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September 8, 2013

I used too much of too much tonight to really type quickly or get to the point. But I will try.

It was one of those nights. Where you know you’ve gone back into the ravine before you’re really there. You know it, as you grab your clothes. As you put on your make-up. As you grab your purse and check your cell phone -just in case. It’s gaping in front of you, but you deny it. Don’t even feel it, it’s not there. If you pretend it’s not there, it will be, and that’s ultimately what you want.

I have been applying for jobs and going to job interviews, like a good girl. But I’ll have to hear back from them. I’m waiting for the most brainless ones, so I can keep my free time for myself and go to my job without needing to give fucks. That’d be nice.
I want to wake up early-ish in the morning, go to a job that is entirely void of meaning, and go home at a given time, sag down on the couch like a potato and watch tv. That’s all I want, and need.

I wish I could die without the pain it would inflict on others. Just die inside so I can function sufficiently to keep everybody happy -my life goal/curse forever and ever- but not have to feel. Perfection. Is there anything that does tha- Oh, yeah.

 

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Hypotension

April 6, 2013

The worst seems to have passed. I woke back up after 4 hours, but that’s usually the case after an upsetting event. When I got up to go to the bathroom, I could barely open my eyes. Puffy, stingy and red. My legs hurt and it was hard to put my weight on them. I could tell that if I got up too quickly, I would get orthostatic hypotension and fall.

When I got called for lunch, I didn’t go. Mom would see my face, still betraying what a night I had, and she would worry. A bit later I did go downstairs to find food, my father was posted up at the kitchen wall with his iPad. I didn’t talk to him, nor did I respond to his greeting. By now, I would think that he would have given up on greeting me altogether. But he has this obnoxious, tenacious urge to impose his own values onto others, so I get his greetings anyway while my skin crawls.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t really find any substantial food, so I took a small piece of bread and munched on it as I went back upstairs. I wasn’t very hungry, and I certainly did not have the energy to look for food more vigorously. The latter option would also mean remaining in the same room for a longer time with my father, which for the time being is an unbearable thing. As I walked passed him to get to the stairs, I could feel him look at me, observing me. I wanted to vomit, or plant a knife in his face.

My boyfriend is asleep, and I meekly tried to wake him up but he didn’t seem ready to leave his dreams behind. It’s lonely, but everyone needs rest.

Earlier, when I got up to feed my cat, I almost dropped to the floor. I ate 5 chocolate Easter eggs to pump up my blood pressure a bit. The sleep I got was insufficient, superficial and I almost feel more tired now than I did before trying to catch some. I’ve been awake since 9 AM, snoozing, watching documentaries on medieval Europe on YouTube.
There’s so much school work lined up for me, this happening enhances my stress level significantly. It’s like losing an entire day, and for what? Does anyone of us feel better now?
Wow, I’m pretty bitter.
As much as yesterday I felt wronged, hurt for the sake of it and used, those feelings will get me nowhere. There was so much reproach that I accepted as legitimate, and suddenly it all got brushed aside as just being “an asshole rant”. If you want to confuse me, that’s the way to go; get me to feel like I made a mistake, and then proceed to tell me that I didn’t do anything wrong. More than angry, I’m confused. So, so confused.

Codependency, by definition, means making the relationship more important to you than you are to yourself. It’s kind of a weird phrase, and it doesn’t sound like it means a one-sided relationship. But that’s what it is. It means you’re trying to make the relationship work with someone else who’s not.” – Tina Tessina (source)

Except that last part is incorrect. My boyfriend is trying to make this work. And he’s fighting as hard as I am for it. In fact, he’s been working very, very hard to make enough money for us to be comfortable in the future when we live together. I’m a student, so I haven’t earned a penny in all of this.
The characteristics of codependent partners never struck me as accurate before either (source). But now I have to revisit that, as heavy as that makes my heart feel.

  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others

I barely feel responsible enough for my own. Though maybe that confirms the problem. Actually, I can see that. Feeling like I need to be in charge because people are counting on me, when I could just as easily step aside and not do that.

