Tag Archives: depression

An American in Poland

About two weeks ago I arrived in Warsaw to begin my semester abroad. The first night, I was all ready to pack my bags back up and go home. I was not prepared for the culture shock, but as the week went on I found myself once again becoming more emotionally stable. 

Before I even left home, I knew being here was going to be a challenge but I didn’t realize to what extent it would be. 

My entire recovery is being challenged. Those eating disorder voices in my head are becoming louder, and I really don’t understand why. Maybe it’s because of the food here & not knowing what it is I ate. There’s a lot of carbs and meat here and I’m struggling to find things that I will actually eat without the anxiety rising in me. I am not counting the challenges over the past two weeks as a failure, but I’ve noticed others here find my eating habits odd.

The family I’m staying with have been pressing me to eat every meal ever since I got here and I felt awkward denying their offers of food at first. I didn’t know if not accepting food when it’s offered was a sign of disrespect in Poland, but I learned that a simple “not right now, maybe in a little bit” satisfies them. 

Then there’s the fact that I feel like an outsider here. I am the only student from America here and it’s a little isolating. The language barrier is not only frustrating but disappointing to me because I struggle to express simple things to a majority of those around me. 

The things I’ve been feeling aren’t being expressed, because how can i? I’m supposed to be having the time of my life here, but so far it’s been more challenging than exciting. 

My hopes for the coming weeks is that it’ll get easier & more relaxing. Hopefully I will become more comfortable with the culture and the food situation. I just miss home and the familiarity, but inside I’m so happy I took this opportunity to live in Warsaw for 3 months. 

3 Years

Today is kind of a weird anniversary for me. I was scrolling through TimeHop this morning (people still use this app right?) when I came across a post from 3 years ago today. I left for treatment for an eating disorder/self-injury that day. I remember (vaguely, however) being terrified to go out there and have all my vices of coping and not feeling stripped away from me. I was incapable of feeling anything besides numb. There were no plans for a future in my mind, no hope of things ever not feeling as if though they weren’t going to get better. All I remember is being exhausted 24/7; emotionally and physically.

I was vulnerable to the voices in my head telling me that if I only lost a little more weight I’d be happy, I’d achieve that goal of wanting to disappear, to live a life unnoticed. Only the thing is, the more I tried to disappear the more I stood out. That’s where the lies came in. I lived a life of lying, skirting around the truth that I was slowly killing myself. My closest friends would ask what I was doing to lose the weight I had, or if I was eating. I didn’t exactly lie to them, but I wasn’t telling the whole story. I was simply working out daily and watching what I did eat (although a piece of toast with a very miniscule amount of peanut butter isn’t exactly eating). I hid my eating disorder so well and didn’t disclose information about it that my therapist I was seeing at the time didn’t even catch on to what was going on with me (which led to a lot of misdiagnoses, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder) until a month or so before I was sent to treatment.

All these memories came back when I saw those posts from TimeHop this morning. It’s still kind of mind blowing to me that it was 3 years ago, because it honestly feels like it was yesterday. I have come such a long way in my life since going to treatment.

I feel content with my life and where it’s going. I’m now a senior in undergrad with a pretty killer GPA. I’m graduating with research honors next May and hopefully will be going off to grad school after that. Yes I still struggle with my weight, appearance and eating disorder thoughts sometimes but I don’t let them consume me anymore. I have so much to offer the world (that didn’t sound conceded did it?) and after years of struggling, have a pretty good sense as to who I am. The areas of my life which I lost to my eating disorder and mental health struggles, I have either gained back or am working on gaining back. There’s relationships I’m hoping to still amend and the friends I still do have I appreciate them and no longer take them for granted.

There is so much that I have gained over the past 3 years, that it’s incredible to think about how my life has changed for the better. The road here absolutely sucked and was painful. One psychiatric hospital stay, a month in inpatient treatment and a year in outpatient treatment (which sucked more than the hospital or treatment center) are now on my track record. I hated the things that beginning recovery entailed, but if I got my life back in a better way than I could have imagined, I guess I’ll take it.

So today is the anniversary of the day I began the long journey of getting my life back. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve last self-injured which is huge after engaging in it for 10 years. Being in recovery from an eating disorder is something I feel like I’ll always have to deal with. Every day I have to make choices and check in with myself some days to make sure I’m going down the right path because it is so easy for my emotions to take over and run the course of my life. But I genuinely love my life right now, and I’m so glad I am still alive to have these experiences.

