God, love, honesty and cussing.


God, love, honesty and cussing…sort of a take off of “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”…I thought it was catchy.

I don’t feel like I can pull an amazing post out of my butt right now but I’m gonna try because if I don’t at least try, I’m gonna explode.

There are times in my life where I’m just plain fucking tired. It doesn’t matter if things are going awesome for me and the puzzle pieces finally start to fit…it’s exhausting trying to find the pieces and then make those pieces fit and I just need to scream, “FUCK!!!”

I love Sandra Bullock and some time ago, she was in a movie called “28 Days”…and it’s about AA/rehab. One of THE BEST quotes from that movie is where Gwen (played by Bullock) is in a group therapy session and people are bitching at her for fucking up and saying how she shouldn’t be allowed to stay in rehab due to her shenanigans and how the whole group thought they were better than her because they didn’t break any rules. And Gwen hits her breaking point and says, “HEY! I’m having a bad day! I’m having the worst damn day of my whole damn life so if it is NOT too much to ask of you people…will you just BACK. THE. FUCK. OFF?!”

Ya know…as I re-watch that clip, I could probably just post that and be done here because that pretty much sums up how I feel right now, sans the clapping. We covered honesty and cussing…but where do God and love fit in?! Alas, I must continue…

God fits in because…well…just because. I’ve mentioned my “Jesus Years” a few times in this “public diary” and I think I’ve made it pretty clear that that is not a path I follow anymore. I don’t judge those who do and I don’t care what you believe in or who you pray to as long as you’re not an asshole. I’m pretty easy-going and I’d like to say I’m non-judgmental. Love fits in because, by some miracle, I have managed to hold on to a few people I met during my Jesus Years and one woman continues to bless me as much today as she did 8’ish years ago. She loves Jesus, don’t get me wrong, but she doesn’t ever shove Him down my throat, try to convince me to go back to church and she’s always honest with me. I damn near lost my marbles as we were talking tonight because I was trying to explain to her how I’m feeling right now and how I just want to scream something like that quote from “28 Days”…f-bomb included. And I damn near fell off the bed when she said that sometimes, she prays to God and says, “Fuck you! Are you there? I really need you right now.” In the 8’ish years I’ve known her, I have never seen her type or say that word and…I’ll be honest…I thought it was pretty fucking funny and I laughed audibly to myself. (It’s also pretty cool because we were talking about serious stuff and to just drop that bomb and LOL in the midst of it all was quite amusing…to both of us.) But bless that woman’s heart because that is exactly why I love her to pieces. SO. HONEST. And she turns right around and tells me that she loves me, I bless her and that I teach her so much and she values almost anything I have to say. And naturally, I’m really shitty at taking compliments so I over-analyze that and try to figure out how the hell can I, someone not quite half her age, teach and bless her? I’m done questioning it and have just accepted that compliment for what it is. After all, that’s what this blog is all about and ultimately, if I do nothing with my life except bless people and educate them on depression and suicide…my work here is done. Mission accomplished. I don’t ever consider myself an optimist but I do sometimes see the good amidst the bad.

I’m pretty tired right now. And I don’t mean tired as in I just need a really good night’s sleep (though that would probably help immensely). I’m tired because I’ve been strong for so long and I’m at my breaking point. I can’t tell you how many times people ask how I’m doing, if they ask at all, and I say, “Fine.” or “I’m okay.” FOR ONCE, I want someone to look me in the eyes, hug me tight, and say, “I know you’re not.” I absolutely REFUSE to appear vulnerable on Facebook or in my daily life. I save my vulnerability for when I’m alone and no one can watch me crumble and fall…for when I don’t have to slap a fake smile on my face and I can be me without worrying what other people are thinking or get upset that I’m being invalidated or ignored. I am almost always honest and if I trust you and you ask me, in a sincere way, how I’m doing, I WILL tell you…but chances are, I won’t ever volunteer the information. I don’t force/want people to drag it out of me either. Facebook can be such an amusing and crazy place and I have such a love/hate relationship with it. You (or at least I) scroll through the News Feed every day going “LOL”…”don’t care”…”needs therapy”…”song lyrics”…”DRAMA WHORE!”…”srsly?”…”go fuck yourself”…”SO TRUE!”…”wants attention”…”HOW CUTE!”…”sucks to be her”… I do have people in my life that throw up the occasional attention-seeking Facebook status update, the one that FORCES people to ask them what’s wrong and/or the one that forces you to read in between the lines…you know…the status update that isn’t directed at you but is TOTALLY directed at you. Recently, a friend from high school has posted nothing but comments about how fed up she is with being sick…between her husband, herself and her kids, someone has been sick since January. Legitimate complaint and I don’t mind that she vents because that truly does suck. The day after a particularly “active” day on FB for her, she “checked-in” at her local police station. DID NOT SAY A WORD. Just a check-in. I watched, throughout the day, as many of her friends commented, “WTF?!” “Whaaaattt?” “Are you okay?” “What’s going on?” Thinking back now, I should have responded with, “Do you need bail money?” because I’m snarky like that but I didn’t comment because I don’t play that game…but curiosity killed the cat, so I kept that post in my mind all day and even texted another friend asking if I was justified in being slightly irritated by this check-in and asking her if I’m the only one who thinks this person often posts attention-seeking/pity party updates and I said to my friend, “Watch…it’ll just be a field trip for the kids or something.” I SHIT YOU NOT PEOPLE…at the end of the day, this “friend” responded to her police check-in with, “LOL! Sorry guys…it was just a field trip for the kids hahahaha!” I coulda slapped the bitch. F’reals. You took enough time to check-in…you could have slapped a quick annotation of “field trip” on there. Common sense and common courtesy, surprisingly, are not common. If you see someone “check-in” at a police station, your immediate thought is not going to be that it’s just a field trip…especially if you see ME check-in at a police station. If you ever do, expect a phone call soon asking for bail money and an alibi. Anyway, back on track…I post a lot of smack and LOLs on my personal Facebook page and unless you’re pretty close to me, you will have no fucking clue how I’m really feeling or what’s going on in my life, my head or my heart. And that’s okay because I don’t need nor do I want everyone to know…I don’t like appearing vulnerable and weak even if I really am. I’d rather you scroll past me going, “That’s funny! LOL!” than go, “Ohmygod…EMO!” and ignore me as you keep scrolling. Call me old-fashioned but I don’t like telling the world everything that’s going on in my life and how I’m really feeling. I don’t want to be that one friend everyone hates and ignores because I’m “emo” all the time.

But every now and then…I get tired of doing that…of always “faking it” and being funny when all I really want to do is cry. That’s when I go silent.

For most people, when a lot of bad things happen in rapid succession and we don’t get time to process each event, it builds up and we end up breaking…some of us shatter but that’s besides the point. It occurred to me yesterday that this also, at least for me, happens when a lot of good things happen in rapid succession. I have such low lows that when good and positive things happen, they take a lot of emotion and energy out of me, however great and awesome those things are. Going from rock bottom to over-the-moon elated in a literal nanosecond is exhausting (and no, I’m not bipolar). It’s like being sick with the flu for a while and the first day you get out of bed and go somewhere or go to work, you’re freakin’ exhausted because you’ve been down for so long and you don’t have the energy to keep up with what used to be your normal daily life/activity level…you need time to recuperate and time to adjust…time to heal. Baby steps is better/easier than giant leaps…for a good reason. Going from one extreme to the other in such a short period of time is like a slap upside the head…it comes from nowhere and you’re all, “WTF?!”…and I just got slapped…and I’m about to break. A lot of great and awesome things have happened over the past week or two, but I’m telling (or trying to anyways) my therapist and a few select people that I still have daily suicidal ideations. My problem lies in the fact that I don’t think people are taking me seriously anymore. I have marked high numbers on the questionnaires my therapist makes me fill out and those numbers haven’t fluctuated much over the past two years so part of me wonders if she even believes me/takes me seriously anymore. And not only do I need her to know that those thoughts are still very much present, I need the other important people in my life to know too. Don’t pamper me, baby me or pity me, just know that those thoughts are not far from my mind…that’s all. A hug and/or an “I love you” wouldn’t hurt, either. But I don’t feel like I should have to beg for those things…so to tell you that I’m feeling this way JUST to get a hug is not how I roll…I don’t think it’s how you should roll either.

I think it’s hard for people to wrap their head around the fact that a person can still want to die even when things are going well. I’m here to tell you that it is possible and it does happen. I would still, right now, despite all the good, not give a flying fuck if I didn’t wake up tomorrow. I don’t mean to imply that I’m threatening to do something, but if fate stepped in and just helped me out, I wouldn’t complain…and I’m just being totally 100% honest. As far as what stops ME from doing anything myself right now?…probably just laziness. I don’t have the mental capacity to make a plan and act on it right now. A quote that I’ve referred to often in trying to explain this concept to people is from the book “Girl, Interrupted” by Susanna Kaysen: “Suicide is a form of murder – premeditated murder. It isn’t something you do the first time you think of doing it. It takes getting used to. And you need the means, the opportunity, the motive. A successful suicide demands good organization and a cool head, both of which are usually incompatible with the suicidal state of mind.” *heavy sigh* So very true. I would never make a suicidal gesture just to get attention and get people to notice me…but I wonder if that’s truly what it will take for people to realize, “Bitch is f’reals.” I’m not crying wolf here…but what the fuck is it going to take to make you people understand and let you know that I’m feeling this way? I’ve told you, quite bluntly…I’m doing all I can to make sure the right people know (e.g. my therapist) but I still seem to be failing somewhere in the communication department. What more can I do or say? I’m just fucking tired and I’m tired of putting on the fake smile and just barely making it through each day. Don’t ask me what I need right now because I don’t know. Don’t ask me what I want right now because I don’t know. I don’t really even know what I’m feeling…I can’t find the words for all of the emotions nor can I pinpoint them all. I DO know that I just…want…you…to know. Please notice me and don’t dismiss my feelings or assume that I’m okay just because of all the awesome things that are happening to and around me. You being, of course, the people that aren’t reading this but maybe by Monday, I’ll have enough of my shit together to be able to express these feelings to the people that should hear/know about them. And/or people will stop talking about baby poop, their husbands and how the IRS fucked them over long enough to notice me and say, “Hey J…are you okay? I know you’re not…”


Telepathy between hearts.


I left a voicemail for K after my appointment with you was canceled. She called me back around 3:30. She talked to me…listened to me talk and cry…and in trying to calm me down by reminding me of my DBT skills, she told me to do what I always do. I didn’t know what she was talking about…what she meant. She told me to write. She must have called me willful and/or stubborn about 50 times during that 20 minute phone call. She was trying to suggest some opposite-action…something that brings me joy and/or makes me laugh. She reminded me that the goal was to cope effectively…not change or dismiss what I was feeling. I started to protest because I felt I needed to hurt and cry and grieve and to laugh and be “happy” seemed so wrong and disrespectful…like laughing at a funeral…it doesn’t fit the situation. But…I’m going to do what K told me to do…this time. I don’t know what will come of this…if it will get edited to go on the blog or get printed out and given to you…or if it will stay here…in my “collection.” Right now, my thought is to not give it to you because I don’t want to make you upset all over again…but I’m going to do what K told me to do…write…and I’m going to write as if I were talking to you and hopefully, our telepathy connection is working and you “get it.” I reacted to you/this event much more strongly than I thought I would…and I don’t know why. I “planned” for it, I thought about it and since I had been in a similar situation before, I figured I’d be okay/stronger when the time came…still grieving and sad for you, yes…but not as hard and intense as I am. I can’t tell you why I reacted more strongly than I thought I would…I don’t know if this was the “icing on the cake” for me…another upsetting thing to add to this month’s growing list of crappy things. I don’t know if I made a bigger deal out of it for myself because when it happened, I was already in such an emotionally vulnerable spot. I don’t know if it brought out some of my own unspoken feelings regarding my loss…the ones I never expressed. I don’t want you to feel bad for making me upset. I told you, when we last talked about the inevitable, that I was going to be upset/hurt and grieve right along with you whether you liked it or not…because that’s how I roll. I love hard and with all that I have…and I know you know that. And our hearts and minds seem to be so inexplicably connected that it’s gone beyond coincidence and voodoo…it’s fate…it’s love…and it’s real. I’ve never had this connection with anyone else and I don’t know what accounts for it. Because I’ve had to be so completely vulnerable with you? Because we get along so well? Because we think alike and have a lot in common? I’ve given up trying to find the answer because I’ve accepted that it’s awesome no matter the reason…I treasure it and I love it. It’s a special connection and one I wouldn’t trade for the world.

The last time I saw you, you led me into your office and broke down before you could even shut the door, apologizing to me for not being able to think straight and for not being able to be totally in the moment with me that day (don’t ever do that again…apologize for that). I didn’t even think about the boundary lines that normally separate us…I just walked up to you and hugged you as tight as I could. I thought about that later…1), hoping you didn’t mind and 2), that action/behavior was pure instinct…automatic. The fact that you play a specific role in my life and I should have asked first didn’t even cross my mind until later in the day. Of course you were heavy on my mind and heart for the rest of that day and week. I was hoping my good telepathy was reaching you somehow and I hoped you knew that I was here, thinking about you and loving you even if I wasn’t with you or able to tell you. I tried really hard to disturb the force…enough to try to let you know. I had already decided to make you a new mix CD before I saw you last week. So I finished that. And then…my lightbulb went off and I was in a warm fuzzy dispensing mood and part of how I keep you close to me when you’re not with me is the warm fuzzy note cards you’ve given me. So I did the same thing for you, only x100 and with quite a few more hours and thought and love poured into it. I was at that project from about 7 PM to 2 or 3 AM. I knew I didn’t have to finish it in one sitting…but I was being mindful and in a groove…just thinking about you, drawing, writing, listening to music…nothing else…so I kept going until I was done. Something was keeping you in my heart and on my mind…and knowing what I know NOW, I know why…telepathy between hearts, remember? I made your warm fuzzy package on Thursday or Friday night, not realizing how pertinent and appropriate it was going to be. And I was so excited to give it to you…I still am…I just think maybe you could have used it sooner because I don’t know when I’ll see you next. But there are no accidents…all things for a reason…so I just hope it gives you the intended smiles and warm fuzzies no matter when you get it and no matter where or when you look at it. While I was making that and even after, all through the weekend, my gut was telling me something/someone was not okay. Looking back now and analyzing it, I know now that that someone was you…and maybe I did know all along it was you, I just didn’t want to admit it or acknowledge it because I don’t wish this kind of heartache on anyone…and even though I knew this day was coming, I still didn’t want it to happen. I was going over our “To Do/Talk About” list on Monday…and I realized that for the first time in two years, it was empty. I had come up with nothing to say to you…because I think I knew I would not see you this week. When my phone rang at 9:09 AM Monday morning…I knew what was happening before I even answered. The front desk was calling to cancel my appointment with you on Wednesday. I asked if you were going to be out all week, already knowing the answer. I then asked for K’s voicemail. And then I thought about you all day. My coffee date canceled on me for the third time in as many days and I was initially upset, but as my day wore on, I was actually glad…because I’m not sure I could have handled much more emotion that day. I got my windshield fixed. Got something to eat. Came home. Noticed the time, which was about 3:30 PM. I took note that K hadn’t called me back yet and I figured she was out too or just really busy. As I tried to come up with all the reasons why she hadn’t called, the phone rang (I’m starting to wonder if K is starting to develop some sort of telepathy with me). I answered my phone to the sweetest sound I heard that day. It was then that I lost my marbles. I fought my tears and emotions all day, as I always do, but the minute I heard her voice, I lost it. K answered my questions, spoke softly and gently…and even told me that I “rocked her world”…to which I laughed and smiled…then I told her off for making me laugh as tears were streaming down my face (and then I noted that I now love her even more for having the ability to do that to me because not many people can). She said she had no openings this week to see me and that she would not be here next week. My heart dropped (because I don’t know when you will be back and because if you both were out and I was going to have to go two weeks or more without a therapy session, I was screwed)…but I appreciated the heads up regardless. She went through some skills with me…even tried to get me to tell her what I think I should/need to do and I wasn’t thinking straight…so she told me to do what I always do…I had no idea what she was talking about. Music? Self-soothe? Snuggling? Kitty? And then she told me to write. So this is the product of K’s brain and my “willingness” to do it instead of my “willfulness” to fight, deny and push away my emotions.

I don’t want you to get upset that I got/am upset. Consider it me trying to help you/care for you/love you/take some of the weight off of you. I’m hoping that, perhaps, my grief will make you not hurt so bad. Because I don’t want you to hurt. It kills me to know…to even imagine…what is happening. But I know you will hurt and you will for a while. If anyone knows what this is like, it’s me; you couldn’t be in better company. People say, “I understand. I know what you’re going through.” all the time. The reality is that most of the time, they have no idea. And I won’t even pretend to know exactly how you feel because even though I’ve been through what you’re going through, your experience is going to be different than mine. But I know what that loss and that hole feels like. I know the pain. And it will smack you upside the head often. I’m not going to offer you clichés because I hated it when people did that to me. When people ask me what they should do or say when something like this happens, I always tell them that the best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to say nothing…other than maybe an “I’m sorry for your loss.”…and give the person room, let them know that they’re loved and that you will be there when they are ready. Maybe it’s different for everyone…maybe some people want the words. I didn’t and still don’t…because there are no words…there is nothing anyone can say that will take the pain away. Even when I share my story now, my last two years especially, some people will say, “I don’t know what to say/how to respond.” And I say, “It’s okay. You don’t have to.” I feel better when someone is just in the same room with me…not saying a word…just letting me cry and letting that silence be the comfort. I know people’s condolences are said with the best of intentions…but I think I may have coped better with my own loss had people just backed the fuck up. Not only did everyone want to say something, they insisted on telling me that he was in a “better place”…and all I wanted to say was “fuck you and fuck you and you and you, too.” Because it was bullshit and it was only making me mad. Not that I thought he was in hell, but just the fact that no one knows what’s real and what isn’t. And having had my own near-death experiences, I still don’t think I believe in heaven or hell. I think I believe in a “presence”…an imprint on what once was…because there are times where I think he surprises the fuck out of me by leading me to something comforting about him or just something that only he would know…the right message at the right time. So I think there’s something…I just don’t know what it is…and surprisingly enough, I’m okay with not knowing. I’m okay not having an answer to this question. I am content knowing that there is at least SOMETHING, even if I can’t explain it or prove it or have it on demand…just knowing…hoping he’s here…somehow…someway.

So I’m not going to say anything more…other than that I love you…I heart your face…and I’m doing my best to send you hugs and love and comfort in the only way I can and in the only way our relationship will allow.

Now she’s just somebody that I used to know.


I finally did it. I unfriended H, the girl I mentioned in one of my last blog posts. I gave her a chance…many chances. I tried to be there for her. I tried to be patient. I tried to understand. I tried to reason with her. I tried when I didn’t want to. On Friday night, she pushed my last button, literally. I’m tired of the passive-aggression. It’s immature and if you’re pissed off at me, talk to me…don’t make me read between the lines. Maybe she thought I wouldn’t notice the passive-aggressive comments? If that’s the case, she really didn’t know me well at all…because I notice EVERYTHING.

I think this situation follows the five stages of grief:

1) denial and isolation: I tried to distance myself from her but not cutting her off completely.
2) anger: I got mad when she refused to help herself. I got mad after every night I stayed up late with her because I thought she was suicidal, only to find out later she was just crying wolf.
3) bargaining: I tried one last time…gave her one last chance. I compromised by making it so her posts didn’t show up on my news feed. I told her I would continue to be here for her, but not if she kept coming to me with the same problems and not if she continued to be self-destructive or help herself.
4) depression: I struggled with letting her go. I wanted to care so much. I didn’t want to kick her when she was down. I thought I was being a horrible friend for even entertaining the idea of unfriending her and I felt I would be an even worse friend if I left her when she needed someone the most and/or if I ignored her cries for help.
5) acceptance: One of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make is when to stay and try harder or when to just take your memories and walk away. I’m at peace with my decision. I’m not second guessing it or regretting it. The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.

I don’t know what I should say if she notices and asks me why/what happened. If she doesn’t, it only validates me and my decision and just proves that I really don’t need her and she doesn’t want me bad enough. If you really want something, you’ll find a way…if not, you will find an excuse.


It’s not me; it’s you.

There is a generic and unspoken “Do’s and Don’ts” list of friendship…but here are some do’s and don’ts for being friends…with me.

