Holiday Meh…

A lot of people out there can relate to the holiday meh. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love holidays and those who do not. I am part of the latter. Some people can’t wait for holidays but for the most part, they are just stress triggers for me. I have fond memories of Christmas as a child. We always had a Christmas tree(I got to decorate). We always had a feast worthy of gods(even being below the poverty line). It was a time of the year when you completely forgot who you were. In my culture, it’s like being in a whole different world. People are nicer, you get to eat food that you don’t eat any other time of year, you get to pick out new clothes to welcome the new year(not done in U.S.), you get to drink some amount of alcohol(even if you’re like six) and it’s just a good time….or so it should be.

I moved to the U.S. when I was 10 years old. I moved with my father and siblings. My mother couldn’t come because my parents weren’t officially married and she couldn’t be added to the people that could come with us. Stupid that they couldn’t find a way to add her but I digress. My first year without her was also the worst year of my life(probably). Christmas was always my shit. I loved everything about it but that year my sisters went partying, my dad stayed in his room as he usually did and my brother went to sleep as well. I was there, cold, tree-less and almost giftless, no mom, no friends….nothing. Ever since then, Christmas sucks.  As years passed, our family just grew more and more apart. My father cheated on my mom, my siblings started leaving the house, my depression got worse and I made some bad decisions.

Now, that aside…let’s talk about food. Food, candy, liquids and the fucking cold are things I hate about every holiday but especially the fall and winter holidays. I have Misophonia. I can’t deal with that shit. Everywhere I turn there’s a sniffling idiot who just won’t use a damn tissue. There’s that lady slurping her Starbucks coffee and saying “ahh” after every sip. There’s Christmas dinners that I don’t want to attend but do and cry after EVERY SINGLE TIME. It’s just a mess.

Holidays are that special time of the year when Misophonia, Depression and Anxiety all go: “It’s our time to shine”.



Tug of War

Relationships and mental illness just don’t seem to mix. One person with mental illness and one without: one gets tired. Two people with mental illness: they both get tired. I’ve been in relationships where only I have had a mental illness and one where we both did and even when she did, she couldn’t handle my bad moments.

I’ve had depression for a while, anxiety for a while, Misophonia for a while but I didn’t always accept it or realize it. I have begun to disclose that information very early on and I still believe in doing that out of fairness. I don’t believe it helps though. It’s very easy for a person to say “I can deal with this”. It’s not easy to watch someone struggle with every day tasks that you have no issues doing or even thinking about. It’s hard dealing with public outbursts. It’s hard dealing with the change in behavior that you can’t predict. People don’t understand that no matter the person you learned to like and then love, that’s not necessarily the person you’re going to get more than half the time(some mental illnesses).

I’ve recently for some reason been getting I’ve been getting a lot of attention. Some people want to date and others just want to mess around. I’m still stuck on this tug of war. I don’t know if I want to take the leap or stay put. One of the big reasons is that I still love my ex. I still call her wishing she would answer the phone. I still cry when I mention her(as I’m doing right now). I still dream about her and I still reminisce about our life.  I wanted a life with her. I took care of her(whenever I could) more than myself. But I know how she is and I know she’s never coming back but I still have this relentless hope that will never go away.

The other reason is my mental illness. People don’t understand the difference between a bitchy woman and a sick one. There are plenty of bitchy women out there who get to have a life, they get married and have children. The difference between me and those women is that they can learn through experience. No matter how many years I’ve been alive, I still have the same pattern of behavior and thinking. The other side can also be that you know what to expect from them and can adapt to accommodate that type of behavior(should you want to). You can’t adapt to happy, depressed, anxious, mad, feeling detached, feeling left behind…every freaking week or day or hour.

I’m still stuck here but I’ve realized that if I’m not sure someone can handle it…they probably can’t.

I Tried To Drown My Pain in Alcohol…

As the lovely Frida Kahlo once said:”I tried to drown my pain in alcohol, the fucker learned how to swim”. I’ve been going out a lot lately and I’ve realized that it’s both good and bad. Let’s start with the good. I have social anxiety, it’s undeniable. Getting myself out of my comfort zone is not easy and alcohol doesn’t actually help that, other people do. Every weekend I’ve been going out to parties, drinking, smoking(regular stuff) and just dancing my little dominican ass off. There’s also the fact that I think me being so isolated all the time makes my depression so much worse.

On to the bad. After my suicide attempt, I wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol and since I don’t have insurance, I’ve never checked backed to see how my liver is. I’ve been drinking at all the parties I’ve been to and while I don’t feel the need to throw up, I still feel like it has to be affecting me in some way. My heart races a lot more than usual and I get more of a buzz than I used to prior to that event.