The Beast Called Anger

I feel like I could write a novel on anger and living in it. God knows I’m better at anger than any other emotion you could name; it feels so much better than feeling abandoned, depressed, alone, anxious, stressed or whatever negative emotion you can name. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years or so being pissed off at the world. Somewhere along the line I figured out that if you walk around angry and pissed off, nobody will bother you and you won’t have to feel all the negative emotions that are occurring in your head. Hell, if I wasn’t so bad at feeling emotions I wouldn’t have spent so much time in therapy and group sessions.

But I’m human, severely flawed, but human.

Anger eats you alive, but it makes you feel so damn good as it does. It gives you this sense of power, because people stop asking you questions about what’s going on (because who likes getting chewed out every time you express concern?).

Over the course of my life I have sprayed so many bullets around me and hit almost everyone I ever loved and cared about. I’m not sure if any of you have ever watched The Matrix, but I feel like a lot of my anger fueled actions are a lot like those scenes where the agent is firing bullets at Neo, yet he is somehow able to make time slow down. You see the bullets coming at him the whole time but really there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Life with nothing but anger is a lot like that. I could see all of the bullets flying towards the ones I loved, but all I could do was stand there and watch them spiral closer and closer to everyone in my life until they finally broke into their bodies. The part that always gets me as I think about this, is the fact that I was the one who pulled the trigger.

It also distorts your world, turning you into the victim of the fall out, rather than the perp. I’ve always had trust issues when it came to people leaving. Sure, I did some fucked up shit in my life that resulted in people leaving but I can’t say I really blame them anymore. My whole fear of abandonment turned into sabotaging relationships out of fear; I would say things I didn’t mean, almost giving them the excuse to bail, but of course I was the victim (at least in my eyes). But I didn’t see it that way, I saw it as “you bailed on me when I needed you most”. So of course feeling depressed over a lost relationship was distorted into anger. Feeling angry at someone who’s hurt you deeply feels so much better than letting yourself feel sad and alone.

As a lot of you know if you read this blog, I have spent more time pissed off at God and the church longer than I had believed in Christianity and the Bible. I’m not saying my life is the worst of them all, but I’ve experienced some painful shit in my 25 years of life and every time shit hit the fan so to speak, I’d blame God and the people who believe in Him. But then of course that would lash out onto everyone in my life. Friends, my parents, school, classmates, my jobs. It really doesn’t matter what the underlying issue is, all I know is that being pissed was better than being anything else.

It’s still something I struggle with. Probably the greatest piece of wisdom I’ve gotten on anger was from one of the psychologists where I did IOP. They told me that when I began feeling that anger start to boil up, step back and try and think about what is going on to cause it. It helps in certain contexts of life, but there’s still a lot of grey areas.

Nagging Little Voices

I am plagued by voices.

Not the ones you hear about on televisions

Not the ones glamorized in movies.

They don’t propel you to fame.

They don’t land you book deals or make people interested in you.

They keep me trapped inside my room

Gnawing at my ears and clawing their way up my spine.

“You’re not good enough”

“You’ll never get where you want to be in life”

At first, I was strong.

I knew they were just illusions of my mind.

The pessimistic and self-deprecating side of my personality.

Yet now….

Now I’m starting to believe them again.

“Just stop trying.. you’re not going to make it anyways”

These aren’t the voices that attract others my way.

These voices isolate me from my best friends.

They make the touch of my boyfriends hands sting like daggers

They tell me he is just going to be like everyone else.

“It’s only a matter of time before he leaves you. Nobody stays”.

When did I become so weak against them?

When did I let my guard down just enough for them to climb their way over?

How did I not see that they were always lurking outside of the barrier I placed up?

These parts of life are not glamorous

These are the things we keep at the bottom of our discussion pits.

Things too shameful to tell therapists, friends and family members.

The things that keep us bound to our beds like slaves being brought to America in chains.

And you still like to glamorize the sick?

Hallucinations & Depression

Hey guys! So I know I haven’t written in a while, I’ve just been crazy busy with school, family matters and just life in general. I got an idea for a post today and I’m a little hesitant to write it if I’m being honest.

Ok so, I want to talk about hallucinations. I know, a little weird, but I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past couple of years and this aspect came to my mind so I figured “eh, what the fuck, let’s just write about it”. I’ve never really talked about this before, I don’t think any of my therapists really know about it so congratulations if you’re reading this you are the first people to hear about the most fucked up time in my life.

Hallucinating is such a weird thing to talk about, because I really didn’t know what was going on when it was happening. I think at this time I was really into my eating disorder, cutting, suicidal and drinking a lot when I went out(I know, not smart on my part since I’m on medication). I only had one hallucination, I think. I remember waking up one morning and I felt something digging into my shoulder blade. It was such a weird pain, and it felt like someone had scratched the shit out of my back the night before. I thought “hm this is weird” but didn’t think anything of it. That was how it started.



