Smile like you mean it

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And then spring break was over

Today was my first day of work after the spring break. I spent the whole Sunday in angst and afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to pull it off. Well, I did. I managed it just fine. Got up super early, taught my classes, chatted with co-workers, and everything was ok. I’m actually proud of the way I handled myself. I did get one remark about looking sad from another teacher who’s sharp-eyed, but what I essentially got were “Whoa you got bangs” remarks that deflected the attention from other issues. But the thing is, I was trying so hard to be ok, that I actually convinced myself I was indeed fine, and that’s how I got through my workday.

And then…then it was time for therapy. I dreaded it a little because I knew I’d have to face what I’d been avoiding all day long in order to function. I know that once you open the worm can, you can try to close it but the smell will escape; once the warranty seal has been broken, its contents will inevitably escape the container.

I was actually in a good mood when I arrived at Mr. Shrinky’s office. We joked a bit about him moving the furniture around so that now he was sitting in what used to be the patient’s armchair. But I eventually had to update him on what’s been going on, including my severe anxiety attacks and the fact that not even the meds are being completely effective in reducing my symptoms. He basically told me the same thing that N said to me last week: my uncle’s passing, the last time I saw him, and the memories and nightmares that were triggered on that horrible night that followed are probably the cause of this chain-reaction that’s got me in a complete wreck.

And after therapy, the anxiety hit hard, so hard. The first thing I did when I got home was take the anti-anxiety med. Once again, I really didn’t care about feeling weak or crazy or any of that dumb rambling, I just wanted to stop feeling that bad. It took a while for it to kick in and meanwhile I was lying on my bed, wishing it would all just go away. Then I took a different approach: shiny things! I took out my ever-growing collection of nail lacquers and started with my toenails, I put together some pallets until I made one I was happy with, and proceeded to paint each nail a different color. Then I went on with the fingernails and even added some sparkly polish in the end. When I realized it, I had successfully spent an hour not feeling anxious. The only problem is as soon as I finished, the bitch came back, and I was not about to wipe my nails and start over just to enjoy another numb hour. I definitely feel better, the med really helps with the heart flips, but it doesn’t entirely wipe out the chest pains, that hollow sensation right in the middle of my chest.

I can only hope I won’t have to deal with this tomorrow since I won’t be seeing Mr. Shrinky until Wednesday. It might sound self-contradictory, but I wish I could accept his proposition of seeing me four times a week, because I feel like I’m walking on a very fine edge here. But I can’t afford it, I don’t have either the money or the time to do so, and I’ll have to play with the cards I’m given. Another option would be to stop seeing him altogether: today I proved myself that I can keep the sh*t locked away and function normally, so what if I decide to avoid it entirely? Will it explode on my face later on? Will it mean I’ll end up paying a higher price than dealing with it right now, even with the limitations that surround me?

I don’t think I will be posting for a bit. I’m gonna take a small break because I think I might also be triggering myself out. Or maybe I’ll try to write about other kinds of stuff like Juliet is doing, I think that’s a good idea. I’m going to take at least a couple of days to figure this out, try to find out how I can help myself or if I’m making things harder for me.

I’ll be seeing y’all shortly, be good!

Reality check

I go back to my real work tomorrow. I have to get up at 6am at the latest. I have to work for 8 straight hours. I have to wear my dreadful uniform.  After the end of my workday I’ll have to go to therapy, and so I’ll come back home at 8pm, I will have been out for at least 13 hours. I’ll have to go to bed at 10pm at the latest, because if I sleep any less than that, I simply can’t function, especially now that N has increased my anti-anxiety med after I showed at her office on Thursday completely mental.

