I’m sitting here, swollen lip submerged in warm saline water, because I decided a $50 piece of metal and some pain would cure my depression.
I do bizarre things to my appearance when I’m unwell. I’ve cut my bangs, twice, in the midst of what neurotypicals would consider a mood swing. The first time, I handed my girlfriend a pair of dull kitchen scissors and told her I wanted to look like Krysten Ritter. I didn’t.
The second time around, I opted for a professional as the enabler of my poor decisions and wound up spending two hours in a rather uncomfortable salon chair on a rainy Friday night. I ditched my natural blonde, once-dyed pink, then-dyed brown hair for a short black bob, bangs and all. I resembled a shorter, overweight, less attractive version of the Jessica Jones star. I thanked the hair stylist but immediately regretted my $200 spontaneity once I got to my car. About three months and three hundred lost bobby pins later, I vowed to remain sans-fringe for the rest of my life. To this day, I have kept my promise.
Like I said, changing my appearance has become an unhealthy coping mechanism of mine and although I now allow my hair to do as it wishes, there’s something about getting a needle shoved through parts of my face that I find therapeutic. One day I was doing laundry and as I rotated my clothes to the dryer, I decided to get my eyebrow pierced. I had never wanted an eyebrow piercing and how my brain comes up with these ideas I will never know. It lasted maybe two months. Luckily, my anti-body modification parents still don’t know about it.
A year later, about four and a half weeks ago, it happened again. This time, a lip piercing. I had also never wanted a lip piercing but I suppose the lack of serotonin flowing through my bipolar brain craved endorphins and reckless choices. My best friend and I walked into the same piercing shop as I had gone to prior and within ten minutes I had a bar of surgical steel thrust through my chapped bottom lip.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t cure my depression. It only made it difficult to eat sandwiches and I now have a growing stash of straws.
i have 27 new texts
because i made 18 new friends last night
made plans with them all
told them i'd take them out to brunch
can't remember their names
was too drunk off the vodka i stole
switched my major three times
spent $65 on art supplies
figured i'd be the next van gogh
first, teach myself how to paint
i pick up new hobbies.
learning the guitar
maxing out my credit cards
don't have time for it to get declined
because i have to shop online
- expensive shoes
- the camera i've always dreamt of
- 15 new shirts that might not fit
- jewelry that i won't wear
- some jeans since i need a new pair
paranoia that management will know
i'm not okay
coming into the leasing office to get packages
twice a day
hey man, you okay?
i mean i haven't slept in five fucking days...
it's 4 am
i'm wide awake
baked myself a three-layer cake
i'm scrubbing the floors
and painting my walls
tried to call my parents for fun
stopped myself so they don't call 911
my roommate thanks me in the morning
for cleaning the kitchen
vacuumming the apartment
doing all the things i couldn't do when i was too
i offer her a piece of my cake.
lovely how things turn out for me
spend six months in depression
suddenly i'm out
a little vacation away from hell
you are treating me well
all fun and games
the manic brain
neurotransmitters gone haywire
yet only lasts so long
four days or four weeks
and it backfires
because eventually you
you're doing something and in the / middle /
you feel nothing
start to crawl
back into the black hole you already know
guess it's that time of year again
rendezvous with depression
my good old friend
the dark side is always the worst of all
but the upsides of my up side
are worth the fall.
Translation of title: “It’s always the same thing”
My very first blog post involved a mini reflection of 2018. I figured, now it being a new year, I would continue the trend with a rundown of my first two weeks.
Unlike the majority, I did not wake up on January 1st, 2019 with a pounding hangover headache after a night of irresponsible drinking. I welcomed the new year sitting at my desk, playing video games with people I will likely never meet in person and whom I only know by voice and Fortnite skill, and half a lukewarm Modelo.
It was alright.
A few days ago, I was late to physics lab— yes, the semester has started and no, I am not happy about it— thanks to a line of cop cars at each corner of every street in town. I learned, during lab, that a police officer had been shot as she was attending to a multi-vehicle accident. The suspect was still on the loose and a manhunt ensued.
Our small college town of a mere 70k, where bicycle theft is the most common crime, panicked. My new classmates and I walked each other to our cars after receiving another half-hourly update via text.
Suspect still not found. Man in his 20s. Wearing black jeans. Black combat boots. Avoid downtown by all means.
My usual commute home involves 1st and E, or 5th and F, both located in the heart of town. On this night, at the corner of 5th was a cop car parked up on the sidewalk, the officer outside, standing stiff, in a bulletproof vest, AR-15 slung around his neck. Is this America now? I thought to myself, chills creeping down my spine as I drove past the scene.
They found the suspect around 1 AM.
Gunshot, self-inflicted, to the head.
Inside his home, only a couple blocks down from my own.
