Tag Archives: Stigma

“SICKO”

When I hear people use words like “sicko”, “deranged”, “nut job” or other hurtful slang words to describe a person with a mental illness I cringe inside.

When I hear or read those words coming from the President of The United States I wonder if realizes or cares about the harm he’s doing and the added stigma he’s creating.

People who are diagnosed with a mental illness are not “monsters” to be feared or taken off the streets and institutionalized.

This is a fact, people with mental illness have more violence done to them than any other group in the United States.

40% of women with a mental illness have been raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. 

Our answer to this is to make them feel worse about themselves? More ostracized? More frightened by society than they already are?

I find it disgusting.

If you’ve never had the chance to see the inside of a State run institution I suggest you check yourself in for a few days and let me know what you think. That is if they release you. If you lived in Rhode Island from 1950-1997 chances are you were put in an over crowded facility where you slept in a chair, on a table, or a floor. Look up just how many Pauper’s graves were found on the grounds of this lovely institution. Hundreds of thousands of unidentified human beings that were treated like animals.

You might ask how I know this for sure. My Grandmother was a Nurse there. She should’ve been a patient. My Uncle, her son, actually was a patient for a few years. How anyone could do that to their own child I’ll never know. I’m not too surprised because she later abandoned all 7 of them without a place to live. They lived in a chicken coop for some time.

You can look it up. It was called the Howard Center and the IMH in Cranston, Rhode Island. The newer facilities are not much better.

It’s difficult enough when people find out you’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar or Schizophrenia without the Government making it sound like we all want to kill or mame everyone we come into contact with.

I am part of that 40%. I have also been slapped, spit on, kicked, punched, thrown down stairs, had concussions, and other violence done against me. I thought I deserved it. I DON’T ANYMORE.

I’m not a doormat or a punching bag. I am a human being who is more sensitive than other people. I startle easily and I stutter when frightened or under stress. I love animals, my nephews, my dad, my twin sister, my brother, and I miss my mom more than anything in the world.

Am I capable of violence? I think the question should be who isn’t? Everyone has their breaking points. If someone was to hurt your child would you protect them with violence? I think most people would. Does this make you a “sicko”? No. It makes you human. Try to remember your humanity when you listen to or read whatever vile crap is being spewed by people in positions of power who don’t know when to be quiet.


STUPID QUESTIONS EX: WHAT’S THE NUT HOUSE REALLY LIKE?

I don’t know why I’m still shocked by the things people say or the questions they ask when they find out something from my past. I try to keep a low profile in the town I live in but I’ve been arrested a few times and I did go out every night for many years.

I also live in the smallest state so it isn’t hard for gossip to spread to people you don’t even know.

What I have a problem with are the idiotic questions from people who should know better. These are not teenagers, these are adults.

Here are some questions I’ve been asked.

“Do you get really good drugs?”

“Can I buy some from you?”

“Is that like One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest?”

“You must have felt like Frankenstein, did you?” (ECT)

“Did you meet any real crazy people where you were?”

“You’re not that bad are you? Like dangerous?”

“Aren’t there bugs and people writing on the walls with their own feces? That must have been awful”

“You’re okay now though, right?”

“Are you cured?”

“Oh, so you’re like the guy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest?” (If I hear it one more time I’ll scream)

“So what kind of drugs are you on? Anything good?” (this is asked often)

I’m not sure why people have this specific image of the mentally ill but they do. It hasn’t gotten better if anything it may have gotten a little worse with violent acts being blamed immediately on the mentally ill in the media. I notice that people are more weary around me at times. I don’t feel comfortable with this. I don’t to frighten people.