In no particular order–

Do be honest.

Don’t lie to me.

Do trust me (most of the time).

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. I’m okay with an “I’ll try to…”

Do respect me, my life and my journey. It is a given that anything I say to you should be kept confidential.

Do call me out on my bullshit (tactfully).

Don’t ask me a question if you don’t want to hear the answer.

Do say what you mean and mean what you say.

Don’t bottle up the ways I’ve pissed you off/hurt you; talk to me about it so we can resolve it.

Do respect my OCD tendencies.

Don’t assume anything.

Do be kind, but don’t kill me with kindness. I’ll start to think I’m unworthy.

Do keep calm and carry on.

Do be okay with expletives. I have a lifetime supply and a faulty filter.

Don’t talk to me if I have headphones on.

Don’t doubt my ability to find shit out.

Don’t underestimate me.

Don’t fuck with me; I’m not afraid to walk away.

Don’t be afraid to say something to me, just do it tactfully.

Don’t walk on eggshells around me no matter what mental state you think or know I’m in. I may be fragile but I’m not an egg.

Don’t expect me to chase after you if you leave.

Don’t invite me to a pity party; I hate parties.

Don’t get butt-hurt if I don’t want to talk to you. It most likely has nothing to do with you because I would tell you if it did. I probably just need some quiet time, time to isolate and I’ll call you when I’m okay again.

Don’t question me if I ask you to borrow a shovel.

Do provide me with an alibi.

Don’t offer me cliches. (Example: “This too shall pass.” NO! This too shall start running like a scared little bitch when I put on my track shoes and chase it with a sledgehammer.)

Do let me know that you love me and care about me. Just don’t suffocate me.

Do be an “all-weather” friend…rain, sun, hail, thunder, lightening, pigs flying, hell freezing over.

Don’t expect to be with me when I’m at my best if you can’t be with me when I’m at my worst.

Do expect me to be sarcastic. I put that shit on everything.

Don’t ignore me.

Do send a text or message every now and then just to say hi.

Don’t take me for granted. I’m not afraid to walk away.

Do like music. We will never ever get back together if you don’t.

Don’t kick me when I’m down.

Do appreciate the little things I do or give to you because sometimes, I only have a little to give.

Don’t involve me in drama. Save it for the theatre.

Do be prepared for random WTF texts/messages/mail/notes/pictures.

Do taste your words before you spit them out.

Don’t give up on me.

Don’t mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, and my kindness for weakness.

Don’t ask me to meet you for coffee any time before 11 AM. I am NOT a morning person. As far as I’m concerned, the early bird can have the stupid worm because both mornings and worms suck.

Don’t try to fix me, my problems or my issues. Sometimes I just want to vent. If I wanted you to fix it, I would have handed you a power tool.

Do be yourself.

Do no harm…but take no shit.

Don’t leave me.

Do be okay with a response of “I don’t know.” if you ask me what’s wrong because sometimes, I don’t have a fucking clue.

Don’t fuck with my feelings just because you can’t figure out what’s going on in your own messed up head.

Don’t stop in the name of love.

Do just call to say you love me.

Do stop, collaborate, and listen.

Don’t stop believing.

Don’t forget that I love you.

You’ve got a friend in me…or do you?

friend (noun) \ˈfrend\
1. A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
2. A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
3. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.
4. One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group, cause, or movement.

Where. The hell. Do I even. Begin. Let’s start with me. I am an introvert. It doesn’t mean I’m painfully shy (just normal shy) or antisocial, it just means that I prefer my own company over the company of other people. People stress me out…be they family, strangers, parties, whatever the case may be. Too much social interaction will send me into panic mode. My idea of a nice Saturday night is a hot bath, drinking a Coca-Cola and a good book or movie…not being at a packed bar getting shit-faced drunk. I’ve always been this way. It doesn’t mean I don’t have friends, but I’m a tad more selective about who I choose to let into my private world and I don’t have a lot of friends and that is purely by choice, not happenstance. Sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with me because I see a lot of my friends on Facebook have friends into the 300’s and I’ve never had more than 90 at any given time. I’m also not one of those people who sends a friend request to anyone and everyone I’ve ever met over the course of my 30 years of life. My Facebook friend rule is that you don’t have to be my BFF, but you have to have known me (e.g. went to school with me), know me now (e.g. you’re in my contacts list, work with me), or you have to have meant something to me, are more than just an acquaintance or someone I said hi to once back in ’96. I try to keep my insanity at bay “in public”…be it on Facebook or in real life. I have my good days and my bad days and I may post a snarky comment here and there but you will never see a status update from me that says “I hate everything #slashwrist”. If you’re around me in public and I’m having a rough day or week, I’ll probably just be pretty quiet; I try really hard to not bring people down with me when I myself am feeling down. Also, if I’m not in a good place, you probably won’t catch me out in public anyway…but commitments are commitments and I tend to be someone who follows through with what they say and doesn’t break promises, appointments or commitments.

I have some absolutely amazing and awesome people in my life that I am beyond grateful for and I am honored that I am their friend and that they are my friends…my best friends. I have two friends in particular that I just love the shit out of. They both insist on living on the east coast which is their only fault, but I like to think we’ve done a pretty bang up job keepin’ it real with each other despite the distance. One lady, C, is the Ethel to my Lucy…the Patsy to my Eddie…the Thelma to my Louise…the Shirley to my Laverne. And I’m quite sure, if there ever comes a time when we do live closer to each other, there will be some new state laws passed. The thing that makes me sort of giggle about this relationship and makes me appreciate it all the more, is that C is over 50. But if you look at our text/e-mail/Facebook conversations, you wouldn’t ever know that (I’m not calling her immature). How we ever even came to be so close given the age difference escapes me because it was just one of those magical awesome things that just happened and I’m so grateful to have her in my life. She plays many roles in my life, however. She can be that level-headed mom voice because I despise my own mother and am more apt to go to and listen to C than I am my own mom. She also has that experience thing that older friends and moms have…the kind where they tell you that the adventure you are about to embark on is a really bad idea, but they know you’re gonna do it anyway, so they just grab a bowl of popcorn and sit back and watch…and you come back to them later with your tail between your legs because you know they were right and you hate that they were right and you’re kicking yourself for not listening to them…and then you turn around and do it again. Yeah…that. But C never says, “I told you so.” She’ll more than likely just laugh at me, call me a “mattrez hag jynseckz hooka ho” and tell me she lives me (yes, I meant to type live…inside BFF joke). C is also someone who will help me hide a body and if you can’t say anything nice, come sit by us. C and I have some of the most epic conversations in the history of friendship (made even more humorous by our autocorrect typos) and we can cover everything from LOLcats, World of Warcraft, dickwagons, relationshit (we’re really good at making up new words), why certain laws exist and why they should be banned…and how to import shit to get around those laws. In summation, C and I often tell each other that we know too much about each other to NOT be friends…so I’m pretty sure we’re in this for life…which is fine by me.

(I am on the right, the darker text bubbles.)



(Ignore the arrow; I have this weird thing where I ALWAYS catch the clock at 11:11, AM or PM, doesn’t matter. I’ve been keeping track since December. Add that to the list of reasons I’m insane.)


(If none of the screen caps/conversations made sense or made you laugh…it’s not you, it’s me and C.)


My other BFF for life, B, is just a couple years older than me, but in a very different place in life…and in the country. Also on the east cost, she’s married with kids. (For clarification purposes, C is also married and has a grown child…who, coincidentally [or not?], has the same name as I do. C had to invent a nickname for me so her daughter and I know which one of us she is yelling at.) B and I have a relationship based on just pure love and nerdiness. We like to be crazy, off-the-wall, different…we don’t follow the crowd, we make our own damn crowd. Our conversations often consist of baby poop, breastfeeding, The Beatles, Harry Potter or Twilight. (As an example, I will be trying to communicate just how much I heart her face…in a text message…and I’ll say, “So the lion fell in love with the lamb. What a stupid lamb.” B: “What a sick, masochistic lion.” I let her be the lion because she is so totally Team Edward…I even bought her a Mrs. Cullen t-shirt for Christmas one year.) We also talk about normal 30-year-old shit and she bitches about her hubby when he’s being a douche-nugget and I’ll tell her that if he doesn’t get his shit together, I’ma go all Lorena Bobbitt on him and cut his dick off and throw it out somewhere in Texas, where hopefully a chupacabra will eat it so it can’t be sewn back on so he can’t make porn movies after B dumps his ass. And she knows I’m not kidding. (Hmm…maybe I should edit that part out…”premeditation” gets thrown around WAY too easily these days…) We are totally convinced that we were separated at birth and when we’re actually physically together, people think we’re sisters; we look that much alike. I think it’s awesome. I just hate the distance. But if you really want to test a friendship, keep it going from across the country and if you still have it after 5+ years, you got something worth holding on to. Both B and I and C and I get into some crazy shenanigans just through texts and Facebook alone; you should see what happens when we’re actually together. I think people are slightly frightened when we are in the same state together at the same time…and people should be frightened…because it’s awesome…and really loud…between the music and the raucous laughter. (Did you a hear a raucous? I didn’t hear a raucous. Can you describe the raucous?)

(A typical afternoon conversation with B. Again, I’m on the right, the darker bubble.)





(We’re dorks…I know…but this is love.)

I would call those two, and probably a few other people in my life, my tried and true friends. They love me for me, all of me, good and bad, and with all the shit I’ve pulled over the last two years (and over our entire friendship), they’re still the ones who’s texts wake me up in the morning and the ones who can make me laugh from a couple thousand miles away with a single word. Aside from all the awesomeness and fun stuff, we’re always there for each other during the bad stuff too. We’ve stayed up late for each other, talking, making sure one or the other is going to be okay. We listen to any rants and always keep close tabs on each other. We don’t have to constantly “check in” or “report” to each other…we know each other SO well, that we just know when something’s not right…when there’s a disturbance in the force. That’s how strong our bond is…for both B and C.

That stuff is all fun and awesome, but it’s not why I’m writing this post. I’m writing this because I’ve had the topic of “friendship” on my mind and some questions that have kept me up late at night. As an introvert, I’ve already told you I don’t have many friends and that’s the way I like it. Quality over quantity. Another reason is because it will take some time and patience on your part if you want to be a part of my life. I don’t let just anyone walk in and out of my life as they please. As harsh as this may sound, you have to prove to me that you want to be in my life and that you’re not gonna fuck with me before I even consider letting you past the threshold of the door. (Some of you will end up fucking with me anyway, but that’s the way the ball bounces. Don’t be sorry I trusted you; my mistake, not yours.) If I tell you I trust you, don’t make me regret it. If I tell you I love you, I mean it. I love hard and with all that I have and if I have been given the opportunity to be your friend, I will do my best to be an awesome friend for and to you. I’m not saying I will be perfect…in fact, I’ll probably tell you straight up that I’m gonna fuck up here and there, but we’ll talk about it and I’ll apologize and we’ll resolve the issue and then hug…promise. To those that mean the most to me, I try hard (especially with those girls on the east coast) to remind them that I do love them, that I think about them often, and that I value and appreciate them. I’m the kind of person who will mail you random cards and shit just to make you smile and/or give you a warm fuzzy. I will post stupid YouTube videos and pictures on your Facebook wall that will make you snort-laugh. If I’m out and about and I see something that makes me think of you, I will buy it and give it to you, take a picture and text it to you, or just holla somehow and tell you, “Yo bish! I saw dis and I thought of you! I heart your face!” That’s just how I roll. That is how I like to be a friend for someone. I do the same shit for people who live down the street as I do for those who live across the country. (And just to tell you how corny B and C and I can get, we’ll watch the same movie/TV show at the same time and text our commentary and sarcastic remarks back and forth to each other or on Facebook for the public to see [the SuperBowl was festive this year]…because we are dorks and that’s how we roll. It’s also quite entertaining to our mutual friends…especially C’s daughter who thinks her mom is insane when C is in the computer room busting a gut reading my running commentary on Downton Abbey.)

(Side note: If I’m weird around you, it means I’m comfortable.)

I am also that friend who, despite her own insanity, will drop everything to be there for you. This sometimes backfires on me. I am SO gun-ho about wanting to be needed and wanting to be liked, that at times, I forget to take care of myself because I’m so busy trying to take care of you. I know what it means to feel like you have no one to turn to and no one who understands you, especially in regards to mental illness. But sometimes I question if I am really THAT friend you should call if you are experiencing/going through some of the same hell that I am (e.g. depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations, etc.). On one hand, I’d like to think that I’d understand more than most and that I can probably empathize better than those who are not in the same boat. But…it’s kind of like AA. In AA (I only know this because my half-brother is going through AA/rehab), you are told to NOT associate with other people in recovery. It’s not hard to fall off the wagon, be it alcohol or depression. Yes, people in AA will probably understand you a lot better than your never-been-drunk-in-her-life BFF, but you and that person may be at two completely different places in your recovery. One of you might have been sober for 15 years and can easily say no to a beer…then the other one of you sees an episode of the Simpson’s where Homer is chugging a beer and you don’t have the tools to stop yourself from running down to the corner store to grab a 6-pack. I learned this lesson the hard way during my time in group therapy.

As I’ve said before, I was initially very quiet and closed down in group, not even letting the therapists into my world and there was no way in H-E-double-hockey-sticks that I was going to let the OTHER crazy people that made up the rest of my group in. That just sounded like a bad idea from get-go. BUT…it happened anyway. Right after I opened my mouth for the first time, I was invited to a little coffee date with some of the “groupies” after group. They had been doing the Starbucks thing for some time and I knew that, but I never had any interest in joining them and there was something that just didn’t sound right about it…I just didn’t know what it was…until I started going. Then I was like, “THIS is the reason this is not a good idea.” Picture this: a bunch of crazy people (across the board from BPD to bipolar disorder and everything in between, a lot of whom have interpersonal relationship issues, including myself) sitting at a Starbucks…talking about…what else? Crazy shit. Suicide. Depression. Issues. And I was like, “No no no no no no…see, we just spent 90 minutes in a group therapy session doing this shit…I ain’t gonna do it in PUBLIC at a Starbucks with people I don’t really even know or trust.” I went a few more times but then things started going downhill and I saw the drama coming from a mile away and got out before shit hit the fan (praise the sweet eight-pound homebirthed baby Jesus!). Some of the others weren’t so lucky and I’m sure they needed extra individual therapy time after that fiasco (even I needed extra therapy time because they dragged their drama into the group room and I said, “HELL. NO.”). I told myself when I started going to that group that I was not in it to make friends and I slipped a little because I was trying to give myself a push and get my butt to do something out of my comfort zone and get some bonus points with my therapist…but I ran the hell away from the Starbucks group when I saw things starting to go awry. Group therapy was not/is not meant to be a social or support group, it’s a skills training group and it just does not sound like a good idea to make friends with people who are just as fucked up as you are.

But what do you do when you have people like that who were already in your life before you lost your marbles? I’ll tell ya right now: I don’t have a fucking clue. Hence the reason for this post.

I spend a lot of time alone, voluntarily (introvert, remember?)…and I don’t mind at all. The less people you chill with, the less problems you deal with. One of the cons to doing that is that I don’t get a lot of “practice” interacting with others and really, I am not usually called upon by my friends and the people I know to be a friend…or in other words, I go to them if I need them but people don’t usually come to me when they need someone (B and C are probably the only exceptions to this rule). I also find it REALLY easy to go into “friend mode”…dropping all my shit, however heavy it is, in order to be there for someone in need. And I usually don’t mind because I enjoy being wanted/needed/chosen…I like being there for people…being that person they can always count on. Contrary to popular belief, I love to love…I enjoy caring about other people because I know how much it means to me when I know someone cares about me. I feel that I am really empathetic, non-judgmental and a good listener. I try not to act like someone’s therapist or give them advice because I know it drives ME nuts when people do that to me. I may inadvertently dispense advice in the form of sharing my own experiences and what has or hasn’t worked for me, but I try not to tell people that they should do A, B or C. Being called upon to be someone’s friend is also a great distraction for me because even though my load is heavy, it’s a nice break/distraction when I get to focus my attention and energy on someone other than myself. But this can sometimes backfire. I am SO gun-ho about wanting to be there for another person that I forget that my load IS really heavy and while that person deserves my attention (and I want to give it to them), I also need to pay attention to myself and my needs and throwing myself into someone else’s crisis sometimes makes me forget about me and then later, when the other person’s storm has passed, I’m a mess because I’ve neglected my own emotions. As much as I would like to think that I am a great friend, I sometimes wonder if I really am…and I don’t say that in order to be told that I really am a great friend and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. Here’s where I’m going with this: a few weeks ago, a friend that I got to know while attending my pharmacy school sent me a message on Facebook telling me she was feeling suicidal. I’ve known this lady long enough and I know enough about her to know she has some legitimate depression issues and that was sort of the thing that brought us together as friends in the first place…that mutual understanding and empathy. I also know that she’s been struggling with depression for a long time but she is also someone who talks about suicide “lightly”…and I say “lightly” because she’ll talk about it while having no real intent or plan to carry it out…sort of a flippant “I would be better off dead” thought…a thought that, in my opinion, everyone has (“normal” or otherwise) at some point in their life. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think most people, at one time or another, have just gotten pissed and frustrated with life and wished, for a split second, that they could just disappear…but most people don’t give it much more thought than that. I do not like pity parties and I refuse to respond to flippant comments like, “ohmygod I’m so fat/ugly/stupid”. I’m not a “chaser” either…if you want to cry and run out the door hoping I will run after you…forget that shit. I will hold the door open for you, wave, and go back to what I was doing. I don’t play that game with my mom and I don’t play it with any of my friends or acquaintances. It is not my job as a human being or friend to meet your attention-seeking desires and to pump you up and blow smoke up your ass by saying things like, “No, you’re not ugly Narcissa…you’re so pretty!” Don’t fish for compliments in my pond because I’m not biting. Please don’t take this to mean I am a cold-hearted biatch and never compliment anyone…but I do it when it’s not “expected” of me, if that makes sense. If you post a picture that I find gorgeous, I will leave/give you a compliment that says as much…or I’ll send you a random text/note or something and just tell you that I think you’re awesome, thanks for being my friend. If you take me shopping and you try on some pants and ask me if they make your butt look big, I will fucking tell you to take those damn pants off because your ass looks HUGE. I’m not in the business of lying, no matter if it’s a “white” lie or a lie that really won’t hurt anybody. If you tell the truth all the time, you don’t have to remember anything. Some people post more serious things, but it’s done very flippantly…case-in-point: the aforementioned friend…H. H drops suicide bombs a lot…either on me personally or in public on Facebook. I don’t fuck around with suicide. I am also not someone who “announces” a plan to kill myself for the world to see because if I am intent on carrying that plan out, I ain’t gonna tell nobody…I’m just gonna do it. The caveat is that when people do things like this, be it H or someone else…I get confused. Is it really a flippant comment I can/should ignore or is it a legitimate cry for help? Do I send her a text or message and ask her if she’s really okay or just ignore it because I know that she does this kind of attention-seeking stuff? I never know and I prefer to err on the side of caution and ask if she’s okay because I don’t want to dismiss a suicide comment and find out later that it wasn’t flippant; it was a serious cry for help and I ignored it. It’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf…you do/say things like that one too many times and people will eventually stop believing you/responding/taking you seriously…and then the one time you’re NOT crying wolf, people ignore you when in actuality, that was the one the time people should have really responded. So H sent me a message on Facebook late one night and I saw it as a very serious crisis (I still don’t know if it really was…if she really was minutes away from offing herself…or if it was another flippant comment said in exasperation). Again, I don’t take suicide lightly so I stayed up to talk to her (and this was the day after a mini road trip and I was tired as fuck) and made sure she was going to be okay or if she/I needed to call 911. Based on the conversation we had, I determined she was fine, at least for the night…and I made her promise to call me or 911 if shit starts going to hell in a hand-basket. In another conversation, she said she could really use some support right now and would like to see me because she knows a little bit about the last two years of my life and she knows I have the kind of empathy and understanding that only people who have been/are in similar situations can have for each other. I agreed to meet her for coffee after an appointment with M one afternoon. After confirming a time and place and saying goodbye, telling her to call me or 911 if she needed to, I began to wonder if I really should have done that…agreed to meet up with her. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to see her…but I wondered if I was really the kind of friend she needed right now because I myself am in the midst of my own personal hell and entertaining my own suicidal ideations. On one hand, I can probably understand and empathize with H more than most of the people in her life…but on the other hand, I have my own suicide and depression issues and I wondered if it was a good idea for me to involve myself in her situation. One, I’m pretty open and blunt about suicide…I don’t sugarcoat the facts or the gruesome details of my own experiences and I didn’t want to exacerbate H’s emotions. Two, is it a good idea for one suicidal person to try to talk another suicidal person out of suicide?…kind of an oxymoron if you ask me. Three, was I okay/secure enough with my own issues that meeting up with H wouldn’t be a trigger for me? In hindsight, I probably should have run this idea past M or K before doing it…but I wasn’t thinking straight when I made plans to meet H…it was late at night and I was delirious with sleep deprivation. In the end, it all worked out I suppose because after H canceled that date on me, she proceeded to cancel two more and after the last one, I said fuck it and stopped trying. So I never met up with her. If you really want to meet up with me, I’ll go…but I don’t play this “let’s make a date and cancel” game…drives me bonkers. H is also what I like to call an “askhole.” An askhole is someone who constantly asks you for advice and always does the complete opposite of anything you say/suggest. It’s like…why even ask? You’re killin’ me, Smalls! Over the past few weeks, H has pushed my buttons one too many times, to the point where I am considering unfriending her. But I hesitate because 1), I don’t like hurting people’s feelings and 2), I don’t want to kick someone when they’re down. Based on my own observations and knowledge, H does a lot of talking but not a lot of walking. She’s in an abusive marriage (I don’t think it’s physical, but it’s very much verbally and emotionally abusive) and she hates the guy and the guy hates her and if she’s telling me the truth, it’s really not a good environment to be in whether or not you have psychological disorders to add to the top of the sundae. H has kept me up WAY past 3 AM on many nights telling me just how bad it really is and in my own fucked up crazy mind, I see an easy fix: leave. I get that battered wife syndrome and all but H has SO many people, more than just me, that have her back and are willing to help her get out and get a divorce…but I guess she prefers to stay and bitch about it on Facebook. She always has an excuse/reason not to leave as she’s giving me all the reasons why she should leave. (I know that I also live in a toxic environment…but it’s not abusive to the point where law enforcement could intervene and I know that I don’t have a whole lot of other options right now. It is what it is. And I know that. Do I like it? No. Do I bitch about it? On my blog and to certain people and my therapist, yes. But there’s a difference between my situation and H’s. And that’s radical acceptance. I don’t really have a choice right now…H does. Also, I’m working on trying to find a way out. H isn’t. I’m not saying I’m better than H or any of that bullshit…I’m just trying to explain that I am in a similar situation but I’m doing my best to cope with it in the here and now while brainstorming ways to get out. I have a goal. I’m trying to be proactive and help myself. H is just sitting there complaining and not doing a damn thing to help herself.) H has asked me about my own journey and my own suicide attempts and what I’m doing to help myself in my own toxic environment. I’m not ashamed to talk about my suicide attempts or what I’ve attempted/how I’ve attempted to do it…but H was asking for details and I’m all, “Aw hell no!”…I am NOT going to give you step by step instructions on how to off yourself. 1): I put a lot of time and effort into researching that shit. 2): They were all lethal methods; the only reason I am sitting here typing this now is because I was caught/found. 3): I am not going to be responsible for you ending your life by giving you the tools/knowledge to do it. I once steered a conversation in the direction of therapy, DBT therapy specifically, and H messaged me last week to talk to me about it. And we did. And H, verbatim, said to me, “Will it make me stronger?” I did a *facepalm* and then, being the honest and blunt person I am (plus, I was getting a little irritated and pissed off at her by this point), I said, “No, H…it won’t. Not if you just go and sit there. You have to want it to get it. You have to decide you want it more than you are afraid of it. DBT therapy is great…if you are willing to make it work for you and if you are willing to put the effort into making it work. It isn’t magic and it will not happen overnight.” H didn’t like this answer because she quickly changed the subject…back to her abusive husband. By this point, I was pretty much about done. She sat there and told me all the shit I already knew and, being the tactful person I am, I called her on her bullshit. I said, “H, you are pissing me the fuck off. You sit here with me, night after night, telling me how much you hate your husband and how much you want out, and the minute he travels out of town, you blow up his Facebook page with ‘I love you’s’ and ‘I miss you’s’…this is so counterproductive and maybe I don’t know jack because I’ve never been married…but if I hate someone I once loved, you can bet that there will be no ‘I love you’s’ coming out of my mouth anytime soon, if ever.” Five minutes of silence passed and she said, “Well…thanks for talking. I’m gonna go.” I didn’t even say goodbye. I just logged off the computer and gave birth to this post. I am now Googling how to politely unfriend a “friend” because I think I have decided I do not want this person in my life, even if it’s just on Facebook. I don’t need it and I don’t want it. But what stops me from hitting that button is my heart. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings and if H is really in the pits of despair as she claims, I know how much a simple “unfriend” can hurt, imagined or legit. I don’t want to kick her when she’s down and I don’t want to give her another reason to hate herself or her life nor do I want to be the reason she posts her next status update of, “I have no friends; everyone hates me.” I also don’t ever want to be listed in a suicide note as one of the reasons someone took their life. “The person I thought would understand and validate me the most left me.” I would never get out of therapy. So it’s a catch-22. I HAVE made it so her shit doesn’t show up in my news feed but I haven’t taken the final step of actually unfriending her…because I don’t know how.