About that, remember my post from Thursday where I said I was feeling a bit better? Well it didn’t last. After I left the Institute I went to a coffee shop to make some time since my appointment with N was at 8:45. I was still very anxious and stopped there in the hopes that a mint tea would help me relax. Sitting there with my smoky tea and reading blogs felt like a good idea…until a quake happened. Not a huge earthquake or anything, but a strong one. It was a magnitude 6.5 quake exactly. I’m not usually the kind of person to be scared about these things, they’re quite normal here in Mexico City. But in my jumpy state I guess I was triggered. I was sitting by myself when I started to feel the floor beneath me moving. I honestly was in such a state that I thought I was imagining things. Even when I looked at the lamps tilting I believed it might be the wind or something. But the sensation was growing stronger, and when I looked around at the rest of the people there, everyone was carrying on their activities as if nothing, that really freaked me out, I really thought I was loosing it. I don’t know how scared I looked on the outside, but a man came up to me and told me “it’s trembling”, which really helped me get a grip.

I waited until the last possible moment to get in the car and drive to N’s office, which almost caused me to be late. When I did get there I stayed for some moments inside the car, and when the car locked automatically with me inside, I had the shock of my life. My heart stopped, it was as if someone had shot point-blank at me. I got out, rang the bell, and then I had to wait outside for a couple of horrible minutes. Every car passing by was scaring me to death, there were even a couple of loud motorcycles that had me put my back against the wall. The previous patient eventually came out and I came in (N doesn’t have a secretary or a waiting room)…completely freaked out. I was crying, telling her all the things I had experienced just on that evening. I started to calm down and was able to talk to her about the past weeks, how anxiety had really taken a toll on me ever since my visit to my uncle’s house. She basically scolded me for not calling her and deciding on my own to take the anti-anxiety med…which is ironic considering in the end she told me not only to keep on taking it but to increase the dosage and to take it continuously for some time, even if I don’t feel the angst anymore.

As I said in an earlier post, I hate taking medication, I hate needing it. But the past few days had been so horrible that I truly didn’t mind anymore, I just wanted to feel better. And it has helped I have to say. I still feel bad, anxious, but the chest pains and the heart flips have stopped, so that’s good news. I’m coming back to Mr. Shrinky’s office tomorrow. I don’t know if N called him or if I’m gonna have to spread the lovely news of how I dealt with my holidays on my own. I have barely done half the things I needed to get done by tomorrow, and even so I’m here writing. I don’t feel scared of coming back to work anymore, but I’m finding it hard to even feel excited for the coming days, probably because even if it’s occupied by birthday-celebration-related events, I’m not keen on having too many social situations in one weekend (and by too many I mean even one).

Also, there are just a lot of commitments for me to deal all at once, at least that’s how I feel it. I have to prepare the open classes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades that are due on May but need to be handed in by April 19th. My tutor has emailed me about the Frankenthesis, she’s pressuring for me to be done with it, as she should, but I just haven’t found the time to deal with it. Is it really such a crime that I didn’t want to work on it over the holidays? I’m busy every weekday all day long, so when I got some days off, I actually wanted to clear my mind of things (which didn’t entirely work looking back on my anxiety crisis). But I’m not entitled to do this, there are just too many things to be done. All the time. Will it ever end? Will I ever get to do the things I like because I want to, and actually make a living out of them?

God, I’m still young and I’m already tired of responsibilities and sick of the system. How does one break free? Is it just a wild dream? Is is just the personal crisis I’m going through what’s making feel so unfit to live my life? I obviously don’t have the answers to any of those questions, but hopefully in about two or three weeks I’ll be readjusted to this unsavory routine. That is, if my post-birthday-depression doesn’t kick in as it has for the last couple of years. That’s actually the main reason for doing a small reunion this year. I can’t expect things to be different if I keep doing the same every year right? So this year I wish having company on Friday and attending a concert on Saturday will turn things around…even if just a little.

 

 

Kitties, Chaplin and bangs

Today I got something similar to an idea for a post I can actually write (I got tons of awesome ideas for posts that somehow just can’t write). It may be just a tad lame, but hey, I once heard it’s better if inspiration catches you working, so that’s what I’m doing. Anyhow, as my title very subtly implies, I will be talking about kitties, and bangs, with just a sprinkle of Chaplin.

