Poked and Prodded – Criteria 4 / Impulsive Behavior Part 6

Part of me thinks I should put this in Section 5 with Self-Harm, but I find it to be not quite in that category. Lesson I’ve learned is many of these bleed together and meld into each other categorically speaking though so maybe I’ll revisit it then as well since:
Criteria 4:  impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
Piercings and tattoos. 
While tattoos aren’t so impulsive for me, piercings are. Currently I have 20. Mostly in my ears, but nose, lip and bellybutton are on that list too. I have an Industrial, inner conch, 3 in my outer conch, both traguses and a multitude of lobe and cartilage piercings. Just a few more cartilage and a few more in my belly and possibly some micro-dermals are on my agenda.  I have one impulsive tattoo that I need to get NOW. And a VERY large piece to cover my entire right side that I’ve been designing for months now that I will get very shortly. I have approximately 7 more tattoos that I simply must get. 
It doesn’t help that I have a lot of friends that also love piercings and tattoos. Every time they get a new piece I spawn new ideas to love and need.  The impulse to go out and drop hundreds of dollars on ink is so appealing. Not too mention addicting. Piercings are easier. Someone wants a piercing, sure I’ve got room. One more here, two more there. The cost adds up but the look is fantastic. Fantastically unprofessional. This means I have a hell of a fun time taking out my visible piercings or styling my hair to cover them when I have interviews or start a new job. Maybe not the best decisions I could be making, but I refuse to let Corporate Anything dictate to me who I should be. That in itself is what the status quo might consider impulsive. I consider it just another part of me. I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks of me or my body modifications be they piercings, tattoos or scarification. They are part of who I am and the roads that my life has lead me down.
Not necessarily an impulsive decision, and this may bleed into Criteria 5 self harm as well, but I don’t think of it that way…. Suspension. Full back hook suspension is an experience I am dearly looking forward to trying. The pain coupled with the adrenaline rush is a high too appealing to pass up. I’ve wanted to try this for years and never yet had the chance. I will though. Oh yes, I will.

Smoking – Criteria 4 Impulsive Behavior / Part 5

 I’m a smoker.

I quit smoking almost 9 years ago. Cold turkey, just quit buying cigarettes. It’s a terrible habit, even worse for my health.
Why the re-start? When I started my new meds I had a craving for sugar and cigarettes. I’m a health freak. This couples with my eating disorders and knowing my families medical history I’m always very careful about my health. This is why starting to smoke again is an impulsive behavior for me.  Alone in my head too long and I start to ruminate, to over think, to worry and wander down destructive paths. Pervasive anxiety. Smoking is a stimulant but with the effect of droning out the noise in my mind to a brain numbing buzz. When I sit outside in the frigid winter air listening to my cigarette sizzle it burns my thoughts into submission with each inhale. Maybe it’s just the act of inhaling, a zen breathing technique coupled with the nicotine high.  Regardless it slows down my mind and manages the anxiety that has been creeping back. These new meds may be good for depression and obsession, but they do nothing for my anxiety.  Smoking works wonders for the turbulence. I can step back from the crowd, remove myself completely, enter a cool world and let myself calm. Maybe it’s the removal from the crowd that I feel so alone in. When you feel alone surrounded by people it’s disconcerting. When you feel alone but you’re actually sitting by yourself removed from the crowd at least the feeling makes sense. Either way, for now, I’m glad I started smoking again. One small point for my sanity. I can’t work on all my issues at once, but I can do what I can do to make them more manageable while I wait to tackle the whole.

