J is for Jealousy

j abcalphabet-letter-jWarning!!! This post may be triggering for those with eating disorders and/or a mood disorder.

It’s finally happened. Guilt over not posting has won out over anxiety about writing about a particular subject. You see, I promised myself when I started this blog that I would write about whatever was going on with me at whatever time it happens, no flinching, no hiding. Sorry about the silence on the blog. Here goes, a post about jealousy…

I’ve been feeling really jealous lately and it’s been bothering me. Most of the time I’m okay with whatever pangs of jealousy come up because they’re really normal kinds of jealousy. What I mean by that is that most of the time I’m jealous of really normal, understandable, transitory things. When I feel a stab of jealousy over someone’s job, it’s perfectly understandable since I’m unemployed and desperate for a job. The same goes for when I get jealous over people with money, looks, children, and so forth. These are all things that I want in the future or things I know I’ll never be able to have. I can understand and forgive myself for them. I acknowledge that pang and move on.

However, recently I’ve found myself jealous over things that are kinda…well, icky. And it makes me think there’s something wrong with me (more than normal that is).

Here, in no particular order, are things I’ve been jealous over lately that I’ve got a problem with and/or can’t quite get past:

People with Bipolar Disorder. Now, I’ve got what they call Unipolar Disorder in the psych biz. That means my

Image from health.com

Image seen on health.com

moods just get really low. If you’ve got Bipolar Disorder, your moods would go from high (manic) to low (depression). As you might have guessed, this disorder used to be called Manic Depression. (If you want more info on this disorder, click here).

Why am I jealous of these people? Let me list the ways:

  1.   They get to feel good. At some point in their lives, people diagnosed with Bipolar have a manic period. Granted, that mania may be mild or extreme, but at least they get to feel something more than the horrific depression I get sometimes.
  2.   They get a lot of attention. I subscribe to the Facebook pages of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), their website is here, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, their website is here, and a website called HealthyPlace, their website is here. Sometimes it seems as if most of the posts/articles I see in Facebook are about Bipolar. Not plain old, I-only-get-really-really-down, Unipolar Depression.
  3.   A lot of celebrities have been “coming out” as Bipolar. It almost seems as if it’s the new “sexy” diagnosis. So it gets a lot of attention in the media.

The worst part of it is that I know that I’m blessed in a way to only have the boring diagnosis of Unipolar Depression. People who have Bipolar have a much harder time getting diagnosed and treated, have a much higher rate of suicide, and overall have the worst of the two diseases.

And yet, I’m jealous. It just makes me feel like I’m a selfish person because I’ve got the boring diagnosis. Ick.

People with Anorexia and/or Bulimia. You’d think the one thing I wouldn’t be jealous of would be someone withcat eating a worse eating disorder than I’ve got. For those new to my blog, I’ve got Binge Eating Disorder (for an overview of all three disorders, click here). I just eat…and eat…and eat. A lot. I don’t throw it up or over-exercise to compensate. Hence my lovely circus-lady-fat-physique.

So why am I jealous? Let me list the ways:

  1.   Just like people with Bipolar, those with anorexia and bulimia get a lot more attention than those who just binge. Think about it, how many times have you seen a movie of the week, or Lifetime movie, about someone with Binge Eating Disorder? Bet you can’t think of one. And yet, there are plenty of movies about anorexia and bulimia. Celebrities who have anorexia and/or bulimia are profiled all the time in the media. Very few celebrities even admit to binging without purging or dieting in some manner to off-set their binges. Yep, starving, throwing up, and over-exercising seem very sexy. Just eating until your stomach can’t take anymore, not so sexy.
  2.   Anorexia and, to some extent, bulimia, is very visible. And when people see them and understand what they’re doing, they (most of the time) react with some modicum of sympathy or respect. It’s pretty easy to understand that someone who is starving themselves or throwing up all the time is in need of some help. Not so much bingers. We’re often the butt (no pun intended) of jokes. We’re told that we just need to stop eating and get off the couch. Let me tell you, it is not that simple. If I could’ve done it, I would’ve done it twenty years ago.
  3.   Control. Anorexics, and to some extent, bulimics, have some modicum of control over their eating. All three
    Image seen on www.glogster.com/

    Image seen on glogster.com

    disorders are constantly thinking about food, but at least anorexics/bulimics have enough discipline to stop or compensate. I can’t seem to stop or even attempt to off-set it in the way they do. Granted, I don’t want to throw up or abuse laxatives (not that abusing laxatives actually works, more on that here) but at least bulimics are making an attempt to control their weight. And anorexics have the ultimate in control. They starve themselves. The exact opposite of how I deal with food and my emotions. Often I wish I had that control. But I don’t.

