Friday, December 24, 2010

The Black Swan


Intense. Artistic insanity personified.

I have never been so triggered by a cinematic piece before, ever, in my entire life.

If you ever wondered what it feels like to be inside my head, see this piece.

I could kill myself and die believing that people understand the pressure that I've felt my entire life.

See this. I have. I will. Again.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Left side of the menu: Bulimia - Criteria 4 / Impulsive Behavior Part 4

Hi. My name is Haven. I’m eating disordered, bulimic.

Food is my drug. My addiction.

The problem with having food as your drug though, is you can’t quit. You can’t give it up cold turkey to give yourself time to recover. That’s called starvation, which may put you back in control, but not for long before it kills you. Conundrum, indeed.

You can’t starve yourself, not when food is your comfort, something you can reach for to fill the void inside. Fill the void in your stomach and it’s like you’ve filled the void in your heart. Nourishing your stomach fills your hearts need for sustenance. Except it doesn’t last long. Usually only long enough to feel like you’ve destroyed any hold on control you had by denying yourself the fill of food. And then it becomes a desperate attempt to regain that control. Purging, exercising, punishment, painful reminders that you let slip the control that you value so rigidly.

Where does this need for control come from? It’s different for everyone. This is a deeper psychological delving than you may care to know but I remember the exact incident that sparked my downward spiral into self-consciousness. I was 12 years old, just starting puberty and beginning to fill out to the woman I would be today. As gently as they could, my parents sat me down and told me that I needed to watch what I was eating, I was getting heavier, which would reduce my performance for the multitude of sports I was involved in. I needed to weigh less to perform better.I was crushed. It was as if they couldn’t accept me, love me, if I didn’t meet their standard of physical perfection. Of course they didn’t know that this was normal because they’d never been through it before (my mom was always lanky and skinny unlike the women on my father’s side who are shorter and curvy), me being the first born and all. I felt like I had let them down, let me down. Putting on weight clearly meant disapproval. If it didn’t they wouldn’t be sitting there telling me this. If they loved me unconditionally, weight wouldn’t matter, but it did, so losing weight must translate into earning their approval. Their love. I was distraught. Because I was currently disappointing them. I left to cry quietly in my room. This was the night of my very first binge. I lashed out and railed against what they wanted. I wasn’t good enough?!? I’ll show them not good enough. Afterwards of course I felt like even more of a failure. I vowed never to let that happen again. Anorexia didn’t work for me. My relationship with food was too consuming to avoid it. About 6 months later I discovered how to purge.

Purging I finally felt a sense of control. I could eat whatever I wanted, and it wouldn’t affect my body. I could vomit up the things inside me that made me bad. Purge the evil from my body. I didn’t just purge though. I am still currently addicted to diet pills, I was a laxative/diuretic junkie, and I would/still exercise compulsively. Anything to maintain control of the thing that has such a hold over me. It works.  

I wouldn’t have to if I could control what I put in, in the first place, but that’s my addiction. I can’t stop. Just one of those please, Oh, maybe a bite here, a bit there. Well I’ve already eating this much, might as well have another, and another… until all control is lost and I’ve indulged in every decadence I can stuff into my stomach. I failed. Failed my self-control. I had to regain that control. So I purged the evil from my body and everything felt fine. Again. Until the next time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Drinking and Drugging - Criteria 4 / Impulsive Behavior Part 3

 Alcohol and anti-psychotics don’t mix. You’re probably saying, why would you even consider
drinking after you just started new medication? Because I like wine, and I wanted to enjoy my trip out to the wineries, that’s why. I’d be lying if I said that was the only time though. I mix alcohol with my medication almost constantly. Or benzo’s with my meds. It’s dangerous. I don’t care.

I like to drink, it makes me feel less dissociated. Of course I always end up eating more, feel fat, but at least I feel connected to my own body. Of course then I hate the body that I’m attached too. It’s a vicious cycle.

It’s not usually that much. I’ll take my meds as prescribed and have a couple glasses of wine or half of a Xanax (never a whole one) to calm me down. It doesn’t sound like much, but when your meds clear through your liver it can’t be good to throw other drugs on top of it, make it work double time. Double the work for twice the effect. Quadruple the effect really, because drugs and alcohol work synergistically, which means that they act on each other to create an affect larger than the component sum.

When I’m alone I’m left to my own thoughts. It’s not a pleasant place to be. I tell myself I’ll just have one glass, ok, maybe two. By the time my mind starts to calm down I’ve easily polished off a bottle of wine by myself over the course of an evening. It’s not hard.

It’s not safe. Especially when I’m already out and about or need to drive somewhere. I learned my lesson hard about drinking and driving. I was arrested and charged with a DUI last summer but the charge was dropped (story for a different day) so I never drive when I’m trashed or even when I have the potential to be drunk. But when your meds clear through your liver you get drunk faster and on less, so there’s really no way to tell how much is in your system or when you’re safe. Most days I care, some days I’m reckless. Especially if it’s just a short trip somewhere.

What’s worse, alcohol is a depressant. When you’re clinically depressed drinking alcohol produces precisely the opposite effect that you want to have. It may feel good in the moment but it depresses your system even more. Spinning me down into a deeper depression the next day once I wake up.

I sleep worse, I eat more, and now I’ve noticed a very obvious tremor to my hands (betting on this being the anti-psych/SSRI + alcohol mix effect). I can’t draw, typing is hard, my concentration is fine, but I feel like crap. Why do I still drink? It feels good in the moment. I just wish I could remember what the consequences feel like the next day, in advance.  

