Finding Solstice With a Mental Illness while in Los Angeles Part I

If you’re just now joining in and meeting me, well, hello there and welcome! If you’ve known me for a while, either personally or from my other blog, you already know that I’m a HUGE Linkin Park fan. When Chester Bennington died, my BPD went into overdrive and so did my impulsion to go to Los Angeles. However, I wasn’t able to go until a year after his passing, which was totally fine and super meaningful. But, going to a huge city that I’ve never been to, across the country, solo, and with an illness that makes me want to avoid big crowds, seemed like it was going to pose quite the challenge. Much to my surprise, it did not. It was quite the opposite and I literally just got back from my second trip there, which we will talk about in another piece.

So, now you’re wondering, how exactly did you find peace in the middle of a huge city like Los Angeles? Well, let’s get started shall we?

From previous blogs, it’s obvious that I’m comfortable in cities for the most part; like NYC, for example. However, Los Angeles is a totally different beast. You can’t walk everywhere and Ubers are crazzzy expensive, but you gotta suck it up and manage, which was a stress for me. So, prior to going, I made a list of things I wanted and needed to see. Since I was going to be there exactly one year after Chester’s passing, I had made a list of various landmarks, memorials, and notable places where he had been or even stepped foot that I wanted to see. I also had to put Chris Cornell’s grave on the list since it was his birthday, RIP <3.

Make note: When you plan things out, especially for LA, ALWAYS factor in TRAFFIC! 

I had heard about LA traffic and how awful it was, but it really is awful.

Okay- I feel like I’m getting out of order… BPD brain. Okay- let’s begin at the airport.


Chester’s one year passing was July 20th and I had a memorial to go to that day, so I flew out June 19th mad early in the morning. First off, I’m not a morning person and I have insomnia on top of everything else. So, in order to ensure that I made my flight which was at 5:30am, I didn’t take my insomnia meds…So, I didn’t sleep all night. By the time I got to the airport at 3am, (yes, I love getting to the airport early. Better early than late. TSA is unpredictable, amiright?), I was super irritable. You know when you have BPD, or are just a normal human being and you look around and everything and everyone disgusts you? That’s how I felt. I was in MAJOR splitting mode and everyone around me was in the black area. I didn’t even know anyone, but they did awful things to me and everyone else around them. I knew it for a fact too…Yep, sure did.

When I have no sleep, I get in super weird moods too. So, when I was on the plane and it took off, I felt like I had all the power in the world and the plane was mine to control. Weird right? Anyway, I can’t sleep on planes because my anxiety won’t let me. It makes me think that I’ll miss my stop, even though everyone must get off the plane. As a result, I didn’t sleep.

After a very short layover in Charlotte, NC, it was off to Los Angeles. I went through the 9am hour 3 times, making me a time lord and at this point, I was getting excited, but also tired of seeing the 9am hour. I had never been to the west coast and I couldn’t wait until I could see the geography out the window. Come to find out, it’s quite flat and there are a lot of circles on the ground. Who knew?

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When I landed in LA, I ordered an Uber and it took FOREVER. When my Uber finally got there, I was in the wrong waiting section. Apparently, there is a fancy waiting spot and a “regular” waiting spot. I was in the fancy spot… no wonder so many people were staring at me. I finally reached her and off we were to my first stop: The Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard. Why? I had to see Linkin Park’s handprints and put my chubby little hand in Chester’s.

The traffic was TERRIBLE and it took over an hour to go 20 minutes. My Uber driver was super nice though and we became friends in 2 minutes. We talked about life, mental illness, depression, and how to overcome even though I had no idea how to. Her advice was solid though and her optimism was contagious. The first person I met in LA was super nice. I was hoping the track record kept up.

Forever later, I finally reached my destination. Now, backtrack a bit. I couldn’t check into my Airbnb until 2pm and my plane arrived at 1030am. I was going to pack a normal suitcase, but I really didn’t want to walk around Los Angeles with a suitcase in toe, so I packed my North Face backpack that i took with me to Iceland. It was quite obnoxious but effective.

When I arrived to the Guitar Center, it was all boarded up. With a confused look on my face, I walk in and turns out the place is under construction and there are NO HANDPRINTS. I’m not going to lie, those handprints were one of my main reasons for going out to LA. I needed that piece of closure and I was flat out denied only a little over an hour into my journey.

By this time, I was really anxious and just wanted to go to my Airbnb, however, I couldn’t. So, I went next door and got some food. I figured I would stay at this joint for like an hour or so and then just meander to where I was staying because I didn’t know what else to do. I ordered a salad and tried to eat as slow as possible. The waiters kept looking at me and I felt soooo out of place, which just made me more anxious. I wasn’t going to leave though. Next, I ordered some coffee for my migraine and to take up more time because, YOLO. But then, I heard them talk about me and then I just decided to leave. It’s not like I just came in and ordered water, but I didn’t want any more anxiety, so I left.

