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 Even more withdrawn.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.


We all sing with the same voice, and we live in harmony

This is what sick looks lik. This is what sick IS. I don't look it? You don't realize that my body is fighting itself. You don't realize that I'm allergic to four antibiotics,  an asthma medication that would make my life a lot easier, and a food allergy. You don't realize that I have an autoimmune disorder, a neurological disorder, rods in my back, an eating disorder, PTSD, anxiety, and a non verbal learning disorder. You don't realize that I have a balance disorder, that I have a crapload of medications surging though my body. I don't look it, but you know what? This is what disabled is. 

 You see people like me every day, everywhere. You see people with disabilities everywhere you turn. We are people, just like you, and we have feelings, too. I understand it can be awkward at times when you come across someone with disabilities, but never fear! I'm hear to help you out and avoid awkwardness. NOTE: These are tips from MY personal experience. Other people with disabilities may have different feelings and a different take on life.

1. Never, ever ask me "What happened?" or any variant there of. If you want to know more about my disabilities, there are better ways to phrase it. It's awkward for both of us when I explain it's lifelong, and it's chronic. Trust me, you're not going to get an epic skiing accident story.
Nothing like that, I promise. You may think it's making friendly conversation, but you're really not and just making everyone uncomfortable. Also, don't ask it while I'm clearly struggling to walk or with a door. I'm really not in any shape to answer you then, and you're more likely to get a slightly rude come back. It's rude to ask a stranger these type of question. Get to know me for me. And then ask your questions. I'm more than happy to talk about my disorders with you, as long as you are respectful.

2. For the love of peaches, NEVER ask me "can I ask you a personal question?" This is a good analogy:
It's never okay to ask a random woman if she's pregnant. Same way, it's never okay to ask me if I'm able to have sex, if people want to date 'someone like me', if my husband/spouse/siblings are also disabled. YOU DON'T KNOW ME. YOU JUST MET ME ON THE BUS. It is NOT the time or place to ask me a "personal question" because generally? They are rude and disrespectful, and I am a human being, just like you. You wouldn't ask someone without a obvious physical impairment these questions, so why the hell is it okay to ask me?

3. Don't give me your home remedies. Don't tell me such and such person.  Don't tell me how if I do x, y, z I'll do better.
Don't tell me if I do crossfit, if I go paleo, my health will get better. I've already given up gluten for health reasons. I don't need your 'quick fixes'. My doctors and I have gone through many of these things. It isn't helpful for you to throw this at me, despite your good intentions.

4. Oh my god, don't play the Jesus card. You will seriously incur my wrath if you do.
If you say or act like that, I will get angry and upset. I have prayed so many times. I've wept to God to heal me, and he hasn't, for whatever reason. God has a reason for leaving me disabled, and I've come to terms with it. Please don't tell me to just pray. Please don't tell me if I just trust God, he will heal me. He hasn't chosen to heal me, for whatever reason. I don't know what that reason is. I don't know why I was chosen for this path, and why I'm destined to live a life of physical pain. But you know what? It's just the way things are.

Now, I do sometimes want to have this reaction to people who are stupid about disabilities:

Really, I just wanted an excuse to use this picture
But you know what? We are people too. We are just like you. We laugh, we play, we cry, we sing. We weep, we rejoice, we bleed, we heal. We do things differently. But we all sing with the same voice, and we live in harmony.