First things first. Yesterday, I went to get my hair cut, just a little trimming of my hair ends* really, and when I sat down on the chair and the girl asked me what I wanted to get done, I just couldn’t stop myself from saying: bangs! And so, today was my first day out with a bunch of hair on my face. Not particularly comfortable, but I think I’ll be able to deal with it. Today was also a quite social day for me, which I loved (not). First I went to have breakfast with some of the teachers from work. I really wish I could get more in-sync with them ’cause they do try to include me in their stuff, but I just can’t let go and open up, it’s really hard to let my guard down, and I’m learning it only gets harder with age. That, and the breakfast was stressful in itself because it meant I was in a social situation where I was required to eat. And boy if I did! Well, I guess objectively speaking it wasn’t all that much, but compared to what I’ve been eating lately it was a huge change, and it forced me to not eat anything else throughout the day except for diet coke and coffee.

This little issue reminds me that I had a sort of a sour session yesterday with Mr. Shrinky. He was fishing for details regarding my weight and what I’ve been eating, and I just wasn’t prepared for that kind of questioning from him. Mainly because I’m used to expecting those kinds of questions only from N, but also because I was upset he didn’t notice my bangs! I know, it sounds silly, but I remarked how unfair it seems that I notice every little change both in his office and in him, things that he’s even told me nobody else notices, and he can’t even notice that half of my face is covered in hair. It just made me feel like he doesn’t really care, like my assumption that I’m just the 5 o’clock appointment is true. This, together with the knowledge that I won’t see him next week because of spring break, got me in an I’m-not-talking mood, which isn’t exactly the most fruitful mood in therapy. I’ll see him tomorrow again before the break, let’s see how that goes.

After stuffing my face in the morning, in the evening I met a dear friend from uni (my only remaining friend from uni actually) whom I don’t see very much these days with all the things we both have to do now school’s over. We met at a midway mall ’cause we live in what would be opposite sides of the city if Mexico’s City were a normally sized town. We had a lovely chat. Not that we talked about butterflies and clouds, we actually discussed sad and angering issues, but it was lovely to share our mutual stuff with a girlfriend who cares. And then, though I’m not much a buyer ever since my depressive shopping-lollapalloza that’s still has me tied by the balls to the freakin’ banks (excuse my princess-like vocabulary), I agreed to accompany her to a couple of stores to get some stuff she needed, and that’s when the magic happened. I found the cutest kitten tee I’d seen, and just couldn’t help myself when I grabbed it and walked right up to the slaughterhouse cash register. As we were leaving, I found yet another item that seemed just perfect for me, a Chaplin tee! I’m a huge Chaplin fan, though I don’t own many Chaplin memorabilia, so I thought for a sec about taking the kitties back to get Chaplin home. I’m just not in a position to buy two things on the same day anymore, but before I made a decision my friend grabbed the tee and paid for it, she gave it to me as a birthday gift, and so I got out of there with two adorable pieces of clothing and with the feeling that my friend was trying to find ways to express she’s missed me and cares for me.

I know that this post is all over the place and serves no apparent purpose, but as I said I’m just trying to keep the words coming in the hopes that the good ones come back, I certainly don’t want to spend yet another week without writing.  Anyways, maybe wishing you don’t think you’ve completely wasted your time by reading me, let me at least show you what I’ve been rambling about:

Me and my bangs, together with the kitty tee:

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The Chaplin tee, which I’ll proudly wear tomorrow:

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Hope I’ll see y’all real soon!

Chatte

*Is that the way you call the tips of the hair? Being a non-native speaker, I sometimes get the idea that I use awkward, old-fashioned, or right out non-existent terms, so if you catch any one of these in my posts, do let me know, it’ll be much appreciated!

New year, same debts.

It looks like it’s going to rain, and I hope it does. Rain has such a calming effect on me, and calm is exactly what I need right now. As much as I hate it, my vacations are over and I’m going back to work tomorrow, back to waking up before 6am and back to working 8 hours straight.

