Tag Archives: mental illness

The filmmaking side of things

Here is a short clip from the documentary which I am ever so slowly creating, The Fell Clutch of Circumstance. Progress has all but stopped for now making me wonder where this is going. I appreciate every person I have come to know under these strange and unfortunate circumstances. The following are conversations with women about men who held on until they didn’t.

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Mascara, the cure for Insomnia

Things get creaky, the walls when I walk, the floor when I fall. A slow screech lingers in my head, invading the quiet, the dark. Sleepless nights, wandering around my house. Get up, piss, get some water, repeat 10 more fucking times until finally its morning and I can add some more pointless activities to this ridiculous routine. The heavy-headed dizziness of sleep deprivation overcomes me, becomes me. An hour of pilates awakens my limbs, filling my lungs with oxygen. Am I awake yet? Can you awaken when you never really go to sleep? A shower washes away the residue of the previous 24 hours of existence. Am I awake yet? Not really, no need to be. I will live forever in this halfway world between reality, dreams and unsleep. I paint a portrait of myself, intricately filling in every crevice and pore, sweep of eyebrow and curl of lash, smearing of red, the illusion of a mouth, an eye, a girl, a woman, a whore and a clown. Now I am here, I have arrived.

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The unexpected acceptance

I saw a picture of myself and I didn’t scream and look the other way. The picture was taken shortly before I got pregnant and I was wearing tight jeans and a tiny little cardigan. I was out hiking with my dogs and I didn’t have on my usual heels and my makeup was a little worn through, although I did have a nice healthy flush to my cheeks, a natural blush brought on by physical exertion.

I looked closer and thought the strangest goddamn thing, I thought, “I was fucking thin, I really was.” I have gone through my entire life in a constant state of unease with my own physical appearance. Thoughts of, “I am fat”, “I am hideous”, “I am huge”, “I fucking hate myself”, have gone through my head on a continuous loop, over and over, ever louder and more demanding of my complete attention.

I never once felt content with my body, not one single part of it. I hated my thick thighs, my wrinkled knees and less than feminine calves. My strong shoulders and muscled back from too many years of lifting gallons of milk and bags of coffee beans. My skin, covered in freckles and other such bumps and spots, a mottled mixture of pinks, reds, yellows and even some blues. My stomach that even an hour of pilates a day never achieved anything close to toned or flat. My ass, oh god, my fucking ass, my giant dimpled ass. The more I worked out the bigger it got, more sturdy and shelf like, two distinct cheeks moving independently as I walked like they were trying to get away from each other, two separate entities seeking their own personalities. My small, child like breasts could not have been more out-of-place on my solid 5’9″ frame. I even hated my hands, my short bloated fingers and reddened knuckles.

The fucking battles that have gone on between my body and myself. I tried to starve it to death. It won. I tried to purge myself inside out, until my bowels floated in the toilet bowl along with undigested food speckled with blood. It won. I tried to drown it in vodka and cheap red wine. It won.

And now I am pregnant, a massive exaggeration of a woman, my stomach protruding further and further every day. My breasts now those of a woman, nipples swollen and waiting, anticipating. My hips and thighs growing larger, stronger, carrying both myself and child. My ass has successfully taken on the personalities of both Mother and whore. My arms eagerly await the weight of a baby. My body is no longer something to hate, to destroy. My body has created love, a love I never knew existed. A love I never thought I could deserve. A love I feel with every kick, with every wiggle between my ribs.

After I give birth and return to my “normal” size, I wonder if I can manage to be somewhat accepting of my body, to possibly be able to see the girl in the photograph instead of the girl in the mirror. Because those goddamn mirrors are tricky ass liars and they always will be. Will I still have a little bit of love for myself, for my body? The body that created something so beautifully alive and real? Or will I return to my old ways of self-hatred, name calling, restriction, purging and all the other destructive means I have construed to torture myself? I would like to think that all that shit is behind me or at least most of it; splattered on the wall behind a filthy toilet, scrawled into the door of a rest stop bathroom and spit into the sink like a mouthful of twenty-dollar cum.

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What’s left besides bones and hair?