i need some distraction, oh beautiful release

i hate how i'm feeling lately.
i don't know that it's depression. i'm not sad. i'm not sad, no, not really. sadness isn't the quite the right word.  i mean yeah, i feel overwhelming sadness some days but it's not the overarching feeling. it's not the primary feeling. it's not the main thing i feel.
apathy? sure, i've given up caring about cleaning (really need to do that, my area of the apartment is godawful) and i've given up caring about life, the future, what happens to me. i have hopes and dreams but who am i fooling? they'll never happen. my health will never improve to the point where i'm able to hold down a job. i can barely handle school, what kind of idiot am i to think that i'll be able to have a future?
then, what? hopeless? i guess you could say that, but i don't even know if it's the right word. sad? depressed? none of these words seem quite right. lonely? scared? overwhelmed? i don't even know what words describe me anymore. if there are words. if there are any words.
i'm scared to see a doctor, scared to be honest. scared to let people see how things really are. what if they judge me? what if they don't like me? what if they can't help me? so instead, i let myself spiral.
i let the anxiety take over. i let the fear take over. i let the what-ifs take over.  when talking, face-to-face talking, i either lock down or i've been dealing with this stuff for so long that i've learned how to mask it, learned how to downplay it, so things aren't really as bad as i realize. i tend to downplay things and let them go into they are super sonic bad... case in point, recent ear infection.
i feel scared and helpless and alone and like a failure.
and this emptiness. and despair. and the feeling that i will never pull myself out.
i know i'm not fooling everyone, that would be naive. but why do i try? why don't i give people a chance? it's like i've been hurt and hurt and hurt so i'm scared to show the truth.
will they love me less? doubtful. so why do i let myself believe such things? why don't i just trust? why am i so scared?
why do i feel like falling into self injury? and i'm not suicidal, but i'll be damned if i don't think about death. if i don't think about a break from the mental and physical pain. i know it's not an option, but damn if it doesn't come to mind.
i hate feeling like this. i hate feeling that things will never get better. because... what if that feeling is right?


But people have problems that are worse than mine, I don't want you to think I'm complaining all the time

I feel I'm on the verge of another depressive spell, and it sucks. Likely triggered by all the back to school posts. No back to school for me. Nope. No job, one class, just stuck in the same monotony. I'm entering physical therapy, trying to get a grasp on my physical pain, and my mental health? THAT'S a frick-fracking joke and a half.

I have a script for Effexor across the room, from a useless appointment with a psychiatrist. From one who pushed me for details about my PTSD, why I haven't had sexual relations, wouldn't listen to my past medical history (she tried to put me on Prozac when I told her no less than five minutes previously that Prozac had made me worse), etc. For this week at least, I've made the choice to stay  off antidepressants, though it doesn't mean it's set it stone and I won't at some point hunt for a new psychiatrist. But there's a part of me, this twisted, demented part of me, that's tempted to fill the Effexor script and take it in an act of self-sabotage. Even though I know that since it's in the class as Cymbalta it's a really stupid idea, and even though I know it'll jack with my heart rate, it's the irrational, self-injuring part of my brain. Even though I know I'll likely have side effects from it, even though I know things will spiral further out of control, it's so tempting just to completely throw the towel in and screw things up. I hate how twisted my brain is at times.

My eating has gone to crap. Most days? I'm lucky to get one meal in and enough fluids. Some days? No eating happens. My weight is dropping again and I'm finding it hard to care. I'm coming close to cutting again and this is preventing me from it. I don't want to cut and I don't want to not eat, but right now I just need some way to hurt myself to control my depression. I am in such a bad state, aren't I? I'm not suicidal. That's not a problem at all. But if hurting myself keeps me alive for now... I just don't even know at the moment.

I feel like I'm crumbling. I feel like I'm tumbling. I feel like I am falling to shreds. I hate who I am. I hate who I am becoming. I hate how I feel. And I am so helpless. I feel beyond hopeless. I'm at the point where I don't know if things will ever get better. How can they? So many antidepressants have failed. Maybe I'm destined to be a failure. Maybe things will never get better. Maybe I'll just fall to pieces and there won't be a way to duck tape me back together.

I hate how I let myself fall this low. I hate how I feel like I'm crumbling to pieces. I need a break. I need a vacation. I need out for awhile. I need to go somewhere that's not here. Somewhere away. If I don't fall apart before then. If I don't fall to pieces. I hate how depression is. I hate how my depression makes me irrational and want to make irrational decisions. I hate how it makes my brain all foggy, like I'm seeing through mashed potato covered lenses instead of clear ones. I hate how it makes me feel.

I don't like what I'm becoming. I don't like who I am. I hate how when I talk to therapists and doctors that I just lock down. I retreat within myself. It's safe in there. It's scary and dark, but it's comfortable and familiar, even though it's a terrifying place. Because even though it's dark and scary - it is what I know and so there I stay. I don't lock down on purpose, and then the doctor gets pissed off that I don't talk to them when it isn't that I don't want to, it's that I can't. The words and feelings are completely locked and trapped inside me and I can't pull them out. I want to talk, but it's so hard. It isn't easy. And I feel so trapped. I feel so trapped within myself.

I don't know what to do. I don't know what I'm becoming. All I know is I'm falling... falling... falling...


you give and take away...

