Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 (to be continued)

I wanted to write a short post about the year before going to work, but I will save that for later. Right now, I will just enjoy spending time with the new puppy my fiance got me for Christmas. That in itself speaks volumes about what this year has been like.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving week for me has been interesting, relaxing, and eye-opening. As many of you know, holidays are not quite what they "should" be for my family. My brother has been in prison for ten years, and since that first holiday without him, which was a Thanksgiving, the magic has left most of these annual celebrations. Also, yesterday would have been the birthday of a dear friend who passed away last year.
Last year, I would have looked at the situation a little differently, but the way I approached the week has helped me to realize the progress I have been making. There are so many stars in the darkness of my sky, and I can see them now. I am engaged to a beautiful man who loves me unconditionally. I got to spend a week with both chosen and given family and realize how truly lucky I am to have such grounding and supportive people in my life. I may have had my moments over the week, but I am okay. I can feel love. I can feel safety. I can feel, and that it so much more than I was capable of one year ago. I am thankful for the return of my ability to feel human.
I may be a day late, but I am thankful for the struggle that led me to this point in my life. I am thankful for being me. And while that may seem selfish, I have not been able to say that in a long time. I am beginning to love myself again, and to me, there is no better gift in the entire world.
Thank you all for continuing to be a part of the many journeys that make our lives both connected and interesting. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mental Health, Part II

Although I was less than two weeks into trying to live a functional life again, I thought things were going fairly well, even with the growing pains, which tend to come with all major life changes anyway. My friend and I decided to go for a late-night leg day at the gym, which always makes me feel better, but there was something extremely important that I hadn't thought about since the first day I got my prescriptions from WPIC. There are side effects! (Now is the part where you think about how I slapped myself in the face when I became coherent again.) The side effects in question involve balance, coordination, etc. 

So I thought nothing of putting two plates on (225 pounds total) after our warm-up set, which is typically something I can rep 8-12 times, depending on what set we're talking about. It was just another day at the gym with only a moderately heavy weight on the second set of the night. But something happened on rep five. I didn't feel right--definitely not like myself. In that instant of feeling off-kilter, I nearly ended up with a much worse injury than I did. I felt the forward lean, the bar shifting, and I just let it take me down to the safety guards that were placed just a little too low, unfortunately. Imagine your spine bending into a backwards C, then getting compressed with 225 pounds of weight. Not fun. I knew something dreadful had happened the instant I let go of the bar. My knees came to the ground, and that was the last time I was able to stand without pain. That was the last time I would walk for three days, and in those three days, I thought for sure that there would be surgery, and I began thinking of the then great possibility that I would never walk again. Someone like me is not meant to be kept still. 

After the 10-hour ER visit that itself included buttloads of minimally effective narcotics--one of which made me see writing appearing across the walls a few times--the next 12 days included more narcotics, various other medications (laxatives, stool softeners, steroids, psych meds, etc.), hospitalization, and even more hospitalization at an inpatient rehabilitation facility, where I spent four hours every day doing intensive therapy. Each day, there was progress...along with a fuckload of pain. I'm home now, and there is still such a long way to go before I can ever go back to how my life used to be. I'm still terrified that I won't get to do that. 

What does this have to do with mental health? 

For me, everything. Again, I am not one to be kept still. My body is my tool of expression, whether that be through lifting weights, dancing, or playing music. My body is my ultimate project, and the gym will forever be my home--the place where I found my true self and can connect with that self on the deepest level. I am at peace when I am alone with those weights. There is pain and struggle, but it is for a purpose, and the progress that comes with that kind of hard work and dedication is doubly motivating. There are bad days, of course, but persistence always wins. Always. I am a physical being. I am so much so a physical being that when I cannot express myself in these ways, my mind unravels. 

The meltdowns and periods of "not being okay" went to the extreme this weekend. Think somewhere about level nine, in a public place. All I have been thinking about is getting back to being myself. I physically do not feel right when my body is restricted this way. I feel uncomfortable in my skin when it is not allowed to move freely. I cannot look at myself without feeling that same level of discomfort. I see my body changing before my eyes because I am not allowed to use it the way I know I need to. It's disheartening to see all of your hard work disintegrate right in front of your face. Not only was this my life, but this was my livelihood, as I was scheduled to begin transitioning back to work next Monday. Obviously, with such a severe injury and limited mobility in my lumbar spine, personal training is kind of impossible at this point. (Now is when I attempt to avoid getting sucked into thinking about all the implications this has on my future and my life's ultimate purpose, in order to avoid thinking further about career options/opportunities that I may or may not have missed.)

I am struggling, but tomorrow is my appointment with Sports Medicine at UPMC, and I am hoping they can help alleviate some of my concerns. Being active again will be on my mind until it is able to happen again. I think what makes this a little more challenging is that exercise has proven to be one of the most important factors in controlling my ability to regulate my emotions and increase my level of tolerance when it comes to overstimulation. I seem to be dealing with more than one demon at a time when my defenses are already down. I don't really know much about how to handle this, and I feel like it's taking its toll on those around me. I will hopefully be able to return to therapy on Wednesday when I return for a second intake session, but there might be some insurance barriers. Those same insurance barriers may prevent me from getting medical assistance from the state, food stamps, and the like, though I am not sure if they will inhibit my ability to obtain SSDI and SSI funds. (As you can see, I am finding it harder and harder to stay in the moment. I lose control so much more easily, and quickly.) 

This is why I want to study what I want to study, if I ever get the chance, because I know I am not the only one who benefits or can benefit to this extent from a combination of exercise and traditional psychotherapy methods. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

On Mental Health

Almost one month ago, I was taken to Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, ultimately for attempting to slice my own arm open, which would have occurred if not for the timely interruption made by my boyfriend. But there were other reasons that needed to happen anyway. I was non-functional in almost every aspect of my life, and my meltdowns were getting longer, scarier, and more violent, and they would leave me more drained than ever before. I had gone so long without knowing what it felt like to have a "good" day--or even a decent--one that I just didn't see the point in fighting with myself anymore.

I think one of the biggest realizations I have made in these past three weeks is that I am not fighting with myself; I am fighting for myself.

I've written every single day since coming home, and I had written eleven out of the thirteen days I spent as a patient on Floor 13. I wrote enough in those 13 days to fill almost 100 pages.

This weekend was not good. I had meltdowns each one of the last four days or so. I remember falling back into saying that none of it mattered last night. I wanted to run away and let something horrible happen to me. I wanted it to end. The meltdown would subside for a few minutes at a time as we practiced various techniques, but it would always come back just as intensely as before. Two to three hours of that is exhausting. It is understandable that I felt like a failure. (Notice how I am not saying that I believe it, but I am acknowledging that it is what I felt at the time, and that a reasonable person might come to a similar conclusion in those circumstances.)

