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

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Paramedics and Panic Attacks

I had been anxious all day since I had woken up yesterday. Although, I’d say I was more depressed than anxious. The more depressed I became, the more panic-stricken I became. My thoughts quickly twisted into severely suicidal daydreams- how, when, where to do it. Multiple times throughout the day I found myself in the oh so familiar restroom stall at work, clutching onto my knees, silently sobbing. The voices were incessant. Allie was around in the morning time, as she had been before, commenting on the weather, the way I was writing, etc. Then, the visual hallucinations kicked in.
I felt foggy. Somewhere towards the end of the day, I could hear Senka in some recess of my head. My boss had asked me to gift wrap a giant box for our annual toy drive at work. As I was wrapping the box, I could hear Senka get louder and louder. I think I was panicking. I don’t remember what she was saying. It also didn’t totally sound like her. But the walls became very blurry and wavy. I lied down on the floor, trying to catch my breath and stop hyperventilating.
Next thing I know, I’m on the ground, my coworker has my head in her lap and she’s trying to give me root beer to drink.
This has happened too many times to count, unfortunately. The only thing my doctors ever chalked it up to was hypoglycemia. However, each time I was ever taken into the ER or paramedics came, my blood sugar was almost always normal. And like those times before, this wasn’t a sugar thing- but what am I supposed to tell them?
As I tried to sit up, my coworker encouraged me to hold the cup and keep drinking. My hands felt small around it. My eyes focused onto the CFO of the company unwrapping chocolate squares. “Here, eat this. Dark chocolate is good for you.” Then, another woman chimed in with a glass of some organic bubbly, kombucha. “No, have some of this. The sugar will hit your system quicker.”
My VP came over and let me know that the paramedics were on the way. I instinctively slapped someone’s hand off of me. “I don’t need paramedics. Seriously. I’m fine.” I tried to stand up and someone forced me back down.
In what seemed like seconds, paramedics were in the building. The wonted snapping sounds of latex gloves welcomed me back to the present. I answered the hello, how-are-you-doing, what-is-going-on-today questions. I was still shaky. My hands, my legs and lips were quivering. The voices were melting together and I had trouble deciphering which were in my head and which belonged to the EMTs. They pricked my finger- my blood sugar was fine. I was fine. End result: low blood pressure and I had a panic attack.
My friend drove me home. I crawled into bed, still feeling weak and took a moment to process everything. As I was falling asleep, I started having tactile hallucinations of hands on my shoulders, throat, and then I drifted off.

 

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Ceramics: How to Piece it Back Together

It was a rather dangerous few days the past week, mentally speaking. I felt MUCH better yesterday, and feel entirely more put back together today.

Everything is quite jumbled in my head regarding what the hell was happening in my brain. At some point, I had taken a razor to my skin again. I remember crying a LOT. I slept beneath blankets, clutching my dinosaur, Chompers (my girlfriend endearingly nicknamed him Charles Buchompskis, and I think it’s fitting), and staring vacantly into the bedroom wall in front of me. I found myself lurched into a research project of how I could possibly end it all. There were moments where I would “wake up” in my car, shaking and crying from hearing voices. Something was dying inside of me and it was imploding.

Depression, a break down, what have you. The point is, it was a fight for my life, in a way. It seems dramatic, yes.

On Saturday, I went to therapy with my girlfriend. She expressed (again) that she wants to know how I’m feeling, or if something is going on. I seem to have forgotten this. It made me feel instantly better being reminded of how supportive she is. And protective. I also made a reminder for myself to make an appointment to get on birth control… I also tend to forget that I was diagnosed with PMDD about 3 years ago, so a quick fix for my intense mood swings can be as simple as a little pill. Sorry, babe. Here’s to better months..

Sunday morning, we went out to breakfast. It was BEAUTIFUL outside.  The entire day was cold, rainy here and there, and the clouds were large and white. I felt as if I had just come out of the rehab center. It’s hard for me to articulate what I’m going through as I’m going through it. All I know, usually, is I don’t know who I am, where the feelings are coming from, but I want to die. It’s awful. I don’t wish it upon anyone.

