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Crescent shadow

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Everyone left their desks to run to the office window or stand outside to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse this afternoon. I was fortunate enough to borrow someone’s protective glasses and capture this beauty with my phone. It was quite tricky, since I was trying to avoid staring at the blinding sun, balancing the camera in one hand and the glasses with the other. Our partial eclipse was said to be around 71%.

What I loved the most is everyone’s energy, it was full of excitement. I wish there were more moments like that, a bunch of strangers standing together, pushing work and everything else aside to experience joyful camaraderie, just living in the moment.

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Throwback: (Music) – Jack Off Jill

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I discovered this band in my teens. They started out opening up for Marilyn Manson and he took them under his wing. Their sound is considered riot girl/punk rock. They aren’t active anymore, but the lead singer Jessicka formed another band called Scarling.

“Strawberry Gashes” is the song that stuck in my head the most. Check it out.

Strawberry Gashes

Turn her over
A candle is lit, I see through her
Blow it out and save all her ashes for me

Curse me sold her
The poison that runs it’s course through her
Pale white skin with strawberry gashes all over all over

Watch me fault her
You’re living like a disaster
She said kill me faster
with strawberry gashes all over

Called her over
and asked her if she was improving
She said “feels fine” it’s wonderful wonderful here

Hex me told her
I dreamt of a devil that knew her
Pale white skin with strawberry gashes all over all over

Watch me fault her
You’re living like a disaster
She said kill me faster
with strawberry gashes all over

I lay quiet
waiting for her voice to say
“Some things you lose and some things you just give away”

Scold me failed her
If only I’d held on tighter to her
Pale white skin that twisted and withered away from me away from me

Watch me lose her
It’s almost like losing myself
Give her my soul
and let them take somebody else get away from me

Watch me fault her
You’re living like a disaster
She said kill me faster
with strawberry gashes all over all over me

Lovelorn paper cuts

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I used to browse the internet to find the answers to rectify my love life. I searched countless forums, devouring emotionally charged stories. Paranoia surfaced.

I struggled to figure out what kind of expectations I should have in a relationship.

Whatever my heart desired, my mind opposed. I chased shooting stars, and they exploded between my palms. I held on tighter. I pulled back. The inevitable outcome of blistered and cracked crimson trails over a thick layer of scar tissue.

My family couldn’t provide an accurate representation of what a functional relationship should be, nor could my friends. They went back to the same assholes and complained about it, but told me to stay away from my own sly devils. They wiped away my furious tears, because that’s what friends are for.

I lacked guidance. Rinse and repeat cycle of drama. I believed I had lousy luck.

I sought out self help books, but many I tossed aside. Some of the relationships described had an extensive amount of circumstances involved that I wasn’t dealing with (children, workplace affairs, infidelity, etc) or the advice felt regurgitated.

I wasn’t trying to find a perfect partner. I wanted someone whom genuinely felt the same way about me. Without the mind games, or the fiery pits of hell backdrop every time the overdue conversation of commitment and honesty came up.

I didn’t need anyone to tell me I would find someone great when I wasn’t looking, because it’s cliche and did absolutely nothing to mend my wounds. It’s one of those phrases that made me want to puke a little inside of my mouth. I never felt like I was actively looking for someone to love. If I was attracted to someone and they felt the same, I went for it.

It would start out wonderful, until our rendezvous became impossible. I was blindsided by emotions and manipulating lies, dispassionately thrown onto a bed of razors buried beneath withering roses, I laid down defeated, damaged, bled dry.

What was the root of it? Settling for trashy romances that would have made for amazing tear-jerker TV. Unlike an actress, I wouldn’t be walking away from it unscathed. This was my life.

My purpose for writing this is to share some of the books I’ve read that actually helped change my negative perception on relationships, some issues stemming from childhood. I’m not an expert on this. But I’m not miserable anymore.

My partner and I started as friends, but we went our separate ways, had our hearts maimed, our souls rampaged, and then we found our way back to each other through the power of the internet and became a couple. Completely unplanned, perhaps the cliche held true.

For those whom are struggling with love/relationships, remember to always find proper resources to keep you in a healthy state of mind, and don’t allow anyone to damage you to the point of no return. They are never worth it.

Keep yourself grounded, rebuild and learn to become your greatest ally. Never convince yourself to make compromises on something you can’t live with. Know your value and stay strong.

