ON A POSITIVE NOTE

I have some incredible news to share! I’m going back to get my masters in education. Okay, I get it. Woop de do, the majority of teachers do. But I’m different.

You see, everytime I even thought to myself, you should get your masters, I reminded myself it would cost too much money and that I wouldn’t have time.

Time for me was supposed to be short. I never thought or wanted to live past 50. When I turned 50, I gave it a few months to see if it was worth it and after two months I realized, it wasn’t. I said, fuck this, my life is shit, and I wanted out. So, as I shared with you before, I tried. I tried pretty hard but I’m not a pharmacist or a chemist and the chemicals I mixed didn’t produce the reaction I wanted. Hmm… maybe the next time I mix chemicals in science class I might want to do a little more research. The point is, who needs a masters if you’re dead. Right? 

Now, after weeks of residential treatment, weeks of PHP, and one week of IOP (I dropped out a bit early of that) and heart wrenching therapy with my daughters, I’ve come to realize that they need me to stick around. If I’m going to stick around, I might as well make it worth it. So… going back to school sounded like a great idea.

People that know me, really well, know this is a major commitment. Just like the semicolon ring I wear and eventually, the semicolon tattoo I’ll get. To have this stuff before just made me feel like a hypocrite. Yes, I get it, I survived an attempt or two but I wasn’t done planning. so realistically, I had reason to wear it but what a hypocrite I would be. Before, that whole, ‘my story isn’t over’ shit was just bullshit. My story was supposed to be a short story with a sad ending. Now, I guess that shit isn’t bullshit anymore. My story hasn’t ended and I’m willing to write the novel. (Funny thing is, besides this blog, I have a manuscript ready to go if interested. Lol. It’s young adult fiction but about 90% of it is my life and someday, I might just have to publish this blog!)

I’m a new person. I’m not the same person that went into residential treatment. Yes, depression is still weighing me down as well as my struggles with my ED but the will to live is much greater. I’ve been trying to do things that will make it worthwhile. 

I’ve been teaching myself how to play the guitar, writing a hell of a lot more, going for my masters, hiking, and doing paint by numbers. I’ve been spending more time with my kids, quality time. I think I’m a better person. But….. with Ted, things have changed as well. Not for the better really.

Since I’ve been home I’ve had little interest in intimacy. It’s the whole weight thing and past trauma. I don’t enjoy his company as much.  He’s a bit too much of a narcissist for me. His temper and his negative views about a lot of things is wearing on me. And let’s face it, he’s not helping with me at all when it comes to my ED. I keep thinking that it’s all because of my weight change. That if I was thinner then it would be all fine and dandy.

Lately, I don’t think that’s true. I think he fell in love with someone who I no longer am. He might not see it and might think it doesn’t matter but this new me thinks maybe it does. 

I’m not in a hurry to call it quits. I’ll stick it out for now and see where it goes.

BUT, I will not skip to my last chapter. I’ll read every page. I know that some of it will make me cry, some of it will be challenging, but I also know that there will be pages and pages of smiles and laughter too. 

Hmm…. how the hell would I title that book?

Sugar coating through art

I’m an IOP drop out. I know I’ve mentioned it in the past. It wasn’t for me. The clients were too young. Blah blah blah… Is that the reason I’m in relapse? Naahhh. I don’t think you can be in relapse unless you are recovered. Yea I know, recovery isn’t linear… again, blah blah blah.

Ditching IOP wasn’t the original plan. I just wasn’t getting anything from it. My therapist understood why I did it but she wasn’t necessarily happy about it. The IOP that was offered through the residential/PHP place was a daytime thing and I had to get back to work. I was rushing to get out. A part of me thinks that I left Res life too early but I still think I wouldn’t be willing to kick my ED to the curb no matter how many weeks or months I was there. Insurance will kick you out eventually too.

My therapist, again, not a fan of me not being in IOP, not even a big fan of me leaving residential when I did, was only okay with it IF I used the Recovery App to track my meals. 

I tried. I really tried but damn, there were so many questions. How did you feel? What exactly did you eat? Was it acceptable?…. My Fitness Pal is much easier to use but she didn’t want me to use that one.

I’m also going to look into somewhere that I can do TMS for the summer. Don’t worry, I’ll let y’all know how that goes. I’m willing to try it, what’s the worst that can happen? I’m not in my right mind for the most part. I don’t even know what my right mind might look like. Hmm…. would it look that much different than my left mind?

My therapist is really patient with me. I can be amusing sometimes. When I’m bitchy she doesn’t care. You know that awkward silence when you have nothing to say or don’t want to say anything. She’s really good about waiting it out. I’m pretty sure if I just sat there, in front of zoom, and didn’t say anything, she would cancel her next appointment just to give me those eyes and a smirk. Those eyes speak volume! They say,

“Really, you’re going to pull this crap? I can sit here for hours. It’s your dime.”