  • A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue

Well. When we first met, he was in pretty bad shape. But I was disappointed that he was, not elated like ‘ohhh, poor thing, I’m going to *save* you’. What is pity? I feel sorry for some of the things he’s had to go through, yes. But he survived them, and I admire him for that. I’m not even sure if I have the ability to feel pity, for anyone. Again; maybe that confirms the problem. Maybe it’s all I can feel.

  • A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time

Until I burn the fuck out, yeah. It’s easy to forget your own limitations, when your goal is to meet the other person’s needs.

  • A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts

That’s true, it’s in my nature. But I have to be fair; I’ve come the longest way on that. I’ve gotten a lot better about this, and I can let go of a lot of things with ease now. The world will keep turning, whether I feel patted on the back or not. And the world just wants me to contribute, like everyone else. You don’t get patted on the back for functioning in society, even if for me it’s very challenging. Maybe for others it’s just as challenging, but they never had this need to be applauded.

  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment

Well. Shit.

  • An extreme need for approval and recognition

I don’t know? Maybe?

  • A sense of guilt when asserting themselves

Yes.

  • A compelling need to control others

No. Just no.

  • Lack of trust in self and/or others

Unfortunately this one might be accurate.

  • Fear of being abandoned or alone

Yes.

  • Difficulty identifying feelings

I think this is one of my stronger points. Communicating and expressing what I feel is something I’m very, very good at. I’m thoroughly trained, thanks to all the therapy I’ve undergone. On the other hand, I struggle with a fuckload of weird quirks and habits that I need to deal with every day life. I also fret a lot, which is an escape mechanism to not calmly experience the emotions concerning the subject. So maybe I only apparently express my feelings, whereas deep down inside there are demons who are never grazed. I wouldn’t know, would I?

  • Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change

Define change. When I go to a new place for an internship, I’m a nervous wreck. But isn’t that normal? I have surges of absolute necessity to rearrange my room, and out of nowhere I dig up mounds of energy from within, to execute the idea I have in my head. Soon I’m moving to the other side of the world, and it doesn’t intimidate me much.
I should also mention that I’m pretty naive and impulsive, and I may not fully grasp the actual change I’m about to undergo.

  • Problems with intimacy/boundaries

My boundaries are those of whoever I’m with. That’s what that means, isn’t it?

  • Chronic anger

Not impossible, but again; how would I know?

  • Lying/dishonesty

No.

  • Poor communications

No.

  • Difficulty making decisions

Yes, I think so. But sometimes not. If I have to choose between two jeans, I’ll have a harder time than deciding what car to buy. That can happen in a flash. Actually, no, I’m good about making decisions. But my boyfriend tends to be really pissed off when I change my mind about something, so lately I’ve been slower to come to them.

I’m crushed to realize that I am a codependent partner, making life harder for my partner. I’m mostly crushed to have been so self righteous and self absorbed, almost narcissistic, that I could never see it before. That wasn’t me, no, I was the perfect girlfriend.
And now I have to start the long ass process of attempting to forgive myself, which will take for fucking ever.

Watch

April 4, 2013

I guess I’m writing again. For a while I didn’t, because it seemed to stir up feelings that were better left alone. Recently I’ve encountered some trouble doing my good old “stuff it away” routine. I purged, out of… probably stress, sadness, loneliness. And my partner called me out on it, which for the first time actually felt nice. He never did before, he’s a very tolerant and accepting person, but for the first time it didn’t bother me that someone did. Maybe because it was him.

Calling me out is even a heavy term for what he did, he just mentioned that maybe there’s things at the root of this eating disorder that really do need to be addressed. And he’s right, I outright told him that he was. It felt good to be able to tell someone, that yes, I’m struggling, but no, I’m not sick. Since I was admitted in a psychiatric hospital, and had to go through endless rounds of therapies, coping skill workshops, group talking sessions, everything and anything, I’d become very wary of saying anything was wrong ever. Because people (and by people, I mean my parents) would scare so easily, and get so worried and shout things like “oh here we go again”. I learned that other people struggle too, and that there’s no reason for me to concern anyone else with my insecurities, my doubts or my fears.