Don’t Drink and Drug.

Now, if only I could take my own advice.

Shoplifting - Criteria 4 / Impulsive Behavior Part 2

Some days I see something small (it’s always something small) that I want but the price tag just isn’t acceptable. Who the hell pays $15 for nail polish? $9 for cheese? $40 for diet pills? $55 for a ring?
Sometimes it’s not even stuff that I want but the challenge itself that is alluring. I never NEED to do this, but the jolt of adrenaline that spikes my curiosity is irresistible.  It’s like a runner’s high that triggers your endorphins. The high lasts for hours. 
I really have no excuse for this. I was arrested for shoplifting when I was 16 but my record was expunged when I became legal. It’s a challenge, a rush, to see if I can get away with it, and I do. I no longer look like your typical teenage shock rock goth star. I don’t have the image that people notice on surveillance. I can palm something and have it up my sleep as it appears I am putting it back on the shelf in two seconds flat.
If I got caught the penalties would be devastating. I have a very professional career path that could be ruined but I don’t care. I do it anyways. Is it a cry for attention? Do I want to get caught? Hell, no.  I just want to get away with it, and get free stuff. Stuff I like to have but not enough to pay for it. Corporate America is greedy and materialistic. I don’t usually take from small vendors, mostly your mass produced consumer conglomerate like Wal-Mart or the like. They get things at whole sale and jack up the price 1000%. I know it only costs 10 cents to make this $10 tea tray, and yet, they get away with ripping me off every day.
A penny saved is a taste of their own medicine.

Spending Sprees - Criteria 4 Impulsive Behavior / Part 1

Impulsive spending is a BIG problem. Without careful monitoring you can lose your house, your car, the love and respect of those around you, as you’re thrown into a prison of debt and financial ruin. This is especially devastating when you have other people that rely on your for their wellbeing. Fortunately this isn’t my crisis.
I hate money. I love money. Money creates worry, stress and a lot of anxiety. I don’t gamble. I’d rather gamble with my life, than my money.  I always manage to have enough put away to take care of the necessities. I don’t miss my rent, or get my utilities turned off, but I put almost no thought into just how much I manage to save and I never have any idea exactly how much is in the bank. Thinking about it upsets me. I always feel like I have enough in there so I don’t check. When I do check it inevitably is less than what I was expecting. However, I love being able to get things for people I adore.

I don’t spend thousands of dollars at a time or anything. For me it’s an item here, an item there, sometimes a little more, just this once, ok just one more time, I won't get anything tomorrow how about that, well I want this now too. I’ll fall in love with a rock-a-billy dress and NEED to own it so I’ll buy two in slightly different styles and colors, dropping a couple hundred. Or this other thing that will fill the gap on my counter top, it's an investment, I'll never have to buy something like this again. It's justified, right? 

Spending on myself always makes me feel a little guilty though. I know I don’t really need these things. However, spending on other people makes me feel good. I love to buy things, do things, get things for the people I care about. Because I have such a hard time connecting to and expressing my emotions, it’s one way I can tangibly show I care.  With food especially. I LOVE to cook and bake. It helps that I’m also quite good at it. I’ll get it in my head to try exotic or gourmet four-course meals, big family style dinners and drop $75 to $100 on groceries alone. If I can get stuff that I NEED in order to do things for other people it’s much more justifiable to me. I feel much less guilty.
Spending money always makes me feel guilty. This feeling of guilt is how I recognize this as a problem.
I do have an occupation where I make enough money to not get in immediate trouble. I’m single and don’t have kids (thank goodness) so all I need to worry about is me. However, I don’t have job security in this economy so it’s not a wise idea to not have a safety net.  If I’m not careful I’m always afraid I’ll end up spending myself out.
Like when I’d been in such destructive situations that I was willing to exhaust all my resources just to get out of the environment. I had the choice of staying in an abusive household or use everything I had to get out. I was prepared to put myself into debt to afford a new place because I had to get out RIGHT NOW.
If I have money now, I can get things. If I wait, I might not have the money in the future and I’ll regret not being able to get things when I did. I’ve worked so hard, or sacrificed so much I deserve to splurge a little, fill that void in my closet like it will fill the void in my heart. Or if I can buy all those ingredients and make a dinner so delicious that everyone is sated, it’s as if I’ve sated my need for their love and appreciation. I can go out of my way and get things that I know they couldn’t or wouldn’t think to get on their own, a token of my appreciation to garner their favor.
I create lists upon lists of things I would love to have and slowly, but steadily chip away at them. Sometimes only one or two little things here, oh maybe one bigger thing there, then 3 or 4 things here, well these aren’t for me and they’re so perfect for {insert name here} they really  need to have this now… little by little it all adds up to a giant gaping hole in my bank account.  If I have money coming in, I will have money going out.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Look before you leap? No, thanks. - Criteria 4: Impulsive Behavior

Onto the fun stuff. According to the DSM IV the next definable criteria states:

Criteria 4:  impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.  

Once again I will do this in multiple parts because I have a lot of these. It’s amusing though, because of my dissociative tendencies and my need to over think everything, I don’t appear to be an impulsive person. Below the placid surface lies a turbulent sea and I tend to take what I want from the world.

My list of impulses include:

Spending sprees
Drinking and Drugging
Piercings and tattoos
Dangerous situations / stripping
Sex and More Sex
Eating Disorders/bulimia

So let’s begin with the lesser of my evils and work our way up to the more interesting.

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