searching for euphoria

It's funny how things can creep up on you.

I haven't been leaving the house much these days. I have a whole arsenal of excuses I could throw at you. It's really cold outside. I'm tired. I'll do it tomorrow. It's so easy for me to drift down this path, like burrowing into a warm dark place and falling asleep.

Therapy this week was particularly difficult.

Molly wanted to know what my depression looks like lately. Instead I told her all of the million ways in which I don't actually look at it. I told her about how I've been sleeping a lot lately. 4-5 hour naps during the day. 8-10 hours of sleep at night. How I watch meaningless tv, or play meaningless games on my phone.

And I didn't even realize it until she said it.

"That's you making yourself feel numb. What does it feel like when you aren't distracting yourself?"

I've lost the past few months to numbness. Because when I'm not numb, I think about suicide.


We were trying to create a visual of my brain.


I've spent a large percentage of my time in therapy poorly trying to explain why I hate it when therapists talk about my "eating disorder voice." Like it's this other person in my head, separate from me. 

As I stumbled my way through my argument, we landed on something that felt like truth.

Childhood development is so important. It's not a very long span of time, compared to an average lifetime. But it's so crucial to the rest of your life. And while I was learning basic things like, I am a human being, my mother was also teaching me, I am worthless. I learned about food as something dangerous. I learned about my body as something ugly and shameful.

I've barely scratched the surface of working through this, but I know one thing. My depression, my eating disorder, they are branded into my skin. I know how to count, I know what sound a cat makes, and I know that I am a fat, worthless piece of shit.


I'd moved past blaming my mother. I honestly believe I had.

But today, today I'm just angry.

It's not all her fault. Some of it is just simple brain chemistry. But some of it is. And I am stuck in a loop of familiar, painful memories. I've seen them a million times, but today they feel new. And I can't understand. I can't. 

Why would you do this? Why would you say such horrible things to your child?


I've been living my life searching for euphoria. 

At the core of my being, I don't believe I deserve to live. So why am I still here?

There are moments, like flickers of flame, that give me doubt. They are a rush of happiness. They make me think, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm not worthless. The mister. My artwork. People who love me. My little zoo of animals. Kind words spoken by genuine people.

But there's one flame that burns the brightest. 

Anorexia is a double edged sword. At once euphoric and deadly. Nothing can match it. Lower numbers on the scale, smaller sizes, protruding bones. Control. Control. Control. 

It's ironic that only when I'm physically dying do I feel like I deserve to go on living.


to say: I know

This summer the Mr. and I packed up our tiny first house and moved into my dream home.

It is not what most people consider a dream home, but it is mine.

The house is 108 years old. The wooden floors creak under my feet. Cold drafts always seem to find my toes. Compared to our first house, this one is a mansion. An old, old mansion that has been almost untouched by time. The Mr. doesn't like to talk about ghosts, but I feel comforted by the possibility of their presence. They haunt this house as I haunt myself.


Molly makes me laugh now.

It took two years to tear down that wall I erected between us, but now only a few pieces remain like jagged teeth. I still can't cry in front of her, so she cries for me. She is a breath when I cannot breathe. She is a warrior when I cannot fight. 

I never thought it possible to consider a therapist as a friend.


I stopped weighing myself every day. I don't know when. It crept up on me, slowly slipping away when my back was turned. I seem like a normal human being when I eat, and sometimes I even fool myself. 

Fragile. I am walking on glass. I am ok, but I'm not foolish enough to believe I am safe from myself. It would be so easy to fall.


"Let's make a baby." I whispered to the Mr. one dark night. 

I was confident then, in that precious tiny moment. In the many days since, I have fallen apart over and over again. What was I thinking? I can't. I shouldn't. I won't. I wish...

The Mr. of course went straight to work devising a plan. "We could start trying this coming spring." He finally says as we walk through the park. He is smiling, looking at me, waiting for me to be excited.

I try to smile, but I want to be sick. What was I thinking? I can't. I shouldn't. I won't. I wish...


I am afraid that my life is looking perfect these days, and it nags at me like a sharp stick in my side. I am not that person. I am not put together. Did I create her again? That perfect shell who smiles in pictures and tries to make people laugh? Did I bring her back? Am I selfish? Or am I hiding? 

I don't know. 

I see people hurting and I want to grab their hand. I want to say, I know. I want to say, you are not alone. But here I am full circle once again. Would they believe me? Or would they shrug me off as just another person who repeats "I understand" because they don't know what else to say?

I don't know.

