Monthly Archives: February 2014

I am painted red by your blood

(Painted Red–JJ Heller)

…or maybe that’s my blood getting all over my notes and clothes…oopsie daisy…it’s been one of those days…okay, weeks…or months…these things don’t happen instantaneously…

I don’t really have time for this right now, but a lot is processing through my head, so I am going to just pick one topic as it floats through my head and write about it before I go back to attempting to do something useful with my life and not fail out of school 🙂

So the main idea is gloves.

First we will start with the least obviously connected concept linked to this idea…when I am washing and sanitizing my hands too much, especially when this is accompanied by inadequate lotion usage, my hands start to look at first glance like I am wearing thin red gloves, because there gets to be a somewhat distinct line at my wrist between the damaged skin and the skin that hasn’t been abused so much, so below my wrists the skin is usually reddish, sometimes with white patches and/or blood spots and/or cracks…and depending on the level of damage/healing either really dry, rough, wrinkles, or shiny skin… Right now my hands are at a level of healing where the redness does not extend continuously to my wrist…great 🙂

Next concept…I love when people protect themselves by wearing gloves. This is a good thing. However, I find that gloves tend to make people actually less safe. How is this? Well, let’s take a look at a little thing called cross-contamination. You probably wouldn’t touch raw meat with your bare hands then grab yourself a drink of water, and if you were taking out the trash, you probably wouldn’t stop to pick at the ABC gum stuck to the wall (if I am wrong about this then bear with me–I don’t always have a good handle on what life in the non-germophobic world is like)…but if you touched the meat with gloved hands, or had gloves on when you were taking out the trash would you take these same precautions? From my observations of the world around me, I have found that the answer is no. People put on gloves, touch things that are disgusting (animals for dissection, trash), then go on to touch notebooks, pencils, doors, waterbottles, cups, backpacks, or whatever else and go on with life as if they aren’t wearing gloves and have clean hands…although I agree that to some extent your hands are protected while inside the gloves, everything you touch with those dirty gloves has now been contaminated with whatever was on your gloves, and unless you are rather meticulously both keeping track of everything that has been touched and keeping other people and things from touching those things and spreading the contamination, and then going through and thoroughly sanitizing all the now-dirty items, then those gloves did you no good, because as soon as you take them off you will start touching all the things that are now covered in disgustingness from being touched by your dirty gloves. I cringe internally when I see thing…especially the more gruesome encounters like the visibly slimy pencil being picked up and used by a clean hand as if it too were clean, or the person who picked the gum off the wall then went on to touch a jillion things in the few seconds before I closed my eyes because my brain was going to explode…one thing that I really like though: a sign on one of the doors in lab to remind people to please take off their dirty gloves…don’t know if anyone pays attention to the sign, but it is at least a nice thought.

Just ’cause they all do doesn’t mean we have to act like we’re in high school

(high school-Superchick)

I am not in high school anymore…and sometimes I need to be reminded of that.

Spirit week is a lot different in college than in high school–which is what initially sparked this post. This week was spirit week at school. The only time I participated in spirit week in high school was when it was worth extra credit, and I don’t really participate in spirit week very much in college, but I tried it once this week.

To my credit, not that many people seemed to be participating this week, so there is a teeny tiny chance that I didn’t mess up my attempt at participation, but considering the look Anne gave me at first when I said what day it was, it seemed like probably I messed it up.

In high school, spirit week was very predictable. It typically was:
Monday: pajama day (wear pajamas, also wear pajamas that coordinate with your friends’ pajamas if you are popular)
Tuesday: twin day (wear something that says twin on it; popular girls usually wear a pink shirt but might tye-dye shirts to match friends, teachers mostly wear dark blue or red, guys mostly wear dark blue or gray)
Wednesday: stoplight day (green=single and looking, yellow=not sure, red=taken, I don’t remember the other colors, but whatever color was either not taken or seemed least offensive is what I wore if I remembered in advance)
Thursday: matching day (dress like your friends, which for the popular girls usually involved making their clothing as hideous as possible, and coming to school with their hair looking like a first grader did it for them)
Friday: school spirit day (wear school colors–which included an insane number of choices at my school; for the popular girls this again involved strange hair and clothing, and sometimes face paint.)

