Work = (Force) X (Distance) a.k.a, Social Anxiety Disorder Tips

If there’s one thing that haunted me most in my childhood, and still rears it’s ugly head often in my adulthood, is social anxiety disorder. It made it so I was mute in pre-school. It made it so I couldn’t go to a school bathroom until high school; I had several accidents in elementary because I couldn’t raise my hand and ask and was too nervous to go during breaks in general. When I got stung by a bee in class I sat there for an hour, unable to speak, until the pain urged tears down my cheeks and the teacher asked what was wrong. I couldn’t ask questions when I got confused in class, so I fell behind in Math especially. In middle school I did poorly in every subject besides literature, and in high school I failed chemistry, algebra three times, and skipped every other day to get high because I couldn’t stand being in a classroom where my normal level of anxiety, usually about the height of the clouds in the atmosphere, sky rocketed into space. In college old habits repeat themselves; I struggle, especially in math and science, because of my inability to ask for help as often as I should.

I was that weird kid in middle school who stands close to the larger groups of kids to pretend she has friends.The one friend I made in middle school went with me to high school and I sat with her group of friends. I have yet to make any new friends in college, partly because I don’t want to put in all the effort friendships take and partly because I wouldn’t know how if I tried.

Social anxiety disorder is bigger than being nervous. It dominates your life much like any other disordered thinking does. Social events to me are a lock and key situation where the key is an algorithm my brain can’t decipher. I’ve had this anxiety for so long there are cues and social developmental milestones I never reached. Speaking with me in person is like speaking to a nervous seven year old.

That being said, I’ve worked on my anxiety tremendously over the last few years and with maturity comes the ability to realize my thoughts aren’t rational and that people aren’t constantly laughing at me or chatting about me or calling me stupid.

But there’s a problem with just calling Social Anxiety Disorder “social anxiety” or “Shy”. That’s very vague. Shyness could mean anything: maybe you’re anxious speaking to a group of people or in front of a group of people, but do well regardless. Maybe you get a little nervous in class but you plow through it and it’s never impaired your life in any way, shape or form. You may have social anxiety, you may be shy, but you do not have Social Anxiety Disorder.

If you ruminate on every little thing every person has said to you today, last week, last month, maybe those few years ago and still get an overwhelming sensation of guilt and humiliation, as if those people are still laughing at you; and you avoid several social situations (including minor contact like having to walk through the doors at a grocery store) and instead stay in your house and argue with your brain over how stupid you’re being; and you feel overwhelmed in a large group of people because you have to focus on all their conversations to make sure they’re not making fun of you; and you feel inadequate in conversation because you’re not sure if what you said was stupid or that what you said is irrelevant all the time; and you constantly believe the expressions on people’s faces are contorted in disgust when you speak; and you have to mold your life around this monster in your head, live according to its needs, you may have Social Anxiety Disorder.

This could be Mild, Moderate, or Severe, but the key point is it impairs your life’s functionality in some way.

When I clicked on the this BuzzFeed Article about social anxiety in college, I was interested in whether or not they equated social anxiety as a mental disorder with shyness. I won’t go through all 25 tips, but I will talk about the most helpful and least helpful.

Least Helpful (assuming said person with social anxiety disorder has had little/no):

  1. Get Participation Points Through Asking Questions Rather That Answering Them: If I can’t answer a question because I feel like my answer is going to be judged, laughed at, and etched into stone in everyone’s fucking tombstone, how the hell am I going to rationalize asking them? This was my first hint that this article was most likely written for people suffering from some mild anxiety issues. If you can ask a question but not answer them, you’re probably not social anxious. We’re so wrapped up in other people’s opinions of us, asking or answering questions are equally as bad; either way you can be judged for being stupid.
  2. Practice Presentations during Office Hours Before You Have To Do Them In Front Of Classmates: I’m not denying this is an excellent tactic if you have trouble remembering what you’re going to say because you have trouble remembering things. From my experience, it doesn’t work. I practiced for two weeks memorizing a speech and recited it over and over again to people and still forget the entire thing in two seconds during the presentation. Instead, I stood stuttering until my embarrassment caused me to sit down. If you’ve had practice reducing your anxiety this doesn’t happen often (I don’t have this issue any longer with presentations) but it’s worth noting that anxiety causes some crazy fright in your brain and as a result, your memory is shot. But my opinion is biased.