It really works, I start to get annoyed and uncomfortable and usually start talking about whatever. I’m a child. I know it. She claims she has adults that are in therapy but I don’t buy it. I bet all her clients are middle schoolers, that’s why she is so good with my sassy attitude.

Okay, off topic, back to tracking meals. I hated the recovery app, she wouldn’t let me use My Fitness Pal so I came up with my own way of tracking food. Through art. LOL!

So… let me share a few with you! As far as what I actually eat, please don’t judge. I know, some days it’s not enough, some days it’s too much,….. My therapist already does that for me. At least she tells me if I’m not eating enough, she would never say I was eating too much, I could say I had 5 gallons of ice cream and she wouldn’t say it. She would tip toe around it, maybe checking in how it made me feel emotionally, physically, was I satisfied…. You know, therapy stuff. Hers a few of my favorite…..

I broke her.

I never thought that ‘mental health’ was what I was struggling with in my teens. Until I got to college, I thought it was all normal. When I started to compare my life experiences to others I realized quickly, it wasn’t. In fact, one of the stipulations when I met my husband was that in order to date him, I had to stop cutting.

Looking back, my mother definitely suffered from some type of mental illness. Both my sisters have struggled as well. You know about my brother. I guess, I thought all of it was just environmental. I didn’t think there was a genetic component at all. Until now.

Like I mentioned before, I had to have my daughter admitted to the hospital because she was suffering her first manic episode. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. She didn’t want to go, there were tears shed by even my ex husband but we got her there. She was there for just a few days but her mind adjusted to the medication pretty quickly. She’s always had anxiety and we noticed it getting worse but we didn’t realize that she was bipolar until a few months ago.

But what I thought was going to be easy to fix, has been the thing I worry about the most. My daughter is 20. In the past six months, she was struggling more than we were aware of. She even dropped out of college and got fired from her part time gig at the local coffee shop. Now, it’s her anxiety that worries me the most.

My ED and I are constantly wrestling in my head. From the moment I open my eyes to the time I go to bed, it’s one match after another. Work can get kind of stressful too. I’m one of two people that have the flexibility to be a sub at the drop of a hat. I truly mean at the drop of a hat. If a call comes in stating that a student from a team tested positive, those teachers are sent home immediately. This constant uncertainty can be a little stressful. I’m actually in a position that I’m supposed to be working in small groups in math and reading but I rarely get the chance. 

My girls also need me. My youngest is getting ready to graduate and really is doing wonderful. I’m so proud of how hard she’s worked especially under the circumstances. Yes, Covid has been challenging but what I put her through was much worse. It’s my twenty year old that calls me at all hours crying and freaking out. She’s on birth control but every stomach pain she thinks she must be pregnant. She has panic attacks that make her throw up. She’s afraid that someone is going to sneak in and attack her in the middle of the night. Every little noise when she is alone freaks her out.  When she calls, I feel helpless. I want to fix her. I want to drive the hour and a half to lie with her to make her feel safe. I help her out financially even when I can’t. I want her to succeed. 

Two weeks ago, she decided that she would try subbing for the local school department.  She’s a middle school lax coach and a damn good one so she figured, kids are kids. She attended the training and today at 11:30 is her first day. She will be subbing for an elementary art teacher. From the moment she told me, I was worried for her. I was the anxious one. I was the nervous one because I was positive that she would have a panic attack and not be able to do it. So, sure enough, she’s already texted me and I’ve already talked to her. She was crying, couldn’t sleep, and was afraid that she was going to throw up. I told her she’s got this. Elementary kids are cute and nice. I reminded her that everyone is nervous the first time. I told her that she’s got this. I even told her to get up and take the dog for a walk. Do some type of relaxation technique. Take a long shower. I told her that no matter how she felt, she needed to push through it. She can’t let this fear stop her because it will just get worse. 

Now, she’s not the only nervous one, I am too. I’m worried for her. Scared for her. I’m taking on her stress but I can’t tell her or she will try to hide it from me. I’m her mom. I have to suck it up. Carry that stress on top of everything else because she’s my daughter. I brought her into this world. She’s counting on me. Remember, these are my faulty genes in place on top of all the shit I put her through in the last month. I blame myself. I was so selfish when I was 29. I wanted a child. I didn’t think about my past or her possible future. 

I wouldn’t have had kids if there was a chance that I would be passing down a life altering disease, why the hell didn’t I think this through? 

So here I sit, my stomach in knots, my pulse racing, my phone close to my side, ready to answer at the first ring. At the same time, trying to sub myself. I just need her to get through this day. I know if she does, it will get easier every time.