I admit that I also feel anger at the entire situation. The lack of empathy and basic humanity is appalling to me. MV5BMTc5ODUyMDI5Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzM5OTQyNw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1480,1000_AL_MV5BNDc2NjMwNTUwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTUzNTIwNA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_MV5BMTA3MTE1ODE0NDReQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDQ2OTQ5NzM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1494,1000_AL_


DRESS CODES AT CONCERTS (Insert Snort Laugh Here)

The music industry is what it is. Not everyone in it is there because they have natural talent and instinct. Some are mostly smoke and mirrors, kind of like me most days. When the illusion is gone, stripped down, they can’t write music, lyrics, sing without having their voices tweaked, play acoustically or engage a crowd without theatrics.

A GREAT MUSICIAN DOESN’T NEED TRICKS THEY ONLY NEED INSPIRATION.

I would’ve given anything to be able to sing, wail out my pain or emptiness nightly instead of keeping it inside. Now that I no longer partake in alcohol I only sing in my car. The problem is I don’t leave the house often. I feel better when I drive around in the sun singing as loud as I can songs that make me feel alive. Other drivers probably don’t feel better but who cares? Also my car broke down over 2 weeks ago and I haven’t picked another one yet because I hate change, I really wanted to go on a vacation and spend all my money on a car, I’m worried I won’t have a place to live soon so I don’t want to take on another bill, I have a million excuses.

If I had received a letter with my Motley Crue or Aerosmith tickets that said the following:

PLEASE DO NOT WEAR: Shorts, large logos, flip flops, tank tops, crop tops, baseball hats, solid white or red clothing. We reserve the right to deny entry to anyone dressed inappropriately.

Our dress code is HIP & TRENDY as if you are going to a concert (uh, I think that’s the point), or night out with friends! The event is standing-room-only so please plan accordingly.

I should tell you that your cellphones/cameras/recording devices will be taken and locked up but you can have access to them in a specific area only.

First off I remember when W and I went to a Motley show and she had a gigantic can of hair spray in her purse. They wouldn’t let her in with it and because it was expensive (to her) she wouldn’t throw it away. I was getting pissed off we were missing the show over hair spray so I reached over, grabbed the can and chucked it in the garbage myself. She wasn’t very happy. I told her I would buy her 2 new cans but she said that wasn’t the point. I wanted to say no, the point is you should know better than to bring a large can of flammable liquid to a concert and it isn’t expensive you’re just cheap! But I said nothing.

I could never wear what other girls/women would wear to the concerts I went to. Most of it I wouldn’t have worn even if I could’ve. Some of the outfits were ridiculous. If you are a size 20 you should know a studded bra and spandex is not flattering. I say this because I was a size 20. Even at a size 14 I didn’t do it. And seeing men (?) wearing “No Fat Chicks” T-shirts was so funny! I couldn’t believe how many of those shirts I still see. I thought of making a few of my own “NO SMALL DICKS”, “NO BALD MEN”, “BE A MAN NOT PETER PAN”, when I get together with W we kind of get on a roll. Even though I’m a little underweight now that kind of constant low self esteem and body image issues stays with you.

I apologize to Arcade Fire but I have no idea who you are. I know trendy as far as hair, jewelry and clothing go and from pictures I’ve seen I’m not sure if your stylist does. You can blame Apple all you want but you did the same in 2013 so what was the excuse then? If you’re shooting a music video I can understand. All white stands out and so does all red. Having other recording devices there would be a problem also. But shorts, tank tops, crop tops (no one should be wearing crop tops unless you’ve time warped to 1989), flip flops (someone wants to risk sticky broken toes that’s their problem), large logos (again if you’re doing a video you might have to block it out or pay the company a fee) but still it’s kind of ridiculous.

These are fans who answered a question and applied for tickets and you treated them like morons who don’t know how to dress themselves.BBCF4X9

P.S. Only one person in my opinion can pull off a haircut close to this and that’s the beautifully spirited Dave Navarro who is in no way affiliated with this blog.


WAIT WHILE MY LAZY ASS TRIES NOT TO GET THROUGH THIS MANIC DEPRESSION

Manic Depression isn’t as fun as it sounds. I’m more irritable, short tempered, thoughts spin at a rapid pace and none of them are good. I also talk more and cry more, and I’m impulsive. My stutter will come and go as it pleases set off by the tiniest thing. I’m more aware of what’s going on and feel guilty about it. I also feel I’ve let everyone down once again because I can’t/won’t control myself/behavior.