I still had some time, so I walked up and down Sunset, which was pretty empty. I found a tattoo joint and thought of getting one for giggles, but it was closed. Los Angeles is so weird.

 

How to maneuver the Tony Awards alone with BPD.

In the honor of Tony Award Day, I’m going to share with you guys what it was like going to the Academy Awards of Broadway solo and with BPD.

Yup. Last year I did a lot of traveling. #Grateful. And I did a lot of it before July. For those of you who don’t know me well, July is where I took a turn for the worst. But, more on that another time.

Last May, I went to NYC myself for the first time. What was my main purpose for that trip? To see Anastasia on Broadway. Yeah, I have a huge love affair with Broadway, and it used to be my dream. However, I don’t have proper dance or song training, so I was going to settle for social media marketing. Well, between then and now, that’s changed. Again, we will address that later.

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Anyway, Anastasia on Broadway did NOT disappoint. I’ve seen quite a many Broadway shows in New York City, and this one is one of the most visually stunning I have ever seen. The costumes alone left me speechless and drooling. I met up with a friend while I was in New York and she saw it with me.

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Can I also slide in here that Ramin Karimloo is delicious?

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Did you get his autograph, Brittany? Hell yeah I DID!

So backtracking a little before this trip, the Tony Nominations happened. They are always at the beginning of May and since I was hoping Anastasia was going to be nominated and I was a fan of all the shows during that season, I intently watched who was nominated for what. Color me surprised when at the end of the broadcast it said how tickets to the Tony’s would be on sale about an hour later.

Oh.My.Gawd. I freaked out. Looked at my bank account and literally said YOLO. I ran to my moms desk and asked if she wanted to go with me, she declined, and when they went on sale, I DID NOT HESITATE.

I got my ticket to the Tony Awards. I GOT MY TICKET TO THE TONY AWARDS.

That was such an impulsive buy and I literally did not care. I basically crawled under my mom’s desk and cried of excitement. This was it. I dream come true. <– this was all a BPD moment. In the matter of 10 minutes I had my ticket and was so overcome with too much emotion I literally went under my mom’s desk and cried. 

So, at this time I was obsessed with Jake Gyllenhaal. He was on Broadway during that season, so I assumed he was going to be there. I had to look my absolute best. I had to be the best looking commoner in the world. Now, queue anxiety. When I REALLY want something, I get full of anxiety and depression at the same time. Why? Because, I’m afraid I’m going to miss out on something. There is so much that goes on that I don’t know about and I knew I would miss something and it freaked me out. I literally convinced myself that I was good enough to get Jake Gyllenhaal. #delusional. You can all collectively laugh now. Trust me, I had enough people at that time put me down or give me that look of, “you’re crazy,” when I said something. But, I had genuine hope.

After I bought my ticket, it took me forever to find my dress, but I did find it and I thought it was perfect. I was like, “yeah, I’m totally going to stand out amongst the people when they walk along the red carpet. I got this.” Ugh, little did I know what was going to happen at that point.

So, the time came to get on my train and head to NYC. I was so excited. Once again, I was free. Now, I know NYC better than I know my home city, so it feels like home. I felt relaxed waiting for my train because I knew I was going home. Even if it was for a little while. But, I didn’t want to think about returning at that moment. I still had the Tony Awards!

I arrive in NYC Penn Station with a purpose. Basically, it was to find my hotel because my butt hurt from the 6 hour train ride. I stayed at the Hyatt near Herald Square. It was quant and cute, but I was instantly anxious because I’m more comfortable in Times Square. I know my way around there better, I know where Radio City Music Hall is from there, and it’s just overall comfortable. In Herald Square, I basically know where the Victoria’s Secret is and that’s it. So, I make that my point of direction. However, it didn’t take long for me to find my way around the area at all.

As we all know, NYC is crowded. Like, super crowded. I didn’t realize until then that crowds were making me more panicky. Here I am alone in NYC and I’m starting to panic in the middle of a sidewalk. Not only am I beginning to panic, I’m getting paranoid. I get paranoid that everyone is looking at only me. “Oh my god, I know I’m disgusting, please stop looking at me. That guy over there is so hot, he thinks I’m fat and gross, I know it. I can’t stand this, I’m going back to the hotel.”

And that’s what I did. I would go back to the hotel. I convinced my mind it was to “rest my feet” for the awards, but it was really because I couldn’t be around people. Right by my hotel was something similar to a food truck weekend. Everything looked so good and yummy and was full of culturally diverse food. However, it was so busy and I was so self conscious, I didn’t go. To be honest, my main meals all weekend were coffee.

The mind is a powerful thing. In my case, it wasn’t a good thing.

I had wanted to go all out for this occasion. I had made an appointment to get my hair and makeup done. Aaaaand, I didn’t go. I ended up doing my own. Basically, I didn’t want to leave my hotel. What they were playing on Animal Planet was really good. Besides, the end product didn’t come out that bad.