Shit….. My phone’s ringing. Time to hide under the desk and fix the daughter that I broke.

What? I can’t hear you my ED is too fucking loud.

This is my therapists diagram of my recovery. Notice what might happen if I don’t find new coping skills. Lol.

First, can I apologize for my poor editing skills? I’ve been relying on spell check and apparently, it’s not set up on my IPad. So again, so sorry. I love to write but the whole editing part, I’m horrible at. If it bothers you that much, than fuck off. You don’t have to read another word. WORD. haha.

The other day, Ted and I went out to eat. Are you catching on here, we go out to eat A LOT. He’s been single for a long time, me too. We don’t live together. I bounce back and forth between his place and mine so when I’m with him, we go out. He’s got his favorite restaurant, I have mine. Some days we do get subs. Each place, I get the same thing, all the time. In fact, I pretty much get the same meal at the two different places. Place A, I get a grilled bacon and cheese chicken sandwich without the bun and a double order of broccoli. At place B, I get teriyaki grilled chicken with broccoli and whatever other vegetable is on special that day. Even my subs are the same wherever we go. I’m not one of those people that will only eat white meat and order things based on color. I’m not really trying to go low carb. I’m trying to go low cal.  To me, it’s about the calories and where I can cut them out.

Back to the other day, we were at Place A, Ted’s favorite hang out. The food is iffy but the people are incredible.  When the waitress walked by I said, “That’s the body I want.”

Now I know this, I said that is the body I want but I know that it’s the body I could never have. She’s a good 15 years younger than me, taller than me by about six inches, and a real small frame. 

Ted reminded me that she worked her ass off for that body. I just replied I know. 

Ted: You could have that body if you worked out.

Me: No I couldn’t.

Ted: If you ate right and worked out you could.

Now, I’m getting a little annoyed and wished I had kept my fat mouth shut. I’m pretty sure at this time, if my therapist was around, she would be slapping him across the head.

Me: I could get smaller than that but I won’t go to the gym, I’ll just stop eating. It’s quicker and easier than the gym. 

Ted: When are you going to be better?

Me: Never

And that was the end of the conversation. I guess up to the point where I just tell him starving is easier, it could be anybody having that conversation. Because I do have an eating disorder, the more he talked the more annoyed I got. I almost felt like he was challenging me. He made it sound so easy. It sounded more like, “Just work out and diet morron. You are just fucking lazy and fat.”

The weird part about that, was the day after, when I zoomed with my Therapist her first question was, “How’s recovery going.” Usually she asked how my eating disorder is doing. Hearing her say the word “recovery” reminded me, that’s it. I’m in recovery, I’m not recovered. 

Lately, my ED has been crazy loud as I explained in my last post. Remember those cars that you would have that if you pulled them backwards then put them down, they would go forward. The further back you dragged them, the farther and faster they would go. Well, that’s my life. 

Right now, my ED is more bark than bite. I’m struggling but I’ve been holding it together, most of the time. But I know how this plays out. 

ED will really start wearing on me. Pushing that car back with every insult, behavior, and just beating the shit out of me emotionally. Each time, increasing the power it needs. And all of a sudden, it can’t be pushed back anymore and takes off. Bouncing off walls, driving recklessly. Full of the energy needed to kick start my ED into overdrive. 

According to my therapist, I’m at a stuck point. The things I’ve done to cope are not working anymore, I’m falling backwards and what I need to do, is find some new way to cope. She even drew me a picture! So this week, that’s my goal (I hate goals) is to try to come up with new ways to cope. It’s so hard though when your brain is so warped that your ideas are always… destructive.

Hmm.  cutting myself..nope… how about purging….nope…. How about going to the gym?.. Nope…How about not eating… nope… um? Knitting? Fuck no…….calling a friend.. Hmmm… okay that’s a bit better.. Read… sure that sounds good….. Take some time to write…. Why not..

Wait, what if I just ask Ted???? I can hear my therapist now… HELLS TO THE NO!

Fighting for Custody

A great example of my past marriage.

Like many divorced women, my marriage started out fine. I was in love.  I wanted it all. The house. The dog. The kids. No white picket fence. (First, do you know how many materials you can use to make a white picket fence? It can get pretty costly. Also, unless you have a small yard with a cute little house and a garden, it just looks out of place.) With both of us working, those goals were doable. Of course it took some time. We did the whole apartment thing first. My husband at the time couldn’t settle into one job. We had the girls, got a beautiful house, a dog, and things were pretty good. Then they weren’t. I take the blame because I was just done being pushed around by a narcissist. He was emotionally abusive, verbally abusive, and financially abusive. I wasn’t even aware that someone could be financially abused until I wasn’t allowed to go to places such as the movies with the three of them because I didn’t make enough money. I had to sit home alone. I even had to borrow three dollars from my sister so I could buy a pair of socks!

