In Remission

I have been embarking on very unsettling territory recently; stability. Perhaps, dare I say it, even happiness?

Over the past couple of months, my mental health has been on a steady incline. The voices have ceased, compulsions have stopped, self-harm tendencies have vanished, and insomnia has been replaced with a regular sleep cycle. It dawned on me this morning during meditation that depression is no longer my safe place. While I acknowledge that this is a GOOD thing, it is still slightly unsettling. For as long as I can remember, depression has been my go-to. It’s easier to curl up into a ball, self-medicate and flirt with suicide. However, now I find it increasingly more difficult to allow myself to succumb to it. Sure, I still feel depressed from time to time. I give myself room and space to cry. Then, I get back up, walk my dog, watch a funny YouTube video and move on. I find it irresponsible to get drunk now. I’m not interested in putting myself in harmful situations. Happiness and self-integrity has become the new go-to.

Moreover, I’m not fragmented. This is me now, in my entirety.

There was a shift weeks ago. I had taken ecstasy with my girlfriend. (I am not condoning drug use.) I respond well with natural remedies, including psychedelics. During this particular experience, I felt a lot of my superficial worries fall away as the maternal spirit of the universe visited me and assured me to begin trusting myself and also start loving myself. She told me it’s now time to start shedding childhood pain. She assured me she would stay with me through the healing process. Sure enough, since then, life has been getting better. I found my way back to nature and she has kept her word.

I know, it’s a little esoteric and perhaps absurd. But I find a lot of truth behind the divine and feminine energy.

Anyways, my point is I’m getting better and I feel better about myself and the situations surrounding me. I’ve been working hard on myself and my relationships. I’ve especially been focusing on trying to let go of unhealthy thinking patterns. Anything that has been weighing on my heart and soul, I’m trying so hard to let go of. The common lesson here:

Let go.

For example, I noticed I had a lot of illogical worries and controlling thoughts in my romantic relationship. And it’s not just with my girlfriend; these are patterns I’ve carried from my very first relationship. They stem from childhood abandonment, I’m sure. I have trouble letting go. How? I’ve worked so hard in my life to keep people from leaving. I’ve become a master of tethering my loved ones because “everyone leaves.” I want so badly to be loved, so badly to be wanted that no matter what love anyone has ever shown me, it’s never been enough. And that’s not fair.

I’ve been letting go of selfishness. It’s difficult. I want to say that I don’t want to be selfish. I genuinely care for others. Again, this is another survival tactic from my youth. I NEEDED to be selfish in order to make it. In my adolescence, it became a part of me. Now, as an adult and as a woman who wants to care for others and do good in the world, I am making a conscious effort to reject my previous ideas that the world revolves around me. I am not better than anyone else, yet at the same time, no one is better than me.

I’m letting go of control, in the healthiest way. I’m trusting my intuition, trusting the universe a little bit more. Everything will be okay.

I love me.

My girlfriend loves me.

My friends love me.

My dog loves me.

And despite the grudges I hold, my family loves me.

Ugh, what do I do with all this positivity?

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More on Arlo

LOOK AT THIS FACE! LOOK AT HOW CUTE HE IS!! HELP!

Arlo the service pup IT has been going on some pretty spectacular adventures.

Since having him, my social anxiety has dramatically improved. I was getting severe panic attacks before leaving the house to go pretty much anywhere- especially new places. But now, I hardly experience them. We even made some new friends at the dog park! There are regulars at the park by my house and they are very friendly and have wonderful dogs. Arlo’s best friend is a Husky Malamute named Spock. Spock’s human also suffers from depression and Spock has helped him get out of the house and make friends, too!

Arlo loves being out and about, running errands with me. He politely tucks himself away at restaurants and is the best companion.

I’ve noticed that I feel more responsible and more apt to handle things that come my way. I don’t feel as paranoid anymore since I rely on Arlo to be attentive to my surroundings. I feel safe and I finally feel like I can relax. He distracts me during anxiety attacks and provides tons of love with I’m feeling low.

My girlfriend has been amazing and SO supportive. Arlo loves her! She’s a great trainer, too. I plan on having him task trained soon, to meet more specific needs.

It’s been great with him so far. I seriously love this dog.

 


  

  

Withdrawal

convulsing and eyes
peeling back on their own.
lips parting exposing white houses
biting at themselves, jawbreakers.
glasses of blood and spit evacuating from the
throat. noises like an angry frog
bubbling from the bell-tower.
one bottle too many.
three pills too many.
sizzling sockets
fevers breaking pencils,
breaking bones and clipboards.
blue tethers tying wrists down-
a preacher exorcising Lucifer from
an atheist schoolgirl.
there are pockets of sick skin exploding
and cries that don’t bellow from infants.
halos are tipping off from the heads
of angels, tumbling like dimes on to
the silver trays.