The bulimia started when I was very young, I can’t even remember when it really did. But it wasn’t always really bad, nor was it always something I’d look for consolation in. When I was 17 I know I started losing a lot of weight, but I didn’t eat and purging was really a once in a blue moon kind of thing. It wasn’t premeditated like it is now; I was just out with people and they would be suspicious if I didn’t eat enough. So I ate just enough to be categorized as a tiny eater, and then I’d go to the toilet and purge that last extra sandwich out of me.
That was different. That was anorexia, more than it was bulimia.

Bulimia is about controlling your weight, because you don’t have the impulse control to fast. I used to be able to control my hunger, and to enjoy my stomach kind of stinging because it had been empty for so long. It felt like a victory.
Today I have a much harder time with that, possibly because I function on all the other levels now, and there’s a lot more responsibility to uphold in other areas of my life. I’m a good student now, where I used to flunk everything and not care. I used to put any and every drug I could find inside me, where now I have to be mature and wise about these substances. People around me are starting to look at me as a strong person, instead of the crazy teenager, and with that comes a burden of social expectation -it’s a vicious cycle of flattery and claim.

Sometimes, the urge just arises. I’m watching tv, or I’ve had a stressful conversation with someone, and suddenly I feel hungry but I want to fight it. Unfortunately, my body really wants nutrition, and I’m forced to go downstairs to find something to eat. At that point, I have already lost the battle. When I leave my room, the dice has been thrown. I can’t open a cupboard and stop, and think “no, I don’t want to do this”, and close it. That’s impossible, it doesn’t work that way. That’s like a heroin addict preparing his syringe and being like, “oh, never mind, it’s not worth it”.
So the cupboard is open and I take out foods that are easily thrown up. I fill up my water bottle, knowing that’ll help create a fluid mass in my stomach that can be pushed back up my oesophagus. And then I start, like a zombie. First pasta, then chips, then ice cream, then cookies, then pizza. It doesn’t matter, anything goes, since it’s all coming out. I never start with chips or pizza though, because the first thing to hit my stomach will be partially digested by the time I make it to the bathroom. So I start with something healthy-ish, like pasta or sandwiches -with a lot of water, those last ones.

So obviously, I’m still overcome by some emotions that fall over me. And I need a better coping technique than this. I have to say, when I’m busy enough, the eating and purging doesn’t come up as often. It’s as soon as I get into the habit of things, when I get bored, when I get time to think and overthink. Maybe that’s the deal; I have to keep busy. I need projects, crafting ideas, drawings, sewing plans.
But I also need my partner, and while he’s away I’m struggling to keep going. He’s my watch tower but I can’t get to it, it’s like I’m stuck in a painting by William Turner.

Why am I so fragile when it comes to actually dealing with what I’m feeling? Or what is happening around me? Why do I cope like a teenager, still? My smothering parents probably didn’t help, but I still haven’t been able to clearly convey that to them. Look, you two, I love you, you’ve done everything you could, but now your job is over. I want to leave, and I have no need to see you again for a very long time. This is the way life goes, it’s the right order of things. I want to build my own life, and I don’t want you in it to the extent you have been. I don’t want your visit, nor your e-mails, nor your phone calls. Because you remind me of the smallest parts of myself that I want to overcome. There’s no place for your moralizing conversations in the way I want to construct my life, you have been too much. I need to breathe.

Mostly, I think it just felt nice that he noticed. My partner could tell I was having a difficult time, and he wasn’t going to leave it unspoken. That reassured me more than anything else he could’ve said about himself.

Homesick

March 3, 2013

Another ‘home’sick day in my crappy, slowly progressing life. Being far away from where I want to be can be incredibly hard some days, it suddenly pops up and sticks to my skin like soda. Being hungover could have a role to play in that.

It makes me feel like I’m wasting my time, even though I’m in the process of getting a degree that will provide me with a job for the rest of my life. I’m most definitely not wasting anything, but I feel absolutely trapped. It’s very uncomfortable living this way. At the wedding I met a lot of family and had to talk a lot about moving abroad and going where I want to be since forever, and it stirred a carefully put to sleep yearning for something bigger. And now it’s there, and I have to shush it all over again.

The people at the internship fuck me up too. On Friday they had this new therapy session with family for the first time, it was a pilot session if you will. The psychologist was supernervous because she wasn’t sure people would appreciate it or get on board. The internship coach and me did everything though; cover the tables with nice paper, decorate them with flowers, set up electronics for her to use her powerpoint, get a cake to make it cosy, get the drinks so they’d be at ease. 80% of the work, if you ask me. The session is secondary when you got cake and a drink, am I right!?