So anyway, Tuesday was twin day at college so I wore a shirt that said twin. I almost never wear and first year it didn’t even come to school with me because I was afraid people would think I was smart because it has my ACT score on the back, but now people pretty much don’t really care what I think and they think I am smart, so it is not so bad to wear the shirt…anyway, I am not sure what twin day means at school, but based on the response, I am guessing that I got it wrong…so much for my attempt at participation…

Speaking of high school, I had a dream a couple nights ago that I showed up to PAWS (people achieving wildcat spirit–basically my high school’s equivalent of home base) when I was supposed to be in my fourth hour class and was freaking out because I was already running late. I absolutely hate being late and am usually excessively early–for example, consistently showing up for bio(?) multiple hours before it started first year for no reason other than to be sure I was on time. Schedule confusion was a concern my senior year of high school because I decided to take some hours off and therefore didn’t have a class filling every hour of my school day so when we had schedules that put the classes out of order I sometimes ended up with gaps in my day that I didn’t have anywhere to be, making it difficult to remember when and where to get to next…but anyway, that morning on my way to school I was freaking out because I couldn’t remember what my fourth hour class was…yeah…it took me until I was partway to school and thinking I’d go online and check when I got there to realize that I am no longer in high school and therefore do not have a fourth hour class…

One last thought about not being in high school. In high school a lot of kids were super immature. You would think coming to college that the maturity level would go up at least a little–I mean, isn’t college supposed to be for the students who actually care to continue their education and learn about something they have chosen? Well, at least at my school, it is hard to see any increase in maturity–in fact, the maturity level may have even dropped. It is really hard for me to understand how someone could think it is okay to not do their homework or reading and expect to do well, or to not study for tests/quizzes yet blame the teacher when they don’t do well, or to complain to the teacher that it isn’t fair that the test can’t be changed b/c they don’t want to take it that day–seriously? The teacher gets to make the test dates so that they fit the course well; that is not your job. And then there is the non-academic behaviors…I understand we are all people and we all make poor choices sometimes, but it just is frustrating how low the maturity level at my school seems to be.

Also, I am super glad I am no longer in high school, because this year would have been super stressful for me b/c there have been a lot of snow/cold days…not that the ones here have been less stressful, but there have been fewer here…

If you were shoutin’ at me I couldn’t hear so I assumed you were prayin’ for my soul

(Chrome Fish–Go Fish)

I am probably going to get myself in trouble some day…

So yesterday when I was driving home from school some guy showed me how he had one finger…so, not wanting to be shown up, I waved at him to show how I had five fingers on my hand 🙂

He yelled something, but I couldn’t hear it because we were both in our cars and my radio was on, so I assumed he was telling me to have a wonderful day and I yelled the same back to him 🙂

Good thing my left hand is my preferred driving hand and that it would be awkward to get the window open with my right hand since I usually drive with my backpack in my lap, because something tells me that perhaps this person was not trying to be friendly and would not have appreciated my well wishes…

kinda like the lyrics “I bet you cut me off so I could see your position on pro-life”

I do not wanna be afraid

(Cut–Plumb)

Because that is just the way my luck has been lately, I was finally willing to almost re-integrate with the real world…and then I logged into facebook…and someone posted that he had ordered at Ruby Tuesday then proceeded to vomit for 15 minutes in the restroom and they were really nice refunding his meal but sending it home with him…

