Published and Promoting! Plus, a Prize Contest!!!!

Solipsism: (noun) The belief that all reality is just one’s own imagining of reality, and that one’s self is the only thing that exists. 1871, coined from Latin solus, “alone”

I have been published! Solipsist, my collection of confessional poetry, is now available on Amazon and Kindle!

book

***SHARE ON WORDPRESS THIS WEEK FOR A CHANCE TO WIN GIFTCARDS TO BARNES AND NOBLE, COFFEE BEAN, AND MORE!!!
I will be sending out thank you gifts to randomly selected WordPressers who share my book on their blog! Please be sure to link lazarusandlithium.com so I can include you in the prize selection! I will be sending the gifts on Friday, January 8th, so please make sure you share and link my blog before then!***

For those of you that don’t follow this blog, in 2010, I hit rock bottom. After struggling with crippling depression throughout my adolescence and heavy drug addiction, I attempted suicide. Thankfully, it wasn’t my time to leave. It has been an uphill battle towards recovery ever since. Every day I needed to make a conscious decision to hang on and get better. Slowly, with the love and support from my family and friends, I began to rehabilitate spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I am very grateful to say that I have been sober (and plan to be!) from the drug that had nearly destroyed me.

Through my arduous recovery process, I had turned to writing for healing. These poems that I have published in Solipsist were deliberately handpicked, as each one was written during a crucial point in my therapy. They are raw, unfiltered. I understand that some of them can be hard to read. They are difficult to share.

So, why open up to the world? Unfortunately, suicide is such a stigmatized topic in our society, along with mental health. I painfully remember not wanting to reach out for help for this very specific reason. All too often, people who are struggling with the above mentioned are labeled as “weak” and “attention seeking.” Then, when someone we love takes their own life, we wonder why we never saw the signs.

I lived through my experiences and I know that my purpose is to spread awareness. If I am able to save one life, my purpose is fulfilled.
That being said, I am VERY excited about my first published book. I am inviting you all to share this moment with me!

 

In dedication to:

American Foundation of Suicide Prevention
https://www.afsp.org/

The Trevor Project- providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

RAINN- Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network
https://www.rainn.org
Thank you all in advance!!
Laz

Cut: an Autobiography- Trigger Warning-

Her name was Ally. She was my best guy-friends’ sister. She was older than I was by two years. Ally carried one of those black messenger bags adorned with pins, buttons, and patches. Her jeans were always ripped and her Slipknot shirts were always one size too big. I never spoke to her much. Her brother, Jose, adored her.

Jose and I met in seventh grade in drama class. I was sitting in the second-to-last row and Jose sat directly behind me. Our first day there, all of the students had to whip up a comedic skit and present it that same hour. Jose and I were paired. I forgot what the skit was about, but I do remember it being hilarious. We were friends ever since.

Being the 13-year-olds that we were, we shared secrets, feelings, dreams, and confessions. By this time, I was already being abused and was having an understandably hard time with life. I told him one day on the swing set that I wished, more than anything, to find a way to make the pain stop. He held my hand and thought very hard for a few minutes. Then, gently, he offered a possible solution.

“Ally cuts herself.”

Surprisingly, I had never heard of such a thing. I had self-mutilated my body before in different fashions, but I never knew that there was a name-not only a name, but an entire subculture. I looked at him inquisitively.

“I don’t know. She says it helps her go numb or some shit. She uses a razor blade.”

And just like that, I had found my solution.

That same night after our long talk on the swing set, I retreated to the safety of my bathroom. My grandma was sound asleep in her room and my grandpa was watching telenovelas. I carefully pulled out a razor blade from the medicine cabinet. Sitting on the toilet seat, I raised the left sleeve of my pajamas. My hands were clammy. I rested my arm on the porcelain, pressed the blade against my skin, and pulled. At first, I had only made cat scratches. But as I went on, the deeper the cuts became. My pajama bottoms became stained from the droplets of blood.

I felt an empyreal high. Jose was right. It had brought me great relief. I washed the blade off, and tucked it in a lock tin box I had, where I later kept an arrangement of blades, gauze, a small pair of scissors, and tape.

Now, I know how awfully clichéd this story is. I get it. Half the school, it seemed, listened to My Chemical Romance and wore black and pink checkered wristbands. The campus was full of them: emo kids flipping their bangs out of their face just enough to be able to see the dark poetry they would be scribbling on their hands. For a period of time, I was one of them. I purchased a God-awful amount of merchandise from Hot Topic. Chokers, black and green striped knee-high socks, black bracelets, safety pin earrings.