Most Helpful (Also from my perspective):

  1. Write Down Talking Points Before Classes Where Participation Counts: Hell, I’d extend this to any class. When you have something to talk about it’s a lot easier, especially because you can look back at your paper and remind yourself why you were so passionate about whatever you wrote down. Seminars where participation is required is a pretty common thing in college, especially in graduate school, so it’s a good idea to start early if you’re a freshman. I do feel much more comfortable speaking in groups with people to this day and rarely have to write key points down anymore. I can almost fully count on my brain to store the thoughts and recall them when needed. I still struggle, but it’s remarkably less due to this tactic.
  2. Figure Out What Your Social Goals Are& Make some small ones to help you obtain your goals: This is a big one. Do you want a huge circle of friends or do you want one or two close ones? You don’t have to have either, and I think a lot of us with Social Anxiety Disorder (especially if you haven’t had much help overcoming it) think you have to be social because if you’re not, you’re weird. That’s our anxiety talking. You don’t have to do anything but die and pay damn taxes. I enjoy quick outings with groups every once in a while, but having a huge group of friends would kill me. That’s my preference, without my anxiety speaking for me. My only goals are to reduce my anxiety to the point where I can comfortably carry on daily life. Other than that, I’m content having only a few acquaintances.
  3. Understand that getting rid of your anxiety isn’t the goal: living with it is.
  4. Don’t avoid every single anxious situation: Slowly but surely I’ve been able to wake up in the morning with my heart pounding, my hands shaking, and my head telling me “stay home, stay home, stay home”, accept it, and do the exact opposite. As much as it pains you to think about leaving your comfort zone, it’s the only way you can learn. Don’t think about it as changing who you are and do not ever, ever, ever think it’s a way to fix you. There’s nothing wrong with you. If anything, these are just tactics to help you learn a new way of life. You don’t have to change into an extrovert to not be socially anxious (unless you want to); it’s entirely up to you. Either way takes work and Work is always equal to Force X Distance. In other words, Force yourself out of bed and Distance yourself from the house. #PhysicsIsLife.

You’re Stronger Than You Think

One of the most positive things a psychologist has ever said to me is “I work for you.”

I don’t take that as an impersonal approach to our relationship, I take that as someone handing me the reigns for my treatment. It’s not about what the DSM says I should behave like, it’s not about what meds my previous therapist thought I should be on, it’s not about what my parents or friend or boyfriend says; it’s not even what she, as a psychologist, says. It’s about what I say, what I want to do, where I want to go. And if I don’t know that yet, it’s alright; it’s my job to find it.

When you go into a pdocs office or a counselors office and they say “how can I help you today?” Don’t take a defensive stance. Guess what? Even if you walk in and say straight up; I’m diagnosed Bipolar 1, they still aren’t going to have an instant answer for you. It’s your job to take control of what you want to work on. You tell them your criteria for your treatment. If it’s anxiety and you don’t want medication, say it straight up. If you do want medication, say it straight up. They are a guidance, not your parents. The more you take the reigns on your own treatment, the more success you will likely experience.

Sound harsh? It should. The last thing you need to do is self stigmatize and constantly repeat in your head “Oh God I need help, I need help, there’s something wrong with me, someone needs to fix me”.

You are such a strong person, worthy of taking control of your life. If you’re not sure how to do that, then hey guess what? Go in to your counselor and say I don’t know how to take control of my life.

No matter what office you walk into, what kind of doctor you visit, You have to remember that you have an insight to your feelings they’ll never have. That doesn’t mean shoot down their recommendations nor does it mean ignore their advice. It just means when you feel disrespected, you say it. When you feel she/he didn’t understand your point, don’t walk out the office kicking yourself for what you should have said.

It means you’re the boss. Yep. Get used to your throne. You’re on it for the rest of your life.

It’s all about you. That’s why your insurance (or your pocket) is paying for this “treatment”. It’s for you, not them, and if they’re not willing to accept you for that, get a new one.

RANT: End.

My Head Is On Fire

Half way through your left turn is not the time to flick on your turn signal. I just thought I’d put that out there.

If you don’t know me, which mostly likely you don’t, I am a rageaholic. I don’t mean to be, and I’m certainly not bent on making people’s lives miserable, but my fuse is about .000001 millimeters thick. I’m combustible, I’m flammable, I implode, I explode, any kind of ‘plode’ and ‘ible’ you can think of, I’m it. It sounds horrible saying I enjoy my anger but I would be a liar if I said I didn’t. It’s an amazing way to take the weight of the world off your shoulders for a moment. It even erases my anxiety. It’s a miracle cure.

Until someone gets hurt, or offended, and then I calm down and realize how ignorant I’ve acted.

When the lady at the four way stop today cut me off I wanted to rip my steering wheel off and shove it in her mouth, then take the stick on the blinker she obviously doesn’t use and . . . well, I can feel myself getting worked up again so I’ll stop. But the audacity she had: oh, after I cut you off, I’m going to turn my blinker on and pretend like I didn’t fuck up. She didn’t even give a wave. Like come on, at least acknowledge your stupidity.

And here I sit talking like I’ve never forgot to turn on my turn signal.

That’s the main problem for us rageaholics; we forget everything else around us, including ourselves, when we’re pissed off and that’s why it’s such a destructive habit. I’ve chased people down the road before (yes, I was that ridiculous at one point) and I’ve pulled over to the curb behind this other woman and stepped halfway out my car ready to fuck shit up–she’d started it though. I was trying to let her go ahead of me and we did that “no you go, no; you go” back and forth thing. I laughed at it and eventually waved her through. She scowled and flipped me off. So I got on her ass, pulled my car over when she did, stepped out and said “you flip me off, bitch? Get out of your car!” She screeched off and I returned to my vehicle, livid.