Land of the free, home of the brave.
As I mentioned, the semester has started. A week ago exactly. After slacking off and eventually withdrawing two days before the last day of fall semester— technically meaning I dropped out of college, something I can now say I have done— getting back into the groove of school has proven more difficult than expected. Every semester, like every new year, starts out the same. New year, new me; new semester, new me. But they both carry on identically, with a continuing desire yet failed attempt to lose weight and old academic habits.
The first week starts out like so: I skip my first class and convince myself it’s okay because it’s syllabus day. Then I skip the next. And the next. Eventually, I do go. I’m a new face and I hide in the back of the room, slumped in a sweatshirt with a mysterious stain, hoping that the professor does not notice me and realize I’ve already skipped three of four lectures. Oops.
I make an effort to develop better habits and make up for the missed classes. This involves a trip to Target, which the other thirty-four thousand students have already done, a similar idea in mind. There are only a couple of notebooks left, wide-ruled, covered with cute puppies or glitter, designed for elementary school kids. The section with agendas and planners is empty. I opt for the nicest supplies I can find, one notebook for each class, and grab some fancy looking gel pens off the rack last-minute at check-out. Maybe this multicolored pack of Pilot G-2s will get me better grades.
The second week is what I call catch-up week. I copy lecture notes in my fresh notebooks with my fresh pens, making sure every ‘o’ is rounded perfectly and every ‘i’ is dotted eloquently. I only make it to the seventh line before my OCD kicks in and I rip out the page. The dashes weren’t lined up correctly and my ‘l’ looked lopsided.
I try again.
I rip out another.
The notebook shrinks, its bindings weakening at each frantic tear of a page.
I struggle getting through even half a notebook throughout the semester and eventually decide the anxiety of perfect penmanship makes it not worth going to class. My attendance grade plummets and I flood professors’ inboxes with a whole bunch of “I was sick and don’t want my absences to affect my grade” bullshit.
Procrastination, another habit I will most likely never break, and my lack of interest in school kicks in fast. I spend more time on the internet, playing video games, sleeping in past acceptable hours, and ignoring my responsibilities and deadlines.
Finals week comes around and I’m barely scraping a 2.0, praying that everyone has failed the physical chemistry exams (I did) and so a 50% overall is a pass. Luckily, it usually is.
A week-long break later, the following semester begins, once again, with hopes of A’s. It ends, once again, with unused notebooks half the original size. It’s always the same thing.
I turned twenty-two and a half over the weekend. I’m not sure how that’s relevant but I thought I’d share.
I also still drink pumpkin spice lattes. One sits next to me now. I fear the day the barista tells me they are officially out of season.
i wake up at 3:27 pm
and down my meds with diet coke
10mg for when i feel numb
25mg once a day for anxiety
300mg tastes bitter and makes me gag
quit romanticizing my suffering
depression is not cute
i am not quirky for not having showered in two weeks
for having showered my floors with empty pizza boxes.
because i haven't
left my bed in days
stains on my sheets
the color of cheeto crumbs
traces of mascara adorning my pillowcases
my thoughts scrambled like eggs
i trace my fingers along my pale
bruised like peaches.
sunday april 16
i’m just having intrusive thoughts again i can’t get out of my head it hurts so bad i just play all these made-up situations in my head and think that they’re actually going to happen i just worry so much about everything and it gives me such bad anxiety i’m scared of being alone i’m scared
i just have this aching pain in my stomach and it’s like this giant empty pit that never gets better
sometimes i just want to chug a glass of wine or down some shots of vodka i feel like i smoke weed now because i just have nothing else to do and it makes me not feel like myself at least for a little while
i just spiral out of control in my head because i feel as though i have no control
monday april 17
we went to a bar/nightcub last night […] and it was really fun but also like i was trying not to be anxious because settings like that freak me out
tuesday april 18
i got 4 and a half hours of sleep two nights ago and last night i slept like 10 hours so i’m really not doing anything good for my mental health
i’m honestly planning on getting so fucking drunk i’ll even take shots of vodka and maybe just black out and throw up and just try to forget about my anxiety for once
also i hate my tits.
wednesday april 19
why are you creating these mental images of things that will never happen
friday april 21
i got really high
thursday april 27
i fucking took shots of TEQUILA it was so gross and i drank a fuck ton of beer i ended up actually barfing at the end of the night we went to a party too but it turned out that it had already ended and then we went to another party
tuesday may 9
i think i need to start
- waking up early
- going to the gym
- eating healthy
- cooking meals
- cutting down a lil on smoking
- staying away from drinking
I WANT TO BE SKINNY
friday august 2
i don’t know if i […] anymore. it hurts.
