Category Archives: alcohol

letter to my father

My father is a very proud man. I’ve never understood him, but for the first twenty years of my life I lived in his shadow. He influenced my way of thinking, what I studied in college and how I viewed the world. I had a role-model, somebody I could admire and look up to. In my early-twenties though things began to change, or, more precisely, I began to change.

I moved away, first to Poland and then New York and finally San Francisco. I saw new things and was exposed to new ideas, new ways of thinking. I finally got to see the opposites–the things my father rejects, and never converses about. The things that make humans unique.

I started joining radical political groups and got rid of my car and stopped eating meat, anything to piss my dad off. For once, I wanted him to recognize me for me. I didn’t care anymore if he couldn’t see himself in me.

Because of all these changes, I’ve become angry at my father, and my father has become angry at me. We rarely talk. When we do it’s awkward and forced. I say hello, he says hello, I ask how he’s doing, he says fine, and then I ask to talk to my mom. At the time of writing I haven’t talked to him in at least three months. I’m waiting for him to call–it’s his job, right?

I’ll get to the point: I no longer want to be angry with my father, and I do not like this distance between us. There may always be geographic distance, but I’d like to be closer in a spiritual sense, or at least in a father-son sense. At this point, he’s less of a father to me and more of a long, lost friend. It’s sad.

What’s more, I don’t really know how to repair the damage between us, if that’s even possible. But I think a good starting point is for me to start being honest with him.

I think the most logical part to start with is his alcoholism. He’s been a functional alcoholic most of his adult life. It’s not easy to address because he’s not the quintessential alcoholic you see on TV or in the movies. He’s never hurt anybody in the family, and we rarely see him drunk. But he still has a dependence–and it has greatly affected our relationship.

I’m also afraid of my father. He has such a big ego. Nobody can tell him anything that goes against his way of thinking, and so I think the only way to get through to him would be through writing–

Dear Dad:

I hope this letter finds you well. I know we don’t talk much, and so you must be surprised that you’re reading this right now, but I think this is something we can address later. For now, I want to jump to the point.

For the past year or so I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing my past in order to understand how those experiences create meaning for me in the present. You, being my father, are a big part of that, obviously. You’ve had your say in who I am today, and I thank you for that. I have inherited a lot of great qualities from you. I deeply care about the world and the people in it, especially those I associate with–which is why I’m writing this right now.

As you can tell, I’ve changed a lot since I moved away. I’ve taken the theories I learned from my childhood and adolescence–the things you taught me–and tested them in the real world. Some work, some don’t, and that’s okay. At this point in my life I think my most endearing quality is how open I am–I’ll listen to anything, I’ll give anybody a chance. Everybody has something to say, and everybody needs someone to listen to them. Right now I need you to be open, and I need you to listen.

I strongly believe that you are an alcoholic. You are not a fall down drunk and you’ve never laid a finger on anyone in the family, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have an unhealthy dependence on alcohol. And it’s certainly impacted our relationship. Whenever I’m home, you’re always in the basement drinking, and when you’re not, more often than not, you’ve had too much to drink. Frankly, you’re less of a father and more like comic relief for me, as sad as that sounds.

You can do whatever you want now. Your actions are your choice. But I am no longer going to be an enabler. If you want to continue drinking, I believe the distance will only increase between us, and our relationship will continue to falter. What you do now is your decision. I’ve made my choice. It’s time for you to make yours.

I may never give this to him, but it still feels good to get it out in the open.

Advertisements

self harm: why?

Self harm is a way for me to deal with negative feelings. When times get tough and there’s just too many negative feelings, I engage in self destructive behaviors to push those feelings and/or emotions and/or memories back down into my body. This behavior serves me–and it serves me well.

I wish I could say that I’ve found healthier alternatives, like yoga and/or meditation and/or exercise etc, to deal with these feelings, but I haven’t … not yet, at least.

I’ve been using self harm as a coping mechanism for a long time. It’s a way for me to feel like I’m in control (and I’m addicted to the serotonin rush).  I do not condone it but I’m not proud of it, either. If you don’t do it– please don’t start; if you do, it’s okay. In fact, it’s probably good that you’ve found a way to keep some emotions at bay. You can’t go around feeling everything all the time. Sometimes it’s too much. I think there are healthier ways of dealing with things, but it’s much easier to suppress the feelings through self harm than to learn and utilize the alternatives.

