Straight Outta Delaware

Bombed my Calc test.

Note to self: Depression and tests don’t mix.

Have yet another one on Monday.

I’m disappointed but its okay because 1) I know I can do way better, it was two problems that screwed me over, and 2) my math buddies got the same scores as me. One kid asked if the professor took an average and he said he didn’t; usually they do. I’m assuming most of us sucked so much ass that he didn’t waste any precious math on it.

Some kid got 100 percent. There’s always that one little smart bastard we all want to drag into the back alley and slap across the face with a piece of rotted ham until they agree to take our exams for us.

Then make them eat it.

Okay, that might be too extreme, but you can understand my frustration.

At least I got some good grades on my chemistry quizzes and homeworks. And some horrible ones. But fuck those ones.

I mean, you know there’s something wacky going on in my head when I get better grades in Chemistry than I do in Calculus. There must be some quantum paradox going on. I don’t even know if that’s a thing.

I don’t know what it is about today. I don’t even think I’m staying on topic. Am I? Whatever; it’s too hard trying to focus. I woke up feeling monotonous like I have been for the last three or so days and about halfway through the day I got my spark of energy back. I came up with some awesome ideas about an organization that could be started and some more ideas that had something to do with class, but as quickly as they entered my mind they disappeared. Well not entirely. I need to write them down before more come and I can’t fit them all in my head. That being said: here’s a messed up story Straight Outta Compton.

I mean Delaware.

Some cops burst through the door of a house where a quadriplegic woman with Cerebral Palsy was getting a sponge bath by her veteran husband who also happens to suffer from schizophrenia. They ended up arresting two nephews, with just one pleading guilty to one count of drug paraphernalia. One count. You busted through a persons house for that shit? Hope a serial murderer isn’t taking advantage of all the man power spent on this B.S to sneak into the neighbors house and smack some people upside the head with a two-by-four.

Oh it gets better, by the way. The troopers pointed their guns at the woman and told her to “get the fuck up”.

Adding insult to injury; nice.

The husband desperately tried covering his wife with a sheet, as she was nude obviously, but the police grabbed his arms and punched him repeatedly. He got shocked by a stun gun twice, once in the shoulder and even though he lie on the ground bloodied, the officers continued their beating and stunned him the second time. They decided to call an ambulance when the woman, Lisa Hayes, cried out she was having a heart attack.

Of course the raid worsened her husband’s schizophrenia because holly shit, suddenly half of your paranoid fears are coming true in less than a few minutes. It’s not uncommon for people to die from being stunned multiple times; that could have been a murder very easily.

The lawsuit wants the judge to give the couple awards for their damages and force the police to change policies on dealing with disabled people. Like, you know, don’t beat them when they’re not attacking you and don’t tell a woman bound to a wheel chair to get the fuck up when 1) the family warned she was quadriplegic 2) there’s a wheel chair in the damn room and 3) her husband is giving her a damn sponge bath! I’m almost positive couples without physical disability don’t do that on a daily basis.

I’m not getting “racey” here, but the family was black. Just saying.

It reminds me sickeningly of the video released back in February (can’t remember if it was 2014 or 2015) of the cops with their guns out, pointed at yet another man with schizophrenia who was running around the yard naked with a broom stick, obviously psychotic. The cop kept yelling “get the fuck on the ground!” (like he’s going to understand) and then shot him five times and killed him on the street in front of his mother.

She must feel a terribly guilt for having called the police. I hope she doesn’t though; she hadn’t shot the gun.

And you know, I talk a lot about depression and anxiety (because I live it) and I talk a lot about other things I experience and how we don’t “talk” about these things but I feel like we don’t talk nearly as often about severe mental disorders like schizophrenia. We can all relate, kind of, to people with anxiety and depression because we’ve at some point felt it to a tiny degree. Doesn’t make people accepting of the disorders, but it’s easier for them to make an effort to empathize. But not all of us have been psychotic or delusional or manic and most of us never will. It takes a little extra effort into understanding the terror your friend feels when she’s sitting in the closet hyperventilating because the F.B.I is outside encircling her house and shouting for her to come out with megaphones.

That’s probably a horrible example but forgive me, I’m only trying to promote understanding from a perspective of someone who’s never dealt with an experience like that.

If your friend is depressed and laying in bed all day feeling worthless, hopeless, and unwanted, numb, you can sit in the kitchen and think back “I remember that one time I felt so hopeless I thought I couldn’t take it anymore. It must be worse having to feel that everyday”.

If your friend is packing his belongings to move to Paris because the being from the sixth dimension told him it would save his life, you’re not going to go “Oh man, I remember when the voice in my head told me to move to London, It must suck to have that all the time.”

Get real. We have to take a different approach to reducing stigma of these severe disorders where even the doctors don’t know what’s going on half the time. It’s not enough to inform everyone that most people with schizophrenia aren’t psycho murderers or even violent for that matter, it’s not enough to give them a list of symptoms and shove acceptance down their throat; if they can’t feel the terror these people feel most of the time, what reason would they have to accept any part of it? We learn and understand with our emotions, remember? Pamphlets are nice, but they’re about the most ineffective mode of facts I’ve ever seen.

Virtual realities of what it would be like to live with schizophrenia is a start I suppose, but I don’t think Anderson Cooper having two ear pods in his ear with pre-recorded voices playing on his Ipod as he walked through the streets of New York or whatever is what I’m thinking about.

That being said, I’m not advocating traumatizing people with virtual psychotic episodes, that’s probably not a good at idea. I’ve heard it’s been done before. What I am advocating is that stigma is a complex issue that requires complex treatment. Not only do people not understand the disorder(s) but they see it as a weakness, even if they see it subconsciously. They look down on all of us in a way. I don’t think we should focus our energy on trying to bring ourselves up to that imaginary pedestal they’re on, (although by all means, promote equality regardless of disorder or disability) I think we should focus our energy on bringing them to our level. You know, the level where the rest of the world lives. Reality.