Not even a thanks. Nothing. She asked me to “observe” and look for flaws or tips, since it was a pilot, but she never asked me about them afterwards. Her verbal communication is all about helping me out, supporting my learning process, but her non-verbal communication is dismissive, mean and condescending. For a psychologist, this discrepancy is all the more painful. Am I too sensitive there? Probably am.

Alright, tomorrow’s the start of another week. And after that, it’s my last week. I will survive. Hey hey.

Lioness

February 26, 2013

Oh lord. I went and did it. I legitimately lost my cool during a session today. One of the patients was entirely and unequivocally denying entrance for us to guide him in his recovery. He smokes at the facility, but his wife doesn’t know about it, and he wants to quit and seems to believe he’ll be able to do this on his own as soon as he’s out of the rehab (which is in 2 weeks). The psychologist was trying to open his door to talking about this, but he wouldn’t budge. “I’m absolutely fine with things as they are”, were his precise words. And he said them with this scoffing tone, like we were the ones making a big deal out of nothing. To make matters worse, he’s quite influential in the group and one of the other patients was trying to make excuses for him. That’s what did him in.
He’s in the process of perpetuating his old addicted habit of hiding things, getting pleasure from little forbidden actions. And he’s consciously, willfully creating a climate within the group where this is possible, and that was something I couldn’t just look at.

I launched at him like a lioness defending her cubs. “Your refusal to talk about this speaks volumes.”, and I can assure you, so did my body language. In the moment, I did realize I crossed some kind of invisible line. I moved from observing, harmless intern to aggressive, opinionated force. After the session the psychologist and I went to the coffee room, where the patients can’t hear us. Immediately, I told her “I made a mistake”. She nodded gravely, and said that this was fierce. Fierce and aggressive, were her terms. Although I noticed support from some other group members up to a point, I also know that such a denouncing remark wasn’t my place to make. Judging isn’t something I should be doing, ever, but I did. Ultimately, I need to be the one point in the room where judgment doesn’t exist, and I failed to do that.

Of course, I teared up fairly quickly. She asked me why, which surprised me. It surprised me she even cared to know why I was crying, after such a terrible mistake. My answer was simple; I wanted to help, but made matters worse. I broke their trust, even though then I couldn’t put that in so many words. These people are resilient enough, of course, and no irreparable damage has been inflicted. But it’s a matter of principle, and it really bothers me that this mistake snuck up on me.

Luckily, the team was supportive and forgiving. I was petrified that they would cast me out, like I did the patient that I indirectly tagged as “bad”. Or that they would feel the need to protect their population from me, which would make me feel even worse. I feel like much of a bulldozer anyway, I’d hate for professionals to deem me dangerous to their therapeutic progress.

Tomorrow’s another day. Let’s go for it.

Sample

February 18, 2013

After a week of fretting and bickering inside my own head, I made it to my internship place again. On the train there, my heart was racing. I had cold sweat running down my back, despite the freezing temperature. By the time I arrived, the inside of my mouth was bleeding from chewing it up nervously. At one point during the day, as I was preparing urine samples for the patients, I swore I saw my name on one of the samples in the drawer of the cupboard. An hour later, I sneaked away and went back to that room to check when I was alone. It was just a name that started with the same letter as mine.

I gathered my balls and talked to my internship coach. Listen, could we please not talk about my history of drug abuse when my teacher visits this place to assess me? It just doesn’t seem relevant in the actual evaluation of my competence as a counselor… She agreed and for the first time in a week I could breathe.

So we’ve made some rules up; I’m going to follow her lead, and I won’t be around the patients without her. Not because she doesn’t trust me with them, but because she doesn’t trust them with me. They’re basically all suffering from a disease telling them what to do, and they could dangerously manipulate me, essentially endangering me, my internship and maybe, juuuust maybe, my sobriety.
On the other hand, this morning as we went to open up the day, they all asked me how my holiday had been and if “I had had cravings”, hilarity. I laughed with them, pretending I’m the innocent student who’s never seen powder in her life. It touched me though, and I thanked them for their interest. But it’s difficult for me to pass it off as manipulative behavior, because I can’t help but feel like there’s a core of sincerity there. What’s there to gain for them, in asking me how I’ve been? They can’t really think I’m going to do anything in any way to help them get their stuff?
The hardest part is turning my own convictions over to the staff, and letting them decide. Because my gut tells me I can trust these people, when the staff tells me I shouldn’t.

