collecting words in pillowcases & flipping them into the wind.

so, I’m still alive, if you can call it that.

I’ve been on his medication for long enough for it to do what all medication does — flatten me out & take away my words. the poet? she’s buried under a mess of chemicals & cassette-tape-months on repeat.

the only words I have now are “maintenance medication” and “you’ll probably always need to be medicated” and “we can always add an antidepressant… or seroquel”.

my options in life have been distilled into plastic bottles full of plastic futures that cost entirely too much.

do I regret going on medication? not sure yet. I probably won’t know until after I’ve weaned myself off, which I’ve already started doing, without psych advice, might I add. not that it matters much; I already know what my psych would say; I’ve had all those words already. it was worth it at the time; it have me a glimmer of hope to hold onto when I was thisclose from letting go of everything. everything has it’s place.

my running freefloating anxiety & sense of impending doom has all but disappeared, so there’s that. not to say the anxiety is gone — it’s not. I still get anxious about most everything: going to the store, going to the neighbours to pay for rented parking, going to the dry cleaners, thinking of starting to drive again. Okay, so three of those four I still haven’t done. so, define “progress”?

progress is, to my psychiatrist, accepting a second medication. cocktails to the girl who doesn’t drink.
progress is, to me, cooking every single meal I eat from scratch & eating nothing with a label. okay, so I’m still only averaging two meals a day, & one snack if I’m lucky & wake early enough, but I’m cooking! I haven’t been able to do that solidly for.. longer than I’d like to admit.
progress is, in my mind, that “a meal” consists of more than just one egg, fried. 230 calories is now a “small snack”. 230 calories used to be huge. 230 calories used to be a meal that I maybe couldn’t finish.

I am filling myself with much other things, now.

I’ve officially been on this elimination diet for 3 months & it’s become second nature. it got a whole lot easier once I realized there is a whole group of people who already eat like this, by choice. it’s called “paleo”. hahaha! there are blogs & recipes & recipe books full of food that I Can Eat. the writer in me can’t find the words to describe how fucking hysterically hopeful & … happy? that makes me. See, I am useless when it comes to trying to express happy emotions. It’s been that long.

yeah.

so I am pretty on board with this ‘paleo’ thing. I’m a little behind the curve, I know, but as I’ve always been ridiculous thin I’ve never kept up with the latest ‘diet’ things. until I was forced on it by a high TTG & another word: celiac.

as for my celiac-ness, well, it’s still here. still symptomatic, still getting more words, such as.. refractory sprue, steroids, stitches, surgeries & never getting better. luckily I am still me, so that means I can replace those scary words with ones that are much more familiar: denial & blind optimism.

optimism?

yeah, it’s been a while. optimism & hope now comes in the form of, well, more words, but these ones aren’t mine: these are written by someone who knows far more than I do, on nutritional therapy. Julia Ross, “The Mood Cure”, a manifesto based mostly on curing all this mental shit with high doses of amino acids & vitamin/mineral combos. and what do I have other than time? an ability to swallow 3 pills at a time & whole lot of hope.

I’ve been on her supplement plan for 4 weeks (not counting the one week where I fell off the wagon & binged exclusively on homemade honey-sweetened-nutflour-baked-goods, cakes & french toast, but I deserve a little break for getting through all the SHIT I’ve been through in the last year+, damn it!) & I’ve already felt better than I have in…….. years. better than I did when I cut gluten. better than I did when I cut processed sugar. better than I did when I cut fast food, dairy, nightshades, starches, grains…. and a whole shit load of better than I’ve felt since starting my state-sanctioned-pharmaceuticals. so, fuck all this; I am going fullsteamahead on this supplement plan. when I had my binge/crash, I felt my mood slipping slowly each day I went without my aminos. but… even still.. my mood wasn’t nearly as bad as before. just getting dark around the corners, as if being consumed by a silent flame. my suicidal thoughts were relegated to 30 minutes of sadness, instead of my entire waking existence. maybe nothing to you, but to me, that is a fucking miracle. as it turns out, those miracle pills I’ve been looking for since 2008? THEY EXIST. only they originate from protein, not pharmaceutical laboratories. shocking, I know.

I am seeing my psychiatrist at the end of the month, when she gets back from her vacation & I am informing her I’m going off my meds. they haven’t done anything positive for me since I hit around 100/125mg, anyway. my progress has plateaued, and who knows if that progress was from the antiseizure meds or from just a mix of eating more than 1000 calories a day, cutting grains/nightshades/starches/the rest of my gluten & the placebo effect.