I've had a bad couple of days, and we are still learning why. We might have made some progress today.

I had been getting on the bus, attending partial for six hours a day, getting on another bus, and then spending two hours in the gym before getting on another bus or walking/getting a ride home. Then I would end up having meltdowns or shutting down around 6:30 or 7:00 each night. The pattern became clear this afternoon when I started to notice that feeling of losing control of my mind, body, and environment. I made the choice to come home after attending the program to give myself a break from social interaction and even social presence. It's almost 7:00 now, and even though I felt the stress building and needed to lie here with my face in a pillow for about fifteen minutes, I am not anywhere near as overstimulated or overwhelmed as I have been at this time for the past week or so. My plan is to walk or get the bus to the gym at the time I had been going before, which is 8:30 or 9:00 pm. I am going to experiment with this to see if it affects my meltdowns in anyway.

Having to chart my own behaviors, even if it is just duration for now, is still very strange to me. But it keeps me honest about the progress I've been making. Having the schedule and checklist has helped me avoid the anxiety that comes with trying to decide what to do and when to do it, decreasing my overall level of anxiety so that triggering events are more manageable. The goal seems to be to create an optimally functioning version of me, however imperfect he may be, so that I have the capacity to handle my obstacles, regulate my emotions, and function as an independent adult in society. This is a long term goal in many ways. Right now, the goal is to make it there and be present each moment of the program.

The goal is to observe, describe, and understand.
Without judgment.

Having written about mindfulness for so long, I find it funny that--now confronted with working the philosophy into every facet of my being--I am having an extremely difficult time. But people are working with me, and they are also working to understand me. I haven't seen her in a few days, but I met a girl in my group that also has Asperger's, though she was only very recently diagnosed. Knowing that and being able to talk with her about things that no one else in the room really understood helped me feel much more comfortable, even on days when she wasn't there. I just needed that initial welcoming feeling, and it didn't come from the typical gestures offered by our society. It came from simply knowing there was someone else like me going through the same thing, sitting right next to me.

One important thing I have finally stopped is allowing myself to write when I am in a cycle of negative thoughts. I have learned to put the pen down or close the computer. I come back to writing when I am in a space that is more neutral. Writing down negative, irrational, or catastrophising thoughts only serves to make them more concrete. It strengthens them, and I no longer desire to give strength to the negativity by which I have sworn for so many years. That doesn't mean I'm doing that well with it at the moment, but I am working on it.

I am working. And it really is like working every minute of the day. But hopefully, in time, it'll be like riding a bike, and I will never have to revisit those dark moments as the person I was when I lived them.

I want things in life, though I don't know how to get them. One of the hardest things for me to do is be 100 percent present. My brain runs in so many different directions at the same time, and this is hardly something I can control. I don't have one train of thought. I have at least seven, it seems. Sometimes it feels as if I am watching seven TVs in my head and still trying to pay attention to the world around me. Even if one of those TVs can be turned off, it's not like I can access them all at the same time. I feel like it'd be like playing Wac-a-Mole. But maybe there are skills I have not learned yet. Maybe this is something I actually can handle. (Again, as you can see, staying in the present is hard.)

My boyfriend has been helping me identify patterns, try new distress tolerance/distraction techniques, and he has even been writing quite detailed descriptions of my meltdowns when they do occur. That last one gets me every time. It's one thing to see it written about a seven-year-old boy who can't speak. It's entirely different to see that those words are referring to YOU. I've just never been able to put myself into the other person's shoes enough to actually visualize how my behavior appears to others. Having a partner so dedicated to helping you be the best you can be is absolutely incredible. I would not be able to do this without him.

I am beginning to be more comfortable asserting myself when I need something, though this is by no means predictable. While I sometimes feel that I am moving backwards, I know that adjusting to so many new things--especially new ways of thinking and approaching situations--will cause things to get worse before they get better in many ways. I am accepting of this. Change can be painful, and pain is not necessarily good or bad. Pain is just pain.

Nothing worth having is ever easy. And my life must be worth having if I am working this damn hard to make sure that it can be better.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Quiet Time

Today I've oscillated between being full of energy and drive and being so completely engulfed in my own anxiety/misery that my brain decided being asleep for 17+ hours was a more appealing option than staying awake and resolving whatever issues it's been having. In the last several months, I've noticed that I have been falling more quickly from a generally positive state to a rather miserable one, and the fall has been getting harder and harder to resist. I'm running out of energy to deal with this, all the while still fighting increasingly debilitating anxiety and the prospect of maybe getting one meal a day for an indefinite period of time.

My brain is all over the place anymore. I can't finish anything I start, and sometimes the anxiety I feel about having to do something completely overwhelms me to the point where I don't even begin whatever it was I had planned to do. Big or small, it seems that any task is enough to roll this snowball downhill, and it starts the instant I open my eyes every morning and doesn't stop until I pass out from exhaustion, long after lying down to attempt sleep.

Mere annoyances have become triggers, and triggers have become automatic switches that send me from zero to meltdown in about as much time as it took you to read this sentence.

I've more or less lost whatever it was in college that kept me so focused and able to be so productive and functional. Granted, I wasn't the best at coping then either, but I thought I had gotten past all of this. I only know part of the problem, and I know nothing of the solution. My brain is already several steps ahead, and I really can't trick it into doing anything once it gets going in a certain direction. I don't know how to bring myself back. Most of the time, it seems completely illogical that any of these skills will work for me--since I know how they work or what the ultimate aim is--so I get more upset when someone tells me what to do to calm myself down, refocus, etc. I just don't work that way, and I need to find things that really DO help. Maybe some of the issue is that things that help other people actually make it worse for me, or they make it more likely that I will exhibit some sort of behavior or have an outburst in the future. I've never really had a good chance to analyze myself because once I am removed from the situation, the feelings get locked away.
Every now and then, I am able to access that information and translate into words, often poetically, and I gain a little more insight into the puzzle of how this lump of cells in my head works. Unfortunately, that little bit just isn't enough most of the time.

I was able to get a decent workout tonight, take a nice long walk home, and sit here for a little bit before the noise came back into the picture. I feel close to the words I'm writing, and the silence I've had has been helpful. My head feels a little less like a whirlwind, and I don't feel like I have eight TV sets to watch at once in my head while trying to navigate my way through the day. (Maybe just two right now.)