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Now, that look just had to remain that way until the next day. Which, I also had to change hotels the next day and walk in the heat. So, I basically used a WHOLE can of hairspray and slept sitting up. Jake was ‘waiting.’

The next morning I got up and checked into my next hotel, which was halfway between Times Square and Radio City Music Hall. Needless to say, I felt less anxious. So, I made my way to RCMH to check out where I was going to make my debut. IMG_7993.JPG

Yeah, I missed Tony rehearsal. I didn’t even know it was a thing! So, strike one to the anxiety train. *toot toot* I was even up super early and could’ve waited in line, but I didn’t know it was a thing. I instantly was like OMG did I miss Jake? So, I sauntered back to my hotel, defeated and stayed in the AC until it was basically show time.

So, here are some things to remember if you are going to the Tony Awards or ANY awards show and you have to wait in line.

  1. Do NOT wear a corset in 90 degree weather under a long ‘ballgown.’
  2. Get a big enough fancy purse that can hold your shoes and flip flops
  3. Go to a nearby Wal-greens or ANYWHERE and get a bottle of WATER

I did the opposite of the list above and basically almost died. I looked good though.

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I was so ready for Jake. I even had the surprise face down when he asked me to marry him right there on the spot.

Not gonna lie, this dress made me feel fierce. Like Sasha Fierce. I went downstairs to the hotel lobby to wait for my Uber and all eyes were on me. Only, this time I didn’t feel paranoia. I didn’t even feel like me to be honest. I felt like I could make up a story about who I was. I could be anyone I wanted to be that night. And I let the eyes stare.

So, Uber in NYC, especially on 8th Avenue is something else. Here I am, looking stunning and you’re going to make me walk down 8th Avenue to find you? No, no, no, no. Ugh, but I did it anyway. However, this guy had the same car as basically EVERY OTHER CAR ON THE STREET. So, after literally 15 minutes of trying to find him, he just peaced out. I was sweating, worried about my hair, and not happy. I knew it would be hard to find anyone to get me near Radio City because of the awards, so I tried a cab.

Good thing the dress had a slit and you bet I used it to my advantage. I got a cab quick. But traffic was AWFUL. So, he dropped me off as close to Radio City as he could and I had to walk the rest of the way. Newsflash- my feet already hurt. GREAT.

On my trek, I got so many compliments on my dress. So many questions. “Are you going to the Tony Awards?” Noooo…I’m going to the bathroom? Anyway, I finally reach Radio City and I see barriers everywhere. I look for the red carpet because that’s my goal and I see it blocked off. Instant panic. No, no, no, no, no. I need to see Jake. This is ruining my plan. Everything I’ve been dreaming about. I ask a police officer near me if I can go near the red carpet and he proceeds to tell me that only red carpet pass holders can go that close. THAT’S  A THING?! HOW ON EARTH DO YOU GET THAT?!

So, I’m then led to the back of the building to where I have to stand in line, (I’m the first one by the way,) and I don’t see anything. All I see is the wall. This is when I meet the most fabulous person ever. He’s just as mad as I am that we can’t go near the red carpet but he and I team up and figure we will do whatever we can to get by.

What do we do? Pretend we are VIP in attempt to trick the cops. It doesn’t work… we were super close at one point. So close but no cigar. Instead, we ended up with this view. IMG_8059.JPG

Ants. They all looked like ants. We heard people cheering but didn’t know who they were. At this point, my feet were already dead. I was burning up thanks to my corset and was about to pass out with the need for water. The guy at the front door of Radio City and I were joking around about how I was about to pass out because I needed water. He thought it was so funny. In reality, I was serious.

The doors finally opened and my new friend and I made our way to get water. BLESSS. As I was purchasing water, I actually had someone ask me if I was one of the actresses nominated. I think I said yes and walked away quickly before he could ask more details. That was an honor.

Our seats were basically in the nosebleed section but I didn’t care. I was at the Tonys! IMG_8175.JPG

Please excuse the poor quality pics from this point on. Like I said, I was in the nosebleed.

As celebrities started to arrive, I utilized my 20/20 vision and tried to look for Jake. I even googled while in my seat if he was supposed to be there. I couldn’t find him. Yeah, I got depressed. It was bubbling underneath the surface despite how excited I was. As I always say, hope is an adrenaline rush of disappointment.

Before the show starts for the world to see, the lesser known awards are given out. They also did the Lifetime Achievement Award for James Earl Jones. That’s right. I saw Mufasa in the flesh!

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The show started and it was amazing. Someone that was there that I was so surprised about was Uma Thurman… Like where had she been all these years?

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At the end of the show, everyone filed out. So many limos lined the streets and I fought within myself if I should wait with the huge crowd of people and see if Jake actually was there, or just go with my gut and admit my defeat and go back to my hotel. I went with the latter.