Book List:

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Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl – Author: Natalie Lue

This book was the smack in the face I needed. It shook me to the core. I discovered Natalie through Baggagereclaim.co.uk years ago. This was probably the first book I ever bought from a blogger, because I trusted her voice and the advice she provided. And that’s what’s most important. There was no fluff. I had to take accountability too. And her book helped me with that. It also allowed me to see red flags and keep away from emotionally unavailable partners and toxic relationships. Her website has changed a lot since then, but it’s easier to navigate and there’s a lot of information. I can’t recommend it enough.

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The Journey From Heartbreak To Connection – Author: Susan Anderson

I was going through a traumatic breakup at the time. I wasn’t sure how to cope, and while browsing through the web, I somehow landed on her page. Initially I couldn’t find the book online anywhere, but I eventually found it on eBay in good condition. It’s a workshop/guide book for abandonment recovery and how to heal from heartbreak and loss. This book pulled me out of a frightening depression. Some of the visualizations described I didn’t connect with, it’s an acquired taste, but the meat of the text allowed me to find strength within myself and discover triggers from when I was growing up that contributed to my fears as an adult. It was empowering and cathartic.

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Come As You Are – The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life – Author: Emily Nagoski

My mind is wired really messed up when it comes to sex, stemming from trauma and being with partners that focused solely on their sexual well-being. I attributed sex to feeling empty inside, and it wrecked my desire for someone that is actually worth sharing my body with. It’s definitely a more therapeutic approach than science/research, although it does provide examples of this. It might not be groundbreaking, but I feel like the information was presented well, it helps re-enforce positive thoughts about your body, and it can open an interesting discussion with your partner to re-awaken sexual chemistry.

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Wired For Love – How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain And Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict And Build A Secure Relationship – Author: Stan Tatkin

My partner and I talk about everything to maintain our trust in each other. I was curious about this book more so to continue instilling healthy habits. Communication is key, but it doesn’t come easy for everyone. I struggle to convey my thoughts when I’m anxious, but my partner is understanding and patient. This is worth reading if you’re struggling with building a strong foundation together and want to learn a few things about improving your relationship. It’s easy to read and worth checking out.

Splattered ink (letter)

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It bothers me when we don’t genuinely communicate. We type words. We hold their sounds in our mouths, but they have become merely silence killers. When we push them out into the universe, they hold no depth. They are tricky things; saying a whole bunch of nothing.

So when you contact me, I reassure myself you’re OK. You’re alive. And that’s enough. Yet I feel disappointment. Like we’re two strangers casually commenting on each other’s profiles. We forgot our bond, it feels like it’s changed. But I’m not sure how to fix it. Is it fixable? Or is it part of maturing?

I don’t know how to go to you and say “This is what matters to me, this is what I really want to talk about”. Because I’m not sure this is something you do with me. I feel like you’re hiding something bigger, like you feel uncomfortable confiding, and we’re running circles around each other. You joke it all away and conceal your thoughts, burying their darkness. I’m left not knowing what to say, because we’re having two different conversations. And then you disappear, a mysterious entity living in my phone. Popping up when you want to poke fun. But I’m not laughing. I wish I could.

Maybe I’ve become too serious because I’m focused on my goal. I don’t want to be distracted. I work hard, because I want bigger results. I’m not inspired to tell you the things deep down inside I really want you to know, because I’m afraid you’ll dismiss them. As if they mean nothing. You’ve done this before, more than once, but I’m not sure if you noticed. Maybe I haven’t given you the time to fully express your deep thoughts. But I listen to you.

We whisper behind a wall, shrouding our vulnerable eyes, our secrets are muffled.

Now you’re walking down one path and I’m walking down another, but I am waiting for an intersection, where we’ll be standing side by side and everything is back to normal.

What was normal for us? The world felt like it was falling apart every day. But it brought us together.

“Everything is against me”. Dramatic summers followed by lackluster winters, anchoring uncertainties and sustaining insecurities. We shared perspectives, mysticism, personal beliefs. We didn’t really know anything or what we were doing, but our camaraderie held weight.

We were reckless firestorms enjoying the ride of youth and fretting in its devastation.

I’ve steered in another direction, and my temperament is colder, glacier irises staring at everyone suspiciously, comfortably jaded, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. And I’m never been more scared of losing it all.

What makes you happy? I’m afraid I don’t know this.

I know you’ve evolved. You’ve come out of your shell. This makes me joyful. But I worry about you. You brag about things, rave about your random ideas, and you’re convincingly unshakable. I see the shift of your energy, your reluctance blindsides you.

And I have no right to tell you what to do, or what direction to take. But that’s the scariest part. I WANT to. There is a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach that something doesn’t feel right. I’ve tried helping. But I know I can’t assume to know what’s best for you. You’ll resent me. Maybe I’m wrong for wanting to move all of the pieces on the board. To keep them safe within my view, away from harm and defeat.