Drinking and Drugging – Criteria 4 / Impulsive Behavior Part 3

 Alcohol and anti-psychotics don’t mix. You’re probably saying, why would you even consider
drinking after you just started new medication? Because I like wine, and I wanted to enjoy my trip out to the wineries, that’s why. I’d be lying if I said that was the only time though. I mix alcohol with my medication almost constantly. Or benzo’s with my meds. It’s dangerous. I don’t care.
I like to drink, it makes me feel less dissociated. Of course I always end up eating more, feel fat, but at least I feel connected to my own body. Of course then I hate the body that I’m attached too. It’s a vicious cycle.
It’s not usually that much. I’ll take my meds as prescribed and have a couple glasses of wine or half of a Xanax (never a whole one) to calm me down. It doesn’t sound like much, but when your meds clear through your liver it can’t be good to throw other drugs on top of it, make it work double time. Double the work for twice the effect. Quadruple the effect really, because drugs and alcohol work synergistically, which means that they act on each other to create an affect larger than the component sum.
When I’m alone I’m left to my own thoughts. It’s not a pleasant place to be. I tell myself I’ll just have one glass, ok, maybe two. By the time my mind starts to calm down I’ve easily polished off a bottle of wine by myself over the course of an evening. It’s not hard.
It’s not safe. Especially when I’m already out and about or need to drive somewhere. I learned my lesson hard about drinking and driving. I was arrested and charged with a DUI last summer but the charge was dropped (story for a different day) so I never drive when I’m trashed or even when I have the potential to be drunk. But when your meds clear through your liver you get drunk faster and on less, so there’s really no way to tell how much is in your system or when you’re safe. Most days I care, some days I’m reckless. Especially if it’s just a short trip somewhere.
What’s worse, alcohol is a depressant. When you’re clinically depressed drinking alcohol produces precisely the opposite effect that you want to have. It may feel good in the moment but it depresses your system even more. Spinning me down into a deeper depression the next day once I wake up.
I sleep worse, I eat more, and now I’ve noticed a very obvious tremor to my hands (betting on this being the anti-psych/SSRI + alcohol mix effect). I can’t draw, typing is hard, my concentration is fine, but I feel like crap. Why do I still drink? It feels good in the moment. I just wish I could remember what the consequences feel like the next day, in advance.  
Don’t Drink and Drug.
Now, if only I could take my own advice.

Shoplifting – Criteria 4 / Impulsive Behavior Part 2

Some days I see something small (it’s always something small) that I want but the price tag just isn’t acceptable. Who the hell pays $15 for nail polish? $9 for cheese? $40 for diet pills? $55 for a ring?
Sometimes it’s not even stuff that I want but the challenge itself that is alluring. I never NEED to do this, but the jolt of adrenaline that spikes my curiosity is irresistible.  It’s like a runner’s high that triggers your endorphins. The high lasts for hours. 
I really have no excuse for this. I was arrested for shoplifting when I was 16 but my record was expunged when I became legal. It’s a challenge, a rush, to see if I can get away with it, and I do. I no longer look like your typical teenage shock rock goth star. I don’t have the image that people notice on surveillance. I can palm something and have it up my sleep as it appears I am putting it back on the shelf in two seconds flat.
If I got caught the penalties would be devastating. I have a very professional career path that could be ruined but I don’t care. I do it anyways. Is it a cry for attention? Do I want to get caught? Hell, no.  I just want to get away with it, and get free stuff. Stuff I like to have but not enough to pay for it. Corporate America is greedy and materialistic. I don’t usually take from small vendors, mostly your mass produced consumer conglomerate like Wal-Mart or the like. They get things at whole sale and jack up the price 1000%. I know it only costs 10 cents to make this $10 tea tray, and yet, they get away with ripping me off every day.
A penny saved is a taste of their own medicine.