I got back to my hotel and the sadness really sunk in. The whole event was over. Back to reality and no Jake. I felt so stupid for even thinking such a thing was real. I let everyone’s negativity flow through me. They were right. And the next morning I had to go back home. A place that was my home but didn’t actually feel like home.

Leaving is always the hardest part.

Borderline takeaways-

  • Don’t go to an awards show anticipating to meet anyone, it will only ruin your mood.
  • Try and understand that you’re going to a big city and when you think people are staring at you, they aren’t.
  • And literally, have the mantra YOLO.

It’s all so much easier said than done, because I can give advice but I can’t take it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This was an amazing opportunity and experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. However, BPD takes it’s job very seriously when it wants to ruin your happiness. The night it was over I felt so anxious. I knew I was missing so much. I wanted to be invited to an after party, but my mind is cruel and told me that no one would ever invite me to one. I am a nobody after all. Despite my experience, My borderline monster made me cry myself to sleep that night.

It is totally possible to travel solo to NYC though and go to an awards show. Trust me, if I did it, you can too.

Hoofin’ it to Höfn- What They Don’t Tell You About Iceland.

This day was the day we were supposed to leave Reykjavik and make our way to Höfn.

Note- this post is also going to be a *What They Don’t Tell You About Iceland* post. So, you get a two in one. Whoop there it is!

Now, I am skipping forward a little bit. This day I am addressing, we didn’t actually leave Reykjavik. We just picked up our rental car and decided to explore. The NEXT day is when we went to Höfn. But, yes, while we are on the subject, there was rental car drama. Isn’t there always?

I don’t trust rental car companies as far as I can throw them, and because we were poor college/fresh out of college kids, we picked the rental car company with the most affordable price. This company is an Icelandic company called Sixt, and boy do they know how to take advantage of foreigners. I should have known this considering I work for a travel insurance company, but I was still pretty fresh and wasn’t savvy in the rental car insurance side. Now I am, and looking back on it, I’m pretty irritated. Naturally, since this is an international trip, we purchased travel insurance and everything through the company I work for. Well, Sixt didn’t want to accept that and said we, meaning Jessie since she was the driver of the car, had to have a $500 hold on her credit card, (basically an insurance collateral) until the car was returned. -_- #nothappy. Bless Jessie’s dad for helping some sisters out! So, we got our rental car and proceeded to drive around the outskirts of Reykjavik looking for waterfalls or any other interesting pieces of scenery. Pssh, like it, was hard… We were hungry though, so we were looking for some places to eat.

Note- there are two different types of grocery stores in Iceland: the regular kind which is like Publix expensive and then the cheap kind which is like Aldi or Lidl expensive. Bless our souls, we found the Aldi type grocery store. So, we stocked up on some Skyr, meats, cheeses, and other tasty things and went waterfall huntin’.

The first waterfall we saw signs for was Seljalandsfoss. Jessie took the scenic route, which was appreciated, and we finally arrived. Holy cannoli. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. They have a rock placed perfectly in front of the waterfall so you can get a perfectly posed picture, and we took total advantage.

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Oh yeah, you can also climb behind the waterfall and feel like you’re the Queen of Iceland. IMG_7193.JPG

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It started to get dark, so we climbed down the slippery rocks, (well, Jessie climbed down like Indiana Jones and me being the clumsy person I am, climbed down like a toddler), and started to head back to town for our last night in Reykjavik before Höfn! IMG_0747.JPG

 

It’s Höfn time!

Explore, explore, explore! This is what we did our whole way. And, how could you not? It’s Iceland! Where everything around you is absolutely gorgeous and picturesque. Jessie, of course, ate it up! As she should. Me, on the other hand, I could feel my depressive darkness inside, but I didn’t want her to know that, so I held it in for as long as I could. #Exhaustion.

We departed and started our day at about 830am. Me, being an exhausted little mouse and having the car as a natural rocking chair, I fell asleep on poor Jessie as she was driving. I did this a lot actually. Luckily, she had Ed Sheeran to keep her company. Gullfoss was on the agenda that day and that was about a 1.5-hour drive from our hostel in Reykjavik that we said goodbye to that morning. I was super excited to see Gullfoss. It’s one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland and I was all about that.

During our drive, we had to make a stop for gas, naturally. ***Remember this moment, as this has a BIG climax to our story for this day. 

After getting some gas, we continued our journey to Gullfoss. We turn our little heads to look out the window and what do we see? ICELANDIC HORSES! So, Jessie swerves off to the side of the road and I rush out the car like I did that bus for the Northern Lights tour.

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By the way– that horse LOVED me.

After they were tired of us loving on them, we hopped back in the warm car and were back on track for Gullfoss. About 30 minutes or so later, we arrived and there were A LOT of people there. Ugh. Crowds make me nervous. But, I swallowed my anxiety and kept going.

