You Don’t have to Fight Anymore


I talked to my Legal Research and Writing Professor for an hour and a half. She is amazing! It turns out that she struggles with depression. We talked about depression, anxiety, perfectionism, medication, therapy, premature birth, support systems, and coping mechanisms. My professor asked if there was a family history of mental illness (there is a minor history, but no one as bad as me) and whether I thought my struggles were genetic or environmental. I said both, but that was why we talked about prematurity. She didn’t say anything new, but she phrased some ideas differently than other people. It was helpful.

What especially stuck with me was “Wow, no wonder you’re a fighter. You have always been a fighter…but you don’t have to fight anymore. I was proud, amazed, that you passed last semester. You’ve clearly proven you can do it and you’re smart enough. Leaving doesn’t equal failure. You need to do what makes you happy. I worry about you because law school is making you this miserable. The first year is tough, but I know many people who struggled with depression in their 3rd year. This, no degree, is worth being suicidal.

But then again, I feel like I still have something to prove. Like this: (4:44 – 5:09)

Is this what you really want? I know it is hard to know this early; if it is, maybe you should fight for it. If it’s not, the degree isn’t worth the pain you’re in. Maybe a leave of absence would help. If you’re much better out of law school that maybe your answer. Also, just because you leave, doesn’t mean you can never come back. I know students who failed their first semester, reapplied, and returned. I see no reason why you wouldn’t be accepted; you have a solid C average. You’ve proven yourself.”

She also said I can help people without a law degree. I said I wanted to do child advocacy; she said there may even be better ways to make a difference because with the law, you feel like you’re fighting unwinnable battles against this giant system. She used to be a child advocate and a juvenile defense attorney, but she became a professor because she burned out.

She said I deserve to take care of myself. I deserve to be happy. I shouldn’t do things because like her, “I (she) was the intelligent person who didn’t want to take the MCAT. It was expected because everyone said I’d made a good lawyer…and I made a great lawyer. My perfectionism worked in my favor, but I was miserable.” Also, on one hand, I am depressed and that wreaks havoc on motivation, but on the other hand, is it possible I waited until the last possible moment to do every assignment, barely read the casebooks, and skipped as many classes as possible to still pass because this is really not were I want to be?

I have a lot to think about. If I become suicidal again, I will at least take a leave of absence. Short of that, I don’t know what to do. I am inclined to stay…today.

lilah teasing smile

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Starting Fires


Fringe_Angry pyro

Yesterday my therapist/psychiatrist said, “You’re doing it again; you’re manufacturing the next catastrophe. We’ve only had short times of in-depth therapy because you divert attention from the underlying problems to the next big crisis.”

First of all, props to me for going to therapy for the first time in over a month! Second, he is right. I do create catastrophes in my life. The ironic thing is my first therapist told me that 10 years ago after seeing her for a year and a half. She said I had a habit of “starting fires (metaphorically! I’m not a pyromaniac!) to avoid the real problems.” I’ve seen my current therapist for 9 years! My mom said she switched my treatment providers because she thought I was manipulating my therapist and the therapist didn’t know it.

I don’t remember ever intentionally manipulating her. Lol, apparently she had me better figured out than my mom realized. Honestly, I don’t do this consciously. Two therapists saying the same thing about me makes it more convincing though. I’m not sure how they can tell the difference between “starting fires” and having mental illness flare ups because many people with mental illness have bouts of remission and relapse.

Then again, I do shoot myself in the foot a lot. There are certain warning signs and I often knowingly ignore them. Plus, many times I do stupid/bad things for no good reason. In other words, I do them when I’m not in the vice-grip of mental illness. So, maybe they’re both right.

I’d be less skeptical if his comment wasn’t followed by, “I realized you’re repeating what happened to you as a little girl.” …OMFG, psychoanalysis is stupid! While I can see how my birth trauma impacts me (I was born at 23 weeks gestation in 1990), I don’t think I’m unconsciously repeating the past, which I can’t even remember. Furthermore, I think that is a stupid theory.

None of you know me and I’ve only blogged for 3 months. Therefore, I know you only have a limited snapshot of me. Despite that lack of knowledge, given what you know, do you think they’re right? Either way, why? If they are correct, what do you think I can do to change the pattern?