I have another post to spit out tonight, but I’ll post it separate from this one; it’s a follow up to my “It’s not you, it’s me.” post…do’s and don’ts, friendship edition. Stay tuned.

I’ma let you finish, but…

Today is my last day of DBT group therapy. My reasonable/rational mind is saying that it’s time…it’s appropriate…all the facts (e.g. I know the material, I’ve been taught the skills, I’ve been doing this for a long time). My emotional mind is saying, “NO! Don’t make me leave! I need this!” And my wise mind is saying, “It’s time. It will be okay. Change is hard sometimes but it’s for the best.” (The fact that I am able to observe, recognize and break down those three states of mind is probably solid proof that it’s time to “graduate” and be kicked out of the nest but it still doesn’t mean I like it or that I think I’m ready to fly on my own.)

Back in November or December of last year, K grabbed me after group one day and asked me to give some thought to something she’d like me to do. I was a little wary, but I said I’d think about it. She asked me if I would be willing to attend a teen/parent DBT group session and share my DBT experience/journey because she was having a hard time getting that group motivated and committed to the process/journey and she thought that with me being young with a pretty good story to tell, my words might be able to get through those thick little teenage skulls. My immediate reaction was, “Aw hell no!” because, if I haven’t mentioned it before, I don’t like groups and I don’t like talking to a roomful of people I don’t know, especially judgmental teenagers. But then, after my 12-hour processing time, I was like…hmm…okay…I’ll do it…for K. I later saw it as backhanded compliment…that K thought so highly of me and my personal DBT journey that she would personally ask me to do this.

I never got the chance to give my “speech” and it wasn’t because I was no longer wanted, but it had to do with confidentially/HIPAA laws and stuff. As far as I know, the idea is still on the table, it’s just not really moving at the moment. I may get the chance to say this to a DBT group some day, but just in case I don’t, I’ll preserve it here. And whoa…my lightbulb just went off: my hope is that, by posting this on the interwebs, someone considering DBT therapy and/or having a hard time committing to the process will stumble across this little gem and it will give them something to think about and/or the motivation/encouragement to JUST. KEEP. TRYING.

This is a tad out-dated as I wrote it back in December and I’ve had a birthday since then and I am no longer in a DBT group. But read this as if I were and read it as if it were a real speech given to a roomful of (hopefully) attentive people. This is what I would have said:

[clears throat]

Hi, my name is J and I’ve had an okay week and some skills I used were……oh wait…this isn’t a check-in is it?

I like to write down my thoughts before saying them out loud so that I don’t cause harm to myself or others. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Oh wait…that’s me. I chose to write and read this aloud because 1): I have been told I have some awesome writing skills; 2): it will help guide me and prevent any long-winded tangents; 3): I’m not a professional public speaker and 4): when given the time, I prefer to write as a way to “prepare” and think about what I want to say rather than fly by the seat of my pants and quickly try to put my thoughts together for an audience; it gives me time to edit myself, choose my words wisely and take out all the swear words.

I was first approached about talking to you all today by K. After my own DBT group session one day, she asked me if I would do her a favor. I gave her my signature one-eyebrow-raised-did-I-hear-you-correctly-and-if-I-did-I’m-not-going-to-say-yes-or-no-right-this-minute expressions because, if you’ve had any experience with therapists, their “favors” are usually things to be wary of. You should get the details first and not commit to anything in blood before agreeing to do it because it will usually require you to step out of your comfort zone and/or go beyond what you deem as your “normal” behavior and/or do things that test your limits. K’s favor asked me to do all of the above.

I was asked to speak to you all, in part, because I am young and most of the time, I’m the youngest member in the adult DBT group. But the more I thought about this opportunity, the more I realized that despite my age, my situation is not all that different from yours…the teenagers. I am often asked when I will be graduating from high school and, after telling people I already have a diploma and two degrees, I tell them that I am 28 years old (almost 29 actually…yikes!)…and even then, I am sometimes asked to show my driver’s license to prove my age. But apart from that, due to many circumstances and decisions made by myself and other people, I have had to return home and am currently living with my only surviving parent: my mother. (If you’re wondering, I had lived on my own for many years prior to this situation and I am fiercely independent; living at home is not easy, even at almost 30.) Sometimes even I question how old I am because I see and experience a lot of the same things I did when I was a teenager living at home.

I have mixed emotions about being here and talking to you all…this will make more sense when I tell you that I didn’t utter a single word in my own DBT group for about ten months. I have been in my DBT group for about a year now, I think. I have been through all of the modules at least twice. My own personal journey that landed me where I am now has been going on for about 18 months. I started out with individual therapy and after a few months of that, I was “strongly encouraged” to start going to group therapy. You should note here that I am very introverted and I “don’t play well with others.” So when someone says “group” to me, I cringe…I don’t like being around people as a general rule and I really don’t like strangers and I really really don’t like being in a situation that requires me to get personal, to any degree, with a roomful of people I don’t know. I like it even less, if that’s possible, when it is “forced” upon me or “strongly encouraged.” I fought my therapist (who is not K, but is on the DBT team) for a good two months or so before finally agreeing to go to group. I will admit that initially, I agreed to go just to make my therapist shut up and stop nagging me…and because she asked nicely and said please. If you guys haven’t covered it yet, you will get to an interpersonal effectiveness lesson on intensity…your “asking” intensity level and your “saying no” intensity level, which are both on a scale from 1-10…with 1 being not very assertive about asking for something or saying no to something and 10 being very assertive about your request and not taking no for answer or being very adamant about saying no to a request. My therapist was a firm ten in asking (I like to think it was more like “telling”) me to go and I was at a firm ten…probably more like a firm twenty…in saying no to her request. Don’t ask me how I came to be sitting here because after a year, I still don’t know how I got duped into it. I sat in the same chair, in the same spot for 90 minutes every Thursday afternoon for ten months and would not even introduce myself or say my name, much less comment on my week or mention any skills I had used or worked on. I’m sure some people wondered if I even knew how to talk. I listened to what was being said…sometimes. But if I may be honest, a lot of it went in one ear and out the other for the first few months. I don’t know why or when I started to actually listen and pay attention. I still wasn’t saying anything, but I was at least participating now…even if it was only in my mind. I was frustrated with the group from the get-go. Aside from not wanting to be there, I was all, “What the hell is this mindfulness crap?” (It was a few weeks before I even understood what mindfulness was because I was so hell-bent on not speaking that I didn’t bother to question something I didn’t understand.) Please note that me choosing to be quiet and making it no secret that I didn’t want to be there was not done out of defiance or stubbornness. My behavior was the result of a distorted belief that I wasn’t worth it, that I couldn’t change and that any and all efforts to help me do so would be in vain. I felt I was wasting the therapist’s time and a space in group that could have been given to someone else who needed it more than I did…and no one could have convinced me otherwise. So there I sat…for ten months…rarely making eye-contact with anyone who spoke and not saying a single word. The most you usually got out of me was a shake of the head to let the facilitating therapist know that I wasn’t going to say anything or participate. Then one of the therapists would ask me if it was okay if they could say my name and introduce me to the group; that usually elicited just a single nod from me.

I cannot tell you what the turning point was for me…I can only tell you that it happened about two months ago. I have a couple theories about what led me to finally open my mouth, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter why because I think I’ve said more in the last two months of group than I have in the last two years of my life. I had not only stunned myself with my new behavior, but for the first time, I had rendered the therapists speechless…which is not an easy thing to do. I just opened my mouth one day and said, “My name is J.” and I haven’t shut it since. (This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you ask.) Not only was I taken aback by my newfound voice…the therapists were too…not just because of my willingness to finally talk, but by how much information I had actually been absorbing from just sitting there quietly for so long. At first, I felt that my mouth was a faucet that couldn’t be turned off…I felt like I was talking non-stop and that people in group, including the therapists, were getting irritated with me. Apparently, after not talking for so long, I had lost the ability to determine when I was talking too much because it turned out that I was actually doing just fine. Not that I had to prove anything, but me finally talking and participating proved to the therapists (and myself) that I was actually listening, absorbing and, albeit, using the skills that were being taught. And not only could I parrot what was being taught and what the acronyms DEAR MAN and GIVE FAST stood for, I had my own fifty cents (that’s like the “two cents” phrase but I’ve adjusted for inflation) to offer on almost anything we talked about. That’s not to say that I knew everything and was all of a sudden a black belt in DBT…but I was putting all this information into more relatable and understandable terms and putting my own unique spin and interpretation on things. And it came as quite a surprise to me when I learned that the therapists enjoyed and appreciated this new side of me…but my fellow group members did, too…some of whom had been in the group with me for some time and knew this was not my usual MO. I remember having a one-on-one session with my personal therapist after one of the first days I had said something out loud in group and K actually came into her office (courteously) and told me to not be so hard on myself and come out of my cocoon a little bit and share my thoughts and experiences. K thought I had a lot to offer and she asked me to open up a bit and give people a chance to benefit from my personality and any two cents I had to offer on a topic.

After being in this group for as long as I have, I have seen many people come and go…but one of the first things I almost always hear anyone new say is, “Damn…I wish I had been taught these skills in school or earlier in life.” Just because you are here and/or diagnosed with a disorder does not mean you are crazy or condemned to a life full of chaotic emotions, bad relationships and poor coping skills. While the information taught here is geared towards those of us who have difficulty regulating our emotions and such…the information is also very pertinent to “normal” people, too. If I had a class in high school that had taught me this information and these skills, I probably could have saved myself (and many other people) a lot of headaches. I could have substituted a DBT class for a math class because Lord knows I don’t use the Pythagorean theorem out in the “real world”…but I do use DBT skills. But my personal conviction is that all things happen for a reason…there is no such thing as luck and there are no accidents or coincidences. The reason why I ended up in the place I now find myself may not be evident right now…or ever…but there is a reason for it. And for all I know, part of that reason is to be here today to share my experience with all of you.

If you find me smiling or laughing as I talk, it’s because I can talk the talk but I’m not very graceful while walking the walk. (Judgement, K…I know.) I know the right answers to the questions being asked and I can regurgitate the DBT book word for word, but it doesn’t mean I always excel in the execution. Am I better able to work through my emotions and deal with stress and relationships now? Yes…but I’m not a master of it and I don’t/can’t do it all the time. I have my good days and my bad days. One of the most frustrating things for me, even now, is that one day, I can be very mindful or I can execute a DEAR MAN or opposite action with such awesomeness that someone has to call Marsha Linehan so she can give me a gold star. But then the very next day, I feel like I have completely failed because the skills and knowledge I used yesterday aren’t working for me today. And to be honest…it pisses me off sometimes. But that’s part of mindfulness…no judging…just rolling with the punches…accept it for what it is. Yesterday was yesterday. Today is today. Do what you can and what you know how to do in the moment you are called to do it. It won’t happen perfectly every time…sometimes it might not happen at all. There are still days where I just want to throw the DBT book out the window and there are still concepts I struggle with. I am a textbook Type A personality and an OCD perfectionist to the core…so when I don’t understand something or things don’t go as I feel they should or how a book tells me things should go, it grates on my nerves. But I’ve finally learned (sort of) that it doesn’t matter that I don’t do it perfectly or that I don’t do it all the time…all that matters is that I continue to try. There’s some radical acceptance for ya. So…I have continued coming to group…even on the days I don’t want to…even on the days I am having a panic attack…even if I am having one of the worst days of the last week or month. I may not hear or absorb a single word anyone says…but at least I go…I participate just by showing up. (And over the course of twelve months, I think I’ve actually only missed two days of group…one because of snow and one for a personal reason.) I even surprised myself about four months ago when I showed up to group not even 24 hours after making another attempt on my life. I was still dealing with some of the physical and emotional repercussions of what I had just done and I wasn’t really coherent. I sat in here for 90 minutes, tears silently rolling down my cheeks and I don’t remember who was in group that day aside from the facilitating therapists and I can’t tell you a single thing that was said that day…but I showed up.

In reflecting on the past year plus, it occurred to me that group participation and the one-on-one sessions with my therapist have been (and continue to be) great practice arenas. All of the therapists in this building, and I would think even more so with those on the DBT team, are all trained to listen, validate, and not pass judgement. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think those are things we want from most anyone we come into contact with. I, to this day, have a very rocky and toxic relationship with my mother. She doesn’t even know what DBT stands for…she just knows that I go to some “safe house” for 90 minutes every Thursday and that I will fend for myself regarding dinner. I think you guys, as teens and their parents, have a very unique opportunity here…to learn and work on these things TOGETHER. It allows you to validate each other…to even know what validation is and how to do it…and being here will probably help you learn to take a deep breath and think before you say or do something that is harmful to either yourself or someone else. Even if you don’t follow a specific skill step by step…if you can at least be mindful enough to just stop yourself for that split second and take that breath before acting upon an urge or saying something you may regret later…congratulations, you are one step ahead of most people. If you get nothing out of this group other than how to be mindful and recognize when you need to take that deep breath, I consider you a success.

Being able to be here every week and practice these techniques with the peers in my own group and then one-on-one with my therapist has given me the confidence and reinforcement I need to be able to use these skills out in my own world. Sometimes, my therapist will call me or we will be sitting down during a session and I will point-blank tell her that I am pissed off at her…be it something she said/didn’t say or did/didn’t do. And she will look at me with the biggest grin and tell me, with such exuberance, that she is so proud of me and loves it when I say things like that. And I’m like, “Are you deaf? I just told you I’m mad at you!” I laugh at this because it isn’t a “normal” reaction to anger and you probably won’t ever see someone so happy to be told to take a hike into next week. She is proud of me because I’m now able to be assertive and communicate and express myself in a way that gets my point across effectively, efficiently and without the fear of being judged, chastised or attacked for whatever it is I am upset about and for not physically hurting myself or someone else in the process. She listens to me, validates my feelings, and doesn’t judge or criticize. She doesn’t retort with, “Well you shouldn’t feel that way because of x, y and z.” or “You have no reason or right to be mad at me.” or “Oh yeah? Well I’m pissed at you, too!” She tells me, instead, “I hear you and I understand why you are upset.” Then we discuss it and resolve it…whatever the situation calls for. Sometimes all I need is just the opportunity to express my feelings and explain why I feel the way I do and I’m over and done with it. Sometimes the situation calls for deeper exploration and resolution. But being able to practice doing that with her has given me the confidence to do the same thing out in the “real world.” (I know…as a teenager, I hated it when adults used the “real world” cop-out, too.) Keep in mind that while my own therapist loves it when I tell her I am mad at her, you more than likely will not get the same response out of people you come across in your daily life…but that’s where the practice comes in. I probably won’t get that type of response from most people but I’m prepared enough now to handle that, stand my ground and just focus on my actions and thoughts, not theirs. And as a little tangent: my own therapist has watched me go through a good chunk of this DBT journey but she hasn’t seen it all. She wasn’t leading the group in the beginning…but K has been here with me since day one. I pushed her away many times. (As I picture this in my head, I see it like palming someone’s head and keeping them “at arm’s length” as they’re swinging their arms wildly at you in hopes of being able to clock you.) I never even let K cross the moat that surrounded my fortress. In fact, for many months, I didn’t even know what color her eyes were because I would never look at her. But she was patient. She didn’t force me to do anything or push me beyond my limits, but she never gave up on me either. And while the person you see here today is a result of my own effort and is my own personal triumph…I think it’s K’s, too. It means a great deal to me that someone was not only as willful as I was (which is no easy feat) and didn’t give up on me, but is now also so…I don’t know the right word…impressed?…proud? Whatever word you want to use…she is enough of it to ask me if I would come and speak to you all today. I think it is a testament to my progress and I consider it a privilege. To be thought of as such a “success story”…to know that someone thinks my journey is remarkable and worthy enough to be shared with others is one of the best compliments I have ever received.