The scary thing was that there was ice EVERYWHERE. I’m like, if I slip, I’m going down in this icy waterfall and dying. Do I want to die this way? That’s a painful way to go. I’d rather have a less painful death. However, it is a pretty death, right? Oh ya know, just the thoughts of a borderline while they are staring at a world wonder…the usual. IMG_7213.JPG

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When we leave Gullfoss, this is when we get in a sticky situation.

Remember when we stopped for gas?

Well… as we start on the road from Gullfoss, Jessie notices that the car just doesn’t feel right and we’re pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, we did find a gas station and he was kind enough to speak English to us. *Many Icelandic individuals we encountered pretended not to speak English so they did not have to interact with us. It was super nice.* The individual we met that was nice enough to help us, gave us directions that were difficult to maneuver, but we did, and we risked going to to the next town. Once there, we found a KFC/Taco Bell, just like AMERICA! Bless the woman who worked there! She spoke English and was SO nice! Thankfully, she was able to call the mechanic who was with our rental car service and he would come to the shop down the street and help drain our tank. Yep, you guessed it. We put the wrong gas in our tank. We didn’t know this until the wonderful waitress told us how cars work over here. *ANOTHER THING THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT ICELAND* We met said mechanic at the shop down the street and he was super friendly and fixed our tank. At this point, I was super anxious. I know Jessie could tell and she felt AWFUL since she filled up the tank. I didn’t want her to feel bad, but I couldn’t help how my face came across. Then, I felt bad that she felt bad and down the spiral, we went.

Finally, we got on the road and went forth to Höfn. When I say the car puts me out like a light, I mean it. We had about 4.5 hours left and of course, I fell asleep. Jessie entertained herself with some Icelandic pop music when I do remember there was a fun song that I thoroughly enjoyed and now I got nothin’. I couldn’t remember it if you put a gun to my head. Anywho, we finally made it to our guesthouse, Hvummer Guesthouse, which was so charmingly cute!

Here’s where I fell apart.

We got to our room and my anxiety was on threat level midnight. There was a reason, one that I can’t remember now, that triggered me. Not only was the day super stressful, but the boyfriend at the time totally triggered me and I went into borderline mode. This then prospered into a full fledged panic attack. The painful ones where you can’t breathe, your chest tightens to the point where you think you’re going to die, and you want to die. Then I felt guilty because Jessie had to witness it and I know I was ruining her time.

Yeah. It was bad. And it lasted for about 45 minutes. After I have a panic attack, I usually dissociate and go numb. I don’t really remember if I did that at the time because I didn’t even know dissociation was a thing because I didn’t know I had a disorder. But what I do know is that Jessie thought it was a good idea to go on our own Northern Lights tour, and we did. img_7228.jpg

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Honestly, I think the photos you see on social media are super photoshopped and have INTENSE editing to them. This is no editing except brightness with a specific phone app. Not impressed. ANOTHER THING THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT ICELAND.

Stay tuned. More misadventures in Iceland to come.

The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway…

That’s a lie. I’m pretty sure I wore a pair of normal leggings, a pair of fleece leggings over the normal leggings, and workout pants on top of the rest every day in Iceland. You see, I like to view myself as the Ice Queen– I feel nothing, therefore I am nothing. That sounds so Shakespearian, right? He always was such a smart man; making death sound SO poetic.

Anyway, let’s change the subject because I could literally talk about Shakespeare all day. The point is, it was dang cold. I enjoyed it, but I had lost around 90 pounds at the time, so retaining heat wasn’t easy anymore. Now that I look back on the trip, I blamed the cold for me not getting out of the car for photo opportunities, but I realize now that it was depression that kept me inside the car when Jessie got out and took her pictures.

Let’s reverse time. *Makes Blockbuster VHS rewind noise*

During the trip, I was in a relationship. It had almost been a year and we both had graduated in December. So, he went back home a few hours away and I was still in the same place. Queue insecurities + fear of abandonment issues on a steady incline. Now, I was a time zone away. When I was about to go to bed, he was still enjoying his day…”What was he going to do when I slept? Who was he going to meet up with? I’m not up to text him and make sure he’s not with someone.” You know, the debilitating insecurities that weight you down.

The side of my brain that understands realism, (my left side), knew that this wasn’t healthy, but my monster was stronger and still is. He took over and made me anxious all.the.time and which led to depression.

“But, you planned this trip, Brittany! You’re in Iceland and going to Ireland! This has been on your bucket list forever!”

Yeah… I learned the very hard way that mental illness doesn’t care, REALLY does not care. You don’t realize how much you end up hurting the people around you, especially when you don’t know what’s going on within yourself, and those people don’t know how to handle you. Especially when you don’t know how to handle yourself.