Thankfulness and Sarah Michelle Gellar


My grandma told me for years to think of something your grateful for every day. I decided to give it a try after reading “How a Year of ‘Grateful’ Facebook Posts Changed This Woman’s Life” on Yahoo. Haha, oops…

Don’t worry in the future, I’ll tack them on the end of posts. I won’t add an extra post to your dash every day!

Day 1: I’m grateful for my sister-in-law because she never treated me differently after various problems. She isn’t blood (and therefore “obligated” to deal with me), but she knows my score and accepts and loves me anyway. At their wedding reception I told her I already considered her family because she’d been through so much with me and was always….human. Not everyone is understanding and I’m lucky my brother found a compassionate, amazing, girl! Happy 1 year and 3 month anniversary guys!

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While searching for a proper hug GIF for this post, I found a GIF of Sarah Michelle Gellar at The People’s Choice Awards this year! It made me smile and it fits the theme of the post!

SMG thanks buffy fans Source: Jarett Wieselman

Reflections on Buffy Episode s05e06 “Family”


I wrote this post at the same time as “Et tu Tara?!“, but I went on a long tangent; I decided to separate the topics. This is the product…

I mean, every parent threatens to beat their kids in anger. My parents spanked me as a kid, but that is not the same as abuse (hitting or beating). I’ve been hit before, but a couple of mistakes does not equal a pattern of abuse. Monsters are evil. Therefore, in essence, my dad called me evil. Blah, I make them sound awful! They aren’t bad people! They love me a lot! I love them! We get along well. People get angry, especially when they have stupid kids like young me, and say things they don’t mean. Too bad kids are impressionable and if they hear something enough, sometimes they start to believe the words. It wasn’t like they were mean to me; I just did stupid things a lot.

My brother doesn’t thinks “blood kin” are important. He thinks the emotional bonds you have with people, regardless of blood, is what makes family. I’m not sure why. In Tara’s case, when family completely rejects you, finding your own “family” makes sense. Sometimes it hurts my feelings that he doesn’t view us as important. Well, he views us as important but not necessarily important. In other words, our place in his life is replaceable. I think except in cases of out right rejection, abuse, or other extenuating circumstances, blood family always has a place in your life. Sometimes family is unhealthy to be around. For example, I know a woman recovering from her eating disorder who refuses to see her family because they trigger her so much with incessant body shaming of others, etc. That to is a different case. In my opinion, barring unhealthiness/abuse/rejection, just because you don’t care for or dislike certain members does not mean the family ceases to hold value in your life. Fyi, I like everyone in my family! I think my brother hold himself at a distance because he is afraid of true open communication and he learned as a child that voicing his needs and emotions was not okay. To be fair, non-violent communication rarely occurs in my family.

I’m not sure where he learned that. I learned it to, but differently. I attributed my interaction style to teachings that nice people go along with what others want, good people don’t make a fuss, etc. Taken to the extreme, you get children who don’t know how to express emotions because you punish them for it.

I never saw it with him. I thought it was directed at me because I was overly emotional or bad. However, it is possible that by the time I was old enough to understand these messages, it was already ingrained in him. Therefore, the stoicism I took as inner strength, which I lacked, was really a learned behavior.

Furthermore, I’m a submissive masochist, but he is a Dominant sadist! So, it would not follow that our upbringing influenced my submissive side, unless there really was a difference in their attitude towards us because I was overly emotional, bad, or female. My parents made adhere to some gender roles (nothing inherently wrong with that!) and they do treat us differently in some ways. For example, my mom told me she would disown me if I lived with someone before marriage…while my brother was living with my future sister-in-law. She explicitly said as a female, it would be worse for me to live with a man, than my brother living with his girlfriend. However, my parents never said or implied women were less than men or incapable of anything, just different. In fact, since I can remember, I’ve been told I can do anything I want in life and it is important to be able to take care of myself. Haha, I guess that means I can’t be a painter!

The problem with this theory is that we were never punished for minimal expressions of emotion. So, I’m not sure where we got the idea. I know my dad’s family does not express emotions or needs because my aunt is overbearing, temperamental, and abusive when angry. (Yes, that is right, I said abusive. I can recognize abuse even in my family. My nuclear family is not abusive though.) Therefore, the other kids learned to never express their desires for fear of setting her off. This interaction style persisted in adulthood. My mother on the other hand, has no problem expressing her desires. In fact, I’m envious of her ability to sway people’s decisions with reasoned arguments. So, maybe our dad was an example of non-adaptive communication, but our mom was not. In that case, why didn’t we learn from her? She certainly did her best to course-correct us both prior to middle school.