On top of that, you run into a lot of issues when you go to parties. When people and alcohol mix, shit happens. Fights develop, some guys think they own you, etc. The thing that bothers me the most though is that it actually affects my anxiety a lot. It’s good for my depression in a way but it’s bad for my anxiety in a way. I really can’t tell if I’ve always just been anxious or if I’m really this obsessive about things. If i’m going somewhere, I like to know where and exactly what time I have to be there by. Being too early or too late is stressful as hell to me. A problem that I’ve encountered way too many times lately. Dominicans, latinos and well…minorities in general run on different clocks. The only people ever on time to a party are whites. Just being real.

I don’t want to drive myself nuts but I am striving to be somewhat normal for a person my age. So far it’s working, we’ll see how far this tequila takes me haha

The Moment You Realize You Might Not Be Adopted…

I’ve always had this running joke that I’m not my mother’s daughter or my father’s daughter. At least one of them CAN’T be my parents. One reason is because I feel like I don’t look like them or even a combination of them. Another is the fact that our personalities don’t seem to be alike. Mental illness has made me realize though, we share more than I think(if they are my parents :P).

On my dad’s side of the family, there’s a lot of mental illness. You guys have heard me mention my uncle and possibly my cousin who has a mental/neurological disorder that I don’t know the name of. Well, there’s loads more people. Even people who don’t necessarily have a mental disorder but do things that just don’t make sense. An example is a distant aunt(mine) from my father’s side(Also, why I got my middle name). She disappeared in her teens from her home. Everyone thought she had been kidnapped and died. Decades later, she comes back like nothing happened. She had no reason to leave the house. She just did and left no trace.

But I digress…First let’s talk about my mother. I didn’t know this then, but given her behavior throughout my life, I can safely say she had bouts of depression. Maybe even a little postpartum. As a child, she didn’t really hold me. She would have on and off moments between liking me and treating me just like something she needed to deal with. My oldest sister raised me for the most part. As she got older I realized she became more unstable as well. Her and I can’t deal with being by ourselves. We just can’t. The world crumbles around us if we’re alone. After she lived in a house by herself and with no real income, she developed high blood pressure, as did I. She has moments where she just wants to do something and she does it  without giving a thought which has causes us both to be in predicaments we didn’t want to be in. I think most of my issues stem from her even though genetics wise, her family is “cleaner”.

Now, let’s move on to my dad. My dad is such a “character” that his behavior can’t be explained by one word. I think it stems from his own dad but I don’t know enough about him to figure his shit out. He behavior ties him to depression, OCD and psychopathy(seriously). My father will only eat exactly half of his meal and save half for later. He has always done this and says it’s because he couldn’t eat it all. When in fact, he is hungry like 24/7 so he could eat the food on the plate at once but he never does. He can’t fall asleep with someone in the house showering and he freaks out if there’s a dish in the sink or a spot of grease on the stove. Then, there’s also times when he just doesn’t leave his room. He goes to work but when he comes back he doesn’t even come out to eat.

Him being a psychopath is something that I’ve been thinking for a while now. He fits a lot of the traits of a psychopath. He used to be an alcoholic and was into drugs but for unknown reasons(I wasn’t born yet to know), he stopped. He can easily be set off into anger even though most of the time he is very cool, calm and collected. If you asked about him on the streets, people would say he is a great guy. His reputation is of most importance to him even though he’s not of high status or anything special. People think I’m crazy if I ever speak ill of him. It’s mind boggling. He is a very selfish person and he doesn’t really see anything from anyone else’s point of view. He often tries to manipulate people and given his image, people will actually fall for it but he always has an angle.

Anyways, now you have part of my family mental history. Comment down below if you’ve ever thought you couldn’t possibly have the right parents? Haha

I have a relationship with food and it’s complicated…

My eating habit is one of the only things I can completely trace and get a mental picture of in my head. Before the age of 10, my depression was there but it wasn’t as “serious” as when I got older. I ate like a pig. I would eat nearly two plates of the traditional rice, beans and chicken combo that is served in the DR for lunch. If you want some perspective, my brother(a growing teenage boy) ate a single plate. We were all served on same size plates. Funny side note: I wouldn’t let myself eat until I did everything I needed to get done. Now I know that was anxiety but back then both my parents and I called it over-achieving. Anyways, back to the topic. Depression wasn’t as consuming as my anxiety was, so I would eat a lot.

Let’s move forward to teenage years. I still ate a lot, but unlike my previous years…I gained the weight. Around age 10-11, I moved to the U.S. of A. I hate changes and that change hit me really hard. Due to reasons I don’t want to get into on this post, my mother wasn’t able to come with me and I would only go on to see her once every year or every two years. In those years, I would be left alone in the house for most of the day, which aggravated my depression & anxiety so I would over-eat. I gained about 50 pounds in a year. I went on to keep most of the weight for the majority of  middle school.

