I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad...

Three years ago things were so different. Three years ago today my whole world changed. I left Northwestern, I transferred to Concordia, and I had my first back surgery. This one was mostly complication free, minus a fever and throwing up. That's "mostly" because that was the first one. The second one, two years and two months later, left me with severe pneumonia (and a fever of nearly 105!), urinary retention, ruined my left leg, and more.

I was supposed to graduate today. I was supposed to walk and receive my diploma in the major I handcrafted - special needs ministry - so that I can be a hospital chaplain. I was supposed to be earning the diploma that I've slaved away at since 2008, even though I graduated high school in 2006. And I'm not. I haven't. And I don't know if I ever will.

My health, and my faith along with it, is no longer stable. Over the past year I have added three more antibiotic allergies to the two I already have, making it an absolute bitch when I'm sick. Which is often: I have a severe dust allergy which compromises my immune system, as well as an autoimmune problem which is still up in the air. I have disabling migraines a few times a week and my insurance has denied Botox injections. I am always sick these days and I am always in pain.

Athena and I moved recently, to a bigger apartment, just the two of us - leaving my best friend and roommate to move back in with her grandma. The loneliness alone is crippling. The pain alone is heartbreaking. Some days just walking to Kmart takes all my spoons. There's piles and piles of stuff to unpack. My days are spent playing Pokemon and watching Netflix.

This is not how I imagined life to be.
This is not what I thought life would look like when I was nearly 27.


And if that's luck, it comes at much too high a cost

So many times in my life I have been told that I am lucky. That I am lucky to be living on SSI and not have to work or that I'm lucky to be able to just stay in bed all day. If only all those people who told me how lucky I am knew the price it came at. If only those people who told me how lucky I am knew what the cost was of being this way.

There are days where yes, I am in bed all day, but I am in too much pain to read, to play a video game, to even get on my laptop or the tablet. There are days when I am in so much pain I can barely interact with my cat. And yes, there are days when I just stay in bed reading or playing on my laptop...but those days I also have to choose between having enough energy to get up and eat or get up and use the bathroom. Is that lucky? I don't know.

I may be able to get all my student loan debt forgiven. Again, lucky? Maybe - I am grateful for that. But the price would be that I am far too disabled to work, to go to school, to have a productive life. I may be living on SSI and not have to work, but I'm not physically able to work. It isn't even an option for me.
In college, I got told that I was lucky to get extended time and extra class skips. I was lucky to have professors who, for the most part, worked with me. But really? Lucky? Lucky to wake up in so much pain I can't move, or even cry from pain because it hurts too much to cry?  Lucky to not know how much I will be able to function when I wake up?

I know most people don't understand. They can't. And I don't think they realize how much simple words can hurt or the weight they carry. But it doesn't change how it makes me feel. And it doesn't change how terrible it is to have the world think you're lucky, when in reality it takes every amount of effort to get through each day.

I may be lucky, but it comes at a price.


A peak into my life

I don't remember how old I was when my depression started, but I was fairly young. I've been playing Russian Roulette with anti depressants for as long as I can remember, just having them shot at me in hopes that one would work. I've been hospitalized. I've been in group homes. I've been in group therapy. I've been in outpatient therapy for years now. And yet, I'm still fucked up in the head.

I feel overwhelming hopelessness. Does it ever get better than this? Is this the life I'm destined to live? Let me tell you, life with depression is sucked. I have confirmed GAD, ED-NOS, PTSD, and Major Depression. If that looks like alphabet soup to you, that's general anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, and an eating disorder. I also have OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder. I'm currently on two medications. And they're not helping. I'm in therapy. And it's not helping.

What more can I do? What more do I do? Let me give you a peak at what it's like. Let me give you an insight of what it's like. It's like you're trying to reach out your hand for help, and you can see someone, something, anything in the distance, but it's just barely out of grasp. You reach and you reach and you try to grab onto that something - that hope, that thing in the distance you're hanging on for, but it's just out of grasp. You can't cling it. You can't grasp onto it. And you're feebly trying to hold onto it, but instead you're just grasping at thin air.

It's like you're standing in the middle of a crowded room. People all around you, but you're ignored. You're invisible. No one sees you. No one sees the pain you're hiding. The grief, the sorrow, the agony, the heartbreak.

You weep and you cry, alone. You're broken. The pieces of the Lego kit don't make the castle, it makes a broken puzzle. You try so hard to be whole, you try so hard to be COMPLETE, but something is missing. Something just isn't there. You want it to be, oh, you want it to be, but it's not.

You're empty. Completely empty. You try to find things to fill you up - cutting, drinking, video games, movies, school, but nothing fills it. Instead, you become even more empty. Even more withdrawn. Even more depressed. Everything falls apart. Everything falls at your feet. You try so hard, so hard to hold it together, but you can't.

You panic over everything. You freak over everything. You count things. You arrange things. You make things just so. You replay everything over and over in your head. Rewind the video tape, start it over. You check things constantly, because what if you didn't lock that door? What if you didn't turn off that oven? You taunt yourself with every possible thing that could go wrong, and you're driving yourself nuts inside your own head.

Suicide sounds appealing. Not because you want to die, but because living is just too much. At times, it's at the point where you don't want to live but you don't want to die. You just want to cease to exist. To pull into a cocoon, and rest and rest and rest. You want everything to go on around you, while you're just hiding from the world. But at the same time, you want to be out in that world you're hiding from. You want to be free from your thoughts and your chains and your baggage and your bondage and your past.

Sleep isn't even a rest, sleep isn't even a solace. Nightmares taught you, you struggle to fall asleep, you struggle to stay asleep. Tossing and turning, fear and panic. This is your every night. This is your life. This is how you are.

