Starting at the beginning, I guess?

My first major mental health thing (aside from feeling vaguely “off” and emotionally “different” at the age of ten or eleven) was the eating disorder I developed in high school. That disorder was a tremendously strong force in my life for like, a reaaaallly long time. It was my disappearing act, resulting from crippling depression and anxiety, where I shriveled into a shell of who I once was and lost all sense of how to relate to my body, my self, and my loved ones. It was crying in what felt like every bathroom stall of my school as I hid from anyone who might figure out what I was doing, what I was being made to do, for fear that they might try to intervene. Because if they did, I would just EXPLODE, so I had to stay away. It was throwing myself into my schoolwork, distracting myself with the drive to get straight As and 100s and be perfect so I could graduate and go to a good college and get a good job and be successful and not fail out of life itself because how fucking shitty would I feel if that happened, I already felt shitty enough! The eating disorder was a lot of things. None of them particularlyyy good.

To speak in a way that isn’t full of words that are me just trying to be a fancy writer… I fucking starved myself for three years. In ninth grade, at fourteen years old, I met Depression. My friends didn’t like me anymore, I was lonely and sad, I was stressed out with school, and I was a teenager so like, my relationship with my dad was shit and it caused me a great deal of stress. I stopped eating because I wasn’t hungry. I was anxious and panicky and sad. And furthermore, I was consumed with schoolwork and advanced classes, and the pressure was crushing me. I worked through lunch instead of eating because I thought it’d alleviate some of the ever-present dread, maybe chase away the dark cloud looming above my head or the sense of impending doom. It didn’t, but I wouldn’t eat anyway. Then, weirdly, I was compelled to skip breakfast too. So I skipped breakfast too. And then I was told by some omnipotent presence to get on the scale. So I got on the scale. And thus began the competition I had with myself to make the number I saw get lower and lower and lower. Cue body image problems. Enter physical issues. Bring on the bitter, biting, painful cold that settled in my bones and didn’t leave me the fuck aloneeeeeee.

No one really noticed, or so I assumed, but if they did notice, they left me to it until I was too far gone. By the middle of eleventh grade I desperately wanted to stop. I had realized there was a word for what I was doing, a name for this THING eating me from the inside out, but I didn’t say it. I didn’t write it. I tried not to think it. Because with the awareness that this was anorexia was the feeling inside of me that I was consciously doing wrong. And I wasn’t a bad kid. I was and always had been a good girl. I wasn’t wrong, I wasn’t bad, I couldn’t HELP IT, ughhhhhh.

I was thrown into the hospital in an eating disorders program in April that year. I say “thrown,” but I guess it was my choice? I was brought to this appointment as this office far away from where I lived, and I mean, I had a feeling it was about this eating issue thing of mine. And my stomach went sour when I realized that feeling was right. But the doctor who talked to me and examined me was so nice. I trusted her immediately. And I mean, I wanted to get better. So I was honest with her, said the dreaded word anorexia, and even more said that that was what I had, that anorexic was what I was.

“Laura is very mature,” the doctor told the nutritionist when she walked in. “Came right out and told me she’s anorexic.”

I beamed with pride, but the happiness only lasted briefly, because now we had to “talk about options.” Oh, god. Oh god oh god oh god. “Because you can’t stay sick forever. You can’t stay stuck in this forever. I think you know that, Laura.” Ughhhh, I diddddd, but I was scareddddd.

“You can leave here today. And you’d have to come back in two weeks for an appointment. And during those two weeks, you’d have to try, really try, to eat and gain weight.” The words she spoke hit me like a ton of bricks. “But patients I send home never do as well, and every time I let someone go home, I regret it. I’m afraid that…” she shifted in her chair and leaned towards me. “I’m afraid that if I let you walk out of this office today, you won’t walk back in.”

The subtext of that being, of course, that I was going to drop dead. I knew that was what she meant. I struggled to breathe, I struggled to see straight without dark clouds spotting my vision, I had no energy, my body hurt, I was cold, emaciated, I was going to die.

“Or,” she paused to look at me, “you can stay here. We’ll admit you to the hospital.”

Somehow, as this brilliant doctor and I were talking, the decision was made that I’d stay. She was extra brilliant because she somehow made sixteen-year-old me believe that I had made the decision. Which was important because it made me work extra hard over the coming months in the hospital and the program. It was what I had decided I wanted to do, wasn’t it? I mean, it truly was what I wanted. But goddammit, eating??? Gaining weight??? That shit was difficult. Almost as difficult as processing the emotional shit and talking about my secrets and opening up about my disorder whileeee eating and gaining weight.

I made friends in the hospital that helped me back into my skin and reminded me who I was as a person. My friends back at school (the ones I’d made and grown close to over the prior three years, the ones who came to love me even though I was a miserable, starving mess) were so incredibly supportive. My teachers were incredible, I can’t understate how helpful they were. My family I can’t even begin to describe. And like, holy shit, just feeling such extreme love after having felt the exact opposite for so long…it was enough to catapult me into recovered life.

Not that the “road to recovery” was all skipping through fields of flowers. I gained 50 pounds, yeah, but uhhhhhh that didn’t mean shit? I mean, I gained higher comprehension and understanding and became more self-aware and able to process shit. But I still felt like the sick me. Even though I looked like a “healthy” me. *Identity crisis intensifies*

I held it together as best as I could. I never really had a major relapse and never wound up back in the hospital, but it was a wild ride from there to here.

