The Music In My Veins

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I’ve always had a deep connection to rock and roll. It’s unwavering and unbreakable. I’ve been a fan since birth, I like to think, and didn’t discover my hidden passion until I was ten and my mother received a local “battle of the bands” Compact Disc from her job.

I am a devil child. I’m into the metal.

Nothing can kill the metal.

Grunge tried to kill the metal.

They failed as they were thrown to the ground.

NewWave tried to destroy the metal.

But the metal had its way.

No one can destroy the metal.

I bet all of those lyrics are copywritten and I just infringed upon them. Luckily, I’m not anywhere near internet famous enough for Jack Black, Tenacious D, or Epic Records to sue me.

I grew up listening to James Brown, The Temptations, Michael Jackson, The Neville Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and e.t.c. So the closest thing I got to “pop” music of the 2000’s was the first “Now That’s What I Call Music” CD (which I still own) and “The Cheetah Girls”.

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My favorite song was something about twirling like a hurricane. I don’t know.

If you’re laughing right now, I don’t blame you. Does anyone even remember The Cheetah Girls?

I didn’t like pop music anyway. My ear just wasn’t tuned for it. I don’t like high pitched voices and a lot of the female singers sung like they were cats with their tails being smashed under a car tire.

I used to hate Sucker Free Sunday on M.T.V (remember when they played music?) and I’d fight with my father on Saturday nights to stay up and watch HeadBangers Ball where I first saw Cradle Of Filth and their “Temptation” video.

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From This Album

Does anyone remember that? As an eleven year old kid, I was pretty disturbed. In a good way. 

“Pulse Of The Maggots” by Slipknot was my favorite as an angry, confused 11 year old.

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I got my dose of classic metal and rock from the music videos they showed before the heavier portion of HeadBangers ball. It’s where I was really introduced to Metallica, Pantera, (I knew about The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, The Band and all those classics from my parents too) and I just saw metal and rock as a different way to interpret life. Soul music had it’s signature “from the gut, from the soul” type of bellowing songs with trumpets and saxophones and partial orchestras on stage (from my little kid point of view) and if you go back far enough they all had matching outfits and did matching dances and even though they smiled and sung smoothly, often songs were about grief and sadness and depression and struggle and loneliness and those deeper human emotions in general.

I heard the same thing in metal and gravitated towards it. I hear it all music.

My father never agreed with me on the subject. He’s too old school and stuck in the music he grew up with, the stuff he made me grow up with. When he saw me listening to bands like this:

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And this:

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He was very confused, to say the least.

When I say music, I’m NOT, for the love of God, talking about girls who run around in mini skirts in rap videos saying some guy needs to “eat the booty like groceries”. That . . . that’s fucking nasty, first of all. Second of all, there’s no emotion in that. In fact, there’s no humanly connection at all and therefore I get confused. My brain hears it and searches for a reason and a connection and joy or sadness or anything to indicate it’s another human being rapping or singing and . . . it’s just void of all humanity.

There’s emotion in Piano, in orchestra, in opera, in metal, in punk, in grunge, in rap, in improvisation, in every form of music on the planet . . . except something that’s been written for the sake of profit. Like a line about eating ass.

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My first real band obsession came when I heard the album “Freak on A Leash”. Obviously, I’m a youngster, and I wasn’t born yet when Korn came out with their first album. The first song I heard of them was from when their album “See You On The Other Side” was still fresh. But that just fueled my fire. I immediately bought all of their albums.

You can try and mention a metal or rock band I haven’t heard of or listened to at least once, but it would be pretty hard.

Thinking of Meshuggah? That’s a horrible guess, of course I’ve listened to them.

Cannibal Corpse?  You know damn well I used to head bang to that shit.

music-the-universal-languageI sometimes settled for softer songs from 30 seconds to mars and Shinedown, H.I.M and Breaking Benjamin and Taking Back Sunday or Avenged Sevenfold. But the point is I jumped around the entire rock/metal spectrum, just like I do every music genre. Music, arguably, is the most versatile, universal languages. I listen to Rammstein (Klavier, America, and Moscow are three of my favorites) and although I can only get the jist of the songs from my limited understanding of German, it hits a nerve in me that connects me to them. Same with songs I’ve heard from India, the middle east, China, Korea, Spain, Mexico. It connects you to people you’ll probably never know in a way you wouldn’t be able to even if you did meet them.