When my family reads or watches something about mental illness that discusses how we benefit from exercise, breathing techniques, and CBT tools they then look at me and wonder why I’m still the same.

No one takes into account that I have more than one mental illness and autoimmune problems. I also have Chronic Kidney Disease and only 1 remaining kidney. I went into menopause way too early at 36/37 and this messes with so much of your bodies hormones and chemicals in your brain. By the way NONE of my doctors have ever questioned it which I find odd. They haven’t questioned the fact that I’ve gone from 5′ 7″ to 5′ 5″ in less than 2 years either. Or that my new body temperature is between 93-94 degrees. I find all of this odd but none of them do. Before anyone tells me to try new doctors I’ve been to so many including the best in Boston only to here “You’re definitely sick we just don’t know the exact cause”. Thanks for nothing.

I can’t exercise when every single joint hurts, I have arthritis throughout my entire body but it’s worse in my hips and spine. My neck constantly feels like it’s broken and my head feels swollen all the time. That could be the 2 cysts that way up inside my sinus cavity close to my brain that no one has bothered to check since 2008. Or the swelling in my brain that no one has bothered to check since 2008. One Doctor said I was looking at hip replacement soon and that was 8 years ago. But let me jog this depression off so you can feel better around me.

I had 2 good days that I knew wouldn’t last when I woke up this morning crying. I had dream that was really a memory. The same one I always have. The chair hits me over the head, I’m pinned to the floor, punched in the face over and over, I feel like I’m drowning in my own blood, I fly down a flight of stairs, and then I’m standing there soaked in blood and no one helps me. My blond hair is stained red and I will have a scar under my chin from a skull ring.

What made me cry this morning was thinking about how my best friend allowed this person into her home recently for a cook out. I’m not invited to cook outs. To be fair he wasn’t invited either but he wasn’t asked to leave. How could she sit there looking at him knowing how much he had hurt me? Seeing the clothes I had to throw away? Her boyfriend loves me like a sister and I can’t believe if he knew who the guy was he would’ve let him stay. I’m hurt and angry. I’m really angry. If I had known he was there I probably would’ve showed up and tried to grille his face. Sorry I shouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t have the strength anyway. I’m just hurt.

Letting go is hard and forgiving is sometimes not possible.

I’ll try to think of my two good days and hope for more.


Telling Your Story Isn’t Easy

I chose to publicly discuss what other people would normally hide or only tell their priest or Therapist. The reaction has ranged from positive to hateful. It’s also caused me to question myself many times and opened my eyes to just how much Stigma is attached to Mental Illness/Addiction/Suicide or anything related to these subjects.

But the Stigma, confusion and misinformation doesn’t stop with those who don’t have these issues. This I find even more appalling. When I’m attacked on Social Media by someone who has been through misdiagnosis, psychiatric hospitals, and receiving the wrong care or no care it angers me.

When I’m ganged up on and told I don’t know what I’m talking about I become furious.

THE TRIGGER

A person who follows me on Twitter is promoting a book about his personal struggle with a misdiagnosis of ADHD, medicated with 9 different Psychiatric Medications for over 3 years when the root cause was PTSD and Vision Issues.

After a recent musician’s suicide he wrote “I’ve got a ton of failures in my past- the difference is that I did NOT give up (even during a suicide attempt, which I stopped suddenly)”

One of his Followers wrote after that “Suffered from Depression for 11 months. Music and exercise, not tablets (pills) helped me snap out of it and determination”

I admit I’m not myself lately and I become irritated or angered easily. I am more sensitive than usual which if you knew me you would know this is extremely bad.

My responses were respectful. I didn’t want to appear incoherent or disrespectful. I replied to the first one “I’m happy that you have been strong enough or able to keep going. Unfortunately not everyone is the same and every illness is different.”