Someone Shot A Photograph Of Me That Day.

Yes, I am a woman and yes, I do get angry, and yes, I have gotten into fights. I wasn’t raised in the ghetto but I was raised by a parent who lived through ghetto after ghetto and he instilled his mindset in me; which, for where I live currently, is more hurtful than helpful.

Not that there isn’t crime here. I remember walking home from high school with my friend and some man shouting at a car on the road. The car turned around and the man yanked out a silver gun. I’m a bit of a freak and hadn’t seen it was a gun at first so I stood there staring, squinting against the sun really, intrigued by his bravado. Then I noticed it was a weapon, a very deadly weapon, and my friend running down the street. I followed, reluctantly. It’s not that I wanted to get shot or see anyone get shot but for some reason the scene really did capture my interest rather than instill the same fear it did in my friend.

But I know the way I act in my car and the amount of holes I’ve put in my door and my walls with my fist, and the amount of objects I’ve destroyed is unacceptable behavior. Not only for the people around me, but for myself. I act this way behind closed doors the majority of the time (aside from my road rage) and because of it, the only thing people really see are the holes and the dents and the broken objects. Then they ask “what happened?” And I can say, “Oh, I can’t remember”, then I make a joke, and then it’s like it never happened.

In a way, I’m in the closet about my mentality and I think that’s part of the reason I started this blog. Being in the closet sucks: It’s all cramped and there’s a bunch of shit drowning me and sucking what little bit of motivation I have left. I can’t always punch holes in something and when I can’t, I internalize the feeling and there it festers. I read somewhere that the feeling of extreme irritation is just as prominent and important as the act of being visibly irritated. I believe it. I’ve become an expert at masquerading by my own volition. What a stupid choice.

Even as I type all this I can feel myself getting agitated by the sound of my keyboard’s keys, by the cars outside, by the thought of Microsoft ripping me off ten damn dollars for a game (I’ll take that shit to the supreme court if I have to; it’s the principle of the matter damnit), by the noise coming through my phone, by the sound of my own words, all the energy and effort I have to use just to project my voice in a normal tone to keep the other end of the line from knowing how thoroughly fucking amped I am. I know if I let people see this side of me on the daily basis that it is, they won’t put up with it. I do it for their protection. I joke so much they don’t take anything I say seriously anymore.

I made it that way. I’m fully aware of this fact.

It’s self destructive to implode and explode with such repetition. If you do this, I’d suggest taking some deep breaths and reevaluating your life. I know I am.

I’m Your Acquired Taste; Will You Savor It?

I’m not one who finds themselves propelled by some great inner force to interact with people. With or without my social anxiety, I prefer solitude. I engage with people when I need to because I have to; there are times I’m entertained by and wish to aid them and there are times I’m enraged by them (the latter being the most prevalent reaction) but most of the time I just tolerate them. That being said, I’d like to take a moment from this godforsaken integration practice (got the first exam of the semester tomorrow) to honor the art of one California man who lets his photography describe the truth of his depression.

Here’s a few shots (Obviously all credit goes to Edward Honaker):

Entitled: Any Exit/ Anxiety
Entitled: Bad Dreams/ Worse Reality
Entitled: In Sad Ailment/Mental Disease

Words are practically worthless when held in comparison to a visual representation. That’s the non-cliche way of saying a picture is worth a thousand words. At any rate, I feel he’s conveyed  a feeling so many of us often have trouble describing to others without tossing in a thousand metaphors that end up sounding better in our heads than aloud. I know in my depression I’m absolutely smothered by what I can only characterize as an internal decaying of mind, soul and spirit, a distortion of where I am, who I am, what I’m doing, and most importantly why I’m doing anything at all. Through a tunnel of blackness I see no end and have no recollection of a beginning. Time fades into the vacuum of space, no longer an instrument for my disposal or enjoyment. Joy itself, happiness, and the ability to see life as an experience worth taking advantage of only exists as crumpled, disfigured versions of themselves. They weep in as much terror and obscurity as I do. A friend pleads for me to see the radiance in the world they have no difficulty seeing and I can plainly observe the discontent reflected in their eyes when the only thing I can do is curl on the bed, pull the blankets over my head, and savor the thought of a barrel against my temple.

And then I pop back into existence like:

So when at any point someone can turn those words into a photograph or illustration a mind of any attention span can interpret, I am immensely appreciative of the artist and take pleasure from his work. As a beginner photographer, I am inspired by this portfolio as I have always planned on photographing the same theme, but in a different way. First I need to upgrade my camera. Which requires a little more money than I had anticipated. Okay, a lot more.

Don’t think I’ll be ordering online from best buy again, that was a nightmare.

But I digress.

I believe artwork is one way for us, as people who suffer under the crocodile jaws of our own mentality, to show the rest of the world the internal truth of the fights we fight. It’s a way to reduce stigma without confrontation, without feeding anymore stereotypes of violence, anger, craziness, and destructive tendencies portrayed about us in the media. Instead, they for once get to see the confusion, the hurt, the inexplicable horror of being inside of our minds through a medium that will also make them feel it. And as we all know, we think with our emotions, not with our thoughts. We learn through the emotions in our experiences, not through the experiences on their own. We are humans and that’s the easiest way for us to understand our world. So for those of us suffering through mental disorders, let us take advantage of the rest of humanity’s desperate attachment to their emotional stability and shake them up a bit; they might learn something.