I’m not saying we should scare them, but we should.

It’ll be a light, informative scare, just enough to jolt their nerves a bit. Because hell, we have to live with that every day. They can deal with it for thirty minutes.

I Think This Level Of Shock Will Do

Titillating White Candle Holders

I’ve said it a million times in other posts and I’ll say it again, straight up, for any of the general public people reading this who have never encountered mental health issues of any sort, who have never experienced it themselves, have never taken a psychology class or who have never read up on the development of a child brain: get educated.

I mean, really; 58,000 children without a diagnosed mental health issue taking Anti-psychotics like Risperdal and Abilify?

From ages 1 to 6?

While you’re at it, let your doctor toss ’em a couple painkillers for that scratch they got yesterday when they tripped over the stone; they could have a broken leg.

“Serious behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and aggression”

I’m assuming that means a tantrum? Two year old Little Jimmy didn’t get in the car when you told him to for the fifth time this week and stomped his foot and scared you so horribly you took him to Dr. Pusher who held his mouth open with clamps and tossed in some Risperdal, Abilify, maybe a dab of Prozac or something, some Lexapro. Now little Jimmy sits very quietly and does exactly what you tell him to. Mission accomplished.

“We would hope these would be used cautiously”.

Don’t make me laugh, really. Since when have humans had the capability to do anything cautiously to the extent they should?

Anyway, I got bored tonight and started flipping through articles and if you’ve been following me for a while you know how much I love to rant and rave on this type of shit. I mean, damn, you must have one aggressive one year old to be condoning use of anti-psychotics on them.

But at least I feel content enough to write shit about all this again. I even plowed through my Chem homework like I was going to get a box of kittens afterwards. If I had a box of kittens I’d be so happy. If I had a box of puppies I’d be so happy. If I had a box of kittens and puppies I’d be rolling around in the floor basking in their cuteness and never again step foot on a college campus, let alone out my door. Baby animals are the last bastion of American Freedom.

I never had a problem opening up to animals. They connect with me. Even my boyfriend’s dog, the one who barks and bites at everyone who isn’t close family, the one everyone is scared of, sniffed me and let me be the second time she met me. She growled and bared her teeth the first time she met me, just in case you were wondering.

I was attacked by a Chihuahua when I was two or three, scarring me with dogs for most of my childhood, and those are the dogs that to this day always chase me and bark and lash their teeth out. I don’t know why they don’t think I won’t snatch them and grind them into taco meat.

It took a playful Pit-bull puppy to break me out of my dog phobia, ironically. I still get nervous around dogs; I won’t feed them food and I don’t like letting them lick my hand because I’m convinced they’re going to rip it off, but hey, I’ll pet them and hug them. That’s huge progress compared to the days I would cross the street to avoid people walking their dogs on the sidewalks.

People though, that’s a different story. It’s odd letting go of secrets that have been crowded in your head for so long. They’ve become your little buddies. The musings in my head, the analysis of my feelings and of the world around me that runs on a constant assembly line and probably goes a little deeper than it should, keep me company during the day. A destructive type of company, but company nonetheless.

All I have to comfort me through this uncomfortable time is my music. It’s always there to lend a helping hand. I grew up around live bands and concerts and cope with my daily social anxiety with an earphone in my ear. If I can’t find my earphones before I leave, my entire day if ruined. I’ll get highly aggressive and uncooperative (oh shit, toss me a Risperdal) and I won’t be able to focus. There’s music playing as I write this. There was music playing as I did my homework. I played music going into the library, while I was in the library, while I printed my paper, and while I came back home. I can’t drive my car if I don’t have a sustainable source of music, preferably not the radio but I make it work if I have to. The radio is a last resort, the commercials drive me insane. Literally. My road rage is 10x worse if I have to listen to some chubby muffled voice blurt a bunch of stupid shit about liberals or conservatives or whatever.

If my ear phones break, within the next minute I’m in Best Buy or Sears buying a new pair. That’s a class A emergency, one of the most urgent. Even my parents are aware of this fact.

I usually have four or five fully functional spares and maybe one or two half-functioning (one ear works) spares.

This summer I broke my last functional spare and couldn’t deal with listening to music through only one ear. That also drives me to the brink of insanity; I hate the quiet of my mind, hence the constant stream of music, but I also hate the cacophony of the outside world, hence the constant stream of music.

Anyway, I ordered a new pair of earphones on Amazon because I wanted over-the-ear headphones with good bass. Well, the mail lady put my box in the mail box for the apartment next to me and I received their package. In my blind elation I tore it open without looking at the name and, having already been rather depressed and irritable that week, you could imagine the devilish fury across my face when the two plain, white candle holders stared back at me.

She Must Have Been So Excited To Get These. They’re Absolutely Titillating.

I have trouble talking with people as it is, so my mom went over and informed them our packages had been messed up. They didn’t check their mail for three damn days. I was writhing in silent agony on my bed for three damn days. You couldn’t talk to me without sparking an insult from my mouth or a sarcastic remark. Music withdrawal is a bitch.

Bottom line of this scattered post? Stop giving your 1 year old Risperdal and if you ever meet me in person don’t touch my earphones if you like your head being attached to your body.

Life, Love, Laughter and Sorrow

I’d like to see myself through the eyes of those around me.

I wonder what I look like.

I’d like to see what my depression looks like through the eyes of people who have only ever wept tears for some great tragedy; an appropriate tragedy.

I want to know what thoughts run through their head when they decide not to talk to me. When they decide I’m better off alone, left to my own devices. I want to know where those ideas are coming from, because I haven’t said them.

I want them to know that I just want support, that’s all. I don’t want to be left alone, not like this.

I know It’s hard for me to laugh at jokes right now, I know it’s hard for me to find joy in something as amazing as life, but that doesn’t make me some Ebola-infested monster, does it?

Can’t I get a hug? A compliment? A promise? A reason to live?

I don’t want someone to cure me, I want someone to be there for me when I can’t be.