Cutting was a thing. It was subculture that quickly bloomed like red plush beneath an Exacto-knife. It gave people a sense of community. Misery loves company, I suppose.

I admit at first that I had felt some pride about being a “cutter.” As the scars developed, I was satisfied with myself. It wasn’t until my cousin draped my body over the bed that I realized I had a problem.

It was just like all the other nights. It was 12am. My grandparents were asleep. My cousin, who worked from home nocturnally, took a break. I had done this several times before. I knew exactly what to do. I escaped my body momentarily and watched us from the ceiling. Watched numbingly as he peeled articles of clothing off of me. Off came my pants. A gasp escaped from his lips and he pulled back. I was jolted back into my body. His face softened and I felt a lump in my throat. I had missed this tenderness.

“Baby, what did you do?”

It had been fine before. The cutting, I mean. I never thought it as dangerous. He ran his fingers over hours-old welts. He was shocked. I had at least 300 cuts on my body… my thighs, arms, hips, stomach, chest, anywhere I could reach. “Why did you do this?” I had no words for him. I knew he knew why. He wasn’t stupid. He’s a rapist, a pedophile, and a destroyer- but not a stupid man. He pulled me into his chest and I could hear him begin to cry.

A seemingly juvenile coping mechanism had turned into a ten year addiction.

Despite the countless nights of enduring my cousin, I had missed and longed for this paternal part of him. Perhaps it was Stockholm Syndrome. I let him cradle me and I felt safe. Little did I know that this act in itself was potentially more dangerous for me then the abuse; I quickly learned that my self-inflicted wounds served as a protective shield. The cuts bought me time. With each gash, he took on the paternal, caring role. Now, I realize that this was HIS game. I would take my clothes off willingly, because I was under the notion that he would check me every night out of concern. I thought that he cared. I often look back on my very visible scars on my thighs and remember that night on my bed, as my cousin held me, weeping.

I’ve read somewhere that the victim of incest and early sexual abuse can become wildly sexually confused and could essentially muddle compassion with arousal, so on so forth. I am ashamed to say this, for multiple reasons. However, I will say it in hopes that A) I’m not alone and B) maybe someone could know THEY’RE not alone. During some of these nights of check-ups, cuddling and “therapy” talks, I became aroused.

The cutting continued. Slowly, my family members began to notice the scars and long sleeves. Multiple interventions were held in my living room in efforts to get me to consider going to a adolescent rehab facility. While each person read words of concern from tiny sheets of paper, my cousin sat next to me, hand on my knee, making sure the family knew that he was my foundation. And no one suspected a thing.

This post was inspired by this Tumblr pic:


It made me think. I had never seen a self-harm picture that resonated with me like this one.

I am still addicted to cutting. The blade, ironically enough, has saved my life on many occasions. I struggle with it nearly every day. It does bother me that cutting has been equated to a fashion trend. It’s not. It’s cunning, dangerous, and destructive.

If you’re reading this and you also struggle with self-harm, I’d like to personally let you know that you are worth more than this addiction, and I love you.

Psychiatric Service Dogs

Looking for some advice from anyone with a psychiatric service dog…

I would like to have a service pup to help with my PTSD, dissociation, and severe bipolar episodes. I would specifically like to have a trained pup to be able to help me identify panic attacks, seizures and dissociation before they happen. I would like to have a pup to ease my concern when paranoia hits (for example, I’d like my pup to be able to let me know that it’s safe to go in the house, especially when I’m home alone). I could get a pup and register him as an emotional assistance animal, but I would really love a trained animal to help with the above mentioned items.

I guess I don’t really know how to go about this financially. I live in California. I’m able to afford a dog, but as far as the initial training- not so sure. Any resources would be greatly appreciated!

Autumn’s Obituary – Trigger Warning

October.

I can only apologize for disappearing yet again from my cyber home. I’ve been jaunting and kicking around in the ever-terrifying real world. My travels this month have rendered me 5 pounds lighter, yet 5 times stronger. .

Where to begin… Since I last wrote, it was the end of September. The transition back to work was surprisingly stress-free. I was grateful to have my job back in my hands.

My girlfriend and I went through a little bit of hurricane. The hurricane (I see now) was needed. During that time, I re-visited the knowledge I already harboured that I don’t need to rely on another human being for any fulfillment and/or stability; I am my foundation. No person or situation will ever change that fact for me. That time also helped me to realize how much I do trust her and how much I enjoy having her in my life. Every relationship, every friendship, has its own suffering and celebration. So, it’s okay. All I can do is project my sincerity from a place of unconditional love. Needless to say, any shakiness and uncertainty I felt about our relationship prior to this brief moment in time has dissolved and I have stepped forward with a renewed outlook of, “I love you and I am going to treat you with the respect you deserve.” I’m much happier with her now and I feel very loved and secure.