I haven't written in awhile, so midnight while watching Soul Eater is the perfectly logical choice, right? Of course. As I'm curled up here in bed, wishing my summer had taken an incredibly different term, the start of school just days away (f I can afford it, but that's another rant for another day), not knowing how my life is going to play out, it's sort of terrifying watching where my life is going.

On July 9, I had repeat back surgery, this time to do a partial hardware removal. Things were expected to be fairly uncomplicated. Two day hospital stay, sent home to recover, not a big deal, right? Well, I should have known better. My two day stay turned into a nine day stay, as I developed hospital-acquired pneumonia, diagnosed the night my fever hit 104.7 degrees (highest fever of my life, man). Nearly a month later, I still have a Foley in. Walking is incredibly difficult, as my high school knee injury decided to completely flare up and crap out, so I have a very attractive full leg brace. I knew at one point I may need a full leg brace, but it was a hard  pill to swallow alongside the back surgery.

The surgery also gave me wicked insomnia. I'm able to sleep, some nights, but not others. My primary (who is named Happy Thanksgiving... yeah... really...) prescribed Lunesta but my insurance is denying it and we're having to fight for it. Le sigh. Just like my Lyrica fight and that took a few weeks to get approved. It's hard, man, it's hard.

The simplest trips exhaust me, the most basic chores make me feel like death on a stick. I'm struggling with recovery, and it sucks! It's been a rough, rough road. I just don't know how I should feel about it, even. Should I feel relief that I'm recovering? Regret that things have turned out so poorly? Thankful that, for the most part, my doctors finally got their heads out of their asses are and trying to help me?

I find myself terribly angry at God. While at one point, my faith is keeping me going, another part is filled with rage and anger. Why did He let things turn out like this? Why can't He just freaking HEAL me already? He's God, right? Surely He can make me better and take away my pain. But at the same time, He's not. And I can't understand why. I can't understand what lessons He wants me to learn from this.

My life has become a whirlwind of appointments, and when it's not, doing some simple picking up and laying in bed playing Persona 4, Final Fantasy, or Zelda. Or watching Netflix. It sucks that this is what my life has turned into. It sucks that this is how I'm spending my summer. Not having fun outside, not having fun with my friends... but laying around in pain. I mean yes, good things are happening this summer, but at the same time, so much not good is happening. I'm watching my health fall to shambles, and not a single thing can be done.

I just wish there was an option to make it easier. I just wish there was an option to make this pain go away. I just wish there was an option to make things better.


Jesus loves me, loves me still, though I'm very weak and ill

I feel like my world has been shattered and turned upside down. I knew going into my appointment today that there was the chance I'd need another back surgery, but  now it's facing me dead on and I'm scared and I don't know what to do.

I went in for my two year followup today (two years is tomorrow. I graduate a year from that. Cool).

I looked super classy, man, super classy.

And... they don't know why I'm in so much pain. They don't know why the facet blocks failed, why physical therapy is failing, while I am just suffering at the moment. There is no answer. The doctor is considering removing some of my hardware, but it doesn't come risk-free. At the same time, leaving them in doesn't come risk-free. So do I put myself through another surgery? Or do I just live with the pain? Do I do a surgery that could cause possible future NF complications, or do I continue with the way things are, suffering?

The doctor can't give me clear-cut answers. There are no clear-cut answers. I have to make a decision, and live with the ramifications of it either way. I wish I did have a clear neon sign telling me which choice to make, but there aren't any of those. 


We'll always be good company, you and me, yes together we'll be.

March 28th, 2013, I went to the animal shelter and fell in love with a gorgeous orange cat. However, by the time they called our landlord for approval the next day, he was adopted. I was sad, but I knew I'd found another cat. I actually wound up adopting his friend living with him in the shelter, Chica. I hadn't paid much attention to her as I'd fallen for Harry, but that's okay. I think she forgives me.

I think love at first sight is a bit of an understatement. I fell for her, but still looked and played with the other cats. Nope, Chica it was. On the adoption form for Harry, I wrote "I want someone who needs me as much as I need them." And while that someone wasn't Harry, it was Chica, who I renamed Athena. You see, Athena could have been staying at the shelter awhile. She's five years old and polydactyl. People don't always want the older or the imperfect cats. She'd also already been returned to the shelter once.