He asked me “Is there anything you are grateful for?” I can’t say I took that question well. I waited to respond and when I did I told him I was grateful for “My father and the people I’ve been able to help who are like me, who went too long without help, who suffer daily, the invisible ones.”

The other one I told “The reason there is so much Stigma surrounding Mental Health is because people say things like “snap out of it” when it isn’t possible with a Mental Illness like Bipolar or Schizophrenia”.

The reply was “You don’t know f*ck all about it. I did snap out of my depression! 5 weeks after snapping out of depression I was kidnapped by the authorities an injected by force!”

This is when I realized I was arguing with a person I probably was wasting my time arguing with. When I actually looked at their Twitter page and it said they were the Governor of Rowanwood and held many Amateur Boxing Championships (amateur was spelled wrong 3 times) I knew to let it go. This person was dealing with more than they probably knew about.

YOUR STORY

There comes a point where no one around you wants to hear about anything related to Mental Health, Medications, Doctors, Stigma, or how you feel. They become numb to your pain and tears and even annoyed. I can’t say I blame them. The problem is it never leaves my head. The stories linked to Bipolar and Alcoholism. The way I behaved and the consequences. The people I hurt and lost along the way. The people I lost when I stopped drinking and they found out I was diagnosed as Bipolar.

There’s also a physical component. I self medicated with alcohol for over 20 years. I have Celiac Disease but I didn’t find out until I stopped drinking. Every time I drank I was poisoning myself and doing permanent damage to my body. I mostly drank beer and shots. It took about 3 days to recover sometimes from a hangover. The last few years I was vomiting blood and my liver was enlarged. I damaged my brain, immune system, my white blood cell count is always too low, I’ve lost significant grey matter for my age, the list goes on. I did it to myself but there were also so many professionals who missed it all.

Now, I’m left feeling worse than I ever have.

WHAT I WANT TO DO

There are a few things I would like to do if it’s possible to feel better again.

I want to travel more. I love to travel to warm, sunny, beautiful places. Hopefully with wildlife.

I would like to try to speak publicly about my story to help others.

I want to take my Dad to local areas he’s never been to but I know he’ll enjoy.

I want to try to sell my jewelry.

I want to volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary.

I want to live instead of exist.


MEDIA EXPLOITATION~ THE AGHORI

CNN has a new show that I recently watched a preview for. I wasn’t exactly sure how to feel about it until I watched a few different promotions for it. Then I knew exactly how I felt, disgusted. The use of shock and awe, the villianization of The Aghori’s beliefs and rituals, is an obvious attempt to draw viewers in based on sensationalism.

THE AGHORI

The Aghoris are devotees of Shiva manifested as “Bhairava” (a Hindu deity that translates to “frightful” and is associated with “annihilation”). It is believed that they have been around for over a 1,000 years.

They devote their entire lives to achieving “moksha” or liberation from reincarnation. They follow what some see as a radical path that many would find difficult and probably repugnant if they had to do it for what they believed in.

The Aghori  believe that every person’s soul is covered by 8 Great Nooses or bonds, Sensual pleasure, Anger, Greed, Obsession, Fear and Hatred are the strongest of the eight. The Aghoris work to remove these bonds by Rituals. Rituals done in cremation grounds destroy fear, being naked destroys shame, they cover themselves in human ashes for protection from disease and are known to eat human feces and drink urine. (Other cultures also drink urine believing it has healing properties)

The Aghoris see no difference between good and evil or a difference between human and animal flesh. They never kill humans. They live near cremation grounds and take flesh from the dead.

Another large part of their culture is the use of the human skull. The skull is used as a bowl for all the Aghori and they share the bowl with animals. Some Aghoris believe that a person’s life force clings to the top of the skull and with certain offerings/gifts, usually alcohol, they can control the spirit.