We are all here because we essentially have unhealthy habits…be they unhealthy coping skills, unhealthy distress tolerance skills or unhealthy communication skills. For me personally, I came into this group with 27 years worth of bad habits. Some of you are younger than I am and some of you are older…but I think you will all concede that habits are hard to break. So don’t be hard on yourself or give up easily…you all have habits, good and bad, that have had 20 years (more or less) worth of reinforcement…give yourself more than a week or two to unlearn those and/or learn to use healthier ones. It’s hard to wait around for something you know might never happen…that you might never get better…but it’s even harder to give up when you know it’s everything you want…to get better. This type of therapy isn’t immediate gratification; it doesn’t happen overnight; it isn’t bibbity-bobbity-boo magic…the thingamabob that does the job. It takes effort and there has to be some flexibility, acceptance and willingness on your part…you have to want it to get it. A joke I’ve had in my arsenal for many years is this one: How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? One…only if the lightbulb wants to be changed. Don’t give up on this group and this process. The minute you think of giving up, remember the reason you’ve been holding on for so long. Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. I’m still working on that. Some days, mindfulness happens naturally without any conscious effort on my part. Other days, I have to literally stop myself in my tracks and take a minute to get my bearings and take note of what’s going on, either with myself or my world…and go forth using whatever skills I need to in order to navigate through my day or situation. Some days are better than others. I still have a long way to go, in my opinion…but I also think I’ve come a long way to be able to be here talking to you…because Lord knows if this were three months ago, there is not a chance in H-E-double-hockey-sticks that I would have agreed to talk to you all today. If you had told me a year ago that I would be here doing this today, I would have called a therapist for you. I consider myself a “work in progress” and am by no means the poster-patient for DBT…but I still earn gold stars every now and then. If you take anything away from me today, take with you some self-validation and a reminder to not give up when you get frustrated or don’t understand the material. If I had succeeded in my missions to abort my participation in this group, I wouldn’t have this journey to share…and I would probably still be wondering what the hell mindfulness was.

[drops mic]

Voodoo Magic

Today’s edition of “Voodoo Therapy” has been brought to you by the letter M…the first initial of my therapist’s name. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that my therapist and I mesh like no other two people I have ever met. I still don’t know if it’s because we’ve just each invested so much time into each other and I have had to be completely vulnerable and honest with her in order to get the best treatment…or if she possesses some weird sort of voodoo magic because this chick is cray-cray, y’all. (And I realize how funny that statement must sound coming from the true crazy person calling her therapist crazy…but hear me out…) And I don’t mean crazy like me crazy, but crazy because she possesses voodoo magic and she “unleashes” it upon me when I am least expecting it (and yes, I do expect it now…but she uses voodoo magic to catch me when I’m least expecting it). Let me give you some examples so you can better understand.

I see M every week, usually twice (one-on-one and in group therapy). We usually don’t talk on the phone during our time away from each other unless I’m in a crisis or have a need to get something off my chest. Sometimes, I even hold off on calling her even when I really should because I am about to lose my marbles. M somehow gets this message telepathically and will call me on those days. And I’m like, “Really, M? Really?!” Of course I’m glad she called but there’s that voodoo magic. For the next example, I was texting my BFF on the east coast and I was in the middle of typing out a text message saying M hadn’t called me yet (because she had been out sick and I left her a voicemail asking her to call me once she was back in the office). I wasn’t even finished typing out the message and M called me AS I WAS TYPING THE TEXT SAYING SHE HADN’T CALLED ME.


(I used to refer to this as just really good ESP/telepathy and chalked it up to us just knowing each other so well but now I am totally convinced she’s into voodoo magic because I CANNOT make this shit up.) Last Friday, for another example, I was having a really hard day and I was talking about it with my across-the-country friend via text message. She “listened” to me as she always does but then she told me to call M because I was clearly in distress and I needed someone local. I didn’t call M for a few reasons. 1) The day before, during group, M said she wasn’t feeling well and so I didn’t even know if she was working on Friday. 2) M works in a different office on Fridays and I cannot call her. I have to send her an e-mail through the healthcare website that says, “Call me.” And she will when and if she can (and she always does, even if she only has a minute or two). 3) Because I didn’t know if M was working or not, I didn’t know if her e-mail inbox would be covered by another therapist and the coverage is for safety and such and I get that…but if you know anything about me AT ALL, you know it’s a huge step for me to call M voluntarily and talk, it’s another huge step for me to let K (M’s “partner in crime” and my backup therapist…they’re totally double-teaming me) into my world and allow her to be a suitable substitute for M when she is on vacation or out of the office. If M was gone, I didn’t want to talk to anyone else…safety was/is irrelevant…I wanted somebody who knew me and my shit without me having to explain everything and why I am the way that I am. (I can see some of the regular followers questioning why I didn’t e-mail or call K…and I have an answer: K doesn’t work on Friday’s…so if M is also out on a Friday, I’m pretty much SOL.) Back to the story…so my friend is telling me to call M and I didn’t even know if M would get my message that day so I didn’t even try (my bad)…BUT…cue voodoo magic. I recounted this day to M the following week and I shit you not, people…the woman told me that she picked up the phone TWICE on that Friday to call me. She hung up the first time because she “didn’t want to bug me” (and I chastised her for thinking that because she knows I won’t answer the damn phone if I don’t want to talk) and the second time she picked up the phone to call me, she hung up because someone walked into her office. I am 100% totally telling the truth. It’s voodoo magic. There have been other things too…just thinking about each other at the same time, having the same thought at the same time, saying the exact same thing at the exact same time, or just feeling that feeling you feel when someone is talking about you or thinking about you but you don’t know that someone is talking/thinking about you so you just file it away and never say anything about it. M can also accurately guess/speculate/predict how I will react to a situation/event/person. She also has a “knack” for knowing when I really need to hear something…a kind word or some form encouragement (when I haven’t even said anything that would communicate that that’s what I need). And sometimes she’ll give me a quote or a really pertinent metaphor or warm fuzzy without even realizing just how pertinent it is. I’m sure I could fill this entire blog with all her voodoo magic displays but let’s get back to my point and why I’m writing this…

M, at the beginning of group yesterday, told me we were going to play a game (just me and her)…but she didn’t tell me what the game was…until today, Friday…the day after group. M knows I am neurotically observant about the most stupid, irrelevant things (I can tell if a chair has been moved an inch or if K got a really subtle haircut…I also notice band-aids). M had a band-aid on during group and I didn’t know we were playing “Find The Band-aid” but we were. (Note here that I have previously found two of K’s band-aids which is why/how M knew I knew the game even if I didn’t know I was playing.) She called me this afternoon and gave me three chances to pinpoint something I noticed about her (M) yesterday. I said her nails – she got them done. True but not the answer M was looking for. I said her shoes – I hate it when she wears those shoes (even though they’re cute) because they leave red marks on her feet and it looks like they hurt even though she’s adamant they don’t hurt her feet. Nope. My last and final guess (I was holding back because I didn’t want to offend her or make her self-conscious because of what I observed) was her hair – it’s naturally curly like mine and it looked a little more frazzled yesterday than it normally does. While that was true, that wasn’t the answer M was looking for either. Three strikes, I’m out…or in this case, called out. M then told me that she had a band-aid on the inside of her right ankle and the game was to see if I would find it/notice it. And when she told me that, I said that she cheated because, during group, I always sit on her right, thus the inside of her right ankle is always facing away from me…I wouldn’t have ever gotten the “opportunity” to notice the band-aid. That was her whole point. I sit in the same seat, next to K, by the door every time I go to group. (Without fail, people! You could set your watch by me.) It wasn’t always this way as I had sat ACROSS from K for the first 10 months…in a position that, had I stayed in/revisited every now and then, I would have seen M’s band-aid yesterday. M knows I’m shutting down in group and I chastise myself for thinking she wouldn’t notice/see it. She mouthed the word “please” to me yesterday in group when I didn’t really want to add my two cents on whatever it was that we were talking about. I even sighed heavily (and audibly) at the beginning of our 2-minute mindfulness exercise and K nudged me…her way of telling me to “just shut up and do it” (in that sweet, nice K tone). I laugh at this now, but there are two types of chairs in the group room…one has arms on it, the other doesn’t. I prefer the one with arms (much easier to *facepalm* that way). “My” chair yesterday was one that didn’t have arms and I had time to exchange chairs. My “old seat” was a chair with arms…so I switched chairs…NOT position…chairs. (See? More voodoo magic. I was this |__| close to blowing M’s cover…sitting/moving somewhere else and winning a game I didn’t even know I was playing.)

Let me back up the truck just a tad and tell y’all that I am being “kicked out” of group therapy. I’m sure the therapists would like to say it’s more like “graduating” but it doesn’t feel so pomp and circumstance to me. At the beginning of the year, M and K (and this particular healthcare organization as a whole) started tightening the reigns on all the groups…more structure…less tangents…making sure we cover all we need to cover. One of these changes came when they announced that it takes 6 months to go through one round of DBT therapy and all its modules. (This, apparently, isn’t a new revelation/rule but is just one we’ve been letting slide.) At that 6-month point, you will have a conversation with your therapist/a therapist on the DBT team and then that therapist checks in with the team and it is then decided if you need another round/6 months of group or if you are ready to “graduate” and set loose to try all the skills on your own (while still following the DBT modules and being held accountable for using them in your own individual therapy appointments). The maximum time in group is 2 rounds/1 year. I’ve been doing this group thing since November 2011. More than a year. When I first heard of this new “change,” I point-blank asked M if her and K were going to kick me out of group and at the time, M said no…if I wanted to stay, she would support that and advocate for me. A couple weeks ago, M and I sat down to commence an individual therapy appointment and she asked me how I felt about group. I was caught off-guard because I’m like…we just had this conversation…and before I even lifted my eyes to meet M’s eyes…I said, “ohmygod, you’re kicking me out of group, aren’t you?” M said she wasn’t, but her boss was…my time is up…I need to be kicked out of the nest now. I didn’t fully comprehend the magnitude of the situation until later…because I didn’t flip out until later. This group has been part of my therapy and routine for over a year…it’s comfortable…I don’t take it lightly…I still participate and learn (and I even talk now!)…and it’s scary as fuck to think I won’t be going to group anymore. What the hell am I going to do on Thursdays?! I already have a lot of time on my hands and now you want to give me MORE time? Y’all are nuts. And after I calmed down and made my pros and cons list…I saw the dialectic…both sides of the coin. I have been doing this for a long time and can regurgitate the DBT manual word for word…but it doesn’t mean I’m great with the execution. I understand why I need to be kicked out of the nest but that nest is so damn comfortable. And what about K?! She was so patient and kind and never gave up on me and now I’ve finally let her cross my moat, slay my fire-breathing dragon and enter my fortress…enough to even consider her a suitable backup to my M…and you want me to give her up cold turkey?! Ha…um…no. But I’m out-numbered. I told M earlier this week that I don’t like the idea of leaving group, but the decision has been made and communicated and I will comply…I may comply while kicking and screaming…but then I said that’s probably appropriate because I went INTO group kicking and screaming and it only seems fitting to go OUT kicking and screaming. Full circle. BUT…it still doesn’t mean I like it…hence all the kicking and screaming. I asked M when my “termination” date was and she said I could finish out the current emotion regulation module but that when we are done with that, my time is up. I said okay to this at first, then I started to get so irritated and upset in group that I was like, “What’s the fucking point of me continuing/finishing out this module?” I asked M if she wanted me to stay and finish out the module and she said yes…and please…and because she said please, I said, “Fine.” Over the last couple weeks, I have slowly started to distance myself from the group…not being so active and talkative…so that when my last day comes, it doesn’t hurt so bad. OMFG…LIIIIGHHTTTBUUULLBBBB…you try to tear a band-aid off slowly so it won’t hurt…but what you really need to do is just (wo)man up and rip the fucker off because you know it will hurt like a bitch…for a nanosecond…and then you’ll feel so much better once you get it “over and done with.” Holy shit. VOODOO MAGIC! I’m so totally not kidding…damn…mid blog post epiphany…I think that’s a first. I won’t edit that part and hopefully, whatever scene you envision will bring a smile to your face. M and K love the look on my face when my “lightbulb” goes off in the middle of group. Totally just happened…

ANYYYYWAAAYYY…M’s entire point/metaphor: If I never change…I miss out. If I don’t change my point of view…I miss out on other perspectives. I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this later but all I can say now is, “Touché.” And cry…but…”Touché.” Damn her and her voodoo magic for being so fucking right.

(And after recounting this week’s episode of “Voodoo Therapy” to my BFF across the country, this happened:


She has my phone #, my license and registration, my e-mail, my home address, my license plate #, my social security #, my library card, my iTunes password, my Blockbuster card, my birth certificate, my passport, my bank account #, my debit card pin #…)

It’s not you; it’s me.

Do’s and Don’ts

People want to help me when I’m depressed. But some things they do actually make me feel worse. So here are some tips on how to approach someone who is depressed.

In no particular order–

Don’t tell me to shake it off or snap out of it.

Don’t tell me jokes. Slapstick might get a muted chuckle, though.

Don’t send me internet memes to cheer me up. Seriously. Do not do this. It makes me question why we are friends.

Don’t tell me any variation of “hurry up and feel better because we need you.” That is about the worst thing you can say.

I’m not just in a bad mood.

I’m not grumpy.

I didn’t get up on the wrong side of the bed.

I’m not just having a bad day.

I do not have PMS.

It is not anything you did.

Don’t be too nice to me, because I will cry. I’m an ugly crier.

Don’t command me to feel better. Believe me, if I could feel better, you would be the second to know, right after me.

Don’t try to fix me. I just want to be heard and understood.

I have been through this before. I know what will work. I am not open to suggestions.

No, I cannot go back to bed and read a book and eat candy. I have to go to work.

No, I cannot take a bubble bath and call a friend. I have to go to work.

No, I cannot sit down in the middle of the day and start drinking. That would be about the worst thing I could do. Besides, as I believe I mentioned, I have to go to work.

Don’t ask me what’s wrong. I have a mood disorder. That’s what’s wrong.

My depression is usually proportional to the mania that preceded it. But please don’t accuse me of not heeding my symptoms.

It might seem like everything you say will be the wrong thing. In that case, it’s okay to say nothing. But don’t ignore me. I can see where this would put you in a bit of a bind.

Yes, I am aware that there are medications I can take that will help me with this. Yes, I have some. Yes, I do take them. No, I didn’t forget to take them.

Yes, I have heard that St. John’s Wort has been used to treat depression. No, I don’t take it. See above.

I may have moments where I have a little energy and even laugh a little. This is not a sign that I am all better.

I am not being passive-aggressive.

I am not an attention whore. Nor am I a drama queen.

Don’t minimize my pain.

Don’t tell me that you are having a bad day, too. That is like telling someone with a brain tumor that you have a headache.

Do ask me if I want to talk about it. And let it be okay if I don’t.

Do ask me if you can do anything. And let it be okay if you can’t.

If I say there is something you can do, please do it. Without fanfare. You went to the grocery store. You did not give me a kidney.

Don’t make me feel guilty about being depressed.

I am not ungrateful for your attempts to make me feel better. I do appreciate your concern and love.

Oops, I did it again…


I’ve been quiet for a while…no new posts…and that’s because I’ve been too busy crashing headfirst BACK into an emotional shitstorm. Yep, I did it again…I “fell off the wagon”…I took my one step (I would say it’s more like one and three-quarters of a step) back after taking two forward. I was |___| this close to believing all the people who told me that things were going to get better and that my misery wouldn’t last forever. I was SO close to accepting things for what they were and just living in the moment. The evidence is right here in my blog! I was so busy being awesome that for the first time in 18 months, I gave up my suicidal ideations…I was too busy to entertain those thoughts. For the first time in 18 months, I marked a “0” or “1” on my diary card for suicidal ideations. I told my therapist to file that under “miracles” because I didn’t think there would ever be a time where I would be able to do that. I never pictured myself in a spot where I could actually leave my suicide security blanket and “go out and play.” It. Was. Awesome. And I say “was” because I am writing this while under my suicide security blanket…my fort. I will, for now, collectively refer to the past three months as “The Awesome Months” for they were indeed awesome and as much as I hate to admit it, they are also over…for the time being.

I’m so angry with myself because I don’t know if I had a say in whether or not I fell off the wagon. Do I have a legitimate chemical imbalance somewhere in my brain that I have no control over? Or am I so “whipped” that it is this easy to fall back into a pattern of misery, suicidal ideations and self-harm? I’m mad that I let myself get kicked down again. And I’m also mad because I don’t know why or how it happened. Things were great…they were AWESOME…and then I tripped over myself right before Christmas…and I don’t know if Christmas is to blame for my current mood or my fall just happened to coincide with the holiday. I honestly don’t know if Christmas was just way too emotional. I had (or thought I had) mastered acceptance and mindfulness by the time Christmas rolled around, but I hadn’t quite yet mastered distress tolerance (the module, ironically, that we just finished in group therapy) or anything else, thus allowing Christmas to inadvertantly get the best of me. I felt great because I had these stupid DBT skills by the balls and then I trip over a piece of lint and here I am at rock bottom again. WTF? My therapist (and her cohort, K) always says that it is easier to use the skills when you’re NOT in a crisis; the true challenge comes when you need to use them while IN a crisis. And she is absolutely right. My therapist also always tells me that emotions and situations, good and bad, don’t last forever. She’s right about that, too. I don’t know what to do right now…except strangle the next person that mentions mindfulness or distress tolerance to me. DBT can suck it right now.

I think I’ve mentioned before that my home life is not a very validating environment, so my DBT skill usage is constantly being challenged. M and K tell me every week that I’m doing good and fine and awesome and they give me gold stars for getting out of the house on non-therapy days and for participating and talking in group. Then I come home, still feeling awesome, and I actually feel like talking…so I do…to my mom and her boyfriend or whoever else happens to be at the house. But after about one sentence, I am told to take a chill pill and shut up. So in all honesty, I get really confused. I get a “yay!” from one peanut gallery and a “shut up!” from the other. Uhhh…what? Encouragement from one source and invalidation from another. I would like to say that I am reasonably intelligent, maybe more so than the average bear, but there are times where I feel so absolutely stupid because I don’t understand simple concepts. At almost 30, I do not know when I am talking too much. I have M and K (and my peers) telling me that I’m doing great and that they value what I have to say, but I say one sentence at home and am told to shut up, that I am talking too much. WTF? What is too much and what isn’t? At this age, you would think I would have figured it out by now…but no, I haven’t.

My mom, as I’ve come to learn, is very good at being passive-aggressive. This isn’t really a new revelation but it’s more obvious to me now than it was before. I did, miraculously, receive a pair of Beats headphones by Dr. Dre for Christmas…and they made me really happy…momentarily. Because, you see, the headphones came with an unspoken annotation of, “I bought these for you, now suck it up and be happy.” Translated: “I have no reason to be unhappy and moody right now because I just received a really expensive gift from the person that I have managed to financially drain and thus, shouldn’t have ever received the headphones in the first place and I don’t deserve the headphones because I’ve also been emotionally draining and a complete shithead this year…but here are the headphones anyway…go…you must be happy from here on out, no exceptions.” Yep…ALL of that crammed into one set of headphones. Fuck it. Take the headphones back. I’m not going to be bought. I’m not going to smile and be awesome just because you made tuning (puns are so much fun!) you out more awesome and fun (I don’t think my mom realized these were noise canceling headphones). It’s really not worth it if it’s going to be a quid pro quo sort of deal. Thanks, but I’ll keep my cheap-o headphones that allow me to ride and deal with my emotional waves as they come.