So it's clear that I'm depressed and that I have been for some time. It's also becoming more clear that it may not be depression alone, which would explain why medication hasn't ever helped that much. Severe anxiety, ADHD, bipolar depression, and the big one, of course. It's not surprising, but I always thought they were all part of the same thing. But now I realize that the reason I have never really been completely okay is that, at any given time, I am dealing with one or more of these things. Sometimes, I'm just fucking anxious. And sometimes, I just can't focus. And I'm talking can't focus long enough to finish brushing my teeth or get something out of the fridge, in addition to the more important tasks of everyday life.

I am unable to do this on my own, and I don't know where to start. And even if you told me, I probably wouldn't get to doing it anyway, which has become quite a problem for me.

The noise is coming back, and my heart is starting to race again. No reason, really. But I guess that means I'm done for now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No Way Out

I am getting very tired of having more bad days than good. I'm also just tired. I haven't been able to eat even half of what I am supposed to on a daily basis, partly from lack of appetite and partly from not having food. I feel out of it all the time, and I sleep a good 16 hours a day at least. I've thought about doing some pretty stupid things, none of which are worth the time to repeat here. I have been anxious and in meltdown mode for a week straight. Anything and everything can set me off, and I don't like the person I become when that happens. Nothing is working anymore. I may have a job again in a few months if I can figure out how to be a normal person. I'm still not sure what "taking a break" means. I'm fired but not fired? It's not as if it makes much of a difference. My last paycheck wasn't even for 100 dollars.

We are apparently going to a food bank this week.
I almost started drinking maple syrup this evening.

I was told that there are some people at the DoD who are impressed with my resume. But I've been told that before, so I'm not expecting much to come out of it. Even if it did, given my history, I would probably fail at that too. Whatever it is.

I've already learned that I am just not capable of doing anything I have ever wanted to do, which is probably why no one wants to give me the chance. Maybe they all see something I haven't been able to see until now.

A normal person would take some menial job and just deal with it. But we already know what happens to me when I have to work in a customer service environment. I'd be okay with it if I could spend less than three hours trying to get myself out of bed because I am freaking out about whether I need to shower or eat first.

I feel like everything in my life is getting really out of control.
I really don't understand how this always happens or what I can do.

Am I just not capable of doing this? Of living and functioning like everyone else? Of doing what I need to do and being happy? I am starting to believe it more and more.

There really is no way out. And I don't want to live with that.

Monday, August 25, 2014


You are the most amazing person to have ever come into my life, and I never want to let you go. This time, I know for sure. But you were right, as you often are. It's one of the things I love about you the most. You are intelligent, and you are more like me than you ever realized before. I did think those things, briefly. I allowed them to play out in my head, over and over again, because I knew that resisting those thoughts and feelings would only make it more difficult for me to understand what I needed to do. I have learned to mostly allow myself to experience without analyzing--without passing judgment. That has been the most helpful skill in controlling my anxiety and meltdowns. But it is not always easy. There will always be days like today.
However, in allowing myself to experience that world in my mind, I came back to the same conclusion I had reached numerous times before. Of course I still felt things. But those feelings are for a person from a different time, and they come from a person from a different time. I have made the decision to love truly and completely the one person that is right for the me that exists in the here and now, not the past. 
I want to believe that I have grown into more of the kind of partner I want to be--that I have learned from my mistakes. 
I don't want this to end like all the others, and I know that it comes down to my actions in the end. I must choose to better myself. I must choose to fight all the time. I can't let myself fall into the same patterns as before. I'm learning how not to do that, and I am only succeeding part of the time. 
But you are patient. And I can hear everything I need to in the tone of your voice. And I don't get that with everyone. It's almost as if the actual words don't matter when I get that way.

I'm waiting for you to come upstairs, still feeling so connected to you after you read my cards tonight. I know this was difficult for you, and I am sorry I wasn't completely honest with you that night on the couch. I was (and still am) so afraid of losing the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Three months

I really just want to be a better person.

He makes me want to do that. 

The person I have to fight the most is myself. I don't mean to be ignorant or selfish. Sometimes I just don't know. 

I can only hope that patience will serve both of us well. So far it has, and that makes me so happy. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


I haven't written anything on paper in a while, other than lists of things to do and places to be. I also haven't written anything here either, but that should have been obvious. I fought with myself about how I wanted to get these thoughts out. Usually, when there are too many things, I opt for my computer. I can write pretty quickly, but I'm a much faster typist, and sometimes the clicking of the keys seems a little more calming than the scratching of my pen. I've never been able to figure out why one is a more preferable sound at any given moment.

This weekend really showed me how important it is to maintain my routine, even when new people and things are introduced into my life. Maybe the last few weeks should have been a warning. I felt like something big was coming, and I don't think I've gone a single day in the last week without having major problems that have scared and aggravated everyone around me. In addition, I exhausted myself just trying to keep my head above water and spent most of my actual birthday in pain and fighting throwing up, failing about three times. Do you know how much fun it is to do an Eminem number when you are nauseous and wearing a plastic coat? You don't want to.

I feel bad for not having been in contact with so many of the important people in my life, but there hasn't been enough time to even keep in contact with myself. My sleep schedule has been drastically altered, and I find myself doing things that just aren't me, thinking thoughts that don't seem to be my own. I have been having anxiety attacks before bed every night for the past 6 days, and they keep me awake until some time after the sun has risen, and then I sleep until the late afternoon or evening.  I'm depressed, from what I can tell. Getting knocked out of my routine tends to do that, but there have been other things on my mind.

My job is great, but it doesn't pay nearly enough to move forward in ANY direction in my life, and applications to more lucrative positions have been entirely unsuccessful. Financial anxiety is something I'm learning how to handle, but what I don't think I will ever learn how to handle is the idea that I won't move forward. I need a way in to what I want to do, and I just don't know how to make that happen. With so many good things happening in my life, it upsets me that one or two things, big as they are, can bring me down to this level. I don't like when almost every minute of every day is a fight against myself, and I don't like how I can be to other people. I don't like the burden I place on people. I don't like people having to worry about me.

Right now I don't like how I am having to type this from the bathroom because my anxiety has taken its toll on my intestines. I've lost like 5 or 6 pounds this past week alone. That's another thing that's been contributing to my worries. I work hard at what I do, and I don't need this right now, and the worst of that is that the resultant anxiety only fuels the anxiety that caused it to happen in the first place. I need to get out of this cycle--and many others--but I do not know how.

These are the times when I feel like I haven't grown or learned anything at all from my past experiences. When I feel that the work that I have put in to make myself a better and stronger person has been for nothing, much like how I feel about the work I have put in academically. I don't want this to be my story.

