April is here: month four - a quarter of the year passed.
This year was to be the year of 'Marylin' - the year where I stopped moaning and actually acted on life. Because when last new year's came around and the question of "what are your resolutions for 2009?" started popping up, I realized that the resolutions I had were the exact same resolutions (for the most part) I'd had every year for pretty much a decade.
I am twenty seven years old. I cannot go into my thirties with the same energy as I've been spending in my twenties. I just can't. I know I wasted a fucking decade - I can't do it again.
It's not that I've done nothing, it's that I've done a very small fraction of what I have the potential and drive to do/achieve. I've only lived a small fraction of the life I've wanted to live.
Over these years I have made some progress. I've realized a lot of the limitations I was fighting against were not as controllable as I thought. Once I stopped fighting certain things, so much stress and sadness was taken away.
All my life I've suffered from sleeping problems, which have caused a lot of problems for me regarding school, work, appointments, and even socially.
I've strived all these years to take control of my sleep patterns, thinking I just wasn't trying hard enough.
Finally, a few years ago I had an over-night sleep study done that revealed I had what's called Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder.
The doctor explained to me that trying to fight it is fruitless because it is a neurological problem, it's just the way my brain works, and that I should try to work with it if I want to be happy. One of the best things for someone with DSPD is to do a job where you can set your own hours, like writing, for example.
Great! I thought. I am a writer! This just gives me another reason to justify writing for a living.
So after this new information was made known to me, I slowly stopped fighting against the sleep issues and that has made a world of difference. I don't feel guilty or stressed out anymore about it. This has made me a happier person in general.
Ask me how my writing career is going.
Well, just take a look at my ISBN collection and that should answer your question.
Isn't it funny what excuses we can make for our lack of productivity? Mmmhmmm.
Another obstacle that came about right when my twenties started was being "disabled."
Yes, I was about twenty when I couldn't take the pain and fatigue anymore. That's when they diagnosed me with the osteoarthritis and the fibromyalgia.
I can't even begin to talk about how weird that is/was for me. I've never been a very active person, so it left everyone baffled as to why I would get osteoarthritis, and so young too. I got the fucker all over the body too. The fibro is a little more understandable, my mum has that too, but still, at twenty?
Suffice it to say, these have factored into my life substantially. It is quite hard for me to walk very far, let alone do much rigorous exercise. It makes me an outsider to my peers, who sometimes don't quite understand why we can't take that twenty minute walk to "insert place." It's embarrassing, especially because I've never been very vocal about my issues, so it just makes me look really lazy to people, since you can't see my disabilities just by looking at me.
It's also hindered my ability to lose weight. Not only is exercise difficult, but the fibro effects your metabolism and also includes depression as a side effect, which I already suffer from. (But I'll get to the weight and the depression as well.)
I don't feel sorry for myself about my physical disabilities. I'm okay with adjusting my life because of them. I just still can't bring myself to accept that I can't exercise the way other people can and I know my refusal to accept this is only because of my desire to lose weight and be healthy.
I've finally accepted that I can't be as active as most of my peers, and I've been working on being more vocal about it, but I still have shame, and I hate that I have that shame, hence more shame. I don't want to be a pain in the ass ya know?
Anyway, I have come to a place where all those feelings of shame and of trying to fight the illnesses have lessened a great deal, which means, again, that I am a happier person with a lot less stress.
Then there is the mental catastrophe to talk about.
I honestly think I had depression as a child when I look back, but there's no way to know. What I do know is that when I hit my early teens, I had it. I had really bad depression and I didn't know it was depression, I just thought I was a really sensitive person lol. A misunderstood teen.
I didn't realize I might have a problem till I was nineteen, living in a bachelor apartment that I'd rented with no employment to speak of, where I spent the majority of my time filling binders full of get-rich-quick ideas and reading tarot cards over the phone for Miss Cleo (without payment).
If you don't remember Miss Cleo, let me refresh your memory:
Three months later I found myself unable to get up from my futon because i was "inexplicably" paralyzed with depression. But this was before I started hallucinating and being afraid to go outside...
The worst part of it was that my entire family suffers from a cornucopia of lovely mental illnesses and not once did anyone in my family suggest that I might also be afflicted - they all just thought I was the "normal" one. The one who would actually go somewhere in life.
Anyway, so I sought help and was diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders. The little pink pill (paxil) they gave me made me feel better for about a year, but when it stopped working, things were a lot worse and this coincided with the worsening (and discovering) of my physical issues.
Since the initial diagnoses, I'd been seeking proper help in the form of therapy to no avail, and ended up being switched to effexor for a while (this made me worse), and then to celexa (which helped a lot and which I still take now) by a family doctor who I all but reported for malpractice for so many reasons.
I was monitoring my own meds and recieving zero therapy due to long waiting lists and a bitch of an ex-roommate who failed to deliver a very important phone message to me.