  4.   Believe it or not, there are actual websites out there that are all about helping those with anorexia and bulimia to continue their eating disorder behaviors. Often called pro-ana (ana=anorexia) and pro-mia (mia=bulimia) websites, they’re all about getting deeper and deeper into these awful diseases. Are there any pro-binge websites? Not that I’ve ever heard of.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not advocating anyone, including myself, try to become anorexic or bulimic. Both

anorexics and bulimics have a much harder time recovering than bingers. Both are much more likely to die from their diseases than a binger. They are awful, horrific, terrifying diseases.

And yet, I’m jealous of them. Ick.

How sick am I that I’m jealous of people with these diseases/disorders that are so much worse than what I’ve got? Why can’t I just be glad that I don’t have it as bad as those sufferers?

Maybe it’s because those people have illnesses/disorders that are often much more visible. And they get more sympathy. If you see a person going through a manic phase, you can tell they’ve got an illness. An anorexic is obviously sick. My illnesses seem invisible. With enough effort, I can smile through my depression. I eat alone. People out on the street are much more likely to yell the name of a famous weight-loss company at me than to think I might need to be hospitalized. My size is out there for everyone to see, but most just think I’m an undisciplined, lazy, person not worth their respect.

And sometimes I feel that way about myself. If I had a disease that would kill me quicker (anorexia) or was more fun (bipolar), would I respect myself more? I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t think much of myself for being jealous of those people who have those diseases/disorders. I know it’s wrong. Those people suffer so much, have a much harder time, are in so much more danger than I am. And everytime I feel jealous of them, despite the fact that I remind myself of this, I still can’t make that jealousy go away.

How icky is that?


 

image from DBSA

image from DBSA

If you need help with any of the above mentioned diseases/disorders, please don’t wait. The sooner you

get help the better. Here are some hotlines (all for the USA):

National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA): (800) 826-3632

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: (800) 950-6264

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) Helpline: 630-577-1330 (Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Central Time)

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA): 1-800-931-2237 (Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Eastern Time)


 

Blessings to all of you.

Be well.

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L is for Loser (and Winner)

L aslBefore we get into the main topic of today’s post I’d like to comment on a few things.

First…

As seen at psychokitty.blogspot.com.

As seen at psychokitty.blogspot.com.

Happy Daylight Savings Time!!! Yay to more sunshine!

That said, I’m done with winter, snow and ice. Despite what Mother Nature may or may not show me outside my window. So from now on you’re gonna be seeing a lot of flowers on this blog. In my little world, it’s spring.

Second…

I’d like to thank all those who “like”d my last post. I know it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever written, so I’m assuming the “like”s were you showing support for my decision. If you haven’t read the post, I basically said that I’d been inhibited by focusing on my stats for this blog and that I was going to start paying less attention to them.

Frankly, I thought my last post sucked. It was incoherent and self-indulgent. I’d delete it if I hadn’t promised myself when I started out that I wouldn’t do that. I’m gonna do my best to write better from now on.

Anyway, if you “like”d that post: Thank you! I don’t get a lot of feedback on this blog so it felt really good that you thought enough of me to click that little button. I hope you’ll continue to do so. Oh, and feel free to leave comments. I like feedback!

Third…

Click on the pic to go to the source.

Click on the pic to go to the source of the image.

As you may or may not remember, I’m Catholic. And what a lot of Catholics do is pray to saints. More on that here. I’ve decided to dedicate my blog to my personal patron saint St. Joseph (aka Jesus’ foster Dad). If anyone wants to know more about why I’m doing this (or anything else really), please leave a comment.

Feel free to skip the next bit if this kinda thing gives you the willies…

Here’s my prayer of dedication, written by me (keep in mind that I’m still a newbie Catholic, so this prayer might sound a bit strange. I’ve been told that there is no wrong or right way to pray, so I’m not gonna start worrying about it):

 Dearest St. Joseph, foster father to our Lord, I dedicate this blog to you. Help me to follow your example of humility. Help me to always write the truth. Protect me from those who would try to hurt me with their words because of something I have written. Pray for me and for my readers so that we may do God’s will and live in holiness. Surround us with your loving goodness. In the name of the father, and the son, and the holy spirit. Amen.