Maybe that’s too much pressure.

Maybe I’m too needy. Maybe they don’t know what to do because humor is the only way I converse. When that’s gone, I’m gone too. Maybe that scares them.

It scares me.

Maybe if I go to bed, the morning light will burn away all these thoughts. Maybe I’ll forget they even existed.Maybe I won’t care they existed. Maybe people will love me again when I can laugh.

Rock Bottom

I didn’t go to class this morning.

I have another class in an hour and a half and I don’t think I’ll be making it to that one either.

Last night I felt pretty wired. I couldn’t focus, my thoughts scurried from one thing to another. I didn’t sleep until one thirty and woke up at four am to find my mother standing in the middle of my room wondering whether or not she should wake me up. My father had to go to the hospital after experiencing another suspected TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack; a mini stroke.) He’s had several of these in the past because of his high blood pressure and drinking. Although the TIA subsided by the time the ambulance arrived (as opposed to him trying to open the front door thinking it was the bathroom and then crawling around in circles on the floor) but they took him because I’m sure his blood pressure was in the 200’s, yet another common occurrence. He doesn’t take his medication regularly when he gets into drinking again, that’s one of the main issues.

Anyway, that’s a monthly occurrence in this house hold, I’m just glad I didn’t have to deal with it this time. Usually I’m the one nursing him back after a seizure or calling the ambulance while keeping him from running out into the streets during a TIA or confusion from high blood pressure.

For any addicts out there, he is a prime example of what your body will be like when you’re 56. He’s skinny as hell, rarely eats, has lost the majority of his teeth, has had multiple seizures, enough to destroy his attention span, his mood regulation system, and his short term memory. If you’re having a conversation with him, he’ll forget it’s purpose in thirty seconds. He has high blood pressure, kidney failure, and congestive heart failure. He had a small heart attack about nine years ago, at 47. His eyes are yellow. At one point he was on 13 different medications and fainting every other day. Sometimes he can function, other times he sleeps for days on end. And if a friend offers him a drink (it’s the only way he can get alcohol now) he’ll still take it.

He’s done other drugs in his past, which contributes obviously.

At any rate, my mother left at 4:30 am to go to the hospital. I watched some YouTube videos before I decided I should probably try and get some sleep. So I turned over, faced the wall, and shut my eyes.

I have sleep issues. Not because I wasn’t tired (which is an issue in itself) but because I’ll get stuck in sleep limbo, seeing things that aren’t there, hearing things that aren’t there, and then eventually having some weird ass dream you could probably spend hours interpreting. While I was watching YouTube I kept hearing whispers, incomprehensible ones, of which I am used to and simply brushed off. But when I turned on my side and was balancing between falling asleep and still being awake, I saw these weird flat bugs, like a termite but ten times larger, and some other ants squeezing themselves through the walls in the corner across from my face. They were literally seeping through the wall. I freaked out, turned on my other side, and started watching YouTube again. Then I got paranoid thinking someone was hiding in my closet, a shadow, a demon or some shit (dude I don’t know, my brain is weird) and I freaked out a little more before finally falling asleep.

I had a dream about spiders and ants seeping through all the walls.

I awoke an hour later, pissed off at the world, not tired, and not ready to get back the F I probably got on my Calc test. Okay it was probably a C, maybe a B, but those are both F’s to me.

I wanted to punch the walls and kick down the doors and break the windows and scream and let whatever monster loves to claw so mercilessly at my skull take charge.

Instead, I tried getting ready, I really did. I was telling myself “it’s just class, you can make it through like you always do”.

But I’ve lost a lot of motivation these last two semesters. I’ve considered dropping out. At least until I get myself together. I can’t focus, I can’t guarantee that I can finish any of my work, and I can’t predict my moods. Class is an added stressor I’m not sure my body can take anymore.

I’m sick of faking that I’m alright. That thought kept circulating through my head this morning and I fell into another depression. I still took a shower, I still got myself ready, but I was sitting in my car until 9:18 and my class started at 9:30. It takes at least a half an hour to get to my campus. I just wanted to drive my car off a cliff or speed into another passing car. So I didn’t put the keys in the ignition.

I also couldn’t think straight. My thoughts were all over the place, self-destructive, and uncontrollable. So instead I sat in the car and contacted lifeline.

My boyfriend and my mother found me as a crying mess in my car and my mother asked me if I was okay. I finally, for the first time in my life, told her no.

I hate making people worry about me. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. But I can’t keep this bottled up any longer. I didn’t tell her how suicidal I was, nor did I tell my boyfriend, because I feel like that would scare them more than it scares me. I want them to know that I’m not okay, but I don’t want them to know why.

That’s fucking stupid. Even reading it over, it sounds like a straight up dumbass wrote it.

So I just cried and sat in my car. Went to Rite-Aid with my boyfriend. Chatted with Lifeline. Came home. Laid on my bed for the next four hours and now I’m here, writing about how fucked up I am.

I know I blog about suicide awareness. I talk all these positive things because I don’t want people to experience what I do. I’d rather them get the help, they’re worth it. I’m not and I know that. I’d rather save 100 lives than my own.

That being said, I hope whoever reads this has a wonderful day. You deserve it.

Power To The People

Neurons reaching out to learn
Neurons Reaching Out To Learn. Credit: Dr. Victor Anggono at Queensland Brain Institute

Do you believe in free will?

Or are you more of a deterministic personality?

Do you think you are your neurons or that your neurons are you? Do you think you have a say or would you prefer to be helpless to the scientific process that is “thought”?

Deep questions man, deep questions. Better slip yourself an adderall for this post. Or at least your thinking cap. Maybe adderall is your thinking cap.