So, basically, I never slept. I would get some zzz’s here and there, but it was never an actual night’s sleep… for 2 weeks. Which, being ignorant of my unknown illness at the time, and severe mental illness in general; is very, very, very bad. NO sleep= increased depression and anxiety. This makes you fall apart at the seams. So, I took this out on my boyfriend at the time and Jessie. The boyfriend never knew how to help me, so he only made it worse, and I could tell my friend was frustrated because we were on this elaborate trip and I was a Debbie Downer This, in turn, made me even worse because I couldn’t explain it. I couldn’t explain why I was having panic attacks, because I didn’t know what was going on. Yes, I was very anxious and yes, I knew my behavior was irrational, but I literally couldn’t help it, and I felt so guilty. So, I attempted to be a good actress and get over it.

It was incredibly hard and I was mostly unsuccessful.


Back to Iceland.

In Reykjavik, there are so many cute shops and cafes. That means, that we ate all the time. While I was researching before we even went on this trip, I had heard that at this time of year they served reindeer. So, naturally, I had to find a restaurant to try reindeer. Was it even a trip to Iceland if you didn’t eat Rudolph? Lucky, we did find a cafe called Svarta Kaffid that served Rudolph and honestly, it was pretty tasty.

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So was the bread.

*Note* The Icelandic butter they serve in Iceland is also sold at Whole Foods in the US. I totally recommend it. 

After our tasty lunch, we decided to walk back to our hostel. Luckily, Hallgrimskirkja Church is on the way back. It has like 8 or 9 floors (?), but don’t worry, there’s an elevator. The view at the top is breathtaking. You can see all of Reykjavik and then some. The mountains in the distance, all the colorful roofs, the ice cold water, everything. I think the entrance fee was $8 when we went. #worthit.

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That night, still in Reykjavik, we went on a Northern Light’s tour with Reykjavik Excursions. PS: Don’t do it with them. I purchased the tour when I bought the airline tickets. Seriously, it was a huge waste of money and it made Jessie and me SO sad.

The tour was at around 9:00pm and we were crammed in this tour bus making our way to this random location out in the middle of nowhere. My mind immediately went to, “Are they going to kill us? Eh, oh well…”

But no. It was like a 45-minute drive to some unknown location. I do remember Jessie and I sat at the back of the bus with these two Irish fellows. They were hot and hilarious. After our long bus ride of me drooling over these two men and Jessie just laughing at my stupidity, we arrive.

“Oh man, everyone! We arrived on a GREAT NIGHT for the lights. If you hurry off the bus right now you will see them! HURRY, HURRY!” says our tour guide that Jessie named Sven.

So, what do I do? I literally hurry off the bus. I hurry so hard that I don’t even realize there’s this random pipe chilling in front of us as we get off the bus and I gracefully trip over it and almost knock Jessie over. Everyone proceeds to laugh. Thank God I won’t see any of those individuals ever again.

As we look up what do we see?

Pitch.Black.Skies. 

Oh, yeah. Sven, you dirty liar. A good night for the Northern Lights my butt.

Jessie even downloaded this super special app with super special settings and everything on her phone and when she took photos there was nothing.

We proceeded to sit outside and freeze for about 30 minutes anxiously waiting for SOMETHING, but no, there was nothing. So, we went back on the bus and waiting for everyone else so we could go back to our hostel for some much-needed sleep. Or for me, that meant, laying there.

The next day it was time to leave good ole’ Reykjavik and begin our adventure. And I’m going to LOL, because boy, was it an adventure.

Ice Ice Baby: Part 2

Well, the day had come: Iceland day! And it was a lonnngg day ahead.

Jessie and I began our day at around 8am-ish and drove to DC. Let me tell you, DC traffic is not a good time. We were heading there to meet her friend who would then take us to the bus station that would then take us to BWI Airport. I felt like I was just literally along for the ride. Yolo, amiright?

(Pic above- Jessie and I on the bus to BWI. I am on the left and she is on the right.)

At this point, like I’ve said before, I was not yet diagnosed with borderline, so I felt somewhat free. Free in an aspect in which I did not care what happened to me. I literally didn’t care about my life or what happened. All I knew was that I was going to Iceland.


**NOTE** Before I forget. At this point, I was in a relationship. At the time I didn’t see it’s toxicity or my borderline tendencies, but throughout this trip, they will pop up. <– Keep that in the back of your mind especially for future posts. 


Anywho- We wait for our flight with WOW air and the stewardesses are literally the CUTEST things I’ve ever seen. Them and their Icelandic accents, speaking all Icelandic. Ugh, why can’t I be Icelandic?

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At that point, we know our flight was about to board and here we go! I mean, it was delayed because of snow, but it was January, what can you expect. Although, it is an Icelandic airline and you would think they could fly through anything, but that’s me going off track.