During this time, however, real tragedy struck. One of which I am still trying to comprehend. My ex-boyfriend’s brother has taken his own life.
I’ve written several letters to him, the brother, in hopes that somewhere, somehow, he was listening to me. I have so many words, feelings, thoughts about this.
My heart imploded when I read the words, “…he has passed away….” I didn’t believe it at first. My eyes ran over the jumbled letters and shapes over and over again. I felt numb. Then the sudden rush of, “Why?! Why?! Why him?!” filtered through my bloodstream, jetting bursts of sickness throughout my body. I hadn’t known it was a suicide at the time, but below the surface, I already assumed.
What a wonderful human being. He had been my brother, my friend, even my mentor. I knew he struggled with severe depression for several years. We spent many nights on the edge of his bed talking about his past suicide attempt, his feelings of despondency, life in general. We felt comfort and familiarity within each other, as I understood him completely, vice versa. Still, I never really thought he would try again- or succeed for that matter. The sickness still pervades my thoughts when I have a moment to myself. It hurts my heart to imagine what he was feeling in the moments before. I pray often for him that he has found peace, wherever that may be.
I was in shock for the first 3 days. A friend of the family’s had given me the details of how it happened. I wish he hadn’t.
Perhaps what breaks my heart even more than him leaving us is the thought of the unimaginable grief his family is in.

This is a lot to feel.

When this happened, something within me snapped into a painful awareness. Even to this point, I don’t feel fragmented. I just feel, present.

I have been grappling for many months to feel whole, and now I do. For now, I suppose. I feel very aware, and I know that some part of me is grieving. Grief is sacred. I almost feel as if I am a wolf protecting her den. My walls have gone up, though in a healthier way. This month has been a test of strength and self-reliance. I am only allowing that which nurtures me into my space, and any other bullshit can see its way out the front door.

Although I feel “better,” now the embers of the previous two weeks are beginning to fall and settle on my shoulders. Some piceous sadness has swept over me, yet again. I’m a little bit concerned of psychosis slithering its way back into my head; I think I’ve been hallucinating. I’m continuing to be alert- or as alert as I possibly can be. I haven’t been sleeping very much, either.

I’m focusing on the good things:
I am finally back in theater at a community college. I was cast as the lead in a play! Rehearsals start in two weeks. I am VERY excited about it.
My relationship with my family has greatly improved, particularly with my cousin. He has helped me through a lot of turmoil the past few weeks.
My friends are coming back into my life, and I am making new friendships.
My girlfriend, as I am always grateful for her love, support, and ability to make me smile when I need it the most.

I need to write more.

Proteus

Please excuse the silence.

A few nights ago, there was an internal shift which sent me into a seizure. These have happened before; the convulsing, the blood coming from somewhere in my mouth. I’ve been tested numerous times for epilepsy,diabetes, etc. There’s really no medical reason other than stress. I was released from the ER around 6:30 am. My girlfriend and I went back to her apartment, slept for a few hours, then she was off to work and I was off to group.

Yesterday morning as I drove to group, I felt extremely different and movie-like. I feel this quite often. Usually, the movie revolves around a victim and a detective. I’m almost always the victim. However, this time, I was the criminal. I had- or we had?- fleeting homicidal ideation.

There is a security gate to the hospital building. You need to be buzzed in. When we approached the gate, *I* was pulled out of my body and began watching everything as a ghost. The door buzzed. He smirked. Loud music thudded in my head as I watched this. It was as if he had just gotten away with murder as he pushed the gate open and walked through the therapy bungalow.

Whenever this happens, I watch the movie as if I’ve watched it a hundred times before; I always have an idea of how it “ends.” This particular movie was about a serial killer right before a rampage. I don’t get the feeling that it is a pointless rampage. I feel an underlying current of vengeance.

Today I’m speaking to my doctor about Abilify. She recommended Abilify and Latuda to stabilize my paranoia and hallucinations.

I didn’t sleep last night. I was so convinced that someone was in the house with me. I could hear footsteps and breathing. My dogs are here and logically I know that they would notify me if anyone were actually in the house.

Anyways, it’s not all negative news. I do feel that I’m gaining more strength from therapy. My girlfriend came in for a quick family session and I found it to be very beneficial. I also found how strong our relationship actually is. Not that I didn’t know that before, but talking it out aloud really opened my eyes.