You’re not alone: Self harm is something most people engage in. It’s less about if people do it, and more about how.

Tactics range from self-deprecating humor to suicide. For the most part, I use binging (on food or alcohol, sometimes both) to suppress my emotions. I know, or have known, people who overspend, abuse drugs, and cut themselves. Aside for suicide, I don’t believe any one method is more dangerous than another. It may be more socially acceptable to binge on alcohol or overspend than to cut oneself, but it’s not really fair to compare methods. They all serve a common purpose, and they all can become addictions. Besides, drugs and alcohol poison your insides and overspending can wreck havoc on the lives around you, while cutting really just leaves scars–which really is worse?

Feeling terrible

So, I felt terrible last night, and I’m feeling even worse now. I went through a pretty difficult social situation earlier, where I met a friend of a friend at a museum. I’m proud of myself for going but like always it didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to go. I didn’t live up to my standards.

I felt out of place because I didn’t know what to say most of the time. The conversations felt forced, and I tried opening up, but that too felt forced. I tried so hard to connect with this person that I think I probably came across as desperate or, infinitely worse, socially inept. I kept asking myself, Can he tell that I’m anxious? What does he think of me? And the same voice answered: Of course he can tell. How could he not? He thinks you’re anxious, nervous and boring. You are unpleasant to be around.

We left the museum after an hour to go eat, and at the restaurant we sat in front of a mirror and I kept checking my expression. I looked terrible. My face looked tense and tired. I looked exactly how I felt on the inside.

Finally, on the way back to the museum, he bailed at the last minute, claiming he had to clean his apartment, by running toward a bus without even saying a proper goodbye. This confirmed my suspicions: I am shit. In the end, I feel sorry for him–that he had to hang out with me. I wish I didn’t disappoint everyone who comes in contact with me.

And now my weekend is total crap, and it was going so well. I avoided a binge last night and went running for an hour earlier today. I feel really depressed, even worse than last night.

I’m going to drink the pain away tonight.

And the same voice answeredever

Poland, part 2; or: the socially anxious traveler

This post is a continuation of Poland, part 1….

While studying in Poland, I traveled extensively throughout Europe not only to see other parts of the world, but also to get away from the other Americans. Again, I had high hopes when I returned to Poland after I fled back to the states–expectations that I couldn’t live up to. The second I got off the airplane I knew things wouldn’t be different. I wouldn’t connect with anyone or fit in or feel comfortable–and I didn’t. And so, I spent as much time away as I could.

I’d now like to document my travels, which I should have done a long time ago ..

BEFORE POLAND

New York City (January 7th-11th, 2006)

I had a blast in New York. In fact, I had such a good time, I ended up moving there a year later. We (my ex-girlfriend and I) stayed in a YMCA hostel near Times Square for a night, but after getting no sleep, because of the extremely loud steam heating system, we moved to a hotel (also near Times Square).

Unfortunately, most of the pictures taken either have me and/or my girlfriend in them. So I can’t post them.

On liberty island, looking toward Manhattan.

Watching a band at CBGB who described themselves as Radiohead meets Pink Floyd. They turned out to be nothing like that. It was still cool, and I’m glad I went because the club closed later that year.

London (January 12th-14th)

After New York, we flew to London. I don’t think I saw the sun once, which somewhat prepared me for the weather here in San Francisco.

Buckingham Palace

Dali Museum

Tube

Big Ben

Paris (January 15th-18th)

Paris was/is definitely one of my favorite cities. Again, I didn’t see the sun or sky, but the wonderful architecture made up for it. I also fell in love with crepes and nutella–and nutella on crepes.

Arc de Triomphe

Madrid (January 19th-23rd )

Next up was Madrid. I honestly didn’t care for the city (aside for the Prado Museum), but that could be because I was starting to get a bit burned out. I did get some sun, though. These pictures are of no significance ..

Rome (January 24th-27th)

I got sick the first day in Rome. I didn’t really enjoy the city. If I wasn’t sick and was Catholic I probably would have enjoyed it more. I’ll make a mental note of that in case I ever go back.

Vatican Museum

Ancient ruins

Colosseum

DURING MY TIME IN POLAND

Budapest (February 10th-12th)

So, as I said in my previous post, my first few weeks in Poland were hard–so hard, in fact, I had to go home. When I returned, a week later, all the Americans welcomed me back by feeding me shots of vodka. We all went out that night. I don’t remember much. In the morning I awoke to an angry girlfriend who said she was going to go to Budapest to visit her ex-boyfriend–who she dated when she lived in Hungary with her family on an exchange program–because I apparently did something stupid the night before. She wouldn’t say what exactly, and I was still a bit drunk so I didn’t care.