I hate OCD so much. This is someone I haven’t seen in person since last summer, someone who is currently around 500 or so miles away from me. Obviously I am no more at risk after reading about it than I would have been had I not known–but my OCD doesn’t understand that. I am fighting it, but my OCD wants to put me back into full-on protect yourself the world is dangerous crisis mode. Yes, it is extremely scary that not only is a stomach bug going around but that it can make a person go from just fine going out to eat to insane vomiting in a matter of minutes. Yes, any stomach bug scares me a lot. Yes, the germs can very easily be transported from Apple Valley (~15 miles to the airport) to my current city of residence (airport located within my city), and yes there already is a stomach bug in the area on my radar that has been making it really hard for me to see my best friend…but everyone else in the world is still going on with life…and I am freaking out…

I am mostly eating normally except I haven’t been having dinner at school, and I am drinking at my apartment though I still can’t drink at school…but now I am really struggling to get myself to drink anything right now sitting in my apartment. I am so terrified of getting sick. I just want this to end. I hate fighting every day just to get food and water into my mouth. I am tired of living in fear. I am terrified of getting sick. I know that not eating and drinking will weaken my body which means decreased immune function, but try convincing my OCD-ravaged mind that it is safer to open my mouth and ingest food that might be introducing germs into my body than to deprive myself of food and water…I hate fighting this battle everyday and I want to quit. I want to give up. Unfortunately, in this battle there is no giving up. There is no such thing as a day off. This battle is my life, but I really do not want to let this battle take my life.

Oh, and if you are a praying kind of person, prayers would be greatly appreciated for both physical and mental health…and my academics which are not getting nearly as much attention as they deserve as I focus on the battle in front of me.

Hate is strong in this one…

So there is something that I hate with a passion. I wrote about it in my journal, but my blood is still boiling about it so I’m gonna blog about it as well…because I can…

So we were doing My biggest fear and my biggest dream pages at school this week, and someone’s page is displayed that says “To Write Love on Her Arms” next to “My Biggest Fear.” I wish I could claim that paper. Oh my gosh, not necessarily fear, but a lot of hate is coming from me aimed directly at TWLOHA. TWLOHA is a huge obstacle to recovery. I have nothing against Christian self-injury support organizations–I am perfectly happy to support the Lysamena Project, but a self-injury support site that also promotes self injury–NO WAY…For that matter, I have nothing against non-Christian self-injury support either. I am fairly certain SAFE alternatives is not religiously affiliated and I have nothing against them either (and the name is kinda cool). The idea of self-injury support is good, and the fact that the people at TWLOHA are Christian and go on Compassion International trips is good. However, any self-injury support group that also promotes self-injury is definitely misguided and very much on my naughty list.

I guess if you have never self-injured and never really visited “our world” you may not understand the problem, but cutting is also sometimes called writing on our arms, screaming red, communicating in blood, or other analogous phrases. Because I am a music junky I can’t help but quote the lyrics here “Covering up lies that she wrote with a razor sharp pen.” I suppose if you modus operandum is cutting and you are cutting words like “stupid” and “failure” into your skin that cutting the word love with hearts and stars is an improvement, but when that is not the form of self-injury you have been utilizing and you are still somewhat new to recovery, it is extremely triggering to hear about this organization. To be honest, when I heard about it for the first time I was REALLY struggling not to find a knife and cut a heart with the word love around it. At this point I had been “clean” for about a year and a half if I remember correctly, so to be going so far backwards as to do something so much more damaging than I’d done before would have been a HUGE setback, and it was really scary how much that idea got into my head, how much I really wanted that. I got as far as planning how it would look, but luckily I did not hurt myself…and that is why I absolutely hate with a passion TWLOHA. Hate is a strong word, but any organization that can’t take a minute to understand the world they think they are going to save has a problem, and when that problem has impact on my own life I feel justified in harboring some hatred.