But Athena is everything I could want in a cat. She knew she was mine pretty quickly, even though I  had my worries at first. They are settled now. Athena wakes me up from my nightmares. I must give out some sign in my sleep I'm distressed, because I suddenly have a kitty waking me up and trying to cuddle me. Athena doesn't let me go to school when I'm too sick to go (which has already happened twice in two weeks, stupid immune system) by plopping down on top of me and demanding I stay in the warm bed with her, fine, you insist.

The poor thing was worried to death about me  when I went to the hospital. Before I'd left, I was too sick to get in bed and was lying on the floor with her blankets. She curled up next to me. While I was gone, she spent most of her time by the door, waiting for me to return. When I came home, I swooped her up and those paws and claws dug straight into my shoulder and she was all over me. Instant face kisses. She then hardly left my side for awhile, but that's okay.

Reunited and it feels so good...

Athena loves getting in places she doesn't belong, but that's because she's a cat. Athena also loves toys that are not her toys. Her favourites include the plastic Easter eggs from my Easter egg basket. Athena also is found of my stuffed Pikachu and her hairbrush. Little bugger.

I find it very telling I adopted Athena on Good Friday, two days before Easter. Easter is about Resurrection and new life. I had just come out of a serious depression due to my Cymbalta reaction and had been suicidal.  Athena helped bring new life into me. My little Fluffy McFluffyButt once again gave me a reason to live.For a little furry baby, who depends on me for food, water, shelter, cuddles, and a clean litter box. For a little furry baby who needs love and affection, just like all of us.

Athena is the Greek goddess of is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. Athena is my courage, Athena is my wisdom. Athena is my inspiration. Hey, maybe because she's the goddess of mathematics, she'll help me pass my class, right?

Athena is my beautiful baby. She's my first cat, and has turned me into a crazy cat lady. But I can live with that. Athena Persephone is my little, furry friend who knows just how much she is loved by both me and my roommate. We've forever lost certain spaces in our desks, bookshelves, and various items of ours... but we've also found someone who is forever in our hearts.

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur

Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr.
I thank God for giving me my little Greek goddess just when I needed her the most. I thank God for my little fluffy baby, who loves me and needs me. I thank God for my cat, and how He supplied me with my new furry best friend just when I needed her the most. Thank you, God. And thank you Animal Ark in Hastings, Minnesota for allowing me to bring home Miss Athena. :)


And my wounds will be made whole

When people find out I'm a ministry major, they are often confused. I'm been hurt very badly by the church, so why would I want to work in any sort of ministry setting? I'm very cynical and downright callous toward the church at times, why the heck do I want to spend my LIFE working in it? 

I guess on the surface, it doesn't make sense. Why would it? I have been hurt badly by the church. I went to a church for help for many things, several times. I went to the the church for help when I was suicidal  I was pushed aside, treated as a burden. I went for help from my abusive father, and I was pushed aside. I went for help to press charges against my father, and was given illegal advice not to.

I have every reason to hate the church. I have every reason that I should be against Christianity. I have been let down by the church again and again. I'm reminded that I was never good enough. I was never one of the "cool kids". I was always a burden, always needing something. Always the girl with health problems, always the one who needed a ride, always the one from a broken home. Never the one who had her act together. Never the one who could offer anything. I had a decent enough voice, but other kids could sing better. I could act, but others could act better.

Senior year, when my entire life fell apart, the place that stood by my side to be my solid rock? My public high school. Not my church. They sided with my father, whereas my school took strides to keep me safe. My high school teachers took care of me, when my church could not.

But, I'm reminded of the Casting Crowns song from several years ago:

But if we are the bodyWhy aren't His arms reaching?Why aren't His hands healing?Why aren't His words teaching?And if we are the bodyWhy aren't His feet going?Why is His love not showing them there is a way?There is a way 
Jesus paid much too high a priceFor us to pick and choose who should comeAnd we are the body of Christ

 Jesus does NOT want us picking and choosing who comes and who stays. Jesus does NOT want the ones who need help the most, turned away by the church. And I know I'm just one person...

 (obligatory Muppet link! Oh, come on. It's me. You had to be expecting it!),

but maybe I can be the one person who can make a difference in that child's life.