The divorce was messy. He wanted it all including custody of the girls. He was driven by money. He knew that the more custody he had, the less he had to pay. He was manipulative, a liar, and secretive. It took almost a year and a half, countless court dates, lots of tears, but finally it ended. 

Apparently, in a way, I did remarry. My new spouse was my eating disorder named Felicia.  A few years ago we did go through a divorce but In March of 2020, we hooked up again. It was a whirlwind romance. And like the narcissist Felicia was, she wanted to be the boss. She made all the decisions. I just wanted to please her. I knew that a happy Felicia was a more manageable Felicia. There were no surprises at all. I knew what she wanted and I did it. But like my first marriage, I tried to take control back and she wasn’t happy. We argued and fought. She was demeaning. She was emotional and verbally abusive. But unlike my first marriage, I really thought the only way out was to kill myself. 

You know my story. It didn’t work. I did my time in res. I’ve been out of IOP for over a month. Well, lately, Felicia has been stalking me. I feel her over my shoulder. She’s around every corner. She whispers in my ear and sometimes even screams at me. I ignore her the best I can but she’s made her wants clear. For months, I’ve had custody of my body and now she wanted it back. 

We are in a brutal custody battle. Right now, I have full custody. When she did have custody, she abused my body. She didn’t love it. She didn’t think it was worthy. She didn’t care what happened to it. 

My body is in my custody which is not that much better. The only difference is, I do care what happens to it. I have to nourish it enough to keep it alive. My kids love and need my body but they can’t have custody either. My youngest would draw a penis on my forehead and fart on my head. My oldest would let me skip work and would want me to hang out with her for hours doing some artsy type thing. 

But lately, Felicia is really pushing the issue. I had already given her custody on Monday and Thursday mornings for a few minutes to check over my body and weigh it. She’s not nice about it either. A week ago I gave her custody for a few hours and she convinced my body to purge the small amount of cookies I had allowed it to eat. Yesterday I gave her custody for a few hours and she had my body devour a whole box of Lucky Charms and purge it all.

So now, I’m trying to work with her because fighting her is just so exhausting. I’m truly thinking about giving her custody on Sunday after 1 P.M. until I get to school on Monday. She can also have my body on holidays too. I think if I set something up, there would be less fighting and maybe, she wouldn’t be so loud the rest of the time. 

It worked in my first marriage. The more custody I gave him, the less of an asshole he was. When I gave my youngest the opportunity to choose, she chose him. Some of it was because of how materialistic she was but a lot of it was because she hated my rules and often she just hated me. When she moved in with him, he became easier to handle. Now that custody isn’t an issue with either girl, we actually get along.

My body is like my youngest. It hates me and my rules. It wants to be thinner. It wants to look different. It likes Felicia. When it does what she wants, Felicia praises it. I’m afraid if I don’t start sharing custody, it’s going to hate me even more and to survive I just might need to give Felicia full custody once again. 

For now, I think it’s best that I pull out my custody papers and change them just a little. I’ve got about 90% custody now but maybe, if I give her just a little more, things will go a little smoother. I think given her another 10% will appease her and if she asks for more, I’ll tell her no and call one of the best divorce lawyers in the bizz…..

Setting myself up for failure

Counselor: Set a goal to put the scale away.

Me: Can’t it be something easier like memorizing the countries names in order by their population increases in the last decade? Or maybe, how to play all the string instruments including the harp?

I really enjoy counseling. I really like talking to my counselor but I hate it when she says, “sooo… what’s going to be the goal for this week?”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about setting goals. You know, the attainable ones. A goal to get up in the morning and take a shower, that I can handle. I can even set harder goals such as clean the bathroom before the end of the day on Saturday. But, she doesn’t want to hear about those goals. I think she sees these goals as trivial. Most people would.

You know how some people create vision boards? I would describe it as a collage of pictures of things you would like to do or to have. Basically, a visual bucket list. We were supposed to make one in Art Therapy group but I didn’t. I don’t know what I have against them. Maybe it is the fact that I lack motivation to complete big goals. Maybe it’s the fact that some of my goals I should have started to work on years ago. Whatever the reason is, I keep my goals simple. Do the dishes once and a while. Maybe even put your clean clothes away for a change rather than leave them in the basket.

The unattainable goals are what she wants me to set. Actually, that’s a complete lie. They are just goals that I don’t want to set. Such easy goals for a healthy person, not so for me. She can’t give me something easy to do, like rob a bank or put my head in a lion’s mouth, OHH no, her goals are, eat three meals a day. Have three snacks a day. Get rid of the scale.  

