Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Breakfast at Bay Street

[1] Overview of items: five purchases and three samples.
[2] Te'o Solid Deodorant: I am so obsessed with the smell of this, which is tea tree and lemongrass.
[3] Black Stockings Solid Body Tint: a subtle, but effective, self tanner.
[4] Pumice Power Foot Soap: I've been seriously slacking on foot care.
[5] Scrubee Body Butter: I've seen people buy ten of these in one go, so I had to try it.
[6] Samples: Plum Rain Shower Gel, Dark Angels Cleanser, Toothy Tabs in Bling! and Limelight.
[7] Ayesha Face Mask: My second go-to, after Love Lettuce.
[8] I stuck within my $50 budget!

My mental state is still the equivalent of watching paint dry. I have things to do, but after I get back from class, all I'm capable of is going to sleep, eating dinner, and then going back to sleep. I'm frustrated because I have no idea what to do about it. The only things I do are things I'm obligated to do. Tomorrow I have an interview, and I need to restock on groceries. I'm going to try to keep it strictly to groceries so I don't end up buying a ton of snacks to binge on.

When I'm not binge eating, I'm binge shopping. I found out that I won the scholarship I applied to, so I have some financial flexibility, even if the award doesn't transfer to my account right away. Last Saturday, I took a trip to Lush to treat myself and hopefully reset after everything that's happened lately (it didn't work, but it was still nice). We all have that place to go to when things get tough, and honestly, Lush just cleans my soul. There are so many products that I haven't used yet, but I'm more or less already addicted. If I were a dragon, I'd hoard Lush products.
"Well, when I get [the mean reds] the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's Lush. Calms me down right away." — Breakfast at Tiffany's 
A gloomy Saturday morning meant a really empty Lush shop. The nice part is I felt like I had plenty of time to browse around and chat with the sales assistant to check out some of the less well known products. I originally only needed the Love Lettuce face mask, but they didn't have any because of sourcing issues, so to make up for it I ended up picking a few items that I wouldn't have thought to try before. I tried to go for products with niche functions so I wouldn't have too many repeat products, but I also had to go for some of the new, highly recommended spring products. Overall, I'm more than satisfied with my Lush collection now, and from here on out, I expect I'll only need to restock on old favorites that I've run out of. Unfortunately, I still do not have a usable tub, but I went all out with a self care spa night anyway.

Dark Angels Cleanser
Ayesha Face Mask

In Shower:
Sea Vegetable Soap
Montalbano Solid Shampoo
Pumice Power Foot Soap
Buffy Body Butter // Scrubee
Brightside Bubble Bar

Strawberry Feels Forever Massage Bar
Eau Roma Toner Water
Celestial Facial Moisturizer
Black Stockings Body Tint
Te'o Deodorant

Morning After:
Movis Face Soap
Sleepy Body Lotion

Saturday, April 22, 2017

#obsessed: Champagne — K.Flay

Champagne in the kitchen not because I bought it but because / I’m crashing an apartment and somebody left it open / So I poured it in a cup, drank it up / I got the devil in my head but angels swimming in my blood / Plus the conscience of my dead dad / Plus my living mama plus my other father who raised me not to be sad / And my brother who says that he worries about me from my songs / And my sister who’s been living like a saint for so damn long

While I’ve been fucking sinning til the lights come up and mics catch us saying shit that we never really meant / Crew wears all black stuff but we all act like we’re so different / But everybody bleeds right? / Everybody’s waiting for the phone to ring / Yeah everybody seems fine / But everybody’s got pieces missing / At minimum I’d like a little medicine to make me feel like everything / Diminishing the venom that been harshing all my mellows I’m continuing to fight against the sentiment that make me want to dieIn a world full of uptight gentlemen I wanna find a boy smelling like sweet cinnamon to quote some Tennyson while we take Benadryl to make my head a bit extra light

I feel it, I want it / I need it, I love it / I’m looking for something / To make me feel nothing
I feel it, I want it / I need it, I love it / I’m looking for something / To make me feel nothing

Driving through the bay, pray for understanding / I’ll be silent for a day, wait until I vanish and I’m fighting for a break, vacant kind of passion / Never really can account for all the ways in which I’ve acted / Tried to call my daddy but he’s been gone a decade so I’m drinking like an addict til I’m fucking with a headache / Happiness sporadic so I’m crying on a Wednesday / Not trying to be combative but I’m dealing with some dead weight / Verbalize the hurt inside make me wanna burn alive / My heart was never broken it was circumcised

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ramblings & Repetition

Recovery sucks.