God, I’m so pissed! Pissed at the world and pissed at myself. I didn’t want to see the bottom ever again, much less so soon after catching a glimpse of that silver lining. Fuck. The light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be another oncoming train. It’s like life is fucking with me…dangling that proverbial carrot in front of my face…teasing me. “See what you can’t ever have? Na na naw boo boo!” And I’m pissed because I don’t understand. I was doing everything right, everything I should have and could have been doing to make my life better and going in the right direction. Where did I go wrong? Unfortunately, there is no disclaimer anywhere, in the DBT manual or otherwise, that says if you do steps A, B and C…you will get X, Y and Z. Oh, if it were only that simple… I really have no other words to say other than that I’m pissed…and fuck. That’s a good word to use right now. Fuck. Therapy is nice but screaming FUCK! at the top of your lungs for 10 seconds is a lot faster and cheaper…instant gratification.

I spent a majority of today’s one-on-one session with M apologizing. I must have said “I’m sorry” about a hundred times. She finally told me to shut the fuck up (and not in a mean way, but in a nice I-know-you-and-it’s-really-okay-because-you-have-absolutely-nothing-to-apologize-for kind of way). I also apologized to M last Thursday for giving her a shitty group therapy session. K was gone and so it was M and one of the original facilitators I had and a “guest” therapist who was thinking about getting trained in DBT. The group was small last week…I’m guessing it was due to the holidays…a lot of people busy and out of town. Not to say that I bring the party, but group therapy sessions have been a little more fun and awesome over the past few months (at least for me) due to my “enlightenment” and good mood. I was in a bad mood on Thursday and in fact, I didn’t even want to go to group…but I wanted M, so I went. That guest therapist picked a really shitty day to observe a DBT group. I felt like shit later because it was not what I would call a “typical” group therapy session…it was smaller than usual, K was gone and it was a review of the distress tolerance module; no new information. M, bless her heart, was facilitating and trying desperately to get the four of us that did come to group to give her the answers to the questions she was asking. I am normally like Hermione from Harry Potter…first hand in the air, pick me pick me!…except I usually ax raising my hand and just vomit out the answers. I was in no mood on Thursday and M was struggling to get us going…and I felt like shit for not helping her out and for giving that guest therapist a shoddy glimpse of our DBT group. We were SO quiet, in fact, that M actually ended up letting us go a few minutes early and I headed straight for the door but not fast enough because M managed to grab me. I had put 3’s on my check-in sheet in response to suicidal ideations which meant she had to do a safety check and she also sensed that I wasn’t doing so hot, and thankfully (for me), it also gave me a chance to apologize to M right then and there for my shitty group performance instead of ruminating about it until I saw her today. Then, as I said before, I spent most of today’s session apologizing to her for God only knows what…everything…to the point where I actually said sorry for saying sorry so much. Fo’ realz. She told me to shut the fuck up. And I tried…but a few more “sorry’s” slipped out…and I apologized for those, too… I should probably mention that over-apologizing and apologizing for things like this, things that don’t need to be apologized for, is a DBT no-no…as in it’s something we should refrain from doing.

As I recounted Christmas to M and all that happened over the holidays, we spent an extra few minutes talking about my relationship with my mom and how we just seem to “feed” off each other’s emotions and/or how mom’s mood so dramatically affects my own mood. And it’s very true. I won’t deny it. I’ve said from day one that if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy and she will make damn sure that you are not happy if she is not happy; how dare you be happy if she is not. I love my momma, don’t get me wrong…but a lot of the time, I feel it’s more out of obligation than because of how I actually feel; she is my mother and as her child, I am obligated to love her because that’s what children are supposed to do…but that’s another post for another day. My mom and I don’t talk about the deep and serious stuff. When and if we try, one of us ends up in tears and it’s usually me because I can’t get any sort of validation from her and I just end up more upset than I was before we even had the conversation, so I’ve learned to just not have the conversation at all…damage control. My mother is the queen at passive-aggressiveness. She will never come and directly ask for things and she will never tell you how she really feels. She wants to make you guess and read in between the lines instead of saving everyone the headache and just spitting it out. Some examples: I recounted the last few Christmas’ for M today and one involved the year where my mom and her boyfriend agreed that they weren’t going to exchange gifts with each other that year and they were going to just buy things for us kids. Boyfriend was cool with that; didn’t get my mom a thing. Mom goes and buys Boyfriend a really expensive gift and gets her panties in a knot when there is not a present for her from Boyfriend under the tree that year. Boyfriend is very literal and if you agree to not buy presents for each other, he ain’t gonna buy you a present…and it’s not because he’s a dick, that’s just how he is…they each agreed to not buy presents for each other so he didn’t. He doesn’t play mom’s games and why he’s even still with her after eight years is anyone’s guess but bless his heart because he takes the heat off me sometimes because my mom will end up being more mad at him for coming home late than at me for my pissy attitude and not emptying the dishwasher. Next example: my mom, in passing and through “subtle hints”, says she really wants to go out with Boyfriend for New Year’s. Remember, Boyfriend isn’t good at reading in between the lines and you have to pretty much tell him point-blank what you want or he won’t get the hint. My mom wants to go out REALLY bad but does she ask Boyfriend? No. She gets pissy at him (“punishing” him) and everyone else because she’s now in a bad mood because she’s not going out tonight and Boyfriend is all WTF? And I come along and whisper to him that she’s mad because he didn’t take her out and he’s all, “She didn’t ask!” And I’m like, “Duh.” That’s what most days are like in this house. You would think, with all my psychological and emotional issues, that I would be the one causing the most turmoil in this house but I really don’t think it’s me…or at least not all the time. I don’t like to rain on other people’s parade so instead of chatting or hanging out with people, be it mom or her boyfriend or whomever, I prefer to put on headphones and write or self-soothe BY MYSELF in my room away from everyone. This often gets misconstrued and misinterpreted; I am often accused of avoiding and being a bitch. I may be avoiding, but it’s a coping skill, not a bitch skill…I need to step away from you so I don’t snap and kill you…you are exacerbating my emotions and I need you to leave or I need to leave. And also remember that I am a hardcore introvert and I don’t possess the best people skills nor do I possess the tolerance to be around people, no matter how many, for any length of time. I enjoy me, myself and I and as a coping skill, this works out great because I have no one adding to my misery but me…but in a backasswards sort of way, choosing to avoid and isolate adds to my misery because I get chastised for it. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

All that to say that I am constantly invalidated at home. M and K work their asses off to set up skills for me and teach me how and when to use them and when I try in therapy or group, I am praised and “rewarded” for my attempts, even if I fail. When I try those same skills at home, it blows up in my face and/or I somehow come out feeling like I just totally failed using the “right” skills and I beat myself up for doing “wrong” when I really did “right.” I only get M and/or K for a total of about two and a half hours every week…and they spend that time teaching me skills and helping me navigate the rough waters…but that leaves however many more hours and days at home where people proceed to wipe away every skill and piece of information I learned. What I’m getting at here is that my therapist gave me another great metaphor today: Learning to use the “right” (“healthy” is a better word, I think) skills in an environment like mine is like trying to set up a tent during a windstorm. Picture yourself doing that…go on…I’ll wait.

Not easy is it? Frustrating, isn’t it? You said a lot of cuss words, didn’t you? Welcome to my life! Not only do I get frustrated and mad, I end up making things even worse for myself because I beat myself up for improper skill usage when in actuality, I did a great job…I just didn’t get the desired result, validation or reinforcement and am somehow manipulated into thinking I did something wrong. WAY back in one of my first posts, I said one of the first things you have to learn in DBT is that you cannot control how other people react to you or your behavior. I can do everything “right” and I can do it until I’m blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean I am going to get any other reaction than what I get out of my mom, her boyfriend, or whomever else I am interacting with. As easy as that is to say and believe and know, I still fail to remember it in the midst of being manipulated into thinking I did something wrong when I actually just executed a skill correctly and in a healthy way.

I’m not going to blame my mom for me being in the place I am right now or for the place I have been the for the last 18 months, but I will say that she has probably hindered more than she has helped. After visualizing M’s metaphor today, I wondered how different the last 18 months would have been had I not been living at home. M and K get two and a half hours every week to get through to me and help me work on getting healthy and my mom spends the rest of the time completely (and inadvertently) destroying everything M and K have set up for me. M and K and myself are trying desperately to set up that damn tent and my mom (or someone or something else) is the wind that knocks it right over as we are cussing and throwing our hands up in the air. I know that song by Chumbawamba that says, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down”…but I’m a little tired from getting up every single time I get knocked down. I tried physically doing this to prove my own point. Sit down (and not in a chair…get on the ground, legs crossed). Then get back up. Sit down. Get back up. Keep doing it. You get tired after a while, don’t you? You just proved my point. I’m tired. I’m worn out. Do I want to give up? Not entirely, but I’m too damn tired to give a fuck and I’d rather just take the easy way out (interpret that however you want). The easy answer to this whole conundrum is to just move out and get out of this environment. The caveat is that I am not well enough to hold down a job and I am, even at almost 30, completely and financially dependent on my mom. I hate it. It hurts my pride. It’s one more thing my mom can hold over my head (and she does). But I don’t have any other choice right now. I have to make this work in order to make myself work, emotionally and physically and it’s just an unfortunate revolving door that I have yet to figure out how to get out of. So again, I won’t blame my mom for my current emotional state but I can’t help but wonder how different things might have been or might be in the future if she didn’t spend so much time blowing down my carefully constructed tent. I need to find some tent posts to hammer into the ground somewhere and I don’t know if that needs to come from within (as in trying harder to not let my mom get the best of me) or if it needs to come from learning some other DBT skill and knowing it well enough to execute it at home. The answer, my friend, is probably blowing in the wind but it’s definitely not the wind coming from my mom.

Throughout the past three months, I tried really hard to not psych myself out (no pun intended but lol anyway) by telling myself that I was finally happy and that I was finally “getting better.” But in the deep recesses of my mind, that is what I really wanted to be happening…I wanted to start New Year’s off with a literal bang of awesomeshitsauce…but I failed. And now, I get to greet another year that I was not ever supposed to see because I wasn’t supposed to have lived long enough to see it. I also have a birthday coming up that I wasn’t supposed to see, either. And I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because I usually break them sometime around 12:02 AM on January 1st. Very futile. And resolutions are also a great setup for disappointment which I seem to be doing just fine at without adding a New Year’s resolution to my stack of shit to do.

Here’s to fucking up and here’s to the end of another shitty year we’ll one day be strangely nostalgic for. (I really should have purchased some alcohol…)

Pensieve Dump


If you are reading this, I’ll just warn you now that it gets a little erratic at times…jumping from one topic to the next. I’m literally just trying to dump all the thoughts out of my head…and I am all over.

When I tell some people about my first suicide attempt and how I was found and saved, etc…they tell me how lucky I am. Lucky is not a word I would use to describe that. Reflecting over the last year, I don’t see how anyone…myself or those around me…can be lucky that I survived. I have left a clear path of damage in my wake. For the last 18 months, I have been nothing but a problem or a patient. I fucked up my former employer…even if it was only a hiccup. Sure, I may not have been the first pharmacy employee to steal…but I highly doubt that they have had any other employee like me, who not only stole medication, but tried to kill herself with it. I’m sure I threw the HR and legal department for a loop, if only momentarily. I have done nothing over the past year except drain my mother of emotion and finances. I have done nothing but take up space, time, and money. My therapist tells me that she is grateful that she has the opportunity to have me as a patient…she may feel that way now…but I’m gonna fuck up somewhere…even more than I already have. She may be optimistic and see our relationship as a learning experience…I look at it and see all the time I have wasted…time that could have been given to someone else. She may see the benefit now…but by the time I end my life, she will wish that she had never met me. The same goes for K. She has tried SO hard to get through to me…and now, she finally has. She may see this as a good thing…and maybe I did too, at first…but not anymore. If she is not already regretting trying so hard to get to me, she will some day.

I just don’t understand how I could have been so blind for so long. I feel that I have always been insightful and knowledgeable about how I feel and why. But this recent discovery of the borderline personality disorder has seriously thrown me for a loop. Where the fuck have I been for the last 15 years? I can’t even tell you the number of psychology classes I took or how many books I’ve read…I cannot EVER recall covering BPD. I remember my first day in my first psych class in high school. The teacher, very bluntly, laid out a disclaimer on the class and any future psych class…don’t fall victim to the bullshit disorder. In other words, don’t read the criteria for diseases and disorders and think they all pertain to you. I’m glad I learned this early on because if I hadn’t, I would probably be thoroughly convinced that I had schizophrenia and testicular cancer. I remember my high school psych class, my college psych class, my abnormal psych class, my developmental psych class…all of them. But not once do I remember covering BPD. I remember covering multiple personality disorder…that lead me to read the book, “Sybil.” I remember covering bipolarity, schizophrenia. I remember the Oedipus complex and the superego. I remember Freud and Jung and Pavlov. I remember depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies. I was not ignorant of the fact that I had displayed depression and suicidal tendencies very early on…when most of this stuff first comes to light…during early adolescence. But where the fuck was the coverage on BPD? Did I turn a blind eye to it when we covered it? Did I put it out of my mind because it was so spot on that I chose to ignore it rather than learn about it? Did we cover it at all? The first experience I had with BPD, that I remember, was with the book (then movie) “Girl, Interrupted.” But my view of the disorder was very distorted because of it. By the time I read the book and saw the movie (1999’ish), I didn’t see any characteristics of the main character within myself. Through my recent research, I now know that there are 9 criteria that the DSM outlines for the BPD diagnosis…5 of which a person has to exhibit in order to “claim the prize.” That means that there are well over 200 different ways in which the disorder can manifest itself. I guess I get to claim one of those combinations now.

There’s a few conflicting emotions I have going on now. One is pure disbelief. Where the fuck have I been for the last 15 years? Why is this now coming to light and why didn’t I, or anyone else, see it earlier? Another is anger at having a legitimate “disorder” to explain away my disturbances. I don’t want to take this insofar where I blame EVERYTHING I say and do on BPD…yet it does exactly that…explain everything I have said and done. I also have anger at myself for affecting people the way I have because of the disorder. Anger for letting myself get hurt and anger because I have hurt others, intentionally or not. This is where my therapist and K come in. I want out more to protect the both of them than to protect me. I know how I will react when the ties are cut…I know what I might feel and where I might go. But I refuse to hurt either one of them…unintentionally or not. They are too nice and smart and amazing…I would never forgive myself for fucking up their career or affecting their personal life. I feel horrible for what I’ve already done and I feel horrible for what I think will inevitably happen…my death…and the mark that will leave on the both of them and their careers. I don’t want to do that, but I also feel like I have no other choice. So maybe if I distance myself and cut the ties now, before that happens…it won’t leave such a marked impact on them. I would be ignorant to think that it won’t ever affect them, because it will…no matter how hard I try not to let it. Even if I cut the ties now but don’t succeed in ending my life for another 10 years and they find out about it…look me straight in the eyes and tell me that that won’t have any effect on them. You can’t do it, can you? It might not have the same impact it would if I were to do it tomorrow…but it will still have an impact…and that is what makes me sick to my stomach. I cannot erase our relationship and the time we have spent building it. I can’t change that and I cannot take it back…what’s done is done. But as much as I want them and feel I need them…I refuse to pull them down with me. I will jump in front of a train to save my therapist’s life…K’s too.

I wasn’t aware of this last for a long time…but ever since I started going to Starbucks with some of the people from my therapy group…I have been giving them many opportunities to see my imperfections and get out while they still can. I have been saying and sharing things with them that I would normally withhold from someone so early in a relationship. I am trying SO hard to get them to see all the bad and to tell them, in not so many words, that getting involved in a relationship with me is a very bad idea. My obstacle has been the fact that these women are not stupid and have the type of empathy only other mentally ill people can have for one another. So while these things are horrible and bad and wrong, they understand…at least to a degree. They are willing to shift a couple inches in one direction or another because of that mutual bond of being mentally ill. “Normal” and rational people would have gotten the hint a long time ago.

I pick at myself, my skin. Some define it as self-mutilation and some call it dermatillomania. I can no longer have acrylic nails because I pick and scratch so hard and so often, that I was literally lifting the acrylic off of my real nail. I can’t seem to wear nail polish for any length of time because picking ruins the polish and makes it chip off. It may be easy for you to just tell me to occupy my hands…but it’s not quite that simple. There are times when I can do just a swipe of a scab or mark and just pick that one…but more often than not, picking sessions last for hours…sometimes an entire day…the entire time I am awake. It’s weird being in the midst of a picking session because it’s almost trance-like. Sometimes, I can’t make the time go by fast enough…but if I start picking…I can stare blankly at the TV and easily pass 6 hours or more…and not be aware of how fast time is going by. I don’t even think I can describe it to a point where you would understand. I’m grateful that typing takes two hands…I’ve managed to pry my hands away from my body long enough to hopefully break the hypnotic insanity of my picking today. I pick so hard and for so long, that by the end of a day, my nails and fingertips hurt. I lay down at night and my hands are throbbing, as well as my body…all the open wounds. It is very painful at times…especially picking at a sore repeatedly. Try picking a scab off of a wound that you have picked off ten times before and tell me that doesn’t hurt. The degree to which I do this and the severity is probably lost on you because you can’t see it all. You can usually see my face and forearms…but you can’t see my upper arms, my shoulders, my neck, my back, my breasts. There’s a reason I always wear my hair down. All the marks on my face are not acne. I actually have quite clear skin…but I have made a mess out of my face as well as other areas. I will never be able to erase all the scars I have created. I started picking in high school, I think…around the 9th grade. It came and went with the accompanying periods of depression and anxiety but I have never done it with the severity that I am doing it now. It surprised the hell out of me that I was able to leave myself alone after getting out of the hospital last June. I was able to leave myself alone for quite a few months, as I recall. But I have wreaked havoc on my body for the last few months…marks that I will never be able to erase…an insanity that I can’t seem to escape. I yell at myself the entire time I am engaging in the picking…telling myself to stop, stop, stop. I am screaming at myself…yet I cannot pull my hands away from my body. It takes everything I have to give into the drugs I take to help me sleep and lay down at night if a session has continued on into the night and past a reasonable bed time. If I can yell at myself loud enough to put my hands down for just a few moments, I will turn around only to find myself at it again, often without realizing it. It hurts…my body, my hands…it’s very painful…but I can’t stop. The picking would usually get worse in the winter because it was easier to cover up more…long-sleeved shirts and such. I used to be able to be better, or at least more selective, during the spring and summer months…at least to the point where I could wear tank tops. I wouldn’t dream of wearing tank tops right now. The only reason I wear t-shirts is because it’s too hot to wear a sweatshirt or jacket…even though the evidence of my destruction is obvious on my face and forearms. I tried to make more of an effort to cover it up…but I can’t cover it all anymore. Every mark you see on my face and arms is caused by me. It may have started out as a zit or a scratch or an ingrown hair…but I will make it into a scar in no time. I have a new scar on the back of my left hand that started out as a cat scratch…very small and superficial…but I picked at the wound and tore the scab off repeatedly and what would have healed over without a scar has now become a rather significant and permanent mark on my hand. I wish I could stop. I would love to wear tank tops. I thought acrylic nails would help because it’s harder to pick with those…but instead of preventing me from completing my task, it just made me pick harder. Sometimes, when I feel an urge to pick, if I can get to my blankets fast enough, I can become engrossed in snuggling with those and avoid a picking session. I’m just not always so lucky. I don’t do it in public or in group…or at least, I try not to. If a group session is making me particularly anxious…and you watch me long enough, you will probably see me trying to discreetly get at something. I hate doing it…I hate what I’ve done to my body…but I can’t stop doing it. Sometimes I wish someone would just come and tie my hands down until the urge passes.