I don’t like these goals. I hate these goals. I don’t want to set these goals for myself. They completely contradict one of my most important goals, lose the weight that you had gained these last few months. I almost dread the end of the session. I know it’s coming. When she asks me, in my head I’m able to list off hundreds of unhealthy goals but like a three year old I say, “I don’t want to.” Just like that. I should probably cross my arms, pout, maybe even stick my tongue out because that is how childish it sounds.

So I sit, trying to pick a goal that is attainable. One that I really don’t want to do but it’s not going to stress me out too much. This week she thought eating three meals a day would be a good goal. Sounds easy huh. I immediately thought, it doesn’t have to be a big meal. Either she knows me too well or she can read my mind and added that the portions have to be good, normal sized, my plan sized, portions. No less. Oh and actually, I think she can read my mind. I think she’s some voodoo witch but I love her anyway. She was partially responsible for saving my life. I say partially because if you remember, it was my dumb luck that the two drugs I thought would definately kill me, actually almost cancelled each other out!!

Lately, my Ed has been so loud. I have been able to keep it at bay for the most part. I’m really still eating a lot (close to plan) but feeling guilty every bite. I’m more self conscious. I loathe myself more. I’m disgusted with myself more. These things give Ed energy and slowly wear away at my defense. It’s just a matter of time before I throw in the towel and let Ed take over for a little bit.

I guess a good analogy is, I’m in the middle of the ocean. I’m drowning. The coast guard comes by. I wave frantically for help. They toss me a line. Instead of grabbing it, I swim further away from it. I stop, wave for help, and they do it again. Everytime I go to grab it, the little voice inside screams at me that I know how to swim, that I don’t need help so I don’t accept it. I swim away so it’s out of my reach just to stop and ask for help again. Over and over. I’m lucky that I have a counselor that has a good arm, she slings that rope my way all the time. Anytime I ask, it’s there. My friend Zoey, same thing. My kids, well it’s just not their job. They are kids, 20 and 17. Ted, well lets just say Ted cant throw for shit or even steer a boat for that matter.

So my goal this week is to set a goal for the week. BUT…………… I DON’T WANT TOOOOO!!!

Mother May I……?

There is a study out there that states we make about 35,000 decisions a day. About 1 decision every two seconds. That’s assuming you sleep about 7 hours and don’t make decisions at night. I’ve been a pretty vivid dreamer lately and I know I’m still deciding things in my dreams. For example, last night in my dream, I had to decide what the best course of action would be to save my child from a sex trafficking, drug trafficking, drug lord. I’m pretty sure the first decision I had to make was, should I save her or not. I mean, this guy was pretty scary. He was the size of the Hulk but not as green and could fly. Hehe. No, no, I did want to save her. She’s a good kid. My mini me. Also, I obviously need to stop watching Marvel movies.

How do you measure something like that? Yes, in the last few minutes I have made a shit load of decisions between what to write and not to write and at the same time, trying to decide what students I need to see when but when I’m reading a book for pleasure, I don’t decide to turn the page. (Remember the choose your own adventure books! I loved those!) Also, do you really decide to pick your nose or do you just do it? How about biting your lip?

According to Teachthought.com, a teacher makes 1500 “educational” decisions. I thought this number was low. I’m pretty sure, I hear the words, “Can I….?” 1500 times a day. Most of the time I answer with a ‘No’. Remember, I teach middle school. I’ve been asked by a student if he could tell another student to fuck off. hmm…. I wonder how many times a teacher says ‘NO’ a day?

As an adult, my decisions are my own. They might be influenced by consequences. Do I do 100 MPH on the highway? Nope, I really don’t think criminal speeding is a good idea for me. I don’t think I would do well in jail. I’ve seen enough Orange is the New Black and Jailbirds to know that I would be someones Beeaaach for sure. Should I scream SHUT UP in my classroom? Ohhh boy, nope. I do like my job. The point is, I make decisions for myself. Good or bad, they are mine. I might be an adult, but I’m an adult with an ED and struggling with mental illness so sometimes, I can’t trust myself to make the right decisions.

Let’s take a quick glimpse of the last few months. In March 2020 I decided I needed to lose weight so I decided to restrict food until I was only eating about 800-1000 calories a day. I decided to exercise a lot. In October, I decided to overdose. I decided to binge and purge. I decided to drink. Those awesome decisions I made left me in the hands of someone else to do all the deciding for me. Someone else decided that I needed to be admitted to a psych ward. (A shitty one at that. I would have decided on a different one but again, out of my hands.) It was someone else who decided I should go into residential treatment. Okay, yes, this was my decision because if I wanted to return to teaching, I needed a psychiatrist to sign a few papers. That psychiatrist told me I had to do X, Y, and Z to get that signature. So yes, I guess I did decide to get treatment but if I didn’t, I would have been fucked.