I'm visiting my parents this weekend. I'm hoping to have a few days where I can relax and refocus after an absurd couple of days. There is more that I should be saying, but I can't get to it.

Maybe it'll be different in a few days.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Please don't touch me without asking. This applies to everyone, even people with whom I am very close. This has absolutely nothing to do with you, so please don't be offended.

If I tell you I am okay when you ask, don't ask me again. And please don't make reference to how miserable I look, make fun of me for being awkward, or continue to comment on it all night. That's a good way to make sure what you are worried about happens. 

Sometimes I just don't feel like talking, but it doesn't mean I am not listening. If you try to force me to interact, again, it will probably just make things worse.

When I ask you not to do something, and you refuse to listen and say that that's just what you do and will do it anyway, I REALLY bothers me. 

If you don't understand, please ask. But don't make everything about this. I would prefer that you treat my interests and needs like those of everyone else you know. Sometimes it just gets old when everyone gets to laugh at how weird I am or how abnormal the way I do something is. It makes me not want to be around you. Or people in general. 

Obviously I haven't been okay recently. 
Don't make it a big deal, and it won't be. 

I have a very hard time trusting ANYONE. It will take a lot of time. Please don't try to jump into my life and assume a role that you haven't earned. It actually scares me and makes me really uncomfortable. You can't fake a relationship of any sort or just make one up, and if you can, I have no idea how that works. I have no idea how to interact with new people anyway, though sometimes I make an educated guess that works pretty well, and I have gotten better at this. But when you try to jump to a point further along the line--if you could envision the relationship as being linear--it messes with me too much, and I just can't figure it out. 

At this moment, I am not okay. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Not Braining Well

I am tired. I am in pain, which is my own fault because I thought I could definitely get that 5th rep on the highest weight I've ever incline benched. Well, I did. But in the process, I twinged something, and now it's difficult to rise from a supine position and turn my head. (Don't worry. This has happened before and has never really lasted more than a day and a half. It just sucks for right now.) But I am also stressed, and that doesn't make the pain easier to deal with, and that in turn makes me even more stressed.

I don't know why I thought it would be a brilliant idea to have two jobs. Though I am supposed to be working about 45 hours a week, it has turned into more like 60 since not every hour I spend at the gym is paid. Only if I do some tidying up on the floor or perform assessments/free workouts for the people that happen to show up that day do I get paid when I am not actively training someone. Since I am relatively new, my client list is kind of small, so you can imagine how most of my day goes. My exhaustion is making me less effective at both jobs, which is also making me miserable because I am the product of an old-fashioned Eastern European upbringing (think of something similar to Jewish moms if you don't understand the cultural reference).

I'm depressed about not getting anywhere with my life, and it is even more depressing to know that my boyfriend is fighting the same thing that I am, though he is a few years older. I wonder if we will ever be able to crawl out of this hole. Neither one of us wants to believe that this is as good as it gets. I am starting to discover that I may not be able to stay in Pittsburgh if I want to keep moving forward in my life. I came here because the opportunity was better. I am getting a lot of the things I need out of life, but I am also fucking up a lot. I don't like always having to worry about money. I don't like not being able to buy the kind of food I want or not being able to get the new shoes that I desperately need.

There are so many things that still make me happy, but I am constantly fighting off crippling anxiety, and my inability to process emotions, situations, and make decisions in a typical timeframe is causing me to shut down more often. I have near-meltdown experiences almost every day. I'm much better at fighting them off than I used to be, but that is both a blessing and a curse. It just means that there is more stored up for next time.

I feel like I am having a hot flash.

I want to know what it feels like to breathe without feeling like there is a rock in my chest. It's constant. It's been nearly constant my whole life, and it's not okay. But I do hate being on medication because it fucks with my body in so many other ways.

I can't figure shit out when all this is happening around me.
Even though I love what I do and it has saved my ass financially more than a few times already, I am looking forward to having the next few weekends off.

Time to cry. For no reason really.

Friday, June 27, 2014


I think I know what I need to do.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

First Nationals Update

I haven't even had the chance to sleep in my own bed since getting back from nationals early Monday morning. I was pretty eager to start putting away all of my things, reorganizing my room, and getting on with the business of everyday living again. But each time I touched anything in this room--each time I picked up a piece of a costume or a trophy or even opened my suitcase more than a crack--I saw the things, feelings, and people connected to them, and I couldn't bring myself to do it just yet. I've had more fun in the last week than I have in years, but I have also felt more pain than I thought I was capable of enduring.

Most people know that I didn't win this year, and I knew exactly what I did to lose the very moment it happened. I can't pretend that it wasn't one of the most painful experiences I've had to deal with in my performance career. I had no one to blame but myself, and these were mistakes that just simply shouldn't have happened. I didn't think I could ever feel that broken again. I had let everyone down, again, and this time, I couldn't walk away feeling like I had done the best that I could, which would have made everything perfectly fine. I was convinced I never wanted to put myself in that position again, risk feeling like that yet another year later. In those hours immediately following the conclusion of the pageant, I had finally come to the point of believing I just had nothing left to give. The magic was gone. And I couldn't get myself out of it.

I don't know what brought me back to reality. Maybe it was hall twerking in my underwear with three of my best friends. Or eating four pounds of Chinese food the next morning. Or seeing one of the people I love and respect most in this industry win his dream bar title the day after stepping down as Mister Gay United States MI. Maybe it was seeing my drag kids place top five in their very first national pageants ever. Maybe seems to be kind of a useless word at this point in the conversation. Collectively, my experiences began to chip away at pain enveloping my every thought. Would I really want to give this up? Ultimately, I had to ask myself, "What kind of person do I want to be?" What will be my legacy? Perseverance.

Because nothing worth having is ever easy, and someday, I will look back on all this pain, and it will be invisible. I know this isn't over for me. I know I am my own worst enemy. This year, it was about celebrating my demons, not fighting them. Now I realize that it's not so hard to fight them, and it's not so hard to be proud of them, but it is infinitely more complicated when you need to discover the balance necessary to achieve success.

But, while I was sitting expressionless in the front seat of the van, unable to move from the parking garage back to the room, he reminded me that I had achieved so many victories that weekend, regardless of my placement on the final night. I gave my kids the experience of a lifetime, and though I may not have won the war, I won a few very important battles. Interview and Question and Answer. I beat something I have been fighting for years. I still don't know how to feel about losing the category that I'm "supposed to be" the best at. My head probably wasn't able to keep up at that point. Everyone keeps telling me how well I did, but there is that part of me that knows how many mistakes I made. I know that I didn't get to show them the best parts of me during talent. That will stick with me for a while, but for now, I can celebrate the win for my new brother and sister. I can look forward to a fantastic year of growing, strengthening, and promoting a pageantry system that has made me who I am today. I cannot wait to work with everyone. The energy has returned.

