Beginning all over again

Perhaps mentally-normative folks have similar issues, but a lot of times when one is mentally ill interpersonal relationships can be the scariest things ever.

 

For me, one of my main fears is that I’m a burden. I’m 10 lbs of crazy in a 5 lb sack, and between my horrid anxiety, terribly low self-esteem, and severe body-image issues I fear that I take too much and never give enough. I rely on partners and friends to listen to me, to take on part of the burden I carry every day. Reassurance is a huge part of it; constantly asking if I look okay, if I’m ugly, if I’m fat, and even if I’m being a pain about it all. 

 

Lately, I’ve been trying to recover my social life. When things get bad I isolate, any social interaction makes me horribly anxious, and just the idea of people looking at me turns me into a quivering ball of fear. Trying to hang out with friends again, trying to go out more, and even going out on dates(!)… it’s terrifying, but it’s one of the best things that someone with mental health problems can do for themselves.

 

Being around other people offers distractions, supports, and anything other than the company of revolving-door crazy thoughts. It also offers an exposure: by being around others and facing that fear, you eventually extinguish the fears. If I don’t see people and go out, I wind up relapsing, and relapsing hard. A couple months ago there was a pretty bad interaction with a partner and I retracted from the social world. Slowly, I started picking again and my eating habits changed. Three months later I know I need to put myself out there and change it.

 

It’s fucking terrifying.

 

New friends, old friends, partners, anyone at all… it just scares me so deeply that they may not really like me and they just feel bad for me. I know this can’t quite be true, but I’m even afraid that I get hired as a performer because people feel bad for me. It may be silly, but I seriously think that I’m too fat, ugly, and crazy for friends. There is evidence entirely against this in the real world, but in my head the repeating thoughts are always the same.

 

People are good, people can be trusted, people are deserving of love and trust. It’s a matter of getting yourself to believe that you are too.

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Weight, nutrition, circus…

I made a discovery yesterday that brought on a little bit of a break down. In the past year I have put on almost 30 pounds.Image

That was me last February for Geek Girl Boston presents: Space Case burlesque. I was practicing several days a week, and running everyday. Looking at some of these older pictures, I am genuinely surprised that I managed that much activity. This was my second relapse into an eating disorder. Restriction and compulsive over exercising was starting to destroy my body at this point.

Running everyday and doing circus, I was averaging around 1200 calories a day.Image

In these pictures I still weighed a solid 20 pounds more than I did at my sickest.

thin

This is the only picture from that period. I weighed around 100 pounds. I was wearing several shirts in this picture, but my measurements were around 34-24-34, and for someone who was originally a swimmer that is no fucking bueno.

So I sat in my room, crying for a little while about the number I saw on the scale. 156 pounds, the most I have weighed in my entire life. More than my pubescent “fat” phase, even. Today, though, something finally hit me: I need this weight.

Don’t get me wrong, I need to whittle an inch or two off of my waist, but no matter how thing I got my waistline has always been the one place that refused to lose anything. Ever.

This past year, I have practiced anywhere from 10-30 hours a week, and over the past six months I have added in a LOT of hand balance to my routine. My measurements are fairly similar now to what they were over the summer, 38-29-38. I’ve even managed to build some muscle and start to get a butt. A BUTT. I have never in my life had a butt!

Today, a friend I hadn’t seen for months walked into the studio as I was finishing up practice. She asked what I had been up to, so I said “Still doing aerial, but a ton of hand balance now.”

She said, “I could tell! Look at your arms!”

It was then that I realized that all of this weight (well, most of it) has come from building sheer muscle in my arms, back and shoulders. My biceps are a solid 13 inches around, which is kind of insane. My diet is no longer restricted to veggies, chicken and brown rice. I’ve been legitimately enjoying my food for the first time in years. I manage not to count calories, and once in a while when I do fall back into “behaviors” I recover easily and keep on moving.

So this is what recovery feels like.

Honestly, I look at those pictures and I want to look like that again. I want to be thin, I want to be small and graceful and beautiful. Then I remember that I was always tired, that I couldn’t work myself as hard as I needed to in order to improve. I was miserable all the time and I wound up relapsing into every possible symptom I had beaten in the past. I have more energy and stamina than I’ve ever had in my adult life now. Realizing that feels incredible.

