Pilgrim's Journey > March 2007 Archives

March 3, 2007

Postsecret.com and my own secret life

Tonight I was thinking about the popularity of PostSecret and the books that has followed. Also its offshoot, my favorite, LiveJournalSecret (it posts secrets several times a week). What is it that compels some people to tell everything, while other people are able to keep secrets there whole lives? And some of us, reluctantly, tell our secrets, but must do so under the guise of an assumed name, careful not to give away our real location, our real selves?
I began thinking of this the other day just because at the grocery store someone passing by me remarked loudly, "I wish I was as skinny as you!" Not thinking of myself as skinny, I didn't think she was talking to me, so I didn't look her way or respond. But then she motioned to me and said, "You! You're so SKINNY!"
*oh good lord.* I pray that these conversations don't happen. There's just no good way to have them. If I say, "Thank you" what does that mean? If I say "No I'm not" what does that mean? If I say what I am really thinking and reply with "No, I'm really FAT" then that gets me into a conversation that goes in a direction I just DONT want it to.
I am not sure what I said to the lady in the grocery store. I think I just nodded, perhaps, and headed quickly the other way while mumbling to myself about how I really am fat, how I wish I could see what that lady thought she saw about me.
At work, someone asked a co-worker about me, "Has Pilgrim always been this thin or has she lost weight?" Coworker: "No, she's always been skinny."
All right, so I'm not going to pick that battle about how my weigfht is none of their business. But what it got me thinking about is really, how secret my entire life really is.
My family (except for my sister Cody who writes Life with Trich) knows nothing about me.
My co-workers know nothing about me. They mainly work with Carolineine. Carolineine and I do not tell them anything about our personal life. Not a single "What I did last night" to "why I left work early yesterday" or a "What I did over spring break."
No one knows that I have no friends and the only person I have to talk to is my therapist.
My coworkers have no idea that while they make jokes about things such as multiple personalities and crazy people, that they have a multiple sitting 2 feet away from them. They don't know that when they mention "wow, I just can't believe how someone can be THAT crazy that they need to cut themselves" that I was just cutting before I got to school, that Jo is suicidal, and that I am wearing a black sweater because I'm afraid the blood will soak through.
The people who make remarks about how I've always been "so skinny" have no clue that 15 years ago I weighed 40 pounds more than this, and I had to throw my food up into the toilet and starving to get to this weight, going into the hospital twice in the process and losing not just weight but my soul and nearly my life to get to this.
Its all about secrets. My whole life.
There's a saying I've heard often that says "You're only as sick as your secrets." Does this mean that I'll never get better until I free myself from this secret life? Does this mean that the people who write in and spill out EVERY detail of their lives on PostSecret and LiveJournalSecret are healthier than I am? I wonder if they are so popular because people are trying to free themselves from their own secret lives? If so, why is everything sent in anonymously?
It is my dream that some day.... SOME DAY.... I will be able so sign this journal with my own name. And be honest. THIS is who I am. And I will let myself become free from my hidden life. Instead of signing this "Pilgrim," I will sign it with my own name, and no longer be bound by my family's rules and life of keeping things in the dark.
As for now I still sign,

Posted by pilgrim at 5:53 PM | Comments (7)

March 10, 2007

I'll do anything I can

Today I was thinking about how much has changed in the last 10 years of our life.
Its too much to list here, but no matter how much we are still struggling inside with a lot of things, our life is so much than it was in 1997.
Back then we were still living at home.
Still very entrenched in anorexia and I knew I was going to die from it. Every night when I went to bed, I really expected that I wouldn't be able to get up the next morning.
I would scream into my pillow when I was at home alone because I was so miserable and had so much bad stuff inside that I didn't have any way to get it out. I was cutting and doing all sorts of really stupid eating disorder behaviors. I was hearing a child's voice in my head almost all the time crying, "Mommy? Mommy?" (it turned out to be Mae, but I didn't know it back then.)
I also had my ex-boyfriend stalking me. I had a restraining order, but he didn't care. The police in the town were on his side and thought it was all a big joke, so they didn't do anything.
I didn't know how to escape.
I was miserable and trapped and I didn't know what to do.
For a long time I thought "I'd do anything" to get out of those situations. I was so desperately miserable. I even started taking medication secretly... some sort of antidepressant... but it didn't work. Probably since I was starving my brain and at a very low weight, that didn't help any.
I kept thinking, "I'd do anything."

I've had situations like that happen in the past 10 years as well. Miserable situations that I have been put in, or have gotten myself into. Situations where I've been so miserable and depressed that I kept thinking, "I'd do anything to get out of this."

I have had a few people ask me, "HOW did you do it? How did you get out of those things? What made the difference?"