Life’s Gonna Knock Me Down, not Gonna Keep me Down

(Who you say you are–Britt Nicole)

Well so much for doing awesome this semester and controlling my anxiety/stress so that I can do better. I intentionally have been taking on too much in counseling because I feel like more is better…

And then by the second week of school–oh my–incident…The whole vomit incident set me behind and I feel like I will never catch up, especially since now almost a week later I am still barely functioning. I was starting to get close to normal…I am not drinking at school yet, but I am eating which is important, and as of yesterday I am using my lunch box again (albeit with extra washing) and I didn’t strip upon closing the door to my apartment and didn’t need to shower before I could eat, and my notebooks/computer/folders were allowed to touch my bed…huge quality of life improvements…

Then today in lab a girl told me that she had the flu–and the way she said it I am pretty sure she meant the stomach flu which is way scarier to me than the actual flu…then Anne sent an email with TWLOHA in the subject line. I didn’t read the email very carefully, but I am EXTREMELY AGAINST that organization…Don’t get me started on how much I hate hate hate it…

but I refuse to let that keep me sidelined in my own life. I will overcome. I might not have been able to eat the awesome brownies that Lee brought today that I really really wanted, but I ATE LUNCH!

I say yes

yes

Can I just say yes…

I found this picture a few days ago, and just said “yes.” On Thursday in particular there were a few hours that were awful because I desperately wanted hand sanitizer…more than I wanted water or food I wanted hand sanitizer, and usually hand sanitizer is something I will let myself have when I am in crisis like that…anything to just make it a few more seconds/minutes/hours/days…but I had seen Alyssa in the hallway and I. could. not. go. down. the. hallway. I considered going the long way to the hand sanitizer but realized if I did that I had no way to get back to my stuff unless I either used the elevator (YIKES!!!!! NO WAY!!!!! Sick people use the elevator, therefore I do not. This girl will take the stairs please.) or waited awkwardly in hopes of someone happening to be going down the hallway and stopping to let me in…yeah, crazy when germ issues keep me from even getting to the hand sanitizer…I tried washing my hands in water as hot as I could get it but after walking back and forth to the sink and washing my hands about ten times it wasn’t really working. I still wanted hand sanitizer and wanted it now…It was awful…

And on that note, I will also add that I am doing a lot better. I am eating both at school and at home though both places it is a little more complicated and stressful process than it used to be. I am also not too worried about drinking at my apartment. Actually, today I got comfortable enough with it that I started drinking constantly in an effort to water down the germs I probably took in by the cleaning I did this morning and all the other ways that I have taken in germs…umm yeah, after realizing how annoying it was to be getting up so often to use the bathroom that combined with my anxiety-induced lack of ability to transition/focus I was getting nothing done I worked on moderation…a little extra water to ease fear is okay. Re-filling my water bottle five times in half an hour on the other hand is not so okay…I am not drinking anything at school yet, but if I can continue eating both at home and at school and drinking at home, I am not overly concerned. I know eventually I will give in and get used to it again; I always have recovered to at least an outwardly-normal level. Though hopefully I will be able to do it on my own before then, if I am still not drinking at school by next Monday when Michelle comes back we’ll work on that. Either way, I will not be conquered. Me and God are stronger than OCD.

It’s Your Life What’cha Gonna Do

(It’s Your Life–Francesca Battistelli)

Oh my…I have been fighting for my life nearly figuratively, but also almost literally lately. I have gotten really really anxious about germs before and definitely have had difficulty eating before, and actually it is difficult to at least some extent nearly all the time, but for the first time, I have not only had difficulty eating but completely refused to eat pretty much all day on Wednesday. I tried. I tried really hard, but I couldn’t do it…and of course drinking anything seems to go first, so I also wasn’t drinking anything.

My life belongs to me. It does not belong to the OCD that is trying to take my life captive. I guess I should back up and say that if you haven’t been around long enough to figure it out, I am extremely germophobic, or more specifically emetophobia is a huge issue for me…and I slept over with my friend on Tuesday night. I was looking for just a little bit of challenge to make up for some challenges I had decided not to do earlier in the week, but I got a lot more than I planned on. My friend woke up in the night vomiting. Yes, she SLEPT NEXT TO ME then THREW UP NEXT TO MY THINGS. Extremely close to the worst I could possibly imagine (the worst being getting thrown up on and accused of being suicidal all at the same time). So yeah, it really sucks, because I was getting really close to caught up too before this happened. But it’s MY LIFE. I will get my at school best friend back. I will get used to living life.