Moving on to today’s topic: Loserdom.

Four years ago, I was working at a job that I didn’t particularly like. It wasn’t a horrible job, I just didn’t like it. So I quit. Despite my problems since leaving that job, I have never regretted it.

Everytime I passed my old workplace I reminded myself of how awful I felt working there and how glad I was that I left. Everytime I put gas in my car I celebrated leaving that job. I had to commute 30 minutes one way to get there, so I spent a lot of money on gas. With how much gas has gone up since I left, I would have spent soooooo much more money on gas then I’ve had to in the last few years. Everytime I completed a task at my current job (when I was working) similar to one at that old job, I appreciated how much that old job taught me and how happy I was that I no longer worked there. Everytime I went on a break at my current job (again, when I was working) I was happy that my blood sugar was higher (because I hadn’t had to work for six hours straight before getting a break) and my blood smiley facepressure was lower (because I wasn’t so frustrated). Everytime I was treated with respect by a supervisor, or given a “thank you”, or a “good job”, I mentally did a happy dance because I left that job. Everytime I filled out an application and had to write that company’s name down I calculated how long it had been since I’d worked there and smiled a special smile.

Every. Time.

I just reapplied to work there. Why? Cause I haven’t worked since May and it looks as if Congress isn’t gonna reestablish long-term unemployment benefits. On the upside, the company was bought out by someone else so it may be a better place to work now then it was then. On the downside, I feel like a complete loser.

I know I shouldn’t feel that way. It’s not really my fault that I lost my job. After all, I didn’t decide to fall down the stairs and break my arm. I didn’t decide to become suicidal and hospitalized. I didn’t decide that the combination of the two made me unable to meet my job’s qualifications. It just happened. And I got fired. It wasn’t my fault. The unemployment office agreed: it wasn’t my fault. And now I need a job. At this point, nearly any job that would be healthy will do (read that as any job that doesn’t involve fast food or vast amounts of chemicals). But I still feel like it’s my fault and I’m a loser for having to apply to that job. A job that I did because I could fake it, because it wasn’t too hard, because I had to.

If I look at this situation logically, it’s actually a triumph for me to apply to that job. A few months ago, I couldn’t getblue rose outta bed, much less work at a job that required a commute and a smile on my face. Logically, I know if I end up working there again it doesn’t have to be forever. It could just be until I find something better, closer, requiring less energy.

I know this because that’s exactly what I said when I took that job in 2000. And 2001. And 2002. And all the way until I quit the damn job in 2010. Ten years of telling myself that I was only working there until I found something better, closer, blah blah blah. Loser.

Let me tell you a story: Back in 2000, when I first applied to work at that job, I was unemployed. But that time it was my fault. I had been working as a data entry operator (for perspective, this was back when computer scanners for office work had just been invented) and had quit that job on impulse. It was a boring job and I was a self-destructive idiot. Back then if you didn’t have a criminal record you could pretty much get any job you wanted without references or a DNA test. So I walked into this company, applied for a customer service job, and two weeks later was working.

At first, I didn’t mind the job. I’d worked in customer service before, so I was used to the whole “smile while they yell obscenities at you” thing. And the job, which had a government contract, was different. Especially after I’d been there a while and was trained to do more than take messages. So I stayed. And stayed. And stayed. Eventually I got promoted (that was the work six hours straight position), then promoted again. Most of the people I worked with were nice and the pay was okay. There was plenty of overtime, so bills got paid (when I didn’t spend all my money on food that is). And when my attendance was poor, they yelled, but didn’t fire me. Did I want a new job? Sure. Did I look for one? No. Most of the time I was too busy dealing with family stuff (people dying, becoming alcoholic, etc) to really do much job searching, so it was okay. I learned a lot about myself and about the workplace.

Then things changed, or at least I changed. I got my Associates degree and I reached a point with my family where it looked as if I could focus on myself (instead of taking care of elderly or addicted people) for awhile. I wanted to get graduatemy Bachelor’s degree. And I wanted to do it NOW. Before any other family members got sick and had to be taken care of. Before I lost my motivation. Before I got any more stuck.