10 Things We Want You to Know: A Letter from a Multiple to a Singleton

10 Things We Want You to Know: A Letter from a Multiple to a Singleton

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Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder, is a condition wherein a person’s identity is fragmented into two or more distinct personalities. Sufferers of this rare condition are usually victims of severe abuse.

1. We’re not faking it. DID can be very complex and difficult to understand. Unfortunately, there is a LOT of stigma against it- not only in the general public, but in the medical profession as well. Please believe us when we say DID is VERY real. It is as real as the trauma that caused us to split.

2. Please be patient. We know sometimes it gets difficult and frustrating. Try to remember that it is also difficult and frustrating for us. We appreciate you being there for support.

3. No, DID is NOT the same thing as schizophrenia. They are two completely different disorders that are totally unrelated to the other. If you would like to know what DID really is, just ask!

4. Switching isn’t always as obvious as you think it is. Thanks (no thanks) to media productions like United States of Tara, there seems to be a misconception about what switching between alters looks like: drastic wardrobe changes, speech alterations, etc. Most of the time, you may not even notice a switch has occurred.

5. Please don’t make us feel bad if we don’t remember something. We can at least speak for our system on this one. Sometimes we just don’t remember things. It’s usually because someone else in the system experienced it. More often than not, later on we will remember.

6. We are not a circus act. Please don’t ask us to switch on command; it doesn’t work that way. Our disorder is not meant to be used for your entrainment and it is incredibly disrespectful to ask for such.

7. It’s okay to ask questions. As a matter of fact, we urge you to ask! The more we are able to talk about it, the more opportunity we have to fight stigma.

8. Please don’t share our DID with others that we haven’t explicitly told ourselves. As with any mental or health illness, it is inappropriate and may cause us to break our trust with you. No matter how open or closed we are about our alters, it isn’t in your place to share our personal information.

9. Don’t be discouraged if you have never met our alters. Like we mentioned above, we don’t switch on command (at least, I have never heard of a multiple who was able to do so!). If we don’t introduce ourselves to you, don’t take it personally.

10. It’s not all bad. Sure, therapy is tough, flashbacks suck, and amnesia is a drag. But sometimes, having multiple selves can be kind of fun. There’s always someone to talk to! We get to experience happy moments multiple times! We can unlock hidden talents that we didn’t even know about!

 

Additional Do’s and Don’ts for Singleton Friends of Multiples

DO speak to our inner children like children.
Do NOT ask “Who’s here now?” If we wanted you to know we would tell you.
Do NOT tell an alter that you don’t know to “go get” the host.
Do NOT expect consistency of feeling, thought, or action on any subject.
Do NOT tell anyone to go inside because you do not like their views.
DO set healthy boundaries.
If you are uncomfortable with something said or done, say so, and do NOT avoid us in the future without an explanation.
Be HONEST.
Be understanding that we have many crisis situations in our lives of healing from our abuse, i.e.: flashbacks, panic attacks, body memories.
Laugh, make jokes with us, really, it’s OK!
Do NOT assume anything if you honestly want to know about our “disorder” please ask, we’ll tell you the truth.
Do NOT treat us like “the freak you happen to know” around your singleton friends.
Do NOT use our difficulties as a subject of conversation with your singleton friends.
Sometimes we are paralyzed with depression, and cannot call you, clean our house, or get out of bed. Don’t take it personally.
We will fight being hospitalized….. even though we actually show that we need it at the time. Hospitals are extremely frightening for us.
DO be supportive of our healthy behaviors no matter how small the accomplishment may seem to you.
DO be encouraging.
When we ask to talk to you, we aren’t asking you to come up with answers to our problems. We don’t expect you to FIX it. Sometimes we just need someone to LISTEN… that is the greatest gift of all!!
DON’T tell us that the abuse happened a long time ago and for us to “just get over it!” That is a HUGE insult!!

 

For additional information regarding Dissociative Identity Disorder, please visit: 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder

https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Dissociative-Disorders

http://www.fortrefuge.com/DIDfacts.html

 

 

“Operation Self-Esteem–Day Fucking One.”

This weekend I will be taking myself on a much needed spiritual break to an ashram. I’ve been wanting to visit one for a long while now, and I think now is the time. I have found myself spinning in circles simply because of my attachment to people and things and habits. I need to pull myself away, even if just for a day and breathe.

This particular ashram practices Seva.

“Seva” is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service” or work performed without any thought of reward or repayment. In ancient India seva believed to help one’s spiritual growth and at the same time contribute to the improvement of a community.