Princess of Wales

I had a small nervous breakdown yesterday while at work. It seemed that the flashbacks came on unexpectedly. I was unable to hold onto myself. The walls begun to cave in and I was left pushing the trap away from my body. Unfortunately, the way I currently know how to protect myself is through self harm.

I numbingly hacked away at my thighs, my hips, my stomach, my ribs, some of my wrist and throat. All the while, I was not feeling anything- no pain. Just absurdity at one point. 250 scrapes, scratches, and welts.

(The night before that, I had experienced my first full-force panic attack. I thought I was going to either have a heart attack or stroke. My chest tightened, my body went numb, my eyes went black and I couldn’t breathe. I could barely stand.)

Without going into too much detail, I’m constantly recalling fractions and filaments of my molestation. Now the images are unfamiliar and very, very fucking frightening. Fingers pushing through until I see red. Pressure. “Don’t resist. It hurts more when you resist.”

My ever-wonderful girlfriend took us to a beginner’s pottery class last night. She is well-seasoned in the clay craft. I am not. However, I had tons of fun and it got my mind off of the inevitable suffering that is my mind.

I have another therapy appointment on Thursday. I feel that I have been shooting down the rabbit hole with such ferocity lately. My mind has decided to split into more unattainable pieces. I know that the only way out is through. I’m just having a really, ridiculously difficult time sitting with the pain. A large part of me wishes that I could package this all up again and tuck it away some place that I wouldn’t find it again.

Then, I wonder why I had spun out of control last year to begin with. I remember the day where my girlfriend plucked me from my bathtub, naked and partly lost in psychosis. I remember the several days where I would stay home from work; I’d pull the curtains shut, drink, shoot, crush and inhale until I was floating in my own delirium. I would lie curled on the tear-soaked carpet for hours, staring so intensely into the wall ahead of me, I swear I’ve drilled a hole in it.

When I Kissed the Cement

Last night was difficult. I’m not even sure if I ever fell asleep. My body is tired, my eyes burn, I feel slightly off balance.

I sat out on my back porch steps watching the rain fall. I was on the phone with my girlfriend, sobbing, rocking myself back and forth. Just hours before, I was standing in the drizzle, talking to God like I always did, begging Him to please make it go away. I bent down to the floor and kissed the warm cement repeatedly, waiting to feel absolution.

I haven’t been this despondent since February.

I texted my therapist telling her I felt suicidal and I’m too scared to admit myself into a hospital. I don’t even know if that would be the right move. I keep waiting for this to go away. Tomorrow, it’ll be better again. I’ll be happy and cheery, this mess will be behind me. Yet tomorrow has shown its face over and over again. I’m not getting better.

I feel as if I’ve contracted an illness and all I can do is rest, try to recover. I know I’m not alone, but I feel like I am.

Perhaps going back to group would behoove my mental crises. I have no idea.

Last night was really painful.

Waste Basket- Triggers

My thoughts this morning as I lay crumpled in tears next to my sleepy girlfriend: (not for the faint of heart. suicide, drugs, self mutilation)

1. I wonder what was going through my father’s mind as he injected himself one last time with his lethal opiate cocktail. I wonder what he was thinking when he wrote his last letter, his farewell memo. Did he see my face, my brother’s, or sister’s? Did he really think the world would shine brighter without him in it? I wish I could remember what he smelled like, how his arm muscles felt when he picked me up, or how his face wrinkled when he smiled. I wish I could remember his voice. Remember, Dad, when you wrote me my first birthday card? How you said you’d always be there for me and I was your little sweetheart?

2. My grandfather. His Alzheimer’s took over. He had always been my dad; taught me how to ride a bike, how to build with nails and wood, how to weld metal, how to dance Cumbia and Salsa. He taught me about music like Glenn Miller, Arite Shaw, Frank Sinatra. He showed me my culture, the language, the passion. When the family first found out that I had been cutting and had become suicidal, he looked at me with a heavy heart and said, “What happened to my little girl? You used to follow me around like a puppy. Now, you barely even say goodnight to me.” I had hit that teen angst, and I was sucked into solitude. It had hurt him that I had become apathetic and unresponsive. Fast forward a few years when his memory was being eaten alive. I called my grandparents house. He answered with a shaky voice, “Mija, when are you coming back?” I had moved out of the house at that point. I was impatient on the phone… “Soon, Tata, soon…” The regrets I bare now are unbearable.

3. Am I a selfish person? Like my father? My grandfather, in his own and old way was begging to see me before he forgot my face. I was so wrapped up in my own selfish little world. Why couldn’t I have looked past my irrelevant bubble to see his human desperation?