Maybe I am over thinking things. Maybe my emotional issues are only mine. That is perhaps no matter how I was parented, I would turn out the same way. I’m jealous of my brother. He grew up in the same home and came from the same gene pool, yet he has no diagnosable mental illness. Why am I so weak? Why could he adapt, while I could not?

Dean--WTF photo dean-annoyed.gif

I wonder how my brother views our childhoods. Does he see any maladaptive interactions? If so, what? Did they affect him? Is that why he never calls/ returns calls? Or is there another reason? Does he think we were treated differently? Regardless of our upbringing did he notice different attitudes toward gender? Did Mom or Dad ever hit him (spanking doesn’t count) or was that just me? Did they ever threaten to hurt him? Did they ever call him names?

Most of the hitting and name calling occurred after he left for college. He left for college when I was 13. I don’t remember any hitting or name calling before age 11. So, he was not around for most of it. Mostly, he stayed in his room. So, he wouldn’t be present anyway. Also, this wasn’t frequent by any measure! The hitting and name calling I speak of are isolated incidents, arising from specific behaviors on my part. In fact, the only reason I remember each time so clearly is because it was rare!

I think we were treated differently, but I think it was because he was the first child. Therefore, in general, they were tougher on him and more relaxed with me. If there were any negative messages, he heard them louder and more clearly. As a result, he should be worse off than I am, if our upbringing had anything to do with who I am. At the same time, since I was about 11, my parents said certain things about me, but only after I did inexplicable things. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…

Meh, I’m over thinking things again. Every family has foibles. No person, and parents are people, is perfect. My family is no better or worse than any other non-abusive, healthy family. I take that back, my parents were fricking heroic when I was born early. Family is not to blame. No one is, this is just me.

Thin-Skinned: The Truth about Some People with Eating Disorders


I disagree whole-heartedly with the other messages of this person, but the following interview excerpt is intriguing. It falls in line with my idea that “crazy” is really feeling deeply and that TedTalk “Lessons from the Mental Hospital”.

“Women who struggle with eating disorders are what I call thin-skinned and what I mean by that is they’re very emotionally sensitive and highly intuitive.

If you’re born thin-skinned into a world that values being thick-skinned which is the culture we, the Western culture we live in today that values, oh no big deal, water off a duck’s back, doesn’t bother me, then what happens is you get this idea, oh my gosh is
something wrong with me?

And so begins the process of trying to be thick-skinned when you’re not and that’s the function of the eating disorder because it blocks your awareness of very deep, intense
emotions.

So what has to happen is they have to develop the skill set for how to be a thin-skinned person in a thick-skinned world and it is a skill set. You don’t need to change your DNA, anybody can learn it, but it does take practice and it does take being able to go some place where it’s taught.”

This is true for me and true for every girl I’ve known in treatment. It means sometimes we are oversensitive, but it also means we’ll do anything for the people that stick by us. I can’t change who I am, but maybe I can find a way to turn my character traits into positive aspects.

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Dating, Maybe Not…


I felt confident for a few hours, then my sister-in-law told me about friend trouble. The friend has some mental illness struggles and the mental illness is causing relationship strain. The situation brings me back to my fears about dating. I don’t want to be a burden….but then, what? I never get in relationships because I might burden or hurt the other person? That means I will always be alone. Plus, relationships are give and take, as long as I act honorably and do not put undue or unfair burdens on someone, it is okay… but sometimes we crack and maybe we will do things we know are wrong like sending someone a suicide note and then disappearing for hours….. argh…must do more thinking….

*edited a few hours later* Well, confidence didn’t last long. Now I know my sister-in-law has a history of mental illness. I thought they were proof of healthy people enjoying BDSM. Now I’m rehashing all my “does masochism equal an unhealthy coping mechanism and not a true sexual desire?” arguments.

Dating, Maybe…


I’m seriously considering getting back in the game. All of your comments, likes, and talking to my brother and sister-in-law, gives me confidence. I’m even talking to people on Fetlife again. …Shh.

However, school starts again on the 9th. I need to put a lot more effort into this semester. School always causes anxiety or depression. In turn, I brush people off or ignore them, not because I dislike them or don’t care, but because I am too wrapped up in anxiety or sadness. Half of my relationships ended because of the distance I created as a result of school and more than one budding relationship stopped because I accidentally gave the impression that I did not like the person.