The damage I have done to my body isn’t solely from picking. I don’t know how it happened…but I’ve slowly gotten to the point where I don’t take care of myself anymore. I shower only on the days I go see my therapist or go to group. It is rare that I will leave the house voluntarily for any other reason…and if I do, I won’t be able to without showering. I used to be very anal about caring for myself…not being able to stand it if I had not showered within the last 24 hours. Now I just don’t care. I’m not sure about the effects this has had on me. If I were to submit to blood tests and a general checkup, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that I was probably dehydrated and malnourished to some extent. I don’t eat regularly. I do get hungry and my stomach will let me know…but more often than not, I don’t care enough to make it go away. If I do eat during the day, it’s usually dinner and it’s usually because someone else has made something. If my mom makes something like hot dogs…sometimes, I might eat it just to make the hunger go away…sometimes, I won’t care enough to eat it…especially if it doesn’t sound appetizing. I may not have eaten all day and my mom will come home and make spaghetti…and even though I usually love spaghetti…if I don’t feel like eating it that day and it doesn’t sound appetizing…I won’t eat. I go through most days without eating or drinking much. Sometimes all I drink is what I use to swallow my medication with that day. I don’t know how much I weigh…I don’t know if I’m losing weight…I don’t care…that’s not my goal. I just simply don’t care. It’s more of an effort to get up and find something to eat than it is to just lay there hungry. Some people can’t stand being hungry…that feeling in your stomach. I’ve gotten used to it. I still feel it, but I can sweep it under the rug…ignore it. If it’s not obvious to you…I usually don’t give a shit about what I look like when I go out, either. To me, I’m just glad that I’ve been able to get up and shower and clothed…I could really care less about looking good. I do enough to my hair to make it presentable…but I don’t take the time to do it like I used to…I don’t wear makeup anymore. You will usually find me in a t-shirt and yoga pants or jeans…that is a style I have adopted within the last year. While you would never find me on the cover of Vogue…I would like to think I had some sort of fashion sense at one point. I have some really cute clothes and a very full closet…but most of the things in there, I haven’t worn for over a year. I look at pictures of me taken prior to last year…and while I never think of myself as cute or pretty…I can at least acknowledge that I looked a lot better than I do now…I was a little bit easier on the eyes. I’ve never had much of a self esteem. That was stripped away very early on in life. I’ve never been small in terms of weight…but I have seen better days…and as long as I found cute clothes that fit, I never really cared about being bigger most of the time. I only had a problem when it was a problem to find clothes or when I couldn’t stand to look at myself…it was then that I would make more of an effort to change my ways. I have never been impeded by my weight. I am not very active now…but I used to be. I grew up swimming, playing softball and other sports. I found tennis later in my teenage years and I still love it today…but it’s not a sport you can play solo. I liked to walk and be active and I didn’t get winded just climbing the stairs…so I never really cared much about my weight because I didn’t see it as a problem. Was I a model? No. But I had no health problems because of my weight…and as far as I know, I still don’t…no high blood pressure, no cholesterol or diabetes issues. I am…or was…perfectly healthy…even if the scale wanted to tell you otherwise. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was found to be anemic again…I wouldn’t be surprised about having a thyroid issue either. I don’t know if I am still having high blood pressure issues because I haven’t been monitoring it like I was. I shake a lot and I still have tachycardia issues because I can feel it in my chest daily…the racing heart. I can only describe the sensation like the feeling of having “butterflies in your stomach”…that’s what I feel like most of the time. It’s probably rare to catch my heart rate below 110 bpm (normal is about 60-100…usually in the 80 range). It’s not a pleasant feeling by any means. Xanax never makes a difference, though I take it anyway hoping that it will. But like the feeling of hunger, it’s just a sensation that I have gotten used to…I would probably notice more if my heart wasn’t racing because THAT would be the odd sensation…not the sensation of a racing heart. I drug myself to sleep because if I didn’t, I would probably never sleep save for the occasional cat nap here and there. I also drug myself to sleep so I can pass time and so I can escape my own insanity for a while. I could raise a family of six children and work two full-time jobs with the amount of energy I spend on my depression and anxiety. Sometimes I just need the madness to stop for a while…I need an off button for my brain…and sleep does that…if only temporarily. Sometimes, sleeping is just as bad as being awake…what with all the nightmares. But most of the time, I do it to stop the insanity for a while. I need a break. My brain needs a break.

I feel so lost right now. I don’t know what to do with myself. My emotions are all over the place and I feel so confused. I open my mouth to say something and then just close it because I can’t make my words come out in a way that is comprehensible.

People think that because I spend so much time by myself, that I am lonely. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t mind being alone at all. At this point, I get enough social interaction through therapy and group sessions to satisfy that part of me. I don’t need or want anymore…sometimes, even that is too much social contact. Just because I’m alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely. I choose to be like this. One…my emotions are so erratic that I honestly don’t trust myself in most social situations. Two…people irritate the hell out of me…the tiniest infraction will set me off…so I choose to stay to myself. I want to like people but they’re just so fucking stupid. Some people are alive today simply because I did not want to go to prison. And three…I don’t want to spread my depression around and rain on other people’s parade. I don’t want to hurt anyone else. I’d rather sit here and hurt myself than hurt another person. I know I’m not very fun to be around right now…so instead of making people feel like they have to tip-toe around me…I just take myself out of the whole situation. The brief relief of seeing other people when I leave my room turns into a desperate need to be alone, and then being alone turns into a terrible fear that I will have no friends; I will be alone in this world and in my life. I don’t think I have friends anymore…and that’s entirely my fault and I blame no one for leaving or turning away…it is actually a very smart decision on their part. Trust is probably a bigger factor than I would like to admit. I am leery of everyone that comes into my life now. I waste no time putting them through tests of their endurance, love and patience. The most expensive thing in the world is trust…it can take years to earn and just a matter of seconds to lose. I’m tired of the effort I put into relationships I want so desperately to work out…so it’s easier to weed people out from the starting gate rather than waiting until too far into the relationship that it hurts when they leave. I’d rather watch you walk away now than watch you walk away in two years. It’s easier for me to let you go if I just said hi to you five minutes ago. It’s harder to let you go if I have told you that I have loved you for five years.

I never hesitate or hem and haw about getting up, showering and driving to see my therapist or go to group. You will probably have a harder time trying to stop me from going than you will have trying to get me to go. But I am almost always asked…at least once, over the course of a weekend, if I want to go out somewhere…go to dinner or a movie…and I rarely hesitate before saying no. I may want to see that movie or have a meal at a favorite restaurant…but it’s not enough to make me get out of bed and go. I never hesitate to go to see my therapist or go to group where my therapist and K facilitate…because I know what it means to me to see M and K.

I don’t know if people have ever questioned the lack of romantic relationships in my life. At Starbucks with some of the “groupies” one day, I eluded to the fact that I had had only one serious boyfriend and one consensual sexual partner in my life. The women looked at me in shock and could not believe that I had made it through 28 years of life that way. I don’t have an answer for why that is. For one, I don’t see anyone lining up to ask me out. Two, I can’t even make a platonic relationship work…how the hell am I supposed to make a romantic one work? I don’t know if it’s been an unconscious effort on my part to keep the boys away or if that’s just how things are. I don’t know if I’ve realized, subconsciously, that romantic relationships are even harder to work on and maintain than the platonic ones that keep plaguing me…and so it’s just been easier to not get involved in romantic relationships at all. I once had a dream of getting married and having children…but now, I couldn’t care less. If I can’t love myself, how the hell am I gonna love somebody else? I reflect back on my relationship with E…my only baseline for romantic relationships…and I can’t imagine ever being married. E liked to fall asleep while spooning and some nights, I would let him…but I think there were more nights where I told him to fuck off and roll over rather than fall asleep in his arms. I don’t think it had anything to do with our relationship…because this would happen even when we were at our happiest. I just wanted my space. He liked to snuggle and cuddle, even on the couch while watching TV, and there were times where that was exactly what I wanted…but there were other times where that was the last thing I wanted. I don’t know if that’s normal or not. I don’t have anything to compare it to. I relish sleeping alone…I can’t imagine ever sharing a bed with someone else again. If I do get married…I either want separate bedrooms or I want to revert back to the 1950s and have two twin beds separated by a nightstand. And you may think I’m joking…but I’m really not…I’m dead serious.

Sometimes I sit back and just look at my therapist and her life. I look at her and see the life I once dreamed of…the way I had planned for things to turn out. She is so much like me (apologies to her)…she is and she has everything I ever wanted at this point in my life. She is beautiful…she is married with a baby…and she has an amazing career…the one I once wanted myself. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ever jealous of her…but I don’t always feel jealous in her presence…it’s a fleeting thought and emotion that comes to light every now and then. Sometimes I hate Facebook…well…I probably hate it more than I like it. I see Facebook like I see Marsha Linehan‘s mindfulness train on the TV screen…just watching the train pass by in front of you…that’s what Facebook is like. I sit back and watch everyone else get married and have children and land successful careers. I watch the train leaving without me…and it kills me and often leaves me with the sting of jealousy. It’s hard to sit back and watch everyone else obtain the things you once wanted and become successful at life while you are battling for your next breath every single day. I don’t know if it’s the success and husband and children I get jealous of…or if I get jealous because I see these people living healthy lives and not battling a war with a mental illness that is hell-bent on making life as miserable as possible. I’ve tried so hard and for so long to make my illnesses disappear. I give up now. I give in. I don’t have it in me to fight anymore…it’s not worth it to me. I can’t envision myself being healthy. I cannot envision a life that is not plagued by attachment and abandonment issues, sprinkled with bouts of depression and anxiety.

My attachment and abandonment issues are so blatantly obvious to me that I don’t understand how I could have gone so long without seeing it. I knew, from a very young age, that my attachment issues were not normal…I just didn’t know why…and I still don’t know why…but at least now I have a name for the disorder that makes me this way…I just don’t have the answer as to how I came to have the disorder. What went wrong to make me this way? From what I’ve read…it’s uncommon for genetics to be a factor. Something went wrong somewhere in childhood and has managed to fuck up my entire life from adolescence on. I can probably count all of the relationships I have fucked up and/or gotten attached to in an unhealthy way. Growing up, I remember being fond of most of my female teachers. I was that proverbial teacher’s pet…the perfect student. (Well, from about 5th grade on. I was a bit of a handful until my 5th grade teacher figured out that I was bored in class because I was done with my work and had learned all they could teach me. I spent most of my lunches and recesses in detention in elementary school. I also spent a lot of time in a counselor’s office…both in school and outside of school…trying to find answers for my behavior. It took many years and a male teacher to figure out that all I needed was more of a challenge and more work to keep me busy. From then on, “extra credit” became a part of my daily vocabulary. Hell, sometimes I did extra work just to stay sane and busy…I could’ve cared less if I got any actual credit or grade from it. I can see you questioning my absence from honors classes. I will give you the answer: the other students. Yes, you normally find nerds and other over-achievers like myself in honors classes…but you will also find the popular girls and boys and the cliques that every other classroom has. I actually found the bullying, teasing, and ostracism worse in my honors classes than I did in my regular classrooms. So while my teachers insisted that I stay in the honors classes…because of the bullying, I chose to stay in regular classrooms and do a lot of extra work…oftentimes, without credit. Many of my A grades arrived without the annotation that I had achieved that A with a grade percentage greater than 100%.) The first instance of attachment, I think, came in the 8th grade. That was a very horrible year for me. Not only did I have the crazy hormones of an adolescent trying to learn how to walk…I had the added weight of the entire grade on my back. And no, I’m not exaggerating or trying to use a metaphor. From 6th grade through 8th grade, I was in a middle school (it was just before I entered the 6th grade, where grades K through 6 were still in elementary schools, that the district decided upon middle schools and moved the grades 6 through 8 into middle schools; a new middle school had just been built down the street from my childhood home and grade school…my class was the first class to go through all three grades in the new school). During the 6th grade, I had somehow found myself hanging out with the same three girls…SP, JM and ST. This was our group…through thick and thin…boy problems and sleep overs…the four of us were rarely seen apart. We let other people in and out of our group over the years, but the four of us remained a constant…until the 8th grade. I cannot pinpoint the exact day or time of year this happened…but it happened early enough to screw the rest of the year up for me…and probably set me up for what would be the rest of my life (friendship/trust issues…ostracism and being alone). SP was the proverbial bad girl…the one who talked back to her parents and did things she wasn’t supposed to do. JM was quiet and shy…a people/parent pleaser. ST had issues in her home life and was the goofy and cynical one. She was the one usually cracking the jokes, talking back to the teachers, and when we called each other, she was often the one being yelled at in the background. I was the goody-two-shoes…the nice one, the dependable one, the one who got good grades, stayed out of trouble and the one whom all the teachers loved. I can’t tell you how many “pleasure to have in class” comments I got back when they actually wrote and sent out report cards. At some point during the summer before 8th grade, SP and JM had formed a tighter bond and while the four of us were all still close, SP and JM had a secondary bond. They would skip school together and do things they shouldn’t do…then report to ST and I the next day. Back before text messages were invented, we had ornately folded notes that we passed back and forth and were confiscated by some teachers. One particular day, SP and JM said that they had cut school in order to stay at SP’s house (without parental supervision) with some boys they met…and they lost their virginity. I am quite sure, if I dive into my box of notes that I (mistakingly) kept, I will find the notes where SP and JM dish out the details of this little excursion. We were still young then…12 and 13…but we knew enough to know what sex was and the dangers of it (STDs, pregnancy, etc.). Apparently, this wasn’t a deterrent for SP and JM…but I was profoundly disturbed and upset to learn that two of my closest friends had not only cut school, but did so to have sex…and not just with any two boys…two boys over the age of 18 at the time and both of whom had a criminal record. I remember writing notes to the girls, asking what it felt like, etc…the curiosity…but I also remember writing them notes telling them of the dangers of not only sex, but of getting involved with boys who were so much older. This is an age-old argument…5 years, give or take, is nothing to those of us who are 20 and older…but the difference between 13 and 18 is quite drastic, in my opinion. I let my thoughts and worries be known to the girls…warning them of STDs and pregnancy. (While I never gloated about it, I sat back in high school and watched SP become a teenage mother…by none other than the man she had skipped school to have sex with back in 8th grade. I have to give her credit, though, because she kept the baby and went on to marry the same man and have three more children with him. JM married SP’s cousin and has a toddler. ST had pre-marital sex and got pregnant…she was/is a Jehovah’s Witness and this was a big no-no. She married that man and went on to have another child with him. Guess who is unmarried and childless? All three girls have friended me on Facebook and as you read on, you will probably wonder why. I don’t have an answer. We have never discussed the events of 8th grade.) Instead of acknowledging what I was saying and giving their actions a second thought, SP and JM (along with ST) decided, instead, to start bullying me and teasing me because I, at that point, had never had a boyfriend, let alone any sort of sexual encounter…that’s, at least, what they thought. SP and JM started making a habit of cutting school to sleep with these two guys and it only made me more upset and concerned. That year, I had the most teachers ever. In elementary school, you usually have one core teacher…then the occasional PE or music teacher mixed in. Throughout 6th and 7th grade, we had two main core teachers that taught us four basic subjects, then we had our elective teachers…which usually amounted to a total of about four teachers over the course of the year. In 6th grade…I found myself uniquely attached to my PE teacher…of ALL the subjects I hated, it was PE…if it was cardio day, the groan always came from me…but if it was dodgeball day or softball day…I was all, “It’s on, bitches!” (I once hit a line drive straight into a male pitcher’s nuts…one of the best moments of my life.) I had my PE teacher, Ms. W, in my life throughout all of middle school. Nothing major, but a close bond…she saw something special in me and I saw the same in her. I was usually, at some point, either in her actual PE class, a teacher’s aide for her or helping manage any of the sports teams she coached. She was pretty cool…we never got too personal, but she fell victim to my sharp wit…and I fell victim to hers. Ms. W never gave up on me and was always one who could make me laugh, even if I was feeling prickly. We drifted apart as I moved up in school and I didn’t find out until a few years ago (after I found her online and e-mailed her) that she actually moved to where I had been living with my boyfriend E at the time (across the state I live in). I kick myself for not knowing this sooner because I would have been able to see her while I was living there. She is someone I will always be fond of. I have to give her props though…she pulled the best April Fool’s Day prank on me ever. I reported to her office as an aide one April 1st and she looked at me dead on, totally serious, and said we needed to talk. My heart stopped because I was like, oh shit…what did I do? She told me that it was concerning my grade in her class…I was failing. I don’t think I need to reiterate that the letter F was not ever in my vocabulary (I also need not tell you that I can be quite gullible at times). My face dropped and my eyes started to well up with tears…and after she saw the expression on my face…she lost it in a fit of giggles and asked how I could ever fail a class, being the kind of student I was, and just by being a teacher’s aide (a very easy A). She then hugged me as she wiped away my tears…of the near heart attack, relief, or laughter…I’m not sure. In the words of MasterCard: priceless. In 8th grade, I now had a teacher for each of the four core subjects (two for my math class) along with the two elective teachers, for a total of 7 teachers…and I had quite the combination that year. I hated my science teacher, who was a cocky young male that all the girls giggled and crooned over. I hated him because he was so full of himself and seemed hell-bent on making my life miserable that year…never mind the fact that I hated basic science as a general rule. (This was the teacher that I would later be accused of flipping off and suspended for two days. In actuality, it was SP and ST who flipped him off behind his back for splitting the three of us up during a group project. A boy saw SP or ST do it and tattled…I can’t remember who instigated the gesture, but it doesn’t really matter because they both did it. Of course, if one girl goes down, we all go down…so ST and SP told the principal I had done it, too…when in actuality, I had done no such thing. But I couldn’t convince the principal of this because he essentially had two eye-witnesses saying they saw me do it. I remember being in his office and he called my mom to inform her of what I had “done” and of my punishment. I will never forget…he had my mom on speakerphone and told her that I had flipped off a teacher…and my mom asked him if it was Mr. Science Teacher…and when the principal confirmed that it was, my mom actually laughed. The principal was not pleased and sent me home with a two-day suspension…I did not receive any further punishment from my parents. During this time, I was not supposed to be allowed to do any of my makeup work or get any of my assignments from my teachers. But either my teachers believed that I didn’t do it or I was really just in their good graces because I got my assignments anyway and returned to school, two days later, no further behind in my assignments than I had been when I left. That was the last school punishment I ever received…not a single detention for the rest of my career in the public school system. Looking back now, I wish I had actually flipped the guy off. I mean, if I’m going to get suspended no matter what, I might as well commit the crime I was accused of, you know? It would have let me get some anger out of my system. I mean…if I’m gonna go to jail for kicking the shit out of someone and I didn’t really do it…fuck that…I’m gonna go do it…at least then I would have deserved my punishment. Thank God for the ‘double jeopardy’ law.) I had a split math class…one teacher taught the first half of the week and another teacher taught the second half, alternating Wednesdays. I liked them both but nothing major. I did end up babysitting for one of them occasionally. I had a history teacher who I butted heads with like no other. We spent the first part of the year biting each other’s heads off. I did my work just fine…it was my attitude that was the problem…my filter and sarcastic remarks got out of line. It was my English teacher who became the referee and finally got us to get along with each other…how, I don’t recall…but I do have that history teacher as a friend on Facebook. It was my English teacher that made the difference for me that year…Mrs. S. Not only was she teaching my favorite subject up to this point, she did so with a panache that I fell in love with. I can’t tell you what made me like her so much or what led up to my attachment…I can only tell you that it happened. When I found out what SP and JM were doing on their “days off”, I was an aide as an elective for Mrs. S…and it happened to be my first period of the day. I would help grade assignments and make copies…anything she needed help with. Mornings, back then, were spent arriving at school and finding our cliques (we always met by the Coke machine outside the cafeteria) and gossiping until the first bell rang, signaling first period. One day, I walked into Mrs. S’s room clearly distraught. I don’t remember if I walked in crying, but I remember crying. Instead of making me work and doing other things that she needed to do in order to prepare for the day, we spent that period talking. I told her what SP and JM were doing…not because I wanted to tattle, but because I was very concerned for my friends’ health and safety…I didn’t like the idea of them cutting school and being alone with two boys who were clearly up to no good. I don’t remember when I started cleaning Mrs. S’s house and then, eventually, babysitting her two girls…but it had started before this situation arose with my friends…so I was already “in” with Mrs. S to a degree…but I was not at a point of attachment yet. I was thoroughly thrilled at getting a “behind the scenes” peak at the lives of teachers…seeing that they had children and homes and dirty bathrooms, too. I remember being told by Mrs. S to keep my house cleaning and child-rearing adventures under wraps, at least as far as talking about it with other students. I didn’t realize it at the time…but she was actually saving me from further torture and bullying and teacher’s pet insults…and she didn’t want other students thinking that I was getting the A+++++++ simply because I had scrubbed her toilet really good and got her youngest to use the potty before having an accident. The other teachers knew, but the students didn’t…and that was just fine with me. That year was also the year I learned about liability and how it relates to a teacher’s role in a student’s life. If a teacher was given information about abuse at home or other information that was harmful to a student, they were liable to report it. Neither Mrs. S (I will call her T from here on out…it took me many years to stop calling her Mrs. S and to start calling her T…I need not revert now) nor myself could have anticipated what would happen when she told the principal what SP and JM were up to. I don’t remember exactly how it all came about…but T received the information by the end of first period and I was taken out of my last class of the day before the bell rang and driven home by her (even though I was only a short walk from home) because threats on my life had been made. When I arrived at school the next day, I was greeted with great disdain and a lot of “fan mail” from the entire 8th grade class…notes threatening my life, telling me how horrible I was for tattling on my friends, how I had better watch my back because someone was going to “beat my ass” (I still have some of those notes…don’t ask me why). This was the end of many friendships that had taken three years to build and just the beginning of what school would be like for the rest of year. I spent the rest of the year immediately reporting to T’s classroom upon stepping foot on to school grounds (she was still my first period) and if she was absent or late, I was to report next door to my history teacher. I don’t remember having to do this for the whole year, but for a time…I ate my lunch in T’s classroom or in the teacher’s lounge; the cafeteria was not a safe place for me to be. This was not a secret to the other students and only gave them more ammunition. All of my teachers were on alert to keep me separated from the girls and to just keep a general eye on me at all times. After school, I was either taken home to my house, picked up by someone else, or taken home by T to clean her house or watch her children. Here is where the first attachment happened. Not only did I have a true affection for T and what she had done for me, we had developed a relationship that was very new to me and very comforting and reliable. I was never once mad at her for putting me in the position I now found myself in…the thought to blame her never crossed my mind, actually. I never felt that it was intentional. I felt safe talking to her about pretty much anything and I was grateful that I knew someone with “power” who was able to watch my back for me. It was at this point where the fantasies started…where I would envision myself upset, crying, in a bad situation of some sort and T “coming to my rescue” with hugs and tissues and caresses. This is what got me to sleep at night, imagining the scenario and the caring caresses. It still gets me to sleep today, only with different scenarios and different people showing me affection. My relationship with T continued through the rest of that year, into high school and throughout college. We only started to drift apart as her girls got older and she/they no longer needed me. We kept in touch through the mail and occasionally met for lunch or dinner…and while the abandonment was never intentional…it has happened over time. The girls are grown now; one just graduated high school and is in her first year of college and T moved on from being an English teacher to being a principal herself in a district further away. We just drifted apart, each of us tending to our own lives. I won’t attach abandonment to the relationship because it didn’t really happen. We just lost touch and got so wrapped up in our own lives. She is still a friend on Facebook and she cannot ever be edited out of my autobiography. At times, I wish we were closer today. She was the first person I ever idealized…at least to the degree where the BPD became evident. She was so much more than a teacher and a friend. My world revolved around her for a number of years. From 8th grade through high school graduation, I don’t think there was a single week where I didn’t see her. If you look at my high school graduation pictures…she’s in there with me. I can’t recall, but I think she came to my college graduation, too. There were other teachers that I attached myself to over the following years, including (ironically) my psychology teacher. Our relationship never went outside of the school building, but she was amazing and I loved her. We talked after school sometimes, and she really listened to anything I had to say…she made extra time for me. She even called my mom out of concern when I told her that I wasn’t trying out for the tennis team my senior year (I had played during my junior year but decided not to return because of bullying)…she knew I loved the sport and couldn’t understand why I was giving it up so easily. For graduation, she gave me a pin that was of an angel holding a tennis racket. I still have it. She watched me closely over the two years I spent in her classroom and always made the extra effort to spend a minute with me before or after school if I was especially down or if she became concerned about me. She is now also a Facebook friend and we have met a couple times over the past 10 years…including one meeting just a few months ago.