4. I must have felt what my dad felt the moment he boiled his tar. Years ago, I too sat in my bedroom, saturated with benzos. I relived it this morning whilst thinking of it. I had clutched these bottles of pills in my hands, thoroughly weighing the pros and cons of my suicide. In the past, it had hurt to realize there were more pros. This time, however, something terrible had shifted within me and I felt peace. Everything would be okay. I hope to never lose myself again to the irreparable ideation. What a terrifying place to be… no longer able to feel emotion, ready to pull the trigger, to jump, to inject, to inhale, to swallow and hang.

5. I want drugs. Anything I can snort. I want to sift through all the drawers here and find as many hydrocodones and I can. Crush, snort, repeat.

6. Will I ever meet my mom? Do I even care anymore? I’m embarrassed to admit to anyone that nearly every time I call her, she sounds high. Sometimes it doesn’t even register to her that she’s talking to me. I call her on my way home from work, she blames it on her exhaustion. Until I hear her husband in the background, “Come back baby, one more hit.” I stay on the phone, pushing back tears. I just want her to talk to me. I just want to tell her about my day. Mom, I’m having a hard time, please for fucks sakes, can you please just listen to my problems for once? Even if you don’t care? I hang the phone up, left to my own thoughts, feelings, fear. I go home, panicked because I’m home alone. I’m drawn to the bathroom cabinet like a moth to a flame. I fill the bathroom sink up with water, take out a razor blade, and hold my wrist under the faucet. This is not the answer…. put the blade away. I crawl under my sheets, text my girlfriend and cry.

7. How much more of this can I hold on to? I’ve lived my entire life with the magnificent ability to control my emotions, to eat them like air. Down they go to lie. I am beginning to feel sick and one by one, they come bellowing out from my stomach. I feel too humiliated to ask for help. “It’s always something, isn’t it? You should be better by now. Come on, we’re all going through something.” I’m just sad. I’m sad about Father’s Day, I’m sad that my mom can’t even hold a sober conversation with me, I’m sad that I’m sad.

8. Okay, Lazarus, that’s enough emotion for you now. Suck it back down

down

down

down

Jagged

I am not alone within myself.

I woke up around 3 am, I was on my back porch, teddy bear in hand, thumb in my mouth, my cheeks were wet. I don’t remember walking there or even waking up.

My vision is lagged. Stop motion. 

  
My movements are not completely my own. I find myself forgetting what I’m doing, what I’m talking about, or what I should be doing. My mind feels fragmented and sad. 

I told my therapist that I feel stupid about how much this house impacts me. I shouldn’t be so upset over it. It seems that even the mention of my cousins name sends me into a shell.

Vulnerability seems to be consuming me. Some sick nostalgia that lingers in the walls is suffocating me.

Protecting My Perpetrator

I had a very difficult therapy session today.

The topic revolved around my cousin, my family, the house I’m staying in. I purged my recent thoughts and struggles regarding him. While I talked about him, I felt absolutely nothing. She asked me how I felt talking about it. I think I was feeling anger, but it would sink back down into my chest. I felt nothing. I was completely detached from it.

I recalled a moment today that stung me when I thought about it. My cousin’s primary “purpose” for spending so much time with me back then was to tutor me and help me pick my grades up. Not surprisingly, my grades plummeted even more so. My grandma had said to me, “How could you do this to him? He sacrifices so much time away from his wife and children for you! This is a slap in the face to him! You’re so ungrateful!”

In that moment with my grandmother, I remember feeling abandoned. I was angry, I felt betrayed, but I took the reprimand and protected my perpetrator.

And now the question that is haunting my heart is, “Why am I still paying for the crimes that he committed?”

Why am I, at 23 years of age, still protecting this person, still carrying HIS guilt, still not forgiving myself? I broke down in tears at work today as I mulled this quandary in my mind. I have to forgive myself. I have to love myself.

My therapist asked me, “When you stay in your old bedroom, what is that you remember?” I don’t know what hurts me more: remember the sexual acts that occurred, or remembering the aftereffect.. of him using the restroom to relieve himself while I crawled into my closet, shaking, and rocking back and forth. I feel so heartbroken for the girl that was attacked and couldn’t tell anyone or at the very least seek solace in another human being.

I couldn’t contain my feelings at work and I let them flow out of me. Dormant emotions of abandonment, betrayal, worthlessness, anger and fear came tumbling from some space within me.

I’m so angry at my family. I’m angry that they didn’t protect me. I’m hurt that they even questioned me. I’m so exhausted from carrying this around.

I’m sorry this post wasn’t better written; I just needed to get my thought process on paper.