You have your dreams and I have mine, and perhaps it’s part of the charm, venturing into the unknown. This is what we’re made for.

I don’t feel like I know you so much anymore my dear friend, it’s difficult to explain without causing hurt feelings, but I’m glad to know you. And maybe that should be enough, as long as you are truly happy too.

Signed,

Red

Age Of Solitude

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My demons are relentless

They are shadow serpents
sinking venom teeth
charcoal vapor expelling
from a Cheshire smile
brilliant pearly glimmer
disconnected from their eyes

They taint disillusioned truth
color-shaded in ashes of heartbreak
hungry, feeding on inferiority
a collective parody of self-doubts
perplexing hatred and destruction

My secret lies splattered painted
upon the walls of frozen memory

I taste the eclipse, expanding
this ill perception of self

Explosive cherry bombs
igniting along the tip of my tongue
unsavory, bittersweet grievances
forcing the madness down my throat
an accidental rejection of my being

I plead for them to go,
these foul things,
but their hands reach inside me
clutching onto my heart,
thunderous against my chest
I can feel the formation
of my struggling breath

My adversaries of light, they whisper

“You can die by your own hand”

“A consolation gift for your errors”

I venture into a symphony of despair

The sands of time
slip between my fingertips
as I fixate on the impregnable chaos
occupying a permanent space in my head

Ghosts of former times,
blemishes on darkness
plucking melancholia
from tempestuous skies

Nocturnal creatures
weaving aborted entrails
the manifestation of my futile regret
slaughtering glimpses of joy
to defy this descending weakness

“I do not want death” I scream.

Overcome by feelings of revulsion
visceral maggots crawling
uncomfortably beneath my skin

Shapeless intrusions retreat
frantically lock this mental door

“Not today”, as I silently weep

via Daily Prompt: Symphony

Mystery Blogger Award Nomination

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Thank you Anxiety Erica for nominating me! Check out her wonderful blog. She posts insightful one on one interviews with individuals whom are struggling with mental illness, provides helpful advice and also shares her own experiences. Very inspiring. Plus, we both share an interest in graphic novels and she introduced me to the Chew series, which I’m enjoying. ❤

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The creator Okoto Enigma states it’s an award “for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.”

The rules of the award:

  • Name the creator of the award and link their blog.
  • Place the award logo or image within your blog post.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog in your post.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Answer your nominator’s questions.
  • Nominate 10-20 people.
  • Ask your nominees 5 original questions of your choice.
  • Share 5 links to your best blog posts.
  • Notify each of your nominees by commenting on their blog.

Three things about myself:

  1. I’m obsessed with skincare. I do my own chemical peels and treatments. I won’t skip a day of my routine, even if I’m exhausted or sick. I enjoy trying different products and researching ingredients. I am interested in becoming an esthetician someday.
  2. I was very involved in the alternative scene in my teens and twenties. It’s a mixed bag of everything. I love Industrial music and I also enjoy different genres of Metal. The scene parties were inspired by Goth, Fetish, Vamp and Rivet-heads, so my personal style was influenced by it all. I’m not into the party scene as much anymore, but I still enjoy the music and clothing. I don’t dress up as often as I used to due to work, unless I’m going out to an event. I’ve kept my bright red hair.
  3. I’ve loved video games since childhood. My favorites are RPG’s and survival horror. Retro RPG’s are the biggest standouts for me. Final Fantasy III, IV, Earthbound 1 & 2, Secret of Mana, Lufia II, Zelda: A Link To The Past, etc. I’m also a fan of Resident Evil, Dead Space, Silent Hill, and Bioshock. I enjoy playing Borderlands and Diablo with my hubby. I am excited to play Agony and Scorn.

My answers to Anxiety Erica’s questions:

  1. Where is your safe space/happy space? My apartment. It’s a small studio I share with my partner, it’s not much to look at, but it’s my sanctuary. My home. We rarely have guests over. I like to keep the energy pleasant and calm. I’ve become more of a hermit once I moved out of my family’s place and had some privacy.
  2. What is your favorite book and why? I’m a bookworm, so this is difficult. One of my favorite series growing up is The Vampire Chronicles (older books) from Anne Rice. I adore Lestat, he’s such a fun character. Christopher Pike’s The Last Vampire series comes in as a close second, because I loved the main character Sita. I’m really into the Rizzoli & Isles series since working in the medical field.  Other favorites: Fever series (great fantasy series), The Child Thief (awesome book), Carrion Comfort (interesting concept) and most books from Neil Gaiman (amazing writer). I also love Berserk and Nana (great mangas with good stories and memorable characters).
  3. What emotion is hardest for you to handle? I have a lot of pent up anger. I lack patience so when I’m frustrated, it creeps up. I don’t like taking it out on other people, it can happen, but I try to catch myself before I do. It was worse as a teen. Sometimes I end up taking it out on myself and it contributes to anxiety. I try to find ways to cool down, but I have to be mindful and actively find outlets to release it.
  4. Tell me one thing you love about yourself. I love that despite the hardships, I manage to stay progressive as an individual by constantly learning and improving myself. I tend to be empathetic and compassionate toward others that might need guidance and support, because I know how tough it is to find genuine people these days. I try to look into the root of why people are the way they are, but I’ve also learned how to set boundaries so people won’t take advantage of my kindness.
  5. What is your favorite kind of tea (of coffee)? I’m a tea drinker.  I like to drink different kinds, but my favorite right now is Japanese Matcha powdered tea with milk (almond/flaxseed vanilla flavored). It tastes so smooth and creamy.

 Here are five questions for my nominees:

  1. Who is your favorite musical artist/band?
  2. Name one of your guilty pleasures.
  3. What country would you like to travel to and why?
  4. If you could give your younger self advice, what would you tell them?
  5. What inspired you to create your blog?

My nominees:

Links to my five best blog posts:

This is my first blog award, I’m very grateful. Thanks again Anxiety Erica! 😀

Accidental Circuitry – Mental illness

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I write what I am passionate about. And I felt compelled to write this and share my thoughts.

Suicide has been condemned as a sinful cowardly act. It’s not that simple. We won’t ever know someone’s pain. They might even feel like they are doing everyone a favor. It’s messed up for everybody involved, but I get why people do it. Make no mistake, I don’t agree or disagree with it. But I understand.

Our personal demons become bigger than us. It is an internal war. You lose once you can’t stand to look directly into your eyes in the mirror. When all the love in the world can no longer sustain you. When everything means absolutely nothing. You give up fighting for yourself, because you will never win and you’ll never find peace. An insufferable existence.

I am not a clinician. I can’t speak on everyone’s behalf. Suicide is not the end all for everyone whom suffers. I’ve learned things through trial and error. It’s one big experiment.

My results:

I never continue to see a doctor I am not comfortable with. Question everything. Voice your concerns. They should not be dismissive.

This is your body. Not every medical professional is looking out for your best interest and some will be bias, their loyalty is to vendors that are most profitable for their pockets.

Do you own research on prescriptions, pay close attention to in depth reviews from other people, seek out a balance of pros and cons and compare.

Don’t become overwhelmed with the negative experiences, there will always be more of it, just search harder for the positive experiences.

Sometimes the side effects are not worth it and the withdrawal symptoms could be traumatic if you had no idea what to expect. Research the half life of medication before you start on a regimen.

Give yourself the appropriate time frame to adjust to new medication, and also the appropriate time frame to wean off if it’s not working with your body chemistry. It’s a process either way. Play it safe.

If your primary doctor does not want to help you wean off, but you feel that this medication is detrimental to your health, find another clinician willing to help and purchase a pill cutter. I asked a nurse practitioner at an Integrative Medicine practice to help me off medication completely.

I know a pill can lessen the severity of what you’re feeling. I spent that time evaluating what needed to change in my life. I thought about my relationships, environment, employment, and mindset.

I supplemented with counseling. Read about different therapeutic approaches; borrowed methods from everything that was applicable to my circumstances; and adapted this guidance into what makes sense to me.

Not everyone needs medication long-term. It can be a temporary salve, but the real beast to tackle is all mental. It’s a daily on-going battle to make you self-aware and accountable for the things you have the power to change with discipline and strong enough to accept the things you are unable to change.

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Embracing your victimhood is mental defeat. I wanted to rebuild my identity, discover who I am and take the reins back. Even if it terrifies me, I rather feel it than stay numb.

Analyze your mind as a spectator. Catch yourself before you fall. Don’t feel pressured to be happy because you think you should be. Get angry, be sad, feel butterflies in your stomach, scream, try on every facet of human emotion.

Feelings are abrupt and fleeting. I use them to figure out what my triggers are and learn to understand myself better. I am not these emotions. They are waves of distraction.

My personal demons are a permanent stain on the mind. There is no cure, no hiding place, only progression to make it bearable, to lessen their impact when they sink their claws and teeth in. I must learn to live with them.