Back to normal life. And that includes back to Mr. Shrinky, but I don’t really know what I feel about going back. It’s not something I dread, but I’m not exactly eager about it either. He and I have a pending business to attend. He wants me back on a 3-sessions a week mode and I’m all for the 2-session option. And since I can’t really afford anything else, I guess we’ll have to go my way. Still I’ll have to listen to what he has to say about it, and I’ll have to expose yet again my poor finances.

My terrible handling of money and credit, something I’m horribly ashamed of, also forced me earlier today to reject another trip planned by BF, this time for easter or summer. If I don’t start saving to pay off my debt instead of fleeing this city whenever we get a chance to, I know I’m not gonna be done with it any time soon. Having debts is a rather uncomfortable thing to say the least. And for a person like me, who gets anxious so very easily, it’s more than uncomfortable, it’s like a needle pinching my lungs and ribs now and then.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I got the car and the clothes and the shoes and the phone, and, well, you get the idea.

And I’d never done anything like that before, I used to be in charge of my finances, until I discovered during the infamous 2012 that buying was an effective way of not feeling the pain I was used to, at least momentarily. I don’t recommend it at all though. It brings more problems than it solves, and finally it only helps to increase the feeling of not being in control, of being a failure, and ultimately it feeds your self-loathing.

Right now I can only be thankful for UNAM, my uni. It’s the best one in Mexico and Latin America and yet it’s free, I cannot imagine what my problems would be like if on top of it all I had a student loan on my back.

So now I have another problem I created for myself, like I needed more.

Made it out alive

What are your 2013 resolutions?

For me, I definitely hope to finish the-thesis-that-must-not-be-named, I’ll be damned if I don’t! By the way, Mr. Shrinky and I re-named it the Frankenthesis, ’cause it’s my creation turned against me. I was just watching a movie about a girl who got in a car accident and ended up quadraplegic when she was in junior high ans STILL managed to get into Harvard and get her dissertation done in a flash WITH summa cum laude honors and then went on to a P.H.D. and a postdoctoral stay at who knows where. I mean, come on! Give me a break here! The quadraplegic gets summa cum laude and I can’t finish a four chapter thesis!*

My other resolution (yeah, I don’t trust me so I’m gonna keep it at two) is to loose all the weight I’ve gained in this last depressive time. It sucks to have such a common resolution, but my weight is really something that’s keeping me from enjoying stuff, for example my last trip to the beach. I want my skinny body back, and I’ll get it for me as my birthday gift at any cost.

There was another thing I wanted to add to the list, but I’m not sure when and if I’ll get it done, so I’m gonna leave it in the wish-category. I wish my depression goes away. Like, for good. I’m tired of the ups and downs, of the triggers, of the self-harm, of hating so deeply the way I look… I wish I could be done with it all. I don’t expect to be done with my healing path, I’m well aware that’s a lifetime project and that’s why I’m committing to stay in therapy (maybe I’ll even add it to the resolutions list just so I don’t start wanting to quit as soon as I feel a little better), but I do wish I could go about it in healthier ways. Soon. In other words, I wish life wasn’t so hard all of the damn time.

In the meantime, I’ve made it out in one piece of one of a very difficult time of the year. Now I just have to survive New Year’s Eve and then I’ll be happy to celebrate I made it out alive of 2012 and its celebrations.

‘Til next time!

*I should add, in case needed, I by no means intend to offend anyone with my remark, I just want to point out how bumming it is to find someone who has such overwhelming obstacles and still manages to strive and achieve so much, while yours truly, with much more ordinary hurdles, can’t manage to get a sad little thesis done.

Do you have kids?

2-Boys-in-Lion-t-shirts-and-Painted-Faces

I cheated on my shrink. There, I said it. More specifically, I cheated on my psychiatrist, and I did it because she made me angry at her by refusing to answer the silliest question of all times: Do you have kids?