What does a hopeless waste of a life look like? A 59 year old crystal meth addict wearing booty shorts and high top Chuck Taylor’s? Insanely red hair with two inches of white roots? Ninety pounds of gauntness on a 5’3″ frame that’s shrinking by the minute? A gesticulating mess of limbs with an oscillating jaw spraying saliva in every direction?

“What’s your address?”

“Umm…I don’t know, let me go see.”

“You have lived here for months!”

She wanders from room to room. Never ending organizational projects fill up spaces where a life should be. Collections of nothingness, picked through and stripped to the bone.

Days and nights are meaningless when your eyes have forgotten how to close.

She is gone, she was never actually there.

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A kick in the face

Today I am reminded that I am an alcoholic, that I am a bulimic, that I am very fucking far from cured of any of the self-destructive behaviors that I am so undeniably addicted to. I can walk around with my rotundly pregnant belly and want a drink just as badly as the drunkard falling over in his seat on the bus. I can feel my baby squirming around inside of me and want to binge on junk food for hours just for the sake of purging, the wonderful empty high of bulimia. I can imagine holding my Son in a few months as vividly and yearningly as I can imagine smoking an entire pack of cigarettes in one afternoon.

Annoyance, simple everyday annoyance brings this shit on. Not life shattering events, not horrific news of some tragedy, not a fight amongst lovers or friends, not even slightly more complicated feelings like anger or stress, just plain old annoyance.

I had an appointment today, I contemplated not going, I always do, and I always go. I seem to have a busy calendar as of late with appointments at the Doctor, the Dentist, the Therapist (sort of, not really an actual therapist.) You see, when you go to the OB/GYN and are honest about your shit they will refer you to a counselor type person to assist you through your pregnancy. The woman I was assigned to happened to be an addiction and eating disorder specialist, so she will obviously know everything there is to know about me. It actually isn’t all that bad. I talk incessantly and answer questions before she can ask them and leave her pretty much speechless except to schedule our next appointment.

The annoyance began on my walk to the train station. The sun was absolutely blinding, the wind blowing my hair into my face, wisps sticking to my lip gloss slathered mouth. My feet already blistered, begin to throb within minutes. I don’t want to be outside today, the traffic too loud, the streets too crowded. Waiting for the train, I shift my increasing weight from foot to foot and try to avoid eye contact with some creepy asshole staring at me. Already I am done with this day. I want to escape, I want to scream, I want to fall down on the ground and throw a tantrum like a child.

Trudging my way up the long ass hill to the Hospital I almost take off my heels because who gives a fuck anymore, barefoot and pregnant, embrace it.

My annoyance turns me into an uppity ass bitch, click clacking in my heels down the hospital halls. What a scene I am, in my dress and coat, my bouffant and my eyebrows. I heave my bright red leather luggage I haul around as my purse, up and onto the reception desk, rummaging for my ID.

“Yes, I am her, can’t you tell? Are there others?”

Losing track of what’s real I want only to sit and write, to ignore the day that surrounds me, engulfs me.

The hour goes by in the usual fashion, my prattling on about healthy meal consumption and yes, of course I intend on attending meetings more regularly.

I leave and face the harsh assault of sunlight, traffic and obnoxious ass people crowding around me on the train.

Why did I leave the house today?

Hauling my ass home, completely aggravated with every living thing from the green grass and bright flowers to the singing birds in the trees. I don’t even wave back to the friendly neighbor who chirps hello from her porch, I just want to go home and crawl into bed. No, what I really want is to go home, open a bottle of wine and light a cigarette. My brain doesn’t give a shit that I am pregnant, it wants what it wants and it is screaming it loud and clear.

Well fuck you brain, fuck you Regina, you selfish goddamn brat. You don’t get what you want anymore.

Home. I write. I eat frozen yogurt. I watch my dogs play. I take a nap. I am ok.

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Filed under Alcoholism and other Assholes, Ana, Mia and other Bitches, Fashionably Unreasonable, Feels like Sunday, I am Pregnant, My Home, Something that happened

To Do: OCD the fuck out

I had a plan. When you have OCD, plans are important and they must be adhered to. So, I make my plans, I write them down, the smallest detail accounted for.

