Mental Health Update #1. For the past two years, I've been doing an Eating Disorder Update on my Facebook page about once every three to four months. It's been liberating for me and some people have indicated that it's 'refreshing' to hear someone speak candidly about challenges they face. Since I'm writing this blog now, I thought I'd move the update here and change it from an Eating Disorder update to a Mental Health Update - my eating disorder is mostly in-hand now, and has become part of my mental health hygiene.
Let's see...Mental Health challenge numero uno of 2016 is that Thursday, January 28th, is my last session with Myrna, my therapist of 14 years. I've been going to her for therapy once or twice per week plus group therapy (7 years) for the last 14 years. She's the therapist who helped me raise my kid and simultaneously raise myself during this past decade and a half. She is integral to my mental stability. And three or four years ago, she moved to Washington DC. I tried to leave her then, but it just didn't work. No one suited me. So, we kept our sessions up doing every other week in person (her coming back up to NJ for a handful of clients) and every other week over video chat. In December she decided to change her schedule to being in New Jersey only once per month and I put my foot down. One in-person session per month is simply not going to cut it for me. Thus, we started the closure process. It's been eight weeks and I am scared shitless.
I have a therapist ready to "take over" my care. She's good. I'll call her Sally, since she only let's me call her by her full "Dr" name and I'm not advertising who I'm going to therapy here. Sally is adequate. I feel I can say anything I want and I'll be heard. I do not feel that she's ready for me. That she's really ready for Emo Hurricane Pandora to come sweeping through her small, hardly-adorned office suite. Sally is green. Myrna thinks I should think of Sally as my 'rebound' therapist and not get too worked up if things don't work out with Sally. I already know things are not going to work out with Sally -- but that's not what has me scared shitless. What has me scared shitless is what in the world four or eight or twelve weeks without Myrna is going to do to me psychologically. I know when she takes her APA-mandated three-week vacations in August - just like all pschyotherapists - I go nearly nuts, even WITH a 'back up' therapist who pinch hits for Myrna while she's gone. Myrna suggested I go to Sally twice per week to speed up the bonding process with her. And, as with most suggestions from Myrna, I thought about it for approximately 3.5 milliseconds before agreeing to it.
Also on the mental health challenge side of things: I haven't had a solid project to work on. Last October 2014, I came up with the idea to go cross country with my show I AM ENOUGH. That took up all my time/energy from then through May 2015 and since May 2015, I've been writing -- I finished one new piece and I'm in the middle of two more right at the moment. I've never written two pieces at the same time and I'm finding myself getting a bit brain twisted. But all this is going to be resolved by tomorrow because I was invited to join Passage Theatre Company (Trenton)'s Play Lab, which is a seven-week program where the theatre brings together writers to explore, develop, and share their work with other writers and with a director from the theatre. There's no guarantee of any kind that being a part of Play Lab will turn into a mainstage production, of course, but it's just nice to know that someone is invested in my artistry. I'm going to be working on an older piece of mine, Samuraization, which needs some work, but I'm just not sure in which places. It's a piece about confronting our mortality so that we can get the most out of life. I love this work of mine. LOVE it. But I know it could use some fresh eyes. So, as of tomorrow, that's the project I'll be working on. In addition, I'm getting things together for The Femme Event, as well as continuing to produce WAMPS. I've also go this blog and the blog I write for Ink & Stage, plus the podcast! So, things will pick up. It's just been a long, rudderless four-day weekend and I'm ready to rock and roll.
On the eating front, I am eating regular sized meals usually twice, sometimes three times per day. I have a hard time with breakfast sometimes, but I'm working on it. In September I started boxing and while I'm not doing it as often as I think I should be doing it, I have kept it up. I'm trying to box four times per week. Some weeks I only get to it twice. There's a whole host of reasons why - sometimes when people are home I can't bring myself to go work out. I feel self-conscious. Like I'm too fat to exercise or I'm too pathetic to be in my body. Sometimes just getting connected in my body makes me want to cry, it's so painful.
I've been drinking a lot lately, too. Like the last four weeks, it's been pretty much every night. Usually I drink two or three screwdrivers or scotches or bourbons. Enough so I can still carry on a cogent conversation, but I don't have to deal with any of the sharp edges in my brain. Everything's smoothed over. And I can fall asleep without any trouble. Last night I went to bed sober for the first time in about a month and I gotta tell you, it was not fun. Didn't fall asleep til after 4am when I took some meds and then woke up hung over from the meds. I just want to dry out for a while.
Recently, there's been a lot of talk about trigger warnings around the Pride Center and in the news. I was trying to figure out what my triggers are. And, I figured it out. Thin people. Thin people make me nose dive inside myself, into an abyss of "what-if's" and "why can't I be's" and I feel like shit and close to the ledge, wanting to go over and I have to pull myself back and say, "Listen! It doesn't matter. I'm great even though I'm overweight (yes, that rhymed). It doesn't matter."
Overall, I'd give my mental health a 5.8 - just about at the tipping point, but not quite there yet. I think doing this Play Lab is going to put me up to a 7 and then I'll be well on my way back up to an 8.5. But today, I'm at a 5.8. And today is when I decided to write this, so there you go.