Let me start at the top. I’ve been seeing her on a monthly basis ever since Mr. Shrinky (a psychoanalyst himself) said, very early on in our work together, that therapy was too much to handle by myself at that point and I needed extra help. I was severely depressed and suicidal so evidently I agreed, after all I was sitting there at his office asking for help wasn’t I? He referred me to her and said she’s the best at what she does. Fine then.

Anyhow, after a while I hit it off with Mr. Shrinky, but things with N have never been quite very smooth. For one thing, I don’t see her far as often as I do see him, and when I do I usually don’t have a lot of things to say to her because I don’t feel entirely comfortable, among other things because of her office. It’s dark and cold, and our chairs are so far away we have to speak up to hear each other.

Another thing is the barriers she puts up: once, at the end of a session when I was looking for my wallet to pay (a moment which is always very uncomfortable for me), I found a pair of chocolates, so I offered her one. I didn’t even think about it, it just came out of my mouth (for those of you who don’t know, us mexicans tend to be sharers, we share whatever it is we’re about to eat to anyone who is around), and she said no, thanks. It didn’t bother me, it’s also rather common for people to first say no, and then accept whatever it is they’ve been offered. When I insisted, she said “but it’s yours, I can’t accept it”, response that caused a big WTF gesture on my face as I proceeded to put the damn thing back and take out the money.

So during my last session with her in the middle of November, I saw something in her office that resembled a Xmas gift and I wondered why she would keep such a thing in her office when it wasn’t even December, which got me to think that maybe it was a gift she was hiding for her kid(s), and I realized I didn’t know whether she had any kids at all. And so, without paying attention to any of the previously described signs, I asked her if she had kids, and she simply stared at me. So I asked yet again, and the conversation went on a bit like this:

-Why do you ask?

-Just because, I saw that thing that looks like a gift and it got me wondering if you were a mother.

-Is it important for you to know?

-No, I’m just curious,do you have kids N?

-(Stares at me)

-Are you really not going to tell me?

-(Stares at me)

-Fine, whatever.

Then she said something about me redirecting my anger towards her and we needed to find out where it was coming from, but at this point I wasn’t really listening and was just waiting out for the damn session to end, I was too pissed off. What really fueled my anger was that she wouldn’t answer, she didn’t even say “You know? I’m just not going to answer that” or something, all I got was her silence. And it offended me. It was like I wasn’t even worth an explanation.

After the session I was sure I wasn’t coming back to see her again. I told Mr. Shrinky about all of this and he said it was something she and I needed to talk about. Right, yet another conversation fueled by an insignificant, silly little question, don’t they have enough?

Aside from this, my female progenitor approached me one day, as female progenitors do, to say she wanted me to get a second opinion on my psych treatment, after all I’d been going for quite a while and it wouldn’t hurt to listen to what another shrink had to say about it. My most natural, immediate response, would’ve been something on the tone of : “Hell no! You’ve got no idea if I’m making progress or not, and I’d really like you to say out of it”, but because the situation with N happened just days before, I was suddenly open and willing to do as I was being suggested, and much to my surprise I even made an appointment with the doc she suggested.

Mr. Shrinky was pissed, he said this was a decision that we should’ve made together, that he couldn’t make a team out of the blue with this “person” and that I could “get confused”. After this session with him I realized I didn’t want to see any other shrink at all because I trusted them both and was content with the progress made. In fact I couldn’t find a single fiber in me telling me to go see this new doc, except for one: the part of me that was still very upset and offended and angry at N.

So I went, this other shrink concurred with the way my treatment had been handled, and I even got to leave with a month-supply of the meds I’m on. So far so good. Now, my next appointment with N is tomorrow and I’m gonna have to tell her I cheated on her, and I think this may cause yet another bump in our way, and all because of a simple unanswered question.

Agreed, I may have a bit of a problem with boundaries, but it’s not as if I asked for her address or her children’s names. And these steel barriers are not something I think I can get accustomed to, mainly because they seem illogical to me and thus I can’t seem to deal well with them. Let’s see how it goes (I may or may not report back on it 😛 ).