Head-Up-Your-Ass Syndrome Is Dangerous

I know I’m going on a bit of a spree talking about fraudulence within drug companies, particularly those of the psycho-pharmaceutical nature (what a brilliant name for them) but I’ve been coming across so much bullshit lately that I feel it a crime not blasting them over the internet. They deserve it; I refuse to feel guilt for anything I say.

I came across this article in the New York Times.

If you’re in the U.S I’m sure you’ve heard plenty on the anti-psychotic Risperdal from those lawyer commercials that pop up and for five minutes talk about how it causes Gynecomastia (boys develop female breasts) and how much money you could get if you file a settlement.

A few days ago, or a day ago, I have no sense of time in this reality, I talked about researchers and corporate bastards lying about the effects of their drug. Well, this article gives you a blatant fucking example of it.

In case you don’t read it, I’ll give you a quick summary in my own words:

  1. Johnston and Johnson’s sneaky ass got caught hiding the information about boys suffering from Gynecomastia and the elderly having strokes (the market they advertised most to). They pleaded guilty for being fucking rats and paid 2 billion dollars.
  2. Out of their 30 billion dollar profit on that drug alone.
  3. Alex Groskey, the chief marketer of Risperdal and the prince of douches, got promoted to C.E.O of Johnston and Johnston. Want the full comprehensive story? I haven’t read it yet but it’s here.
  4. It all started when J&J’s old patent on a previous anti-psychotic ended and all the little executives were all curled up in the fetal position with their heads up their asses at the end of their silk sheets on their bed made of the skin of their customers, weeping like bitches about their plummeting sales. One schemer pulled his head out, looked up to the sky, saw light for the first time in 20 years, and released Risperdal.
  5. The FDA wasn’t having that shit, and said Risperdal wasn’t any better than their other piece of shit, and would primarily be marketed for adults with schizophrenia.
  6. The executives shoved their heads back up their asses and wept. That’s a small market. They wanted money! They wanted it! They wanted it, they wanted it, they wanted it!
Executive Assistant C.E.O.
Executive Assistant C.E.O.
C.E.O of J&J at the FDA conference.
C.E.O of J&J at the FDA conference.

7.Another guy pulled out his head, looked at the sky, cried at the beauty of the world and decided he wanted to be a part of the destruction; they “reinvented” Risperdal to target seniors and children.

8.They paid doctors and got Texas (Damnit Texas, really?) to replace their generics. In numbers, the state paid 3000 dollars for each Medicaid patient rather than 250 dollars.

9.They got nursing home company doctors to prescribe Risperdal. All profits would be shared with the nursing home (#kickback).

10. FDA said “people are dying, dumbfucks!” J&J nodded and went out to a bar to watch the game. Why would they care when they’re more powerful than an organization that’s supposed to be their regulatory boss?

11. Another guy pulled his head out with a “pop” sound (he’d been stuck for a while), and suggested tossing “lollipops and small toys” in sample packages of Risperdal for children.

12. And here we see Risperdal being a 3 billion dollar a year profit drug. They must be so proud.

And a shout out to the Appeal of Conscience Foundation for wanting to honor this great man, Alex Gorskey with an award for being a “man of integrity” and such a wonderful “corporate leader with a sense of social responsibility”. A round of applause, please.

My celebratory speech to Alex.

A moment of silence for the elders who suffered fatal strokes who otherwise wouldn’t have.

A moment of grievance for the boys struggling with Gynecomastia who probably never needed such a heavy drug in the first place.

And most of all, a moment of remembrance to a time when humanity meant something and money meant nothing.

None of this means stop taking Risperdal if you’re on it. This is one of the many cases where the drug itself is not horrible, but the people marketing have the intelligence of Stephan Hawking and the compassion of Jeffery Dahmer. They fit the criteria for Antisocial Personality better than most people diagnosed with the personality.

Let’s face an obvious reality here: these companies are too powerful, too profitable (same difference) for any one, two, three, people to take them down. I don’t care if you have a whole campaign against them, unless you have their money and private investigators snapping pictures of their fraudulent labs, and a hit-man willing to wack a few of the top executives (just enough to scare the rest of the company), you can’t do anything besides be entertained.

But the public can, evasively. How do you put a fire out? Get rid of the oxygen. Stop feeding these assholes. That DOES NOT MEAN stop taking your medication. In fact, that would be the worst thing you could do. What it DOES mean, especially for those of you who have never been on these types of drugs and probably never will, is pay attention.