More later.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ten Days

I've only been in Pittsburgh for ten days, but it feels like I have been back for several weeks already. Though the first few days were very difficult, it didn't take long for me to feel at home. I want to expound upon this at some point--why transitioning to a new location is such a mindfuck for me and how I have learned to cope--but I leave in a few hours to head to nationals for GUS, and though such a topic deserves more than a passing mention, my head isn't quite ready to commit to writing about it.

The day it sank in  for me was the day we played softball in the rain. I have and will always connect with people through shared experiences. It's not enough to just talk about common interests. I need to do things with you. Sports and their basic mechanics, like music, have a natural rhythm to them. 

Rhythm is a form of communication. It is a form of interaction all its own. 

Playing on that field in the rain made me feel things I had forgotten I could feel. Playing sports, dancing, and playing music all require you to somewhat share the same consciousness as others. I finally felt grounded in my city again. I finally felt able to call Pittsburgh my home again. It became real that afternoon, and despite the abysmal weather conditions and the possibility of getting struck by lightning, I can say without a doubt that I was just plain happy

It's so much easier for me to talk to people when I do things like this. 

I too am ready for whatever comes next. 

I have finally learned to say "no" to people. It's been the hardest lesson I've had to learn. I am naturally a much too giving person, and when I also care about the things with which people need assistance, I tend to feel guilty about refusing. I have something very big and very important coming up this weekend, and it has been a constant struggle to remain focused and to love myself enough to put myself first for the time being. I am excited to see old friends and begin working on these new projects, but now is happening now. I will treat my present with the same respect I treat my future. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Trying to Decide if I Should Perform This

Do you know what it’s like when your eyes hold their breath?
I’m sitting here in this blue box built for a boy who’d rather build his own--perfectly pink, plastic-people-populated and perched perpendicular to my past, our lives intersecting where mine became his. Where pink became blue before either of us had ever been born.
I have fumbled my way through a series of pendulums, dodging left and right, falling face first in the mud and failing to see them swinging right for me each time I rose my head to breathe and I breathed in genderqueer and choked on an indecision that felt like sitting on the fence.  With a post up my ass.
And I wiped the mud away and fell backwards in time through the dirt and the dust of trying to forget years of looking at my body betraying every move I made and every pound I benched and every mile I ran, and I coughed up the night I first saw my chest flattened against my skin with her by my side
And before I could inhale that moment one more time the smell of my past caught up with my plans and I puked up the five-year-old, naked and peeing outside
And in the puddle before me I saw the second-grader who didn’t understand why her middle name couldn’t be Matthew and the fourth-grader with a rope around her neck and a knife in her lunchbox and the sixth-grader with a pen in her cheek and a face that never saw the light of day again, throwing fists and throwing chairs, and locking doors and running away into the seventh-grader who found music and got lost in the notes of sad songs, black clothes, and the chorus of “You’ll grow out of it eventually”
“You’ll grow out of it eventually”
Eventually. Eventually.
Eventually if you say a word enough it stops sounding like a real thing at all, like the sound of my birth name
bleeding out the mouth of the boy whose ex-girlfriend’s lips bleed for no one not even God anymore.
(Because she’s a man now.)
I lay there night after night, sweating out the years I spent as a genetic fraud, broad shoulders tucked tight, sleeping tight, breathing tight and then
I swallowed the pink and blue and white flag-shaped pill with a capital T on the back and a blank slate on the front,
Hoping to finally be able to fall asleep with a blue blanket pulled over my head and an empty needle in the can
but then came the side-effects.
I woke up in the mud again, just like now, coughing it all up, layer by layer
Unexpected expectorant, the not-this-again guanifisan,
Warning: Never change gender on an empty stomach.
Mucus covered labels no longer stuck to the inside of my lungs, no longer clinging to my alveoli like the child who became the girl who became the boy who became the man who clung to a blanket of blue and shut out a world of rainbows
And there they were, covered in snot, just lying there.
Genderqueer. Freak. Shim. Faggot. Sped. Retard. Butch. Twink. Nerd. Woman. Princess. Liar. Tranny. Female. Male. Lesbian. Gay. Asexual. Bottom. Top. Girl. Boy. She-male. Dyke. It. Masculine. Feminine. Nothing. Everything. Whatever you want already as long as you stop asking me what’s in your pants,
 does your family hate you?
 so what are you really?
What’s in your pants?
When are you going to get surgery?
What’s in your pants?
What’s your real name?
Oh and by the way what’s in your pants?
I’m tired of picking up snot-covered pieces of the people I tried to become—the identities I snorted so that I could just learn your name before you said you only dated real men and too bad you don’t have a dick and well I can still see the girl in you and you know
Sometimes it gets really old doing trans 101 when all I want from the woman whose name tag says becky is my fucking chicken quesadillas.
That’ll be 8.66. Please pull ahead to the next window and have your genitals ready.
Here’s your receipt.
So what’s in your pants?
Four years and a lot of awkward conversations later, I can tell you that It’s pink and blue and people-shaped. No. Pink. Blue. A mixture of the two. Somewhere in between like the infinitesimal cracks between visible and invisible light, indivisible, no gender, under God, with liberty avenue and gender justice for all. A man. A-fucking man. Fucking men. Sometimes. Fucking women sometimes. Fucking sometimesmen and sometimeswomen and sometimes no times fucking at all.  

For B, Who Has Been Waiting

Peter came into Rainbow without really knowing me as Elise. (That seems so strange to write when it isn't on a medical form.) But he told me that he always perceived my energy to be masculine, and he said this and acted in ways that really made me believe it. There weren't many extraordinarily detailed conversations about the process: no Trans 101. Peter was the kind of person who educated himself on these details so that he could enter into a conversation with a trans person as an informed ally. He focused on me when he was with me, not my transition or my trans status. But what impressed me more was the he embraced genderqueer concepts in his own life. As a cisgender gay male, that's not an easy thing to do without facing some sort of backlash. The gay male community is full of bottom-bashing stereotypes and pressures of its own. I've grown to fear some of them myself.
He told me a few times how he knew there was a bit of woman inside him. That he didn't really care about his penis but found it quite useful. Peter had his own sense of style, both internal and external. The best part about that was that these things hardly ever had to be discussed. Two people who know themselves never have to defend their identities around each other. That's what was relieving. No walls.
I didn't have to prove my masculinity any more than he did. Or femininity. Or gayness. Or anything.
And that allowed us to approach both public and private interactions at a much lower level of tension.
He made me feel safe because of this. Not necessarily in a physical sense, but in every other way.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Off the Bench

I want to write about drag for so many reasons now, but I need to wait until I have all the right words about all of the pieces. These pieces are all somehow connected, and I want to see those connections clearly. I want to write about how being a drag father is an amazingly rewarding experience--how I am somehow the person people turn to when they want "expert" advice. How people know who I am without ever having met me. To be that kind of influence and feel so removed from it at times. About how I am very proud that I still believe you can never take yourself too seriously.