It wasn't until late last year that my name finally reached the top of a waiting list and I got myself a proper therapist, working under a psychiatrist.
The official diagnoses was Borderline Personality Disorder (which I knew) and they are keeping an eye out for signs of bipolar, which is tricky because you can have both, but it's hard to tell since people with BPD usually exhibit a lot of similar traits as people with Bipolar. Either way, I'm sick in the noggin'.
The good news is I'm finally getting help. There's a program that people with BDP can go through called Dialectic Behavoural Therapy that I'm on the waiting list for. This is supposed to help drastically with my issues and help me deal with things in my life.
As for what I can do to actually fight my mental issues, I 'm really not sure. Trying to fight them in the past, as if they weren't a reality, usually proved to create more guilt and so the cycle goes. I've learned that if I don't take my illnesses into consideration, it will lead to unnecessary disappointment.
The problem is that until I do what I need to do/learn what I need to learn therapy wise, I keep going through the same mental issues as always, and as always, they take me two steps backwards. It's always a matter of keeping my head above the water, and after so many years, that is very tiring and makes it more and more tempting to just let go, to give in, to drown.
My mental illness is the strongest force in my life - it paralyzes me and I can never get used to it, because if I did, it would mean being satisfied with not improving myself or my situation.
This is the obstacle in my life that fuels the other obstacles, the obstacle that prevents the other obstacles from being removed.
If the plant continues to grow, it's kind of hard to prevent the leaves from coming back, season after season.
I'm overweight because I was so depressed that I didn't care. I'm still overweight because I'm still depressed and I use food as a drug because I don't know how to manage my emotions properly. I'm still overweight because I have osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, which fuck up my physical activity and metabolism.
I'm overweight, which makes the physical disabilities worse, because my poor joints have to carry all that extra weight, which makes physical activity even harder, which makes losing weight even harder.
I'm overweight, which makes me depressed because I'm not happy with my body, which has given me a low self-esteem, which has effected my social life, which has made me more depressed and withdrawn, which has made me want to eat more...
It's all mental though. My own mind has created my own misery and what will happen if I can't change my mind? I wish it was more of a choice. I wish I could just buck-up and get on with life. But it's more complicated then that. I can buck-up, but it's only a matter of time before it catches up with me again and the fall is always so hard.
I feel like a whiny baby complaining. But this is my reality. I wish I were just a whiny baby, so someone reading this could slap me in the face and show me my own stupidity, and then I could move on.
So this is my reality.
I have osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia that I receive disability for because I can't work. I have this delayed sleep phase disorder that prevents me from keeping a normal schedule, which is okay, because I don't work anyway. I don't work, which allows me the opportunity to actually write and follow my dream of being a successful writer.
All of this seems to work itself out... it almost seems like the universe planned it that way for a reason.
But my reality includes this debilitating mental illness, which seems to be THE obstacle standing in my way. It scares the shit out of me to think that I'll be this stagnant and unable to escape when I'm thirty seven. I can't deal with that, I have way too much potential for that to happen.
They're playing with meds (carefully) and I'm seeing a really good therapist on a regular basis. I should be getting into the DBT program thingy quite soon according to her, at which time I'll still be seeing her.
Aside from trying again and again and not giving up, I'm really counting on the program and the therapy to give me a lot of what I need to improve the way I live my life.
And it will be completed before I turn thirty.
Something else I'm starting to consider is gastric bypass surgery. I've obviously considered it many times before, but was always against it because it's unnatural.
But now the pros are really beginning to out-weight the cons: this surgery would make me lose weight, which would take stress off my joints, which would allow me to be more active, which would improve my overall health and lessen my general pain, which would make me more generally happy. I would not be so disgusted with my body, which would make me feel more confident, which would give me higher self-esteem, which would make me happier and improve my social life, which would make me happier as well.
It would be a huge thing to not have to worry about, which would free up so much energy. It would drastically effect my mental state and level of self-love.
I'm not saying that losing weight would solve my problems. I'm naive but not that naive. I just know that it would be a gigantic step toward improving my life.
The only concern I have is that getting such a surgery would not change my eating behaviours in itself, so I would definitely need to get help on that part of the deal.
So those are two gigantic things that will be happening before the big 3-0 (not sure about the surgery yet though).
I'm so tired right now that the usual momentum I'd have for "trying again, but this time better" is not showing itself. The thought of listing all of the things I need/want to accomplish is so overwhelming that I think it's best if I just try to keep it simple until I'm more capable of pondering more. Even the simple things are making my heart rate a little jumpy.
1. Take good care of myself.
That's my first job. I'll go from there.
I'm actually not done writing this entry, but my eyes are getting a lil' tired so I'll end it for now.
If you've read all this, well, you're a trooper! Thanks :)