Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Life Without Hospitals

I don't know my own life.

After spending countless weeks in various psychiatric hospitals, I've managed to stay out for 6 months. Probably my longest stretch ever. And it makes me highly uncomfortable.

My friends were traveling the world and I was pacing the hallways trying to get out of my own head.

My friends were trying new restaurants to Yelp review later and I was learning the menu schedule. It's cookie Tuesday, everybody!

My friends were getting married and I was making bad relationship choices with the person across the hall.

My friends were graduating from college and I was gathering info on how to fill my days after my stint.

The disparities in our life choices have led me here, sitting on the sidelines of life while everyone figures it out as they go along. I can't even "go along". I'm too far behind to just pick up and start. I'm at the age where I need to have a decent plan. In the words of one of my favorite TV characters, "I don't even have a 'pla'."

I'm in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) now. One of the promises I made before beginning is that I would not consider suicide an option to my problems. I would stay out of the hospital. But if I'm not in the hospital, what life am I really living? I'm on my own without a single idea as to what I should be doing. I'm learning all these skills to handle stress and accept my life as it is, but I don't accept my life as it is. I'm told to just "go out there and try something, anything!", How do you do something?

This is where I am.

Every plan requires money. All money comes from jobs. Jobs are for competent workers. Am I a competent worker? I don't know. I feel like I am. I can type. I know most basic computer programs and if I don't, I've been known to teach myself. Not to be conceited, but I'm really smart. I have great insight, I'm always on time, I smile a lot and make people laugh despite the angry churning of uncertainty inside. But on paper, I'm just some loser who's only worked two months in her whole life and doesn't meet the minimum typing speed and doesn't have any school history - just a GED - and hasn't held a job in 6 years (never mind I was taking care of my grandfather that whole time).

There's no place for me anywhere.

Except in the hospital. Where I'm told when and where to be, where there are people like me looking for answers or maybe just to stop the screaming for a few days, where it's understood I'm nothing in society but there's a reason why.

Now there's no hospital. There's no refuge from the world. There's only the world in front of me, daring me to jump in so it can swallow me whole and spit out the broken, discouraged remains.

Do I jump?

Or do I stay in bed?

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I found out my blog writings were getting posted on some weird site that wants me to pay for access or some crap, so I pretty much let this blog go. I'm debating if I should throw myself headfirst into this blog thing and switch to a more "serious" (read: where money is coming out of my pocket) blogging platform or if my writing actually matters all that much to even try to protect so fiercely.

But when I have those thoughts, I immediately think "DUH OF COURSE IT MATTERS I'M [kinda] HELLA SMART" (ignore the usage of hella - it seemed appropriate). So I'm still writing and shopping around. If you're reading this, stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A note on the Affirmation Challenge

Hey all! Just wanted to let everyone know I am still doing the 15 day Affirmation Challenge from Personal Excellence. Unfortunately the past two days have not been very cooperative with blogging (funeral, lack of sleep, etc.) so I will need to finish up my past posts. Should be on track tomorrow - or rather today...uuuuugh. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 7, 2014

#AffirmationChallenge Day 1 [New Beginning]: “Today is a brand new day. My past does not define me. My future is mine to create.”