In the ashram, seva is observed during Amrit Vela, otherwise known as the ambrosial hours which refers to the early morning period of time sometime between 3:00am and 6:00am or before the dawning of the morning sun which is used for daily meditation and recitation of Gurbani hymns.

Ishnan Seva takes place, which is the washing of the marble floors in the Guru’s temple. Communal chanting and prayer happens while devotees wash the floors with milk and water, cleansing the marble and cleansing their souls. (Actually, I’m pretty sure there is a scene in Eat, Pray, Love where this is demonstrated!)

Afterwards, there is morning group meditation and kirtan chanting.

I am beginning to realize that I need to take more time for myself and work on nurturing the inner parts of me. This is good. I will be back with an update from the weekend.

 

“I was full of a hot, powerful sadness and would have loved to burst into the comfort of tears, but tried hard not to, remembering something my Guru once said — that you should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong, instead.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

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

That’s a Wrap! Goodbye 2015!

2015 has been an emotional roller coaster with really awesome highs, and really fucked up lows. I was trying to think of a way to summarize it all up into one, comprehensive blog post, and came up with the idea to attach one word to the year. One word to encapsulate it all. One word…

Metanoia (noun) 1. (psychology) the process of experiencing a psychotic “breakdown” and subsequent, positive psychological re-building or “healing” 2. The journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life.

Mental health, or lack thereof, at times. Thanks to a gentle push from a very good friend of mine, as well as my girlfriend, I found some refuge in a partial hospitalization program in February. Here I began the road to recovery from a psychotic playground swing-set and drug addiction.

Emergence from a heap of hopelessness and a seemingly-perpetual collapse. At more times than I care to admit, I sincerely felt that this would have been my last year here. I am able to recall a vivid moment in my old apartment: I had blacked out all of the windows, peeled all of my clothes off, and sank into a bathtub of warm water. I pulled myself out and curled up in the middle of my living room for literally hours. I cried silently as I held on to my knees, really thinking about how I could just run away from my life, or my body. Somehow, I have emerged from that very sad position and I am standing- still wobbly at times, but standing.

phoenix_rising_second_take_by_jodip

Therapy. Not only did I receive fucking amazing group therapy this year, but I also found the best therapist in the entire world. Seriously. The hospitalization program offered me a place to be open and unfiltered about my symptoms. I finally found a med combination to combat depression and flashbacks. I was given coping skills and tools to handle everything and anything that came my way. Through the program, I was prompted to find a therapist- and I’m so happy to have her! Therapy has opened a brand new door towards healing from my past. Even though it’s painful and difficult, it has been totally worth it.

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Acceptance that I have actually lived through trauma, that I have other personalities, and that it’s going to be okay in the end. I’ve accepted the fact that I need to stick up for myself more often, and that I need to also give myself credit.

Not giving up. Yes, this pertains to me not giving up on life, but more than that, the people who love me did not give up on me- or for this I am eternally grateful. My friends were there for me, 24/7, despite the fact that I may have disappeared for weeks at a stretch, they were there to listen and help me back up. My family- my actual family who supports me- welcomed me back home. My therapist has proven to be a stable confidant in my life and integration process. And my girlfriend… from the very beginning… thank you to the moon and back. I would not be where I am now without you.

Opportunities to be who I am, speak up about mental health, seek therapy, fall in love, find happiness, and much more.

Integration. I’m not there yet, but I am thankful for the moments of cooperation from my system. I’m thankful for the communication that has grown stronger, and for their protection.

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Appreciation. Every morning, no matter how shit-tastic I may be feeling, I manage to still offer my appreciation towards the people that I love and have in my life, towards getting better, towards my inner-system, towards the roof over my head and food on my table. I have grown to appreciate my family more this year. Especially through group therapy, I’ve developed a habit of gratitude lists everyday that really help ground me.

I am looking forward to 2016. I know there will most likely be some major speed bumps in the road, but I even look forward to tackling those as well.

I encourage you to find a word that suits your year!!

One Year Later

I was casually reading a biography on Sylvia Plath, and these quotes stood out to me this morning:

“While few critics dispute the power or the substance in Plath’s poetry, some have come to feel that its legacy is one of cynicism, ego-absorption, and a prurient fascination with suicide.

The very source of [Plath’s] creative energy was, it turned out, her self-destructiveness. But it was, precisely, a source of living energy, of her imaginative, creative power. So, though death itself may have been a side issue, it was also an unavoidable risk in writing her kind of poem. My own impression of the circumstances surrounding her eventual death is that she gambled, not much caring whether she won or lost; and she lost.”

It has been one year since beginning this blog.

decor_one-year-blog1

What a YEAR it has been. I am so proud of myself for actually committing to writing and staying with it. Secondly, I’m proud of myself for the leaps I have made and accomplishments. I survived! I survived when I thought for sure that I would have taken my life by now.