Arguably the biggest debate in biological sciences is nature versus nurture and most people meet somewhere in the middle–nature plays a part but you can manipulate it depending on how you live your life. I’d say that’s a fair argument. Exercise, for example, has been known for years to help your body through biological processes. The Lipoprotiens that carry good cholesterol through your blood to your liver where it is needed is increased the more you exercise and the better your diet, which reduces the amount of bad cholesterol that builds up in your arteries. You can never get rid of the bad stuff, so you might as well increase the good stuff, it’s your only hope. Shouldn’t have ate all those Burger King triple cheese bacon Whoppers in your younger years.

70fec-burger-king-bbq-bacon-whopper
Since When Do Their Burgers Look Half As Good As This?

And now they think they’ve found proof of Alcoholism neurons and anxiety neurons. We’ll go after the addiction first, I think it’s more interesting.

Your neurons change with you, it’s evident. When you’re born there’s millions of millions of them all struggling to see who will live and who will die. It’s like the Hunger Games up there except everyone participates. So I guess it’s not like the Hunger Games. I don’t know, I’ve never read the book. Or seen the movie. Whatever.

Anyway, there’s millions and millions and millions and millions of them (shit, I’m starting to sound like Carl Sagen) and by the time you’re three, half of them are gone. So yes, those younger years are vital. That’s why if you’re tortured when you’re an infant and a toddler, you’re more likely to display Antisocial Personality tendencies. You’ll start killing the dogs and learning how to manipulate and not feeling an ounce of guilt for it because, shit, no one displayed what that’s supposed to be, there is no distinguishable difference between right and wrong, and you didn’t get hugged. Yes, hugging is just as important as teaching your children right from wrong.

I don’t think anyone will argue that drugs change the structure of your brain, even the ones you are prescribed. Anti-psychotics most often change the amount of dopamine in your brain and if you’re taking an anti-psychotic (especially if it’s actually to suppress active psychosis) you already have a sensitivity to dopamine. Anti-psychotics increase that sensitivity by no fault of anyone and when you forget your medication for a day or two or three, what happens? Most often a psychotic episode. It’s not your fault, it’s not the drugs fault, it’s just the way nature responds to our attempt at thwarting it.

Alcohol does kind of the same thing. It even effects the D1 and D2 receptors the same as some anti-psychotics. Have they done extensive research on what damage or benefit anti-psychotics have on these neurons as they’ve done for alcohol? Most likely not (proof of irreversible damage isn’t exactly a good selling point), at least not to the extent they’ve researched these “addiction neurons”.

We all know what a neuron looks like:

Now picture that but mushroom shaped. That’s what alcohol does to your neurons, most likely if you have addiction and alcoholism already in your family. They get excited, start action-potential-ling all over the place, and they want to keep that level of excitement going, so you drink more. They grow more dendrites and have more access to communicate with other neurons. That’s why you now need five drinks instead of two drinks to even get a buzz. Guess what? It even increases your Long-Term memory.

Sound odd? It shouldn’t, not in this context. Because that’s all your memory gains–context based information. You’ll remember the bar’s specific location better than your buddy who has only been there a few times versus your escapade every other night.

Even more interesting is when they introduced an agonist to thwart the neuron’s excitability level directly to the D1 receptor, the poor drunken animals that were so used to getting drunk in this lab with all these strange men and women in white coats standing around, reduced their amount of consumption.

There are still a lot of questions to be answered here: why do some people become addicted and others do not? What kind of genetic sequences are there where some D1 receptors in people’s brains get mushroomed and others do not? But for now, just take the information as it is and know if you have alcoholism in your family, it could be your future.

But it also could not. That’s the catch.

As for my fellow anxiety suffers, including those with PTSD, I see GABA re-uptake-inhibitors in our future. Or at least something with GABA. If you don’t know already, the GABA neurotransmitter has a very tranquilizing effect. These anxiety neurons they found in the central amygdala have receptors for GABA and as soon as the amount of GABA receptors is decreased, the tranquilizing effect is reduced and suddenly you’re both fearful and anxious. Traumatic experiences can cause reduced GABA receptors.

So, are you powerless over your anxiety? Over your addiction? In a sense, yes. But think about it for a moment–you’re not born with these differences, they’re eventually created. You ever see a baby on the curb downing a 40oz?

And if you can create them, or if they can be created (in terms of PTSD), then you can decommission them. If you have alcoholism in your family, don’t go out and get hammered every night; it’s best to stay away from alcohol and benzo’s and painkillers entirely. If you have anxiety, know that you weren’t born with GABA deficient neurons, as much as you feel like you were. Maybe a predisposition to it, genetically, but even genes have on and off switches.

As out of control as you feel, you can manipulate your brain in any way that you please. I think that’s what’s so fascinating about it. Drugs may change the chemicals temporarily, but chemicals don’t always change the shape like we see in alcoholism. Learning, however, does. Changing mindset, does. That’s been proven many times over.

It’s even harder to gain control over your brain when everyone keeps telling you that you have no control.

The second biggest argument in biological sciences, particularly for psychology, is in the relationship between correlation and causation. The decreased brain masses we see in people suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder–are they a result of the onset of the disorder or the result of genetic differences from the moment of birth? A combination? Or are we wrong about everything entirely?

I’d summarize an article on that, but there aren’t many. We haven’t tracked anyone from birth into their adult hood because we can’t predict who will develop schizophrenia or bipolar and who won’t, regardless of their parents mental status.

Making things even more difficult is that fact that no two people with schizophrenia share the exact same symptoms. Similar perhaps, but it’s not as concrete as, say, two people with social anxiety disorder. Schizophrenia is arguably one of the most elusive disorders in the field. In other words, we don’t know jack shit. I think I’ve said that before.

You are simultaneously your brain and not your brain. It’s always going to be a power struggle between the two of you. That’s what makes life, life. You just have to believe it.

Bro, Stop Moving My Arm! Stop It! Weirdo

Today I thought I’d take a different twist on things and talk about an amazing TED talk video I watched on electrophysiology and the ways our technology these days can manipulate neurosignals. This entertained me greatly.