I have been trying to refrain from writing down what I plan on eating and then what I actually eat, a hobby of mine for the past 20 years. This whole eating disordered life that I lead is being stifled momentarily for the sake of the kid inside me making a goddamn fuss at the moment.

I made my plans for the day, stupid shit, daily life shit, nothing special, really not worth writing down at all. Then a bunch of assholes decided to fuck up my day. For any normal person the unexpected arrival of Gas and Electric repair men needing access to the yard would be a temporary interference. But it wasn’t written down, it was not part of the plan.

My dogs vocalize my discontentment, making the unwelcome intruders uneasy, as they should be. After exactly 25 minutes, they are gone. Fucking finally, maybe now I can resume my day. Next on my ridiculously mundane list, write something.

Interrupted again by the rare ringing of my phone. I have gone days without hearing the obnoxious ring of a telephone, one amazing benefit of having very few friends.

Fucking seriously? Another repair man is coming over to replace our stove. Well, it will be nice to have a functioning kitchen again. The oven has been broken for well over a year and the stove exploded about 4 months ago. Luckily I don’t cook much and having one more excuse not to eat is a blessing to any eating disordered girl. However, I have grown tired of heating my tea in the microwave, it tastes different, it really does. And I quite enjoy the sound of a kettle on a stove, a whole pot of something yummy and calorie free!

I have about 3 hours until the next disruption. I could use the time wisely and finish the items on my list or I can let my OCD take over, get nothing done and say fuck it to the entire day.

Fuck it wins because the list simply does not make sense anymore. I will try again tomorrow, there are always more lists, OCD certainly isn’t going anywhere and apparently neither am I.

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Sensory awakenings

Bullshit. I see it on everyone’s face, I hear it in everyone’s voice and I smell it, the rotting stench of deception and ulterior motives. I attribute my new-found sensory abilities to my sobriety.

When I was drinking, I could deal with absolutely anything with this one simple theory “where can I get a drink?” It made everything so simple, my goals were simple. And once my goal achieved, the problem itself was a distant obstacle, not worth dealing with. Situations were glazed over in an effort to simply “get by”. And I did, I got by for years. I didn’t accomplish much, but I survived and I fooled everyone (almost) into thinking I was fine.

Sobriety has given me  a new outlook on my surroundings and of course myself. I had no idea that I was even capable of feeling the emotions that now come up on an almost daily basis. I am hostile, I am appalled, I am fucking annoyed. An onslaught of sorts is occurring and I feel almost….violated, especially by those around me that I never paid much attention to in the past. I discovered that I don’t care much for most of the personal relationships that I once needed. And I have found that because most people never knew the actual me, the me beyond the girl having a good time with a drink in her hand, that I must either put in the time to introduce myself or forget about the relationship entirely.

I find myself constantly questioning people’s sincerity, and my own as well. I may have stopped consciously lying but I still find myself holding back my feelings and honest opinions when speaking to people. I don’t have to “get by” anymore, I don’t have to keep a calm exterior to avoid fucking up the balance between the reality I have created and the reality everyone else lives in.

The path is now clear, the wine bottles hauled away with the garbage. I can see all the bullshit, it’s as close as the end of my driveway. But I’m not letting it in the front door quite yet. I still need a little more time to think this through, plan a strategy that requires more tools than a cork screw.

 

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I never want to feel that way again

“When was your last drink?”

“October 13, 2011, about 3pm”

“What was it?”

“Champagne, I was at work and I drank that shit all day”

I was a fucking mess. But goddamnit if the ED part of me doesn’t love how thin I was at the time. I had quit eating regular meals and had dropped to well below my average adult weight. I was also shitting blood every day and was covered in bruises. But I was thin, my stomach flat and my clavicle nicely exaggerated.

I realized today that both my first and last drinks were champagne (excluding the wine I got drunk on at two years old). I don’t even particularly like champagne, I was always privy to vodka, from Stoli to Popov, I wasn’t picky. I never once bought a bottle of champagne. It was a work thing, an availability issue, it was free and there for the drinking.