Anyways, after breakfast, we stopped by her parents’ house to pick up a few things. She led me upstairs to her grandmother’s room. Aligned across the walls where pictures of her as a child: wide-eyed, dimpled and adorable. We sat on the floor as she carefully opened a box full of ceramic pieces she had made. I think she assumes she has no talent, but I was greatly impressed as she pulled each piece, one by one. Her eyes beamed with a hidden pride and enjoyment while she explained the process of making them. Each bowl, cup, pitcher, all seemed to sum her up in some way. As some of my poetry paints me as I am, so did her pottery. I loved each second of it. I began to cry. I love to see her like this: happy and nostalgic of a time in her life that she valued so much.

As I ran my eyes over her childhood, my heart swelled at the thought of her letting me deeper into her past- allowing me to experience her. In moments like these, I fall more in love with her than I thought possible.  My girlfriend is beautiful. I’m already in love with her eyes, her nose, her lips- all the things in which lovers find divine in the other. Then, slowly, she unwraps herself with new, incredible truths and stories and I fall even more in love with that. It happens all the time. I am very fortunate, especially as a writer, to have such a mysterious and wild creature sleeping next to me at night. Even the way she sleeps makes me happy.

So, I reveled in this dopaminetic state for quite a while. A few hours later, I met up with cast members from the play to run some of our lines. My girlfriend helped us stay on book. We ended up at Denny’s, drinking iced teas and hot chocolates, burning the midnight oil at 7 pm, putting in our efforts at memorizing. We did well. Rehearsal tonight.

Finally, the day came to an end. On the drive to her house, I noticed orbs of shadows and people in my peripherals. I drove a little bit faster than usual to make sure I could make it home. It felt as if a flashback was coming on.

I found myself on the edge of her bed. I think she was brushing her teeth. She walked into the room, asked me what was wrong. At first I said nothing. Then, I told her it was loud. She held my head in her hands and told me it was okay. And it was. I fell asleep next to her, despite the weaving of the voices, and I was happy at this. When I had begun to suffer from daily hallucinations and break downs just a year ago, she was always there, walking me through it.

I fell asleep, content with her comfort and the knowledge that everything would be okay by morning. And it was.

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!

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.

Hell is a Place Full of Uneducated Psychiatrists

Oh, have I got a story to tell you.

Firstly, my anxiety and symptoms came to climax yesterday. I have been feeling chest pains- more specifically, it feels like sharp pains centered around my heart- for the past 2-3 weeks or so. Yesterday, the pain became consistent and was accompanied with numbs fingertips, tingly lips, and dizziness. I was alarmed, but even more so alarmed because I was withdrawing off of the lithium.

So, we journeyed to the Urgent Care by work. They couldn’t really do anything, so they sent me to the Emergency Room. I checked in there and long story short, they told me my symptoms were just a manifestation of bad anxiety. I was relieved, yet my inner hypochondriac wanted to scream, “But! It’s my heart! I think! Am I really okay?!?! Are you sure?!?!?”

They gave me a dosage of lithium and sent me on my way. I began to feel better an hour and half later.

Now, I had my first psychiatrist appointment yesterday evening. I left work, arrived at my destination early, filled out all of my paperwork, and waited. I waited for 45 minutes. Alright. I’m just going to bullet point all the STUPID AS FUCK things my psychiatrist said. I was livid.

This is during the initial interview. I filled out all the relevant information (suicide attempts, family history, abuse, trauma, drug use, diagnoses, etc..)

• She asked me, “Tell me about your suicide attempts, how did you do them?” I told about the first time and when I came around to the second attempt, I said, “Well, I tried to jump off of a building…” She promptly dropped her pen and asked dumbfoundedly, “Why would you do that?” (Insert uncomfortable blinking here) “Why would you try to jump off a building?”
• She noticed my scribbled in heroin history in my drug use summary. She said, “So you grew up with mom and dad and saw them doing it so you just thought it was okay?” No, bitch, my dad COMMITTED SUICIDE and my mom ABANDONED ME so I didn’t get the basic privilege of watching them shoot up while I was enjoying an edge-of-your-seat episode of Blue’s Clues.
• She asked me what my official diagnoses was at the hospital. I told her it was Schizoaffective. BRACE YOURSELES. She said, “That can’t be right. You don’t look to me like someone who is schizoaffective.

