Yes, I was up all night. I’m trying to prepare for the Grand Dog Sweater Fashion Show I’m going to put on for you guys on video, when I finally get my computer’s act together. Nearly crashed it trying to get the right software to create the kind of file necessary for the video, but a quick “Disk Cleanup” saved the machine, sometime this morning.
I’ve had six hours of sleep in the past two nights.
Just what the doctor didn’t order.
Dr. P specifically asked me, “Do you understand the importance of not doing all-nighters anymore?”
I responded meekly, “Well, maybe.”
She told me that if I’m deliberately depriving myself of sleep I should take some extra Topamax or Thorazine, something that will knock me out, to force myself to sleep and stabilize my mood. Topamax, which acts as a mood stabilizer, worked very well at this a few weeks ago when I took an extra 100 mgs one night.
So did I take an extra pill? Nope.
Why am I doing this? First of all, I don’t feel tired. My mind is working brilliantly, and I know if I sleep now I might fall into a depression. It’s a race against the inevitable, and the inevitable will, by definition, eventually win. Given that because of my illness I have my “useless” times, times that illness gets in the way, times that I cannot function, I celebrate the times that I can be productive, more than a “normal” would, because these times can be fleeting.
So now I celebrate. Tomorrow I may fall.
Depriving myself of sleep is like depriving myself of food. I push myself and push myself. I disregard the doctors. It’s like I want to stay sick. Anorexia is one of a handful of mental illnesses where in fact the patient does and does not want to get well.
Here’s what I used to tell myeslf when I was 22: “I am special. I don’t need as much food as other people. I can get by on less. Sure, most people my height should weigh about 115, but I’m different and should weigh in the 70’s. I’m so special that I can endure hunger. I am strong enough to endure the suffering of hunger. Other people can’t stand it but I can. I am special in a way that only I can recognize, because the rest of the world sure doesn’t know who I am.”
Everything seems so out of proportion and strange. QB, the dog I had put to sleep back in November of 2006, used to bark at his reflection certain windows, as if he were seeing some strange dog, not himself. I feel lke barking at that strange woman I see reflected back to me; whether accurate or not, I don’t see her that way, and I am frightened.
I went to see my shrink a couple of days ago. This is about how the conversation went; that is, this is my interpretation of the conversation, after I’ve slept on it for a few days.
Just press PLAY!
Now that I’ve slept on it a few days…heck, I’ve done nothing BUT sleep for the past few days. Finally, a few hours ago I mustered up the energy to make a cup of coffee for myself.
That sure helped.
In the recording (I do really hope you can get it to work) I mentioned cycling but didn’t really explain what it was. I’ll provide a link in a future entry to some info on mood disorders and mood swings. Dr. P feels that I shouldn’t deliberately deprive myself of sleep (like those all-nighters I’ve been doing the past couple of years) because doing so can send my mood into the stratosphere.
Let me explain: a “good” mood is a good thing, yes, but a very, very high mood, a mood that’s TOO high, is not good. One can lose one’s grip on reality, or get hyperexcited, or get racing thoughts, which is very, very scary. You hear about people who spend huge sums of money or go on wild escapades–it doesn’t just happen in the movies, it can happen when a person is manic and it isn’t fun; it’s TERRIFYING.
Have a nice evening, everyone, and DO SLEEP (I will, too!).
Yes, I did find a bunch of QB photos that I had taken that I had completely forgotten about until I discovered them just a few days ago! Here are two of him at the tender age of four weeks–with me:
And here he is at all of 19 days:
Teensy, isn’t he? I’ve cropped the photo, because I wanted you to see him better, but I think the reason I hid the photo (from everyone including myself) was that it showed my figure, and I thought I looked too fat. Aw, man! On close look, I was about five, more likely ten pounds less than I weigh now, totally acceptable according to Weight Watchers.
Dear Readers, I am about to show you something I could never have shown you when the photo was current, in 2005. Perhaps it is because of the anonymity of online life that makes showing you this photo feel “safe” right now. Perhaps it’s the distance that I feel between the time I took the photo and now. Or the progress I’ve made.
I would not let anyone else take this photo.
Here it is:
No, I wasn’t sticking my stomach out. I was holding it in. Desperately holding in everything, hiding from everyone. I weighed close to 200 pounds. I squeezed into a size 22.
Yesterday I was on the phone with my mother, and decided to take a chance, a big chance, by telling her I went clothes shopping. The idea was to get her to contribute some $$$$$ for clothes for my teaching experience (yes, I got the job!) but our conversation turned sour. I said, “Mom, I was pleased that I fit into a smaller size!”
She replied, “Yes, well, they make the sizes larger these days.”
I used to think that I developed an eating disorder because my sixth grade teacher once told me I was fat. But look at what I had to live with at home from day one!
I wore a size 10 to the job interview, which went off very well, by the way. It’s a volunteer teaching position for my school teaching practicum. I can’t tell you much about it because of the nature of the place and issues pertaining to confidentiality, but I will periodically share a writing exercise.
I told my brother what my mother said and he wasn’t the least bit surprised. Then why do I come back, time after time, seeking her approval? Why do I endlessly wish for her to someday say to me, “Julie, you did a good job and I’m proud of you.”
I did a damn good job at my semester at school and I’m proud of myself. I’m doing a damn good job at losing weight and I’m proud of myself. I’m doing a damn good job raising Puzzle and I’m proud of her and myself. I did a damn good job at that interview and got my reward.
I’m going to be teaching soon! Here’s my syllabus:
Class meeting time:
In this class, we will explore the act of putting ideas into words through in-class exercises and discussions as well as reading and writing assignments to be finished at home. We will discuss poetry as well as fiction and creative nonfiction. At each class meeting, we will begin with discussion of a particular method or genre, then work on prompts, done both separately and as a group. By the end of each class meeting, we will have ideas and tools that will help us put together workable pieces. These can be shared with the class, or submitted to me for feedback.
Rather than getting bogged down with matters of grammar, spelling, and punctuation, this class will explore the creative aspects of writing. We will work on expressing ourselves well in written words and phrases, paragraphs or stanzas, not necessarily the nitty-grit mechanics of writing. In a broader sense, however, our work will focus on craft rather than content. Whether you choose to write about growing up on a pig farm, FOR EXAMPLE, or the importance of the pooper-scooper law, is up to you; this class will help you write it.
I would like you to keep a private journal, at least for the duration of this class. Remember, you don’t have to share these writings with anyone, though occasionally you may wish to do so. I would like for you to keep record of your writing ideas, images, phrases, and whatever else comes to mind. Getting into the habit of writing every day will loosen up your creative juices. Instead of running out of ideas, you will provoke ideas to grow into full works of poetry or prose.
I request that you come to class prepared to work hard on your writing. Please bring a pen or pencil to class as well as paper (preferably lined). You will also need a small notebook that can be carried in pocket or purse for those ideas that “just can’t wait,” and these notebooks you should carry with you wherever you go. I will be distributing material to read both in class and at home, so if you require reading glasses, please bring them.
Remember that people are working at different levels of experience. We will be supportive of all endeavors regardless.
You can share any writing you wish unless it is racist or obscene.
Some days will go more smoothly and easily than others. Some days, you may find yourself loaded with energy while other days will be more difficult. Don’t give up! If you’re stuck, consult with another class member or with me. I hope that this will be a fun experience for all of us.
On Wednesday, I will meet with the director of a program where I might be teaching soon. The teaching will satisfy a requirement for school of 15 classroom-hours of instruction (plus lots of out-of-classroom hours) and a subsequent essay about the teaching experience.