During the preview for CNN’s show where the Host visits with a man who is supposedly well known within the Aghori sect. The show allows the Host to go through “rituals” before the Aghori will talk to him. They included bathing in a polluted river, raw sewage and covering himself with cremated remains.

At one point the Host tells the “Crew” that he isn’t comfortable and feels the situation has taken a turn, he doesn’t feel safe. The “Crew” tells him to keep going and not to worry about it. None of them realize how insulting they are to this man, his beliefs, and how he lives.

It isn’t until the Aghori turns his anger on the “Crew” throwing feces at them and threatening them that they decide to pull the plug and leave.

It is almost impossible to change a culture’s beliefs that have been around for thousands of years. Even if we find them abhorrent or ridiculous. If we have learned anything from History as far back as the Crusades it’s that there is one thing people are willing to die for. Religion. aghori-human-skull

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


WHY WE THINK WE CAN RELATE TO MUSICIANS/ARTISTS/CELEBRITIES

There’s a good reason I find myself “Following” a musician on Social Media. Through their lyrics, life stories or the topics they talk about I find that I relate to them more than other people.

Could this be because close to 70% of people in the Music Industry have a Mental Health issue and/or substance abuse problem? Personally, I think so. I can recognize myself in some of the people I’ve listened to or respected for years. I can see something in their eyes at times that I’ve seen in my own. Does this sound crazy? Probably. But I’ve voiced my suspicions about certain people that had not gone public with any problems only to find out later that I was actually correct. Two of these people I knew personally so I had a little more information than the public did years before things got to a point where the problems couldn’t be ignored anymore. No one listened to me then either.

I love it when someone only sees the words Bipolar, Alcoholic next to my name and immediately dismisses anything I say. Because anything I say must be crazy right? I love reading other people’s comments where they use the word “bipolar” as if it’s something funny. They also tend to spell it “bi-polar”. I love it when they use “bipolar” to describe the weather.

If I comment on any of this I get muted or blocked. That’s the way the game is played. In return I want to prove a point and tell them I know people in “their world” that can vouch for me. But I can’t. The funny thing is every band or musician I’ve ever met has actually liked me and has never had a problem talking to me, some for hours. Some I know through family and have been around them for years I even had to attend a wedding with one.

So I do get pissed off and defensive while on Social Media. That’s my problem not theirs. I’m also used to being ignored  and treated like I’m “less than”. This happens at the Doctors quite often and by my family. My Doctor ignored what I was telling her for so long that I almost died. She never took responsibility for ignoring my symptoms and the blood and protein that had been in my urine for over 10 years. If she had listened I might have two kidneys instead of one and not be in Stage 3/4 Chronic Kidney Disease.

I’m really tired of being mute and silenced. I’m tired of saying “I’m sorry” to everyone I know and walking on eggshells all the time. Most of all I’m just tired.

Now because I wasn’t listened to again my Urologist is worried that the stents used to keep my kidney working are badly infected and because my blood pressure is extremely low I could have the beginning of sepsis. So keep ignoring me.


THE TRUTH ABOUT SEX

I apologize if you thought you were going to read some Erotica or learn something new about sex. You might learn something new but it will have more to do with a darker side of the subject. What happens when you have a Mental Illness that isn’t diagnosed and you self medicate with drugs or alcohol. You are probably wondering what any of this has to do with sex, actually a lot more than you think.

I started drinking at 16/17 and also started having sex. I was probably a late bloomer for that time period, it was around 1991. The first time I had sex I was drunk and sex was like that for me for the next 20 years.

I drank because something was missing inside of me. I had a hard time talking to people and never felt like I belonged anywhere, not even with my own family. I had a constant ache in my chest like a hole was there. I always had butterflies in my stomach and felt like I was going to throw up whenever I had to be around people. School was torture. I hid as best as I could but that was hard to do considering I was taller and heavier than the rest of the girls in my school. I always felt that I was the ugliest, less intelligent, and shouldn’t be there.

