listen to your body and not what you want to embody

Content Warning: psychosis, delusions, mental health, mental illness, eating disorder, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, toxic, insanity, depression, hospital, bipolar disorder

I am safe and stable now, this recollects past experiences along with with my present situation.

Image description: From first page of my “Words I Held: An Autobiographical Tale of Intrigue” ushered by Elisabeth Faye Stranathan/Eden/Me from the 444bidden Fructus project. An immersive show with an amazing, elaborate package. Highly recommend!

Surrounding the composition notebook are a black gel pen that Elisabeth sent me and a green paint marker, all on top of a wooden tray table.

The lined notebook paper is partially tea stained, a light tan color. In the middle is a long rectangular metal sticker, silver and black. The frame is silver and the inner rectangle is black, in the center is a drawing of a woman in a dress above her knees with a short curved outwards hairdo. Reminiscent of the 1950s. No facial expression. Written in blue green paint marker is the text above the woman’s head and below her feet:

“LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

AND NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO EMBODY”

Surrounding the sticker is handwritten in black gel pen, a branching mind map of things my body and mind want me to do which I tend to ignore when serving capitalism and expectations:

Release > Clarity > Progress > Scream > Laugh > Make Jokes > Kindness > Encourage > Support > Make Up (End Argument)

Be Present > Kiss > Daydream > Cuddles > Uphold > Intimacy > Hugs > Reveal > Open Up

Move > (On) > (Forward) > Leave > Resolve > Let Go > Dance > Include > Explain > Renew > Develop > Transform > Guide

Eat Well > Exercise > Clean > Hope > Have Goals > Succeed On Own Terms > Love Yourself > Explore > Ask Questions > Find Answers > Recenter > Community

Create > Draft > Feedback > Submit > Read > Diverge > On Time > Apologize > Sing > Reconnect > Pray > Forgive > (Self) > Charity > Build Future > Build Foundation > Strengthen > Resources > Ask For Help > Therapy > Shadow Work > Share > Voice > Break Stigma > Research ((connects with Clarify as a full circle))

I learned something about myself recently:

I don’t leave toxic situations out of my own volition. The one time I did, it already got to the point where I had extreme anxiety, especially right when I came in, to the point it badly affected my work. It ruined my self-esteem and self-confidence and I felt like I deserved the yelling and maltreatment. It took another co-worker to tell me it was wrong and that no one should go through it for me to finally realize I had to stand up for myself, which took more time to finally implement.

All the other times, the guys either ended it, or I had psychotic breaks. Both situations vastly differ though I do think one ex did exacerbate my mental health greatly. He was the first one I tried to tell my issues, and he told me:

STOP MAKING MY EYE TWITCH. YOU DON’T HAVE PROBLEMS. YOU HAVE NO ISSUES. I DO! NOT YOU!

He even pointed to his eye. And I just suppressed until I had delusions of assassins, celebrities tweeting about me, and snow days thrown in my honor. This was my senior year of college and I was admitted into the hospital as an emergency as I tried to kill myself.

This is all to say that I let situations degrade and spiral into near disaster and fatality, in a number of ways, but most prominently my mental and physical health would collapse. Usually those experiences would end if my body forces it out or the perpetrators leave.

My psychoses are the most obvious exits. Though I would never wish them on anyone. They’re horrifying, traumatizing, and beyond damaging. No one deserves to go insane. It’s making me cry right now to think back on them and how much pain I felt believing they were all real.

Over and over again.

But one thing my father told me, on the ride home from the hospital after a month away, gave me so much comfort:

The psychosis was your mind’s way of protecting you. You had so much stress, troubles, and pressure, that it was guarding you, for your well-being.

It brought me a lot of clarity that no psychiatrist had gave me, then and since. I had a scholarship, a job as a radio station office manager that made me happy, courses I adored and classmates & professors I admired, a guy I liked and who actually liked me back, friends I cherished dearly, a high GPA. So much going for me on paper.

But I was severely depressed and suicidal. For many years, even before college. Extremely anxious from pressure and stress. My self-confidence was so shot that I couldn’t even start an one page resume. Despite being in the honors program, my professors asking for copies of my papers, A’s in my courses, extracurricular clubs and that job, and how I definitely would’ve received recommendation letters if I just asked. Even though I knew—for four years—-that I needed an internship to graduate, which of course requires a resume.

I didn’t think anyone would accept nor want me at all. I didn’t even try to write a few lines in that resume, felt too much of a failure and a loser to summarize a honestly stellar college career.

I was so fogged by my depression and self-loathing, I couldn’t see how amazing I was.

Sometimes I still can’t.

I wouldn’t have realized this terrible tendency if it wasn’t for a recent exit. Now I want to emphasize that not all situations are inherently toxic. Like college for instance. We all know that’s generally accepted as beneficial for upward mobility, self-development, and to contribute to society. But I developed a very unhealthy relationship to my studies due to familial expectations (who wanted me to be a nurse and not study writing like I chose), the insidious model minority myth, and my severe depression.

I wanted to stay, but if I did, my mental and physical health would greatly worsen. I developed an eating disorder where I wouldn’t eat until I accomplished something. Performed bedtime revenge because I wanted those hours back. Hyper focused on my failures which caused me to make additional errors and removed me from my present.

I thought things were okay, despite how badly off I was. That it was worth trying to do these things as long as I succeeded. It doesn’t help that I had loved ones tell me how great this was and how I must keep it. And they were right, it was good, but it wasn’t the best path for me, no matter how much I wanted it. So I took it as “at all costs” especially my health.

Some of this I already knew but a few I definitely didn’t, especially my predilection to remain in somewhere bad for me. It wasn’t the right environment for me, as much as I wished I performed better. But I will say that I did work hard and was well-versed. I just wish I was more consistent and organized.

I also wanna mention, that your physical health will indicate to you if you’re under too much stress and duress. I’m not really aware of my body as I should be, but it’s when I realized how little I was eating and when I actually allowed myself, that I knew I needed to get help.

But somehow, I’m not as devastated as I thought I would be. Despite it being so fresh. I think I’m moving on, which I NEVER do this early lol. I usually languish, and spiral, and stagnate, and focus on how badly I fucked up. I still do some of that haha but it’s not nearly as constant as it usually is. I bear no ill will either, which I can’t even say for other past situations. They did what they believe was best and I’ll have to accept it and move forward.

I want to see a therapist. For many years. At the moment, I can’t, but I think I’ll at least do some research so that I have a roster ready when I do reach that point.

God I miss writing blogs. Facebook statuses are still fun. But trying to place allll thatttt TL;DR as nested comments on instagram is annoying. Last post had 12 lol ugh. I think I’ll make a more committed return to this form and hopefully update this site more. I have to clean it up and overhaul for an application due soon, but I wanted to write something here first. It feels good to let it all out and I feel more content plus my perspective is more optimistic.

I believe that any situation can turn toxic if you’re not careful with your obsessions, your health, and especially your boundaries. I have never been good with taking care of myself. I ate well and slept well while I was at the hospital over a decade ago, and I have yet to return to that point again. But it’s not too late, I can start now. Exercise more, sleep earlier, eat more consistent meals, reach out to people. I’m not good at asking for help or talking about my issues unless prompted. But lately I have been open about my predicaments even about my eating with my parents and titas. Which is a MAJOR step forward.

If I didn’t think I changed during the pandemic, this reaction and initial steps have proven otherwise. I’ll be alright.

And I honestly believe it.

May you cherish your next mouthful in every way.

eileen

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