All I could think about was buying myself one of these gadgets. Think if we enhanced it with all the crazy quantum teleportation technology we’ve developed just this last year. I’d go running around slapping random people with electrodes and then come home and sit in the closet with the lights off hooking them up to my legs and my arms and laugh knowing when I extended my arm someone was slapping their boyfriend or when I kicked my leg someone was kicking the knee of a guy standing in front of them in line. Just how diabolical could we get with this freaky science?

The day we transport thoughts via quantum entanglement is the day I’m building my underground barricade made of aluminum foil. Reynolds Wrap will see a huge increase in sales from me personally.

My Future Children’s School Attire

You can’t call someone deluded when the threat is real.

Which begs an interesting question. A lot of paranoid delusions today revolve around satellites and the government tracking your every move, your every thought. When that becomes a well-known and accessible truth, do we still call these people deluded? Or will the delusions themselves manifest differently? It would interesting to see how much of the environment really plays a part in the development of paranoid/delusional disorders and thinking. Just a thought.

Anyway, the guy in that TED talk started this website and I’ve checked it out, it’s awesome!  The human-to-human interface,  the machine he used in this TED talk (although probably not equipped with quantum physics as of YET; let me finish taking my physics classes and I’ll get started right away) is $260. I’m thinking of buying one. They have tons of little other gadgets and work with students, teachers, whoever, to get kids and schools interested in such an understudied field like neuroscience. How else are we going to improve on the disgraces we call psychotropic medication? If no one’s studying it, well you’re going to be stuck taking a cocktail of pills that will eventually ruin your heart, your liver, kidneys, and other such vital organs. We need researchers. And I think handing a kid a machine where they can control their friends arm with their brain can go one of two ways:

  1. Turn them into a raging mad scientist who deconstructs the machines and rebuilds a new one and incorporates quantum properties and ends up controlling the presidents, kings, and prime ministers of the world and makes them hit that big red nuclear war button on accident when he really meant to make them pick up that hot cup of coffee and spill it on the vice president as a joke and then destroys all of humanity except the cockroaches.
  2. Or motivates them into a future career in neuroscience and understanding the brain.

I mean, life is really all a big 50/50 isn’t it? You might wake up, you might not; you might have kids, you might not; you might laugh at that corny joke your professor tells, you might not; You might like the new Imagine Dragons album, you might not.

Completo: The Table Top Electrophysiology device. Fit for High School students or Graduate students!

I’m going to check out their Completo and find myself some Earthworms and probe the fuck out of them and measure the fuck out of their sensory neurons. I’m drooling just thinking about it. I will never sleep again if I start purchasing their equipment. Don’t feel sad for the Earthworms, they gave their life to science. Which do you think they prefer: to be used for amateur neurological research or to be eaten by some asshole fish? I mean, really, pick and choose here people, I’m making his demise worth something.

Anyway, I’d recommend checking out these guys if you’re at all interested in the brain or current research going on. More power to them; I think they’re doing a great job making this type of equipment available to anyone.

Kids learn way better when they see science in action rather than sitting in a chair and learning “This is a muscle. This is a bone. This is a brain. This is a cell. Now go home”. We need more little aspiring neuroscientists in this world.

Suicide Awareness

I know it’s towards the end of the month and all, but honestly I’d feel like a complete douche if I didn’t make an attempt at a post about Suicide Awareness Month.

I find it ironic; September is a pretty depressing month with school starting and summer being over. I guess if you work in a tourist town, the ending of summer signifies less stress on you, but in my opinion September just sucks. It sucks. That should be a name of a band: September Sucks.

If someone uses that, I get a portion of your earnings, remember that. I will hunt you down, don’t think I wont. I’m fucking crazy.

On a more serious note, we’ve lost many people to suicide and a lot of families will forever hurt because of it. The good news is, suicide is highly preventable, it just takes patience, understanding, and the ability to recognize possible signs. There are classic signs–someone giving away valuable belongings, talking often about wanting to die even in a joking manner and especially if they’ve got a history of depression/depressive symptoms, withdrawing into isolation, or talking about being trapped in a situation without any sign of hope for the future–and then there are not so obvious signs. Those aren’t easy to spot because, well, they aren’t in your face. You’d have to be a trained professional for about thirty years to recognize them and even then you might not.

I don’t know how many of you are into “Let’s Play’s” on YouTube or whatever, but I learned of them through my boyfriend when we first started dating. He, his brother, and his sister watch a guy called Markiplier. I didn’t really get it at first, I mean it’s some dude playing a video game and making comments while he’s doing it. Couldn’t I just play the game for myself? But he was funny some times. I mean, I guess I was aware of PewDiePie, I remember when he started his channel, but I’d never watched him as obsessively as they watched this guy. Eventually I subscribed just because he entertained me sometimes, especially when I wasn’t feeling my best. I also didn’t know my subscription helps pay his salary.

I think as a subscriber I should get a portion of that money. I mean, it’s a lot of work searching the name on YouTube and having to put my aching hand on the mouse and click the button and . . . ugh, it’s so much work that I’d like a little compensation for my labor.

Anyway, I was shocked and devastated to find out last week one of the members of the group Cyndago that worked closely with Markiplier committed suicide. Last night before class I got a text from my boyfriend saying his uncle was contemplating suicide. So it’s all around us, every day, every hour, across the globe, and it hurts to think we’re losing so many to an invisible fight. I don’t think anyone has captured the depth depression plagues people’s souls better than this man on Facebook:

Alex Sunny Hur On Daniel Kyre of Cyndago: I’ve experienced suicide in my life and battle with major clinical depression personally, and have helped with many support groups over the years. Your burning question is “Why”. Why, when everything seems so great or promising in the individual’s life? Why, when they were loved? Why didn’t they feel happy, glad or grateful? Listen. Depression does not mean feeling sad all the time. 90% of the time, they feel nothing at all, a blank void where other emotions should be. The remaining 10%, the rough parts healthy people would brush off as inconsequential, are devastating to someone with depression. They have no buffers, no barriers to protect their soul from the day-to-day ills of life. It’s as if they have no immune system, so a common cold can be deadly. That’s what depression really is.