Now, I’m all fucked up. There are some decisions that I really shouldn’t be making for myself. There are a lot of things that I know what the right decision is but I’m on the fence if it’s the decision I want to make. I have two brains, “healthy Libby brain” and “fucked up Libby brain”. The problem is, often, I really do like fucked up brain’s decisions better. When my fucked up brain is allowed to make decisions I lose weight, I have fun, I get a little crazy. Sounds fun doesn’t it!! But fucked up brain never thinks of long term consequences. Lose weight is really starving myself. Having fun is often related to drinking too much. Acting crazy sometimes leads to suicidal ideations and possibly an attempt. 

You would think my healthy brain would assert itself and tell fucked up brain to simmer the fuck down but sometimes, that brain does not have the strength to do it. Often, the fucked up brain is so big it hides the bad consequences from my healthy brain. That is when I need help. This is where the adulting stops. This is where I stop making decisions and leave it to others.

Thankfully, I have some adults that support me. Even my kids support me. How? I’ve turned to them to answer questions for me. It took them a little while to catch on. They thought it was a bit ridiculous that I was turning to them but now they see how important it is. Their decisions are always in my best interest, that is, most of them, except Ted’s. I sometimes think Ted is in cahoots with Ed. My life has been turned into a living Mother May I game. 

Here are some examples of typical things I ask on the daily, of whoever picks up their phone. 

“May  I take a break from the treadmill today because I’m just tired?”

“May I have a cupcake?”

“May I walk rather than jog?”

“May I have a full meal even if I didn’t exercise?”

“May I skip standing on the scale today?”  

Depending on who I ask, I get the same answers, some with more details than others.

If I ask my 17 year old and 20 year old, I often just get a yes. They might laugh and even sound a little annoyed but they humor me. Sometimes they even give me a full sentence!

If I ask my therapist and my friend who has been in treatment, they like to explain to me why it’s okay.  For example, they might tell me that a cupcake is okay because there is no such thing as bad food. They might remind me that the body requires rest. They might remind me what restricting does to my brain. (yes, my therapist thought it was a good decision to give me her phone number. Hahah…., maybe she should have said, “May I tell Libby that she can’t have my number? but that would make me sad.)

Ted, well he just doesn’t get it. He might say yes I can take a break from the treadmill but remind me that it is there for me to use tomorrow. He might tell me yes, you can have that cupcake and eat a smaller meal. His answer is always, if you eat healthy that’s all that matters. If I want to lose weight, I should be allowed to do so, as long as I’m not starving myself too much or exercising too much. The issue is, he doesn’t know what “too much” is. He knows that I hate my body, I’m disgusted with it, and believes me when I say, I would like it more if it was smaller. 

So really, maybe the thing I need to ask someone is…

“May I stop asking Ted to make those types of decisions for me?” naaahhh, my fucked up brain reminds me that I am an adult and can decide for myself no matter the consequences.

COVID Positive

It’s been a year since we shut down the school because of Covid. I just got my first dose of the vaccine on Monday and now, I’ve got Covid. Definitely a mild case, but the test was positive. I have no idea how I got it or if my boyfriend got it before me but it doesn’t matter. I think it’s annoying that people ask, “where did you get it?” How the fuck do I know. If I knew where I got it, I probably would have avoided it in the first place. If I tell ya I don’t know, it’s because I don’t know. Could have been the pharmacy, the grocery store, the gas pump, the guy at Dunkin Donuts or a kid at school. Who the hell knows. We have five kids in the school that have it and two teachers soooo maybe school?

Aren’t the teachers making sure to stay six feet, you ask. Or, aren’t the teachers making sure the kids stay six feet apart? Yes and yes, the best that we can. But it’s hard to do because these young humans with immature and under developed brains and raging hormones have free will. Can you believe it, they make decisions without asking. They talk without asking permission. They move without asking permission. It’s the craziest thing. Apparently, they must not have free will at home because their parents are surprised by their behavior at school. I wish these parents would take time to come and do a workshop or better yet, a TED talk for the world on how to get a thirteen year old to do everything that you want them to do. 

I guess all those teacher workshop days of learning about kids’ brains and how their prefrontal cortex has not fully developed was time wasted.  I mean, I sat through a whole lecture about their lack of impulse control and how they express anxiety much different than we do. Was that all a joke? Can I still count the hours towards my Professional Development? 