So, we board. Passports in hand. I’ve literally never left the USA before. Jessie has though, she’s been to Ireland previously and it’s where her heart belongs, so naturally, we’re going back for a reason: TO FIND HER AN BURLY, DRUNK, STUDLY, IRISHMAN.

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The flight to Iceland was about 5-6 hours if I remember correctly, and when we land it is so windy, cold, and dark. Just how I like it. Since we went in January, daylight hours are not long at all; about 5 at most- if it was sunny and not snowing. When you hop off the plane you have to take a bus to the Keflavik airport. So, we packed up like a bunch of sardines and headed to the airport to catch a bus to Reykjavik.

First on our agenda once we hit Reykjavik? The BLUE LAGOON! (Best way to say that is how the super old NBA games for Playstation would say SHAQUILLE O’ NEAL!) IMG_7158

You may we wondering how our experience with the Blue Lagoon was. It gets a relatively bad rep ONLY because it can be super crowded and expensive. However, it is recommended that you book a time slot in advance. When we got there, which was late since our plane was delayed, the line was SUPER long and it was relatively early in the day. Errybody wants those healing properties. Before you get into the Blue Lagoon, you MUST shower and you can ONLY use their soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Trust me, don’t skimp out on this. Since it’s a geothermal heating pool, it can be pretty harsh on your hair. I just had my hair dyed, so my hair stylist said, ” DO NOT LET YOUR HAIR TOUCH THAT WATER!” So, I listened, but I still washed my hair with their conditioner just in case. Bottom line, don’t be one of those dirty people and not follow directions. This place is amazing and just, don’t ruin it, please. K thanks.

As you leave the shower house, which for me got kinda confusing at first because my mind likes to run together for something things, you’re greeted by a long wooden ramp to either run down or walk down depending on how freezing you are. I immediately got self-conscious by people staring, so I walked rather fast down that ramp to cover myself in the warm water. It literally felt like a bathtub. A beautiful, blue bathtub surrounded by snow. The cool thing about the Blue Lagoon is that they have a swim-up bar and an area where you can try face masks. You guessed it, Jessie and I did both. Smoothies were delicious by the way. It’s all the in the package we purchased. Do that one, trust me.

After a few hours, we decided to shower, re-bundle ourselves in our 293847 layers of clothing and head back to our hostel in Reykjavik. We got our beds in a room full of 8 individuals who were from all over the world. They all seemed super friendly, and then, of course, you had the one that didn’t speak.

Jessie and I then decided to head out and explore the town of Reykjavik. Turns out her Aunt and Uncle were also in town. It’s a small world after all right? We stopped at this super cute coffee shop where the people were really friendly. I’m used to Starbucks lingo and let me tell you, there is NO Starbucks in Iceland. So, I had to try and go all Icelandic on this ‘barista.’ Here’s what I came up with:

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I literally don’t remember what it was, but it was delicious I do know that. Starbucks: learn some tips.

After we departed from Jessie’s aunt and uncle, we proceeded to investigate Reykjavik on the way back to our hostel. What did we find? THE FAMOUS HOTDOG. IMG_7165.JPG

Those things are SO GOOD, OH MY GOODNESS. We were tempted to just live off of those the rest of our time in Reykjavik. Cheap and tasty.

Full and exhausted, we went back to our hostel and crashed.

Oh yeah, on the way back, of course, I foundz a kat.

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Day one wasn’t bad for borderline. It was masked by excitement and exhaustion.

However, that was only day 1.

Stay tuned for day 2-3.

-Brittany

Ice Ice Baby Part 1

Sometime in August 2017-

Me: “Hey, let’s go to Iceland in January!”

Jessie: “What?”

Me: “Yeah! Think you can go? Becausssseee I’m about to hit purchase on two tickets with WOW air to Keflavik.

Jessie: “I don’t know… I think so…maybe?”

Me: “Great!” Literally says “YOLO” and clicks purchase.

Yep, I just spent $1600 on two tickets to Iceland. I think at the time I was saving up for something, but instead, I decided to make Iceland a graduation present.

Little did I know at the time that would be the first of a long list of VERY expensive impulsive purchases. And at that time I had NO idea why.

Honestly, I wish I could remember where I had gotten so much money for this trip because I remember immediately purchasing Icelandic necessities, which by the way was SO MUCH FUN.

I’m a name brand snob. Pretty sure I get that from my mother. So, I couldn’t go cheap. I HAD to have a Northface jacket, gloves, and backpack, Columbia ice boots, and thermal Nike shirts. Granted, I did get all of this off of Amazon… does that help? See, I was somewhat cost conscious!

Meanwhile, my friend Jessie who I basically made go on this trip with me, was smart and got all of her stuff at an affordable price. That girl knows how to thrift shop and save her money. However, I like to make it rain, especially with money I don’t have.

(Can we see the unknown borderline trend happening here?)

About a month later, Jessie tells me shes adding Ireland onto our trip.