Day 1: [New Beginning] - "Today is a brand new day. My past does not define me. My future is mine to create."
How many of us often define ourselves or our future based on our past?
Consider the following statements:
  • I'm a good-for-nothing – I've not accomplished much in my life, so I'm not going to accomplish much in my future too.
  • I've not had great relationships in the past, so I'm likely to continue to attract bad men/women into my life. I'm doomed not to meet someone I will love and who will truly love me too.
  • I was never a straight-A student, so I'm simply not cut out for success, whether in my studies or other things in the future.
  • I've not faced much success in [XXX] goal, so I shouldn't pursue [XXX] any further since I'm probably going to continue failing in it.
  • My dad/mom/teacher once scolded me for being lazy/lousy/slow/stupid/incompetent/idiotic/a disgrace of the family/[insert negative adjective], so I'm indeed lazy/lousy/slow/stupid/incompetent/idiotic/a disgrace of the family/[insert negative adjective].
  • My brother/sister/friend has always been better/faster/stronger than me when we were young, so they will continue to be better/faster/stronger than me in the future.
  • My relationship with [XXX] has been declining, so it'll likely continue to decline and I shouldn't put any effort in it.
While it is important that we learn from the past to create a better future, the extent to which our past limits us is when we use it as a determinant or predictor of the future. For example, just because we made a mistake in the past doesn't mean we'll continue to make the same mistake or another mistake in the future. Just because we are unable to achieve success in X goal in the past doesn't mean we'll continue to face limited success in it to the future.
You see, the danger here is that given that our thoughts directly impact our actions which directly impact our results, by thinking within the confines of our past results, we'll continue to act in a way that attract those results, hence attracting said results in real life. We'll then box ourselves into the archetype of "I'm not one who is able to attract love" (if you're currently facing a blockage in this area" or "I'm not cut out for entrepreneurship" (if you've been meaning to set up your own business but hasn't been able to), hence... being our own self-fulfilling prophecy.
So how do we break out of this vicious cycle? Well, by first changing our thoughts. But beyond changing our thoughts, we need to also identify the action steps to take to make things different. Because while having positive thoughts is important, we need to follow them up with the right, positive actions to make a real change in our life.
Hence, today your task is to do exactly that – change your thoughts and identify action steps in an area where you've been limiting yourself or that you feel limited in. Let's get started! :D

Your Task Today
  1. What is ONE area of your life where you've been limiting yourself or that you feel limited in? It can be anything, from studies, to work projects, to romantic relationships, to health, to friendships, to familial relationships. (You are welcome to identify more than an area if you like!)
- I've always wanted to get at least my bachelor's degree and I love taking classes but I constantly drop out of college before finishing a semester. I've tried at least 5 times.
- Working: I've only worked 2 months in my whole life before going on SSI for 7 years, which I hate and does not endear me to employers.
  1. What is the belief statement you've been harboring in this area? And is it serving/helping you to accomplish your goal? 
- “I've never finished a semester of college in all these years. Clearly I'm not meant to go to school. I just suck at it.”
- “No one is going to hire someone who hasn't bothered to work in 7 years anyway, so why bother looking?”
  1. Change this belief(s). Given that the belief from #2 is limiting, what empowering belief(s) can you change it to?
- “When I tried to go to school before, I didn't have the tools and knowledge I have now. I know where I went wrong and I can create a better, more successful plan to come out on top!”
- “I cannot predict what employers are thinking and I have several marketable skills that I am not taking advantage of. I will definitely not get hired if I never look, but I have to give myself a chance! I deserve it!”
  1. Identify your action step(s) to make the change! What is ONE action (or more if you desire) that you're going to make to make this new belief come true? Commit this action to a deadline, and get working on it!
-Meet with a guidance counselor (instead of trying to plan my whole school career by myself) to start working toward my major/minor work.
-Apply to two jobs per day that I am qualified for, regardless of whether I feel I am deserving of it
  1. Say your new belief out loud, along with today's affirmation. Read your new belief from Step #3 out loud to yourself, with full conviction. Then, say today's affirmation with that same conviction:
      "Today is a brand new day.
      My past does not define me.
      My future is mine to create."

    (If you think it's stupid to say these statements out loud, you can say them silently in your heart.)

    I encourage you to write down your new belief(s) and today's affirmation so that you can always see them and commit them to your heart. Repeat them every day to yourself, for as many times and as long as needed, until they become part of your default thinking.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Personal Excellence's July 15-Day Affirmation Challenge: A True Test of My Personal Positivity

If you're a person living with bipolar disorder/PTSD/anxiety/annoying people/stupid situations and all the pleasant side effects these conditions can cause, you may know that it's hard to stay positive from day to day. I am constantly called upon to "be happy" for the benefit of family and friends at the expense of being too emotionally empty at the end of the day to take care of my own needs. As a result, my life after almost 26 years is unfulfilled in pretty much every sense.