If little Jimmy’s teacher is coming up to you and saying you need to get him checked for ADHD because he won’t sit still, don’t freak the fuck out and take him to a psychiatrist who will put him on seven different meds to “control his behavior”. Investigate. There are plenty of ways to help kids with ADHD (a very, very COMMON MISDIAGNOSIS) without medication. You know, start by not letting him play on the Ipad and watching all those YouTube videos that record over 60 frames per second. I’ve spoken with a lot of students my age and younger who have a ADHD diagnosis who say sure, they have medication in the back of their closet, but use it only for emergency and have developed ways, with help from their parents and psychologists, to cope with their symptoms.

It’s kids who are a huge victim here because their parents are uneducated. They want the best for their children, but they’re scared; they don’t know a thing about the brain, about corporations, about publication bias, and they don’t have to. All they need to know is that mental disorders (especially ones without psychotic features of any sort), are a product of psychological, cognitive, and biological factors. If your teenager is depressed they probably don’t need medication. Some do. The majority does not. But the majority are medicated. Doesn’t make sense.

If your kid is seeing demons climb up the wall and feeling snakes in their stomach and hearing helicopters from the FBI over their house, they might need a small dose of something. A small dose. Not five drugs. A small dose. The other thing we don’t know shit about is how these drugs, fit for adults, act on the developing brains of teenagers and children.

I hear teenagers being diagnosed Bipolar 1 and Borderline. There are few legitimate bipolar 1 cases in teenagers, I’ll tell you that much right now. I saw one legit case of a seven year old in the midst of mania and I was terrified. So it does happen. But not as often as statistics on the news tells you.

Borderline has a criteria that you should be 18 or older to be diagnosed, and for good reason. If a teenager has anger outbursts, is self-harming, is impulsive, hasn’t formed an identity, is all these other things, they’re most likely unsatisfied with something in their life. They’re most likely depressed; depression shows up differently in a brain that hasn’t got a full frontal lobe yet.

But tag a label on them and now they’re more borderline than ever because you told them they are.

I’m not anti-meds, I’m just frustrated.

There’s only one song fit for this  situation:

Let’s Talk About The Underrated Population

If you don’t know already, I’m a science freak. I love Chemistry, despite past struggles in it, I love physics despite some horrible experiences in the classes I’ve taken, and I love Biology, particularly neuroscience and biochemistry. In fact, I have the opportunity to do a paid internship this summer ($3000 hell yeah) in a biochemistry lab assuming I can pass this Chem class this semester. So when I hear wonderful things about some major scientific discovery that seems promising, I get way more giddy than I’d like to admit.

Similarly, when I hear not so good things, I get un-giddy.

I’m a little behind on the times since they seemed to have been reported on the tenth of September, but a cancer research expert by the name of Patrick Pollard died after suffering cardiac arrest as a result of ingesting 30 Valium tablets, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol.

I’ve never heard of the guy, didn’t know anything about him finding a link between diabetes and cancer, and I still feel a sense of loss. These people are brilliant minds doing the type of research they do and it’s always a blow to the stomach when I hear we’ve lost one of them. It’s a harder blow to the stomach to hear doctors recount his struggles with anxiety, depression, alcoholism. It reminds me how versatile mental disorders can be and why our stigma attached to these disorders are so shattering. I doubt professionals of his stature are ever comfortable with admitting to struggling with their mental health. If it doesn’t have to do with pride or refusal to accept the fact, I’m sure it has a lot to do with stereotypes and the threat of having colleagues look at them differently.

It also brings us into the stigma of addiction. I think a lot of people generally separate addiction from mental disorders but the truth is addiction is often a symptom of a mental health issue, if not a cause of it. I hear people regard addicts as “stupid” just as often as I hear people called someone with depression “lazy”. We generally see them as people who can’t get their shit together because they’re just not trying hard enough or they just don’t care. Ask any seasoned addict and I’m sure they’ll tell you they hate what they do, i’m sure they’ll tell you they’ve tried for so long, that they know what they’re doing is wasting their life and that, most of all, they wish they wouldn’t do it. The majority of addicts can’t just tell themselves not to pick up a needle. There’s a true, physical dependency with addiction that isn’t present in mental disorders and it’s what most people overlook.

Every problem takes work. I don’t understand why that’s such a hard concept for people outside of the realm of mental illness and addiction to understand. Having to work at something doesn’t make anyone less of a person, in fact it makes them stronger than ever. It gives them tools and skills others would have never developed. It gives them insight into a world others have never seen. It gives them the chance to feel emotions others will never feel. And quite honestly, I’m thankful to be one of those people. My life is full of substance. If anything, we need to respect these people; they fight for every day of their life, they know what it means to be grateful for an “OK” day,just as someone battling Cancer knows what it means to be grateful for life itself, to not see today as a waste of space but as a gift. We’re all here in the same fight, some just have to fight harder than others and those are the people who should be appreciated and revered, not Kim Kardasian.