I have a passion for special needs ministry. I have a passion for the ones often overlooked. It is BECAUSE I have been hurt by the church and by so-called ministries like the church and IHOP that I want to go in the ministry. I know most people hurt by the church want to run from it with their head between their legs. It doesn't mean I've been hurt more, it doesn't mean they've been hurt more. It doesn't mean I've been hurt less, it doesn't mean they've been hurt less. There is no equating wounds when it comes to this sort of things - it does no good. We've all been hurt. I'm reminded of a song that I sang on my ninth grade mission trip to Miami: "I am a wounded soldier, but I will not leave the fight, because the great physician is healing me. So I'm standing in the battle, in the armour of His light because His mighty power is real in me. I am loved, I am accepted, by the Saviour of my soul. I am loved, I am accepted, and my wounds will be made whole."

One church did not accept me. Certain ministries have not accepted me. SO FRICK FRACKING WHAT?  God loves the outcasts, too...

(Oh, come on. I already posted Muppets. Hunchback should not surprise you on a serious blog entry by now from me!)

You know what? The outcasts need a place, too. I want to help the outcasts, because I was once an outcast, too. I still am, I suppose. But just because I was outcast by ministries, just because I wasn't good enough for them, doesn't mean I don't want anything to do with them.

In fact, it's what channeled my passion. It's what made me want to do them. To step up to the plate for the children who had youth pastors who were just there for the cool kids, and ran away when times became difficult for the children. To step up for the children who fell for the wayside, while the youth pastor's wife pleaded with them. To step up for the children who fell through the cracks, because the youth pastor just didn't want to devote the time with them. To be there for the ones with special needs, whatever those special needs may be.

It's going to be a wild ride, one that I feel will bring me a lot of healing, but it's my wild ride and my journey. And I'm prepared to take it.


When she throws the pills out, a hero is made

Each day she goes on is a day that she's brave,
Fighting the lie that giving up is the way
Each moment of courage, her own life she saves
When she throws the pills out, a hero is made
Heroes are made when you make a choice.

I've been off  Cymbalta for several days now. I'm now longer suicidal, although I'm still deeply depressed. I can tell you that it sucks, it frick-fracking sucks. I hate how I feel, but being no longer suicidal is good, right?

I also have a cat! Meet Athena!
Brushes are for playing, silly human


you're feeling sad, you're feeling lonely, and no one seems to care

Over the summer, my awesome, amazing psychiatrist left the clinic. I was turned out to find one on my own. One I found one that was taking new patients and took my insurance, it was December for my intake. My actual psych appointment wasn't until March 4. And then he started me on Cymbalta.

Since then, it's been a living nightmare. My depression gradually got worse. I called when I was supposed to bump it up to 60 mg from 30 mg informing them, they told me to just stick it out. The prior authorization has not been done. Bumping it up to 60 increased my chronic pain and spiraled me so deep into depression I started having suicidal thoughts. Just getting out of bed is currently a struggle.

I saw pain management on Wednesday. They asked how I was tolerating the Cymbalta, I told them it was making my pain and depression worse. I was told that I just *thought* I was more depressed and depressed, because I wasn't acting depressed. That comment, as stupid as I know it was, pushed me further down because I feel like my doctors don't care and don't take me seriously.

It sucks to deal with depression. It sucks to deal with chronic pain. It sucks when both are acting up at the same time, and your damn doctors don't take you seriously. My physical therapist, thank goodness, is looking into getting me pain meds as I scored 71% on the disability index. I need them. But that doesn't help the depression. I am going to go through withdrawl next week, because the prior auth has not been done and the med is FREAKING EXPENSIVE.

I'm scared. I'm really scared. I haven't been this depressed in a long time, and it could be a long ass fight to see a doctor again. He wanted me back in 3-4 weeks, the next opening was TEN WEEKS away. I likely can't find a new one in that period of time. I'm scared. I'm terrified. I hate how this is making me feel,  but when I don't take it I feel fuzzy and out-of-body and weird. But I'm going to have to, because I'm going to have to stop cold turkey. I'm scared of what's going to happen to me. I'm worried about the future.I don't know what's going to happen to me. I'm terrified.


Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?

I have a recurring dream. It's the one where I'm diagnosed with cancer. It was worse than usual this time, as it went as far as finding out it was terminal and I starting picking out how I wanted my memorial service being done. I have the cancer dream every now and then, and every time I have it, a bunch of crap hits the fan and everything falls to shreds. It's scary.

It has me really worried. Looking at repeat back surgery, looking at a lupus, RA, or MS diagnosis in the near future, getting hit with three major illnesses this semester so far (influenza twice, and a lovely strep/bronchitis/upper respiratory combo). It has be freaking terrified of what's going to happen next.