When I discovered alcohol all of those feelings went away. I did have times before I started drinking where at home I would talk too much, too fast. I would also stay up for days reading in my room or watching movies. This was hard to control at school. Somehow I did. I know that I smoked pot at school sometimes and I think I did other drugs too.

While manic there was nothing more exciting than getting ready to go out. I could also drink more while manic. I was always trying to prove points. I would pick up the best looking guy and sleep with him as if this proved I was worth something. Sometimes it was just part of the chase. The people I hung out with then compared me to a guy in the way I acted with men. I chose to act that way after being hurt too many times. If I leave first than you can’t hurt me. This didn’t always work.

Promiscuity is a well known symptom of Bipolar Disorder. Not many people talk about it. I do because it was a big part of some of the things I can’t forget or remember.

When you are an alcoholic and Bipolar (but don’t know it) it can be a recipe for some scary situations. I would wake up and not know if I had sex or not. I wouldn’t know if I had said yes or not or who the person was. This happened more times than I would like to admit.

When I stopped drinking I also stopped having sex. That’s correct. It has been quite a few years. When people see this they assume that I am a troll or hideous. Today I wanted to plaster Twitter with pictures of myself to show that I’m not. But that would be proving points again that I don’t need to do anymore.

The fact is part of me is scared. The other problem is I don’t socialize very much and I hate to admit it but I’m picky! I like a sense of humor, kind eyes with something behind them, usually dark hair, the person doesn’t have to be a male model but I have to be attracted to them in some way. We have to share some common interests. It’s a lot to ask for. I don’t like dating sites. I still have it in my head that I’m going to meet this person at a bar (not drinking) or a concert.

The reason for this is that your maturity level kind of stops when you start drinking. I still have the thoughts of a 16/17 year old girl. Which if you think about it makes sense.

So it’s okay to be celibate. It doesn’t mean no one wants you. It’s a choice for a period of time until you feel ready. 14191969_10210844810143170_6249931150507043504_n


I DIDN’T KNOW I COULD BE USED TO DESCRIBE THE WEATHER (HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULDN’T)

WHY IT’S RUDE TO USE MENTAL ILLNESS AS AN ADJECTIVE

As a person with Bipolar Disorder I have no control over the weather and the weather can’t be “bipolar”. I was a little hurt to see this on someone’s Twitter page that I respect. The man support’s charities for abused women and isn’t an ignorant person so I had a hard time with this one. Am I really that offended? Not really. But only because I’ve had so much worse said to my face directly.

I wouldn’t want my worse enemy to go through what I have had to go through for most of my life. It has actually gotten worse since my diagnosis. When you are diagnosed you expect help or relief. When 6 years go by and you are now not leaving the house, jumping at any loud noises, your stuttering isn’t even stuttering anymore it’s gibberish or nothing comes out at all, the ache in your chest feels like a hand grenade landed there and thoughts run wild in your head non stop, people have stopped answering your calls and texts, the person you live with can’t hear you and you can’t repeat yourself, you destroyed any chance at a normal life, you are scared no one will be with you in the end, all you think about are the ends that you had to witness, that broke you until you couldn’t be put back together again.

I’m physically ill and can’t find a doctor. All they see is a “crazy” person. Until it’s almost too late. Like last time. Why? Because in the real world I don’t matter. “Oh, you say there’s swelling in your brain? You should talk to your Psychiatrist about that.”. Last time I checked a PSYCHIATRIST is different than a f*cking NEUROLOGIST! And why doesn’t anyone know about Genetic Testing to see what medications would work best for your Mental Illness??? DOCTORS DON’T READ RESEARCH ARTICLES OR MAGAZINES?

