The Rape Joke

https://www.theawl.com/2013/07/patricia-lockwood-rape-joke/ 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/shortcuts/2013/jul/26/patricia-lockwood-poem-rape-joke 

“The rape joke is that you were crazy for the next five years, and had to move cities, and had to move states, and whole days went down into the sinkhole of thinking about why it happened. Like you went to look at your backyard and suddenly it wasn’t there, and you were looking down into the center of the earth, which played the same red event perpetually.

The rape joke is that after a while you weren’t crazy anymore, but close call, Miss Geography.”

The joke for me is that I couldn’t admit it for 9 months

I was terrified to admit it happened even to myself and still struggle with depersonalization disorder and dissociative anxiety

The jokers are the people who wonder why rape goes  unreported,  yet are so quick to judge on something they have never experienced, how droll indeed.

The joke is the frilly black and white polka dot dress I wore that day in excitement and anticipation,  becoming torn and tainted in the struggle. Instead of keeping it for evidence, I stashed it in a bag and threw it away when seeing family in South Florida.

The joke is how I started to hate myself and whenever someone else hurt me I would self harm because I couldn’t stand hurting another after being violated so completely.

The joke is the addiction struggle

The joke is the medication tango

I became my own abuser, how ironic is that?

The joke is how I am still so afraid. 

How sex with anyone I actually love is near impossible at times because of this fear, and the fear of the fear; What if the flashbacks return? Will I cry and shake uncontrollably afterwards?

When I couldn’t look my parents in the eye upon telling them, I just remember my mascara-tinted tear stained lashes staring down at my “It can’t rain all the time” Crow tattoo. It was the hardest thing I ever did.

The joke is how my father now has Parkinson’s and can barely remember my name, does he remember? I sometimes wonder. The joke is how I don’t want him too, he is in enough pain. The joke is how I often wish I could forget it all too, but I can’t while sober.

The joke is how my recovery is bringing so much back, and how often days feel like an uphill battle to make peace with my own mind.

The joke is it happening in a producer’s office overlooking the filming of Sherlock Holmes 2, and having to explain to anyone how Sherlock Holmes is a trigger for your PTSD feels both ridiculous and ridiculously insane.

I really don’t want Sherlock or Doctor Watson mixed up in my abuse trauma, it’s hardly their fault this happened.

The joke is how I know I need to face this, but right now my brain feels too overwhelmed to try and joke. 

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Morning Blues

I’m scared when people call me

I rarely pick up phones

Especially in the mornings

With my brain in Seroquel Twilight Zone

Will I understand them?

Will I respond in  proper tone?

Will I be so nervous, I mumble and swallow prose.

It is now the morning

My brain feels not its own

I want these poisons out of my system

So I can comprehend alone.  

With a little help from my friends

Hello again, Pixie here. After my long, intensive last post I thought I would share a quick update. I spoke to my therapist (a magical creature if there ever was one) and she advised me to look into holistic based medicine with an emphasis on PTSD as opposed to being committed somewhere standardized and awful that would not actually help me. I was worried about that too as I was committed somewhere terrible once in my families state against my will for an anxiety attack (I was prescribed Xnanx back then and had run out, and happened to be in a hospital for medical reasons and had an anxiety attack so was committed. It was absolutely awful and I don’t want to be stuck anywhere like that against my will ever again.)

The problem I see with anything outpatient though is the levels of medication in my body that I have to overtake to even get a remote effect from anymore as my body built up a tolerance. Tapering never worked for me. At the same time I don’t want to be somewhere they will just shove new meds down my throat (that place gave me awful drugs for mental issues I did not even have that cause me to hear and see things….and all that is precisely what I want to avoid.)

If I could somehow be in a coma for a month and then just remove the drugs from the equation that would be fantastic but apparently everyone wants something like this and it is not a realistic option XD

So, I still need to look into inpatient holistic medicine based places with a focus on PTSD more.

Another thing we talked about is how I struggle over an obstacle so much in my life that I can’t get to the solution. If have a problem, then there is a block and I will fret and worry and overthink and not try hard enough to work on the solution due to this huge fear of failure. How when I started therapy I was in a dark forrest and then when I start to make my way to a bridge of happiness, of warmth…..it scares me and I can dip my toe in the water but then will run back kicking and screaming to the dark negative place.

I am very honest, but also can be quite insecure. Yesterday I was up all night reading Cassie’s Tumbler. Anyone following me on facebook may already know this but I saw a new post I had not previously seen. This is the post as I posted it online:

I’m TERRIFIED right now. I literally could not make up this shit if I tried. Last time I was in London a book flew out at me at a charity shop. As in it fell out of the shelf and literally landed at my feet. It was called wintergirls. Reading the back gave me chills. It was about a 2 best friends one named Cassie and one named Lia. Cassie had bulimia, Lia had anorexia. It was a quid, so I bought it. This was right when I got back after Cassie and Zak died. Reading it was evenfreakier. The Cassie in the book dies, where as eventually Lia eventually starts her recovery journey in the end. THIS GETS WEIRDER.
I couldn’t sleep last night all night. I hate facebook for deleting Cassie’s messages. I went through her tumbler for her words, her voice. I just missed her so much, you know? Then I see this. She read the same goddamn book. Found it inspirational. She included the part at the end, about Lia getting better. WTF is wrong with me? How could I have left her? Why didn’t I just book the same ticket as tedee when they were both still alive? I never should have left. I mean, look at this: http://cassieisflying-blog-blog.tumblr.com/…/finished-winte… She included this quote from the book
“Cassie had liver damage, her salivary glands were a wreck, and her stomach was distended.” Mom holds up a loose fist. “A healthy stomach is this big. It can stretch to hold about a quart. Cassie’s could hold three. Plus her stomach walls had thinned and were showing early signs of necrosis.” […] “She drank, binged, and purged for two days. […] Her esophagus ruptured. Ripped open. Boerhaave’s syndrome, usually seen in alcoholics who regularly upchuck after drinking too much. Vomiting forcefully enough can tear the esophagus. […] She was purging into the motel toilet when the rupture occurred. She was also, like I said, very, very drunk. She went into shock and died in the bathroom.” […] “Did she feel anything?” “I’m afraid she did. She died in terror and she died alone. It is an awful way to go.”’ Did you predict your own death, Cassie? Did you always know? Are you waiting for me?