I woke up this morning in the worst possible way: roused from a deep sleep, mid-dream, by a knock at my front door. Mind you, I dread waking up by any means, but I despise it especially after a night of more-than-mediocre slumber, something I don’t experience often. But the knocks continue, and my anxiety consequently kicks in, my heart pounding like the visitor’s knuckles against the wooden entry, as I consider all the possibilities of who’s producing the dreaded noise I cannot ignore.
My first assumption is always the police, belly full of donuts, with a warrant for my arrest. Maybe they found leaked video footage of freshman me stealing Four Loko from the local gas station mart four years ago, or my now-of-age self buying vodka for minors at the liquor store down the street. I remind myself, in hopes of calming myself down, that it may just be the usual Jehovah’s witnesses, the postman, or someone who simply meant to go to apartment 28 two doors down but instead wound up at mine.
I answer the door, albeit reluctantly. It’s my unofficial roommate, a couch-surfer who relies on my futon for sleep and my one-bedroom apartment for shelter, who stumbles in. It’s the first day of her post-undergrad job and she’s late, also drunk. I can smell the scent of built-up acetaldehyde, the devil behind hangovers, from each breath.
“I went to Brendyn’s apartment last night to go get the shit I had left but then his roommates were there and they just quit their jobs, so I decided to join in on the celebration.” I chuckle at the irony. “I also did some cocaine. But only two lines”, she reassures me. I hear the sound of the toilet seat opening, followed by a loud post-vomit FUUUUUUCK.
Thirty minutes later, nearly fifteen minutes late to her first day, she’s gone and I decide to get out of bed. I down my meds with yesterday’s leftover pumpkin spice latte and am out the door, ready to get more of both.
I sit awkwardly on the dainty couch in my psychiatrist’s office, my body weight shifting every few seconds due to nerves and excessive caffeine. We talk for a while and she asks how I am, even though she already knows the answer. I tell her I’m unwell. I tell her that I sometimes don’t leave the house for days, my hypersomnia prevents me from receiving adequate nutrition, and I’ve officially stopped going to class and turning in assignments. I’ve even missed a midterm. With little to no hesitation, she advises me to drop out of the semester, despite finals being next week. I’ve already done so, not formally with the university registrar, but mentally. I have not yet mustered the courage to go to the dean’s office, a room located at the very bottom of a cold cinderblock building (quite fitting, I would say). Confronting someone of higher authority, like the police officers I thought were behind my door one hour prior, frightens me. And so I’ve put it off.
In the meantime, Dr. M decides to increase my dose of lamotrigine, an anticonvulsant prescribed for epilepsy that doubles as a mood stabilizer. This marks the first time I’ve increased my dosage in nearly two years. The addition of fifty milligrams to my already whopping three hundred feels like a slap in the face. It’s hard to accept that I’m sick again.
I smile, however, at the Klonopin refill form I grasp firmly in my hands like treasure. Controlled substances are federally regulated and attempting to obtain a prescription nowadays often raises an eyebrow. Benzodiazepines, in particular, are notoriously susceptible to abuse and/or addiction. As a result, I tense up when I ask my psychiatrist for more, both of us secretly fearing that I may succumb to its perilous consequences.
As I wait for my medication— the pink circles that make me slur my words and the pink ovals that attempt to keep me sane— I glance around the pharmacy and people-watch discreetly. All of us are here because we are sick in some way or another, contagious or not. The fear of the unknown results in personal space as common courtesy. The three other people waiting and I obey this unspoken rule, each of us sitting on opposite sides of the room.
The pharmacist is taking longer than usual to call me over, so I find ways to keep myself preoccupied. I make an origami crane out of the the take-a-number tag I was given. I assign medical conditions and prescriptions to each of us in here. The girl in front of me twiddles her thumbs, her head down, making sure to not make eye contact. I armchair diagnose her with panic disorder. She looks like she could be a Lexapro girl, perhaps with a side of Xanax. The other girl, a few seats away, is glued to her phone. I see her Instagram feed scroll as her freshly manicured index finger swipes down the cracked screen. I can’t figure out what she’s waiting for, she looks so normal. Vitamins? Birth control? I give up. The last person, a young boy in a hoodie and sweats, coughs into his elbow and then clears his throat. Penicillin for strep, the mononucleosis of college. I’ve been down that road.
My number, 56, is eventually called. The pharmacy technician, an older lady with strawberry blonde hair who’s always cheerful, throws three orange bottles into a brown bag. I verify my name and then birthday, and I can’t help but think that she most likely has them memorized since I see her so frequently and only asks due to policy. I’m reminded of the Domino’s pizza delivery guy and the Starbucks barista, and I add cheerful pharm tech to my list.
Walking back to my car with my baggie full of pharmaceuticals, I sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that played in the waiting room.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows
I then drive home, pop half a fresh-out-of-the-pharmacy Klonopin, and go back to sleep.