I want to write about autism and my job. And I want to write about my past. I have this goal of revisiting every journal entry I have ever written, typing them all out in chronological order. I've kept pretty consistent records since the seventh grade, though there are a few scattered entries before that. But I want to write in a way that exposes some of the events that made me who I am today. It has recently occurred to me that most people I know have no idea about the life I had before. I always have to remind myself that the entirety of my story cannot be read in the lines on my face. Life would be all too convenient otherwise.

I want to write about the realization I had last night. It wasn't exactly an epiphany, but I understood something in an entirely new way. They weren't just words to me anymore. I had a face to go along with them. I made a connection that just didn't exist before. Having good intentions does not make you a good person. Good actions make you a good person.

I went through my phone the other day and wrote out the hundreds of names and numbers in my phone, just in case it decides to die one of these days. I'm aware that there are ways of recovering your contacts should such a thing happen, but I like my way better. I got to revisit my relationship with each person as I went down the list, and I went through quite a range of emotions, from anger to fear to elation to grief. I saw his name in the middle of the pack. I lost my breath. I stared at the phone, then at the page. And back again. I wrote it down anyway. It was somehow important. The right thing to do.

There were living people on that list that didn't make it onto that paper. That also seemed important and like the right thing to do.

I'm looking for better words to describe what it is like four years later. More than four if you count the pre-T days. I made two videos. Neither one is good enough right now. I might need to be in a different place to get it right.

I am revisiting the idea of pursuing physical therapy/physical therapy research. I have so many questions. I have so many things to say. But again, the words aren't ready yet.

My mind is getting ready for something big. Every day, I am growing more confident overall, even with the occasional flashes of panic. I am ready to rejoin the world.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Catching Up

I miss when things used to be simple--when I would come home from school as a little kid, knowing that there would always be a bowl of chicken noodle soup waiting for me (yes, EVERY day). I miss knowing where I was headed in life, and I miss that feeling of invincibility. I miss believing that nothing could stand in my way.

Tonight, I feel a kind of miserable I don't quite understand. I know I am not reacting like I am used to when I am devastated. I'm being calm, and I am able to do other things, and I am not an emotional wreck. Somehow, I am in control, and it doesn't feel normal for me. I'm not complaining. This is just new territory for me. 
The final rejection letter came from Pitt's School of Education. So now I feel like I have to start all over. I feel lost, hopeless, useless, aimless, etc. And I'm tired of it, really. I do not want to be an endless wanderer. I want a home. I want a life. And I want a purpose. Or some idea of what mine should be. I know what I want to do, but what if I never get the chance now? What else can I do? I don't know any of the answers yet. And while that is tearing me apart inside, I am somehow still okay. Still doing what needs to be done, helping where I am needed, and trying to better myself and my circumstances regardless of the pain. 

But if Friday hadn't happened, I probably would have had a much worse time with that news. Last week was beyond stressful. Illness, not sleeping two nights of the week, having to spend the majority of one in a parking lot with my mother, routine changes, overwhelming days at work, late night pageant preparation, phone calls, late paperwork and write-ups, worries about moving and school and jobs, a shutdown situation,and the thought of seeing my brother for the first time in four and a half the usual things. A seven day battle to keep my head above water. 

And I lost on Friday morning, during a supervision meeting. Everyone knew something was up. I could tell by the way that everything began to get louder and more intense--by the way I just kept focused on the pattern in the carpet and by how I twitched and had to fight not to scream and fall out of my chair--that it was coming, and there was no turning back.

So I wrote a note to my BSC, who was sitting right next to me once I realized this: "I am very, very close to having a meltdown, and I don't know what to do." 

I was able to at least sit through the rest of the relatively short meeting, and I suppose it was convenient that I work in an office full of therapists. The main boss came to help. It took about 45 minutes after he came in for me to fully calm down, but I talked a lot after the first 20 minutes. Needless to say, I didn't make it to work that day. But no one seemed to mind. Now I am waiting on a call for actual therapy sessions paid for by work, which I think have been long overdue. 

I don't think I would have been able to handle the news had I not come that close to exploding. I needed a fresh start, and as shitty as it was to experience and have others witness, I needed it. I knew it was coming, just not when. 

So I made it a point to arrive to work early, and I came out to the teacher. Not as gay. Not as trans. As an autistic person working with autistic children. And the twenty minute conversation that ensued was also something that I needed. I wonder why it is so much harder for me to come out about this than anything else. And, yes, it really is a coming out process. It changes how people perceive and treat you. 

I still don't have too many words about my visit with my brother. I am not sure what to say yet because I am not sure of those emotions yet.

Jumping back to today, I've been fighting the feeling I always get when big things are coming up: I always want to quit everything and drop off the face of the earth. I end up asking myself why I am doing any of it at all. But I usually get my answer after it's all over. 

I still have so many fears. But I have a different answer to how I think things will play out. I may not always believe it, but it wasn't an idea I was willing to entertain this time last year: that I'm going to be okay, even if bad things continue to happen. 

Also, yesterday was my four-year T anniversary. Two people remembered without my saying, and I am okay with how quiet I was about it this time around. Maybe next time I will celebrate in some way, but for some reason, I feel that this was the way things needed to be done this year. 

I can survive this week because I've already made it this far . 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Revisiting Previously Incoherent/Incomplete Thoughts

Having just come back from the gym, I can feel the difference in the way I experience myself and everything around me. Before coming to write, I did a little research to prove to myself that my perception has some basis in reality, finding a few articles pertaining to how exercise benefits people with autism spectrum disorders. Though I was unable to access the full articles, the abstracts alone confirmed some of the notions I have long held about how such activities can lead to improved executive functioning, as well as increased bodily awareness and sensory integration. Let me put that into a more personal perspective.