…..So yeah, after that I had RUN back into the Forrest, looked for the darkest trees, found a well and wanted to jump in and drown then and there. All the pill bottles on my nightstand were looking at me. Someone I met twice who I always disliked was harassing me online, and I just felt that ice-cold sense of emptiness. I remembered a photo on Cassie’s blog: tumblr_mc8r29vqc11qjh6tbo1_1280

I worried, was she in some other dimension, waiting for me? I miss her so much, every day and just wanted the pain to stop.

But, she also posted this

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And she discussed her need for creation:

“I need to create

Ever since I was little I have had a compulsive urge to create, especially through writing. I learned to read at 4 and to write soon after and there wasn’t a single second of the day until I was 11 that I wasn’t either writing books or reading books. Then I turned 11, puberty kicked in, and all creativity ceased. It’s like my body decided there were more important things to attend to, I got over-involved in social things, interactions with friends, and of course boys, and it was all fun and merry but all it did was provide a distraction. A distraction from fulfilling myself, which is to be on my own, dedicated only to myself and my own needs and CREATE. I haven’t written a story in about five years, I now only rarely write journal entries and these are fragmented and dull. My fluid, rich, poetic literary way of writing has dried up and in its place I have NOTHING.

I really hope one day I can write a book. I want to write a collection of surreal horror short stories, and a confessional book about my lifelong struggles with mental illness. The latter I could piece together by reading through my accumulated journals of years, but how would I even start trying to make sense of it all, there is so much of it! And when I die, no one will care about my journals, they will just be thrown out. I never want children, so that rules out the possibility of me bequeathing them to someone else. My kitty Ella probably won’t outlive me, and she has not yet learned to read.

I WISH I could find a method to my madness. I wish I was like Yayoi Kusama (exhibition currently on at the Tate Modern, REALLY need to see!). She is ‘mentally ill’, but she harnesses it, and she manages to successfully satisfy her innate urge to create. I don’t understand what is wrong with me, why I can’t create anymore. Something has settled itself in my brain and is blocking my pathways. I can’t even call it mere writers’ block anymore, it’s lasted so overly long.

I just want to… some day… create something, ANYTHING!!”

[….]

“I just wrote the first paragraph of my first novel.

…but I was high and don’t think I will be able to write as well when I’m not. Also I don’t have the patience or discipline to write a whole book! But I HAVE to, it is my #1 ambition in life to write a novel and see it published. I am thinking confessional literature atm, and I already know the title! After that I will move on to writing surreal horror, a collection of short stories or something.

But can I actually do it???”

Cassie creeps up a lot into my personal writing, even my first youtube vid which is in final editing stages and should be posted very shortly 🙂

Its strange. I write surreal horror/prose things too and she somehow ends up there even if I don’t intend her to be. That is something I hold onto. I WILL write my novel, and I will dedicate it to my mother, my father and to her. If I write more than one, I will dedicate that to her, too. Facebook.com deleted the long correspondence from me to her over the last years of her life when I was legally stuck in the US and I HATE FB for that, but all I can do in find new ways to keep her memory alive.

So there I was, in a well like the girl from The Ring, ready at that moment to let the darkness consume me. Luckily I have amazing friends in London. Simicat and Ant, you saved me from doing something stupid and potentially fatal that day. I was in the well, and you tossed me a rope and pulled me out. I can see the bridge again, even if I am still scared of crossing it completely.

The best thing I feel a human can do for another human is to simply be there. After Cassie and Zak died, I self-isolated. I hated myself, why should anyone remotely tolerate me? But I didn’t hate all of me. Just the bad scary nasty demon gremlin things that appeared out of the corner of my vision like those spots of black when you press hard into your eyelids. I still feel survivors guilt, the unfairness of being in a world where she is not, where Zak is not, where Igor is not.

But I am lucky. I have people who care about me and love me. OK, most of them are halfway around the world, but they are there. This one is for you:

 

I do truly believe our closest friends are the family we choose. Your continued love and support means so much and I hope to either visit London again one day, or if you could come see me ❤ *fingers crossed* ❤

Also shout outs to Mary who continues to post cute videos on my wall (proof that I can actually make a new friend! :)) And Nadia and Antoin, always. I miss you all loads ❤

There are other people who I am extremely grateful for but this particular blog is for those who were my anchor last night.

As I was typing this, someone offered me a ride to a meeting tomorrow as well. They reminded me how my main focus needs to be on my recovery now and I need to block toxic/negative people (like mr. dickface, as I think of him) out of my life. I obviously can’t say who they are and don’t think they will ever see this but thank you, too.

And a reminder to those who feel isolated and lonely: are you making an effort? Are you trying to reach out, even if it is tough and scary? Please try. It really is worth it. Good things do exist in this planet, you just need to pick out the diamonds from the rubble.

 

If we’re always
Starting over
Every brand-new morning
Then we’re always
Starting out
With the end in doubt
We can leave life for tomorrow
Or grieve all that we thought we’d do
Or make each moment new

 

Wake up time: on how I plan to break the chains of addiction and find true freedom

Disclaimer: I am only speaking about myself and my own personal experiences when discussing NA. I have spoken to my home group leader about this, as a writer I simply am sharing my truth. A vial part of my recovery is admitting I am an addict, but through NA and the wonderful people I have had support me along with my therapist I finally feel like I am on the right path :). I was a bit confused in the beginning if I could even speak about NA, but he assured me that it is perfectly fine as long as I am only speaking about me. I would NEVER, EVER reveal anything about anyone else and I am in no way whatsoever speaking “for” NA.  I am simply reflecting on my own journey. ❤

I came across this photo in a recovery group I would like to share:

stopdemonizingaddicts

   Around 2013, I felt I had hit rock bottom at 22. I moved to NY to stay with my half sister Josephine, but by the time I arrived her mother had gotten wind of this. She met me once, at 3  years of age but as I am the product of a second marriage after her and my dad divorced, I assume she hates me for merely existing at all. Apparently she was helping Josephine with her apartment deposit. Upon learning that I was going to stay with her, she refused. I later learned it was my father who had informed his ex wife of this. I still don’t know why he told her, why he talks to her at all. After my father she was married to a man who sexually molested his own daughter for years.

