Song of the Day: Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar
It’s getting pretty close to the New Year and so I thought it’s just about time that I start to reflect on this past year for me. Doesn’t everyone do that?
So, let’s get started.
The year started off as any other; I made resolutions, I planned out my year, and I was thrilled to get another fresh start (2012 wasn’t too kind to me). My typical resolutions involve doing better in school, managing my physical and mental health, and improving my relationships. Of course, like most people, I tend to give up on my resolutions after about a week or so.
Back at the time I didn’t know that I was spiraling into mania. I thought it was great that I was doing well in school and getting ‘A’s in all my classes. January is somewhat of a blur to be honest; though I do remember spending a lot of money, applying to dozens and dozens of internships, writing pages of nonsense, breaking some things, climbing up to the roof, and panicking in the closet.
Suddenly it was February and I was getting my Certificate of Naturalization. Exciting, I know. Actually, getting my citizenship is one of the highlights of my year.
It was the fifteenth and I took the BART, a type of train-ish transit thing, to the San Francisco International Airport at five AM and bought a ticket to San Diego. When the first flight was booked, I had an anxiety attack and collapsed on the floor, crying. And so I just impulsively bought a first-class ticket for a later time. While I was waiting for my plane to arrive, since I was at least five hours early, I called the hospital and told them I hadn’t eaten in weeks. To this day, I still credit my subconscious for that. Something in me thought I needed help. So later in the week I informed my university that I would have to take a medical leave and was soon placed in the Partial Hospitalization Eating Disorder Program.
A few weeks in I found myself as an inpatient, staying overnight in the ward. Just hours before I arrived at the hospital for the program I took a handful of codeine and sliced up my arms. I still don’t remember cutting anything. I was in some sort of trance and when I snapped back to reality my entire arm was covered in blood.
What got me through those days in the ward were the visits from my friends. I was so scared that they would just judge me for what happened but we all had a laugh at the fact that I was ‘institutionalized’. They gave me a sandwich and a large Domo-kun stuffed toy. Also, I got to meet some interesting people. There was an old man who thought I was his daughter, a schizophrenic middle-aged man, and a depressed teen just a year or two older than me.
Sometime in April I found myself in the ICU for an overdose along with a manic episode. I just wanted to give up at that point and so I was forced back into the hospital for being a ‘danger to myself and to others’. That wasn’t too pleasant but I did get to watch the last Twilight movie. It was hilarious.
After that ICU experience, I wanted to create more positive experiences. I practiced the piano more, I tried to spend time with friends, and I decided to volunteer at a local animal rescue.
May is when I met Mora, my first foster puppy. She was a little nightmare but I loved her so much. I actually still have a scar where she scratched me. There’s just something about having a dog around that lifts up your spirit. If you’ve read my blog before, you know how much I love dogs. I could go on forever about how much I love them. Anyway after Mora, I fostered Corporal, who was a lab/spaniel puppy, and eventually Ryder, a yellow lab puppy.
Of course in June I couldn’t help but adopt my very own. That’s where Riley comes in. A large amount of my improvement comes from him being my best friend. I would take him everywhere with me because he relieved a lot of my anxiety, especially around large groups of people. He was so social that I even found the courage to start conversations with anyone else who had a dog.
I would say it was a pretty great summer for me. In July, we adopted a Rottweiler puppy named Zeus. He was a bit of a nightmare for a while as well, and still is at times, but he’s one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. And so he and Riley became a bonded pair of brothers, ones who spent every moment with each other and at the same time fought over certain toys.
Having a dog keeps you busy and in the moment. They remind you how important your life is because they’re life depends on you. You have to get out of bed and feed them, and you have to go outside and take them for a walk. It’s just those little things that remind you that you’re still a human being. I know I tend to forget that.
Did I mention that I was accepted in the University of Edinburgh? No? Well, I was and I’ll be going to Scotland in 2014. And I also landed a full-time job at Macy’s.
So for the first time in a while, I was genuinely happy.
And thus we come to the last third of my year; the third I spent in a completely different city.
My depression and eating disorder crept up to me once again. I’m sure it had to do with the stresses of being virtually alone in a new place. It was actually the first time I ever had my own room and it was lovely, but at the same time it gave me the opportunity to isolate myself from the rest of the world. That’s usually not the best thing to do if you tend to have depression.
I spent September and October attempting to fight off all of my demons, or at least some of them. They were all fighting for control over my mind and I felt like I was going mad. At the same time I was angry because my medication hadn’t been helping me at all. I just felt so helpless and weak, and I wanted nothing more than to give up.
I was even a little depressed when I went on a road trip with my friends up north, but I’m sure I still had a lot of fun. Deep in my gut I was miserable but I somehow pushed it all away. I loved spending time with the people I grew up with. It was a nice little escape from reality. I also got into the Green Lantern comics because of that trip…
When I returned to San Diego, my hometown, for three weeks I felt a little better. I saw my brother, my dad, and my dogs; and that’s always such a delight. I think I was relieved because San Diego is my home and being there, in the city and in my dad’s home, is familiar. I have my dogs there to alleviate my madness but in L.A. I’m all alone. I mean I have my sisters but they have their own lives, you know? And I’m really not the best at making friends.
Once I was in L.A. again, my mood shifted violently. While I was excited for Christmas, all I wanted to do was sleep my days away. I stopped eating again and when I did, I would just purge it all out. I was suddenly so obsessed with calories, weight, and sizes that those were the only things I could think about. I couldn’t even help purging my entire Christmas Eve dinner. The only reason I didn’t do it on Christmas day was because there were too many people.
Then there are all the scars on my legs. I couldn’t cut my arms; they were too noticeable. It’s winter so I wear a lot of pants. It was immaculate.
I guess it began again when I felt numb to everything. I just wanted to feel something. This time around I was conscious that I was doing it, but it’s been a few days so that’s an improvement, right?
And so that’s my 2013. Kudos if you read all of that (haha, remember kudos on MySpace?).
It was incredibly insane. Sometimes I can’t even believe all of this happened in one year. Usually by the end of the year I wanna rewind all the way back to day one and redo everything. I think this is the first year that I actually don’t want to. I’m strangely fine with the way things turned out. Sure I’m still struggling with my mental health, but recovery isn’t linear anyway.
I’m just about ready for 2014 and, as cheesy as this sounds, all the adventure that awaits me. I am going to Scotland in August.
To finish this off, I’ll leave you one of my favorite quotes. Take what you will out of it.
Staying exactly the same as long as possible, standing perfectly still… It feels better somehow. And if you are suffering at least the pain is familiar. Because if you took the leap of faith, went outside the box, did something unexpected… who knows what other pain might be waiting out there? Chances are it could be even worse. So you maintain the status quo, choose the road already traveled, and it doesn’t seem that bad, not as far as flaws go. You’re not killing anyone except maybe yourself a little.
When we finally do change I don’t think it happens like an earthquake or an explosion, where all of a sudden we’re a different person. I think it’s smaller than that; the kind of thing most people wouldn’t even notice unless they looked at us really, really closely which, thank god, they never do. But you notice it. Inside you that change feels like a world of a difference and you hope this is it; this is the person you get to be forever… that you’ll never have to change again.