My last drunk week was a chaotic disaster of lies. I had promised to quit drinking a week earlier. A promise I knew I would not keep, one of thousands I had made to others and to myself. Fuck promises, they mean nothing. I was sneaking and lying, two things I am ridiculously talented at. But this time was different, I felt bad about it. I felt…..guilty, at the time an extremely rare emotion for me.

It was near the end of my shift and I was sipping on my travel coffee mug (filled with champagne) while I was scrubbing a mountain of dishes. The heaping mound of trash behind me filled the small back room of the kitchen with the foul odors of a busy morning. I was covered in grease, coffee grounds and questionable slime. My back ached and sweat dripped between my breasts, it was a normal afternoon. I patted my apron pocket to make sure I had my smokes handy, a compulsive movement I did numerous times a day out of comfort and security.

Suddenly, I was completely disgusted, with myself, my situation, with every fucking aspect of my life. I threw up into the sink, hot liquid spraying out of my mouth and nose, choking spasms of revulsion let loose all over plates of egg matter and bowls crusted with tomato soup. I screamed and spit violently, wanting to be rid of everything inside me, my burning esophagus, my rotting stomach, my fucked up brain, my worthless soul.

And that was it, I was done. I didn’t feel like a liar, I didn’t question why I felt the way that I did. I felt primal, my survival instinct kicked me in the head and I woke the fuck up.

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I want to feel like this forever

“When was your first drink?”

“God, two years old I guess”

“Two?! Ok, I will rephrase. When was the first time you got good and drunk?”

“Yeah, two. But I know what you mean. I was 13 the first time I willingly got drunk”

Ok, here are explanations of both….

Booze was never taboo in my family, it flowed freely at parties and my parents never kept track of what was in the house. In fact my first official drunk was when I was just a toddler. I obviously don’t remember this but I have heard my Mom tell the story over and over, laughing every time. I apparently stumbled over to the coffee table, grabbed a glass of red wine and downed the entire thing, a professional drinker at two! She told me that I screamed all night long, eyes rolling around in my head (I must have hated the spins as badly then as I did years later). She was too afraid to take me to the hospital for fear of persecution from Child Protective Services. I toughed it out that night, I survived to drink again one day. There is no stopping a determined toddler with DNA mapped out perfectly for addiction and substance abuse.

My next good drunk, New Years Eve, 1993. I swallowed my first glass quickly, my mood as sour as the champagne. I was struggling with bulimia, and by struggling I mean not having enough time to vomit between meals or enough hours in the day to obsessively run mile after mile. I hated school and everyone there. The only solace in my life was my new-found love affair with smoking.

My second glass, enjoyed a little more than the first but still gulped with purposeful intent. I feel the bubbles in my nose and this makes me gag a little as I am reminded of the sensation of vomit spraying out of my nostrils which unfortunately is a daily occurrence.

My third glass marks the end of the first bottle. I sneak out the back door for a smoke. I hold my glass of champagne in one hand and my Marlboro Light in the other. I feel like a fucking supermodel for about half a second. I am in love with that fleeting sensation of power, sex and maturity. I am no longer a child, if I ever was one at all. I stare at the night sky inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly, luxuriantly.

The second bottle of champagne disappears in no time at all. My Mom is asleep in front of the television, Dick Clark counting the year down like pennies thrown in a fountain, meaningless wishes and a waste of time. I stumble into my room and collapse onto my bed. I have one loud continuous thought reverberating through my head, “I want to feel like this forever, I want to feel like this forever….”

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The yard sale

She was a nervous child, she acted out to express her anxiety. Unease and discomfort followed her around like a heavy blanket wrapped around her ankles.

Her parents fought constantly, mostly about money as most adults ill-prepared for parenthood tend to do. She began to worry about the bills, the rent and groceries. This was on top of the already monumental tower of worries that the child carried around with her; the behavioral difficulties of her puppy who refused to be house broken, the daunting organizational predicament she encountered with her book bag that resulted in hours of preparation each school night, the nightly dinner dilemma of a full plate of food that in some unimaginable way was to be consumed fully and enjoyed and most of all was the constant and unyielding worry of the safety of her family and her home.