   So there I was, 22, struggling with PTSD and anxiety and a recent cyclothymia diagnosis. NY was brand new to me, as I still feel most of US is to me as an adult. I felt abandoned and betrayed by my family and had no friends to speak of. I went from couch to couch on airbnb but I didn’t want to be a burden to my mother financially.  It was already abundantly clear to me that my fathers half of the family didn’t care, so why should anyone else? Some nights I slept in subways or park benches. I had never felt so alone.

   But let’s back up. How did I get so screwed up in the first place? Cliff notes version: I moved to the UK at 16, doing my A-levels at Stafford College from 17-18, and moved to London right after turning 18.  I graduated from University with a degree in Creative Writing, I was working part time doing promotion and as a shot girl for central London clubs before turning my focus to modelling and dominatrix work when I was not at Uni or working on my dissertation. I had an internship at Literary Review for an all too blissfully short time (I was a temporary fill in for another intern) and one of my dearest friends Rose stopped by the office to drop off purple jeweled fairy wings for an upcoming photo shoot. Life was good. Sure my internship involved fetching lunch and coffee and transcribing cursive handwritten letters onto a computer, but it also involved lots of going through books for the magazine and dividing them into piles; which were worthy of reviewing, which were not. My biggest slip-up would be I would often get quite involved in skimming the literature and would have to stop myself from over-reading. Little ol’ me, a lowly intern and freshman at University, was deciding which books were worthy of this esteemed publication.

   It was a great time, a time before drugs and abuse and grief and insanity.  Life was fresh and exciting and full of possibility.  I created a blog on wordpress called http://www.alisonadventures.wordpress.com for my university but it was how my life felt: Like an exciting adventure with so many wonderful things to do and see and experience and explore. I kept that blog running for 8 years and while the more recent entries reflected my more somber and nihilistic mental state, my earlier posts show how while I still had stress and problems like anyone else, the real joy and enthusiasm I had for traveling, friends, events and masked balls, poetry and love.

   Things would only get better as I started modelling more, meeting more people, making lifelong friends I consider family today. Apart from writing and modelling, I had since childhood longed to be an actress. When a prominent film producer invited me to audition for a part (a lot of this is still blocked out of my head, I can’t even remember the name of the script he sent me) at Elstree film studios, I thought it was my chance. It all seemed perfectly legit. I was buzzed in by the downstairs secretary to go into the producers office. I could see the filming of Sherlock Holmes 2 taking place outside. Unlike the HW scandal, there was no sudden change of venue, no female assistant taking me to a hotel room.  The producer offered me a glass of champagne as he sized me up and I politely took a few sips. I wanted to stay sober but as he talked about how I would have to change my look completely if I was to be taken seriously as an actress, I was apparently perfect for playing the part of myself with my long platinum blonde extensions, pearl necklace and polka dot vintage dress I had gotten at Spitalfields market; as an actress I would have to be more malleable, able to slip effortlessly into multiple roles.

   It was around that point I remember feeling dizzy.  I struggled to stay clear headed-what was wrong with me? I had only taken a few sips of champagne. The producers true intentions would soon become clear as he inched closer to me despite my repeated cries of “I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend.” I tried not to think about that day for years. Being forcefully smashed into a wall and down on the black leather couch as he overpowered me. Meeting said then-boyfriend Ben at B @ 1 for cocktails after he noticed my bra was undone. I couldn’t tell him-it was 9 months before I could even begin admitting what had happened to myself.  I stammered “I-I don’t know. I don’t remember.” He didn’t press then, thankfully, although he told me later on he suspected.

   That was the beginning of my downward spiral in London. I started going out more, I had always loved a certain goth club and still do to this day but I started going every weekend, staying from midnight until closing at 7AM. I started going to afterparties. I had tried coke once or twice previously but apart from a couple of happy hour cocktails and pro-plus (caffeine pills) to get me through classes,  I didn’t mess with much else until that time. 19 1/2. I tried most things- Pills, Acid, Ketamine, Speed, 2cb, even GHB once. Anything to make me forget. Anything for that escape. I became Dorothy, losing sight of the yellow brick road, stupefied in the poppy field of forgetting.

  But London, like Oz, was still a magical place. I met others who wanted to forget, whether it was with drugs or alcohol- their own pain and trauma. Sure I pissed some people off by passing out on GHB in their flat during an afterparty at their home, or taking ages trying to buckle up my black PVC platform demonia boots when said afterparty was over. But we all had our moments. We didn’t want to be wreackheads, not really. We just didn’t see a way out, or were too afraid to try. In a way, that club was the best place I could have gone when wanting to escape the flashbacks, the anxiety, the brand new borderline/cyclothymia diagnosis. I met Cassie. It was surreal. She was also a model, beautiful and brilliant on the inside and out. She graduated University with an English Literature degree. She also loved writing and Gothic Lolita fashion, travelling and we both would share and devour books like most would food. We even had the same demons; eating disorders, mental disorders, abuse. We would finish each others sentences. We made a plan: Only ketamine on weekends. We both wanted to be truly healthy, to conquer our addictions.  All we really wanted was acceptance and to find peace in this crazy fucked up world.

   Some of my fondest memories are of our adventures around London, dancing, trying on each others clothes as we played with her cat Bella. Tony and Ben and me and Cass conversed about pharmaceuticals or quantum theory, literature and writing, modelling and adventures, fashion and the universe and our disordered minds. We invited our fabulous friend Ant over to watch Rocky Horror after a day of meaningful talk and racing about the capitol. I was at my happiest when I was with her, knowing her was to truly know what it meant to have a “twin flame”. We always wanted to be together.

   However that was not to be. My student visa was expiring, I planned on visiting family in Florida then returning, hopefully more sane. Her and her boyfriend Tony took me to Heathrow. My last memories of her was of us both hugging each other tightly, bawling. She texted me right after: “I can’t believe I made a best friend just to lose her. We will be together again soon xxx”. Anyone who knows me or has read my writing is well aware of what happened next: Her dying of an accidental overdose. Her calling people, so many people (including my future abusive ex) but no one picking up. I don’t even think she had my US number. Lots of people said they did not know where she was. I would have. She was at Tony’s, of course. Despite their recent breakup it was always obvious how very much in love they were.