You must have PTSD.” Are you kidding me? I don’t look like someone who has Schizoaffective…I’ve never in my life….well, actually no that’s not true. Kayden, where are you? You mentioned this happening to you, too. But oh my dear Christ on a sunflower, I’ve never heard anything more unprofessional.
• She was reluctant to write me a prescription because she didn’t feel she should be giving me medication for PTSD, but because I was in the damn emergency room yesterday, she wrote me a script.
• She asked me if I was sexually active and use protection. I said yes I am but I’ve been with a girl, so I’m not getting pregnant anytime soon. She got quiet and said half under her breath, “Oh…so homosexual…”
• THEN, at the end of awful experience, she was mid-sentence talking to me as her eyes widened and she exclaimed, “OH! I have another appointment. Oh no! Is she here?” She whips around in her chair, glances at her calendar and she said, “Oh! She’s here already! Here, sign these…” She rushed me through some paperwork and my script. I waited for 45 minutes AND my appointment was cut short.

At least I got what I needed. I have my prescriptions and that’s what matters. But oh my god…

Psychiatrist from hell.

My Peculiar Orchestra and Learning to Give Myself Credit

A few minutes after I took my medication last night, I began to hallucinate. It grew very loud and chattery. I noticed the narration a lot more. Nothing was real. Instead, I felt that I was a mere observer of a well-written film. I could not get the narrator to stop speaking. As we walked from her car to her apartment complex, my body shifted back and forth like sand being pushed and pulled from the ocean. I felt very fuzzy.

The voices came back vociferously, weaving in between the ridges and pockets of my delirium. I quietly tucked my body beneath the safe waves of blankets and pillows in an attempt to silence them.

Before the return of my peculiar orchestra, I was at my grandmother’s house, dropping my dogs off. My cousin will be watching them until I officially move in the weekend. We had dinner together whilst enjoying a good episode of Intervention. I spent some time with my grandma as well. She has cleared a lot of space for my belongings and such, which is nice. I’m looking forward to staying there.

All of this sudden change is really, really getting to me. I’m having dreams of failing and panic attacks. Although, I suppose I should be giving myself more credit; I’m not turning to drugs or alcohol. I’m not caving in (although emotionally, I’ve introverted, most certainly) and letting the stress consume me. I’m asking for help, which is something I usually have a hard time with. I’m making it work. I’ve come a long way and I’m still improving. Instead of sulking in the darkness, I am actively finding resources to cheer myself up. I know I’m going to be okay.

After all of this, I think I’m going to take myself to karaoke and sing my little heart out.

Cappuccinos and Pride Flags

This morning started out a bit rocky; woke up at 4 am, greeted the familiar depression, flirted with a glass of wine, then I snapped out of it.

My girl friend took me to the cutest damn cafe today. We talked over cappuccinos and hot chocolate and ended off the afternoon by meandering through West Hollywood. I needed that outing.

The rain is coming down. Meanwhile, I am cozily snuggled on the sofa with a blanket draped over my legs. My dogs are snoozing next to me.

I’m feeling pretty content. Earlier this morning, I feel a little on the sedated side. I felt detached- not in a bad way. I just felt very off. I’m not depressed, nor am I manic, so that’s a good sign! So far so good with the lithium.

I’m still a little anxious about tomorrow. I’ll have to email my boss at work and let him know that I’m still going to be out. I’m going to try my hardest to have my primary care write a note for me so I can fax it in tomorrow. I have a lot of anxiety over not being at work, getting paid, etc. In a utopian society, I would file for disability and get my shit together. It’s frustrating as hell not knowing how long I’ll be out of work. I wish I had a concrete answer so I could plan…

I’m also pacing whilst nail-biting because I’m supposed to receive my prescription for my antipsychotic tomorrow, as well as bump my lithium up to 900 mg (although that will probably be in the mid week sometime). I’m fairly certain she’ll give me a script for Abilify, but I could be wrong. Ahh I just need to calm down.

Breathe, breathe

Tomorrow is Day 4 of PHP! My insurance approved me for another 5 days. Hallelujah.

I was supposed to go to an AA meeting this weekend. I know I should. I really do. I’m running into a lot of trouble admitting to myself that my drinking problem warrants meeting attendance.