Today I think I finally figured out what the difference was.
I think it was the day in any of those situations when something inside me finally snapped. When I finally got miserable enough, sad enough, depressed enough, when I stopped saying, "I would do anything," to get out... to "I'm GOING to do anything to get out."
The moment when I stopped thinking "I can't take this anymore" and started thinking, "I'm NOT going to take this anymore."
The day when it seemed I had too many obstacles in my way to change... to realizing I wasn't going to let any of those obstacles remain in my way anymore. I realized..The people who used to stop you from doing what you truly wanted to do no longer have the power to stop you from living your dream.
THAT was how I changed things. That was how I got out. How I changed myself.
It was funny, how things would change inside after that moment. When something would click
for me. From, "I can't do this" to "I'm going to do this." From "No one will let me do this" to "I'm not going to let anyone stop me." Once I'd finally had enough, truly, the decision was obvious.
The thing is, I finally had to get sick enough of where I was at. And that was pretty damn sick. And pretty damn tired. I would sink lower and lower. And then lower still. Several times it was to the point where I felt that I was dying-- and a couple times, where I was told I was going to die if I didn't do something right away. And then, because I am who I am... I would take it just a little bit further, a little bit more miserable, a little bit more scary. Then finally I would reach my saturation point and get my butt in gear and do what I knew I really needed to do.
Notice how I still do it? But at least I know now that eventually I'll get sick enough of what I'm doing, and then I'll have the guts to do what I need to know.
I'm even facing a situation like that right now-- with eating disorder recovery. Something scary. I know what I need to do, at least I'm pretty sure I am. I just need to get sick and tired of being sick and tired first. Right now with it I'm still saying "I would do anything" to get over this particular thing. But I feel like I am not far away from saying "I'm GOING to do anything I can".

Yesterday, I ate a candy bar for the 1st time since 1986. That makes 21 years. Its a start.

Posted by pilgrim at 7:35 PM | Comments (5)

March 16, 2007

Where Sensory Integration & Aspergers fit into the story

This is Carolineine... I am going to include this for Pilgrim...something that she wrote. She in particular has problems with Asperger's Syndrome and Sensory Integration. It is mainly her in particular, although Mae has problems with those things a little bit. I have wanted her to talk about this for a long time.

Carolineine wants me to write this. Her idea about writing facts and then writing positives. She had this idea a few days ago. For me to write about myself because I won't talk about myself. Not just in therapy but anywhere else either. I think maybe, if I can make it sound less stupid if I can also write things I do to help myself too.
So ok here goes. I think I sound so dumb though.

Facts 1st.