 And this is what life with my mental health is life. This is just a small peak. I could go longer, but I doubt anyone gives a shit enough to read it. This is how I have to function. And I hate it. I hate every moment of it.


She'd tell him about her dreams, he'd just shoot 'em down

About eight years ago, my life was in shambles. The church backstabbed me, I lost my faith, and everything fell apart. I was deeply involved in self injury, I was deeply depressed, I was trapped in an eating disorder I'm still trapped in eight years later. Eight years ago, I lost my faith, I lost my hope, I lost my friends, I lost everything.

It's funny, in a way - I think often that children of abuse victims are orphans in a way. Not in the way the world typically views orphaned but in many ways, my father is already dead to me. I haven't spoken to him in eight years and I have no desire to ever again. I have no desire to ever set foot in that church again after what they did to me. Heck, for years I had no desire to have anything to do with the church at all.

But eight years later, I'm rebuilding. I'm rebuilding hope, I'm rebuilding grace. Eight years later, I'm finding my own sense of family, my own sense of church. I'm even majoring in ministry  though my current plan is to be a hospital chaplain and not a typical church minister. It's crazy to see where the past eight years have brought me.

With a broken wing, she carries her dreams
Man, you ought to see her fly


By the yard it's hard, by the inch, what a cinch

When I was a child, I was in Patch the Pirate Club, as well as had a couple Patch the Pirate cassettes. Simply put, Patch the Pirate is a MAJOR NAME in Children's Christian Music, especially in the fundamentalist Christian sect. Patch aims to teach values, not only of faith, but also of morals and character. I actually know songs about loving broccoli and cleaning my plate, about not being a wiggle worm, and many other things that really call for another blog entry. But there are a few songs that have stuck out with me, so here is the first I'm going to write about. I may write others, I may not.

"When mountains tower ragged and high,
rise to the challenge, look to the sky
Trust in the Lord, and start to climb,
Reach for the goal one step at a time

Little by little, inch by inch
By the yard it's hard, by the inch what a cinch
Never stare up the stairs but step up the steps
Little by little, inch by inch."

I think this is a powerful message and absolutely profound in a simple children's song. When I think of mental illness recovery, be it from depression, an eating disorder, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, self injury... when I think of recovery, so often it IS a mountain towering, ragged and high. It's overwhelming when we first look at it. But when we step back and take it little by little, inch by inch, it's so much easier. Recovery doesn't happen overnight. I don't know how much longer I'll be in treatment. Months? Years? It's unknown at this point in recovery. But I do know I take it little by little.

If it means when my eating disorder is in full force, and all I eat for the day is a sandwich and drink some tea, that's little by little. Each day, I can add a bit more food, be it a side, be it another sandwich if sandwiches are my current "safe" food, etc. If my depression is in full force and I don't want to leave the apartment, much less my bed, I can take it little by little. Be it just getting up, taking a shower, and getting dressed. I don't necessarily have to go DO anything, but taking the step to get up is a progress. And that's the thing - progress is a process. It's something we do little by little, inch by inch.

I think that it's important to know that recovery happens. It's possible. But sometimes, it's overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like finding the right medication combination is never going to happen. Sometimes I feel like therapy is going nowhere, sometimes I feel like progress is being made, sometimes I feel like I'm backsliding and for each step I've taken, I've gone back twelve.

But that's not the point. The point is I'm trying. The point is I'm living. The point is that every time I make a good life choice, however small, however insignificant it seems at the time, it's a step toward recovery, even if it's just an inch, even if it's not even quite an inch yet.

The point is I'm moving. The point is I'm getting there. The point is, little by little, I'm working my way towards there. I'm "reaching for the goal, one step at a time." And by taking lots of little steps, maybe one day, I'll overcome. And yes, I'll reach that goal one step at a time.


These secrets are walls that keep us alone

Sometimes I wish I were someone other than me
Fighting to make the mirror happy - Bethany Dillon

I hate it. I hate how every day is a battle. I hate how  every frick-fracking meal is a battle. Even one BITE is a battle. It's a fight. It's a war. It's an all out battlezone against myself. I didn't chose this, though some days I wish I had because then I could just chose for it all to be over. Some days I wish it was more of a choice, because then I could just chose not to be this way. Chose not to live in this hellhole. Chose not to live in this torment inside my head for every meal, every bite, every time.

And soon, obsessing over food and meals and bites becomes not enough. Certain foods can't touch each other. Certain foods can. Certain foods are okay to eat. Others aren't (gluten allergy not withstanding). And the obsession and control spreads out. Certain numbers are okay. Others aren't. And everything becomes a downward spiral of control and spins wildly out of control. And I can't just snap out of it. I can't just stop being anal. I can't just cowboy up.

How I wish I could! How I wish I could just get over it. How I wish I could just start eating again. How I wish it was just that simple! I want it to be like that. I want it to be like that. I wish I could eat without my head tormenting me. I wish I could eat without such torment, such inner anguish. I hate it, I hate every bit of it.

I don't want to be like this. At times, I find myself thinking that I wish I hadn't chosen to have an eating disorder then I want to whack myself upside the head because who the hell does? No one chooses to have an eating disorder. It's a psychological illness, just like depression or anxiety or a post traumatic stress disorder. And it's not my fault. I can chose to get help and chose to overcome it, but it doesn't change the fact it makes every day a struggle, every minute a fight.

And I hate myself for it. I hate myself for the fact that I was dealt this deck, on top of my medical problems, on top of my trauma past, on top of everything else. I hate myself for who I am today, even though none of it is my fault and it isn't rational, I still hate so deeply although I know it isn't right. Kinda screwed up but I guess it's part of the cycle, part of how it goes.

I hate who I am. I hate who I've become. I hate what these thoughts have done to me.