Towards the end of middle school and beginning of high school, I started to starve myself. The complete opposite of what I had been doing for years now. It would be hard for most people but not for me. I’m goal-oriented but I do hate me some exercise so, I just lowered my calories severely. I lost the weight within a few weeks to a few months.

I can safely say that even now, having been three years out of high school…my eating habits are not good and they really will never be “healthy”. I only eat when I remember but when I do, I binge eat. I think it’s because of the highs and lows of my depression and anxiety. I’m lucky enough to have metabolism and a body shape that tries to work with me but that’s not true for everybody.

If you have depression or anxiety, what is your relationship with food?

Target Me

I was scrolling through trending Facebook topics. I saw target trending and it made me laugh because technically I work for target now. They’re in the limelight or the lemon-light if you will. They have put out a sweater that reads “Obsessive Christmas Disorder”. There are mixed reactions about it but the general consensus is that we don’t like it. It makes it seem like OCD is not a real thing. You just don’t do things like that.

It still surprises me how products like this come to be released. There has to be a number of people that have to approve these ideas and put it into motion. At all stops, someone had to say…”Yes, we can release this without getting backlash”. The interesting part is that Target has apologized for any discomfort they might cause but have apparently not said that they were pulling the sweaters. I don’t know whether to respect that or not. I do know that I don’t respect someone using a well known abbreviation for a mental disorder and as an abbreviation for something that doesn’t exist. Mental illness is already hard enough. You don’t need to walk around seeing your disorder mocked or deemed as the “Usual”.

The devil’s advocate here is that it is just an article of clothing and there has been a lot of sensitivity in the media lately. The whole Starbucks coffee not being “christmasy” enough for some people. That situation has me rolling my eyes. In my opinion, every one knows that not everyone is a Christian and a company aimed at earning money through ALL, shouldn’t be just about one set of people. Now, my question when it comes to target is….who the hell is that sweater aimed at? The only people I can see wearing something like this is young people who don’t really understand the types of mental illnesses out there and the impact they have on people.

Mental Illness From A Dominican Perspective…

If you are Latino/Latina and have a mental illness or know someone that does, you’ll quickly realize this pattern of behavior towards the situation. Since I’m Dominican, I’ll only be speaking from what I’ve seen. It can go one of few ways:

  1. The family acts as if the child is not mentally ill(especially if the disorder can’t be seen).  Getting medical help is not very likely and even if wanted, can be very expensive so it won’t be explored.
  2. When told, friends or strangers will tell you: “You just need to live a little., You’re too young to feel X way”.
  3. You’ll be avoided because who wants that problematic person in their life.

Let’s go back to one. One is the one(I know) I can relate the most to since I’m mentally ill and my uncle was mentally ill. In lieu of getting him diagnosed and treated, they tried to get him committed into a mental hospital. When I expressed my anxiety and fears to my mother, she proceeded by giving me a religious rant that didn’t make me feel any better and wouldn’t help. In her defense, nothing she said would help when you think everything that could be wrong is wrong. The point is, that the approach towards mental illness is very naive and from then, it’s just not an approach. They put it on the back of their minds and just assume you’ll grow out of it.  Mental illness particularly with family has a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. In my uncle’s case, his mental illness was too obvious to hide or just bypass. Don’t get it twisted though, if asked by a stranger…they would try. They and people in general try to use words that are less serious to describe mental illness. Instead of depressed(a little sad), anxious(a little worried), agoraphobic(doesn’t do well in social settings), autistic(she’s special)…etc.

When we look at friends, things go a little different. They may either be very supportive(depending on the disorder) or they may just try to minimize the situation. If you’re depressed, you’re going to hate it in the DR. We are born in an island where it’s mostly warm or hot throughout the year. There’s a lot of sunshine. We come from Tainos, africans and can trace a bit of middle eastern as well. We have reasons and traditions for which being happy. As a nation, no matter how poor or underdeveloped…we find ways to be happy. It’s almost something that we don’t need to work on because it’s just there naturally. It makes it really hard for the people that didn’t get this perk. If you tell a Dominican friend that you’re depressed, he’ll tell you to: shake it off, go party more, you’re too young to feel like that, don’t complicate your life…etc. They mean well but the fact that some people can’t control this as well and have extra weight to feel that way is something few understand.

When it comes to understanding, the ones that cannot get on board will avoid you. This can be from a friendship you’ve had or a stranger who could have potentially become a friend. In most cases, we don’t like complications. We are selfish in our happiness. The mentality is and the truth is that if you’re around someone that’s depressed or anxious all the time, in a way you will become that way because you’re going to try to constantly make them feel better or not anxious. We like to see people as happy as we are. When hanging out with Dominican or Latino people, I wear a mask more than with other races/ethnicities. I almost feel like I’m disappointing them because I am not happy most of the time and they will ask what’s wrong EVERY TIME.