       Another close friend Zak would pass on soon after that. Legally, I could not make either funeral due to a previous detonation when then were both still alive and my family booked my ticket for too long due to a recent law change. I will never forget the day when I was finally able to return to London on a masters degree visa (unsurprisingly I failed that time. I don’t think I took it seriously; I really just wanted a chance to grieve with my friends.) It was the Alternative Bring and Buy Sale. I had left most of my worldly possessions with Cassie, she was safeguarding them for me. In the last photos of her she is wearing my dresses and coats. Looking back, its nice to see a tiny part of me with her in the end. I always hoped they kept her warm. I was informed that her mother sold everything after her daughter died; but there she was, at the sale. I wrote a prose piece about that, if you would like to view it here: https://alisonadventures.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/id-rather-be-a-fairy/

The last line was about my hopelessness, life seemed unbearable. “I just want to make the sadness go away but I can’t and so I continue my journey into the make believe. I’d rather be a fairy than a human anyway. ” The last two stanzas were a metaphor about my ketamine addiction, even it was slowly killing me and how I would rather escape into the blissful embrace of using than face my own reality.

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       Obviously, this was a dark time. I will never forget the look in her mothers eyes, knowing she was outliving her only daughter. Sometimes I think about that look when I think of taking my own life, how I don’t want to do that to my own mother. I know she did not either, not really. It was just she screamed out for help and no one was there to listen. Her mum recognized me instantly. “Your the one she got the passport for” she said and I simply nodded, unable to speak for the lump in my thought. Upon graduating, Cassie’s mother said she would finance a trip for her to go anywhere in the world. She was going to see me in Ft. Lauderdale but my mom was afraid, having one crazy daughter was enough for her to handle I guess. It’s still incredibly painful to think about but I know, she couldn’t have known how amazing Cassie was, how brilliant, how much she truly wanted help. It’s still hard to think about: If I was dishonest with my mother, would she have allowed Cassie to stay like I know she would have Rose? If I didn’t say she was so much like me, like finding a twin halfway around the world? But what happened, happened. No one could predict the future. Upon finally getting a studio with my future fiance on NY’s upper east side I sent an excited message to Cassie “Please come stay with me in New York! I have my own place here now 🙂 Miss you loads ❤ xxx” that was the day she died. She never got the message.

   After losing Cassie and Zak I just wanted to sleep and sleep and not wake up. I could not fathom my life without them, without virtually any friends and support. I had already started down the path of addiction before they died, not long after arriving in New York. Upon becoming and meeting other homeless people, one couple introduced me to heroin and as it was only $10-20 a bag as opposed to the extremely high cost of ketamine in the US, I thought why the fuck not? I hate my life. I hate everything. I felt empty and hopeless (Cassie was very worried for me, the tragic irony of that is not lost.) I came to my senses in a few weeks, luckily one of my American friends I met in London (ironically also named Cassandra, after Cassie passed when mentioning her to mutual friends I often had to say “the one who isn’t dead” to avoid confusion) was flying back to her home state in NY; it was out during a Midnight Mob concert I met said future Fiance Twist.

    Meeting him changed everything for me. We fell in love upon a week of dating, and apart from  a brief period of separation are now engaged. I had to stop using. And so I did a cold turkey detox off H, yet still relying on Nyquil and Benzos to get me through. I was off it for 3 months, before getting a facebook message from my friend Hannah. She didn’t want me finding out online, but no one had my new US number. Cassie. In shock I called up Ant. It was only when I heard him crying on the phone that reality set in. She was gone.

   Lots of other unfortunate events followed, but this is not meant to be a post about my past except to briefly summarize it as an explanation for new readers. I felt the need to explain, at least for the most part, how I ended up here. But what is here? And what does any of this have to do with radically changing my life?

Here-at the moment anyway- is a Jersey city one bedroom apartment with my fiance and dog. They are not the problem.

Drugs I am legally prescribed: Seroquel 100 mgs at night (this is actually down from 300 mgs) Diazepam 10mgs 2 to 3 times a day “as needed” (never mind this is a physically and mentally addictive substance like the Seroquel and I started getting massive anxiety attacks and agoraphobia over not having diazepam if venturing outside my bulding.) Suboxone (Tapered from 14mgs to 1/4th of a strip at night. However I have been “tapering” off this for 4 years. I started going to NA meetings and discussing the nature of drugs and addiction with others and their experience over what a nightmare substances like methadone or suboxone truly are.) Adderall 10mgs once a day in the morning.

Drugs I take recreationally: Ketamine (obviously) and weed/cigarettes. I don’t actually smoke very often so on those 2 I don’t view as a major threat. Ketamine I have gone through various stages of not using and then relapsing. I had a pretty bad relapse after my cat died recently, more family drama, etc but in a way that relapse is what motivated me to start going to meetings.

I feel like I am in a medication tango. I take the Seroquel to sleep, the Adderall for any amount of morning energy, the diazepam to stop my heart from pounding out of my chest with anxiety, the never ending taper of suboxone. 

I do believe that drugs, legally prescribed or otherwise are half of the problem. 

Attending NA groups in NY was a massive wake up call for me. At first I struggled with thinking of my addiction as a disease. I was convinced I was just a weak self destructive person. My self esteem had been at an all time low since my last relapse. Luckily, I found a wonderful meeting close enough to walk to. For once, I listened and I thought. After my last trip to Florida, I could not sleep for a week while there. I was worried about my parents. I felt so stressed that upon returning to NY I started vomiting violently for 2 days then slept another 2 out of sheer exhaustion. Mental strain and illness can induce physical illness. Sick is sick. Nitpicking over terminology was ridiculous.

Some quotes from NA literature that particularly resonated:

“When our addiction was treated as a crime or moral deficiency, we became rebellious and were driven deeper into isolation. Some of the highs felt great, but eventually the things that we had to do to continue using reflected desperation. We were caught in in the grip of our disease. We were forced to survive anyway we could.  We manipulated people and tried to control everything around us. We had to have drugs regardless of the cost. Failure and fear began to invade our lives.”

“One aspect of our addiction was our inability to deal with life on life’s terms. We tried drugs and combinations of drugs to cope with a seemingly hostile world.

We dreamed of finding a magic formula that would solve our ultimate problem-ourselves.

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Once I get fully clean, I still may have a ways to go. I had an eating disorder at 13 and there is all that lovely PTSD and anxiety and mood swings to contend with :P. I do worry-without the drugs to suppress them, what demons will come out? But how will I ever know, or even try to cope and deal with life on life’s terms naturally while  have all these toxic chemicals in my system? I can’t, and I won’t. I need to separate my addiction and any mental disorders or trauma in order to not just survive, barely holding on and waking up crying praying for death. I need to be clean in order to plant that first seed, take that first shaky step in order to walk. For the first time in years, I actually have hope that without these drugs in my system I can know I am happy without constantly questioning it. I started feeling happy in groups, when people called me and asked how I was. A warm feeling that came from my heart and spread throughout my body, drug free.