The next major attachment I remember was L. I will come back to this post later (or make a new post) and write out the details…because there’s a lot. L not only came into my life at a pivotal moment (when my mom jumped off the deep end)…she was my anchor…even after I “found God.” I would tell her and her family that God was my anchor…but in all honesty, she was. She gave me everything I needed and wanted, even when I didn’t know I needed or wanted it. Her hugs were amazing, her dinners were good, her family was lovely and provided me the stability I was lacking at home. Never mind the fact that I was 20+ years old at this point…L became the replacement for my mom. I spent the night many times and she would rub my back or stroke my face to get me to wake up in the morning. She would play with my hair and hold my hand. I knew this wasn’t “normal” at the time and it was in no way romantic…but it felt so good and seemed to satisfy every want and need I had. I was so happy…yes, my home life was a mess…but I had another home to escape to. I followed L around like a lost puppy and honestly, I got into the church and it’s related activities just to have L. I highly doubt I would have ever set foot in a church beyond a funeral or wedding if I hadn’t been scrambling for L’s love and affection. It was kind of an unspoken deal, in my opinion. I had to follow Jesus in order to be in L’s life. And I wanted to be in L’s life…so what did I do? I followed Jesus…or at least pretended to. I wasn’t faking the entire time. The more I read and heard…I was honestly questioning if there was someone who would, in fact, be there for me and love me no matter what I did…because that’s exactly what I wanted…but I didn’t like having to “believe” in it. It wasn’t enough to just know or believe…it had to be tangible. I gave it a whole-hearted try for quite some time, honestly wondering if I could transfer my need for love and attention to someone who had never been seen and was, for lack of a better phrase, a fictional character in a book. But like I said, that wasn’t enough. It didn’t help matters any when L abandoned ship, quite literally. (She abandoned me during a cruise in 2006 and left me alone in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.) My initial reaction was to think that God was punishing me for not turning to Him after my dad died and for not depending on Him to meet my needs and instead, depended on L to meet my needs. After L left, I pretty much said, to God, “Fuck you and the silver lining you rode in on.” I don’t see my dad’s death as an intentional abandonment. My dad was not an affectionate person and we weren’t close in a physical or emotional sense. We had an unspoken bond of “Daddy’s little girl” and when that was taken away…well…you can see the emotional mess that created. I don’t feel like anyone intentionally took my dad away from me or that my dad intentionally abandoned me…but I can see where my subconscious might see his death as abandonment. I no longer had a mom and dad to depend on…I was forced to depend on the one person I wanted to depend on the least…my mom. My dad’s death coupled with L’s intentional abandonment was probably what led me down the road I have followed up to now. L’s abandonment was the ultimate rejection…because it was intentional and it was from someone I held in such a high regard. I remember “getting in trouble” with L and her husband B once and I was physically ill with the remorse I felt and at the thought of losing her. I remember being in the shower, getting ready for work, and I threw up because I was so distraught. It was at that point that I knew I had placed L on a pedestal…and I think she and B knew, too…if not then, soon thereafter…because I was reprimanded more than once for putting L before God. And look what good it did me. My world crashed when she left. I didn’t think I could live without her. I didn’t know what to do with myself. L was my everything and was, in some way, involved in my life on a daily basis up until the day she left me alone on that cruise ship. I didn’t think it was possible to hurt more than I did after my dad left and she left. You probably could have stabbed me, shot me, punched me…done anything to me and I wouldn’t have felt more pain than I did at that time in my life. Well…until this last year. I don’t know how I continued walking after the L debacle…but my walk led me to other people I could replace her with.

At this point, I was still involved with the church and because of my volunteer work in the church nursery, I was #1 on many family’s lists of babysitters. Through this, I met some lovely women (and children, whom I adored). I never met one I didn’t like, but I didn’t attach myself to all of them. Some I held in higher regard than others, but nothing to the extent at which I held L. I don’t know if it was because I learned that there was no other L or if it was because I had learned a very valuable lesson in not putting all my eggs in one basket. Regardless of the lesson learned, it didn’t stick for long…because in walked S. I was thoroughly convinced, at this point, that I would never find another L…I would never find another person to love me the way she did and meet my needs the way I wanted them to be met. S proved me wrong. I met her through another family I was babysitting for and the relationship started when I started watching her two boys. I would make them dinner and get them into bed and when S and her husband would come home late, he would go off to get ready for bed and S and I would stay up and talk. She knew about my relationship with L and that it was over, but she didn’t know, at first, the circumstances surrounding it. Over a period of time, she learned it all. S, in actuality, was not much older than I was at the time…I must have been about…22 or 23 at the time…and during our friendship, S had her 30th birthday. I cannot tell you how many years separates us now, but I know that it’s not that much. Even though S was married and had children and was clearly at a different spot in life, we still had a lot in common and we quickly formed a great friendship. S was perfect in every way…the perfect friend. If I could have designed a friend myself, I couldn’t have come up with S on my own. Sherrie became my go-to friend…the one I would call when I was upset and I would become the same for her. She would vent her frustrations about her stepson and his mom (S’s husband had been married once before) and I never said no when she asked me to babysit. She never took advantage of me, but I wanted to be that ultimate friend for her…the one she could count on…the one she could call no matter what and the one that could be at her house in 5 minutes in an emergency where she had to leave and couldn’t take the boys. I was still dealing with my dad’s death, my issues with my mom and L’s abandonment…but L was quickly put behind me as S replaced her. At one point, I had suffered two kidney stone attacks just a few months apart. S never came to the ER (I had attached myself to a couple of females at work who lived close to me and drove me to and from the hospital) but one time, I remember being on the phone with S after I got home from a day in the ER and she insisted on coming over and just sitting with me, to comfort me and help me because I was alone, living by myself. I remember being adamant that she didn’t have to come over, but she insisted, so I let her. She came and made me something to eat and made me take my pain killers and she sat on my couch and watched TV with me as I drifted in and out of an opiate-induced delirium. She sat with me most of the night, her arms around me, stroking my feverish forehead…it was honestly one of the best nights of my life, even if I did have kidney stones…it was better than sex (even though I was still a virgin at that point…I should probably just take the “better than sex” comment out because, to me, most everything is better than sex…but I think you get my point about how amazing that night was). S was an amazing friend and was more than I could have ever asked for and I did my best to be that friend in return. But…I fucked up. There was no price I had to pay for S or her love and affection. She was everything I wanted and needed and I was never reprimanded for my obvious love for her…but one day, I found out (or she told me) that she had invited another young girl over to spend the night because she was having a hard time at home. I don’t remember the specifics but I became incensed. I was so unjustifiably jealous. I had spend the night at S’s before…so it’s not like that other girl got something I didn’t…but in my distorted view, S was replacing me and spreading her love to someone else…and that did not sit well with me. I hadn’t learned how to bottle my emotions yet…so instead of just keeping my mouth shut and ruminating in my own emotions, I let S know exactly how I felt…and she politely bowed out of my life and said she needed some space. I had been punched in the stomach again. I became mad at myself for letting another person like L into my life and for letting myself get hurt again. Part of me was mad at S, but part of me was mad at myself for getting involved in the relationship and for being so unjustifiably jealous of that other girl, imagining she was getting something I wasn’t. It wasn’t long after this that I stopped going to church altogether. It is very awkward to be in the same auditorium with someone whom you had such an intimate relationship with and were no longer speaking to. And I was so mad at God at that point that I flipped Him the bird as I walked out of the church for the last time. I don’t know how it happened, but S and I started talking again after I came home from living with E. I think we briefly talked before I even moved…she stated that she disagreed with my decision and warned me to think carefully about what I was doing. The move wasn’t wrong…but moving in with a man whom I was not married to was frowned upon by more than just S. I took the e-mails in stride and moved anyway. When I came home, S found out somehow and e-mailed me to say that she was glad I was back in town, sorry that things didn’t work out, and asked me to lunch. Despite all the rejection and hurt I felt when she left me, I didn’t hesitate to meet her for lunch and we have continued a relationship to this day…but it is very different than it was before. I’m not sure if it’s my doing or S’s, or both of us. We still hug and share our lives with each other…but it is very few and far between. I have watched her boys a couple of times since I’ve been home, but they are older now and don’t really need me anymore. I have seen S just a handful of times in the last 5 years…and I’m totally okay with it. I still love her to bits and would do anything for her, but my life and emotional stability is no longer dependent on her. She is still a great friend and one that I could easily talk to late into the night…but we’ve each moved on and have gotten lost in our own lives…taking a minute here and there just to say hi. One of which was just recently. I was changing my sheets on my bed and put on a cute sheet set which S had purchased for me years before. I smiled at the memory and sent her a quick message on Facebook to say that I was thinking of her. She, in turn, responded by asking me over to dinner. I haven’t done much socializing over the last year and it takes more than a crowbar to pry me out of my room these days…but I did not hesitate for one minute when S asked me over for dinner. I said yes, I’d love to have dinner with her. She knows a little bit about what has gone on in the last year, but she doesn’t know everything. I posted one note on Facebook about my initial suicide attempt…but I haven’t ever spoken of that again (on Facebook) or of the last two suicide attempts and countless ups and downs I’ve experienced over the last year…to me, it’s personal and not something that needs to be shared publicly. I wrote the initial note because I was getting inundated with people asking me what was going on (rumors spread like wild fire!)…so I wrote a general note and posted it for everyone to see, hoping it would answer everyone’s questions. I read that note now and laugh at the hope in my words…how stupid of me. S ended up getting sick and had to cancel our dinner date. Rejection yes, but I tried not to take it too harshly. It wasn’t her fault and she wasn’t one to cancel dates at the last minute. But I was still disappointed. I’ve left the ball in her court, telling her to let me know when (and if) she wants to meet up again and I’ve let the situation go, not wanting to appear too needy by incessantly bugging her about a time to meet up. Chances are, she will forget…but that’s okay. I’ve come to expect that and I try not to take it as a rejection…instead just trying to convince myself that she’s living a busy and normal life and that she has just honestly forgotten to reschedule…not knowing that I am literally biting at the bit to see her. Big deal to me…inconsequential to her. Again, something I’ve come to expect…not just from her, but from anyone who forms a relationship with me.

If I haven’t said it already, I have had many attachments over the course of my life…I am just outlining the major ones. My next major (although short) attachment came shortly after I started working at a pharmacy. This particular pharmacy was small, consisting of just three techs and two pharmacists (three if you count the clinical pharmacist…she opened and closed, but wasn’t IN the pharmacy working with us during the day unless we got busy). I liked my boss and all of my coworkers immediately. They were all very nice and patient with me while I learned the system. Their patience turned to amazement when I picked up everything so quickly and was doing a stellar job. I was just what that pharmacy needed and they loved me. I rocked that shit and I was the happiest I had been in years…all the rejections and abandonment, all the ups and downs…it was all worth it to feel like I was finally back on track with my life. I had returned to school, and while it wasn’t the psych degree I wanted from a four-year university…it was a means to an end in which I could be trained and licensed in a skill I could take anywhere with me and I could make more money than I was making with the mediocre office jobs I was taking. It also helped that I loved the work. A pharmacy is one of the best places to work if you have OCD…the meticulousness and attention to detail is a must. I also saw it as my ticket out of my mom’s house. That was my goal when I started working as a pharmacy technician there…to work my ass off and get back out on my own again. I knew being at home was a toxic environment for me and I knew I had to get out…but I needed money to do that. C and SH were my coworkers and were also technicians. SH was the lead and I immediately hit it off with her, sharing her dry sense of humor and willingness to make even the dullest tasks fun by cracking jokes. C was a little more…uptight. It took her a little longer to warm up to me and I later learned that she felt threatened by me because I out-shined her at work. My boss (and SH) was absolutely stunned that a new pharmacy student could come in, completely untrained, learn a new system and handle twice the work load and twice as many tasks as C could…after all, C had been there for over 20 years and she “knew everything.” It wasn’t long before I was getting more responsibility. C, at that point, decided to keep her friends close and her enemies closer. I was ignorant of this at the time, so I took her offer of friendship and didn’t question her motives. We really hit it off and despite the age difference (she could have easily been my mother), we seemed to have a lot in common. It wasn’t long before we were sharing long phone calls and dinner dates outside the work place. Work was going great for me…I was doing something I loved, I was doing great at it, and I liked everyone I worked with. C and I started sharing more intimate details of our lives. We seemed to have really hit it off and I took it and ran. Apparently…I ran too fast. Our friendship developed rapidly (I had only worked at this pharmacy for about a year and a half total and C transferred to another pharmacy within the company just 6 months after I started working there) and everything was going great until one day, C came into work and didn’t say much to me at all and proceeded to give me the cold shoulder. I was blindsided. I asked SH if she knew what was up and she had no answers. I later found out that this was C’s mode of operation…befriending coworkers and manipulating them to do her bidding, leaving people blindsided when she called it quits. I also found out, much later, that SH had actually thought to warn me about this when she saw that C and I were becoming friends…but SH watched from a distance…deciding, instead, to let me figure it out on my own. It was a hard lesson to learn…and an extremely uncomfortable one, too. We were too busy with work to talk and the pharmacy wasn’t really the place to sort out personal matters. I had tried calling and texting C to find out what was going on and when she finally called me back one night, she said I was too much for her and that we needed space. She said some other really hurtful things, too. I was stunned…and I hung up the phone with tears running down my face. While it was C’s mode of operation…I was not the first person she did this to…I was unaware of the attachment I had formed and the sting of the blatant rejection burned. But…I still had to work with her…at least for a while. I continued to do an amazing job and share an open and fun relationship with SH and my other coworkers. My boss, however, was being told a very different story…by C. C eventually transferred to another pharmacy and once we hired a new tech, things were back on the straight and narrow. SH and I were friends…we shared texts and lunches together sometimes…but nothing more than that.

