Hearts

For my Learning class (yes, the class is titled “Learning.” Yes, I hear it being made fun of all the time. It’s about Learning theories, get over it!) we have to write a research paper analyzing a behavior with two of the theories that we have learned in class (behavior can include abnormal illnesses like depression or OCD, or normal behaviors too). I decided I wanted to write mine on self-harm because I think it would be an interesting topic to look into because of the cause and effect of (for example) cutting; it’s cathartic, or it’s one thing the individual can control.

ANYWAYS

I am looking at self-harm, not specifically cutting, so I Googled common ways that people self-harm, and I came across “carving.”

And I remembered something…

I used to do that.

Do you remember when I said in an earlier post that I would carelessly shave and “accidentally” cut myself? Well, this is different from that. I completely forgot I used to carve into my skin. I still have some scars from where I carved hearts in different places on my body, like my arms or legs. There is one that is still prominent on the side of my right knee.

At the time, I never saw this as self-harm. I used pencils and would draw and redraw and retrace until the spot began to indent into my skin, or break the surface. And then I’d keep going.

I did this in middle school and in high school. It never even hurt me.

I remember my mom being upset at me for doing that to myself, but like I said, I didn’t see it as self-harm. When I carved the one on the top of my wrist, people at my high school saw it during class; I didn’t even try to hide it. Because I didn’t see it as self-harm.

So then, is is self-harm?

Yes. Yes, it is. It was me mutilating my body, in which I found joy in. Do people who self-harm in other ways think it is particularly bad at the time? Not necessarily. Like I said, it’s something they have control over, or it’s a cathartic experience.

I remember looking at the scar on my knee this summer, and it was almost nostalgic. I don’t know why it almost brought happy thoughts to my mind, but it was a time where I had control of what was going on with or happening to my body.

I guess I will explore what this really means.

 

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How did I get here?

I’m not sure how I ended up where I am.

Honestly, I’m lucky to be where I am.

The odds were against me. I should not be at one of the top rated colleges in Oregon. It should have been hard enough to go to community college with my financial situation. My parents can’t help me with my tuition; I am lucky enough that my grandparent are willing to cosign for me these past two years so I can pay tuition. I don’t know how I managed to not take out a private loan this year; somehow I was able to pay out of pocket the last bit of tuition, AND pay for rent every month. All on my own.

It’s tough growing up. This would be a lot easier if I could work more than I am, or not go to school. If I wasn’t going to school, I could work a full-time job and make decent pay to provide for myself, and have enough to play with.

But that’s not where I am.

I have a desire to further my education. I love learning, even if the homework is the worst part. However, there have been a few things that I have realized these past few years while I’ve been in college. My professor from my International Women’s Voices class said something along the lines of, “We go into college thinking we have a good idea of what it is we are interested in, or that we think we know a lot. When you leave college, you know it worked when you leave and realize you know nothing.”

It was something along those lines. And she is right. The more I learn about these different subjects, the more heavy the world seems to become. It weighs on me a lot because I know there is not a lot I can do to change anything. Not to be cliche, but I’m going to quote a Disney’s Pocahontas song: “You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.” I first realized this in my Gender Theory class last year; that was the class that made me decide to minor in Women’s Studies. I learned so many theories, ideas, and concepts about gender that I never even knew that I didn’t know about (hopefully that made sense;))!

It’s hard balancing all of the information that keeps getting thrown my way. It’s tough to handle at times because it makes you feel hopeless or worthless because there is nothing you can do, and other people don’t care enough to change anything anyway. Is the world actually better if we’re educated, even though we don’t do anything to change the problems we do have?  Or is ignorance actually bliss?

Intermission

I know it has been about a week since I posted anything, but I have good reason.

I’ve done more personal journaling or “drafting.” What I have been writing about this week is something that I cannot share with the world yet. It’s something I haven’t really shared with anyone (I’ve only ever told two people). No one in my family knows, and my best friend doesn’t even know. But it’s something I had to finally dig up this week and stop choking it out of existence. Because it did happen.

I just sat and wrote well over 1000 words on what happened…and there is still so much more that I could say. I have never written about it before. I have kept all of the details and emotions that came with it, and its lasting effects without a word to anyone, or even paper.

There are things in my life that don’t just involve me and my secrets; there are some serious things that other people did that really effected me. But it’s not my place to say. It’s more of their secret than mine. There have been many people close to me that have really hurt me because I was involved. I can’t write to the world because then they would be exposed. But this blog isn’t about pointing the finger and saying what everyone did wrong; it’s about my journey to recovery, trying to sort out everything in my life.

“I don’t know”

That’s my go-to phrase. It’s the easy way out.

I was supposed to try to catch myself this week when I say it, but I completely forgot until right now…when I said it.

And it was exactly for that reason. Because I didn’t want to take the time to think about what I was feeling because that means facing it. That means taking the time to dig up some of that real self and see what’s there.

And that’s terrifying.


I’ve posted three times tonight, but oh well. Apparently I needed it.

Ring, ring, ring

One thing that is so so so so so hard for me is that my ears ring as a side effect of my antidepressants. Thankfully, I don’t tend to notice it going about my day, but I definitely notice it at night. Which is when I get grumpy from being tired. It’s almost 1am, I’m tired, grumpy, and the ringing is so loud that I am about to have a breakdown. I feel like it has gotten progressively louder over the course of a few months. 