I’m getting other effects, too, that aren’t placebo: my hair is falling out, my eyelashes are falling out, my eyes are blurring & it’s hard to focus them.. oh, and I’m suffering from a serious case of medication-induced-unwritingitis. it’s not so much that I can’t write, it’s just that I forget about writing. no longer is the need to write there… the pressing need that forces me to spill words onto keys like they actually matter.

not sure if I’m getting better or if I’m just accepting this lower standard of living. maybe both. but I’ve definitely accepted that this ‘getting better’ thing is going to take time, even if my mind is trying to hurry it up. this letter today sounds pretty depressing, I guess, but for what it’s worth I don’t feel depressed. I have been suicidally depressed for the last 2 years up until the last 4 weeks when I started taking these aminos, so there’s that. a reprieve from the urges that make me want to leave this world behind? sure, I’ll take it; it’s a welcome vacation from the life I’m currently stuck, stuck, stuck in.

taliho, for now,
I’m sure I’ll be seeing you somewhere closer to 125mgs.

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press repeat.

one step forward
fifty steps back
& not even
in the same direction.

autoimmune things are such a bitch.

a self-destructive mind to match my self-destructive body. (a tribute to autoimmune diseases & my diseased logic)

i am lemon yellow
& leaking from the wrists.

in battle by myself,
again,
i am trying to fight
the part of me
that thinks i can survive on tea & smoothies
because everything else
makes me sick.

‘trying to get better’ is my full time job & i
work all the overtime
for the paycheque i have yet to get.

on doctor’s orders i
cut out cane sugar, cut out gluten, cut out dairy, cut out starches, cut out beans,
cut out all the things that give me medical mood swings
& make me feel like shit.

permission to restrict? no problem
almost afraid to admit
justify my insane meal plans this time because
celiac disease
is such a convenient excuse.

disordered eating;
disordered mind
saying the only things anorexic about me are my
eating habits
& my BMI.
always questioned but escaping diagnosis
because i don’t try to lose weight &
i don’t think i’m fat
i just don’t think

i deserve to eat

but they never ask me that.

my doctor prescribes me 30 pounds;
she recommends 3,200 calories a day
my mouth coats with cotton
there is no fucking way —
she’d settle for 2,500
but while we’re wishing unlikelies
can she prescribe me wings? so i
can soar away from the world where even
1000 calories sounds like a challenge.

i’m just naturally underweight, my mind says
i was born with the ability to survive
on sunshine & well wishes & words.

scapegoat celiac perfect excuse for why
fasting feels fine;
& why it’s normal to me
to not be hungry, to stop long before i’m full, to restrict when i’m stressed;

& to always be stressed.

it’s not until i see pictures
when i’m unrecognizable —

knobby knees, arms like sticks & small clothes that don’t fit.

they say the camera adds ten pounds
but to me it takes away twenty;
always a shock to see on film
what i can’t in the mirror.

denial so tight i confuse it for skin.

i am stiff joints & shaky arms & stumbling,
i am feeling like a fraud but still
i am running until i see spots.

i am used to feeling
my heart fluttering when i’m sitting
tripping over it’s own beats &
trying to escape.

now i am justified
celiac disease provided permission
to scribble another fifty things on my can’t-eat-this list…
disgustingly proud, glorified for restricting suddenly being so healthy
after a positive TTG blood test.

cruel irony in that

i am autoimmune; most food makes
my body attack itself from the inside —
medically diagnosed self-destruction & i wonder how the hell
could my mind ever be fine.

how far i have come in one year. (when small things become huge)

dear depressive side that doesn’t remember;
dear negative thoughts;
dear irrational mind that likes to deny;
dear disordered head;
dear worthless piece of shit;
shut up & listen:

recovery is not linear!

a year ago..
i couldn’t get out of bed.
& when i did,
‘getting up’ meant moving from lying on the bed to lying on the couch.

a year ago..
i couldn’t get to sleep (until 5am if i was lucky).
i couldn’t wake before 3, 4, 5pm without feeling physically ill;
couldn’t make do with less than 10 hours of sleep,
& twelve was preferable.

a year ago i’d awake
desperate & depressed
closing my eyes & begging sleep to take me away
another couple hours until i had to face
the day i wasn’t ready for.

a year ago i was too weak
to even stand in the shower, &
i couldn’t stand to brush my teeth more often than
a couple times a week.