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Color me excited! Two countries in two weeks?? The only place I’ve been which was ‘out of the country’ was St. Thomas… However, that’s a US Virgin Island, so that doesn’t really count.

Luckily, Ireland is significantly cheaper than Iceland and a plane ride with WOW Air was just a hop across the pond, so it wasn’t a hassle at all. Oh, and when I say significantly cheaper than Iceland, I mean it.

Don’t worry, I’ll post a “Do’s and Don’ts for Iceland” post later on. And trust me, you will want to read it.  

All in all, I think I spent more money purchasing items for this trip as opposed to saving money. BIG MISTAKE.

What can we take away from this?


Borderline symptoms:

Impulsive spending of money

Impulsive decision to go on an international trip.


For someone who is going to get diagnosed with BPD when they get back from this trip, these events are insignificant when it comes to “impulsive.” In a span of 2-3 days, I made the decision to go to a foreign country and bought tickets. Consequences? Research? WHO CARES! 

Whatever happens, happens. Amiright?

Who Am I? Who Am I?

If you’re reading this post, you may have already read the ‘About Me’ page. If not, well… go read it.

Kidding.


Patient No. 24601

Name: Brittany

Age: 27 (on Saturday, May 12, 2018)

Diagnosis: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, OCD, and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Diagnosed: BPD in late January 2017,(self-diagnosis-confirmed through Psychologist), all others in 2015


Self-diagnosed? Funny story. I literally self-diagnosed myself as borderline from an episode of Law and Order: SVU. Not Kidding. The murderer was a psychiatrist, (ironic), with narcissistic personality disorder and as they were reading off her symptoms, I was like, ‘Holy cow, that’s me, but I’m not that self-absorbed. I’m actually the opposite.’

QUEUE DR. GOOGLE!

When you google Narcissistic Personality Disorder, guess what comes up as well? Let’s all say it together: Borderline Personality Disorder. They are basically ‘sister’ disorders. As I read the symptoms, I immediately lost all feeling in my body and made an appointment with my therapist the next day.

Me: “So, I’ve diagnosed myself with something.”

Dr. “Is that so? Go on.”

Me: Tells SVU story. “So yeah, I’m 99.999% and if you round that up, it’s 100% sure I have borderline personality disorder.”

Holds breath for an onslaught of self-loathing when she says no.

Dr. “You’re right. I’ve actually been thinking that myself, so I’m glad you brought this up.”

Me: “Holy ****! At least I’m not a narcissist!” *High-fives with self*

Now what?

For those of you who don’t know the symptoms of BPD, let me list them for you, (per DSM-5, so it’s legit):

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by friends and family.
  • Unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization (“I’m so in love!”) and devaluation (“I hate her”). This is also sometimes known as “splitting.”
  • Distorted and unstable self-image, which affects moods, values, opinions, goals, and relationships.
  • Impulsive behaviors that can have dangerous outcomes, such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse or reckless driving.
  • Self-harming behavior including suicidal threats or attempts.
  • Periods of intense depressed mood, irritability or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days.
  • Chronic feelings of boredom or emptiness.
  • Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger—often followed by shame and guilt.
  • Dissociative feelings—disconnecting from your thoughts or sense of identity or “out of body” type of feelings—and stress-related paranoid thoughts. Severe cases of stress can also lead to brief psychotic episodes.

What can cause this? Well, numerous things like having a brain that doesn’t function correctly, trauma, or simply poor genetics.

In order to be classified as a ‘Borderline,’ you must have 5 of these symptoms. Unfortunately, ya girl has all 9. However, in regards to the anger part, I am internal with my anger. As in, I turn it into self-loathing tendencies instead of taking it out on others. I’m basically the “Quiet Borderline,” more introverted.

Unfortunately, for borderlines, any and everything can be a trigger. It can cause us to react with extreme fear, push people away, frantically pull them close, have panic attacks, isolate, among many other things. And that’s why I’m writing this blog.

“The Immersive Borderline” means to immerse me in experiences as opposed to being on the outside looking in and show others with borderline how to do the same. Experience the moment, let’s not let fear get ahold of us. And let me tell you, this will be a HUGE challenge for me, so basically we can do this together.

I’ve had this disorder ‘officially’ for over a year now and I’ve learned A LOT about myself and how I interact with others. I have a passion for helping others with my disorder and we really do get a bad stigma. We aren’t manipulative humans even though we may come off that way. In reality, we really need help, or simply an outlet. This outlet can be a creative one or one to help us get away.

I’ve had a creative outlet, but now I need a different one, and that one is travel. A serious personality disorder should not confine me or anyone else to our homes. We should be free to see the world and what it has to offer.

Yes, there are serious triggers and I want to share them with you and how to cope.

We will first begin with a trip I took about 3 weeks before I was officially diagnosed: Iceland and Ireland.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Oh! and…

Please always remember, your feelings are valid.

–Brittany