It had been so long since anyone in NY apart from my dog and fiance seemed to genuinely care that I even existed. My half siblings live a tube ride away yet would leave me and even our father who loved and supported them his entire life and now has Parkinson’s and is wheelchair bound-homeless and destitute during a category 5 huricane. Yet here were these amazing people who only met me maybe once, twice, three times, calling to see how I was or offering me lifts to meetings as I cannot drive, even if they lived far away.

I am still so new to NA but the kindness and compassion I found in these people restored a fragile sense of hope and faith I thought had died when my best friend was buried six feet under. 

” At times, we were defensive about our addiction and justified our right to use, especially when we had legal prescriptions. We were proud of the sometimes illegal and often bizarre behavior that typified our using. We “forgot” about the times when we sat alone and were consumed by fear and self-pity. We fell into a pattern of selective thinking. We only remembered the good drug experiences. We justified and rationalized the things that we did to keep from being sick or going crazy. We ignored the times when life seemed to be a nightmare. We avoided the reality of our addiction.”

The thing about taking mind altering chemicals, “prescribed” or not,  is your body will build up a resistance. Since being initially prescribed diazepam at 19-20 my 20-30 mg a day dosage barely keeps my anxiety at bay. I am now 26. Of course after 6 years any drug prescribed you will develop a tolerance too. “Tapering” has never worked for me; I’ve been “tapering” off suboxone for 4 years and am still not off it. I am down from 300 mgs of Seroquel to 50-100 mgs but I get the worst withdrawl symtoms from that too. I feel very feverish and nauseous most days and have to alternate my “productive adderall days” with my “I actually have an appetite and can stand the site of food days.”

I was prescribed even more damaging horrible drugs but my body would usually have an immediate allergic reaction. The amount of drugs psychiatrists have tried prescribing me is so high, I often forget all the names. Lithium. Carbamazepine. Topomax. Far from helping, I find many psychiatrists hand out highly addictive or dangerous substances like candy-all for that paycheck from “Big Pharma”. And as a young adult with a frayed mental state due to things like rape or grief or depression, you want to believe in your doctor. Take the orange pill for this, the blue pill for that, the white pill chills you out the dark blue hypes you up. I strongly wish especially in the US such practices would be kept much more firmly in check. In the UK, the highest dose of diazepam Tony, Cassie’s boyfriend who suffered with schizophrenia was prescribed was 2-5 mgs, 5 mgs was the highest legal amount allowed prescription on the NHS. Where as I am on 20-30 mgs per day. My physically and mentally abusive ex, who lied about his recovery from drugs and alcohol and would steal my parents food money to spend on his substance abuse, was prescribed 25mgs of Seroquel, where I was initially prescribed 300mgs.

(To avoid any confusion, when I say “my abusive ex” I am referring to someone named Ath I briefly dated in London during me and Twists separation period-not Ben, my very lovely college boyfriend I dated when Cassie was with Tony. )

I truly believe, when I first was seeking help at 18/19, I should have been referred to a therapist (I have an amazing therapist who is a miracle worker I am thankfully seeing now-she said she would only treat me if I went to meetings, and I believe her help and guidance is real magic in this world.) I should have been perhaps referred to NA then (sadly this does not exist in the UK….while prescription-wise they have the right idea, I was told I should have been hospitalized the time I went down to 75 lbs but they would have let me die because they “did not have the funding”) my treatment plan should have been encouragement to exercise more, learn to cycle, learn to film, make things. Dance. Create. Focus on what I loved, and be gentle and kind with myself when I could not make the tears stop.  (I am trying to do these things now but its extremely hard when in this physically ill/feverish and mentally chemically altered state after years of narcotics)

Instead, I was prescribed a heavy and ever-revolving cycle of drugs. Vulnerable and naive, I took them. Part of me always knew this was bad, this was wrong, but it was also so easy. I had a mental disorder! I needed these pills for my very survival! In terms of addiction, Sometimes I feel like we *want* to believe the lies of Big Pharma because its literally legally prescribed drugs. 

The rationalization’s of addiction are endless. But once I woke up, I truly saw what I was trying so goddamn hard to suppress for years. Drugs are a temporary solution to a long term illness. In using drugs you are not dealing with life, you are suppressing and escaping. Whether my drug use came in the form of powdered speed from a dealer in a club, or adderall (compressed speed in pill form, which is a street name for amphetamines.) I have literally been legally prescribed some of the same drugs I used to escape while clubbing.

I need to remember my addiction is a disease like any other mental disorder I may have. Its my short cut to happiness, my best friend who will never die. When I am high it shuts me off and parachutes me to heaven. And that is why I am so terrified of using again. Anything that amazing makes you crave it, obviously. Some people with my mental issues (bipolar/borderline/PTSD/Anxiety/Insomnia) are actually prescribed ketamine in small doses in nasal sprays and if used properly, same as occasional benzos for planes and such, I am not saying it could not have therapeutic benefits (if I even use small amounts or are coming off a hit I still get lots of chill and euphoric vibes). 

However, as an addict, I cannot use ketamine responsibly. It is my kryptonite. While I can stop at 1 drink, smoke half a spliff at the end of a long day, I am a glutton for my drug of choice. I cannot use K responsibly because unlike alcohol, which makes me angry and aggressive after 1-2 drinks, ketamine makes me feel more and more euphoric the more I take. When using, I just wanted to climb to that peak of the valley of the dolls. Of course, same as in Jacqueline Susann’s cult classic, once you reach that summit, there is no where to go but come crashing down.

This Placebo song is literally called “Special K” and describes the experience of this drug really well:

 

“Higher mental and emotional functions, such as conscience and the ability to love, were sharply affected by our use of drugs. Living skills were reduced to the animal level. Our spirit was broken. The capacity to feel human was lost. This seems extreme, but many of us have been in this state of mind.” (This does not seem extreme at all to me, its how I feel all too often.)