I try to go to the gym at times when there aren't too many people around. I'm not as focused when I am working out around people I don't know that well, and I feel that a good deal of my mental energy is taken up trying to deal with their presence. When I am nearly alone or around people who don't set off my internal alarms, I can concentrate on the movement of my own body parts, the way it feels to have the blood rush to the active muscles, the feedback I am receiving from each and every moving part of the artfully crafted machine that I call myself. In these moments, without entirely realizing it, I am learning to separate the internal world from the external. Perhaps it is more about making these distinctions than "losing oneself" in the workout. It is as if I am truly finding myself as my brain integrates sensory information in an endorphin-saturated physiological environment. Self and other become more clear following a workout. Since so much less energy needs to be devoted to negotiating the space between me and the rest of the world, the necessary energy can be routed to the parts of my brain that deal with planning, organization, and just getting shit done in general and living my life the way I intend to live it.

This brought me to thinking about choice. Ordinarily, I don't think I have the ability to relinquish choice. Every response is a decision to fight against instinct, however automatic that response may have become over time. Routine is an escape from the never-ending responsibility to live a calculated life.

And since my brain has a funny way of connecting everything to everything else, routine became connected with change, as one might expect, but change got me thinking about time. And my body. And learning to be okay with age. I am certainly beginning to show signs of age in my face, and my hair is looking pretty pathetic these days, and while I sometimes stare at what has happened to me for embarrassingly long periods of time when confronted with the mirror outside my bedroom door, I am learning to love the look of having known the world.

And through this thought I have reached the topic of love. These are the most intangible of the words to me, slipping down through the ever-deepening cracks between my fingers and falling gently to the ground. And as I have learned to accept that I am falling with them, I appreciate the significance of these words, however trite they have come to be in modern usage: Love, actively and unconditionally. It is not so much a process of learning for me as it is a processing of letting go--of unlearning the bitterness with which we are taught to respond to anger, pain, and mistakes. It is at the same time the biggest and smallest thing in the entire world.

And as I begin to relax for the night, the thoughts begin to swirl again--a clear display of my brain trying to fight against the abominable notion of relaxation, of doing anything other than trying to solve every known (and unknown) problem in the universe. The concepts start to merge, and I think about falling in a whole new way like falling into your gender as if you stumbled over it in the middle of the street and maybe it looked so miraculous and revolutionary that you just had to stay down there on the ground and take it all in.

And I think of the conflicting emotions. Feeling connected and alone at the same time. Loved but terribly hopeless. Wanting to cry and boiling inside.

Ready to fly.
But I want you there.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


After having so much time off this month due to my own illness, my client's surgery, and snow from the sky that keeps on shitting, I am really not adjusting well to being back at work. Today was one of the hardest days I have had, not so much in working with my client--though that was difficult--but in being able to recover from the day in general. I felt dizzy leaving. Hazy even. I could barely manage eating when I got home because I felt so lethargic that I could not move. I passed out for a few hours, woke up with a fever, but still found it very hard to move. Now I still have the fever, but since I passed out earlier, I'm awake now. I still feel mentally exhausted, but I know I will have serious trouble sleeping again. My stomach has been bothering me all day. Today emptied me out completely.

Let's just say that working directly multiple disabilities special education will probably not be a long term career option for me. I know the kind of work that energizes me instead of drains me. But for now, I'm doing a good thing. And it is helping me build a different kind of strength.

I am working on finalizing my plans and telling the ones I love. I am afraid in much the same way I was afraid of coming out the first time (and the second). I know I will be met with rejection at first. People will try to tell me that I am not ready, that I should not leave. That I am making a mistake.

But I'll never know unless I try.

I still want to know why I am so scared. But perhaps being scared is a good thing. I am much more scared than last time, and we all know how that ended.

Monday, February 17, 2014


I don't have many nights like this, when all the parts of my brain figure out how to sync up with one another, slowing the passage of time enough for me to view my life with unparalleled clarity, as if it were spread out like a treasure map across my bedroom floor. I can see the routes that lead from one experience to another--the exits I have taken along the way. But there are things that I don't see.

Dead ends.

Because I am unable to focus on (or more accurately, obsess about) any one occurrence, I can literally FEEL the connections amongst them all, from the day I first visited the Warhol museum with the Rainbow Alliance my freshman year to the day I was "baptized" in the River Bradford to each and every sleepless night of writing until I couldn't feel my fingers anymore. I can see those stifling summer nights in the smallest bedroom of the Crew House, the hours I would spend as a child playing in my own intricate universe of meticulously developed characters, and the overarching theme of confusion that defined my social self for the majority of my life. From this distance, it has become obvious that there was always a next step. Not an escape or a way or even a destination. Just something else.

Even now, the feeling is fading. This is the perspective I have always desired, and it seems to come at the strangest times. For a few moments, I was not miserable. I wasn't particularly happy. I was just...aware. Aware of the present. Mindful, if you will. I somehow understood exactly how all of my life experiences--from the most instantaneous to the ever-present--have come to make me the person I am today. I understood how they would continue to take me into my future. I understood and accepted that this--THIS right here, right now--is IT. No dress rehearsal. Not preparing for something else. I saw the world, my world, for what is was and still thought it was beautiful enough to keep going. My pain was just as beautiful as the sweetest triumph I have ever known. For a little while, I could not feel loss. I could not feel regret. No guilt or shame or longing for anything more.

The feeling has mostly subsided. The fears, lists of things to do and things forgotten, worries about what comes next and what could have gone better, feelings of loss and feelings of worrying about loss that has not yet occurred are all coming back to me. But somehow, having had that brief respite, I feel just a little bit better.

I feel that I am slowly growing less afraid of what is to come. I feel more secure in my ability to regulate my own life. It is frightening to know that I am 100 percent responsible for the decision on What Comes Next because I was equally responsible for the decision that took me on a six-week journey into Maryland, followed by a six-month journey into severe depression. At no other time in my life could I have claimed to be in complete control of my fate. I ended up going to the first and only college I ever visited, I halted my application process to medical school at the urging of my adviser (though financial circumstances also played a significant role in that decision), and I ended up having to leave Pittsburgh against my will entirely.

The fear is taking over again, it seems. Mingled with the childhood fears of never being anything worthwhile and failing at life in general are fears that this next step might not be quite right for me. However, a strong feeling seems to be developing within me: the feeling that, even if everything turns out to be horribly wrong--this move is necessary in order for me to discover the right thing to do. I know I will not be able to figure it out as long as I still feel stuck, and there seems to be only one way for me to shake that feeling.

Very soon, I'm about to give up everything I know. Again. It's fucking terrifying. But I feel that the time has come to stop living like I am an accessory to someone else's life and start figuring out what kind of person I really am when I am forced to stand on my own two feet. I got a glimpse of that last summer, and I started to really like the person I was becoming. I felt feelings that I hadn't felt in so long that I thought they had long since died. And that's exactly why it was so crushing to have to leave. Because I felt like I would never get the chance to feel them again. I really did think that was the end of everything good.