I don't know what to do.


I don't remember the first time I felt unbeautiful, the day I chose not to eat

They pull up the chairs to the table,
She looks at the food on her plate
At the toast and the butter, her father and mother
She pushes away

And they rise in the morning, and they sleep in the dark
And even though nobody's looking, she's falling apart

She gets home from school too early
And closes the door to her room
There's nothing inside her, she's weak and she's tired
Of feeling like this

And they rise in the morning, and they sleep in the dark
And even though nobody's looking, she's falling apart

They call her for dinner,
She makes up a reason,
She looks at her arms and she rolls down her sleeves
And her mother is starting to see through her lies
And last night night her father had tears in his eyes....

And they rise in morning, and they sleep in the dark
And even though nobody's looking, she's falling apart

And we rise in the morning, and we sleep in the dark
And even though nobody's looking, she's falling apart
Lisa Loeb, "She's Falling Apart."

This song from 2002  sums up life with an eating disorder well, I think.

Eating disorders, like many other disorders, do not discriminate. Rich and poor, black and white, male and female, it doesn't matter. Eating disorders strike, and they are deadly. EVERYONE CAN SUFFER. Read: This Child

An eating disorder isn't something you have just for a couple weeks, it's something you battle for months, years, for some people - a lifetime.

Want to know some scary facts? You don't have to be underweight to DIE from an eating disorder. That's right. Many people think that if they aren't underweight, they aren't in the danger zones. You think you can stop before it gets out of control, that this is your way of control? One day, what you are controlling will in turn control you.  Eating disorders are not just about food. Lord, if it were it'd be simple, wouldn't it? It's about starving, LITERALLY, for perfection. Starving for control. It can be a form of self injury. You can't wrap eating disorders up with a tidy-little bow.


By the way, if you want to support eating disorder awareness, please consider sponsoring me in the NEDA walk in Minneapolis. In fact, if you live in the Twin Cities metro, please consider joining my team, as well!


Sometimes I Hear My Voice

At times I wonder how long it will be until I can tell my story. There are aspects that no one knows - that I wonder if anyone will ever know. There are aspects that maybe one person know. And it's scary - it's scary how easily I put walls up, how easily I retreat inside myself, how easily I hide. It's scary watching my health fall apart, watching my life fall apart.

It's scary having diagnosis after another pile up and just feel so freaking HELPLESS as everything falls to pieces. It's terrifying to watch my mental health shatter and so badly want to do something, but I can't. It sucks wanting a dad again, wanting someone who's not an epic asshat to protect me, but knowing that's not possible.

I think that's what's killing me the most lately. I want a Dad I can call and tell him how poorly my health is, a dad I can update on the antidepressant situation. I want a Dad I can tell that I made homemade pizza for supper and then had a glass a milk. I want a Dad I can tell I'm being referred to yet another specialist. But I haven't had that since 2005 and I'll never get that back. AND IT'S NOT FUCKING FAIR.   

Why can't I have a Dad, too?


Ministry Major Malaise

I wish that I could write a post that fully shows how much depression sucks. I wish that there was a way I could let you take a peek into my world and what it's like living in this world. A world where you don't trust anyone, lest of all yourself. A world where it's like you're reaching and grasping for something, a shred, a spark, but perhaps it just doesn't exist. A world where it feels like a game of Jenga, and that you never know if the next block being removed will cause you to wobble, collapse, or stay sturdy.

But yet, I'm taking a break from writing about depression to try and write about something else. Because it all interlinks together. It all fits together, somehow, someway. It all overlaps and it's all a part of the same puzzle.

I'll be honest, I haven't talked a lot about my week at IHOP. How it completely shattered my faith. How in so many ways, it screwed up how I view God. How it completely broke me. How it played mind games with me. How I went on such an emotional roller coaster. And frankly? I feel stupid! HOW could one week, "onething", affect me so deeply? It was just a week, for God's sake! There's no reason it should have shattered my faith so badly, that it should have so badly demented how I see God. There's no reason, and I beat myself up constantly for it. I know who God is. I know logically, I know all the facts, but convincing my heart to believe what my head knows is a struggle.