I had long known my life was depressing and unmanageable, but I saw no way out apart from misery or eventual death. I journal a lot and my most recent entry stated the following:

ATM I feel like my options are:

  1. Die by own hand

    2. Waste away over time (I almost did this once in London from sheer depression and over use of k, my mother had to drag me back at 75 lbs, only 1 lb over 74 when I was initially hospitalized at 13)

   3. Semi function while being secretly miserable most days, some days are high and euphoric and happy, some days you use and feel invincible, other days you feel empty and too weighed down to kill yourself.

4. Radically change my life completely, or at least remove the drugs from my system to find out who I even am anymore and if I can find healthier ways of coping.
1 doesn’t seem to have worked so far. 2 and 3 hurt everyone including myself and I am tired of the cycle. 4 is the only option for me or I feel I will die, and I don’t want to die this way, without my novel written, without feeling I am trying my goddamn best to live in the best way I can, to be truly happy ever again.

So 4 it is.

“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” 

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In order to achieve 4, I believe I need to be hospitalized to get primarily the diazepam out of my system, on the dose I am on for as long as I have been on it going cold turkey at home is not an option. I have talked to both medical professionals and other group members about this, there is simply no way I can do this alone. I could get a seizure and die, I could self harm in a moment of sheer terror, and the whole point of wanting to build a life for myself is not to die >.< (https://luxury.rehabs.com/valium-addiction/)

I also want the suboxone, seroquel and possibly adderall gone too. (I only take half every other day or so if I can help it and it really does help on depression/total lack of energy days. I can also have the attention span of a fly and it helps a lot with focus and productivity. But once I am off the other drugs, hopefully I won’t need it…. I guess I will have to wait and see on that one.)

Unfortunately, finding a good hospital or rehab facility may prove challenging. I had horrible experiences in hospitals in the past, but there is one vital difference now: I want to commit myself. I feel like I need to in order to break the shackles I feel every time I take a pill or strip of suboxone.

I believe I need to be hopefully briefly hospitalized for necessary medical and mental reasons. Sometimes you have to admit defeat in order to rise up like a phoenix from the ash.

Of course I am worried. I want to find somewhere I can go outside for fresh air and cigarette breaks. (Once I am off the subs, seroquel adderal and diazepam I will focus on smoking but NA says one day at a time for a reason.) I would like to be treated with dignity and allowed books and to write and visitors, ideally. Hopefully they will have a good aftercare program.

But I honestly believe this is a necessity right now. Tomorrow I will look up places and pray to find somewhere decent that accepts my insurance. But I am done apologizing for now. I am done feeling like a suicidal hopeless burden. I may need to ask my family for a loan, but its hardly like its for a convertible.

Of course I am terrified…. but I’m also excited of what awaits me on the other side.

Don’t know just where I’m going
And tomorrow, it’s a little overwhelming
And the air is cold
And I’m not the same anymore
I’ve been running in your direction
For to long now
I’ve lost my own reflection
And I can’t look down
If you’re not there to catch me when I fall.

If this is the moment I stand here on my own
If this is my rite of passage that somehow leads me home
I might be afraid 
But it’s my turn to be brave
If this is the last chance before we say goodbye
At least it’s the first day of the rest of my life
I can’t be afraid 
Cause it’s my turn to be brave

Things I understand, and things I don’t

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I don’t understand certain compliments

  • When I was visiting family in Florida both my family and psychotherapist said I was “doing a lot better”. I have been getting this from a lot of people actually. I can see how in their minds it’s a compliment but it’s not for me. It’s like, ok what does that even mean? Was I really such a massive trainwreck beforehand? Was I so fucked up that you stopped loving or even liking me? What about when the next catastrophe strikes and I can’t deal?  Will I be an even bigger disappointment? Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of this is if I am “improving”, as it were, does this shit ever end? How much further do I have to go? How much more work until I am good enough for you? For myself? I don’t view this as a compliment, more like an anxiety ridden nightmare.  37a3804bcd980f2cac66d53bd4e0bafd

I don’t understand things others seem to live for, ie sex

  • This could be anything from technology to video games to sex. But having PTSD and being demisexual in nature I just don’t get it. I mean sex can be fun, but their are so many other amazing things in life from music festivals to cirque du soleil to travelling the world, etc etc I just don’t see the GIANT deal other people make over this.

I don’t understand being told I am gorgeous, beautiful, etc.

  • No, I really am not. You just can’t see all my scars and demons. I also modeled for a while and that led to this intrinsic hatred of being judged solely on my physical appearance, apart from stuff like fashion and dressing up for yourself. Key word being for you, not for others. tumblr_mj94hgY5jf1r9nzqdo1_5004fc59dc55e9ce

I don’t understand morning people.

  • I don’t feel awake until my mood stabilizers from the night before wore off and my half adderall and starbucks kicks in XD If I wake up not crying for hours (when I wake up crying its the worst. If I cry because something triggers it I can work with that but waking up crying I sometimes can’t get out of this depressed, empty wanting-to-die state for hours or days. It sucks.) Hence, waking up at all at a decent time and not crying is already a very good start. If left to my own devices I will not sleep all night, be up writing or dancing or making grilled cheese at 3 AM and then just pass out for 2 days of sheer exhaustion.

I don’t understand/ENVY  when others say they are so grateful for so many things.

  • This is more of a mixed depression and jealousy thing, I think. I am literally scared of being grateful for things, being happy scares the living shit out of me because everytime I am happy it is somehow taken away. People and creatures I love die, illness, intrinsic need to self destruct before someone else does it for me? I think this is also very mixed for me because having bipolar, I know that my mania will fade and the darkness will come. Some days I don’t know if I am happy or just manic and think of this TV show, crazy ex girlfriend where Rebecca the main character looks into the mirror and says in this monotone: This is what happiness feels like. That gave me chills. 1684f2101091b62f315617b9f151dd4c

I don’t understand when other people ask me if I am ok when I am clearly not.

  • I have never understood this one.  People tend to ask this when I am very clearly not such as crying violently in a public place or puking my guts out, having an anxiety attack, etc. I mean if I was so fucking ok why would you even be asking me this? It’s almost like you want me to lie to assuage your ego, and honestly if you don’t know me why would you even want to know or care? I admit to being sometimes guilty of this myself if I know someone was not feeling well and seems to be doing a lot better, but that is only if they say or look like they are truly feeling better, not in the middle of an obvious physical sickness or mental freakout. 