My brain is in anguish, drowning in a dense, suffocating mudslide that is also on fire. I can only hope to slog through the rest of this semester and stay alive in spite of my brain's overwhelming drive from time to time to fling itself over the Golden Gate Bridge. I can't focus in class and I can't focus on assignments as my brain is screaming at me for no apparent reason. The crisis counselor I've been seeing says it's ok to let myself stop, but the rest of the world isn't stopping. Time is rapidly barreling towards the end of the semester and there's no way to get that time back. I feel like I am doing everything that I can, but it's not enough, at least not enough to bring me back to the level of functionality I had before spring break.

Overwhelming, this has been an incredibly frustrating experience, dealing with a brain that is incapable of chemical homeostasis. It's like working on a really old, really slow computer. Everything lags and gets stuck (coincidentally, my computer has been really slow lately, which leads me to use it as an apt metaphor). Closing some of the applications definitely would help, but I want to be able to process all of those activities without lag, which might require an upgrade in software or additional parts, but I don't know what the problem really is. I don't know why I feel like I want to die. To some degree, I am aware that this is not what I really want. The thing is, none of this is new. I've dealt with all of this before. Maybe it's regular burnout from an intense semester or an intense year. Again, I don't know what the problem is, but I'm frustrated by my apparent lack of progress. I hate the idea of repeating my mistakes. I looked through some old posts dealing with mental health and found that I'm feeling the exact same thing now as I was two years ago, down to the structure of the title of that post.

Still, I have to recognize that I have made a lot of progress in my ability to self care. I've developed a structure for my life to function in the event of a depressive episode: a schedule for showering so I can still clean myself even when I don't feel like it — Monday-Wednesday-Friday morning, no questions asked, get up and get in the shower; meal prepping: throw pasta into a pot of boiling water, chop up a bunch of veggies and dump them into a sauce; a post-it note with my morning routine written down on it so I don't have to think about what I'm doing, just check them off the list; "generic outfits" so I don't have to think about what I want to wear; phone reminders to tell me what I have for the day so I know when and where to drag myself to go to my classes. It is so much effort to maintain the willpower to keep fighting, to continue to exist in a semi-normal state, even without wanting to. I feel like I deserve some kind of reward for staying alive, but there's no reward for the bare minimum of existence. The only satisfaction I can claim is the stubborn idea that I am special enough to refuse to let my mental health and depression destroy my life, in spite of everything.

I'm actively fighting with every little bit of spite I can muster. This time around, recovery has taken the form of wandering. Every time I feel like I can't do anything, instead of laying around in bed feeling choked on the dry boredom of life, I've been getting out and walking around town. It helps to have exercise clothes so I feel more put together and enabled to be comfortably active. Last night, I wandered into an ASUC elections tabulation ceremony on Lower Sproul. I bumped into a lot of friends, and for a few hours I felt alive again. In a way, I'm heaping stimulus on my brain hoping that overwhelming sensory input can forcibly push it into a functioning state. I've been blasting my eardrums with intense music hoping that the vibrations can restore a broken piece into place. I'm one step short of breaking into a hospital and giving myself a shot of adrenaline to kick my brain into gear. I can still recall the moments when every fiber and sinew of my being relished the zeal of life, and I want to feel that again.

In the meantime, I've realized that my grades will probably take a hit this semester, but I've made my peace with that. In doing so, I'm reevaluating my entire perspective toward college. At face value, in order to be conferred a qualification, students are processed through an impersonal system of evaluations — do everything right and be rewarded with a degree to achieve your goals. If I ever wanted to change the world, I'm realizing that the cards I've been dealt (mental health-wise) only allow me to do so much. My dreams aren't realistic. I am a tiny speck of dust raging at the universe. If this is the game, then I don't want to play it anymore. Alternatively, if college is a ladder up to a helicopter that will whisk me away from my parents forever, what am I actually going to need after that to be a well-balanced individual? There are other merits of the college experience that I intend to focus on now. Every burnout is a warning sign to recognize that I need to let myself be an imperfect human and deal with the mundane things that take more time than I think I need: eating, traveling, resting, entertainment, hobbies, and so many other things I've neglected in favor of 100% productivity. Optimistically, I've been receiving a lot of good news in terms of internships, activities, and other avenues to success for next semester. That doesn't change the fact that I'm struggling a lot right now, but at least it's something to look forward to. ◊

