A life worth living, pt. 3

For the first time this evening, it occurred to me that I am a “recovering addict.” I guess that’s kind of a loaded, stereotyped term. I have been aware for a while that I struggled with addiction. But I went to my first groups related to the issue this week. My addictions were marijuana and alcohol. Alcohol was more problem in the past, but I would switch between the two. I am not against marijuana usage, and I haven’t ruled out that I will never use it again. It had many benefits and many fond memories attached. But at the level I was smoking, for me, it was causing psychosis. And yet I still couldn’t back off even a little. A lot of people don’t think marijuana is a serious drug, but in this case, it was at risk of really fucking up my life. I wrote more about that in a previous post.

Anyway, today I had a meeting with my partner and my drug counselor and I realized I’m really really hard on myself. I’ve realized this before. But it is to the point where I don’t believe I’m deserving of love. This was a breakthrough for me. I’ve had people suggest it to me, but it never really sank in until today. I don’t trust that I deserve a loving relationship. And that’s why I’m always scared of losing it. That was a lot of the paranoia related to marijuana, and it was a self-fulfilling prophecy as I became a more and more difficult person not to love, but with whom to be in a relationship.

I’m looking back on many things differently now. There was a guy I very much wanted to be with, before I met Joey. I took his rejection very hard, because I took it as more evidence that I was not lovable- even though he was saying he did have love for me, he just didn’t want to be in a relationship with me because my life was honestly a wreck. I think about that differently now. I’m glad things happened the way they did, and I feel really lucky that I found someone who was able to be with me, through my struggles. And we’re still together.

Anyway, this is the part where I would usually berate myself for being touchy feeley or something but I don’t want to do that anymore. I feel blessed tonight and I wanted to share in writing.

The day I did nothing.

Today is already difficult. It’s 8:49 AM and I don’t have plans. I’ll be spending the day alone. I tried working a bit on my novel over coffee, but it feels very strained. My interest isn’t there. I have a number of creative projects in my queue that I don’t feel like doing. I want something new.

It’s at least sunny. I struggle worse on days without sunlight. The trees are bare, but from where I’m sitting, I can see a bird nest. The light is refreshing. November through February are hard in upstate New York. I’m trying to appreciate the sunlight, rather than wish I were somewhere else.

And so, I decided today would be the day I did nothing and to try to feel good about it. It was nearly impossible to feel all that good. I spent most the day sleeping, after picking up the apartment. I read over some of my literature for my mental health-related classes, particularly DBT. “Today,” I thought, “I will just observe.” My legs were sore from walking around Ithaca so much lately anyway. I noted colors of things. I stood outside and practiced 4-point breathing.

The most that can be said about today is I haven’t gotten really upset over anything. So there is the silver lining I suppose.

A life worth living, pt 2

Tonight I auditioned for a play. I have never been in a play before. Regardless of whether I get the part, it went really well. The play is about loneliness in the LGBTQ community. The judges responded well, and I felt elated afterwards. This is making me think I might want to try acting and/or public speaking again.

It’s funny how you can be shy but still love having an audience.

Working on DBT skills was a little difficult today. I was doing really well yesterday when working at Joey’s company. I did a repetitive task, for several hours, just losing myself in the activity. Today I was more distracted, but that’s OK. I am impressed that I really threw myself into acting, without dissociating.

I do think my people skills are getting better. My friend told me the other day at coffee that I seem much more present. That meant a lot.

Anyway! That’s all for tonight. Peace.

A life worth living, pt 1.

I judge so much that I cannot even enjoy things. I knew this, but it was something that kind of existed in the back of my head. A DBT class was what brought it to the forefront. DBT stands for Dialetical Behavioral Therapy.

“Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment developed by Marsha Linehan. It emphasizes individual psychotherapy and group skills training classes to help people learn and use new skills and strategies to develop a life that they experience as worth living. DBT skills include skills for mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.”

I took a class on this in high school when I was diagnosed with Borderline. I don’t disagree with that assessment, though I have a lot of feelings about the subject. A better diagnosis is “trauma.” Or, “on the autism spectrum with trauma and a lack of coping and life skills.” Anyway. If you know me, which few people do, you know that I definitely needed a brush-up.

Judging happens the worst when I am unhappy with myself. I realized this today when I was walking. I was listening to music I’d never heard before on Spotify on my phone. I was so wrapped up in judging whether I thought the music was “good” that I realized I wasn’t really hearing it. Worse, I realized that when music is “good” I feel sad, because I am jealous I didn’t create it. The same goes for writing. Where I used to find inspiration, I find reminder that I am not creating up to my own standards.

People ask me if I have been writing, and I say no. This is because I do not have a novel or project that I am working on diligently and passionately. I write every single day, in my journal for starters, and I also start and abandon short pieces on Word several times a week. This is how writing works—how anything works. You stick with it, you keep doing it, even when it isn’t perfect. Even when you don’t feel great about it for a while. Instead of appreciating and celebrating my tenacity, I beat myself up.

