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A Beautiful Disaster

[I know, I don’t write enough. But I won’t start each few and far between post with an apology anymore…after this. Sorry.]

Once upon a time, at a sketchy university health center, a psychologist tried to tell me I was bipolar. The quack was wrong–I was merely going through puberty–but if she tried to diagnose me similarly right now, however, I might not think she got her doctorate from a correspondence school.

I have been a walking rollercoaster as of late. I feel so happy I could just die…and then so sad, and so very very lonely, I could just…die. It’s funny, I have some wonderful people in my life constantly trying to boost me up, but the higher they get me, the farther I fall.

The health nut part of me keeps thinking if I just get enough folate, keep exercising often, go back to yoga, then my mood will even out. The female part of me blames my uterus, my hormones, and my very chromosomes for making my batshit crazy like every other woman that ever lived. But the wise and the realistic part of me just knows that this manic-depressive/riotous laughter vs. heaving sobs/wide smiles and sullen frowns kind of existence is all part of being more myself.

Yeah, it’s an Amp thing.

When you take risks, when you go with gutsy truths over easy falsities, when you decide to actually live instead of merely survive, the stakes are significantly higher. So, naturally, the wins are all the more satisfying, but the losses get you where it really hurts. But no matter how much I hate moments like this–when I feel like I’m playing the fool in my own life, and I just want to become a permanent addition to my mattress–I know this is a much better life than the one I was living half a year ago.

So, yeah, I didn’t feel nearly as lost or confused then as I do now, and I had a certain amount of security in the day to day, and I even occasionally convinced myself I was “content,” if not happy–but I was a zombie. I was a stranger in my own life. Now, though I sometimes still look around and wonder where the hell I am and how I got here (metaphorically and, sometimes, literally), at least I am alive and feeling my way through it all: feeling so stupidly happy with friends I am tremendously lucky to have found; and feeling less than stellar emotions (sometimes with or because of those same friends, sometimes because I had to leave those friends, and sometimes for no reason that I can pinpoint) that bring back memories of an acne and misery riddled adolescence. My emotions are on hyperdrive and it’s exhausting and annoying…and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I look around at my current state of affairs, and it’s just a wonderful kind of chaos. Even when I am feeling down, I still can’t help but realize that I have it alright. There are people–real living, breathing people–who desire my presence in their lives. I have a future ahead of me that might not totally suck (as long as I stay strong and keep fighting for it); a future that will get me out of the suburban hell hole to which I always thought I was doomed. I have perfect teeth. I have parents that are misguided, and tragic, and so very stupid sometimes, but who still manage to make me feel loved (even though I try to hide from them as much as humanly possible). I have a decent sense of humor and an unmatched ability to laugh at myself. I have a brother for whom I would do anything, and who I hope is proud to say he’s related to me. I have the world’s best dog. I have a head of hair that’s finally thickening (thank you, iron supplements). I have more pairs of Converse sneakers than anyone in the world should own. And I have a wee, helium-y little optimistic voice in my head that insists that everything is going to be just fine.

And even sad Pamela knows that foolish little voice is probably right.

OK, most certainly right.

This life is a beautiful disaster…and it’s mine. I find myself so often glancing around at my little slice of the world with a smirk, a deep sigh and an eye roll. It’s absurd and silly and messy and stunning and pathetic and adorable and ridiculous …and I love it.



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Healthy Body, Happy Mind

Have you ever known you’re being completely irrational yet there’s not a damn thing you can do about it? If you’re female, I’m guessing your answer is yes. But has it ever happened to you for 6 months?

I’ve always been a bit of a loose cannon. I like to blame my dominant right-brain, my boyfriend blames my being female *rolls eyes* but whatever the root, my emotions have always driven me. I’ve been told to calm down, toughen up, ease up, and cool off  more times in my life than I can count. Always known as the girl with a smile glued to my face when I was a kid, the moment I hit puberty I could cry at the drop of a hat: I’m sad, I cry, I’m angry, I cry, I’m happy…well, usually I smile but certain happy moments bring me to tears. And as my thin skin grows to be a hindrance, getting tougher only meant that I developed a rage problem: out of nowhere, I stopped crying when people pissed me off and started grinding my teeth and swearing.  And then, in relationships, I’m giving till I not, I’m thrilled to death till I’m miserable, I’m all in till I’m ready to completely back out. I know, I’m a piece of work. If my good sides weren’t really good (and I have enough confidence that I can say, they are) my bad sides would make me so not worth it. But I am. That doesn’t mean its easy. And recently, it’s been really hard.

After months of more drastic than normal mood swings and a shorter than usual fuse, I actually broke up with my poor, patient boyfriend. Over nothing. It wasn’t until I was preparing to pack up my stuff and move out that I stopped, realized that what I was doing was A) insane, and B) a surefire way to make me hate my life for the next decade, and I turned to him and asked if I could take back the 2 hour freak-out that had just unfolded.

A little craziness makes life interesting, I like to say. But after half a year of insanity, I’m finally getting some help. There’s even a name for what I’ve got. While most women get annoying bouts of PMS prior to their…lady troubles, I have PMDD: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Rather than the few days of more-than-normal crying and the strange need for chocolate that comes with PMS, PMDD lasts for sometimes 2 weeks, and the surges of emotion are seriously detrimental to your day-to-day life. The moment I read the list of symptoms I literally shouted, “Yes! That! That is my fucking problem.” Just knowing what the issue was made it less of an issue. But there was still the matter of not letting it ruin my life.

So how am I keeping my hormones from driving away the people I love? Drugs? Naw. Therapy? Hah. Try B vitamins and a great running play-list.

Ever think that maybe what you put in your body does more than fatten you up? Ever think that exercise might be good for more than the muscles that are moving you along? Turns out, there are a lot more benefits to taking better care of myself than just my pants fitting more comfortably…which, believe me, is reward enough.

I haven’t felt this balanced, this…this…even in a long time. Since before the PMDD became a problem. Since…perhaps since ever. Even at my most physically active, back in high school, I wasn’t precisely mentally healthy. But then again, back then I ate about 5000 calories in carbs per day and I lived in a toxic environment. And in college I finally had a stable “home life” but my exercise regimen was non-existent.

But now I run three days a week. I do yoga twice a week. After 7 years I’ve given up my vegetarian lifestyle and *poof* my protein deficiency has evaporated. And I feel damn good. I guess this is the first time in my life that I have a happy home, a healthy diet, and an active body and the result is sanity.

I like it.




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