Monday, April 10, 2017

Existing // Momentum

From time to time, it strikes me how severe my mental health problems are. This weekend has been the lowest I've felt in a very long time. Depression and panic attacks I typically can handle, but being legitimately suicidal again is something that I don't know how to fix. I was horrified to suddenly realize: I am 19 years old, and I want to die. There are so many things wrong with that. I am so young, so full of potential, so excited for the things that will be happening in my life. I have no idea why I want to die. Yet at the same time, my brain has abandoned its biological purpose of self preservation in favor of an overwhelming impulse to self destruct. This is not okay.

With that in mind, it's not surprising that it's taking all my energy to be alive. All I'm capable of is existing — not knowing what to think, not knowing what to do — struggling to keeping moving, going through the motions, clutching my phone desperately looking for a distraction. I've been latching on from friend to friend to stay alive, knowing as long as I am in another person's presence, at the very least, I won't do anything impulsive. So far it's been working, and I could cry over how lucky I am to have friends who are willing to be there for me and care about me when I'm not capable of doing that myself. I know it must be frustrating to want to help, but not knowing how to fix the problem, especially when I am not sure what the problem is. But their existence has kept me existing, and I am forever grateful.


There is so little time left in the semester and so much left to do. I've been trying to catch up on my essays and assignments, but I've been running into a mental block every time I open up my computer and stare at a Word file. Wanting to do more than simply exist in a miserable, unproductive state, I went out for a walk around campus. I had no goal, no destination in mind; I was simply trying to get out of my head and do something, anything. I was hoping it would kickstart my motivation, that after the walk everything would be fixed and I could do things again, but this turned out not to be the case.

Later that day, I ended up at my friend Dana's house. I sat around and played with her cat, Fish, for a bit, but there wasn't much I was capable of doing at that point. A few hours later, she invited me to come with her to the gym. It is true that exercise helps with mood stabilization, but it is useless to say to someone with depression, "You should go get some exercise," which is usually what I encounter. In this case, by inviting me along, I felt reassured that she wanted me around, but I also was able to try something new without having to confront an unfamiliar environment. The exercise in and of itself also helped. I'm hoping starting a new habit can help me restart my ability to do my essays.

I think I have figured out why I can't complete any assignments yet. I had built up so much momentum this semester with everything I was doing. All of sudden, the incidents over spring break brought that ability to perform to a screeching halt. Trying to immediately resume performing at the level I was at before spring break felt like an insurmountable obstacle. I'm trying to incrementally ease myself back into a heavy workload, but without some kinds of accommodations, I don't think it's realistic to achieve the lofty goals I had at the beginning of the semester, grade-wise.

The reality is that I need to have an identity outside of my work, or at the moment, my academics. It is satisfying to accomplish things and earn good grades, but attaching my self worth to an assignment is easily a problem. I may have said this before, but I really need to make self care as a priority. Spending time with friends and doing things I enjoy should not be an afterthought for when I have some extra time. I need to give eating, entertainment, and exercise its proper consideration in my schedule to be fulfilled as a person. ◊

Saturday, April 8, 2017

I Wanna Get Better

I'm hanging out a friend's place right now on a sunny, Saturday afternoon. For some reason, it was hailing this morning near my apartment, but the sky was clear elsewhere. I haven't done much all day, except my laundry earlier, after having done not much else all week. I'm going to try to get my Teach For America application done today, before plans to hang out with friends later.

The end of the semester is winding down and from the outside, it looks like it's all going to be okay. I have an internship in Washington D.C. this summer, I have housing for next year, I have a healthy balance of academics and social life, and I'm dating a boy who I'm genuinely excited about. There are so many good things going on in my life that I want to hang on to.

Yet, the persistent monkey on my back is my mental health. I thought I had been managing everything this semester — and to a point, I was — but spring break brought everything to a crashing halt. A visit to San Jose on Monday that week triggered a panic attack, leaving me absolutely drained for the next few days. As I always do, I tried to bring the situation under control by reaching out to friends. Unfortunately, in this particular case, doing so did more harm than good.

Content warning: Discussion of sexual assault under the "Continue Reading »"