Then something even worse happened, which oddly enough made me realize that there was still a fuckload of good left to experience in this world, even if the price to pay had to be intermittent misery. One of the best friends I have ever known died a few months ago. He took his own life at a time so close to when I was considering doing the same. And I got to see all the people who knew the true value of his presence--all the people who would never be the same because of him. The people who were better because of having known him. I got to see 30-something people brave absurd winter weather conditions to squeeze in elbow to elbow around a table in a church basement following his funeral service...and LAUGH. Just be happy about all the wonderful things that we got to do with him while he was still here and marvel at how, even in his death, he was able to bring us all closer together. If happiness can be found in spite of death and even through it, then it can surely be found anywhere.

I know I will struggle. I will doubt myself and feel like a failure. I will feel scared and alone, even when nothing could be further from the truth. But I am finally getting ready to allow myself to take the risk to experience the good. I am learning that the fear and sadness do not have to be more important than the excitement. I am starting to really believe that I AM one of the strongest people I have ever known. It's almost like I feel like I've got this. And I have so many people to thank for allowing me to come to this realization, albeit very slowly.

"I'm so excited. I talked to the guys a lot about this last night. And I feel like people are genuinely excited for me. Things are going to be awesome. It might be really hard at first with my family, and I'm not saying that I have chosen a path that will be easy. But I know that I am making the right call. My life is just beginning. I'm excited, but I'm scared. The unknown. I have so many anxieties/questions that will soon be addressed. And I think I am ready for this. Almost born. Almost there." (March 7, 2010)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fact of the Day

Some people just make you shake with pure RAGE.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ponderings from Facebook

From what I see, if you have EVER defaulted on student loans in the past, you are pretty much ineligible to receive loans for graduate school. So, unless I get into a PhD program that is funded, I will never be able to do what I want to do. I was considering applying to Master's programs as well, thinking that further training might make me a more competitive candidate for the programs of my choice in the future, but if I cannot pay for them, then there really isn't a point to it. I love that I'm basically fucked forever, and that there is absolutely no way back from this, unless I can somehow get a job in a research lab, which--given how that has gone over the last 3 years--also seems like it's never going to happen. 

I'm dealing with all of this surprisingly well, probably because I still have some hope that the next letter I receive will be a positive one. But I do worry about what happens if it is not. Because I was unable to immediately get a job out of college--because I decided not to jump into school without having experienced life outside of academia--I have been forced into a situation where I am living with my parents at age 25, am struggling to save every penny I can, am pretty much shunned by anyone hiring in my field due to the length of time I have not been working in said field, am constantly accruing more and more debt as many of my loans remain unpaid, and am now faced with the very likely possibility that there is no future for me in any scientific field. I feel that I have done everything that I possibly could have done, and the sad part about this whole thing is that, even if I were to receive a call asking me to start a position next week--a position which would not be local--I would never be able to afford to make the move to accept it. Is it really true that there is no way out?

I definitely sound a bit more dramatic than I intend at this moment, but I find it hard to believe that I will take it well if I find out that this is the end of this journey for me. Because this is what I want to do more than anything else, I do not see another path to happiness. I will always want this. How would I live with that? This is not the world in which I expected to find myself after years of dedication, hard work, and sacrifice. It is enough to make me wonder why I bothered with any of it at all, when I am no better off than those who work part-time at a fast-food chain. I don't want to resign myself to living like this forever--always looking back, always longing for that green light at the end of the dock, always feeling bitter, always feeling useless, purposeless, and wasted. Still, I remain calm--a testament to the personal work I have been putting in since graduating from a university that promised me so much more out of life--but the feelings are still there. I know I am not alone, but that just makes it all the more depressing.

I want to thank the friends who have been there for me and have given me the much needed time to myself as I have struggled with understanding the full impact of this the past couple of days. I keep telling myself that things will be okay, and they will. But I am not interested in "just okay". I never have been, and I never will be--because I really am one obsessive son of a bitch. It makes me good at what I do. I have never given up when it counted, but this time, I might have to, and since a good percentage of my definition of myself comes from the fact that I am doggedly persistent--sometimes to a fault--I feel like I would be living life as a different person, a person somehow less than the person I am now. 

And this is where I am stuck.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cell phone post

This probably isn't the best idea. I just got finished writing a few pages by hand, and of course, it made things worse. I only ever write about the same things when I feel this way, which also makes me feel like my writing is suffering.

I really do feel like I am losing it. I'm a capacitor. And I can't hold any more energy. I'm overloading, and I need an outlet. But I need enough structure to stabilize myself before I can release this energy in any way that would be productive. 

For the last several weeks, I have been holding it all in. I snapped once or twice, but I haven't been able to really get anything out otherwise. I hold myself together because I fear the response I will get, I fear upsetting others, and I fear that, one of these times, I just won't come back. 

I just want someone to hold me in a way that makes me feel better. But anyone touching me at this point is jarring. Things are getting worse. And I need to stop lying to myself about it. 

I'm making myself sick with all of this. 
I need things to stop. Or slow down. I can't keep up.

I felt like I was really getting somewhere at the start of Christmas break or maybe halfway through. I am going out of town to visit a friend this weekend, and I don't know if I have the energy for that. Almost nothing in my life is restorative. Time alone doesn't exist. Control doesn't exist. I am trapped just as much as my brother. 

I cannot leave when I want. I have almost nothing to my name. I feel isolated. And right about now, I feel hopeless. But I'm here. And I guess that's what matters to everyone. Not how I feel or that I am losing my ability to function independently. Just that I am here. 

I love my family more than anyone will ever know. It will make it that much harder to leave. I would love to be able to spend time with them, but it's not even quality time at this point because I spend so much of my free time running away, hiding in my room, hoping to recharge at least a little. But I only get enough to just keep the power on. 

I love my family. But this is going to kill me. And I don't know what to do. Or maybe I'm just making excuses because I don't have a good reason for this behavior. Or these feelings. 

I really, really, REALLY don't want to have to have these fights with myself every minute of every day. The last two days of work have been seven hour battles with myself, on top of having to deal with a room full of severely autistic children. 

I just want to be calm. Anxiety isn't quite the word anymore. I feel like it is just pain. Anxiety, depression, fear, anger, etc. It's all the same at this point. And it's always there. I wake up to it, shower with it, get dressed with it, work with it, and fall asleep with it, when I can. Pass out with it might be more accurate. 

I am shaking trying to hold in all of this nonsense. My head is pounding. My stomach hates me. I feel so much trying to escape. I feel weak. Off-balance. Dizzy. 

And I feel like this is all I do anymore.