This year, I've made it a goal to be more active in my emotional health, especially as the circumstances around me that I cannot change grow more frustrating by the HOUR (having a broken ankle does not make this any better). I've come across many fantastic resources in my journey, and one of my favorites, Personal Excellence by Celestine Chua, is starting a 15 day Affirmation Challenge on July 7th. From PE:
"Problems can only be tackled through conscious self-reflection and direct action, not by saying affirmations only. However, where affirmations help is that they help us to re-imagine the future (especially if we are fixed on a particular way of thinking), reinforce positive beliefs, and remind us of who we can be. Affirmations have their merit, and they can be even more powerful when followed up with the right questions and planning."
I've never been one for affirmations...or challenges...or being positive...or reflection. Actually, all of this sounds kind of terrifying. But what's even more terrifying is the thought of being in this same situation 5 or 10 years from now: unhappy and afraid to pursue dreams and goals and living life in and out of psych hospitals despite medications and therapy and all the things that are "supposed" to make me happy. SO! I'm willing to try something scary and new. And I'm trying to keep the pessimistic attitude to a minimum. Baby steps.

Join the challenge soon! It starts on Monday July 7th, 2014! AND IT'S FREE!!!

See you in 2 days!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Brain Spit: Dating

There's this person I like. Like, REALLY like. They're smart and gorgeous and funny and passionate and kind and we've been talking for hours every day and really enjoy spending time together. So CLEARLY the logical next step is to...pretend we like each other way less than we really do, because that will prove how much we really, truly care for one another! Right? RIGHT?!

Does this sound insane to YOU? Yes? Then explain to me why you and I and everyone on the planet continue to follow and perpetuate this idea that showing real emotions will drive people away! Are we THAT dead inside as a people that FEELINGS – those things that tell us when things are good, bad, painful, scary, fantastic – ARE HORRIBLE?

Who started this trend of 'playing it cool'? At one point, this was advice given to women to not seem desperate...because men should only want to marry women who show little to no interest in them. Now it's transcended all genders and sexualities to the point that everyone is looking to be loved, but is not willing to love in return.

I understand the need to be cautious. I definitely understand the desire to protect oneself after being hurt in a relationship in any way. But at what point did we as a society decide that we were not good enough to be loved and therefore had to lie about what we felt (in addition to what we looked like – but that's another blog post for another day) in order to be considered “normal” or “worth it”? And more importantly, why are we OK with this??

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Legacy of a Lady

I had just come home from yet another 2 week psych hospital stint, this time in Orange County. Leading up to this past one, I had been falling deeper and deeper into the hole again. I was familiar with the hole. I could still see the places where I'd tried to claw my way back out over the years. But this time was different. I knew I wasn't coming out of this one. While I was in the hospital, I was attacked with an onslaught of new PTSD memories and I spiraled out of control. My brain turned on me. My body turned on me. I didn't eat. I couldn't think. So I did what I could.

I cried.

And wrote.
And cried.
And sketched.
And wrote.

The more I wrote, the saner I felt. The saner I felt, the less blurry life became. By the time I left the hospital in late May 2014, I knew I'd have to keep writing if I wanted to stay afloat. “I might even be able to do this for a living,” I thought with a tiny ray of hope.
I'd never felt real hope; just that 3AM 'of COURSE I can clean my whole room now!' manic hope.

I came home,
somewhat content, and settled down to the arduous task of checking 2 weeks of social media messages, emails, and world news. Everything seemed pretty norm-Legendary author Maya Angelou dies at age 86”

My heart stops and I blink. Just...blink. What? But...I wasn't ready! And before I can prepare myself or even open my mouth to swear in shock, I just sob uncontrollably for 10 minutes. I can't contain it.

My rational brain, which is currently on break as I gasp for air, thinks, “Well, she was quite elderly, and she had been ill...she lived a long, good, full, loving life.”