In retrospect, I don’t think I did anything–she was just looking for an excuse to see her ex-boyfriend.

Anyway, my girlfriend left, and I went back to sleep. I got up again a few hours later. Sober, I realized what had happened, and so I hightailed it to Budapest. I don’t remember much of the city because I honestly didn’t do much. I spent most of my time in a hotel, hungover.

Chain Bridge

Prague (March 9th-13th)

After Budapest I had a month of social hell–everything from attending classes to going on a pub crawl (and blacking out) to leaving my room to brush my teeth was very difficult. That said, Prague was an amazing city–one of my favorites, architecturally speaking. Oh, and we also got snowed in for a night.

Prague Castle

Red roof city

Drinking the pain away ..

Germany: Frankfurt and Heidelberg (March 24th-26th)

We flew on a discount airline (like $20 a ticket) from Warsaw to Frankfurt–a boring, ultra-modern city, I felt like I was in the financial district of NY–and then took a train to Heidelberg, a small college town in the south-west portion of the country. I enjoyed the city.

Skyscrapers in Frankfurt

Tree path in Frankfurt

Heidelberg–red roof city 2

Famous church in Heidelberg

Poznan, Poland (March 31st-April 2nd)

I don’t remember much of Poznan, aside for the excellent local beer from the bar at the hotel. I think we saw more of the bar than the actual city.

Old town square

Former Pope, John Paul II memorial (about 90% of
the population in Poland is Catholic)

Gdansk, Poland (April 7th-9th)

I also don’t remember much of Gdansk, namely because all the Americans went there together, as an organized group, and I had a terrible time. I think I’ve blocked most of it out. I remember three hour dinners each night, having to sit at a table with fifteen other people I didn’t connect with. I drank a lot.

Solidarity memorial

Bird flu

Hurghada, Egypt (April 15th to 22nd)

We spent spring break in Egypt. It was great–I got to forget all the horrible social interactions in Poland, and I even forgot I had to go back. We bought our tickets through a Polish travel agency and ended up staying at a Polish resort.

Red Sea

Trip to Giza / Cairo

Resort

Krakow, Poland (April 30th- May 5th)

Krakow. Another group trip. Another disaster.

Auschwitz

Jewish cemetary

Salt mine

Wawel Castle

Amsterdam (May 6th-10th)

Amsterdam was a nice break–got high, saw Radiohead.

Canals

More canals

Pot

Heineken Brewery

Thom Yorke

Brussels (May 12th to 14th)

I wasn’t planning on traveling that weekend, but I found out we had a group dinner, and so I picked the cheapest flight. I was very depressed in Brussels. There also wasn’t much to do. I spent most of my time in the hostel and only came out for a few meals of ice cream and waffles. I got so bored, I took a train back to Amsterdam and got really, really high.

Cool church

Arc de Triomphe

Random street

Manneken Pis

AFTER POLAND

Oslo, Norway (May 21st to 23rd, 28th to 29th)

Saying goodbye to everyone in Poland was difficult. Those who really made connections with people were crying. I just felt like an outsider, giving forced smiles and hugs. When I stepped on the plane, I felt an immediate release. I could escape again.

Norway was beautiful, but Oslo wasn’t so great–just another big city.

Harbor, round 1

Harbor, round 2

Vigeland Sculpture Park

Bergen, Norway (May 23rd to 28th)

Bergen, a city surrounded by beautiful fjords and seven mountains, was absolutely amazing. So beautiful, so wonderful. I wanted to learn the language and stay there forever.

Harbor

Mountains ..

.. fjords

Cool church

City

Alley

London (May 29th to 30th)

We had a layover in London before returning home. It was actually sunny, so I spent the day running around the city taking photos to make up for the gloomy photos from the first time around.

Big Ben

Big Ben, Westminster, London Eye

Colosseum

disordered eating

Well I broke two of my rules this week: No more than one post per day and five posts per week. This is my third post today and my sixth this week–and there’s still two more days left in the week.

I’ll keep this short.

After my second post today, I felt really anxious. I immediately went home, downed .5 mg of Ativan, and watched Curb Your Enthusiasm with my girlfriend. I felt a little better afterward so I came back up to the library to work on schoolwork. My anxiety was no where near as bad as it was earlier, but I felt much more depressed.