She felt as though her life and the lives of her family were held in some precarious position, ready to disintegrate at any moment. Somehow she had to protect them and herself from the unknown threat that lingered at the edges of every moment.

After an especially violent fight over the nonexistent rent money the child decided the time had come, she would do something to help. She had seen yard sales in the neighborhood and it seemed like a perfectly reasonable way to make some quick money and money was what her family needed.

The next morning was a Sunday and she woke up before sunrise, in fact she had not slept at all that night. She walked into the front yard and felt good about the task before her, she knew for sure that this was the right thing to be doing. She gathered most of her toys and old clothes from her bedroom, glad to be rid of the offending clutter. Arranging her belongings on a blanket beneath a tree she felt like a shop girl, humming a pleasant tune of self-satisfaction. She brought out dishes from the kitchen, knickknacks from the living room, records and books from the shelves, a clothes hamper, a step stool and a spare set of silverware that her Mother kept in a drawer.

Her first customer arrived soon after she had perfectly arranged every item on the front lawn just perfectly. The girl watched nervously as the woman rummaged amidst her family’s house wares. She wasn’t nervous about any possible repercussions of what she was doing, she simply hated seeing the items being fussed with in such a careless fashion. She was proud, possibly the first time she had felt such an emotion, of the work she had done and wished she had a few minutes alone to enjoy the moment. However more customers were filing onto the lawn and she resumed her duty as shop girl. She sold the step stool for $1 and the books for a quarter a piece. People pretty much made their own price as she held open her beaded coin purse, the heft of which pleased her deeply. Within an hour the lawn was a shambles of rumpled blankets and a few unwanted articles of clothing. The books had been carried off by an overweight housewife in a stained bathrobe, the clothes hamper drug away by kids on their way to a grassy hill, the records snatched up by an awkward young man with a bad complexion and the set of rarely used silverware was hesitantly purchased by an older woman with a cranky disposition and a guilty smile.

With a deep breath of satisfaction at a hard days work the girl held tightly to the bulging coin purse as she walked back into her house. Her Father was coming out of the bathroom and walked past her without a word. He put on a pot of coffee, sat down at the kitchen table and lit a cigarette. The girl placed the coin purse in front of her Father.

what’s this?
money
where’d you get it?
I had a yard sale
a yard sale?
yeah, for rent money
what are you talking about?
for the rent… I, I heard you and Mom yelling about not having enough money, I wanted to help
oh my god, what did you sell?
…um just stuff we didn’t need….Mm..my toys and some books
what else!
…uh….I don’t know,….some, some records and some silverware
some what!
the….the silverware that we never use, it was in that drawer….really, we never use it
oh god, oh no…no no no!
I just wanted to help, I’m sorry, I’m sorry….

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Shopping for a whale

Halfway there and I am over it. Annoyed and anxious. I want a fucking cigarette. I feel huge and uncomfortable. Have I ever felt contentment for more than half an hour at a time?

Who the fuck said pregnancy is beautiful, fatty fetishists most likely. Lay me on a beach and watch the spectators gather because I am a fucking whale. When this boy is done cooking so am I because I am not eating for a long time.

I bought clothing today in the fucking PLUS SIZE department of the thrift store! I kept saying “I am pregnant that’s why I am buying this hideous black tent dress….I would never wear this style but I’m pregnant and growing by the second….oh god am I really wearing this.” When the clerk tried to have a conversation with me about kids I hurriedly grabbed my phone and mouthed an apology to her as a response. I don’t know how people tolerate me, I sure fucking can’t most of the time.

After shopping for massive amounts of stretchy black fabric to cover my bloated rotundness, I went out to lunch by myself. The chirpy hostess greeted me with “congratulations!” What the fuck?! What if I really was just fat? She then explained that my crazy Mother has apparently announced to everyone in the neighborhood that I am pregnant or more importantly according to her, that she is going to be a Grandmother. Everyone can go fuck themselves.

God, I just want to live my life as if I were invisible.

P.S. I’m fine, please don’t worry about me.

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