I’m realizing now I’ve never thought extensively about my actual recovery. I know how I transformed in the actual hospital, and in the very early stages of recovery. But I’ve never truly thought about being in college and grappling with both eating disordered thoughts and the determination to kick the shit out of those thoughts.  Put a pin in this, that’s a blog post for later.

Long story short (not really), I’m 27 and the eating disorder is an issue anymore. I’m thankful and lucky and proud. So yay 🙂

Some people don’t believe in “full recovery,” but I mean, I don’t have an eating disorder anymore, so I think it’s a thing I believe in. I totally get that people are talking about the ongoing process of recovering. And I understand that. I dunno, maybe it’s different for everyone.

It’s also currently eating disorder awareness week, and I posted about it on facebook, so I’m gonna post here what I posted there. Just for funsies, Lol.

I usually like to tie posts and writing up in a nice bow to end things, but my brain isn’t brain-ing right now. So no super-great ending. I just hope you enjoyed my ranting here, internet 🙂

Snowy Saturdays mean coffee and writing (especially when I’m off from work)

Good morning, internet!

I slept late today (which for me is until like 7:30) and woke up to snow. It’s a gray day, which makes the snow seem far less pretty and exciting. I mean, I don’t loveeee snow to begin with; I hate being cold, I have no tolerance for it. But when it starts at night and then the next morning everyone wakes up to the sun shining brightly, reflecting off that glittery white snow that no one’s walked or driven in? So it’s still fresh and peaceful? Yeah, I like that.

But like I said, it’s gray and gross today. So I’m gonna stay here, sitting at my desk, where I am surrounded by colored pens and markers and notebooks and stickers that all make me happy, and I’m gonna write write write. I have coffee, so I’m happy. It’s like a “make your own sunshine” type thing, I guess? Gotta find the good parts of a day, every day. Coffee definitely helps me do that. But I don’t wanna go on and on about my love for my favorite caffeinated beverage just yet (I can and will do that later).

I have a lot of work to do with this blog of mine. I want this to be a place where I share my writing and my story and the lessons I’ve learned or am still learning. I wanna do what I think it is I do best: put words to my intense and often-incomprehensible internal state. Which I do so that I make sense of it. I think I have the ability to describe the chaos in a way that’s graspable to everyone, whether they’re struggling or not. Maybe I can give those struggling something to identify with so they can make sense of the bullshit along with me. And words are power in those situations, I know this for a fact. When I was a teenager, this little anorexic mess of a human, I did things I was compelled to do and I didn’t have the language to describe it or understand it or make sense of it. Having the words necessary to talk about a mental health issue is crucial to a person’s ability to survive that issue.

Right, so I can do a lot by writing about what’s in my bag of crazy. Maybe I can help some people. Maybe I can shed a certain light on mental health stuff, help educate people who wouldn’t otherwise know or care about it all. I know I can definitely have a ton of fun with this blog. Because writing (perhaps for an audience?) is my favorite fucking thing.

Sidenote, real quick: I used the word “crazy” up there, and I think I’m gonna use that word quite a few times throughout this blogging adventure, and I want to clarify why I use it so as to not offend anyone. I use it because I claim it as my own. It’s how I identify personally, and I don’t use it to describe myself with any negative connotation. I like the word. Don’t know why, not fully at least. I used to call myself things intentionally so others wouldn’t have fun calling me those same things…so maybe my use of the word comes from that? I just don’t want other people to be like, “oh she things people with Bipolar are crazy,” because some other people may not particularly like that word. Okay, good, moving on.

I’m gonna post a bunch of things today. Some essay-type things and some things I’ve posted elsewhere on other social media and some things I generally like. I kind of want to catch this blog up to where I am in my “journey” or whatever you wanna call it. I think it’s important. It’s important to me, at least, to have this be a place that knows how I got to where I am right now.

‘Cause I have a lot more places I wanna go after here. But I think I have work to do still before I’m gonna be able to get too much farther.

Okay, ready for an onslaught of posts? Annnndddd, here we go…

Bipolar Mermaid Writer!

Hi 🙂

I’ve been dying to buy a blog domain for the longest time, so here I am, I guess!

All I’ve ever wanted to do is write.  Since I was a kid, carrying around a wide-ruled notebook and thick Crayola markers, I’ve loved it.  I think I’m pretty good at it, especially when I really put my mind to it.  Lately, it’s been more of a compulsion; I have to get the words out of me, out of my brain and into the ether.  It’s therapeutic.  Writing helps me make sense of the messiness inside my head because as you may have guessed from the domain name, I am in fact bipolar.  Or I guess I should phrase it “I have bipolar disorder.”  Since I’m more than just that.  But my main issue right now is my mood issues and my mental health.

That about sums up my domain, except for the mermaid part.  Which is easily explained: I just dyed my hair blue and purple, and it looks veryyy mermaidy.  I was feeling rebellious and wild and I wanted my outside to match my inside (it’s a thing I have, where I wanna match…I’m sure I’ll explain in more detail later on), but long story short, yeah.  Blue and purple hair.

I’m gonna leave off with that, for this moment at least.  I have big plans for this website thing, and I’m suuuuper excited to have a place to put all my writing and to document my journey or whatever.

So yay 🙂

It takes rain to make a rainbow ❤