What A Great Weekend

This weekend was really great.

I’m going to say I went on a little “Lithium Holiday” so I went about a week without it and my anxious, irritability and stress levels were very high as the week was ending and even throughout the weekend.

My dad, as much as I love him, I have this relationship with him where I feel his anxiety and his stress so at times, it became too much. But regardless, I had an amazing weekend.

Saturday morning we left Boston at 6am for Cape Cod so I could swim in the ocean. Something, I’m doing for a competition in July and something I don’t really enjoy doing. I prefer pools, they have walls, lines on the bottom, a system of how people move throughout the lane. Open water is a completely different game.

But, we met this amazing group of people who come out every weekend and swim together about 2 miles on Saturday and Sunday and then have breakfast at a nearby market. They invited me into their group and my dad and I ended up going to the Cape again on Sunday.

Today, during my swim, for the first time in years, I felt so strong. I felt like I connected with my body again. I wasn’t swimming to wish calories or what I ate last night away. I was swimming with the power and strength that I had built these last few weeks and months. I haven’t felt proud of what I could physically do in a long time. After stress fractures, struggles with competing while hungover, etc. I didn’t remember how it felt.

I’m on this high. I want to go back to the Cape every weekend (luckily, I got an open invite to stay and swim with them whenever I am able to!) and I’m ready to commit myself back to this sport. It gave me so much joy in so many different ways that I see it again and I want it back in my life.

After the Cape open water swim, my dad and I went to this Boston Oyster “farm-to-table” learn to shuck an oyster where I met more swimmers! It was so crazy. It was like the most serendipitous moment.

I’m at this point where I feel like my friends aren’t supporting me, my health, my goals, my overall well-being and I feel like right now, there’s this sign from the universe that I have these new people who can bring better into my life and I can also bring better into my life.

I had all these annoying mood symptoms throughout the weekend but I faked it til I made it and, I am happy.

And Happy Father’s day to all the dads out there!!! What would we be without you!

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Pride Month

I’m a big SoulCycle girl and it’s pride month so naturally I attend “Pride Rides”. Rides that are taught usually by LGBTQ instructors, tonights was two girls who are dating and it was adorable, and they play music about being free, being yourself, embracing others, etc. I always text my dad after and tell him how great the rides were because they are. Pride Rides are my favorite.

Pride is a touchy subject because I have a transgender brother. My brother, who was my sister when I was born, and I were never really close. We were very different. We liked different things, we had different personalities, we reacted differently, we gravitated towards different parents. It was like we weren’t even blood related. I was ultimately raised as an only child with my parents divorce.

And then my sister became my brother when I was 20 years old and it was tough. No one really told me what was happening with his transition. I wasn’t a part of it. My brother was living in Vermont finishing college and I was in school at Michigan. I went into college with a sister around all of my friends with families of 4 or 5, who voted Republican and went to church every Sunday. They openly did not believe in gay rights. I lived in a broken home, essentially, with a sister who I didn’t speak to and she was becoming who she always should’ve been, my brother. When it came to family, I was the black sheep amongst my friend group.

I 100% support trans rights. I read this book, one of my final classes, sociology of deviance, and it was called “The Last Time I Wore I Dress”. It was about a female who was emotionally tortured about her transition. I was in the middle of my first bipolar episode but, I bawled my eyes out the entire time I read that book. I may have read it more than once and I even gave it to my brother. I emailed my professor after the class was over and told her how I had a transgendered sibling and how much her class helped me.

I didn’t, and still haven’t told many people about my brother transitioning because in my friend group, they feel so close minded. Especially when I was dealing with my undiagnosed bipolar that I couldn’t make myself even more vulnerable.

But today, my brother and I are still nearly estranged. We send each other Christmas presents, birthday presents, the occasional annual text. But we don’t have a relationship. I don’t know if he has a job. I don’t know if he still lives with my mother. I don’t know if his cat is alive. I don’t know what he does with his time.

