that.

“Yes, I have. Why do you ask?” I quietly replied. I got suspicious that someone had told him. I was still a little drunk, AM STILL a little drunk. He hadn’t drank all night thankfully.

“Uh, I was just wondering what it would be like to live in a place like that. I always pass by there when I go to the valley.” We’d been talking about the valley and an activist girl from there who was at the party.

“Yeah, well I know what it’s like to live there, at least from the times I visited. You remember L?” Tears began to swell.

“Yeah, the guy you were thinking of marrying and had the off and on situation with?”

“Yeah, he died,” I burst into tears.

“Oh no P, I’m sorry… When?”

“In March, at the end of March… and I don’t even know how he died! … Yeah, exactly… speculations… speculations…There are only speculations,” I couldn’t contain it. I didn’t want to tell him I suspect it was an overdose. It kills me, the speculation.

Poor B, he apologized for triggering… apologized to me so many times. He’d already had a bad night with Mansie, his ex. Good for me though; I was able to cry in front of someone besides my immediate family. He cried a little too. He told me about the death of three of his friends in an attempt to console me, and probably himself too. And also as a way to connect.

L was more than a friend, more than an ex-lover boy. He was family to me. I haven’t had the kind of connection I had with L with anyone in my entire life.

And when I got inside the house, I cut (just a bit), more like jabbed at my elbow with a pocket knife from my keys, and I downed four hydrocodones and a clonazepam–crushed the clonazepam. I’m still high and numb at the moment. High. High. I know, I know. Stupid. It felt good though; it helped–only momentarily, I know. It’s only momentarily relief. That’s all this shit provides. It’s superficial relief. I hadn’t done this since last September, this cutting business. It’s so ridiculous. It’s so ridiculous how much more numb I want to be.

********

Monkey Man L was raised in Victoria. I have endless memories of that place–beautiful memories, fucked up memories, lovely memories–all of of spending weekends, entire weeks with him there in VICTORIA. Oh yes, I’ve been to Victoria, Texas. I’ve been.

The good thing is I opened up a little to B. He told me about the loss of three friends. I didn’t let him get near me until I was in the doorstep in which I asked for a hug and he stumbled on his own words trying to comfort me again. He’s a nice guys, very sweet–a genuinely kiund heart.

As Beth Gibbons says in this song, I feel like “A lady of war” indeed. A constant war.

But I do need to write that Good List. So more on this in my good list because pleasant, or “good” and progressive things have been happening. I can’t think all black and white now, can I? Night. Night. Numb. Numb. Smile. Smile.

I’m going to go lie down have a conversation with Monkey Man L now. It was a long, eventful day.

*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*

********

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.

Life is beautiful, it’s precious, it’s [insert other euphemism]. It is the only one we know we’ll get. So why waste it? Why throw it away?

Sure, there are tsunamis that claw over, killing hundreds of people and hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes all leaving ravage in their wake; there’s disease and famine, and worst of all, the man-made stuff–if you don’t count some of the natural disaster stuff being partially an effect of some of the man made stuff.

But still, why throw it away?

I have often wondered “How does one get to that point?” of taking your own life, of constantly being bombarded by thoughts of suicide. I wonder about this, even when I myself have been there countless times. So I can only imagine how incomprehensible it maybe for someone who’s never dealt with chronic depression and chronic thoughts of suicide like I have.

I say take this as a trigger warning, please: I will refer to suicide a lot in this post. Read the rest of this entry »

NOTE: This is not to be taken as medical advice. I am not a mental health professional. I am only a mental. 😉 The guy in the video and myself, however, are well intentioned and know this stuff from personal experience. Also, May is Borderline Personality Disorder awareness month.

I really enjoy most of this guy’s videos (see below). I can really relate to his type of BPD though I can’t seem to make out where his accent could be from…

Anyway, I wanted to share this one in particular. What he describes in this video is what some BPD experts refer to when they talk about “splitting”, although much of the time splitting is only used to refer to the extreme black and white thinking patterns (aka cognitive distortions) someone with BPD tends to have. Now, everyone has contradictory thoughts. And everyone criticizes themselves and then tells themselves they’re good and that they’re no good, but the difference is intensity–extreme proportions, severity and severance of self–and the problems this severe severance of self creates in the person’s life.

Internal splitting dialogue goes something like this for me in regards to self-perception:

“I am a wonderful person. I am worth a lot. I’m needed. I am a horrible person. I am completely worthless. I’m a burden to my family.”

or

“No, I’m not a liar. Why would I lie about that? I don’t like to lie. I prefer telling the truth, no matter what. I’m a liar! I’m a fuckin’ liar. Just admit it P, say it, say ‘I lie and I lie and I compulsively lie’. It doesn’t matter if it’s about the little things. It can be the big things too. How do you know? One day I may lie about something big. I lie to myself already and I lie to you!”

or

“I’m so kind and loving. I feel so empathic. I love to love and help others. I do great things for others! I enjoy it. I enjoy bringing a smile to people’s faces. I feel so heartless. I’m so fuckin’ evil; I need to be killed before I seriously hurt someone! What if I kill someone?”

or

“Everyone loves me! I’m brilliant. They tell me so all the time. I know just what to say to make people feel good and they appreciate me for it. Everyone, hates me. Hates me. Hates me. All I do is insult people in the worst possible ways. I’m such an idiot. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Why else would he be criticizing you like that P? Because you’re fuckin’ stupid that’s why. You’re mean and stupid. How can you be so stupid P? How can anyone ever love someone this stupid? So mean!”

or

“I LOVE YOU ALL SO, SO, SO MUCH. COME OVER HERE SO I CAN GIVE YOU ALL A HUGE HUG AND A KISS. I FUCKIN HATE YOU ALL! FUCK OFF ALL OF YOU. AND FUCK YOU ON THE WAY OUT THE DOOR YOU FUCKIN’ FUCKERS!”

Once the punitive parent has her way with me, beating me ceaselessly, I crash on the floor and whimper and twitch and am lost like a puppy that’s been kicked; that’s my abused child. Afterward, I become completely detached, empty–the detached protector has taken over.

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The borderline really believes these things though they are often contradictory and completely opposing thoughts–thinking patterns become ping-pongs bouncing in polar opposites. I am very much this way even though I restrain myself and am often aware of how ridiculous my thinking gets. BUT, I still somehow BELIEVE myself when I begin to think that I am this way and then that way. I do not allow for in-between in my self-view, my reflection. My world view gets tainted like a cup of water when a drop of blank ink is dropped into it. No grey areas in my view of situations come in when I’m having “an episode”. I jump from one end of the court to the next–no middle ground, no safety net.

The worst is that the beliefs do not go away; they settle all cosy in between my ears as I argue with them. They kinda just sit there and laugh. And I argue and argue. When that happens, the beliefs become so strong they turn into emotions; they become my Pretty Little Demons. And I end up feeling intensely like an open wound–so intensely that I just wish someone would shoot me just to end the intensity of emotions rushing through.

I imagine it’s worse than turning into the Hulk. At least the Hulk gets to kick some ass every now and then. Speaking of the Hulk, The Avengers comes out tomorrow! Wooop.

So splitting, I think you get it now. Kinda right?

Enjoy!

addendum: I find it funny that he places the “healthy adult” far off into the right corner. Like ole healthy adult don’t come out to play much. Also, he’s got pretty hands, don’t you think?