a year ago i was single digit ferritin, brutally anemic, unable to even remember my blood test results required a bottle of iron pills.

a year ago i was utterly undiagnosed & unable to cope.

a year ago..
i couldn’t cook.
i couldn’t clean.
i couldn’t see yesterday’s dishes in a pile without crying & feeling defeated.
i couldn’t even walk with flat feet because my leg muscles were so shrunken & weak.
i couldn’t eat more than two small snack ‘meals’ a day;
dry saltines were considered ‘dinner’ —
i’d eat half a package on
a very good day.

a year ago..
i’d awake weighing a thousand pounds
arms like cinderbricks
unable to move,
stomach so swollen i could pass for pregnant.

a year ago a glass of water was heavy &
my arms would shake to carry it.

a year ago..
i couldn’t even have one okay day.
i couldn’t do anything other than selfmedicate from the moment i awoke to the moment i went to sleep for three years.
sometimes i couldn’t even talk.

a year ago i
couldn’t even realize i was in a tunnel, let alone see a light at the end of it,
couldn’t tell my psychiatrist the whole truth,
couldn’t feel like i deserved anything,
couldn’t accept that i needed help,
couldn’t accept medication,
couldn’t accept recovery,
couldn’t reject my disordered coping mechanisms,

& didn’t even want to try.

three hundred & sixty some days,
reading through the list of how things used to be and i
feel so very far away.

okay so
maybe i still feel
like a bag of shit
with once-tight jeans that still don’t fit
& maybe i still won’t tell my psychiatrist the whole truth
but then again

i am starting from scratch
working past
27 years of disordered eating,
27 years of messed up thoughts,
27 years of untreated celiac disease,
5 years of  being housebound by anxiety,
4 years of suicidal depression,
3 years of fulltime addiction,

1 year is nothing but three hundred & sixty some days of fighting everything i’ve ever known & so
perhaps i’m stronger than i think.
funny how a self-incriminating list
of how fucked up i used to exist
of all the ways i was ashamed —

can in three hundred & sixty some days
suddenly somehow
become empowering
if only because it’s all
three hundred & sixty some days away.

seven months clean with only the occasional relapse; not bad for a 27 year addiction, right?

twenty seven years —
my daily disorder
my favorite disease
no cure; just endure.

i’d be the one getting bloated off one beer
blaming the carbonation while
foaming at the mouth.
take my addiction daily
at every meal;
take my misguided medication orally
swallow & let it destroy me
from the inside
passive suicide.

i’m unable
to understand how something so highly recommended
can be so dangerous —
as it smiles at me from across every counter
hidden within
every wrapper
comes prepackaged with lies & paper promises:
6-8 servings a day are strongly suggested
they say
take two of these with every meal
and don’t call me at all.

quitting cold turkey sandwiches nearly felt worse than quitting effexor in two weeks;
infecting my head with thoughts of pastries & things i haven’t had in years are suddenly everywhere —
spend till 3am shaking salivating staring at pictures of pancakes & crepes & croissants & muffins…..
writing a hundred gluten-free recipes until my hands cramp & my fingers turn blue
from ink & disappointment;
avoiding bakery aisles to stave off saline eyes
because the smell of bread
nearly sent me into DT’s.

sadly for me there was no self-help group for gluten addiction; there’s an overeaters-anonymous but no overwheaters support to coax me to drop the needle filled with macaroni & cheese.

i did it all my own, stubbornness beside me
seventy two hours & the worst was over.

now the diagnosis: celiac — the word sounds to me more like a car than the life-sentence
that drove me to the edge of insanity & back but
another medical excuse for mood swings & tiredness is
greatly appreciated; & after all i’ve already cleared for it
a spot in my garage.

despite my mistrust for doctors i must say: there’s
nothing like an incurable disease
to cure me.

mental wellness through recycling.

I’m having one of those “up” days where I forget that I’ve been brutally, painfully depressed + nonfunctional for the majority of the last year + a half. so naturally, in these brief moments of positivity I’m trying to figure ways to snap myself out of the depression when it inevitably comes back.

I also have 3 boxes that have been stacking up, boxes that normally would be destined for recycling if I could find it within myself to make my way down to the underground parking lot & leave them in the recycling bin. Needless to say, they’ve been sitting here for 3 weeks & I’ve finally found a way to recycle them, without ever leaving my apartment. Score one for the hypomanic creativity, eh?

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