I think back to my
formative years spent with my grandmother, and seeing Maya Angelou's books always front and center on her shelves. I think of Dr. Angelou's story and how she freed herself from her self-imposed childhood silence; how she went on to become a literary icon and true trailblazer. I think of my grandmother and the woman she encouraged me to be, and still does 13 years after her passing; how she worked tirelessly to improve her community and uplift its people. I think of these strong women and I think, “...where are you going?! Y-you can't go yet! I will mess this up so bad!!!”

I'm not ready to let go of
my role models. I've finally begun my journey to discover my own voice, silenced by my own traumas. I'm discovering new ways to help my community. But I still feel as if I need them there, holding my hand and paving the road so that I am more comfortable. I have to remember, though, that just as they had to let go and go on to inspire the world around them, so will I. I wasn't prepared for my grandmother to die when I was 12. There was still so much more me to learn at her knee. I wasn't prepared to lose one of my biggest creative and personal icons this year. It scares me to death.

My grandmother holding me as a baby. No, I don't know how old I was. Age: baby? *shrug*

Dr. Maya Angelou

But apparently, it's time to be ready.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hospital Scribbles #1: The Teddy Grahams Analogy

I'm in the process of taking the things I wrote during past psych hospital stays and typing them out before they become unreadable or ruined in the original medium. Every so often, I will transcribe them here (edited for clarity). This is the first essay of that series, which I've lovingly titled Hospital Scribbles, because when I write in the hospital (incidentally when I write the most; psych units are a hotbed of inactivity), I tend to edit less and "scribble" more and interesting stuff comes out. Reading back on them, I usually think, "What the hell?" followed by "Wow, that makes a little sense" followed by "Seriously, what the HELL? I must have been really bored..."

Consider the following entry (and enjoy!)...

Ever looked at a box of Teddy Grahams?
The chocolate ones are like CANDY when you're on a unit with no canteen run. Desperate times, man...
There's a happy, smiling bear on the front. He's meant to sell you the product. He is the first thing we see and it's deliberate: if we buy and eat this product, we will look and feel like that bear. 
Pictured: DECEPTION.
Most don't even notice he's holding the actual product in his perfect outstretched paw. 

PLOT TWIST - reality!
"This is what you're really getting when you buy's still pretty good and you might like it, but it's not the guaranteed pleasure I promise," he laughs, holding out the offering. 

But even the Grahams themselves are permitted to frolic among the Photoshop paradise, as they have also been airbrushed until they were decent enough for the cover.
"I'm finally fake enough for the real world! I'VE MADE IT!"
But you bought into it. We all did. We bought the damned "graham snacks". 

I mean...frolicking through a grassy field with a crop top and no pants? Who doesn't want THAT life?!
And what we found inside didn't matter. We gobbled them mindlessly, sometimes 2 or 3 at a time without looking or noticing what we were doing.

But one day, you weren't so ravenous, or you were sick of the taste, or whatever...something made you pause when you opened the box again. And you looked before you consumed. REALLY looked. And you found that what you thought you were consuming - which was the product depicted on the box - was indeed a complete and total fantasy. Some Teddy Grahams (save for a few crumbs) looked just like they should. That was comforting: the same product inside and out. Some of them weren't quite as whole as the others, but still mostly resembled what they should. Most had barely survived their journey to you intact. Some were unrecognizable....they were there in front of you, labeled as Teddy Grahams, so you gobbled those suckers without a thought. And tossed the box, empty and worn, in the trash. It served its purpose. Time to start anew. You'll be hungry again soon.

Clearly, you're thinking, "OK, I'm the mindless consumer, I get it." Yes, you are. Everyone is. Everyone has used a relationship for their own selfish needs, only to discard it when it no longer served them. But everyone is the bear on the box, everyone is the Photoshopped Teddy Graham, and everyone is - in some form - a Teddy Graham from the box.