*** At this moment, I took a break from writing this post and went down a rabbit hole reading about cannibalism, the nutrition value of a brain, … and other weird stuff.****

The point is, we teachers can only do so much. In fact, the later into the school year it got, the harder it was. Just like every object that has mass, they have gravity. Their gravitational pull towards each other just tends to be stronger than say, the Earth. It’s crazy! (if you are not a science person, it’s true, we all create our own gravitational pull. Weird huh…)

I did find one way that would keep the boys from touching each other for a little bit. I usually say, “I don’t understand why you boys like to touch each other so much.. Weird.” It only takes one boy to think, “gross” then they scatter. It does not work for girls. In fact, it will often backfire and they will insist on hugging each other. 

In the end, it doesn’t matter as far as contact tracing goes. Basically, if one kid in the classroom has it, all teachers and the students in that class must go remote. If a teacher has it, all students and teachers on that team must go remote. But what if a sub gets Covid? I was a sub, in 8 classrooms! Because of me they had to send two teams of kids and their teachers home! I felt like Super Woman’s evil sister!!! 

Not all the symptoms of Covid are bad! My eating disorder loves the fact that I have no sense of smell or taste. I mean, what is the purpose of food if you can’t enjoy it. I’m too big anyways. Treatment put twenty, unwanted, disgusting pounds on me, losing a few due to Covid is actually acceptable and even, expected. Am I losing crazy weight, not really but I am down a few pounds. But it just takes a few to get my ED up and running. 

My ED is loud. The weather is getting better. My sneakers are ready to go. I just might get back into those jeans after all. BRING IT!

Walking, talking, pharmacy

With all the medications that I take, I’m surprised that when I walk, I don’t rattle. 

I’ve been on and off medication for years. In my early twenties one hospital put me on Lithium,  Ativan, and Prozac. Because the combination of the three caused me to have tremors, I also was prescribed Inderal. It had to be done. It’s hard to teach chemistry when you can’t pour shit into a test tube without spilling it down your hand or worse, you have a hard time measuring compounds and you blow up the lab.  

The thing is, I never questioned why. I never worried that I would have some weird reaction, and when they ask me if they are helping, I really didn’t know. I was a big willing lab rat. 

At some point, I took myself off all of that. It was partly because I moved away and would have to find a new therapist and partly that my boyfriend (my future husband) didn’t like the idea of me being put on so many meds.

The last thirty years I’ve been in and out of therapy and on and off many medications. If I had to make a list of the therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists I’ve seen I couldn’t.  How many meds I’ve been on, I have no clue. 

It was the same thing all the time, something would happen that was difficult to deal with on my own, I would seek out a therapist to help me, they would medicate me, after a while I would consider myself healed (like that’s a thing.. hahhaha) then quit therapy, go off the meds and wait for something else to happen. And something else always happened. 

I know,.. “Booo hooo hooo.. Your life is soo bad. Really Libby? There are people out there whose lives are much worse than yours.”

 No shit. I get that. This isn’t a pissing contest. I know that I’ve had it pretty good compared to others but I’m just not as fit to handle it. Refer to 

My husband got used to me being on meds which he tried to use against me during the divorce. Told people I was crazy because of it. He was on zoloft at the time so really, it was a pointless argument.  

After I got past the, “I hate all men” stage, I set myself up an account on a dating app. Oh man, that was quite an interesting experience. You would not believe how many guys talk about their “Crazy ex’s”. Some even add to it that they were on meds like it was the only reason they didn’t last. I’m sure my ex was saying the same things about me. My daughter once told me his ringtone said, “the bitch is calling.” I put the 👺 next to his name. I should delete it but hearing Siri say, “Calling Jim devil emoji” cracks me up everytime. 

So, when I did find a guy to date that I really liked (who I fell in love with, who ripped my heart from my chest, who I felt I couldn’t live without and tried to take my own life) I hid the fact that I was even on meds and even lied about the counseling. Eventually I told him I was in counseling but he still had no idea about the meds. I’m sure now, after what happened, I’m his crazy ex too.

I was on meds going into residential treatment a few months ago but I came out on a few more. They would say, let’s try this and I would say, sure. Apparently, my willingness to try whatever they put in front of me concerned the doctor. I don’t know why it mattered. I don’t know what the hell to take. I didn’t go to pharmacy school. I don’t have my doctorate in Psychiatry. 

Can you imagine being that airport dude, scanning the carry on bags and finding TEN rx bottles. Apparently, it didn’t raise any red flags. The guy sitting across from me on the plane, did give me a weird look when I took the ziplock bag of pills out to find my book. I put on the best, “yes I’m fucking crazy” face on. I’m sure, to him, I had gone from nice women with a teddy bear to psycho women with a devious grin who may blow up the plane.

Since being home, my new nurse practitioner prescribed two more meds. Do I need them? I don’t know really. Do they work? I don’t know. 