But for some reason, when I go into SoulCycle and I go into a Pride Ride, I feel closer to him. I sent him a picture of the studio today with the rainbow SoulCycle letters and the balloons that say “All Souls Welcome” and I said, “SoulCycle has Pride Rides and I’ve been to every single one because they’re my favorite.” At this point, I don’t know what to say. So much time has gone by that we haven’t connected and I don’t even know how to start.

But I support him and I hope he knows that.

 

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Yesterday was Hard

Yesterday was hard.

I swam 6000 meters, something I haven’t done in a long time.

I biked to get my blood drawn for my lithium levels, something I dread.

I tried to organize my overwhelmingly large closet of an apartment. It brings back old memories of my anorexia when I see XXS and 00 I can no longer fit into.

I was watching other people’s lives on social media. People who were celebrating National rose day. Almost every single post had alcohol in it.

I was tired. I was hungry and I was anxious. It was hard. I felt like drinking. Actually, all I wanted to do was drink.

I didn’t. I decided I would go shopping and instead of buying alcohol, maybe I’d buy clothes that make me feel good about my body instead of spending that money on booze.

I had dinner with a friend who encourages my sobriety and we had club sodas and iced teas, talking about little things and big things.

I walked home from dinner secretly hoping someone would invite me to go out and I would say yes and commit to not drinking. But given my state, thank you God, no one did. I would’ve ended up drinking.

I went home and went to bed.

I’m so happy I didn’t drink. I’m so happy I stuck to it. It may have resulted in me drinking la croix out of a Starbucks cup around the city. It resulted in me buying more black shirts and the same shades of eyeshadow I already have.

But I didn’t undo the hard work I put in the pool yesterday. I nourished my body with healthy food and not toxic liquids. I slept and it was good sleep. I woke up and I felt ready for today. I didn’t wake up with anxiety, shame, regret.

Yesterday was so hard. But I’m so proud of myself. I did it. I’ll do it again.

The Double Edged Sword of Friendship

I had a tough month of May. I did a lot of drinking, spending, destroying myself, the whole 9 yards.

The previous month of April, I had spent most of it sober, mindful and productive.

It all broke the second weekend in May, when my friends (who know and knew that I was trying to stay sober) pressured me into drinking. I was getting so irritated that they were so pushy about drinking. We went out to dinner and they were like, “just have one” or “you know you’re going to drink”. And next thing I knew, I was 2 bottles of rosé deep, in an uber, lying to my father and going to a club. It didn’t stop there, that was just the beginning. I spent more days going out than staying in during the month of May. I drank 15 days out of 31 days to be exact. And I only broke my dry streak about 10 days in. It makes me cringe to think about.

This past weekend, my dad told my friend he was worried about me and my drinking, specifically. The irony is that this friend is the one who I drink with the most, spend the most time with and she is the worst influence on me. She is one of my best friends, though.

She doesn’t know about my bipolar. She doesn’t know about my eating disorder. She doesn’t know about my alcohol problems. She just thinks I’m an “extreme person”. I can’t tell her the truth because I know her well enough to know she will not understand and she will judge me. It will change our friendship.

It is true, I am an extreme person. But it’s to a destructive point. It’s to a point where I am harming myself long term. I am smarter than this.

I don’t know how to draw the line. It’s hard to end being best friends with people who are bad influences. I’m trying to create distance and boundaries. But, I think at the end of the day, if people don’t understand and they can’t support you, you can’t have them in your life. I want to follow this, so badly.

This is my life. I will live through the consequences. I will deal with my mental health issues. I will be the one who struggles and who loses. My friends who pressure me, they won’t be the ones who struggle with the things I have to.

A friend who encourages my healthy life told me, after I told him how upset I was that my friends were pressuring me into drinking that my friends want me to drink because it’s fun for them to see me drunk, I put on a show and it’s entertaining. Ultimately, I harm myself, my health, my well-being, my relationships and so much more just to give a few hazy moments of entertaining we’ll all forget.

Another friend told me how worried she was when she saw on my social media how much I was drinking. It’s coincidental because I did think about her every time I posted. I felt guilt because I know if she was with me, she’d slap that glass onto the ground and let it shatter.