I also have brain cancer. When I die, it will be from cardiovascular failure or pulmonary failure or shock, but when people talk about it they will say the truth: I died of cancer. This young man, Daniel, did not die of suicide. Suicide by definition blames the victim. He died of depression, and don’t you forget it. There is your “why”. There is no greater truth. He had a physical disease, and though he battled it no doubt for years, he eventually succumbed, just like many cancer victims. Those who succumb are not at fault and are not to blame. They are not weak. There was no lack of love. After all, they’ve been fighting an invisible war all while smiling for you, and wanting to see you smile.

My heart goes out to all affected, most especially his friends and family who loved him. May you find strength and peace to your souls, and comfort envelop you like a warm quilt on a cold day.

He died of depression, and don’t you forget it.

A man with a terminal illness he knows will kill him, confirms that yes, those of us suffering through/with our mentality day after day are fighting for our lives just the same as those with Cancer are fighting for theirs. We’re all fighting together, there’s no need to stigmatize either fight.

It seems unless something horrible has happened, we don’t address how dangerous depression is. No one talks about it, we just shove you some drugs and say yo, you got this. Telling someone “they got this” when they’re gripping on the edge of a hundred foot cliff with their finger tips is not exactly helpful.

I won’t even get into the discussion of how much harder it is for men in western society to express their feelings against our psychotic requirements of masculinity. All I’ll say is admitting you need help is not a weakness in the eyes of reality like it is in the eyes of society, it’s a survival tactic.

I’ve spent half of my life battling depression demons . I’ve talked myself out of suicide multiple times because no one else would, and my first thoughts always go towards my parents, my boyfriend, his siblings, and even the people in my classes I never speak to. It’s a traumatizing experience to know the person you sat next to everyday just blew their brains all over the wall. I couldn’t knowingly induce that sense of guilt on anyone. In reality, it’s an issue I can’t think of one reason not to kill myself besides everyone else, and I know I need to learn to care more for myself, but right now it’s the only way I can think of keeping myself in this world. Sometimes that’s just enough.

Sometimes it’s helpful to contact crisis intervention services. If you have severe depression, and other disorders that cause this kind of thinking, and you also have social anxiety, try the chat websites and texting websites, I’ve used them more than once. If you’re not in the U.S, I’m sure google will have similar things in your country.

Learn to recognize the signs and be someone’s reason to live. Be your own reason to live. Every moment of eye contact is a moment you’ve made an impact on someone’s life and they’ve made an impact on yours. Remember, we’re all fighting this war for this odd thing we call life and your existence on this planet thus far is worth just as much as the rest of us. Not only are you loved, but you’re needed and wanted. We can’t fight this war without you.

And to all those who have lost the fight, they were not weak, they may have been the strongest out of us all. I don’t hear about even a thousandth of the people who commit suicide and yet I feel connected to them. I know their pain and I know how much courage it must have taken to lose every ounce of hope. They are our bothers and sisters and they died in the name of depression, hopelessness, active psychosis, and agony. And they will never be forgotten.

Yo, Let Me Hit That Apple Real Quick

I woke up this morning, sat at my desk, set my fingers on the proper keys, turned on my sub-woofer, blasted the playlist on my computer, and still couldn’t think of a clever opening line for this post.

I thought of talking about some fancy neuroscience articles on psychiatrists and neuro-scientists attempting to quantify consciousness and then blast them for thinking they could explain something as mystifying as consciousness in terms of man-made mathematical equations that, if you really want to get technical, still don’t explain consciousness itself. I’ll give them props for their Integrated Information Theory, but even that thought process kind of, well, falls short of explaining how we feel the information our brain integrates. They understand the biology, not the result, and that’s not very invigorating to me. If quantum particles can change their state and “teleport” information between each other than how can consciousness be as simple as integrated information? They have a lot of work to do if they think they can understand our perception of life to the degree they understand the transportation of a neurochemical. Which, judging by the psychotropic medication out today, there’s not a lot of understanding. So I guess we’ll never know.

Instead, I’d like to address a disturbing incident I witnessed last night.

I’d like to personally accuse the American public school systems, particularly in my area, of attempted murder. Yes, you read right, attempted murder.

Attempted murder of the human soul, spirit, and creativity. I don’t give a shit if I sound like some weed smoking, slap happy hippie.

Really, bro? 

The robots they’ve turned these college students into reminds me how lucky I am to have suffered Social Anxiety Disorder through elementary school. Being inside of your own head has its advantages.

As some of you know, I’m taking a Native American Literature class, one of the most tranquil courses I’ve taken thus far in my college career. What you may not know is that I’m a very spiritual person. Not religious by any means, but spiritual yes. I enjoy the connections humans share with other humans, animals, seasons, the self, and nature in general. After all, we are all made up of the same material if you want to look at this at a micro-level. If I could embrace it as much as I’d like, I probably wouldn’t have this rampant anger management issue.

I don’t know as much about my own Cherokee ancestral history as I should, but I know every time I walk into that class there’s an aura about it that serves as a pungent reminder this class will be forever life changing.

We just finished a memoir entitled “The Morning The Sun Went Down” by Darryl Babe Wilson, an extraordinary autobiography of a man of the Achumawi and Atusgew tribes from Northern California. When abrupt tragedy strikes, Darryl experiences the reality of how desecrated and disrespected his people have been by the ever expanding American government.

Wilson possesses an extraordinary talent for describing feelings and incidents in relation to nature, as most natives are, and I felt honored in having read this summary of the first part of his life. His words don’t need analysis to be appreciated. They don’t need to have some crazy symbolism and motif attached to them to make them have substance.

I can’t blame these students for not understanding that, but they better learn quickly. In this class we don’t receive grades on any of our work and when we read texts we are supposed to write the responses in terms of how the text made us feel whilst simultaneously providing an analysis without trivializing or being a kiss-ass. When we had a discussion in class last night, hand after hand raised and mouth after mouth made my ears bleed.