The same goes for those suffering an eating disorder or body dysmorphic disorder. I don’t speak often on these things because I have no experience with them, but they’re just as important as the rest of the major mental illnesses. Anorexia is the most lethal of all psychiatric disorders and yet we look at them as if they’re some freaks of nature. We’ve created most of the illness and yet we’re calling these people stupid! Of course there are elements of them feeling out of control and wanting to control some part of their life so they control their food intake (so family/environment/social life is a huge factor), but there’s also the influence of the media and their messages of beauty. One experiment used an isolated tribe as subjects, where thick and curvy was still beautiful and introduced them to western television. Cases of Anorexia and Bulimia where the words had never been uttered or even considered, skyrocketed. Adolescents start puking to control their weight. This was 1999. So my fury with this (besides the destruction of a culture) is why the hell do you reprimand people with these disorders for trying to make themselves be how you are telling them they should be? They too should be admired for waking up every day, fighting against their brain, fighting against stigma, fighting against society, and fighting for their life.

My advice to everyone who has struggled with any illness, physical or mental, is look at each day like a victory. Because you’re fighting from the moment you wake up to the moment you lay your head on that pillow. The fact that you make it to bed every night means you’ve succeeded another day. You’re worthy of that accomplishment.

And let us think positively of the ones who could no longer keep up the fight.

Out Of The Blue: Liebster Award Nomination

Not very accustom to how this goes, but I will try my best :’)

Thanks, bipolartohappiness, for the . . .

. . . nomination.

Here are the rules for this:

  • Make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated me and include the Liebster Award sticker in the post.
  • Nominate 5-10 other bloggers and notify them of this in one of their posts.
  • All nominated bloggers are to have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer the 11 questions posed by your nominator and create 11 different questions for your nominees to answer.  Or, you can repeat the same questions.
  • Copy these rules into your post.

Sounds simple enough, don’t it? I think so.

These are the questions I was asked to answer:

  1. What is your sign and do you think you are just how it is described? I’m a Gemini and wholly hell does it describe me to a T; impulsive, indecisive, restless, devious, imaginative, witty, clever, you know, a bunch of good things.
  2. Most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen: A whale two feet from my boat, close enough to touch it, and then breaching a mere ten feet from us. That was breathtaking. 
  3. If you could travel anywhere where would you go? Political issues aside, I’d love to go to China. Or Japan. I love learning about ancient Asian cultures.
  4. Your most expensive purchase and are you glad you splurged? Well, an obvious answer would be my car but a less obvious answer would be this computer I’m on. I’m very glad I splurged. Windows 10 could fix some kinks though.
  5. Android or Apple? Android. I mean . . . I’m not going to spend 600 dollar on an iphone (or get a contract for one) nor am I going to spend 2,000 dollars on a computer. I know I’m impulsive but come on now. Okay, maybe I’d get the computer if I could reasonably afford it. 
  6. What do you dream about? Three categories: Alien Invasion, Robberies, or Tsunamis. Always.
  7. TV shows or movies and what is your favorite of what you picked?T.V shows. My favorite? Arg, that’s like asking me to pick my favorite limb and saw it off. I’d have to say Doctor Who. All you people who just rolled your eyes, don’t judge me! 😀
  8. Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry? Yes. It’s a necklace with a serotonin molecule as the charm.
  9. Do you have a quirky thing you do? I am a quirky thing.
  10. What do you sleep in? Whoa, getting personal here. Usually a t-shirt and some fuzzy pants I can rub for comfort until I go to sleep.
  11. What motivates you to write? Writing is one of the most expressive forms of communication next to piano music, in my opinion. In writing I have a voice that you can either love or hate and the best part about it is I don’t have to see you loving or hating it. The second best part is knowing someone may benefit from the few words I do say, and if one person is able to gain a little hope or insight or comfort or whatever from something I post, a story I write, a novel I publish, then I know what I dedicated the other half of my life to was not in vain.

Phew. I talk too much.

Okay. For the nominees I select, here are the questions for you to answer if you choose so:

  1. How would you describe yourself using only one word?
  2. What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
  3. Favorite genre of music that gives you the most comfort:
  4. Best book you’ve ever read:
  5. Do you have a hero? If so, who?
  6. Number one goal in life and why:
  7. On a scale from one to ten, how amazing are you?
  8. The funniest joke you can remember:
  9. What brings you the most joy in life?
  10. Who has made the biggest impact on you?
  11. What attracts you to blogging/writing?

And the nominees are:

Drum roll please:

Probably cheesy to say that but whatever. Don’t know how many followers all of you have, but eh no one seems to know. Here we are:

TalesinAnxiety

TheBipolarHomestead

EmpoweringHurtingHearts

CapturingTheChaos

CitalopramFreeMind

To anyone seeing this post, check out their blogs too. They’re few of many that are great.

Let’s Get Technical For A Minute

America loves drugs.

It’s true!

People talk down to the heroin addicts living on the street but don’t understand there’s a high probability their addictions started with a much more familiar, socially acceptable Opiate substance you could get through any old lazy doctor willing to push out a prescription. It’s no secret, I hope, that doctors are indeed paid for pushing and promoting certain drugs. I doubt these doctors are bad people, but they are gullible, a tad greedy, and shockingly ignorant. Some of them are probably evil. Maybe a particularly insensitive antisocial personality manipulated their way through 12 years of college just so they could legally kill people. I don’t know. If I was antisocial and bloodthirsty, it’s what i’d do. Not to make anyone paranoid or anything.