So C and M, if you are here, this is me trying to say, I know. Not everything, of course. But I know parts of your struggle far too well. I won't lie, things are ugly here, but they're honest. I'd like to say I barely recognize the girl who started this blog, but I still see her from time to time. I am not perfect.

But I am living.



I miss writing here. I miss all of you lovely people. I'm tired of being afraid because it feels like all of my meaningful words have evaporated. I'm tired of being afraid that all I have left is superficial and shallow.

I lost my job at the end of April, and it felt like a deep, cleansing breath of fresh air.

It wasn't because of me, which was surprising. Every day was a struggle with my boss. She "understood," but she did not hesitate to tell me exactly how much money I was costing her by going to therapy every week. She was "sympathetic," but she openly mocked people who were even slightly overweight and made a big show of her diet and weight loss.

I was laid off due to financial reasons and she cried when she told me. She choked out the words between sobs and I felt guilty because I couldn't cry. I wasn't sad. Not even a little bit. I was elated.

Now I work from home as a freelance graphic designer. I can sit at my desk with a cat in my lap and a dog at my feet. I drink my own coffee and don't wear a bra. In the afternoon I can nap on the couch. It is the best thing I have ever done.

This is the part where it would be easy to say, "and they all lived happily ever after."

But in real life, the chapters keep going.

I get to work with people I want to work with. I get to create things I want to create. But I still lay awake at night paralyzed with anxiety about the phone call I will have to make tomorrow. I still waste an entire day crippled with anxiety about a project instead of working on it. But I am still here. My chapters keep on going.

I've said before that I don't believe you can be healed from depression. You can't recover from anxiety. I still believe that. But there's a third option that I couldn't see until now.

I am living with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder.

I couldn't see that option because it seemed as implausible as reaching up and curling my fingers around the moon. Somedays it still seems impossible, but I can see it now. And I want all of you to know that it exists.

So this is my new chapter on this blog. It's titled living.


eleven o'clock on a wednesday

I am sitting in Molly's office again, but everything is different. Her new office is in a wealthy suburb that takes me half an hour to reach. The lobby of the building sparkles with marble floors and carefully placed black leather chairs. Once I came in to find a woman setting up an enormous golden harp.

She left the recovery center. I found out. I made an appointment.

It's both comforting and strange.


I'd heard the ads on the radio, the tv, and all over the internet. "Side effects may include suicidal thoughts or actions..." I'd heard them so much, I became immune. Then my meds changed and so did I. It was as though some outside force had possessed my mind. My thoughts are often toxic, but they are mine. They belong to me. This was different. These were not mine. I hope you never experience what it's like to have thoughts that don't belong to you like some sort of deadly alien virus.

I'd told myself to die a million times, but I'd never told myself to die when I didn't want to.


I hate roller coasters. 

I always say no, but every once and a while I find myself clutching the metal seat restraint as we go up and up and up and up. Everyone around me is shrieking in excitement and fear. I am white-knuckled, silent, waiting for the drop. And when it comes I don't scream and wave my arms in the air. I squeeze my eyes shut and wait for the ride to stop.

The drop isn't the worst part. The worst part is going up.

When things are good, I go up. I feel like I can do this thing called life. I make appointments. I finish chores. I shower and do my makeup and hair. I make plans and I then I follow through. And it's elating, feeling like maybe everything is going to be alright, maybe I'm going to be alright. But there's always a knot at the bottom of my stomach because I don't know when I will drop. 

And then I do. And it feels like an old cartoon where I'm carrying an anvil above my head, thinking it's something else. I was holding it up just fine until I looked at it. Then it crushed me. In the cartoon a laugh track would play, and I'd comically run around all squished for a while. In real life, I'm just stuck there, under that anvil. And it's crushing and awful, but worse is knowing that I was stupid enough to run around arrogantly carrying it in the first place.


Writing is so hard these days and I don't know why.


say you'll remember me

My sentences are trailing off, skipping down rabbit holes. I am trying to write something because I want to write more, but I keep losing my thoughts.

My thumb burns from holding the lighter wrong. Typical.

"Do you ever think about that girl who was obsessed with Hitler?" I text Bill.

Move. I tell my fingers.

What am I trying to say?

I am sad.

God, I just realized this is sounding like a suicide note.

It's not.

[Spoiler Alert]

But I am sad.

Heavy, sadness. I can't drop it because I haven't decided if the end justifies the means. I am tired of pills. I am tired of this routine.

Hopeless is the word I used in therapy.

But hopeless isn't enough. Despair draws closer, but maybe this is one of those things where there's a word for it in French or Italian that just doesn't translate.

I am sad. I am tired. I think about killing myself every single day.