I say this because what most of them said was the result of a very one-track mindset, a program. And that mindset is “I’m in a Native American class, so I should talk really good about the Native Americans and bash the Christians in the book that made the Native guy feel bad.”

I’m not a Christian. Or a Catholic. I’m more inclined to read science fiction than The Bible and in all honesty I can’t stand science fiction most of the time. The problem with these students is that they contrast and compare everything. That’s a mindset we learn early in school. Analyze this side, analyze that side, state the facts, and who gives a shit how you feel about it. It’s easy for a kid to realize if you argue with the side that has the most positive points, you’ll get an easy A and you’ll sound so smart.

More like intellectually stunted.

Why not just accept what that particular group of Christians did to that particular group of natives, understand how that relates to the underlying feeling of inadequacy and self loathing in natives today, bask in how that makes you feel, and put some thought into it? Why do we have to spend time in discussion labeling all Christians as murdering freaks and why do we have to spend time labeling natives as victims? State facts without judging who is in the wrong and who is in the right because wrong and right is very subjective. Natives were a victim of settlers, yes. Does that make the settlers horrible human beings? I don’t know, I can only judge of their past actions and I don’t think actions are an entire representation of the self.

That being said, I also call this compare and contrast/over analytical mindset the kiss-ass syndrome. That’s what they were doing last night, kissing the professors ass to make it sound like they actually understand the depths of sorrow in these people’s hearts. But none of their words held any substance or feeling and one guy spoke for five minutes straight. He spoke empty words. I almost fell asleep.

There’s a time for analysis and there’s a time for simple appreciation; they can be combined, cleverly, but they’re not the same.

For this I love my anxiety disorders. These students may be amazing at socializing and vocalizing, but they have no sense of self and no sense of how to relate the outside world to their self. They can only relate to each other, and on a shockingly shallow level. I’ve spent so many years inside of my head that I’m in the head of each emotion I’ve ever felt. #Headception. It’s why I can write a paper consisting of analysis of thought and understanding of feeling on a personal and external level, and have the professor thank me twice for writing the paper I did.

You know you did well when the professor thanks you for your work.

I’ve only spoken in class maybe a hundred times from Pre-School to College, so my thoughts and answers never got shot down by teachers. I was never molded, not to the extent these students have been.

I don’t want to make it sound like these students are horrible students, I think many of them are brilliant. I just don’t think they know how brilliant, yet. I don’t think they were ever allowed to exercise that brilliance.

Keep It Tidy

It’s taken about a year, but I think I’ve finally made some progress in convincing my boyfriend that the socially anxious part of me, the one he sees most often and impedes my life most often, is one of the hardest parts of me to live with. I knew he didn’t understand when I first explained to him why I had issues answering calls, making calls, meeting new people, hanging out with new people, talking with people, going to job interviews, keeping jobs, or why I refused to take communication classes. He thought I hated people. Add in the bouts of depression and self harm and road rage and panic attacks and well, I must have looked like a mess. I still am, but I’m getting tidier.

Kind of.

Slowly.

Not really.

No, I’ll stay positive.

I’m getting tidier. My Tidy Monster has been in working extra hard lately.

At any rate, I’ve known him for a few years, kind of. It was a rocky start because of my tendency not to answer people’s text messages or phone calls when they start getting close to me; my anxiety made me ignore him at first and that pretty much destroyed the friendship we’d hardly began. Therefore I preferred to stay away from people; I’d either drive them away or force them to put up with my bullshit and I didn’t wish either hell on anyone.

He probably still doesn’t understand the self harming and suicidal ideation, I think that disturbs him, but after a year he’s starting to understand that when I get depressed I can’t just pull myself out of it. Instead, he just spends time with me if I ask. His humor most often takes my mind out of itself for at least a little bit. If I can’t pull myself out of bed he doesn’t make me feel like I’m acting ridiculous, although maybe he still thinks like that. But at least he doesn’t project any more negativity on me.

We’re complete opposites though, I think that’s what makes us so interesting. I’m an inch or so taller than him;  his family is from Mexico and I’m just your average African American, Polish, Danish, Irish, Native American (Cherokee) blood; I love rock music, he’s not a fan; he’s big into sports and absolutely adores football, and I can only handle watching one quarter on television; he’s a business major and I’m getting into the industry just to fuck shit up. We’re completely opposite. So we have miniature arguments often but we don’t let them ruin what we have. I know my personality is a little difficult to handle since I can go from being very cooperative to an arrogant, narcissistic jerk who knows she’s always right in a matter of seconds, so I’m not really sure how he even puts up with it half the time. I know it’s yet another thing I need to work on. I guess I also have to learn Spanish.

He thought I didn’t want to learn it because I was stubborn but I had to explain taking a class where the tests are oral is not the easiest thing for me right now. I wouldn’t learn anything.

I dove into this relationship head first, not even knowing I did it really. I remember getting out of the hospital E.R after a panic attack, recovering from all the Ativan and C.A.T scan contrast fluid they shot me up with (they checked for pulmonary embolism), and then a few weeks later waking up in his bed after staying the night. Our relationship started off more as a friends with benefits thing, which I wasn’t complaining about. I usually hate being this close to someone but somehow it didn’t bother me at the time and so when I started realizing the gravity of the situation I decided I could do one of two things: awkwardly lie about why I couldn’t continue with a more stable relationship, or give it a try. I gave it a try and I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.

He told me this morning he decided to do his speech in his communications class on social anxiety disorder. I’m glad I don’t have to be a guest speaker, though.

I’d say that’s progress. Maybe through the process of writing his speech he’ll get an even better understanding that it really is hard for me to walk out of the door every morning. I’m hoping he can convey that feeling of dread to his class. I’ve never had my story told in such a large setting and even though I won’t be there to hear it, I will be dying in Calculus peacefully knowing across campus a group of students is learning the reason all the quiet kids seem “weird” is because they are exhausted from working up the courage to step out their door each morning.