 

My hallucination involved a demon. I never saw it, but everyday for about a month or so I felt something clawing the fuck out of my back, and it was perched on me like you see a little kid holding onto a parents neck as they sit on their shoulders. I knew it wasn’t there, but I’d constantly reach for my shoulders, neck and back to try and get it off of me. It was terrifying, and I knew something was wrong with me.

Like I said, I never saw it but I knew exactly what it looked like. It was a black devilish looking creature with long pointy fingers. Their eyes were a dark red that either resembled blood or fire and its spine peaked out of its back every time it moved to adjust itself on me.

Day after day the claws dug deeper and I began hearing it tell me awful things, terrifying things. I was being prompted to kill myself, I heard it loud and clear as the demons head leaned down to whisper in my ear.



 

I don’t write this all out to sound like a freak or wanting sympathy; it’s a part of my past that I struggled with and in writing this I hope others can relate. Anyways….

Like I just said it’s in the past. I haven’t experienced this since it went away. Some call it psychotic depression, but I really don’t wish to place yet another label on myself. No matter though, with being fully in my life lately and things going incredible I wanted to finally write this all out.

Love you guys and I hope you all are doing well and have a fantastic weekend

Taking a Risk

Hey guys! So I’ve been wanting to get back into music, song writing & simply playing my guitar for a while now. This morning I began typing out words, not expecting to get anything really (I mean I only had 2 cups of coffee lol) but I think I came up with something (yay!) . For some reason sharing this is the most vulnerable thing I can do, even sharing my story & writing out these posts are cake compared to sharing my writings. I hope this risk is worth it & you all enjoy it!

Here are the lyrics:

Do you know, what it’s like 
Drowning in this ocean that started out as rain drops?
Cause I, yeah I
Am in need of a life boat
To pull me up to safety.
Come quick. 

The waters turning violent,
A storm heading my way.
Erasing all the silence
Thunder echoes loud like every word you say. 

Send out an S.O.S to get me out of here.
Rough, rough waters are all I see
I forgot how to swim, throw me something to hold on to
And now everything I loved
is turning into everything I fear. 

**Disclaimer: this isn’t even close to being finished but I just wanted to share what I had thus far**

Feel free to comment below on your thoughts about this!! Have a great day you guys & stay strong!!

Spark of Hope (Feb 2nd)

canstockphoto-spark

“I am still learning”

-Michelangelo

All of life is a learning experience. There’s no age at which you have all of the knowledge you will ever have, even if you’re considered an expert in an area. The people we meet teach us the most valuable life lessons, and in a professional sense there’s always innovations that change our field. I’ve come to realize and get excited over the fact that every day I put my energy into something I have the chance to expand my knowledge in it; whether it’s school family, friends, music writing. It doesn’t matter what it is, but I keep myself open to learning.


Goal:
Try keeping an open mind this week when others share with you their knowledge. Stay humble and accept that others knowledge is neither greater than yours or lesser, but is a tool you can use to add to your toolbox of skills.

Sparks of Hope

Hey guys happy Thursday!

So last night I decided I wanted to try something a little different with some of my writing time. I’ve found it so easy again to let my negative thoughts come out on paper as of late and writing has become more of a “need to do” leisure activity than a “want to do”. I’ve always loved starting my days off with a positive quote and so I decided to try and come up with my own so-called daily inspiration book. I’m thinking that at the start of everyday I will jump on here and post what I have for the day, and maybe even impact others day by sharing what is on my mind in a positive way.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the bad and forget all about the good things in life. Below is the first entry I’ll be posting and I hope you all sincerely enjoy it. Comment below if you wish, I’d love the feedback from you guys!

canstockphoto-spark


“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.”

                        – Rachel Naomi Remen

When you have close friendships or relationships in your life that hold meaning to you those people tend to come to you when they’re facing difficult situations. Often times while our friends or family are talking to us, explaining their situation, we are in our own heads trying to come up with a possible solution. I know for me, I have always been the kind of person who had to fix everything. But some situations I’ve learned don’t need that silver lining or words of wisdom; all that needs to be heard by those who come to you is that you heard them.

 

Goal: This week if a close friend or family member confides in you, make a conscious effort to simply listen. Try your best to hear what they are saying, pause before speaking and remove the pressure from yourself of having to fix it.


A Simple Thank You

I’m trying a new thing this year and that’s to be more thankful for the people I have in my life. A lot of the ones I considered family in every sense of the word didn’t make it to 2015 to celebrate the new life I’m trying to have. A life of recovery, motivation in school, determination and hope. I’ve heard it said before that when God closes one door another one opens, and I’m finding that to be true the more I continue living this new life of mine.