But I didn’t! I’m here!

It’s very strange, reading back on my old blog posts. I often forget where I used to be, how I felt, how my life was. I’ve made giant strides since then. On some level, it is comforting looking back and realizing that when I do fall into depression, it’s nothing that I can’t get myself out of. Then on the other hand, it’s frightening because I don’t know how long I will deal with depression.

I am very appreciative of the community here and for the friendships I have made. All of you have been so incredibly helpful on my venture through the mental health system and my own mind. Thank you.

In other news, this past weekend was a busy one. The play is going very well. I have 4 more shows to go. My girlfriend has already made it to 3 because she’s fucking awesome. My grandma surprised me and came into town to watch the play, too!

A few days ago, I was having another dumpling date with my girlfriend and I received a few text messages from my mom’s cell phone. The texts became urgent. When I called her phone, however, it wasn’t her. It was her husband, Charlie.

Just in case you don’t follow my blog, here’s a little synopsis on my relationship with her: she lives in South Carolina. I’ve never met her. I only just “met” her (over the phone) 3 years ago. She was a drug addict for years and years, spent ample time in prison, moved back to the south where she married her ex-convict husband, Charlie (who by the way, I just learned, is 35-years-old while my mother is 50. Just saying), and HE is also addicted to opiates and pills, a whole slew of things. Anyways, I do have a relationship with her now. There was a good period where she was abusing drugs again, so was he. He’s been in the hospital lately with some blood infections after he had his kidney removed, so he’s clean off of drugs. Anyways, this is a very detailed summary, I just realized.

The point is- Charlie called me and asked me if I could help them out with the electricity bill.

When I first got back in contact with my mom, I swore to myself that I would never, ever help her out financially. I don’t own her anything. Moreover, she herself promised me that she would never ask me for money, either.

So here calls Charlie, asking me for some kind of donation because their electricity was going to be cut off the next day. I think I believe it because she has been telling me they’ve been hurting for money since Charlie’s intensive hospitalizations. The thing is, though, it SUCKS that I even have to think twice about it. Hmm… are they using this money to use the lights in their home, or are they going to buy some heroin needles and tar and shoot up?

It sucks that I’m the daughter yet here I am feeling slightly bad that I can’t help her out and also feeling worried. I hate the feeling of not being sure if she’s using drugs. I hate that she’s married to this guy and I still haven’t met her. I hate everything about the situation and I think it’s bullshit.

I didn’t give him money. He asked if it could stay between him and I, and I said fine. I haven’t talked to her since that day. At first, I was more irritated then anything. Then, once I was by myself in the car, I couldn’t help but cry at the situation.

Other than that, everything else is going well. I’m moving soon! I’m really excited about that. My girlfriend is moving out and I’ll snag her bedroom. Finally, a space of my own that I can call home. Being at my grandma’s was great for helping me get on my feet, but it is time for me to move out and have my own space.

That’s all for now, WordPress!

The Vicious Flower

Today during my third group, I was able to come to a very enlightening discovery about myself.

For 45 minutes, we worked on our vicious flowers..

My intrusive belief was, “Isolation is better than seeking help.” Many of petals explained how isolating was a form of self harm in its own, etc. Then, at the the end of the exercise, the therapist called on each person to say aloud to the group one truth about themselves that they have been ignoring. When it was my turn, the following words fell from my lips:

I am worthy and deserving of recovery.

I kind of caught myself by surprise with this one. Wow…I’m worthy of happiness. I deserve peace. The entire day of processing had revolved around my own feelings of inadequacy; many times I have felt that I am the world’s punching bag. I don’t actually deserve happiness, but other people’s happiness depends on me.

Never have I really sat there and thought to recover my own self.

I’m doing better today. The suicidal thoughts have been pretty consistent lately. However, today I allowed myself to just feel shitty. If I didn’t feel like smiling, it was okay. And fuck, the groups are SO supportive. The amount of love and reach I have experienced over the past 4 days is absolutely incredible.

I do notice that I feel very split a lot of the time, and even my speech seems to not be able to keep up with my lips. This should go away, though.

On a last note, I am stressing over my disability insurance. I’m stressing about finances.

Joining the Circus! Be Back Soon

  
Since I’ll be on leave for at least 6 weeks, I’ve decided to tell everyone that I’ve gone and joined the circus- you know, instead of telling them I’ve checked myself into the funny farm (again). 

Yes! That’s me up there! Credits to my girlfriend for her ever-inspiring art! And thank you, Instagram, for your odd filters.

I’m a bit nervous for tomorrow, to say the least. I’m excited to get back to stabilizing myself and my emotions. I’m just very anxious about the inevitable pain, discomfort, and realizations that are to come.

Off to the circus I go!