Every day.

Many, many times.

Call this number. They say. Go here. But I can't. I can't every day. Every few hours. Life doesn't pause for your mental breakdown. These thoughts, they're like the boy who cried wolf. Even I am not sure when they are bluffing.

I broke the mental cord that tied cutting to death. A silver lining that can't quite hide the marks on my leg. It should scare me, how much I understand it, but it doesn't.

I am an addict. I am addicted to darkness.

Juvenile, I scoff at my fingers. Addicted to darkness? Is that a heavy metal band? Are you writing dramatic poetry? How old are you? 

I am too old. I told them that, the first time I sat in the psychiatric emergency room. I'm too old for this shit.


There is a baked potato sitting on a pan on top of my stove. It stares me down as I move through the kitchen, icing my throbbing thumb. It's cold now, its skin wrinkled and shrunken, my dinner. I pretend it isn't there. 

I just can't. I can't eat it.


danger night, alternately titled "a lot of Sherlock gifs"

The flu. I hate it.

Since I didn't move off the couch for about two days, I watched a lot of Sherlock.

[If you have never watched Sherlock, go watch it. This post will contain spoilers, and I refuse to apologize for that because you should have watched Sherlock at least a dozen times by now]

A Scandal in Belgravia is my favorite episode. But as I was watching it, I caught something I'd missed before. 

When the Holmes brothers are standing in the morgue after Sherlock identifies Irene Adler's dead body, Mycroft offers Sherlock a cigarette. Sherlock accepts. After Sherlock leaves, Mycroft calls John Watson who is back at their flat.

Mycroft: He's on his way. Have you found anything?
Watson: No. Did he take the cigarette?
Mycroft: Yes.
Watson: Shit. [to Mrs. Hudson] He's coming. Ten minutes.
Mrs. Hudson: There's nothing in the bedroom.
Watson: Looks like he's clean. We've tried all the usual places. Are you sure tonight's a danger night?
Mycroft: No. But then I never am. You have to stay with him, John.

I rewound. 

Danger night?

I had to pause the show so I could do some research. Did I really hear that? I read through several fan theories and that's when I found this:

"Sherlock’s exit gives Mycroft a chance to call John. Everyone’s panicking: the offered cigarette was a test, and that Sherlock (an ex-smoker and clean drug addict) took it indicates his fragile state. John and Mrs. Hudson have both been searching the flat for anything that might help him be unsafe. John asks Mycroft if he’s sure tonight’s a “danger night,” and instantly the gaps between series, between episodes, are filled in. Sherlock has periods where he tries to harm himself; perhaps he succeeds. So John isn’t just his friend—sometimes he’s also a carer."

I re-watched the scene, and it stabbed me through the heart. It wasn't just something familiar or recognizable. I've lived and breathed and walked through this scene. I have the steps and lines memorized, but it still hurts to watch.

John's face when Mycroft says "danger night." He doesn't have to ask. He already knows. They've had this conversation before. 

John waiting for Sherlock to come home, pretending to read. Pretending he's not worried.

This look. This look on Sherlock's face when he walks in and immediately knows that John and Mrs. Hudson have searched the apartment. The moment when he knows that they know he would probably try to harm himself. That they have already acted to prevent that from happening. 

In that knowing, there is so much shame. Disgust. Humiliation. You were certain that this was the bottom, this pain, this heartache, this despair. Then, an act of kindness. A demonstration of love. And all you feel is anger. You're just angry. You hate them for hiding anything sharp. For tossing the pills. For searching through your things, trying to find whatever you are trying to hide. And you suddenly realize that you still have so much further to fall. 

His snippy line about his socks. Because it's easier to focus on the fact that someone invaded your privacy and went through your personal belongings. Don't think about how weak and pathetic you must be to require a caretaker. Don't think about how fucked up you must be to lose the simple right to have privacy.

And John. Poor John who just looks so tired and worried. Because in real life there is nothing funny, nothing easy about loving someone with a mental illness. 

The looks, the conversations that happen around you. The worry that hovers at the ceiling like a heavy, heavy cloud. The questions spoken and unspoken. 

Of which, you are always painfully aware. 

I feel as though I will forever be caught in this endless circle of being honest until I can't take the worry, then lying about being better, then falling to pieces under the pressure of acting like I've got my shit together, then being honest, then lying, then falling to pieces...

It goes on and on and on, and I honestly don't know if there is a way to make it stop.


It is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S. An arguably questionable historical holiday, but a day of thanks nonetheless. 

And I am thankful. For so many things. 

Such as my beautiful Christmas tree:

And, of course, for all of you.