Yup, it’s great being Bipolar. No more friends, my family hates talking to me, my brother in law refers to me as “People like you” and doesn’t really want me around my nephews, my twin sister even avoids me, I cry almost everyday and then I have feelings of anger or wanting to disappear. I do nothing, I say nothing, it’s all nothing. But at least I affect the weather.bipolarweather_0

 

 


A DIFFERENT TAKE ON BEAUTY (From Ugly Duckling To Confused Swan)

I was born in 1973, born five minutes after me was my fraternal twin sister. There is a picture of us only a few weeks old where it appears she is trying to punch me in the face. That should’ve been a good indicator of things to come.

Although we were not identical, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins still were confused about who was who. When we were born we weighed a little under 5 pounds each and stayed in the hospital until we gained enough weight to leave. Except one of us never stopped gaining. Starting at an early age that’s how relatives would tell us apart. They didn’t care if I heard them or not. “D is the fat one and Deb is the skinny one” is what I constantly had to listen to. As I became older I would scream in my head “Are you f*cking stupid? One of us is blond and the other is a red head! If you don’t know the difference after 15 years than don’t bother!”. There were honestly times I wanted to physically hurt one of them. I would be playing with cousins and one would get hurt. I would automatically get blamed because I was “big” and must have “squished” one of them.

I tried to be invisible. It was easier that way. If I drew attention to myself that would be asking for punishment, humiliation, or ridicule. I wore baggy clothes and hid my face behind my hair for many years.

I always had a love for make up, hair products, perfume, clothes, but I was limited in what I could do. There was little clothing available at that time for 16 year old girls who were a size 18. Most clothing was marketed for much older women or what little I thought was nice was extremely expensive.

By the time I was a Senior in High School my Bipolar Episodes (Not Diagnosed Yet) were in full swing. I would have feelings of wanting to belong so badly I thought the world would end. I wanted a guy to actually see me for once. I wanted to be wanted. Smoke and Mirrors became my best friends.

Not many are born knowing how to apply make up correctly or blow dry hair just right. I had to learn in order to wear my “mask” of confidence that was boosted with alcohol. When I was all made up and had a new outfit on I actually felt a little good about myself. Add the alcohol in and I was hot. That can only last so long. 20 years to be exact.

When I was diagnosed as Bipolar and stopped drinking I also stopped socializing. I did start to lose some weight. The Doctor told me I would at first because of the medication and because I have Celiac Disease. A year went by and I was down almost 130 pounds. My family was worried. Well most of them. I now weighed less than my twin sister and she wasn’t taking it well.

I wasn’t doing well either. I had this new body in the mirror, a completely different face, I had changed my hair color as well. I wasn’t sure how to dress for this body. My sister refused to go clothes shopping with me. I would sit in a dressing room quietly crying because I was confused about whether I was wearing a shirt or a dress. Did I have a camel toe or was it suppose to fit that way? Some of the clothing should’ve come with directions. I finally had to ask women in the dressing rooms to help me. I was embarrassed. I was angry that after all the years of bullying and pain my sister would hold this against me.

When I received a compliment I didn’t know what to do with it. When someone found out I had lost a lot of weight I felt like I had to tell them it wasn’t through diet and exercise because it would be wrong to let them think that.

When I started to notice dents in my temples and indentations in my cheeks I became concerned. My Hematologist told me I had “Muscle Wasting Disease” which happens with Autoimmune Disorders. What we didn’t know was that my Kidneys had been Failing. I wouldn’t find out until it was almost too late.

Bipolar Disorder, Alcoholism, Obesity, and even being too thin all carry Stigma. The things I’ve hadthonf73axv said and done to me because of one or the other I still can’t forget. I used “Beauty Tools” to try to hide the real me even when I lost weight. I never leave the house without a mask. But sometimes they serve a purpose.

While in Cosmetology School and working in Salons I would do hair for women who couldn’t afford it. Women who hadn’t had their hair done in years or ever. I can’t tell you how many had tears rolling down their faces when I was finished. As they stood up their posture would be different than when they first came in. Their eyes brighter and their smiles confident. I know it’s only hair but sometimes it’s the human interaction and having a chance to relax and feel good about yourself that can make a difference. It’s those times I enjoyed the most.

 


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