This song represents this pretty well:

 

Sometimes, I feel like lying to family if they call and I am not ok because

1. My mother is Ms. Fix-everything and it will just lead to a pointless argument over why I am not doing yoga that second or drinking more water or leading a more rigid scheduled life and she doesn’t seem to understand I don’t want fixing. I just want to be accepted in that moment even if I am not ok.  

2. My dad has Parkinson’s and honestly if he is in a bad state which is frequent atm, talking to him can just be truly heartbreaking.  (Mom, if you are reading this which I know you probably are, I am actually planning on doing yoga with my friend from nearby at her new apartment. I found someone in my building with an adorable dog pickles who said he is available for occasional part time dog walking, as honestly been putting my dog first is a norm for me but I still feel very feverish and low energy esp in mornings (getting over some kind of cold/flu thing)  so its good to  have a back up so I don’t have to worry about dog care when physically ill and mentally exhausted. Also I am not a naturally scheduled person, its something I try to work on but I honestly suck at it. I know you don’t understand this but hopefully in time you will come to accept it and know I am doing my best. I love you.) I am estranged from my half siblings so at least I am comfortable in the knowledge if I died tomorrow it would honestly not affect their lives whatsoever. But that is a whole other story, and one I am not getting into here. 

 

Things I understand

I understand music 

Music, music festival’s , concerts, gigs, musicals, songs on youtube….music has saved my life more than once and helped guide me in this journey more than I can say. I always wished I could sing or played an instrument….I attempted writing a song once, but it may be awful? Not learning more about music and film are two of my biggest life regrets.

I understand when people say the following:

Can I help?

You are not alone.

Lets go do_____ or arrange something fun to do together.

Would you like a cup of tea?

I always find this gives me a warm feeling of solidarity and friendship and makes much more sense than asking someone’s *clearly* altered mental state in that moment. Also, tea is the solution to most things along with the things listed below.

I understand tea, coffee, chocolate, cheese boards and curry 

I understand literature. 

Apart from music, I think reading has been the other constant lifesaver and guide for me. I admire and glean inspiration from many authors but Francesca Lia Block is pure magick; if I never discovered the Weetzie Bat Books I may never have wanted to pursue writing as an actual career choice.

I understand love. 

Love is a dangerous angel. That being said, it is also cuddles and compassion and patience. It is respect and love and warmth. It is my fiance cooking me dinner and my dog rolling over for belly pats. It is going out on adventures with my friends, because friends are the family we choose.

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I understand compassion

Sometimes I talk to people and they are just as lonely and sad and isolated as me. They feel that their flaws means that no one will ever love them, and are too scared to venture out in the world for fear of being hurt. I understand you. I am you. Talking to you helped me realize I am doing the exact same things to myself. I wish you could see how beautiful you are the way I see it; how talented and bright your star could shine. Ironically I wish the same about myself.

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I understand grief

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Most of the time I feel like I have lived through so much. I miss those not in my life and can’t contemplate my life without them in it at times. Basically my first ever friend I  made in high school at 13 died at 21 of a heart complication in Brazil….he was a fellow vegan and towering gentle giant with long curly black hair and would wear signs saying “free hugs”.  My best friend died at 25 in London of an accidental overdose and another close friend at 24 of anorexia. I often wonder why I am here and they are not. I feel like they were better people than me, apart from my best friend/twin-she was me. It’s hard to explain to anyone in the US that pretty much all of my friends are dead or in London or a combination of the two and no, I am not imagining dead British people 😛 I was just in the UK from around age 16-23, went to Uni there, etc. It feels like I left my heart there most days and its incredibly hard reaching out to anyone here because of my baggage. There is a quote from RENT I love:

“Life’s too short babe, time is flying,  I’m looking for baggage that goes with mine.” I went to NY once at 16 and saw RENT on Broadway and ate at the actual Life cafe mentioned in the musical where Jonathon Larson wrote his masterpiece before passing on himself. I loved that NY. I miss that NY. Gentrification has taken over and I feel like Bohemia truly is dead here now 😥

I understand feeling broken

I understand hating wearing a mask every goddamn day of your life because you are constantly criticized on your appearance and life choices (I had anorexia at 13 because I did not eat or dress correctly according to my father and felt like a constant failure with no control over her own life. It was the only time I was ever hospitalized for psychiatric reasons.)

 

I also understand the pain required in order to heal

You are not a victim. What you are is a survivor and in time you will learn to live again…..slowly you will see you are actually a warrior.

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What Constitutes Social Etiquette on the Internet?

On creativity and mental illness

By P. Dreadful 

Dodie’s Am i oversharinggg too much video

   This past week, I’ve been a mess. I feel like I should not be a mess. I am engaged to someone I am in love with, I live in a nice apartment in a safe neighborhood and I have an adorable dog. So why have I woken up every day for the past week crying? How have I watched-not tv, not read, not even been self destructive (because that would require energy) the clock go from 1 to 6 to 7, watched myself from out of my body as time slipped away like a Salvador Dali painting?

  I would get short bursts of energy at times. I was struggling to write a short youtube storyboard though I right now seem to have no problem at all writing this. I have a lot of mental health issues I am doing my best to deal with but sometimes honestly lack the strength-nasty demons named anxiety,depersonalization, and ptsd under an umbrella of depression. For a while, I was content to wallow in this feeling. I have been watching Lana Del Ray’s “Ride”, Cruel Youth’s “Mr. Watson”, Helicopter Girl’s “Glove Department”. Links will be posted in the description.

   I have been undergoing therapy lately to understand why I do this-I still don’t know. What I do know is; I have always found beauty in the tragic, humour or irony in the extreme. I was born this way. I nearly died more times than I care to admit. From being a C-section baby (even my birth was backwards) to being injected with white blood cells as a child, medical issues from gallstones and chronic migraines to mental ones (I struggled with anorexia at 13, before most of the trauma I faced in early adulthood even took place to my knowledge.)

I think of my pain like water. When I am panicking it feels like I am being thrust under it and drowned. But I can find my way to serenity through my depression. It can take time, and does not always happen. But hearing certain lyrics, or reading certain words or quotes; it feels like the author or composer is communicating directly with my soul. And all of a sudden, I still may be sad-but what I don’t feel is empty. Some of Ride for example: I once had dreams of becoming a beautiful poet, but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like a million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again, sparkling and broken.

But I didn’t really mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted, and then losing it to know what true freedom is.”