I find myself on the brink of self injury. Why, you say? Your scars are fading. You've been free for so long. Why would you throw all that away for just a few moments of solace, of false serenity, of bittersweet relief? IT HELPS. It lets me out of my inner hell, my inner demons, for just a little while, and that is help enough. It's not worth it in the long run, but sometimes we do things that aren't worth it in the long run just because we don't know better. But no, how dare I ruin God's temple. How dare I screw up the gift God gave me. How dare I turn to myself! I'm a pathetic excuse for a Christian because allegedly His blood was enough so I don't need to shed my own. (You will see how this relates, I hope, and this paragraph isn't just random).

I'm struggling to keep my head afloat. I'm struggling to keep normal sleep patterns, eating patterns, living patterns. I find myself escaping to books, video games, TV shows, and movies just to try and get a break from my brain, from my crazy self. And what I hate the most? Several years ago, I'd turn to God. Several years ago, I'd pray. Several years ago, I'd find refuge in my faith. And now I don't. Now my faith, the very thing I'm studying in college, the very thing I desire more than anything to do with my life, is what is scaring me and plummeting me deeper into the pits of despair. I find myself angry at God: angry at Him for allowing that week, angry at Him for allowing all the hellish moments of my life. Then I get angry at myself for getting angry at God because who am I to be so angry at Him? I find myself angry from events at old churches that shook, shattered, and tore my faith to shreds. I find myself furious of what people do in the alleged name of God, the horrible hurtful things they do - some intend to hurt, some because people are just sometimes dunderheads.

And yet, I hurt myself. Because I see how I am not worthy. I see how I am a bad Christian, and maybe all those terrible lies I believe in reality are true. Maybe there's a reason I went through those various church and ministry-place-related struggles, because they're the truth. Logically, I know that's a bunch of bullcrap, but who said my brain is always logical?

And worst of all, I'm terrified. What if I make some mistake in the ministry? What if I totally screw someone up, shake their faith, tear their soul to shreds? How would I ever live with myself? What if I mess someone up as badly as I was messed up? Am I being rational? Am I irrational? Would I have these fears if it were not for how badly I've been hurt "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?" What would church pastors say to me? What would fellow Christians say to me? What would atheists say to me?

It's difficult. I've been hurt in so many ways, by so many people. And an age-old saying is "hurting people hurt people." What if... what if I hurt someone? What if my hurt ruins someone else? Is it just a vicious cycle that will never be ended?


Because reason says I should have died three years ago

Living with depression sucks. Plain and simple. There's no way to candy-coat, sugar-frost it. It's a neverending nightmare that I feel trapped in. I have moments of happiness, but at the same time, I feel overwhelming anguish. I try to hide it, try to convince the world I'm fine with a smile and a joke. Kind of funny how humour is a coping tool, just like being cynical and sarcastic is. We all cope in so many ways, eh?

I haven't been suicidal in a long, long time and of that, I'm glad. But at the same time, I still feel overwhelming pain. At times I want to cease to exist: not die, per se, but not exactly live either. I want to find a state where I can just be nothing. Feel nothing. See nothing. Hear nothing. Just for a break from myself. Just for a time out from life.

And I'm scared. What if I'm this way forever? What if it never changes? What is this is truly all there is?


You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one

I have so many dreams and hopes and wishes but I am so terrified that they won't come true. I dream and long for these things so badly, but at the same time I'm so scared they won't come true. What if I'm a disabled girl living on disability forever? What if I never achieve my dreams, and I'm just hoping for nothing?

What if I dream and find myself longing for things, and never achieve them? I long to visit Australia. I long to work with children with special needs in a ministry setting. But what if I'm not good enough? What if I don't make it?

What if I'm never able to achieve my hopes? What if I'm a failure forever? What if I never graduate college? Never get a real job? Never get to visit other countries?

I am so terrified of not achieving my dreams that maybe one day I will give up dreaming.


Does my Daddy love me? Probably not

I miss my dad. Even though Bob Kelso said it best:

But it doesn't change the fat that he was my father, that is is my dad.
And I miss him.

He can't remember the times that he thought,
Does my Daddy love me? Probably not
That didn't stop him from wishing that he did
Didn't stop him from loving and worshiping him
He guesses he saw him about once a year
He can still feel the way he felt, standing in tears
Stretching his arms out as far as they'd go
Whispering "Daddy, I want you to know
I love you  this much,
And I'm waiting on you
To make up your mind, do you love me today?
However long it takes, I'm never giving up
'Cause no matter what, I love you this much."
-Jimmy Wayne


I am more than what I look like, and I'm more than where I've been

I am Nora. I also answer to Ang, Angel, Anniebear, Norabear, Liquie, Lique, and a plethora of other names. Never call me Angie. I am obsessed with Pokemon and Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and The Legend of Zelda, Mario and Knights of the Old Republic. I read manga and watch anime. I never match my socks.