Spending Sprees – Criteria 4 Impulsive Behavior / Part 1

Impulsive spending is a BIG problem. Without careful monitoring you can lose your house, your car, the love and respect of those around you, as you’re thrown into a prison of debt and financial ruin. This is especially devastating when you have other people that rely on your for their wellbeing. Fortunately this isn’t my crisis.
I hate money. I love money. Money creates worry, stress and a lot of anxiety. I don’t gamble. I’d rather gamble with my life, than my money.  I always manage to have enough put away to take care of the necessities. I don’t miss my rent, or get my utilities turned off, but I put almost no thought into just how much I manage to save and I never have any idea exactly how much is in the bank. Thinking about it upsets me. I always feel like I have enough in there so I don’t check. When I do check it inevitably is less than what I was expecting. However, I love being able to get things for people I adore.
I don’t spend thousands of dollars at a time or anything. For me it’s an item here, an item there, sometimes a little more, just this once, ok just one more time, I won’t get anything tomorrow how about that, well I want this now too. I’ll fall in love with a rock-a-billy dress and NEED to own it so I’ll buy two in slightly different styles and colors, dropping a couple hundred. Or this other thing that will fill the gap on my counter top, it’s an investment, I’ll never have to buy something like this again. It’s justified, right? 
Spending on myself always makes me feel a little guilty though. I know I don’t really need these things. However, spending on other people makes me feel good. I love to buy things, do things, get things for the people I care about. Because I have such a hard time connecting to and expressing my emotions, it’s one way I can tangibly show I care.  With food especially. I LOVE to cook and bake. It helps that I’m also quite good at it. I’ll get it in my head to try exotic or gourmet four-course meals, big family style dinners and drop $75 to $100 on groceries alone. If I can get stuff that I NEED in order to do things for other people it’s much more justifiable to me. I feel much less guilty.
Spending money always makes me feel guilty. This feeling of guilt is how I recognize this as a problem.
I do have an occupation where I make enough money to not get in immediate trouble. I’m single and don’t have kids (thank goodness) so all I need to worry about is me. However, I don’t have job security in this economy so it’s not a wise idea to not have a safety net.  If I’m not careful I’m always afraid I’ll end up spending myself out.
Like when I’d been in such destructive situations that I was willing to exhaust all my resources just to get out of the environment. I had the choice of staying in an abusive household or use everything I had to get out. I was prepared to put myself into debt to afford a new place because I had to get out RIGHT NOW.
If I have money now, I can get things. If I wait, I might not have the money in the future and I’ll regret not being able to get things when I did. I’ve worked so hard, or sacrificed so much I deserve to splurge a little, fill that void in my closet like it will fill the void in my heart. Or if I can buy all those ingredients and make a dinner so delicious that everyone is sated, it’s as if I’ve sated my need for their love and appreciation. I can go out of my way and get things that I know they couldn’t or wouldn’t think to get on their own, a token of my appreciation to garner their favor.
I create lists upon lists of things I would love to have and slowly, but steadily chip away at them. Sometimes only one or two little things here, oh maybe one bigger thing there, then 3 or 4 things here, well these aren’t for me and they’re so perfect for {insert name here} they really  need to have this now… little by little it all adds up to a giant gaping hole in my bank account.  If I have money coming in, I will have money going out.

Look before you leap? No, thanks. – Criteria 4: Impulsive Behavior

Onto the fun stuff. According to the DSM IV the next definable criteria states:

Criteria 4:  impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.  

Once again I will do this in multiple parts because I have a lot of these. It’s amusing though, because of my dissociative tendencies and my need to over think everything, I don’t appear to be an impulsive person. Below the placid surface lies a turbulent sea and I tend to take what I want from the world.

My list of impulses include: Spending, shoplifting, binge eating/bulimia, alcohol, smoking, sex, piercings/tattoos, dangerous situations/stripping. So let’s begin with the lesser of my evils and work our way up to the more interesting. 

Cake and Cigarettes…

Amusing incident last night. You know that old addage about how a lady never reveals her age? Well, I’m 29. I quit smoking 9 years ago but last night I was very restless and for some reason, craving cigarettes. Cigarettes and frosting/icing. I’m eating disordered. I’ve been bulimic for almost 17 years but in recovery for the past 7 until a few months ago. I don’t like cake, just frosting.

Back to the point. I haven’t bought a back of cigarettes in nearly a decade. I went to the gas station on the corner, asked for a pack of Camel Lights. The attendant asked for my ID, which I promptly gave him. He looked at me, looked at my ID, asked me my age, I told him…. than informed me the I must be at least 18 to buy cigarettes ::shockface:: He wouldn’t sell me a pack of cigarettes with my state issued driver’s license b/c he thought I looked too young! I guess that’s a compliment, and I took it as such, but really now? I was both annoyed and amused at the same time.

I went to the grocery and got cigarettes and a cake. Sat in the parking lot with my oreo cake. Had a few fingers full of frosting before I was disgusted enough with myself to dump the rest of the cake onto the parking lot and took off to drive aimlessly and enjoy blackening my lungs. 

Btw, the new flame retardant shit they put in cigarettes… bullshit. It’s fucks with manual dexterity. Frankly, if some fucker is dumb enough to fall asleep with a cigarette in their mouth they probably deserve to get burned.