It’s insanely hard to sleep with my ears CONSTANTLY ringing. And it’s not just one pitch either; I can hear layers of them if I listen carefully. If I actually concentrate enough, I can start to feel it in my head. Like pressure under my skin. 

Every night, I have to fall asleep to nature sounds, like rain or the ocean, because it’s a type of white noise that is relaxing that drowns out the ringing just enough. 

You’re probably wondering why I’m not in bed, huh? Who freaking knows? I’m tired as hell but so awake at the same time. That’s always one of the worst things, because I cant stay asleep through the night (I wake up at least twice), I toss and turn so many times when trying to fall asleep and when I’m asleep, and sometimes (like this morning) wake up an hour or more earlier than my alarm, even though I slept terribly. Plus! My bed squeaks so loudly and so easily that I get so tired of it (and I have a roommate that I don’t want to wake up) so I don’t move at all. So then I sleep terrible because I don’t move to get comfortable. 

It’s a vicious cycle. And I’m pretty much just complaining at this point, but whatever. This is what happens. 

I’m a lawn of emotion

One of my biggest struggles is crying.

I don’t like showing emotion because I feel like emotion is weakness. I’m still not sure where this exactly stemmed from, but that’s just how I’ve lived for a long time. Why do we see it as a negative thing? Because I know I’m not the only one who views it as that.

We don’t like feeling vulnerable. I especially don’t. I’ve gotten so good at stuffing down my tears over the years that when I finally give in and let myself, I have a panic attack because my body doesn’t know what’s happening.

So yeah. It’s been difficult to view crying as a form of release and relief. Maybe if I try to see it in my two selves, I can organize it better (I’m a mental processor…I have to organize everything before I do anything. This can be both a good or bad thing).

I see my two selves in two different layers. Have you ever seen those diagrams or pictures of grass and dirt?

Well that’s what I mean, in case you didn’t.

My real self is the dirt; it has the most substance and grounding in who I am. My ideal self is the grass; it lays nicely on top and can grow depending on its environment. The roots grow down, sometimes choking the dirt, fighting it to stay hidden underneath of it. The grass has to be full and thick to show that its thriving and mighty.

However,

The grass is actually that fake grass you can unroll unto your lawn. It can be unearthed easily if not left for a long time, but it has been. It’s actually started to plant more roots. That’s why this process of stripping my ideal self away is so difficult.

I need to start mowing my yard, for starters.

And then mow it again.

And probably again.

Then maybe I’ll take a shovel to it.

Let’s make a connection

I’m trying to begin to dig up parts of my real self that I suffocate with my ideal self. I often think that the only difference between my real self and my ideal self is strictly emotional, but I am now seeing that there are more significant differences than I thought. I have thought that my emotional differences are what effect the differences in my actions. One example would be me debating on making this blog public. My two selves are at conflict. For the past two weeks, I have been at battle on deciding what to do; both my selves actually want to make it public, but both are not taking the action. Why is this?

I’m curious to see what I eventually decide because I know, either way, this will help me. I do, however, want to make it public so that people can hear my story. I know that I feel most connected to someone by hearing someone’s story from their own mouth (or fingertips, in this case). I have seen from my viral post that so many people could relate to my words, so why not keep it going? There are so many people out there that are hiding just as I was, and I want to be able to reach out to them in some way. People shouldn’t have to feel like they are going to be shamed for something “wrong” with them. A wise woman told me–not that long ago–that we need to start rethinking what we think is “wrong” and “weak.” She told me that she sees crying not as weakness, but as someone showing who they really are, showing outwardly what they really care about. Having a mental illness is not weakness; it is something that makes us special and unique. It is a part of us, and that’s okay. Some people will escape Depression’s or Anxiety’s grips, and others won’t. And that’s okay. Everyone’s life experiences and body chemistry are different. They will effect everyone differently, but we can still see some differences.

It’s crazy to me to think how little we talk about mental health and mental illnesses in our culture, yet so many people can relate when one person speaks up.

That is why I am here; I want to speak up about my struggles and my journey because I know others have their own struggles and journeys that have got them where they are today, whether that is good or bad. We all come from somewhere, and we are all going somewhere.

A normal day

I felt very motivated today. It was both amazing and strange.

I did 4 loads of laundry (darks, colors, delicates, and whites [I don’t do laundry as often as most people because of my obsessive sorting]), put away the 2-3 weeks of accumulated shirts I haven’t hung in my closet, then also hung up the incoming clean shirts from the laundry, made myself dinner, did some homework (which included a couple hours of reading), and caught up on one of my shows that I missed last week. Which I very surprising because I usually get distracted and keep watching more Netflix, etc….

But today was different.

I don’t know what exactly made it different than other days. I actually got way less sleep than usual, had a late breakfast, forgot to take my pill this morning (my app hasn’t reminded me the past two days for some reason…), and had to return to my college town house. The only unique thing about today was that I saw a play with my professor/advisor/mentor/whatever she is to me. But, honestly, I don’t think that could have been solely it.

What I’ve decided is that it was just a normal day. Something I don’t have very often. And normal is good.