I’m not sure where those feelings were coming from.

I think stirring up a lot of emotions from my post earlier didn’t help. Plus I’m going camping this weekend with my girlfriend, her brother, and some friends. I may have to call a friend later to coordinate a ride. I’m feeling pretty anxious about all that. Oh and I also increased my dose of Lamictal from 12.5 to 25 mg.

Anyway, I left the library around 5:00 and binged. Super burrito. 28 oz of ice cream. Plus a handful of kale. (I need my veggies, too.) I also drank a beer. I probably shouldn’t have drank because I took an Ativan earlier. Oh well.

That’s two binges this week. At what point does disordered eating become an eating disorder?

No more than one post per day and five posts per week

unhappy happiness

It’s Saturday morning, and I’m hungover. I’m not sure what time I got up or when I started on this post or where I’m going with this thought. The only things that I am certain of are the fact that I drank a lot last night and I lied to my girlfriend about it. She left for the weekend to visit her family in the North Bay. I haven’t seen them for a while, and I really should have done the right thing and gone, but I didn’t. I’m not even sure why I didn’t now because I’m feeling quite a bit different than I was yesterday. Even with the hangover, I feel great! Yes, I’m upset that I lied, but everything just seems right. I’m me again.

Two years ago I had everything together. I functioned well during the day. I had a full-time job at Yahoo. I had friends. I ate right, got plenty of exercise, and spent my free time reading and writing. At night, though, there was another side to me–a side with a secret. This secret’s dark and scary and infinite. It came out at the darkest times of night, staying with me until morning. I hated it and tried to fight it every time it came out. Each fight seemed to weaken me more and more, and little by little, this secret grew. One day I realized I couldn’t fight it any longer, and so I quit my job and stopped hanging out with friends. I started an online graduate program in Library Science and moved in with my girlfriend, away from the world. Now, I want you to know that these things–quitting and moving–were actually good things: I hated my job and needed a change, and I was (and still am) in a committed relationship. My reasons for doing them weren’t to better myself or because of love, though. I did them because of my secret. I thought I could run away from it. I thought by completely changing my life my secret would cease to exist. In reality, these changes only strengthened it.

You probably know by now that this secret is social anxiety and depression. They’ve been with me for over ten years, but I’ve only identified with them the last four or five. What’s more, they grow with me, intensifying with age. They’ve been with me for so long, it’s hard for me to a remember a time when I wasn’t anxious or depressed. Social anxiety is my main issue; it drives the depression. It’s cyclical: I get anticipatory anxiety about an upcoming social event, and then I’m anxious throughout the event, of course. After the event, I brood on the negatives, which puts me into a depression, and once I pull out of depression, the cycle starts over. It’s vicious.

When I quit my job and started school full-time, I found that I had plenty of spare time. So, I tried addressing my anxiety in a different way: holistically. I began seeing a mindfulness-based therapist in November 2009 and a hypnotherapist in April 2010. I also used yoga, meditation, and exercises as interventions. Each of these target intuition rather than logic, and because of this, change is slow. Too slow, in my case. I became frustrated, and so I began taking an anti-depressant about three months ago. After two months of no results, I increased my dose. This, coupled with emotional fatigue sent me into a deep depression, culminating with a night filled with lots and lots and lots of alcohol and suicidal thoughts–the last night that my girlfriend left me alone. Subsequently, I got off the medication and intensified the other interventions. I also began writing about my inner experiences. The writing process has been a wonderful for me. I’ve  been able to put words to things I’ve never talked about–things I’ve been too afraid to talk about in therapy even. At times, it just felt so good to name the things going on inside me. I became addicted, thinking writing was my new savior.

I wrote and wrote and wrote, and within a week, I filled over fifty pages with new thoughts, new ideas, new experiences.  There were noticeable differences at therapy. Suddenly, there were new experiences to talk about, and I knew how to stay with the feelings better, rather than running back to my intellect when times got tough. I felt so good. I felt high. But this high lasted only a month: suddenly, and unexpectedly,  I crashed. Depression hit me harder than ever before. I couldn’t work on homework. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t write. I could barely think. My only way out was to binge. So I binged, and everything was back to normal. I caught up at school and started writing more, even harder this time, thinking that I hadn’t been working hard enough before. Things were going good. More and more emotions. Better and better therapy sessions. And then: crash! I binged again, started writing again, and crashed again …

I’ve been in this cycle for about two months, and for the last month, I’ve crashed once, sometimes twice, a week, having to resort to binging to pull myself out. Yesterday I binged, and the day before that, too. That’s why I’m hungover today. I don’t usually have to resort to alcohol; food usually does the trick. This past depression, however, was longer and deeper than the one before that, and the one before that was longer and deeper than the one before that … And it’s hard for me to admit this, but food is working less and less: I’m having to eat more and more to become me again, to rid myself of my dark secret.