I’m going to add some cardio in to help out with my waistline… but my body is a functioning, strong, machine. More circus. Forever.

Phases

Hey guys, it’s been a while since I’ve written. I won’t lie, things have been tough. It’s been two years since I’ve had an all-out depressive phase, and about the time of my last entry I fell into another one. I have bipolar type 2, and though my swings have become more rare as I’ve gotten older, I have a hypomanic episode once a year and now a depressive episode is back.

For those unfamiliar, a depressive episode is a period of at least two weeks when a person becomes massively depressed. My symptoms manifest as having no motivation, losing interest in every day life, self-hatred (above and beyond my normal levels), emotional numbness with waves of overwhelming sadness, and just plain apathy. My insomnia over the past few months before the episode began certainly didn’t help.

I’m slowly making my way back to my more balanced self, but over the last month or so if I said or did anything that was problematic or offensive, please let me know. I would much rather talk it out than have you think this is just what I’m like. New medication and actually sleeping has been helping me recover.

Another thing I’ve been trying to tackle is hoarding. Since I moved in, I never fully unpacked my stuff because I didn’t feel like I was welcome in my house. Now that the problematic roommate has left, I switched rooms and I’ve been going through everything I own and deciding what to get rid of. My (new, awesome) roommate and I have a swap set up with other performers/lovely weirdos next week.

Hoarding is one of the many symptoms of OCD. It manifests in a person fearing losing something, memories or emotions associated with certain items so they keep those items. Trying to get rid of that stuff results in anxiety over losing what they have associated with it. For me, it was crippling for years of my life. It’s not as troublesome, but there’s been an added “bonus” for my hoarding symptoms.

Part of my OCD is called “emotional contamination,” in my case I feel like people can leave behind good or bad personality traits through items they’ve touched or owned. It’s bizarre, and I know it’s not actually possible, but it’s been one of my most troubling symptoms. After the fire I kept everything donated to me because I didn’t want to offend anyone, and because I have no idea how to say no to kindness.

Now I find myself picking through everything I own, and battling with myself about whether I’m keeping something because I will actually use or wear it, or because I want to keep the kindness, love, and generosity associated with it. It’s been an uphill battle, especially given my current mindset.

Thank you all for sticking with me, hopefully things will manage to even out soon and I’ll be myself again.

The girl who waited to be broken

In mental illness, the lack of respect for oneself is staggering. I’ve seen it all over every hospital, group, and treatment center I’ve been in. The illness, it doesn’t matter which, completely robs you of any self-love you may have had. It can make you hate yourself, regard yourself as something less than human. This gets me into trouble a lot, and the past few months are just another example of that.

I was seeing someone, it had been around a year now. My circle of friends is largely non-monogamous, myself and him included. He’s married, and I respect the FUCK out of his wife. I think she’s a wonderful person, and I wish she and I could be closer friends. I never expected a serious relationship with him, and we did keep our distance. Everything became strained a few months ago, though, and everything sort of went downhill from there.

Now, I will not demonize him in any way. He’s a great person, and hopefully with time we can salvage a friendship. He’s human, though, and made mistakes. We both made mistakes. He stopped talking to me just in general, and I saw him less and less often. This went on for months, and either I wasn’t clear when I brought it up or one of us dropped the ball, it doesn’t matter why it’s just that these problems were never fixed.

Here is where the lack of self-respect comes in: I waited for him. I waited for things to change, and every second of it hurt more and more. His intentions were never to hurt me, he just didn’t have any other way of handling everything that was going on (and outside of me, he was dealing with a lot) and we kind of lost control. The worst part was, even thought it hurt I didn’t see anything wrong with allowing myself to sit through it.

Then comes the knight in shining armor. My current partner came into the picture about a month ago, and he has been amazing to me. I won’t gush too much, but suddenly I started seeing myself in a different light. I realized that I deserved better than just waiting. Sitting on my suitcase just wouldn’t cut it anymore.

I couldn’t hold it in, I kind of barraged him with messages about how I was feeling and we met tonight at a Starbucks of all places. We sat there, and I tried to hold myself together. The conversation really wasn’t going anywhere positive, and I think we both knew that going into it. So he broke it off, and at that moment “My Guy” came on over the speakers and I wanted to just curl up under the table right then and there.