Honesty is the best policy.

Regardless, these multi-billion dollar companies have a lot of competition within each other. It’s not about you at this point, it’s about them.  Because playing by the rules is way too hard for people with a brain the size of a needle head, bribery is the name of the game. Researchers get paid to put out false information. For example, if they’re researching a “new” drug and don’t conclude results of a best seller, they just, well. . . make it up. It’s very simple. Under fraudulent acts and publication bias, it happens every day. The FDA can only catch so many people. I hope it’s also not a surprise that half of the drugs you need a prescription for have generic, over the counter equivalents for half the price.

I can’t speak for biotechnology or biochemists, but in terms of psychiatry this becomes just as much of a life-threatening issue as it is for people with physical illnesses. We’ve somehow went from mental illness as a psychological issue to mental illness as a biological issue.

There are slews of new atypical antipsychoics with claims of being better than neuroleptics. You know, Latuda, Abilify, Fanapt, whatever. Even more so are being administered as monthly injections and used for people with depression rather than psychosis. Now, I’m not here to drug bash. Some people are helped tremendously, but others don’t ever notice much of a difference besides well . . .energy levels, anxiety levels maybe. They’re good sedatives that’s for sure, especially if your psychiatrist is rather generous with your dosage. And the sad thing is the only real difference between atypicals and neuroleptics is: we don’t know about the harmful side effects of atypicals. They haven’t been used long enough. We know Haldol and Thorazine are fucking ridiculous; We know about Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, we know that they put you in a pretty drugged up stupor, and we definitely know they and other neuroleptics cause EPS symptoms like Tardive Dyskinesia (irregular, involuntary jerking movements). They say these symptoms will go away with time but the truth of the matter is many people suffer with it for the rest of their life whether they continue the medication treatment or not. Cases are tried every day of people suing these companies for killing their autistic child with some heavy neuroleptic or permanently damaging their brain.

So what do we know about Fanapt? Well, it came out in 2009. You . . . you might experience some weird heat sensations, almost as if you were popping X, so if you knew anything about psychology you could guess it effects your hypothalamus. Tachycardia snuck in there as a possible side effect. Hm . . . you might get dizzy, have dry mouth . . . you know, the regular list of shit that probably won’t kill you or permanently damage you.

Then again, we don’t know what damage it causes because it’s only been out for six years.

And yet they keep coming out with more.

Saying “this is new, this is better, prescribe this one with this other one, and oh yeah this one!”

And the next thing you know you’re on three or four different drugs sitting on your couch wondering what happened with your life and why you’re still depressed.

Well let me tell you something quite obvious: the drugs have the same ingredients. There’s no doubt about it. They’re all binding with the same receptors. Because we don’t know shit about the brain.

There, I said it.

We. Don’t. Know. Shit.

So you are not a patient or a client of your psychiatrist or general practitioner (why do people go to a G.P for psych meds anyway???), you are a subjects in an experiment run by multi-billion dollar corporations.

That sounds really horrible. It’s not, if you really give it some nonjudgmental thought. You may pay for it with your life, but someone would have anyway. There’s no other way to find these kinds of things out other than test them.

Okay, take a breather.

Let’s take this to another level. If you’re publishing false articles in a psychiatric journal (for your own gain) about this new miracle drug, and clinical psychologists are reading it thinking “oh this sounds new and fun, I think it might work for my client” and prescribes it with a true belief it’s different from what they have been prescribing, than that makes everyone a liar and the client gets the raw end of a deal so raw it’s dripping three cups of blood per second.

Not to mention Insurance companies are steady fucking the shit out of the psycho-pharmaceutical companies ass until they both get off all over the walls. Then they sneak into your bedroom at night and stick the tip in without you ever noticing. But that’s a story for another day I suppose.

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I wrote this post because I’ve been noticing a lot of people write about SSRI’s and other such psychotropic drugs. As an aspiring psychiatrist I’m not anti-drug entirely, I’m anti-stupidity. And what goes on behind closed doors of these companies someone suffering psychosis or mania or depression will most likely never know. They take what their doctor says because, hell, it keeps most of them from running down the street screaming neologisms at the top of their lungs.

And here marks the death of the psychology of mental illness. May it rest in peace.

One last time, let me reiterate: we don’t know shit about the brain. And to prove it, I’d like to run through a quick personal story.

When my diagnosis was simply social anxiety I took an SSRI called Lexapro for nine months. I got off of it because of severe weight gain, cystic acne, night mares, and lack of success. I was also in therapy at the time. I left my therapist and got off the medication. Four months later I started having Panic attacks. Three years later and I sit here still will panic attacks, but with better control over them. I’d attributed these attacks to the progression of untreated anxiety.

Until.

I saw the article that changed my life.

A college in Finland found evidence of high levels of serotonin in the brains of people specifically with social anxiety disorder. You can check out information about it here.

The original belief was that anxiety in general is caused by not enough serotonin. So what do SSRI’s do? Inhibit re-uptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin so that it puddles in the synapse. Well, if Finland’s findings are accurate to the majority of people, that doesn’t help someone like me. I’ve got enough serotonin floating around up there. No wonder that medication didn’t do jack shit but make me look like I slammed heroin.