The next part of my story starts in February 2011. I don’t get sick often, but when I do, it’s pretty bad. I got hit by something nasty in February and was in and out of work for about two weeks. I was the type of person who worked even when I was sick (I had never called in sick, real or not, before February…so for a year, I never missed a day of work)…but with a job like mine, I had to be pretty careful because more often than not, the higher-ups did not want you to come to work sick…especially if you worked in a doctor’s office. So while I tried, I struggled for about a good two weeks before I finally got back into a regular work routine again by the end of February. I had lost about 20 pounds in the course of those two weeks from not being able to keep anything down and throwing up (or the reverse) everything I tried to eat and drink. Upon my return to work, things had changed. My coworkers were now cold towards me. I had chalked it up to them being frustrated in my absence (it meant more work for them, even if they had a floater to cover my shift) and they were just tired. But things were never the same after that. I found myself very much alone and also, always getting into trouble. I wasn’t doing things any different than I had before, but all of a sudden, I was getting chastised by my boss for this or that…and I was like, WTF…I’ve been doing things this way for a year, why is it a problem now? I cannot honestly tell you what led up to my first psych ward hospitalization…I believe it was in March. I had never been to urgent care or any ER for suicidal ideations. I had thought about suicide before, but really not since high school and not with any degree of intent to carry it out. But by this time, I sincerely wanted out. I was done. And I couldn’t have told you why…then or now. So now, I was absent from work for a week here and there for a couple months. My ass was covered by the union and FMLA. The deal was signed, sealed, and delivered the day I found the e-mail. All the computers in the pharmacy were shared…we had universal logins to the main stations and individual logins for the program that contained patient medical records and the pharmacy program we used each time we helped a customer or did any work pertaining to prescriptions. One particular coworker had a penchant for window one in the pharmacy because it was in a corner and out of the view of the staff and security cameras. She could essentially “hide” and get away with doing jack-shit every day. We knew she did this and my boss knew she did this…it was no secret and she had been reprimanded many times for this behavior. Because of our constant change of work station, it was hammered into us very early on to log out of all programs when done at a particular work station. It was to ensure privacy and also left a paper trail if someone was up to no good…like if someone used the medical record program or another program under my login and was looking up things they shouldn’t have been looking up…I would get in trouble because I was the one technically logged in, even if I never actually committed the crime. All that to say that this particular coworker, who was a pharmacist, liked to waste time by being on the internet and her e-mail all the time. While the rest of us had a healthy habit of logging out of our e-mail and other programs when we were finished with them, this particular person did not. She was always leaving things open and logged in, no matter how many times she got reprimanded for it. One day, I was manning the front counter, ignoring my coworkers unless I had to communicate to finish a task. I was pretty much a pariah at this point (I never did find out what went wrong…what I did to make them hate me so much). So I was working up front, helping patients and bouncing between computers. I eventually ended up at window one and after finishing with a patient, I was logging out of the programs I had logged into and noticed that this particular coworker had left her e-mail open. Knowing I couldn’t be seen by anyone else or by the cameras…I brought up the screen. It was there that I found the e-mail exchange between her and SH and it was then that I realized what had been going on for the last 3 months. SH and this lady were trying to get me fired. I wasn’t being randomly chastised for my little inconsistencies and clothing choices…I was being tattled on by my coworkers and blatantly targeted. I didn’t have much time to read the entire exchange, but I remember reading, “We got her for the piercing…now let’s get her for the tattoo.” Around this time, I was becoming a little bit indignant and was getting tired of being reprimanded all the time…so I got a little cynical and defiant at times. One such incident occurred when I got my lip pierced. I knew that it was against the dress code and I knew that it would not go unnoticed (especially by my boss, the dress code Nazi)…but I did it anyway…purely out of impulse and defiance. Needless to say, I paid dearly for my behavior. But in turn, I became even more indignant and defiant. I purposely became lax in my work and chose to challenge the dress code (the tattoo the e-mail was referring to was the one on my wrist, which I often had covered by a watch…but I had become careless about covering it up) and at one point, when I had been called out of the pharmacy by my boss to be reprimanded for yet another infraction…she actually asked me if I was trying to get fired. Subconsciously, the answer was probably yes…but I don’t remember the actual answer I gave her. My union representative knew all of this was going on. She had been called in a few times to be witness to my punishments and was my “defense lawyer” of sorts. I was in constant contact with her, trying to save my own ass and wondering if what I was being subjected to was fair. The day I saw that e-mail…I stood agape for a minute because I could not believe what I had just read. My astonishment quickly turned to anger when I had finally pieced all the puzzle pieces together and realized that the last 3 months of hell were all because of these two coworkers. There were customers to be waited on, but I was in no mood. I grabbed my cell phone and flew out of the pharmacy. It was mid-afternoon at this point…around 2 or 3 PM and I believe it was also on a Friday. I shut myself in an exam room and called my union rep, telling her what I had just found and asked her if I would be okay to leave. I think I tried to call my boss first, to ask if I could leave, but I couldn’t get a hold of her and I was too angry to finish my shift. I had to know that my job was secure, even if I walked out that day. My union rep said it was justifiable and that she would do the same in my situation, but she told me to call my boss back and leave a message and also send her an e-mail about what had happened. I went back to the pharmacy, collected my things, and left. I didn’t say a word to anyone. I was seething. Suicide had not entered my mind at this point…I was too angry to think about much else. My mom wasn’t aware of everything that was going on, but she knew a little bit…I didn’t share much voluntarily. I don’t remember that weekend…I was either too blinded by anger or the amount of morphine I later ingested impeded my memory. I don’t know when I reached my suicide decision…but the discovery of that e-mail was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I know I attempted to take my life on June 7th, 2011…and up until recently, I thought that was a Monday…but it was actually a Tuesday. I don’t remember if I worked Monday or not, but I remember calling in “sick” on Tuesday. My plan did not take long to concoct and was formed the night before…it came rather easily, if I remember correctly. I worked in a pharmacy…I had access to the C-II safe…morphine is a C-II drug…morphine overdoses kill people…and I had access to the morphine. A few quick Google searches gave me all the information I needed to make my final plan. I knew it was illegal to steal medication and the consequences were severe, legally and beyond…but I wasn’t planning on being around to receive punishment. I got up at my regular time that Tuesday and pretended to get ready for work in order to fool my mom. I left the house and drove to the pharmacy. I don’t know what happened to my name badge (which was also my pharmacy key)…I wasn’t one to misplace things of such importance (I later found out that my boss actually had my badge, but I have no idea how she got it)…but I got the opening pharmacist to let me in the pharmacy on the ruse that I had to collect some paperwork from my drawer. I didn’t need my key to open the safe and the pharmacy wasn’t going to be open for another hour and the pharmacist left to retrieve the morning stock delivery. I was alone in the pharmacy and I knew I had just a few short minutes to get in and get out before I was caught. I knew there were security cameras aimed at the safe and I knew it wouldn’t take long for the alarm bells to sound. I opened the safe and took two bottles of the highest strength morphine we had (60 mg extended-release). I knew my tolerance was high and I wanted to make sure I had enough to get the job done. I took them and walked coolly back to my car. I drove to the store to get some orange juice, already knowing there was a bottle of vodka in the freezer at home. I had done enough research to know that the morphine itself would be enough to kill me, but alcohol would help in ensuring my demise…and I was determined. By the time I got home, my mom still hadn’t left for work. This surprised me and I got some butterflies in my stomach, but I went back to my room anyway. It turned out my mom wasn’t feeling well and was just running a little behind. Before she left for work, she made no effort to hide her disappointment and reprimanded me severely for staying home from work yet again, saying that I was going to get fired if I kept it up. She left the house angry at me…not knowing what I was about to do. I knew it would be the last time we spoke and I knew those would be her last words to me…she didn’t (she would later be upset that those could have very well been her last words to me). My original plan was to ingest the morphine in a parking lot somewhere in order to avoid being found before I wanted to be found. I don’t know why I changed my mind, but I did…and once I got home, I knew that suicide is what I wanted and while nothing was going to change my mind…I found that I wanted comfort…I wanted my blankets and my cat with me until the end…my only comforts in what I saw as my personal hell. I wrote a brief suicide note and I took all the morphine…all 200 pills…all 12 grams…and chased the pills down with a screwdriver. While the morphine I ingested was extended-release…unconsciousness did not take long. I was already feeling drowsy before I finished taking all the pills and when I finally laid down…I laid down on my back, grabbed my blankets, and just asked the Lord or whomever was out there that they just set me free and I said that I was sorry for all I had done and for what I was about to do. CE, a friend on the east coast, knew I was having a rough time and had ILoveYourecently sent me some flowers with a balloon that said “I love you.” The balloon was floating up around my ceiling and it was the last thing I remember seeing before I closed my eyes and gave in to unconsciousness. I was completely at peace as I closed my eyes…I had no regrets and I knew that this is what I wanted. What happened over the next 24-48 hours is here-say and the details were later given to me by my mom, her boyfriend, and my union rep because I don’t remember any of it. After giving in to unconsciousness, the next thing I remember is waking up…at least as far as being conscious…I never opened my eyes. I was confused at first, wondering if I was in heaven or hell…wondering if I was dead. I felt something in my mouth and throat and I tried to lift my hands to my face to feel what it was…but I couldn’t…my hands were strapped to the side of a hospital bed in the ICU. I was intubated…and alive…and I was mad. My mom was there…I heard her voice…and she knew, by my movements, that I was conscious. She was holding my left hand and told me that she didn’t care what I had done, that she still loved me and was here. Meanwhile, I was trying to yank my hand out of hers…but I couldn’t because of the restraints…I was livid. My mom later told me that I had tears running down my face most of the time I was unconscious. I didn’t find out until later that I was purposely sedated for my own protection and not unconscious because of the effects of the morphine I had ingested, like I originally thought. I was also told later that the security cameras had caught me taking the morphine the moment I did it and security did not waste any time informing my boss. My boss took my action as yet another reason, on her already long list, to fire me. She consulted HR who then consulted the legal department who, in turn, told my boss to do nothing. My boss wanted to contact our union rep, but was advised not to. After hours of fucking around, my boss was finally given the okay to call the union rep. After she was informed about what I had done, the union rep lit my boss’s ass on fire for not calling her sooner and for not notifying the police…because the union rep knew immediately that my gesture was a suicidal one, not a ruse to get my boss to fire me. Despite the repercussions she might incur, the union rep took it upon herself to call the police who where immediately dispatched to my home…three hours after ingesting the morphine. I was already unconscious, blue, and not breathing by the time two police officers crawled in through my mom’s bathroom window. I was told later that had it been just one minute later, I would not have survived. I don’t believe in God anymore…but I do believe that all things happen for a reason…that nothing is an accident. As much as I want to say it was an accident that I was found when I was, I know in my heart that it wasn’t. I woke up in the hospital angry. I was angry that I had been saved…that my decision was taken away from me. Even though I was found, I was angry at my boss and the company I had worked for for waiting so long to act. I secretly hoped that my boss felt really shitty for ignoring my obvious cries for help in the preceding months and nearly costing me my life, even if death was exactly what I wanted. (After the suicide attempt, the union rep told my boss to cut off all contact with me and that if my boss needed something from me, she was to contact the union rep who would, in turn, contact me. Despite this, my boss called me directly once to ask, point blank, if I was going to resign…I had to do this in order to avoid being prosecuted for theft from a pharmacy, which is a felony. I wanted to say, “No, Boss…I’ll see you at 8 AM on Monday.” but I kept my mouth shut. My boss never once asked how I was doing or expressed any relief that I was alive. Neither did any of my former coworkers when I would later go to the pharmacy to pick up the medications I now had to take to keep me sane.) My suicide attempt was never done to get back at those who had wronged me. It was not, and never will be, out of revenge. I wanted out…I was done. I had spent 27 years on a roller coaster that never ended and I was tired and worn out. I woke up in the hospital angry and I haven’t stopped being angry for 18 months. The intensity of my anger has waxed and waned over time, but it is high again as I write this because I see all the damage I have done over the last 18 months and I know that it could have all been prevented if I had not been found and saved. I am again angry at the people who saved my life because I see the path of destruction I have left in my wake. People don’t understand how much better everything would be had I just died. I have drained my mother of her financial resources. She also thinks I am hell-bent on getting back at her for wronging me somehow. She thinks I “continue to do this to her” because I somehow relish in her sorrow and seeing the effect each suicide attempt has on her. She couldn’t be further from the truth. I have done nothing over the last year except sink further into my own emotions. I have done nothing but sit here and rot in this room, wasting time and resources. I leave the house only when I have doctor and therapy appointments. If it weren’t for those, I don’t think I’d leave the house at all. While there will always be those who disagree with me, surviving was a mistake. Letting me survive…saving my life…it was all a mistake. We, as humans, will never know the far-reaching affects we have on people’s lives. This goes for good decisions and bad ones. Yes, my “bad” decision to end my life would have affected a lot of people at that time…but other people’s “good” decision to save my life has affected more people than my successful suicide would have…my family and those who have spent time working with me over the last 18 months have put themselves, unknowingly, in harm’s way. My therapist initially had the choice of working with me or not. I assume, that after the first time we met, she had the decision to keep me or pass me off to someone else. If she didn’t, she should talk to her boss about revising the employee handbook. If she did have a choice, I think she picked the wrong one.

I have never been “attached” to a therapist before. This a new one for me…but I also haven’t been through many therapists. The one I was seeing before the first suicide attempt made it very easy to be distant and vague. She was just there to listen, throw in some criticism and advice on how to “better my life” and sent me on my way. She did absolutely nothing for me and there was no relationship formed at all. After I got out of the hospital last June, it was mandatory that I see my psychiatrist and a therapist within my first week home. Having had trouble contacting my therapist at the time, I was assigned (by the hospital and/or my doctor’s) to see SS that first week. I might have been too angry to give SS a chance. I don’t remember much of the session, other than being angry and giving her very short and terse answers to the questions she was asking me. I didn’t want to see her again. I saw my psychiatrist later that week and after I recounted the events of that week and how my appointment with SS went, he expressed his frustration in trying to communicate with my other therapist at the time and suggested that I start seeing a therapist that was employed by healthcare organization in order to better care for me. If I got on that track, everyone would be connected and communication regarding my care would be a lot easier for everyone involved. I consented, figuring I didn’t have much to lose. I wasn’t attached to the therapist I had been seeing for the last few months. The only reason I chose her was because I could get appointments that didn’t interfere with my work schedule. If I had chosen an in-house therapist at the time, I had to conform to the 8 to 5 Monday through Friday rule…a rule that my coworkers and boss weren’t going to make easy for me to follow. They resented me more and more with each day or afternoon I took off for an appointment. It didn’t matter if my life was on the line. After my suicide attempt, I, of course, had nothing to lose and time constraints were no longer an issue as I was no longer employed. My psychiatrist asked if he could suggest someone for me to see within the organization. I said sure…and he sent me on my way with a note to make a follow-up appointment with him and to schedule an appointment with a therapist named M. I don’t know if he suggested her because he thought she would be a really good match for me, personality-wise…or if it was out of convenience, seeing that her schedule wasn’t packed and she hadn’t yet reached her maximum case-load. Remember, there are no accidents…so however flippant the decision was to place me with her, it was a very good match…maybe too good, looking back now. Even though first appointments with therapists are pretty routine and mundane, I liked her immediately. I liked her personality, the way she worked, the way she empathized, the way she validated…and I liked the way she answered my question when I asked her if it was okay to swear. She had no idea about the can of worms she had opened. From that first session on, 50 minutes flew by in what seemed like just 10. I always left feeling that I hadn’t even made a dent in what I wanted to say. Half the time, I felt like I wasted a lot of time by crying…it seemed, at least in those early days, that I rarely left her office without tears. Thinking now, I can’t remember the last time I cried in front of her. If I were to take a guess…it was probably the day I said goodbye to her before my last suicide attempt…her being oblivious that I was saying goodbye (although later she later admitted that her “gut” told her that something wasn’t right…I see that as a testament to the intensity of our relationship and our powerful bond). As I reread this, I will update the recollection of the last tear I shed…it was in group the day after. M, the optimist, sees our relationship as being really beneficial…not only to me, but to her as well…stating that she has learned a lot from working with me. While I don’t regret ever meeting her, I regret letting myself get attached to her and I regret the degree to which I have (and will) affected her and her career. It was never intentional. When I made my first appointment with M, I walked in expecting nothing. I walked in with the intention of just following my doctor’s advice…I planned on NOT getting attached and not investing too much time and effort into the relationship and just giving M all the answers she wanted to hear. I never expected to get what I have. I still don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I love her and our relationship and it’s one that I cherish…never have I been so vulnerable, honest, and trusting of a single entity. Don’t bring up T, L, or S…because while I was vulnerable with those people and didn’t build a relationship with them based on lies, I could have never called up one of those people and told them, point blank, that I was feeling suicidal and that I was angry at this or that. Even if I could have done that, it would have been met with a slew of advice and choice words about how “wrong” it was. M has never done that to me. While she doesn’t like or agree with the choice of suicide, she has validated for me, since day one, that that is a choice I will always have and one that she cannot take away from me…she can only teach me skills to use in place of suicide. She has never once chastised me for how I was feeling, however unjustified or inappropriate it was. People insist on telling me that I am lucky to be alive…that I have been given a second chance at life and I need to embrace it. M never once told me to just pull myself up by the boot straps and get on with my life as so many others were saying to me. And sometimes, what people DON’T say means more than the things they do say. While my friends’ advice may be dished out with the intention of being helpful…they don’t realize how invalidating it is. You don’t tell someone you’re angry or upset only to have them tell you to calm down and get over it. M has been ever-so-patient with me. I have now realized, far too late, how much I have attached myself to her and how much I depend on her. And this is where I question her knowledge…not her intelligence in general or of her chosen profession, but her knowledge of me, my disorder(s) and all that comes with it. Was she just as ignorant as I was up until now, or did she see it from the beginning? Have you ever wanted to ask a question, but you didn’t because you knew your heart wouldn’t be able to handle the answer? I don’t know how many of her patients, if any, are as self-aware as I am. It may be different for her, but I don’t know many people who behave or feel a certain way and can then tell someone why they do what they do or why they feel the way they do. I don’t claim to be all-knowing…because there are times when I feel certain emotions or act in a way I can’t explain. But I get more upset when I can’t find the answer than when I can. M has watched me desperately trying to find an answer for my behavior over the last three months. I was not content to just sit there and be “mindful” and just take the party I had created for what it was…I was hell-bent on finding an answer as to why I was acting that way. Perhaps, what I found was more detrimental than not knowing.

Pause for a moment and insert K. I fought M tooth and nail about going to group. I continued to fight, even when all my demands had been met and I could no longer find an excuse not to go. I went because M asked me to…and while she wasn’t facilitating at the time…K can probably attest to the fact that I made no effort to cover my disdain and irritation. It was no secret that I didn’t want to be there. But I have to give her credit where credit is due. Shutting the door in her face didn’t make her give up and stop trying to reach me. She was in no way forceful about it…she didn’t force me to talk or participate…and that, perhaps, is how she got to me…by being patient instead of pushy. That says a lot about someone…when you try your hardest to ignore them and push them away…yet they never falter or abandon their mission. K never pushed, but she never backed down either. Nothing I could do could make her go away…and believe me, I tried…hard. I still don’t know how the hell she did it…but she did. And while I love her to bits and don’t regret getting to know her, it upsets me that I have also let her into my heart and have now affected her life and career.

I look back on the last 18 months and I only see one constant: M. While I was bucking up and down with emotions, M was always there…she was stable and constant, never wavering. She was exactly what I needed…stability, compassion, validation. But I feel horrible for what I’ve done to her. Not only for taking her on this roller coaster ride with me, but for putting her on a pedestal and affecting her life (and K’s) by being placed in her path. I have made no secret about the reason I am alive right now…because of M. I can almost guarantee you that I would not be here right now if it weren’t for M. I’m just not sure if I see that as a good thing or not. I’m sure M and others see it as a good thing…but I see all the damage I have done, not only to me but to M, too. It’s damaged me because I have let M (and K) into my heart and have depended on them to get me through each week, sometimes day by day, sometimes hour by hour. Yes, I’ve learned skills and such…but none of them replace M or K. So I’ve damaged myself by letting them become my anchors. And it probably wasn’t a bad thing, initially…since it was quite obvious that I needed something to hold on to as I had nothing left to hold on to at that point. But now that I’ve been through the DBT material at least twice and I have learned some skills…I see that M is still my anchor. And unless M has something to say to the contrary, I don’t see that as a good thing…or at the very least, a healthy thing. Yes, the trust and relationship we have built is a good thing because I don’t hide anything from her…I sugarcoat nothing, even if I’m mad at her. But the relationship has gone beyond a typical therapist/client relationship. And that’s my fault. This is again where I question her. Did she let me do it or did I manipulate my way into it?

It’s hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but it’s even harder to give up when you know it’s everything you want. It has been a true test of my patience and perseverance to hang on this long, giving M the slight validation that life might get better if I can just hang on long enough. But people think suicide is a cop-out…that it’s the easy way out. I disagree. It was and is so hard to take that step to end my life…but it is even harder knowing the impact it would have on M and K. That is what I can’t let go of…that is what stops me right now. I can’t let go of M and her desperate attempts to assure me that things will get better…I want to believe her but I’m tired of waiting for something that may or may not happen…yet it is hard to give up because it is exactly what I want. It is so hard to let go and give up because M is everything I want and everything I feel I need. I know suicide is what I want, hands down. But what I can’t do is say goodbye to M and then leave her behind to sort through the mess. Don’t bring my family into this. I don’t have much of a family left…a mother and brother. I don’t count extended family for reasons I don’t feel like writing about right now. My feelings are not those of a daughter…and it’s a confusing place to be. My brain tells me that she is my mother and therefore, I am supposed to love her. I tell her I love her because she gets upset when I don’t say it back. I hug her back because her feelings get hurt if I don’t return the gesture…and it’s a lot easier to give in to the hug than it is to deal with her emotions and guilt trips. I am sure that there could be some Freudian investigation as to why I feel this way…but it’s not a concern right now. But what I care about right now is the attachment I have to M and K. Again, I am more concerned for their feelings than I am my own. It would absolutely…and probably quite literally…kill me to walk away from the both of them. But I’m weighing the pro’s and con’s…if I stay, I risk sustaining the attachment and deepening the relationship. I risk M’s feelings…K’s too. Also, if I stay, there might be a slight chance that things change and I get to a healthier place where I am not so distraught at the thought of leaving M and K and am actually able to say goodbye to the both of them without it being detrimental to my sense of self. But what if that never happens, or at least doesn’t happen before they are ripped away from me and the choice to see them or not is no longer mine, but is determined by insurance or some other force? What affect will that have on me? If this happens, it is probably going to be quite one-sided. I will take the brunt of the emotion. I will take the fall. M and K will take it in stride, chalking it up as part of your career…people come and people go…life goes on. Meanwhile, I crumble. So I weigh my options again…is it easier to walk away now, making the choice myself, rather than have someone make it for me? Or is it best to continue on with M as long as I can in hopes that I can get to that healthy life they keep talking about? Is it okay to have two anchors right now, because that’s what I need? Maybe I’m supposed to take it right now because I need it…then I’m slowly supposed to continue to work on getting better, so I can sever that attachment in a positive way and in a way that is not quite as traumatic and detrimental. I don’t know.

If I ever make it through this hellish journey, I think I probably have enough material to start my own book…or at the very least, M has enough of her own material to write a book about me.

If you took the time to read this, thank you.