Being in various hospitals over several years and hearing so many stories, I've come to notice that everyone projects their best self to get through life...and love. But if people look closely enough, you can see the true self poking through the charade they try so desperately to hide behind. Usually, people are ashamed of that, not resembling that illusion more. It's explained away with "well, everyone has problems" or "no one's perfect!" defensively; not because you saw the true self (the actual product depicted on the box), but because you might see their core (the actual product inside the box). But we're so selfish as humans that we don't care; we emotionally suck each other dry, or use each other to serve our sexual, mental, psychological, or financial needs. And it's not until we are satisfied that we start paying attention. And while some are happy with the box the picked, or rarer still, just got lucky, the majority of us decide that maybe if we had known of the contents beforehand, we would have chosen differently.

Stop it. If they were defective in any way, they wouldn't have been in your damn box of Teddy Grahams to begin with.

We're all defective.
We're all liars.
We're all hypocritically judgmental.
We're all consumers.
We're all Teddy Grahams.
We're all people.

(originally written May 26, 2014)


  • What do you think contributes most to people hiding who they really are?
  • What's YOUR favorite Teddy Grahams flavor?
  • Any other comments or thoughts?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

When I Said "New Experiences", Universe...Not EXACTLY What I Had in Mind

I'm writing this post on Saturday night, 3 days after my last post when I said I'd come back and tell you about derby practice. Well..I'm back...
I've been a bit busy.
Yep, I fractured my ankle Wednesday night. My first ever broken bone! Let's take a moment to, er, 'honor' this bucket list moment.

All right, moment's over. This is the worst.

The first hour was splendid! I hadn't been at practice for a while, so it was nice to see the ladies again and get back into drills instead of just aimlessly skating. I did alright for having been gone so many months. Of course, things were going too well, and while I was practicing my crossovers, I slipped and fell on my ankle. At first, it REALLY hurt, but then the pain started to lessen, so I thought I just hit my anklebone on one of my wheels. I don't know what a broken bone feels like! I got some help from my teammates and friends getting home. Sure, I couldn't put any weight on it, sure I had to crawl on my hands and knees up my three porch steps and to my room (and I live in a single-story home), but who knew it was broken?

Well, my dad, for one. To which I replied, "...and you didn't want to share that information with the class?!"

Having a broken body part has taken me through a lot of emotions in 72 hours. I've cried because my ankle hurt so bad, I couldn't get up and pee. I've crawled from the kitchen to my room with a plate of food (a personal life lowlight). I've screamed at no one in particular because of crippling frustration with the medical field. Not only am I almost out of pain medication, but because of my fantastic HMO, I can't use the ER referral for the orthopedic surgeon. No, I have to wear a splint that's meant for 1 to 2 day wear for FIVE DAYS until I see my primary physician on a walk-in appointment - which could take up to 4 hours - and get the referral from him...oh yeah, and then I actually have to MAKE the appointment with orthopedics!

I've laid in bed and felt completely alone on this excruciating journey. But I know I'm not.

Through it all, my derby sisters have been absolutely amazing. It's been overwhelming to see how much these women (who I've known maybe a year at most) have embraced me as a true sister, more so than some people I've known for years or even my whole life. I've asked for what seemed like the world, and they responded like I asked for a pencil. I truly love them, and it's heartwarming to know that they truly love me.

Anyway, it's been 3 days and I am 300% done with having a broken ankle. I'm bored, I feel useless, I need to clean up, I want to take a bath, and I WANT TO SKATE, DAMMIT.

I would also like some Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Any combination of those will do just fine, please and thank you.

Have you ever broken a bone? Tell me about it! Any tips on how to survive this HELLISH NEVERENDING NIGHTMARE?!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I completely redid my phone playlists. From scratch. It's not like it was my whole library. Just FOUR HUNDRED SONGS or so.

I'd tell you (who am I talking to?) more, but because I insisted on being so neurotic about this tedious process, I'm running behind in getting ready for practice. And guess who still needs to switch out her outdoor wheels?!


I'll be back tonight. With stories. And TRAIL MIX! I made it myself...seriously, who am I talking to??