I’m still learning. I’m always learning. I listened to a podcast today and it said how getting older is great because you grow this collaborative group of friends. For me, it seems to fluctuate. I learn who is there for me and who can help me become better and who will lead the way to my self-destruction.

 

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I Was Not Ready Yet

I wasn’t ready to stop drinking for 15 days during the month of May.

I wasn’t ready to put down the 3rd, 4th, 5th glass of wine.

I wasn’t ready to say no when the waitress asked if I wanted another.

I wasn’t ready to accept how alcohol was affecting me physically.

I wasn’t ready to stop letting alcohol make me feel like I was in the honeymoon of mania.

I wasn’t ready to feel left out from the sort of romantic drinking in warm weathered evenings.

But now I am.

I do this all the time. It makes me feel like a fraud and a hypocrite. I drink a lot, go on benders for days, weeks, months and then I stop. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a mind game I play with myself. I talk myself into it. I talk myself out of it.

I woke up this morning and I’m ready. I’m ready to end my relationship with wine. I’m ready to end my fake walks back to my apartment after a boozy dinner to actually go to the liquor store and buy more wine. I’m ready to stop waking up to hangover anxiety, deleting texts on my phone, calling my parents drunk, having social regrets.

I’m ready to live my life and be present. I fell down 7 times, but I’m getting up an 8th. Cheers to many la croixs to be had.

The Right Road

At work, bored, I took a bunch of personality quizzes online. One of the quizzes was about gratitude. I don’t really think of myself as a person who (sadly) is very appreciate of who I have in my life, what I have in my life and where I am in my life. But, I ranked very high on the quiz and it made me think.
There are so many things I wish I could change. The size of my apartment. The length it took me to graduate college. The hours of sleep I get each night. How many glasses of wine I can control myself to drink or not drink. The distance from my apartment to my office and the directions of the bike lanes during my route.
I wish I could change the size of my swimmers shoulders and runners thighs. I wish I could change the foods I crave. I wish the salads I love weren’t so expensive. I wish my parents lived closer to me and sometimes, I wish I had a roommate to keep me company. I wish I could change how long winter lasts in Boston and the texture of my hair. But, regardless of all these silly things, I am so grateful.
I’m grateful because I’m alive. And I am grateful for every single person, moment, thing, struggle, success, disappointment, paycheck, night out, personal day off of work, the list is endless.
I look back on the past 3 years and it has been a lot. I struggled and went through periods of insanity, isolation, starvation, depression, paranoia, mania, anxiety, stress, delusion and so much more. But I’m alive, here, and I’m so lucky.
I look back on the past few years as I come up to my 25th birthday and think of all that could have gone wrong. There are so many different scenarios that could have led me to not being here, writing this post.
But I’m beyond lucky, blessed and humbled. I have a great family. I have great health care providers. I have the best friends. I have a body that came back to life after I tried to stop it from functioning. I have a bank account that allows me to eat food, commute to work, exercise, feed my cats, put clothes on my back and pay my rent.
I’m also so lucky because I have luxuries like seeing my dad at least once a month, living so close to not only my best friends but having access to the arguably the best healthcare in the country. I’m lucky for having a job that gives me an income and isn’t too stressful for my bipolar. I’m lucky that my body is able to exercise and reap the physical, emotional and mental benefits. I’m lucky that I have two little kitties who give me unconditional love even when I leave them home alone mostly every day.
And when I think about all the things I wish I could change, I wish I could change that because I’ve been given a wonderful deck of cards despite the tough ones. I’ve been diagnosed with a handful of DSM diagnoses. I pick up more than a handful of prescriptions each month. But it’s not completely about the hardships.
I have all of these amazing people, places, things around me. It’s that I’m lucky and beyond fortunate I can keep going because of that. I can keep showing up. I keep trying and sometimes, I fail. But I can forgive myself and just be grateful because at the end of the day, my journey could have gone on a different path. I’m right where I need to be.

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