Does that mean I shouldn’t trust myself, either? Aren’t these people in treatment because they want to be better? It’s not like they’re chained to the bed, or in any way impeded from walking out and calling their dealers. These people voluntarily want to get clean. Why would they want to fuck me over, manipulate me or corrupt me?
When I think about it for too long, my head starts to spin. I realize that I am actually slow to form a stable, informed opinion on matters. This one’s getting closer to the real deal though. This is what I truly believe, despite the “scare” the staff tried to talk into me.

Now, this “scare” could be experienced, well founded knowledge from my elders, and they might well want to protect me from getting into a place where I’m unable to actually counsel. Am I too young, too green to know that this is my way of counseling? Am I pretentious for feeling like proximity creates a therapeutic basis for me to start from, am I arrogant in believing I have an incredible gift on that specific front?
Everyone trusts me. On sight. I have a thing. I know what to say, to whom, when, in what tone, how to look at them, when to look away. I play them like a piano. Am I not the one manipulating them?

I’m finally starting to unwind, and to come down from the cortisol trip I was on all fucking day long. I’ve been home for 4 hours, and only now do I feel slightly okay. My heart isn’t pounding in my oesophagus anymore, my lungs don’t feel trapped. My boyfriend left for work and has been doing alright from what I can tell. It’s all settling down. Finally.
There was no time to really talk today, and by the time I was finally ready to open up a bit he had to go. That bums me out. It always does. But we’ll talk in the morning.

You

February 13, 2013

I was a mess, before I met you. My life before you was like the wildest of William Turner’s oceans. There was always a storm blowing, a ship sinking, a tumultuous sky pushing me down. Unpredictable waves washed away my self esteem, furious coats of foam covered my successes, opaque clouds blocked the light out from my vision.

Turner

My experience with love had been that of an employee; deliver, or you’ll be fired. The only significant relationship I had before you was quite pathetic. A sick, sick man stuck his greedy tentacles in my bare bone marrow and sucked the innocence out of it. I was so low that he found a way in. I couldn’t see, so the dragon wore a coat of feathers. I furtively touched his back and trusted he was a harmless turkey -he sounded like one. Blinded by my youthful insecurities I followed him like a sheep does any man carrying a stick.
He himself was lost though, led me into the barb wire, and fed me to the wolves to save his own skin.

Oh if only I had loved myself more, I wouldn’t have been susceptible to his awful spells.

But it did make me stronger. He taught me that I deserve much, much more. He taught me that loud mouths have skin deep wit.
Your unconditional love and respect have changed everything. It’s only since you’ve loved me that I know that threatening to leave me isn’t a normal way to deal with difference of opinion. It’s only since you’ve loved me that I realize being emotionally blackmailed isn’t an actual punishment for some fault of mine. It’s only since you’ve loved me that I can see my shortcomings without being afraid you’ll resent me for them.

I hate how words fail me.

You are the strongest man I have ever laid eyes on. I used to think strength was power, making other people do things, I used to think authority over others was the externalization of someone’s inner sway. It’s only since you’ve been in my life that my eyes have slowly been opened to what true strength is.
When you are wrong, you can put your pride aside and admit it. I had never been around a man who could do that. You are always on the hunt for things that you could do better, and you consciously make an effort not to look for the same thing in others around you. You rarely complain, and when you do, it’s an aware and premeditated indulgence. You shed light on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. You showed me that true strength is relentless attempts at bettering oneself. It’s not so much about the result, as it is about the readiness to change. And the acceptance that there is no such thing as a goal, but only a journey and willpower. Willpower is not something you’re given a limited amount of, it’s something you use to relinquish thoughts and feelings that weigh your heart down.
Forgiving without reservations takes honesty and humility, and you have more of that than I knew was possible. I had started to believe men like you were only real in the movies, but fuck me sideways here we are.

You are my example.