I held it together for a bit, but started to fall apart. I’m not okay, and won’t be for a little bit. I feel like someone is sitting on my chest, I’m on the verge of tears and I want to tear apart my face entirely. Rejection, self-sabotage and I have a long history, and I was already worried about a possible relapse.

I sit here, with my glass of gin waiting for my immense amount of sushi to be delivered, never wanting to deal with people again. I was up at 6 this morning crying because I couldn’t handle the sadness, hurt, and guilt of waiting anymore. I hurt physically because I threw myself into too much exercise today. I just want this feeling to be over.

Small victories, though: perhaps now I’m on the road to actually liking myself.

Well then. Fuck that.

I’ve been coming to the conclusion that I think I’ve always been meant to be alone.
I don’t deal well with people. I’m self-involved, head strong, self conscious and negative. But most of all I legitimately hate myself, and that makes trying to have any sort of relationship with anyone too difficult on both (or all) of us involved.
I’ve broken hearts because I’m crazy, I’ve ruined friendships because I just plain don’t know how to handle myself. Feelings scare me, on both ends, it doesn’t matter if they’re my feelings or someone else’s.
Maybe it’s time to just give up on romantic involvement. I clearly have no idea how to do it.

Growing up.

It’s funny how things change so suddenly that it hits you in the face one day.

For three years, I loved aerial to the point of exploding. All I wanted to do was aerial all the time. Every day. Lyra, silks, then flying trapeze came along; I was addicted to flying.

Then I started hand balance and it all changed. I took a workshop with some of the acro yogis in the community, not expecting to be a huge fan of handstands, I just wanted to add some diversity to my skills.

I fucking loved it.

Fast forward a month or two, and I took a contortion workshop. I’ve never been flexible in my entire life. I was a swimmer and we’re MEANT to be straight lines made of power. As I was working on hand balance, my back was suddenly becoming incredibly flexible, which is (as far as I know) the opposite of what normally happens.

I fucking loved that too.

So here I am in 2013: working ground skills more than I ever expected to be possible for me. I’ve been on an aerial apparatus this year, but I have spent the majority of my practice time bending and pressing. I never would have predicted this in a million years. I’m working towards contortiony hand balance, which to me is the complete opposite of what I was working for exactly a year ago.

It just struck me earlier today how crazy this change is. I have friends who are SO passionate about what circus skills they specialize in and always have been. Many of them have tried new disciplines but rarely like them more than the one they started on. I haven’t lost my passion for aerial, of course, I just have found something that is so challenging, gratifying, and different from everything I’ve done in three years that I am EXCITED beyond belief about it.

It brings me right back to when I started circus. It ached how much I wanted to do it before I was capable of even touching a set of silks. Now, I get impatient and practically itch to work on contortion tricks, hand stands, crocodiles, getting my splits back (again), all of it. It’s refreshing, and such an amazing feeling to work myself up to something again.

I guess I’ve surprised myself again. Altogether a great thing.

2012, fuck you. Fuck you with a rake.

Let’s review this year, shall we?

Rock bottom. I feel like this year has been the lowest I’ve sunk since I was bed bound in college. I honestly feel embarrassed right now writing this. This year was… I guess words can’t describe my feelings towards 2012. I’m about ready to throw it out the door and never think about it again. But, let’s review:

I spent New Year’s Eve flying with fetishists last year, and that was amazingly fun.

From December 26th of 2011 until early March of 2012 I was in the OCDI for my second round of treatment there. I didn’t get to everything that I wanted to conquer, but to this day I can leave my house without makeup and I haven’t had a really bad picking episode since. After the hardcore relapse I had before that (prior to the OCDI I was in a short term unit and an eating disorder treatment center) coming out of the OCDI again made me feel like a whole new person.

March and April I moved back to JP and started performance work again. I started work at the dog wash the week I left the OCDI, was practicing a few times a week, and getting back into “normal” life. Things were looking up, which was freeing to me. Halfway through April, I got an offer to work at a resort teaching circus. I told them that I wasn’t a flying trapeze expert, but that I was more of an aerialist and performer. They wanted me anyway.

May until late June I was down in Florida at this resort. I learned a lot, but I am so glad it ended early. The entire experience was so negative, the people toxic, and the company is horrid. At that point I was beginning to question my own ability to last there. Aside from being hospitalized because of that stomach-gross, it was interesting at least. It had to have something going for it, right?

Then I was back up here! YAY!