 

Hearing that, in Del Ray’s luminous otherworldy vocals, brought me to a place of peace, and all of a sudden I was floating.

And sometimes, reading or listening to people’s thoughts and opinions makes me want to join in on the conversation.

   I discovered Dodie (Born Miranda “Dodie” Clark ) through her doddlevloggle side account before quickly finding her main channel doddleoddle and music channel DodieVEVO on YouTube after years of writing and modelling and basically feeling unfulfilled. I had been browsing the site looking for new music and inspiration for my own work. I quickly became fascinated by the female British creator-who-at 22, already has 2 successful self written EP’s under her belt-the first, Intertwined was self-released on November 18  2016 and despite its unsigned status, the EP reached #35 on the official UK album charts during its first week of release. Her second EP, You, was released on 11 August 2017. In its opening week of release, the EP debuted at number 6 on the official UK Albums Chart—29 places higher than the peak of Intertwined. It also debuted at number 55 on the US Billboard 200.This makes Dodie’s original song count up to 38.

Apart from being the kind of soulful, confessional and brilliant singer-songwriter Taylor Swift used to be back when she was still writing her own lyrics and music, Clark will be also be releasing a book on 2 November 2017, Secrets for the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons. She has won 2 and been nominated for 4 awards alone this year. And in Clark’s “am i oversharingggg too much” vlog, Dodie and Hazel discuss the link between genius and insanity. At 8:38 Dodie inquires “Why do Creatives tend to be so mentally ill?” And Hazel responds: “I think it’s an Chicken and Egg thing.” Dodie agrees and asks: “Do you create because you’re mentally ill or are you mentally ill because you create?” Like the licks to get to a tootsie pop center, the world may simply never know.

A lot of people-both in the comment section of these videos or other creators like Melanie Murphy in her response video on publically perceived oversharing seem to think people being honest about their mental health is romanticizing or enabling said problems. But for me, listening to something, whether it’s a Vlog, a book, a song, that speaks to my suffering actually has the opposite effect: It enables me to calm down. It makes me not feel quite so broken. It gives me the desire to use my voice, too. And for someone who *still* does not want to admit she has been victimized-that is a truly powerful thing.

In all honesty, humanity simply processes things differently. Dodie further addresses this in her follow up video and Melanie elaborates on wanting to protect her own personal bubble or space. I definitely believe if you are feeling truly happy wanting to hold onto that at all costs. But emotions come in waves, and it’s time to face reality. We now live in an technologically advanced age where Nuclear War can be declared on Twitter, yet said war is being declared by Donald Trump and when actresses try and speak out against assault and rape culture they are banned from the site. As a woman, I feel violated and objectified on a daily basis. As a human being, I am scared.  I am also totally guilty of posting things in a bad mental state online. Recently I’ve tried very hard to stop this and channel my energy into journaling and creative projects instead.

However, by simply living with a lot of the mental health things Dodie talks about-it helps me. Her music contains both hauntingly sad songs and also awesome upbeat tracks.

Just knowing someone that talented also has days where it feels like it takes a Herculean effort just to get out of bed is what motivated me to write this article. I don’t see why this is as much of a hot-button dialogue as it is. I have very openly posted numerous times on my facebook account that if anyone has a problem with me to please tell me so we can hopefully resolve it. But it’s also very easy to unfollow or block someone on social media. No one is forcing people to watch everything Dodie or anyone struggling’s posts or videos. If parents really want to utilize them parental controls exist, and yes if something is very dark trigger warnings may be appreciated.

I personally grappled with a moral dilemma when there was a petition circling the web to ban Euginia Cooney from Youtube for clearly having yet publicly denying her eating disorder to her friends and fans. Other Youtubers such as Onision started from a place of alleged concern that turned to an all out mockery of a serious condition. I lost a dear friend and fellow artist to anorexia who collapsed at a train station in London at 24 and can now never create again. When I myself was fighting for control in all the wrong ways I read a Teen Vouge article that published a formerly anorexic model’s exact diet. The article was meant to show how she was currently a plus size model, but contained how much better she was doing when she was sick, how many more shows she was booking, how much more beautiful and famous she was. She apparently lived on lettuce and diet coke. I ate more than lettuce and diet coke, I thought to myself at the time. Therefore I can’t possibly be sick. If anyone understands the real danger of deluded thinking, its me. I almost died at 74 pounds. I literally only started eating again because of how awful hospitals in South Florida were. So I wondered: Should impressionable young girls really be seeing this? Shy, insecure girls with low self esteem and even lower body image? Girls like me? And then I had a conversation with a friend who set me straight. If it was not Eugenia, it would be someone else. And if I never read that article in Teen Vogue I would still be insecure, still feel out of control. I probably would have found a new “thinspiration” as he said.

Because guess what? Life doesn’t come with a fucking trigger warning. Online social etiquette is a very new and hotly debated thing. But controversy has always existed. Today’s wanting to ban people online was yesterday’s Fahrenheit 451. Unless you struggle with some of this, it’s very hard to explain. By seeing the extreme beauty and humour in the darkness it made me a survivor. If I didn’t I truly believe I would have either died of starvation or anger by now.  Dodie’s video helped so much because there are times I want so badly to be productive but feel so disconnected. All of my friends are in another country or state, I only have acquaintances and frenimies physically here so this video helped me to connect, not with another person or place but with myself. If you only want to see happy things you can literally block news from FB but what happens when the bombs start dropping? Even my dog hates the rain (and some other dogs). People were complaining Dodie’s words and videos were like reading a diary, but what about the diaries of Anne Frank and Anais Nin?

It’s just sad to me when I feel like people are censoring themselves for fear of being judged or shamed. I highly doubt anyone struggling wants to be feeling that way but I don’t believe you can be happy even a majority of the time in life. As Veronica said to Heather in the iconic 80’s film: “If you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn’t be a human. You’d be a game show host.”

And at the end of it all, Hazel was dead on when she said suffering was part of the human experience. If we blocked all pain, how would we know joy? In regard to to how we deal and cope with that pain; that is up to us as individuals.

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Dodie’s “Sick of Losing Soulmates” “Would You Be So Kind?” and “Awkward Duet” Music Videos below:

Dodies follow up video and Melanie’s Response:

Also Listening To: Mr Watson by Cruel Youth

Glove Department by Helicopter Girl 

Death of a Bachelor by Panic at the Disco