I love pictures and my picture frames are everywhere (not quite everywhere as one fell off the wall today. Oops. Must fix that tomorrow). I love fleecey blankets. I love my stuffed animals. I love books. I collect DVDs. I collect soundtracks in languages other than English for no reason other than it's fun. I hate wearing velcro shoes.

I love my friends and am fiercely loyal. You mess with them, you're messing with me. I love and laugh and play. I love to sing. I used to play violin, but it's been years. I can also play recorder and tin whistle. I know that makes me wicked awesome. I also clearly enjoying using slang that makes me sound like I'm from England, but since I have a speech impediment might as well make people think it's a bloody accent, since I get asked that constantly, right?

I love Harry Potter and Narnia. I love cups of hot chocolate with whipped cream and nutmeg, and cups of tea with milk. I love The Princess Bride and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Fruits Basket and Fullmetal Alchemist, Air and Kiki's Delivery Service. I'm a Disney nut and I know a great amount of random Disney trivia that can dazzle your mind. I collect sock monkeys and ladybugs, decks of cards and Beanie Babies. I love penguins and elephants, keychains and postercards.

I like playing in the snow although I hate the cold, I love being barefoot in the grass. I love the feeling of fleece against my skin, I love the feeling of a warm heated blanket. I hate hugs and physical affection, but at the same time it's what I crave and long for.

I suffer from many disabilities and do not know what it's like to live a day without physical pain. I also suffer from major depressive disorder, ADD, anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and eating disorder not other specified along with suspected OCD, nonverbal learning disorder, and other things. I have too many physical ailments to list. I have both visible and invisible disabilities  but none of them are who I am and none of them define me.

This is who I am. Not just the last paragraph, but all the paragraphs. I am not just a cripple. I don't have faith that can move mountains just because I'm disabled and I'm not a superhero. I'm a regular person, just like anyone else. I'm a person who wants friends, who craves love and acceptance. I'm Nora, above it all. I'm no different than you, please don't treat me like I'm a lesser person just because I happen to be handicapped.

I hear the comments you make behind my back, and you can really bugger off. I watch you laughing as I'm struggling to open the door. I hear the snide remarks. I see the dirty looks. I'm not blind, I'm not deaf. And even if I were, you'd still be an asshole for acting like that. I'm a human being, despite my disabilities. I'm Ang, no matter how you slice it.

You don't have to act different around me, just because I'm Angelique: Optional Parts Not Included (And Even Missing Key Parts!). I'm still a friend you can trust, someone who would love to watch movies and play video games with you. It doesn't matter that I'm broken, because one day I will be mended albeit it may not be during this lifetime.

I am a person who loves rarely but deeply, who just wants someone to understand that I'm more than a disabled person. I just want people to realize that disabled people are just like anyone else. Even though at times we need more understanding, even though at times we may have to cancel plans last minute because we're sick, we're tired, we're hurting, we're in pain. We still are people, and just want to be treated as such.


Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road

It's a new year. 2013. I cannot believe it's 2013. This year will be seven years since I graduated, eight years since I last saw my father. Crazy how time flies. It's been a year of highs and lows, of getting an apartment, of finishing my first semester at a new school, of falling deeper into depression, of riding the health rollercoaster. Of repairing broken relationships. Of building friendships.

It's been over three years since I last cut. Crazy, huh? Some days I find myself wanting to lapse back into because it helps dammit but I know it's a really poor life choice, It's stupid and foolish, and it's sick and twisted, but isn't that what addiction is? It's the very thing we hate, driving us to do the very thing we don't want to do with such a sick, burning passion. It's kind of like lyrics from a BNL song " And the very fear that makes you want to die / Ends up the same as what keeps you alive / It's way more trouble than some suicide is worth."

It's so surreal that it's another year, another year to explore. Another year of ups, another year of downs. As I continue my therapy journey, my medical journey, what will it bring? Will I only find more pain? Will I finally find hope? Will I learn how to love again? What will the doctors learn, what medications and tests will they put me through this year?

What will this next year bring? More fears? Or joy and peace at last?