The first time I noticed my fingers changing colors was my junior year of high school. It was January and I had just finished my last final for the semester. I was outside with a group of my friends waiting for my dad to pick me up when I looked down at my hands. They were pale white and they hurt, bad. They felt like they were burning, but burning like when you touch something that’s too cold. I tried to blow on them to warm them up because they felt like ice. Then they began to turn blue. As the pain continued, my dad told me with a straight face not to worry, that my fingers were just falling off. Then he had to calm me down after I convinced myself I had frost bite and was going to be fingerless. Keep reading »
Last year, I was on vacation in Berlin when I woke up at 4 a.m., unable to move. Searing pain began at the crown of my head and extended well below my shoulders, causing my head, face, and neck to clench up and spasm whether I tried to move or lie perfectly still. The most extreme combination of tension and aching I’d ever experienced, I managed to nudge my partner awake and whispered, “Drugs. Find a doctor.” We had to be on a plane in seven hours, and I was in the midst of a horrific migraine. Keep reading »
I’ll never forget the vacation my family took when I was 7 years old. It was the summer before I entered second grade and we drove up to Vermont for a week of hiking, biking and staying up past our bedtimes.
But the trip wasn’t so much fun for me. I had no energy to hike and was tired all the time. At the end of the week, during a stop at Attitash Mountain in New Hampshire, I began having such intense, mind-numbing stomach aches that I couldn’t even stand up. I threw up all over the scenic Cog Railway and my parents immediately got me into the car and took me to the hospital. I was running a fever and my weight had dropped to 37 pounds from my usual 50. Keep reading »
It’s hard, even now, to write the words, “I have Borderline Personality Disorder.” I hesitate before making the statement for so many reasons. The condition is a big mish-mosh of types of people and problems. You have to meet five out of nine criteria listed in the DSM-IV-TR for Borderline Personality Disorder, which means there are oodles of different combinations of said criteria and therefore so many different kinds of borderlines. I notice myself wanting to say I’m not like other borderlines, but isn’t that just like a borderline to present myself as special and unique and less scary/dangerous/weird/sick/unappealing than other borderlines? Still, one borderline is not like another. There are subtypes—discouraged borderline, self-destructive borderline, impulsive borderline, petulant borderline. There are typologies—the Queen, the Waif, the Hermit, and the Witch. Keep reading »
“Beautiful sisters,” the barista complimented, handing us our matching black coffees.
“She’s my mother,” I corrected, smiling at her deep blue eyes, vanilla-colored hair and tiny frame. I loved when people thought I looked like her.
“Good genes,” he said.
He couldn’t see the long ragged scar hidden beneath her sundress, the splinters along my own hips, or the secret pain we shared with just each other. Keep reading »
Every kid in middle school played hooky. I was a total goody-two shoes, but still a hooky master—I told my mom I couldn’t go to school whenever I woke up sleepy, lazy or just hadn’t finished my homework. And then I turned 13 and got my period. As the Jewish tradition goes, my friend slapped me across the face in the bathroom, screamed “Mazel Tov!” and it all began. The cramps were unbearable. They felt like someone was punching me in the stomach. I couldn’t even think of using a tampon because I’d have to change it every 20 minutes—like Missy Elliott, my flow was out of control. But like the little boy who cried wolf, my mom didn’t believe that her star hooky player could have cramps that bad and sent me on my way to school. It wasn’t until a month later that my mom realized I wasn’t playing hooky—something had to be wrong when four extra strength Motrin and a heating pad didn’t help my cramps. My mom immediately made an appointment for me at her gynecologist. Keep reading »