On the positive side, I was really upset that one of my classes had been cancelled again on Tuesday (and at the last minute again), and Wednesday morning I didn’t even remember that had happened until I saw what I had posted on facebook the day before…

Also, some people go through life and eating lunch is a form of taking a break from the huge things they are accomplishing in life. Today, eating lunch was a HUGE SUCCESS! I started with technically a ten minute limit with my counselor. I was crying it was so hard and even though I really wanted a drink I kept refusing that…twenty minutes later I still wasn’t done and had to leave. I had almost an hour left before I needed to be in class. It took almost that whole hour, but I. finished. lunch. That was my wildly successful moment of the day…had the problem not been that I couldn’t eat I would have celebrated with some sour patch kids and skittles, however the problem in the first place was that I couldn’t get anything in my mouth, so the idea of eating food without necessary nutrients was pure torture so obviously I wasn’t going to do that. I still am not drinking anything, but I have spent a long time standing in front of the sink that feels safe enough to drink from trying really hard to coerce myself into doing it. I still haven’t done it. I have gone almost a week on a few occasions without drinking, but if I can’t drink anything, day 3 is usually when I start insanely craving anything with moisture…and from there it just gets more and more frustrating that I am so thirsty but can’t drink anything. I know that I need water, but it is so hard to drink it. I really want to conquer this and get a drink. At my apartment I have various forms of sprite, and I am really hoping that if I water it down the way I like it that I will be able to coerce myself to get a little fluid in tonight. I also really want to be able to eat. I think I can, but I know that getting every bite to my mouth is going to be a battle.

Bad Choices

Sometimes I make bad choices…like yesterday morning when I decided it would be a good idea to write all over my arm in red and black sharpie and flare pen…stuff like “bad girl” “failure” “grow up” “I hate you” “stop it” “stupid” “please just study”…oops…well I wasn’t going to give myself the pleasure of scrubbing my skin or using chemicals to get it off seeing as how that would basically be rewarding and reinforcing bad behavior so I had a quick wardrobe change to a long sleeved shirt that would definitely cover up the marker…reminded me of the song “When She Cries” by Britt Nicole…I thought I was wearing a shirt very similar to the one the girl in the music video is wearing, but then I realized the girl I was picturing is from the Headphones music video…similar song though…but anyway yeah…

“Pulling down her long sleeves
To cover all the memories the [marker] leave[s]
She says maybe making me bleed
would be the answer that could wash the slate clean
but everyday’s the same
she fights to find her way
she hurts she breaks she hides and tries to pray
she wonders Why?
Does anyone ever here her when she cries?

Everyone’s laughing and she can’t seem to smile
they never get past arm’s length
How could they act like everything is alright?

She’ll be just fine
because I know He hears her
when she cries”

Sometimes I am fighting all day to get through the next minute. Going back to self-injury seems tempting–it would certainly help to dull the pain, but I know that it is not the right thing to do so I keep fighting and try to hide it and be strong. I feel so alone, but can’t let anyone in. Everyone expects me to be brave, but I don’t feel brave, not on the inside and not on the outside. I want to enjoy the things other people do but I just can’t…but it’s going to be okay. God hears my cries for help, and he knows that everything will turn out according to his great plan even if it seems like I am drowning deeper and deeper.

It is okay not to be brave. Like the Mary-Kate and Ashley song Bravery, “I’m always prepared and when I’m still scared I get my mom…And if I’m still scared and mom isn’t there, there’s always dad.” Sometimes when the fear is tormenting me it is okay to let people know how much it hurts.