He’s lucky I own the DSM-V and have a bunch of other articles on social anxiety disorder and anxiety in general; he doesn’t even have to do any research for the factual part of the speech.

That better not be why he chose this topic.

Don’t be afraid to tell your story, even if it’s only part of it. Every word counts.

Invest In Yourself Like You Should Have Invested In Google In The 90’s

Wednesdays are always the days I moan in bed. Five straight hours of chemistry can drive anyone’s motivation into the ground. Unless you’re a chemist, I suppose.

But I always try to look at the day with a positive light and today was no different.

In our chemistry lab we work in groups and if you’ve ever read any of this blog, you know that’s not exactly my favorite thing to do, nor is it an easy thing for me to do. However, I’ve learned that before I have to deal with any sort of interaction with people on this personal of a level (you know, having to . . . ugh, talk with them) that if I’m able to convince myself to “Go with the flow” that “whatever happens, happens,” I’m a little less nervous. It helps to remind myself not to over think.

Anxiety is a lot like energy. Energy is defined as “the capacity to do work” and anxiety should be defined as “the incapacity to not think”. Both are rather vague and people argue over their validity every day. If you’re a quantum physicist or whatever, you probably have a way better understanding of the complexity of energy and if you have anxiety you have a way better understanding of the complexity of over-thinking. The Law of Conservation of Energy states energy cannot be destroyed nor created. It just changes forms. It can come in two common categories: Potential and Kinetic. A Before and During, if you will.

I would argue there’s a Law of Conservation of Anxiety when you’re in the midst of battling an untreated anxiety disorder. It’s always there in the back of your head no matter where you go, what you do, or what you tell yourself. You can’t destroy it and you’re so confused because you also didn’t create it. Even on my best days I’m highly anxious. Even when you think you’ve conquered or destroyed it, it rams your head into the wall like a wrecking ball (#MileyCyrusShit) and you come to the disheartening realization that it’s only been in hiding. These are the hardest days of your life, but they’re also the most important. If you can’t learn to deal with the downswings, the discontent of having “failed” against this thing in your head, then you’ll never learn to live with yourself. When you get that sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach, that sensation of self-humiliation, of self-doubt, of depression, don’t fight it; analyze it. Understand what’s happening, why it’s happening, and see if you can rationalize it. You won’t be able to, and that should be a cue you’re over-thinking.

It’s one thing to be aware your thinking isn’t rational, it’s another thing to pick it apart and understand it.

I would also argue there is Potential Anxiety and Kinetic Anxiety. I’ll take a much more literal interpretation than science. When you know there’s an event or class coming up that’s particularly worrisome to you and you spend hours, days, maybe even weeks wrestling for sleep in your bed, fighting off nausea, and ruminating on what could go wrong or what could happen (You ever notice you never think about what could go right?) then you’re experiencing Potential Anxiety; you’re registering a potential threat to your sanity in your future that could happen. When you’re participating in the situation and you get those cold sweats and stuttered speech and red face and scattered thinking, that’s your Kinetic Anxiety taking over.

I give them names because it helps me separate myself from my symptoms. That changes my train of thought; I’m no longer the problem, it’s my anxiety, and I’m allowed to distance myself from it because I am not my anxiety.

If energy can change form, than I would argue Anxiety can as well. It’s highly malleable; you can shape it how you want once you get a good grip on it. You’re not destroying it, just fitting it in the back of the closet in your mind with all the other old things you don’t give a shit about like that one creepy porcelain doll with the satanic eyes that speaks words backwards when you pull the drawstring on its back that your grandmother gave you for your sixteenth birthday because she thought the devil music you listened to meant you were in a cult and she wants to show you that she’s supportive of any of your life choices.

Whatever. The point is to be aware and in control, not obsessively searching for a way to get rid of it and then never learning how to cope. There are two things you can focus on. 1) The anxiety. 2) Coping with the anxiety.

That being said, I only have one partner in Chemistry (Score!) and she already has a bachelors degree for something I forgot (watch her stumble across this post, that’s something that would happen to me). We work well together. That’s something I don’t say often. We both are equally lost in chemistry and our confusion brings us together. When I speak to her or ask a question there’s always that little voice in my head telling me how stupid I’m sounding, how dumb of a question that was, how the group next to us is laughing at how stupid I am, but honestly I’m so wrapped up in Cations and Anions and their fucking non-metal/metal rules and electrons and man-made elements that I don’t have the time for those voices to fuck with me. Therefore, I won’t give them the time.

When we pack up and get ready to leave I’m never sure if I should say “see you” or “bye” or ” see you next week” or “see you next Wednesday”; most of the time I greet or say bye to anyone who doesn’t do so to me first. There’s always the voice in my head saying it’s awkward when you speak first, your voice sounds weird, they’re going to think you’re weird and intrusive, just walk away.

Today I took the initiative to speak first on many things, and I helped her with proper naming and she helped me with proper formulas. I cracked jokes because that’s all I know how to do in conversation. We were a team. And although my anxiety sat on my shoulders from the moment I woke up this morning, I succeeded in forcing it to the back seat of the bus. It’s okay to discriminate against your anxiety, it’s an asshole to you all the time.

A girl walked up to the professor to ask her a question and she got incredibly frustrated because she’d done the entire page of work wrong. He said “Don’t beat yourself up about it, you’re learning, that’s what you’re here for.”

They were simple words, but they fueled a revelation in me. This time I could walk from the classroom and call that social situation, as awkward as I felt I was, a success. If we’re not supposed to beat ourselves up about learning new material in school, than why should I beat myself about learning how to interact with people? I’m learning, nothing more. I’ll make mistakes. I’ll get frustrated. I’ll have my bad days and by the time I’ve done a thousand of these types of interactions I should be 100 times better at squashing that anxiety.

Take it a day at a time. Give yourself a pat on the back when you have successes and give yourself a pat on the back when you don’t. Learning is a process.