So I changed everything about my life. I moved, quit that job, went back to school, and held on with both hands. Some of it worked out: I got my Bachelor’s degree. I’m proud of myself for making that goal and achieving it. But a lot of it didn’t work out: I got evicted, sick, and spent too much time in hospitals.

Writing this out just makes me realize that part of why I feel like a loser is because I’m in a very similar place now to when I first applied to work at this company. I’m unemployed, self-destructive, a bit lost. Back in 2000, I had no idea what I was doing with myself. I was just floating along, waiting for life to happen. Now it’s 14 years later and I’m still floating along, waiting for life to happen.

The difference is that I have some idea what I’m doing with myself. I’ve achieved something, a Bachelor’s degree, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. My counselor a couple weeks ago pointed that out. She even had me think about how many odds I had to work through to get to that darn degree. And I did it. The fact that I’m just now able to appreciate it shouldn’t negate the fact that it was a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT (that and the fact that I’m trying not to compare myself to others).

I could have given up anytime in the past few years and not gotten the degree. Frankly, I could have given up anytime in the past few years and ended up dead.

What I’ve got to keep reminding myself is that I’m not the person I was in 2000. And if I go back to work at that company, it’s not gonna be the same as in 2000. The company’s changed. I’ve changed. Even if there are some people still working there that I knew, they’ll probably have changed. It’s 2014, I have a Bachelor’s degree, I’m on proper meds, and I have more tools now than I did then. I am not a loser. I’m a winner.

A winner who has the opportunity to change with every breath I take. Even if I end up making those changes at the same physical place I was working at in 2000.

A winner who has to remind herself of that even if she feels like a loser.

After all, the location I am in is not the same as the place I am in.

forest

Blessings to all of you.

Be well.

E is for Excuses

e reflectionI know it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’m not sure why. I’ve got lots of excuses for not doing things. Here’s a few of my favorites (in no particular order):

I’m too tired. I use this one a lot. My meds make me sleepy and being circus-lady-fat makes any kind of activity exhausting. So this excuse is true, if nothing else.

It’s too cold/hot/snowing/raining/sun-shiny/cloudy. The weather is always something good to blame things on. Especially if it impacts transportation.

It costs money. This one is especially impactful right now. Being unemployed and having my unemployment cut off (I was getting the federal extension until Congress stopped funding it) makes every dime important. Not that I’m all that good at keeping an eye on my dimes. I often spend money I don’t have or shouldn’t spend for no particular reason. If this excuse really was a reason, I wouldn’t spend recklessly. Right?

It’s too hard. This is probably the real reason I do/don’t do things. I’m pretty lazy and dislike challenging myself if I don’t think I can succeed. If it’s something I think I can do, I’ll do it. Assuming it doesn’t take too much effort.

Writing this blog is sometimes hard and sometimes easy. It’s easy when I’m being confessional. The anonymity of it all makes the confession pour out. Especially when I’m feeling depressed or down on myself. But then I look at my stats and see that those are the posts that get the most views. That makes writing this blog hard. Because I feel like I should write more of those types of posts. More self-hatred, more depression, more anxiety, more negativity. The exact opposite of what I’m trying to do with my life.abyss

Perhaps that’s the real reason I haven’t posted in awhile. I don’t want my blog to just be a big negative blob. Sure if I feel the need to vomit up some ickiness, I suppose that’s okay. I just don’t want it to be the primary focus of this blog, or my life.

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place where I could be completely truthful, with no filtering of who or what I am. I wanted a place where I could be both open and closed. Open with who I am but closed with who I am. So someone could see me, but not know it was me. Contradictory, yes. But it’s what I want.

Now, looking at my stats, I feel a bit of pressure to only expose the icky side of me. The depressed, mentally ill, part of me.

But what about the rest of me. The spiritual, the cat-loving, flower-loving, craft-project, parts of me. The parts where the sun shines and giggles are heard? Doesn’t that part of me deserve exposure too?

I think it does. So from now on I am pledging to do my best not to think about what is expected of me before writing posts or publishing them. If a post about kitties and flowers doesn’t get read, it doesn’t get read.

Because this blog is supposed to be for me. As much as I often put myself last, I think I deserve a place where my desires come first. I’m gonna start with this blog. This blog is mine. And I will write what I want.

I hope you’ll continue to read.

pink rose textured white background

Blessings to you all.

Be well.