Things really suck sometimes, and when I have bad days it’s easier for me to stay in bed than get up and seize the day, but I try my hardest to not let my demons and inner pain win. Some days I fall and others I thrive; it’s all part of not only the recovery process but of life in general. I believe the bad days show who my true friends are; it’s in those bad days, the moments of pure raw emotion and vulnerability that I catch a glimpse into the love I really have for others and they have for me.

So this is to them, the friends who are family and friends who I am growing and recovering with every day. Thank you.

M&T,

Thank you for not letting my issues get in between us and for sticking it out. I don’t think you’ll ever really know how much your letters to me when I was in treatment meant to me. I’d read the words written on paper from you guys and I could hear your voices. I could picture us having that conversation face to face, laughing and making inappropriate jokes the entire time. Thank you for the slight intervening conversation about how I was getting sick and you were scared for me. I know at the time I might have laughed it off, but I was just as scared as you guys. I didn’t know if going away would be the end of our friendship, but you proved your unconditional love and support for me even though you didn’t have to. A lifetime of love, trust and loyalty was built up again in just one month. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Who would have thought those small moments we shared together would turn into the bonds that held us together? Certainly not me. I think us knowing each other for so long, in a way we were destined to be best friends. You guys know almost everything about me, and didn’t push me away when I was at my lowest; you supported me and encouraged me, and it is honestly something I wasn’t expecting.

Through all the fights, the distance or whatever life had for us, it never got in between our friendship. If we go a while without seeing each other, we pick right back up where we left off. At the end of the night when we go our separate ways I feel lighter somehow. You guys give me a light, and all it takes is a simple friendship and now that I am more in my life than ever, I am excited to see all life has for us in this new chapter. By just being you, as fucking crazy and hysterical as you guys are, I found who I am becoming; I found that I am accepted and loved just the way I am. This bumpy ass road known as recovery is a bitch, but the fact that you two are strapped in the passenger seat with your hands on the dashboard and bracing yourself for each bump and roadblock makes you two fucking rockstars!

I am eternally grateful for you two and love you beyond words

 

To the friends I’ve met along the way,

I never in a million years would have thought I’d meet some of the best people I could have asked for in my life in a treatment program. We have seen each other at our best and at our ugliest. I’ve seen all of you vulnerable, and you have seen me at my weakest as well. Starting the journey of recovery I wasn’t sure I would be alright. I wasn’t expecting to meet people like you; people so genuine, honest, loving, selfless and open. I never had friends who knew what I was experiencing and were also fighting like hell for their lives to be better. My friends from residential didn’t last, and that sting carried over into outpatient. But you guys, you guys are different.

The time we spend hanging out and going out to dinner means the world to me. How we can laugh and be normal young adults without the hinderance of our being sick getting in the way. I appreciate how much you encourage me to stay strong even though I am not sure if you even realize it or not. It’s astonishing how whenever we need each other we’re all only a text or phone call away. The universality and empathy helps in times of crisis. I wasn’t the best person to get to know when I first met you all, shit I don’t think any of us were at that time; but as days turned into months and we shared more pain and laughs and vulnerability in the four walls of that group room, we all changed. I don’t know if I ever say it, but the fact that our bond and trust of one another can carry over into the real world is incredible.

I’m pulling for you guys to get better, to kick this eating disorders ass, to be fully in your life and to be happy because out of everyone I’ve ever met you all deserve the fucking world. All of the shit you’ve been through, all of the pain and brokenness you’ve experienced breaks my heart to think about. I can’t imagine where I’d be at not only in recovery but in life if I haven’t met you.

 

I am eternally grateful for you all,


Jess

When You Don’t Feel Like Eating

I have a confession to make: I don’t want to eat today.

I guess you could call today a bad one. Every week in individual therapy I get weighed now that I’m not in outpatient, and we spend some time in session discussing and processing how I feel about my weight. Let’s just say this past week I didn’t like what I was. I’m in that range the Dr.’s want me, but it’s not where I would like to be. I look in the mirror and hate what I see. I don’t feel attractive or whatever and it makes the voices grow louder.

Living at home still isn’t helpful either. I can’t escape from eating when food is the last thing I want, and it only makes me resent being stuck at home.

So yeah, I’m not in a good place today and I guess I just needed to write about it. I don’t want recovery today and I know this is usually where I begin my slippery slope back into my eating disorder; I just wish I could take a few days off from feeling this way but I can’t afford to go backwards. I don’t know what the rest of the day will shape up to be, but right in this moment I couldn’t give two fucks about it.