Native Tongue

Things are… up and down.

When I saw my psychiatrist most recently, he said he was going to take me off of my antidepressant despite the fact that I reported feeling more depressed. He says that my other medications should help with the depression, but so far that’s not the case.

I do have a lot going for me. School is going well; I’m auditing and American Sign Language class, and I love it! Although I am not taking the class for credit, I am still learning a lot. I enjoy learning, I just don’t enjoy being graded and working with others on group projects.

I am in a new relationship, and I am very happy about it. The young man I was seeing, who I mentioned in previous posts, and I ended things before they really even started. Both my mom and my best friend Colette pointed out a few red flags about him, which I ignored.

If this ain’t me!

Eventually, I met someone else who is now my boyfriend. He is kind, caring, and easy to open up to. It’s a bit odd being back with a man after identifying as a lesbian for years and years, but when it comes right down to it, I’m happy.

Mi guapito

When the other guy and I parted ways, he guilt-tripped me and belittled me, and I’m STILL thinking about it. Some of his choice words were, “What are you going to do? Live in your parents’ townhouse and work at Publix forever?” and “You do NOT write about this!” He also said I was letting my mental illness “hold me back,” and showed me a video of a man who was told he’d never walk again and then became a dancer, as if that had ANY bearing on my situation.

As my mom would say, his words reveal more about him than they do about me, a fact I’m trying to hold onto.

Lately, I have been feeling very reliant on and connected to my Jewish faith. When I was at Eckerd College, we had a very active Hillel organization, a club for Jewish students. The rabbi who led the club spoke with me about getting involved in Shabbat services on campus by singing.

Eckerd did not exactly work out, but when I returned home from a disastrous first attempt at college, my synagogue at home had a new rabbi. I became quite serious about my faith, and even dreamed of becoming a cantor. This rabbi, though only with our synagogue for a short time, taught me many songs and the meaning of many traditions (like why we bow at certain times in the prayers).

As I’ve said, my favorite part of working in a supermarket is being able to help people. I love it when I have the opportunity to lead a blind customer through the aisles, or when a Spanish-speaking customer needs a sale sign translated. My motivation to help others is why I want to learn ASL–so I can sign with my Deaf regulars at work.

But perhaps I could go even further in my quest to help others. I fought long and hard with myself to complete my Associate’s degree. I told myself that that was the farthest I’d ever get in my education, and I tried to be okay with that. But I am realizing that I do, in fact, have potential!

I met with my temple’s current rabbi, Rabbi Courtney, to discuss the necessary training to become a cantor. I would like to do as much of it as possible online. I am heavily reliant on my routine and familiarity. Whenever I have to spend the night somewhere besides my home (like when we evacuated for the hurricane), I tend to get a little off the rails. I do not think my current mental state would allow me to move away to go to school.

My close friend Colette, though she is of a different faith than myself, consistently reminds me of the importance of prayer–something I have been neglecting. I say the Serenity Prayer at AA meetings, but sometimes that’s the only prayer I say all day. It seems I get so wrapped up in myself and my little plans that I forget G-d has a greater plan for me.

I’m definitely not one of those “everything happens for a reason” kind of people. I believe horrible things happen to good people for absolutely no reason at all. I do not think that G-d causes them, but that G-d is there for us to lean on when they do happen. G-d may not be up there in Heaven saying, “I’m going to give Katherine the short end of the stick today because I want her to suffer!” But perhaps He is up there patiently waiting for me to turn to Him instead of relying on unhealthy coping mechanisms such as ED behaviors or self-harm.

One of the Ninth Step Promises in AA is “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experiences can benefit others.” That’s a HUGE motivation for me to continue writing this blog. When I first started it, I only intended it to serve as a newsletter for my family while I was in treatment in Alabama. However, it has grown, and I know it reaches many people outside my family now. Every now and then, I’ll get a message from someone saying, “I thought I was the only one. Thank you for showing me that I’m not alone.” Although I do not believe that my trauma “made me stronger,” or anything like that, I can take some comfort in knowing that my story isn’t over and that it can help others.

Tomorrow I am going to see Bad Religion in concert with my boyfriend. I haven’t been to a concert in a few years, and honestly, I’m a little nervous. The last show I saw was Neck Deep, and the crowd was very rough. I don’t like people touching me or crowds (two necessary evils of a punk concert), so it might be a little challenging for me.

Still, I’m very excited to go to the show. I used to love going to concerts. When I was in high school, I’d go see a show every couple of months.

This is what recovery means to me: getting out of the house, meeting new people, learning new things, and never, ever giving up.

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