So, if you look at this as a biological issue, it seems we’ve reached an impasse. Not all anxiety has to do with low levels of serotonin anymore. We put a hole in that ignorant bucket. I have a feeling we’ll be putting a lot more holes in a lot more buckets.

With more than 100 neurotransmitters identified, people can’t seriously believe this bullshit about having a drug treat one or three neurotransmitters and have it be a profound change in the brain without simultaneously screwing something up, can they? Brains are too complex for that petty shit.

That doesn’t mean put people on six different prescriptions, either, wise asses.

If you’ve ever at any point in your life taken several antidepressants and wondered why you were still depressed, why none of your medication for any mental issue has ever worked for you, or why your anxiety medication doesn’t stop your anxiety, I hope this provided at least a little insight.

That “Kicking A Dog” Sound

I’m back from the dead, motherfuckers!

Sorry, that was rude of me.

*Ahem*

What I meant to say was . . . good evening (or morning) and what a lovely day it has been (or is)!

Well, it hasn’t been completely lovely, but I came home, took a nap, and feel almost 100%. It’s as if the last six days don’t even exist. They’re hard to remember, really. Which, in some weird, twisted way, is good. I think?

I just never thought Chemistry of all things would help push me those few last steps out of my depression. I failed that shit in high school. I’m talking I ended the year with a 13%. That’s an F, just in case you need a letter grade for clarification. So I’m retaking it in college (oh JOY) and my professor (envision a shorter, younger, Michael J. Fox minus Parkinson’s) is just a speedy little bullet of knowledge. I mean the guy can’t slow down. He’s classically inattentive and hyperactive. He interrupts himself and he interrupts students when they’re asking a question and then gets confused when the student says “uh, you didn’t answer my question dude”. He can’t answer a question he didn’t hear.

We talk about heat capacity and specific heat and all these basic introductory chemistry terms, but he’ll go off on a tangent balancing equations and talking about reactants and products when most of the students in this class barely know what 9.342 + 4.32 is to the correct number of significant figures. He doesn’t have a lesson plan, he just walks in, starts playing YouTube videos and his playlist on Pandora, then does some demo with fire to get our attention. Once he has our attention, he loses his.

The other day we were talking about density, butane, and sulfer hexafloride. You know, dense gases that do this to your voice:

He lit a candle, sprayed a can of butane into a beaker, tipped the beaker over, and a blanket of fire spread across the table and tipped over the edges like water. The next lecture he and a student “volunteer” (really just a kid who was sitting in the front who happened to wear his safety glasses that day) boiled butane until it sent a snake of bubbles towards the ceiling. The professor lit a wick at the end of a metal pole which he gave to the student. A portion of the bubble snake separated and floated up to the ceiling. Another portion did the same and he instructed the kid to touch the flame to it. Obviously it erupted into flames and blanketed across the ceiling. But the professor didn’t want to stop there and the student, already standing awkward in front of 100 people as “that weird nerd who brings his safety goggles to lecture”, was bouncing in his shoes. My professor grabbed some of the bubbles with his hands in an attempt to toss them into the air. The kid didn’t understand what “light the bubbles when I toss them up” meant, and he lit them while they were resting in the professors hand. The fire wrapped around his wrist and fingers until the butane burned off.

I laughed my ass off.

As did the rest of the class.

And here’s the kicker:

He did it AGAIN.

The professor is trying to toss the bubbles into the air and this kid just lights him on fire again. This time the bubble sample was large and it wrapped around half his arm.

Anxiety is a bitch, especially when it makes you nearly responsible for the demise of your chemistry professor.

Today, he lit a stick with fire and grabbed the same kid from the lecture (this professor is suicidal I think) and had him hold the stick. He filled a test tube with hydrogen, shoved it over the burning stick, and scared the shit out of the girl beside me with a high pitched pop. She jumped a mile in her seat. My professor referred to it as “that kicking a dog sound”. I forgot to mention he makes several animal abuse jokes. They’re hilariously awkward.

Who Could Kick This Cutie Pie??

You meet so many characters in college and half of them are the professors.

Sometimes being around people helps me. It takes my mind off myself most importantly, and sometimes kicks me out of my downer moods. But the switch is always bitter sweet because it makes me feel as if I”m going crazy. Flip-flopping around from one extreme to the other like a fish in a tub of sand. I forget all about this feeling when I’m flying high and it’s those times I convince myself I’ll never be depressed again, that I’ve finally conquered it, that i’ll do big things with my life within this next week, this next month, and become a YouTube star with a gaming channel and make 7.4 million dollars a year like PewDiePie.

Or there’s that weird feeling of being depressed but feeling . . . good. I don’t know how to describe it other than those words.

I just not going to think about it. Tomorrow is a new day. I may wake up different, I may wake up the same, but one thing is for certain: I will wake up with that image of my professor catching on fire. It might help me get out of bed in the morning. It’s always good to start off the day with a laugh.