I did actually find someone who loves me, doesn’t care about my mental illnesses, or how many pills I take. 

So for now, I’m not a crazy ex, I’m just fucking crazy.

Sometimes happy and sometimes healthy is what ya get

Spoiler alert… the following post lacks humor… but was important for me to share.

“Do you know what you’re having?” is a frequently asked question to pregnant women. Sometimes they do but often they answer with a, “I don’t care, as long as he/she is healthy.” Some people also add the whole 10 fingers and 10 toes thing. Yes, you could have a baby with an extra finger known as, polydactyly, but your chance is 1 in 1,000. The chances increase if it runs in the family. I wonder if my balance would be better if I had six toes? Hmm…. I did go out on a date with someone who didn’t have any pinkies.  

First, my pregnancies were planned. They were not opps or god’s little miracle, I actually wanted kids. Ohh… the things we get ourselves into. I did try to find the sex out for both but niether would cooporate so it was a surprise each time. So yes, I would be the mom who rubs her belly, smiles and says, “as long as he/she is healthy”. I was lucky, both of my girls were physically healthy. What I didn’t realize was that mentally healthy was just as important. You don’t wonder what the chemicals in the brain are doing or what they will be doing. Yes, depression runs in my family and I’m sure my mother would have been diagnosed as bipolar but there was a lot of trauma in my family and I found myself in some terrible situations in college as well. I figured that was where most of my problems stemmed from. 

Looking back, my oldest had anxiety from day one. Yes, they say it can’t be diagnosed that early but she constantly cried, was clinging, skipped crawling all together and walked. Never tried to go into drawers or cabinets. Wasn’t really that curious. As she got older she was afraid of tall things for a while, fire scared the shit out of her, and when she was six she thought someone was trying to poison us. She started therapy at age six and was on zoloft by the time she was eleven and wherever she went, she kept a worry stone in her pocket.

 She was three when I had her little sister, I guess we were hoping this one would help calm down the first. Maybe be a great playmate. We were wrong about that one. She was the most independent, stubborn, sneaky, and vindictive child you could imagine. Yes, we still adored her and gave her all the love in the world. She would smile at us deviously as we tried to put her in time out. When she was thirteen she tried to diagnose herself as a psychopath but I assured her she wasn’t. She’s a totally different person now as a senior in highschool but I still would warn people not to get on her bad side. She was eight when my husband and I got our divorced and it hit her hard. She too was put into counseling but we didn’t put her on medication until she was in her teens. It was at that point I realized, I wasn’t the mom I was hoping to be. My first daughter’s panic disorder was mostly genetics, her father had anxiety, but kid number two, I felt her depression was caused by the divorce. Something that we might have been able to avoid. 

This year, their mental health was tested as they had to witness and be part of my own mental breakdown. Having your mom try to kill herself, starve herself, and spend months in a residential treatment facility can really fuck you up. They both were put back into counseling. My oldest dropped her counselor only three weeks after meeting her. They just didn’t click. I felt guilty but I also felt relieved that they were getting the care they needed to deal with their own depression and anxiety. What I didn’t know was there was something else brewing. 

A few weeks ago, my quiet anxious twenty year old’s behavior had changed drastically. She didn’t sleep, she talked so fast and switched topics so often that she was hard to follow. She talked to anyone who even smiled at her. She was overly confident in herself. She thought she could do anything. She spent every penny she had as well as money she didn’t. It went on for weeks. We all knew something was wrong, we all knew what was going on, but none of us wanted to use the words. Eventually, it couldn’t be ignored anymore. She was bipolar and in a manic episode. We were desperate to get her help, worried about what would come next. If this is her high, we feared what her low would be. Then, we had to do something that I never imagined doing, we had to have her committed. She was only there for four days but while she was there she was put on meds, she was coming down, and we found her a great counselor. 

My ex and I had a messy divorce, we hated each other for years later but there are just things that bring you back together. Standing together on the side of the road with our oldest as they tow her mangled vehicle out of the woods.  Pulling glass out of her hair, shocked that she wasn’t injured. Three months later, to the day, In the ER, we stood across from each other, our youngest strapped to a board waiting for a CAT scan after she was in a serious accident. It was these times that communication and solidarity was necessary. Because of these times, when I hugged my ex, who had tears in his eyes, and his wife the night we dropped off our oldest, it felt natural. 

Who would have believed, the last four months of my own hell would help me educate my ex and my daughters. Who would have believed that there would be a day that my daughter would call me and say, “I need you Mom, you are the only one who understands.” I never did.

I wanted happy healthy babies and for the most part, I got what I wanted, but I also got so much more. They are kind, loving, curious, and beautiful inside and out. Yes, and medicated, and most likely, you are too.