I don't have any sense of where my body is in space, unless I am either 1)weighted down by something or 2)someone is holding my hand or hugging me. Maybe that’s why I like hugs and like wearing heavy clothes and like heavy blankets. Ok.
I fall down and trip a LOT and run into things a LOT because I can’t figure out how much space I take up and also I just don’t see things.
I know I hear words wrong a lot. Not just from my messed up hearing in my right ear from earaches. But I mean, I hear words messed up, and sometimes in the wrong order. I know logically that DH didn’t say to me yesterday, “Hamsters progress is going in a hat” but that’s what I heard. I think that I mis-hear things a lot more than I realize. I don’t know why that is though. But maybe that is why I get messed up a lot-- I don’t know. I guess it probably doesn’t help. If people are talking and walking by at the same time, I hear them wrong. If they are talking and turn their head, I hear them wrong. I say “What?” a lot to people, I think it bothers them. But if they start talking, I know I miss the beginning of their sentence when they start to talk, and if they make their voice sound funny to be expressive, I start to hear things wrong again. I have to tell DH a lot “I didn’t understand.” I think he gets frustrated. But I didn’t understand his words. (Just right now he walked past me while he was talking, he changed his voice to a higher voice, and I heard him say--- I uhhhhhhh aaaa ah com.” I said, “I didn’t understand what you just said.” He said he was saying “It said on tv, “I love alpacas dot com.” OH. OKAY.
It feels like my body is falling apart into space if I’m not weighted down. I don’t know where my head or arms or hands or feet are or anything. I don’t feel them. I don’t know why. The occupational therapist at school explained to me why once but I can’t remember why she said that happens.
I wear sweat shirts and heavy clothes all year because it feels safer and holds me in. Like it feels like my body isn’t so much falling apart.
People seem like they give off energy and waves of sound and feelings off them. I can feel it and see it and hear it off them. Sometimes its loud and sometimes its soft, like depending on the person. If there’s more then 1 person around its too much to handle. Wearing heavy clothes seems like it absorb some of their energy so it doesn’t all hit me so much.
My brain takes in everything, or shuts down and takes in nothing when it gets overwhelmed. It seems like I can’t filter out any thing. Or any sights. Its like I can’t figure out what to listen to or what to see so I hear and see everything. DH always tells me to pay attention. But the thing is I’m always paying attention… I mean, when I’m here and not disappeared, you know? But I think I must pay attention to the wrong things. Like I look at lights and get lost in them or in the sounds of birds outside windows or get distracted by the sounds the lights make at the store or the way somebody’s clothes fold over and make wrinkles. But I think I’m supposed to only pay attention to…well, DH says like watch where I’m walking and listen to him. Or he always tell me to make eye contact with people and say hello or whatever. I keep forgetting that.
A lot of things that people say don’t make sense. Their sentences I mean. They use words and phrases that don’t really go together, or they’re not clear. I see everything in pictures in my head, and with little printed words going across this little screen. But people say things that don’t sound right. I get mixed up. My brain is literal. I have DH explain things to me a lot, like expressions? But I still don’t understand them. I have this book, it was 1 of my favorites from when I was little, I want to show you sometime. I liked it a lot because it was about how I thought. I think it might supposed to be a joke book but it isn’t to me. Its called Chocolate Moose for Dinner.
There is the huge problem with time and schedules and changes in schedule which causes total meltdowns. I hate that the most I think. Because people don’t get that at all. People understand it if you’re a little autistic kid, people know that little autistic kids have problems like that. But if you’re a grown up and you’re a teacher its not ok to be that way.
I can’t figure out peoples’ faces. Faces are really scary on people. They move all the time, like eyes and eyebrows and mouths and cheeks. They’re constantly moving and as soon as I think I might know what one look means, the faces changes right away. I don’t understand looks at all. There is this program for people to learn about facial expressions at this website called do2learn.com it’s a game about feelings, and there is a game about faces. I do those 2 a lot. There is a face on the game you can play with, to make it look angry/frustrated/ sad/ …whatever other feelings there are. And there is a game that you look at peoples’ faces and try to guess who is feeling what. I don’t get them all right yet but I do get some right now after practicing a lot.
Also I don’t know why I can’t recognize people in pictures if they have different looks on their face or if they have different hair cuts or glasses or something. They have to be different people to me. I don’t know why.
For some reason I understand how to do +.-. X, and division but I can’t do them right. I don’t know why because I am smart. I am really good at knowing how words are spelled, but not at numbers, I can’t remember numbers or how to do things with numbers. Carolineine and Missy did college, they did statistics and calculus 2 and everything, and I just don’t know how they did that.
This is a big secret but a lot of times when I talk to somebody I don’t know what I’m supposed to say at all. But I know I’m supposed to say something. I just either let Carolineine say something instead or if I get really desperate I say something I heard I have memorized. Or I say something I know someone else would say even if I don’t understand it.
Claire knows how to do sign language and she can understand when people talk sign language too. But its weird because, I know sign language, but I have a really hard time understanding it. You have to watch faces to understand. It has to incorporate a lot of facial expressions. And I do not understand facial expressions at all except for happy, sad, and mad.
I also don’t understand at all why if Claire or Carolineine or Jo or Missy can do something, why can’t I do it? If we are all supposed to be part of the same person, how come we don’t know all the same things? How come we aren’t all sick at the same time? How come we don’t all get a headache at the same time? How come Missy can do calculus but Mae can’t even add yet? How come Mae talks like she does when none of the rest of us ever talked like that at all?

Posted by pilgrim at 10:44 PM | Comments (2)

March 25, 2007

Waiting anxiously. I just want it to be Tuesday afternoon!

Time is going by so slowly... it always does, but lately even more so... and I am waiting anxiously to get to my next therapy appointment on Tuesday.

Last week was when my therapist asked to talk to ME, and I admitted how old I really am/feel (a LOT younger than she thought-- not the adult she thought I was.) She has been hoping to get everyone working together and have me be in charge, as the adult of the group, for me to run things, to make the decisions, to decide who comes and goes. Well I finally told her myself that I'm much younger than I'm supposed to be--- I thought that she knew. Which she did, but she didn't REALLY realize it was true I guess. This throws things off a lot now.
She said she "needs to think."
That's always bad news. I hate it when people say they have to THINK.
My therapist tried to tell me when I got panicky that I just "gave her a piece of information"-- that was all. But I keep thinking how I'm so stupid and how I've ruined everything now. What if she decides to kick me out, that she can't deal with me now. Her plan is wrecked, what is she going to do?
She asked me, who has the most information inside? That would be Carolineine. Its ALWAYS been Carolineine.
She wants to think. Thinking can't be good news.
So I have to wait til this Tuesday to find out WHAT she may have come up with and I'm driving myself crazy with this anxiety, I'm so scared what we will talk about on Tuesday. I want so much to call her but I'm not allowed, I'm too ashamed to e-mail her at all so I won't this week, and I'm so afraid that if any of us e mail her this week anyway she might get angry or annoyed or something.
I've been so anxious this week that I shake a lot. I want to cut so badly, but I haven't-- I want to at least have ONE thing of good news to tell her on Tuesday.
I just want to know what's going to happen on Tuesday. TIme is going by so slowly. I just want it to be Tuesday afternoon. And what if she cancels or something? I'm so nervous.

Posted by pilgrim at 1:22 PM | Comments (1)

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