The same goes for art and music. I draw almost daily. I play my guitar several times a week. But because I’m not recording anything — again, this isn’t true, I experiment with recordings all the time and even keep them. I’m just not satisfied– or because I’ve never been displayed in a gallery, I discount it.

Writing in a way removes me from my experience. Right now for instance, I am drinking chamomille tea. There is Indian fusion music playing. I am in a dimly lit café, sitting alone on a floral couch. The mug I sip from if floral patterned as well. I like this café, because the aesthetics calm me. I would like to have a house that feels this way eventually. It all sounds quite romantic when I write about it. I want to experience my life more that way. When I’m living, I am largely bored and unhappy.

Anyway. This is one of my main goals of DBT, and that is what I think I will be writing more about in the coming weeks. My journey to “experiencing a life worth living.” It’s funny that I haven’t prioritized that. I’m a little afraid that I will lose my impetuous to create art. But seeing as I am already unhappy with that, I can’t see where there is anything to lose.

A mental health post

It seems like I am always acquiring more mental illness labels. This time, it’s psychosis. Of course, it was drug induced. I was smoking marijuana daily. But I think I was still smoking less than a lot of people do. I think I have a predisposition. I read today of a schizophrenia spectrum. I find that really interesting.

I have exhibited some traits of schizophrenia throughout my life. It got really bad this summer, with a combination of pressure and marijuana over-usage. My official diagnosis was, again, Depression with Psychotic Features. It’s a bit embarrassing to talk about, but a lot of it centered on the release of the movie England is Mine and Morrissey’s new album, Low In High School. I avoided these things for a while, because I think I had a subconscious sense that Morrissey is a trigger for my psychosis. I wonder if other people experience this… It makes sense, because so much of his work is about mental illness. But its always been kinda weird, how I have felt like he was singing to/ for me. Other people describe this. I guess it was more like, he was singing an opera of my life. Like our experiences were linking up.

I fall into a line of thinking where I believe he and I are spiritually related. And this summer, when my life and relationship was in flux, there was the new album. And a movie, which I was quite convinced was informed by my books.

I remember, at it’s worse, I was very high, standing in my room with my partner. I had just played “I Wish You Lonely,” I believe. And I said, trembling, “I think he read Refuse, and I think he liked it, and I think it influenced him. And I think he wants to meet me. And I think I am going to finally be in a band and my books will sell and I am going to be rich.”

This wasn’t what prompted my partner to suggesting I be hospitalized. It was when I announced I was leaving, and I wouldn’t say where. We called my doctors. Everyone agreed I needed to be hospitalized….except me. I thought everyone was overreacting. I was also being pretty abusive and accusing others of being crazy.

All through hospitalization, I still held out hope that Morrissey and his band and people were coming for me. I also believed I was on the government watch list…and something to do with Chelsea Manning…and that they would be helping my family and I flee the U.S.

I still believed I was going to meet Morrissey when I went to see him perform in Philadelphia. My friend had bought my front row tickets, and I was going to try to give him Refuse for the third time. I wrapped it and included a neclace. Unfortunately, Morrissey cancelled.

I still was convinced this had something to do with me.

My anti-psychotics were raised. I started to see how foolish I was being. I realized how horrible and paranoid I had been about people in my life. I also lost a great deal of my creative drive.

What is it about Morrissey’s music that has this weird effect on certain people?

I have now accepted that there was no plan for us to meet up. But the malady lingers on. Not psychosis. Depression. Unemployment. The meds make me sleep way too much. I attend classes that are supposed to help me, and I think they are. “Mindfully living with depression.” “Dialectical Behavioral Therapy” ( a more Buddhist, feminist approach to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Maybe even “Help with Employment” eventually. I am lucky that my partner has supported me through all this.

I miss marijuana on a daily and nightly basis. It’s like grief. It made me happy in a way that I hadn’t experienced since childhood. I hope one day, I can smoke again in a safe, controlled way.

Now, my days are mostly empty. This is the most I’ve written in awhile that I’ve felt pretty good about. I’m still in Ithaca. I have shelter. I have food. I have my cats, and some crappy old instruments, a computer, and notebooks. I have some friends that I am trying to get to know better. It looks like we will be here for awhile.

I enjoy yoga. I’m not drinking or smoking. I’m also going to addiction related programming.

I lost my therapist and got a new one. This was hard, but probably for the best. I had come to see her as more of a very close friend. Still, I grieve the loss.

I’m not really able to get into any project. I’m hoping that changes soon. I’m trying to lessen my negative self-talk about being a burden for my family, etc. It doesn’t fix anything. It will get better in time.

I am having lately some horrible conundrum of gender identity. I begin to feel I want to be feminine and lay off T some, and dress differently. But then it switches. Call it DID, being bigender…I don’t know. It’s saddening.

Anyway. This is a blog entry. I feel good getting it out. It makes me hopeful more will come soon.