On Tuesday I’m going to see my psychiatrist. I’ve been using Ativan and Propranolol for the past two months for the anxiety. They’ve worked well. But the depression and these cycles seem to be more pressing now than the actual anxiety.  I’m afraid I’m bi-polar and need to be on a mood stabilizer. I’m scared about what he’s going to say and even more scared that I won’t even tell him any of this. I don’t want to let him down. I don’t want to be a failure.  But I know I need to tell him. I can’t go on like this. I’m having to eat more and more to bring myself back to reality, in order to feel like myself again. One day I’m going to get up from a night of binging and not be able to just brush myself off and go on with life. Even now it’s hard for me to do that. I neglected schoolwork for the past two days. I’ve neglected my friends even longer. This is the reason why I’m writing this post: to gather my thoughts, to summarize the past few months not only for you, but for my benefit as well. I need to see what’s happened to me so that I can provide empirical data to the psychiatrist, so he can make an informed decision about what course of action to take.

I last saw my psychiatrist on August 10th, and it just so happens, that I started recording my depression and binging in detail around that point. I’m now going to summarize my findings. Even though it is a “summary”, it’s still quite long. Skip down to the sentence in bold if you want a summary of the summary. Anyway, the summary goes like this–

July 29: I binged because of the emotions I stirred up from writing the previous day. I wrote about my last day of high school. High school is a difficult subject for me because it was so hard. Like most kids, I struggled to fit in. Being highly sensitive and introverted didn’t help. My anxiety started in high school. I must have engaged in a negative social situation and came out of it, for reasons unknown, feeling like I had done something wrong–that I behaved inappropriately given the situation, perhaps. That social situation made me feel like I had to change something in order to act differently in future social situations. I set new expectations for myself–expectations I could never live up to, even to this day.

Like most times, I binged on a super vegetarian burrito and a pint of ice cream. I felt better almost immediately after.

The next few days went well. I had two successful social situations with friends and I wrote a lot about my past, my relationship with my parents, and even a short story. On August 3rd I avoided a binge. I saw my psychiatrist that same day. He let out some frustrations because I wasn’t experimenting enough with the Ativan and Propranolol. I really felt like I let him down, and so, after that session I consciously told myself that I would experiment more with those drugs, document my experiences, and even try upping the dose of Celexa. The very next day I took my first dose of Propranolol (which went fine), and I also sent out an email to some friends from my past, explaining about my issues: why I didn’t really connect with them, and why I just seemed to disappear. It was hard and very, very emotional, but I felt great. Those feelings lasted into August 5th, culminating at a yoga class. By the end of the day, I just felt exhausted though, emotionally and physically, and I felt a depression coming on.

August 6th and 7th: I briefly described these days above: “After two months of no results, I increased my dose. This, coupled with emotional fatigue sent me into a deep depression, culminating with a night filled with lots and lots and lots of alcohol and suicidal thoughts–the last night that my girlfriend left me alone.” I’ll go into more detail now. The depression I started feeling the night before carried over to Friday, August 6th. I recognized that my depression probably resulted from all the emotions stirred up, and the fact that I was just drained. If I wasn’t working on school work, I was either writing, running, working out at the gym, or doing yoga. I bounced from activity to activity instead of giving myself a break from all the emotions brought up that week. I didn’t give myself time to rest, to heal, or to integrate. I also wasn’t sleeping very well. Recognizing this was a great achievement and telling myself that it’s okay to take breaks was even better; however, the damage was already done. My depression got worse and worse, and on top of that I increased my dose of Celexa the night before.

I immediately felt the side effects when I woke up. I felt sluggish and depressed, listless even. Everything seemed a bit fuzzy or out-of-focus. Thoughts weren’t coming to me. I questioned everything I had accomplished that week. My confidence faded, as well as any hope: I’m at the mercy of my own thoughts. Right now, I don’t believe anything or anyone can help me. I went back down to my previous dose of Celexa. (So, I only increased the dose for one day).