Supplements can be used as alternatives to prescriptions. I’ve used suntheanine/L-theanine, ashwagandha, 5 HTP (time released), holy basil, St. John Wort (not recommended on birth control) for anxiety/depression. I’ve used passion flower or low dose of melatonin for insomnia. I’ve taken fish oil, black seed oil, hemp seed oil, magnesium, zinc, vitamin d, b-vitamin complex. I’ve felt each one made a difference in some way, in combinations and on it’s own. Placebo or not, it was beneficial.

I don’t use anything already premixed. I want to know what works for me. I’ve done cycles of regular supplementation and gone weeks without. It depends how I feel. I eat as clean as I can. Exercise, dance, stretch, move.

A panic attack is the scariest thing. It comes on suddenly. I’ve passed out in public. I’ve been taken to the ER a few times before. I monitor my body. I can sense when I’m off, and it becomes a matter of “when will I experience an attack”. Because it will come. There is no preparation. I don’t try to fight them.

I feel my hands become clammy. I feel shaky and woozy, out of control, scared, panicked. I feel myself splitting into two, disconnected and powerless; observing my anxiety from a detached state. If my vision starts to blur, I lay down, on the floor, couch, bed, and close my eyes. I remind myself that this will pass. And I will not die. Not from this anyway. I pretend I am floating and concentrate on my breath.

***

Anxiety brings a posse. Here comes Depression, PTSD, OCD, Panic Disorder, Body Dysmorphia, Bipolar Disorder, etc. To what extent it affects someone varies. Not everyone suffers the same. Many people are ignorant of how mental disorders impact someone’s life. They associate it with psychotic criminal activity. Or think of a homeless person rambling to seemingly no one out on the street. Or attribute it to an outcast, a person whom doesn’t belong to the popular social circles because they are weird.

This is the media’s interpretation of mental illness. It’s not to say it’s all wrong, but it doesn’t always fall to that extreme. The stigma of these conditions.

This doesn’t account for the millions of people whom suffer in silence. Who go to work every day, as leaders, creators, performers. Who take care of their family and are in stable relationships. They appear to be like everyone else and assimilating with society. But are inclined to retreat back to their personal quiet spaces to re-calibrate.

While others struggle to do everyday things, but push through if they must, and secretly beat themselves up that they don’t act “normal” enough to fool anyone.

Or those whom have no idea they have a mental disorder and just assume they are crazy and let it get out of hand.

There is too much misinformation. Too many opinions. Not enough people willing to educate themselves on a profound deeper level beyond what’s on social media and the news.

My role is to be kinder to myself. Others won’t always be. Many won’t care enough to try to understand. So I need to trust myself to know what’s best for me.

Find someone to talk to. Seek out a therapist, a friend, a relative. There aren’t always genuine people around. So find someone you admire, even if you don’t know them personally. Follow their story, to guide you, inspire you. Or adopt a furry friend. All that matters is they bring you joy, they make you smile, and they guide you through the challenging times.

We were never meant to be solitary.

My partner knows me better than I know myself. He knows what I go through. That’s what keeps me going. Before that, I found inspiration wherever I could. But it had to be someone or something significant to pull me out of my head.

Find something that is yours. Empower yourself. I’ve learned to enjoy myself after I learned to enjoy being around someone else. Bond. Connect. It’s a mutual love. The best kind.

Toxic people made me feel soulless. I was dragging around insurmountable burdens. The use of alcohol and drugs no longer provided escapism; it intensified this breathing darkness into something uglier I could no longer contain.

I had to get rid of it all. Detox. Start over.

***

I’ve wanted to die. I thought I could never fight this unrelenting gloom and be completely happy. I’m not here to say that I am now. But I am surviving. Vastly better than destroying myself piece by piece.

I know contentment between the struggles.

I no longer dislike myself as a person, but my dreams are fire-kissed, frayed at the edges. I am haunted by former times, and by fears of the future, stumbling in the dark. I am cautiously alert. I am constantly pondering, insatiably curious. I contemplate dark things. I don’t think I’m OK, but I tell myself I will be if I stop worrying. If I can.

The world can be cruel and sometimes I want no part in it. The thought of death doesn’t frighten me. But leaving behind distraught loved ones does. So I keep going. I don’t know when the world will stop spinning for me.

No one really has it together. Just some are better actors. And the crude caricatures trolling on social media are a joke. They all have something to say, powering up their fingertips on the keyboard, posing behind a camera.

Don’t fall for it. There are more people like us than you think.

This has been my path. You aren’t alone. You are not weak.

The mainstream just wants you to think that you are.