I moved back to JP, and spent July getting back into performing and life in general. I timed it pretty well apparently, my boss offered me my job back pretty much immediately, and I was able to hit the ground running in a lot of ways. Except for the pneumonia. Being hospitalized again after a fever for 5 days and being stuck with lungs full of ick was something else. It also brought back my childhood asthma. Lovely.

August was much of the same until about halfway through the month, I moved into a great apartment with awesome roommates. A week later, it burned down. Basically, it wound up being the worst birthday ever.

September I found out just how deep humanity will sink when many of the people I was closest to betrayed me in a way that still upsets me to think about. Let alone when I see them. Geek Girl kicked ass, though, and The Montreal Fetish Weekend was absolutely amazing. At least I had those to think about through the rest of the month.

October I found a new place to live! Yay! October and November were much the same. Performing, practicing, working.

December, I’ve had quite a few performances this month. I dropped the ball completely on one of them, which is frustrating and I still beat myself up over it. Practice, work, performance… it’s been a pretty good cycle, actually. Aside from when some jackass stole my purse. That was fucked up.

While the awesome things can stand on their own, this year has been tainted by loss, sickness, anger, and negativity. It’s so hard for me to keep looking up when wave after wave of destruction comes at me. I’ve been acting oddly, and I’m sick of being “that” person.

You know what kept me together this year? My friends. I have the greatest friends anyone could ever ask for. When I left the OCDI they made it known that I had their support. When I left for Florida they told me that they would miss me and they meant it. When I came back they joined me when I said “well fuck them anyway.” After the fire they jumped to our aid so quickly it was hard to believe. Even now, people always check on me. Everyone knows there is something wrong but only one person really understands the extent to which it goes.

I love you all. You take care of me, you help me, you make me laugh, you put up with me being a douchebag. This year can go climb a wall of dicks, but as long as I continue to have such an amazing group of people behind me, 2013 might not suck as much.

Maybe.

Here’s the fun part!
Goals for the new year!
-Get back my front-back splits
-HARD MODE: Turn them into oversplits
-Get my back to the point of getting my head under my butt
-Get together at least one 5-minute silks burlesque routine. I have no problem with a 5-minute silks routine, but doing a full striptease in one is going to be much more difficult.
-Press handstand
-Contortion handstand back up into a straight handstand
-Control the impending relapse
-Show others the kindness they have shown me

New video blog (AKA: Finally! An UPDATE!

It’s a quiet video, but here’s a quick synopsis: I suck, life sucks, maybe it’ll get better, probably not. Fuck it.

Done.

Hey, internet. It’s been a while. My life hasn’t been the same since the fire, and I haven’t had the time to write. If I have, I’ve been too worn out to do so. Things keeps getting worse.

I find myself relapsing hardcore. I analyze everything I do in ways all too familiar; examining my skin a bit too closely, watching my steps too diligently, keeping track of what I eat more strictly… I know where this is all leading and I just don’t know if I can stop it.

Tonight, my friend’s car was broken into. Two purses were stolen (mine and a friend’s) along with some bike equipment. I want to blame myself, even if it’s not possible. I feel like there was SOME way I could have stopped it from happening, even if I couldn’t. Part of me knows this is the OCD talking… but I hate myself for “letting” it happen, still.

I need to find a way to replace and pay for my meds. Maybe I’ll be able to sort everything out with another visit with my psychiatrist. Maybe we can help my moods and the terrible new intrusive thoughts. Maybe.

Less than nothing

Hello internet, it’s been a while. Unfortunately, I come to you upon hitting a wall of depression.

First off, I’m still incredibly numb from the fire. Perhaps these feelings have been brought on by the two fires that have happened recently; one near my new place, and another on the street where our house burned down.

Anyway, coming back from Anime USA I discovered that I spent too much money and that sent me into a downward spiral of self-hate and old thoughts. I’ve been feeling more and more disgusted with myself lately, but today has just gone over the edge.

Ugly.
Useless.
Worthless.
Vapid.
Fat.

I’m not a good performer.

I’m not good at anything.

Would I be better off dead, or is that just me wanting to run away?

Running away is for losers. I’ve fought too hard, but when does it become too much? Fighting through everything I have has just been too much. I’m losing it, and fast. I don’t know how much longer I can keep it up.

No one wants me around. Hell, I don’t even want to be around me.

I’m done.