My girlfriend left in the morning of August 7th to visit her family. I felt terrible. She knew this and wanted me to come. But I assured her everything would be fine, even though, deep down, I knew it wouldn’t. After she left I held out as long as I could, but I ended up binging on a super burrito and almost a quart of ice cream a few hours later. This left me feeling better for about and hour; the depression intensified after that, however, and I ended up binging on alcohol that night, alone. Drinking made everything worse: after each sip, I could almost feel the depression strengthening. I knew I would have to drink a lot in order to suppress my feelings–and I did. In all, I drank eleven beers and two and a half glasses of wine. That night the suicidal thoughts were as strong as they’ve ever been. I wanted to die, and I needed to die. It was the only thing left; the only thing real; the only thing I had control over. Fortunately, I was too drunk to act on my thoughts. I passed out, and when I woke up the next day, the suicidal thoughts were gone–all thoughts were gone, actually–leaving me only with a massive hangover and the notion that I somehow had been defeated.

After spending a few days hungover, reflecting on what happened, I went to see the psychiatrist on August 10th. We agreed that I should tapper off the Celexa. He also seemed to view my experience on August 7th more optimistically: He also thinks that my actions over the weekend show that I may be on the cusp of something more–that maybe I’m on the way to change. I’m just shedding my emotions. Even though it was hard for me to believe that, I felt better after hearing it. The rest of the week went well. Because of the depression, binge, and subsequent hangover, I fell behind on schoolwork, and I had to frantically finish a paper. It was stressful, but I got through it. I had a few social situations that went really well for me, with the help of Propranolol, on Monday and Tuesday (August 11th and 12th). On August 13th, I flew back to Kansas City to see my family.

Being around my family was difficult. I left home almost four years ago after graduating from college. Since then, I’ve been changing, little by little, and, as of late, that change has intensified. I’m different. I’ve changed a lot. It’s hard to be this new person, though, when I’m around my family. I tend to revert back to my former self, into the person I was before I left home. Because of this, going home is a struggle. On top of that, my parents have quite a few issues they refuse to address. I’m aware of them so I feel like I have to solve them–or at least make them aware of them. It’s hard. I spent a week in Kansas City struggling not only with my own issues, but with trying to open up about those issues and express my feelings about my parents’ issues, as well. Issues, issues, issues! There were plenty of ups and downs that week, but I felt the most depressed the day after I got there, August 14th. I couldn’t binge, so, instead, I called my girlfriend and explained how I felt. Immediately after, I felt better. I know what you’re thinking: Why can’t you always do that: talk instead of binge. I do! I talk non-stop about my issues. I’m not sure why it was any different then. Anyway, after getting over my initial depression, the rest of the week went well. I talked openly to my mom and brother about my issues and concern over my dad’s alcoholism. It felt good talking about things we’ve never talked about as a family. I flew back to San Francisco more happy and hopeful than I’d been in a long time.

Unfortunately those feelings didn’t last, though. I wanted to continue moving forward. I wanted to build on my successes in Kansas City. In that first week back, I had three social events. I began writing a letter to my dad addressing his alcoholism. I wrote a lot of blog entries. I started cognitive behavioral therapy. I had a difficult session with my talk therapist. I burnt myself out basically, and I started feeling depressed on Thursday (August 26th), and I binged on the usual: a super burrito and a pint of ice cream. That night I met up with a friend. It didn’t go well for me socially, and I fell into another depression. In the night, I felt strange and my thoughts were strange. These strange feelings and strange thoughts eventually led to me feeling suicidal, in a strange way. It’s hard to explain. The thoughts weren’t tangible; it was more like I really felt deep within my body that suicide was an option for me. I felt scared. Those feelings eventually faded though, and I drifted into sleep, dreaming about death.

I went out with that same friend the next night (August 27th) with a group of people, including my girlfriend. Unlike the social situation from the previous night, I didn’t feel much anxiety. I just felt super, super depressed. I think it was one of the first times the depression overshadowed my anxiety in a social situation. I was afraid the strange feelings of suicide would come back that night, but they didn’t. The depression was still there, though. I went on a small binge the next day (August 28th) with a pint of ice cream and immediately felt better. The day after was great, and the day after that, even greater. I felt happy and optimistic again. This happy state lasted until Tuesday, August 31st. I crashed again the next day (September 1st), binging twice: large sandwich, pint of ice cream to begin, and three chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches later. Despite my efforts, the depression persisted into the next day, September 2nd. I binged again: super burrito and two pints of ice cream. It worked! I felt normal again! This past week I caught up with school, continued writing and working on cognitive behavioral therapy, and went through an okay social event on Labor Day. Therapy was difficult, as well as tutoring (I volunteer at a adult literacy center).