Not me anymore

Today my long weekend ends. I really needed it, thank goodness for Mexican Revolution. However, I do have to go to work tomorrow. I do have to face a thesis seminar and I do have to face my tutor. It’s not a matter of wether or not I can take it, it’s is a matter of last chances. Tomorrow I have the obligation of not f*ucking up. As of this moment I feel sort of capable, I hope to continue feeling that tomorrow morning.

It’s just so hard getting out of bed in the morning. Once I manage to do that, it’s usually already a little bit late and I have to run, which makes me very anxious all day long. If I could only not feel sick, if I wasn’t sick, I know I’d have finished my thesis already, I know I’d enjoy my job, and I know I’d be on may way to graduate school. The worst part is having to lie about it, because no matter what people say, being severly depressed is frowned upon. And even though I don’t want to, even though I should know better, people’s view on my performance affect my own personal view of myself. I’ll  feel like an irresponsible whining baby because I can’t comply with what’s expected from me.

And when I stop being so hard on myself, still I can’t shake off the failure sensation. I can’t forget that I used to be the shining star of my undergraduate generation, the one everybody consulted before handing in papers, the pride of teachers, and a girl who had her act pretty much together ALL the time.

I’m not that person anymore. I don’t know where she went and I don’t know if she’s ever comming back. I sure do hope so because I miss her. I can only wonder how she managed to handle everything, not just her everyday stuff but also the garbage that keeps me a complete mess and forces me to be medicated and go to therapy three times a week.

There are flashes when I feel everything will get better, and periods of time when I do feel better, but even when that happens I can’t forget I’m not what I used to be, I don’t forget my utter failure in all of my goals, and I don’t forget there are still battles comming up ahead.

Damn, I’ve written a sad post again, and I’m not even feeling that sad. Come to think about it, maybe writing all this stuff helps me chanalize it instead of feeling it on my flesh. It has always been this way, except before I only wrote when pain was piercing me and now, sometimes I’m able to hit the keyboard at the first sign of a crisis, and I think it has helped me in reducing them. I wish this was all the therapy I needed, but until that’s the case (I do hope that’ll be the case someday), here’s a cat.

Writing also helps

I feel like I’m on the verge of breaking down again, and I’m not sure I know how to stop it. All day long I’ve been feeling empty, robot-like, and now the tremblings are starting, together with the ache right in the middle of my chest. But I know it’s not gonna happen today, today I’m just gonna lay down and I’m even gonna fight it.

The strange thing is I had been feeling ok. Halloween at school was fun for the kids and I even dressed up, makeup and everything, like a black cat, something I hadn’t done in years. All I can think of is that stepping out of the routine, as much as I hate to admit it, got to me yet again.  And it’s not like I like my routine, I pretty much f*cking hate it, however it does give me some structure, something to hold on to, in the middle of my chaotic life. A demanding job from 7:30 to 3:30 is the last thing I wish for me, but I do have to admit that it’s the part of my day that puts my feet on the ground, most of the time everything else is just spinning around and I have absolutely no power to stop it.

Something different this time is that I don’t want it to get to me. Who knows… my little experiment of writing about it is surprisingly already helping me feel better.

Cat Therapy

5 kitties just arrived! They couldn’t have come at a worst time, when my tutor is absolutely furious at me and I have a sh*tload of work to get done both on my thesis and at my job, but man are they beautiful!

I’ve raised quite some orphan litters, and now apparently my fame precedes me because from the last 5 or 6 litters, most of them have come from people who come and ask me to take them in…sometimes folks who don’t even make the title of acquaintances. And although I’m terribly busy and still somewhat depressed, I just don’t have it in me to say no to any kitty who needs love and nurturing, so I now have yet another thing to do.

Besides, I think taking care of them might end up being just what I need right now to get me out of my dark little self-absorption; truth is, raising kitties is one of the most rewarding things for me in the world, and it certainly is a small tragedy when I have to let them go, I don’t know how many more litters my heart can take…

I still haven’t taken a picture of them, but here’s one of my previous litter, my Napitos.Image