Again, this past week, I’ve tried outrunning my depression, always keeping busy; yet, it caught up with me on Wednesday (September 8th).  At night, back home, I felt a depression coming on. I tried fighting through it, and I thought I succeeded, but the next day (September 9th), I just felt terrible: I hate my life. I don’t have a job or any friends, nothing. School is too hard. My writing is terrible. There’s no hope for me today. I’m leaving the library right now to go binge.

This is what I ate:

Half-gallon of ice cream, super veggie burrito, chips. ~ 2500 calories

I’m used to the gourmet ice cream, so the Dreyer’s tasted terrible. I literally had to choke it down at the end. At that point, I wasn’t eating because I wanted to; I was eating it because I had to. I had to shove that much calories down my throat in order to squash the depression. In order to feel normal again. In the end, the binge didn’t help. It only fueled my depression, in fact. It grew and grew and grew. And GREW. By the end of the day, I knew I had to do another binge. Fortunately, my girlfriend left the next day (September 10th) to go visit her family. Remember: last time she left me alone, I spiraled out of control, eventually having a breakdown. She insisted that I go with her. But I refused, and she went anyway. She shouldn’t have to sit around babysitting me all the time. I promised her I wouldn’t drink any alcohol–a promise I eventually broke.

Yesterday I binged again; this time on food and alcohol:

Nearly a quart of ice cream, super veggie burrito. ~ 2200 calories

6 beers. ~ 900 calories.

This was enough to bring me out of my depression. Which brings us to the present. I’m feeling good, despite being tired, hungover, and emotionally exhausted. I’ve got to pick myself up, clean the house, and start on schoolwork. I’m so behind, and besides, I have to work now while I feel good because I don’t know when my next crash will be.

Whew! That was exhausting. To wrap up, let me give a summary of the summary–

  • July 29th: binged
  • July 30th to August 4th: felt good
  • August 5th: started feeling depression, increased dose of Celexa
  • August 6th: depressed, experienced side effects from increased dosage of Celexa, decided to go back down to my previous dose of the medication
  • August 7th: binged on food and alcohol, had suicidal thoughts
  • August 8th and 9th: hungover
  • August 10th to 13th: felt good, flew to KC on the 13th
  • August 14th: depressed, felt better after talking to my girlfriend about my feelings
  • August 15th to 25th: felt very emotional yet good
  • August 26th: felt depressed and binged, had suicidal thoughts
  • August 27th: depressed
  • August 28th: still depressed and went on a small binge
  • August 29th and 30th: felt great
  • August 31st: depressed
  • September 1st: binged (twice), had suicidal thoughts
  • September 2nd: binged
  • September 3rd to 7th: felt great
  • September 8th: depressed
  • September 9th: binged, had suicidal thoughts
  • September 10th: binged on food and alcohol

There you have it. That’s the last month or so of my life. Since July 29th I’ve binged on food nine times and on alcohol twice and experienced suicidal thoughts four times, and I went through seven cycles of depression. What does this all mean? Sometimes I wonder if writing about it even helps? I’ve taken my thoughts, feelings, and emotions and quantified them in the hopes that I, and others, can understand them better. I’m taking this information to my psychiatrist and psychologist, and I’m thinking of sending this link out to family and friends. I want empathy, not sympathy. I want people to understand what I’ve been through and what I’m currently going through. I want them to understand why I’ve been so reclusive at times. I want them to understand why they haven’t really connected with me. Most importantly, when I see my psychiatrist on Tuesday, I want him to see the things I can’t tell him so that I can get the best treatment. I’m tired of hiding behind a wall of stoicism and certainty, while my insides crumble. There you have it.

Now you know my secret.

***

Finally, welcome to Unhappy Happiness. Thanks for reading! If you’re interested in reading further, please check out my previous blog. I’ve also stated on the About Me page my intentions for this blog and my reasons for abandoning my previous one, as well as some background info.

Oh and if you understand the difference between categories and tags please let me know. I’m confused!