You know whose music has always had a special place in my heart? Bjork. Very unique.

What many people don’t know, is that when I had the space, when I had the drive and the motivation and the time, I dedicated every waking moment to music. I played the guitar, the bass, the clarinet, the piano, and more than anything I wanted to be a singer.

Lots of children gravitate towards what their parents do, and my father’s title of Vocalist/Dummer in his band appealed much more to me than my mother’s title of “classified clerk” at the local newspaper business.

So I emulated my voice around those musicians I adored and obsessed over. I learned how to manipulate my throat and I learned a lot of new curse words I’d never heard before. It was the greatest time of my life within one of the worst times of my life.

I haven’t had the focus or discipline to keep up my hobbies. And I miss them. Terribly.

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My Soul Is Apparently Very Colorful And Geometric. Math Is Everywhere. Fuck.

What is life without that kind of emotional release? It heals the soul. And the soul takes a lot of hits in this day and age.

My confidence has plummeted as well. I used to be ecstatic about showing off some of my talents, but I’ve become even more reserved and now I’m out of practice. I used to love to show off to my former friends (also metal fans) the different metal vocalists I could imitate and we’d always wanted to start a band.

I’ve never posted a vlog or anything, so I know you all have no reference of what I sound like when I talk. But, despite being of the female variety, my voice is pretty gender neutral. It’s not high pitched (unless I force it to be) and it’s not low pitched. I don’t sound girly or manly. I’m . . . I’m a girly man. Or a manly girl. I’m a unisex. In terms of voice.

So rock music fits my range.

You won’t hear me singing Adele like a perfect little princess. If I did, it would probably sound like some mix of David Draiman (Disturbed) and Maria Brink (In This Moment) with a little dash of that one chick from Otep. And some Linkin Park.

I don’t know what the hell.

The point is, I need to reignite my passions. It’s might be what’s been dragging me down lately. I have no space or freedom in this apartment. I can’t blast music or instruments without a neighbor or my parents complaining.

But the stress is building. When music was my life, my stress never built like this, never to this level. 

I can’t neglect something that runs through my veins just as deep and nutrient rich as my blood.

My state of mind at the moment:

 

 

 

 

From Another World

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As you’re all horribly aware, as I’ve made you all horribly aware per my own personal insistence, I am not human.

At least, I don’t consider myself as such. I’m pretty sure my anatomy is of the human variety (two arms, two legs, two eyes, one brain, one heart, a liver, two lungs, a large intestine, small intestine, and so on ) and other humans seem to regard me as human in most instances. They talk to me and invite me to human gatherings where a bunch of other humans get together and do human things like eat, dance, and drink. I live in a human-based society where they’ve put their value of their humanity above all other animals, plants, and forms of life and deem themselves “rational” (against their own better judgement half the time) and “intelligent” (also against their own better judgement), then spend the majority of their lives finding a way to create a hierarchy of intelligence and rationality until they start considering other humans irrational and unintelligent based on the biased hierarchies they’ve created.

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They create definitions of abstract concepts and argue over them, then conclude “to each his own”.

What was the point in arguing in the first place, then?

There are reasons I consider myself the most confident self doubter I have ever met; I’m confident within my self-doubt. When we’re getting mixed signals as a society, we define ourselves through those contradictions and I have done this long enough and well enough to see fully the damage it’s caused.

writing-passionI have a passion . . . well, a few passions, and see it fit to follow each of them through. To what extent I will follow them I couldn’t say, but I will follow them. Some require school, others require experience, and the majority of them require some level of socialization.

I am both nervous about socialization and horrible at it. Because I did not talk through some crucial development years, I never learned how to establish crucial social skills either, to the point where I am generally clueless on how to assert myself in anything other than written word, my saving grace.

People often mix up assertion and conversation. Once I get used to someone I can carry on a reasonable conversation; but even when I’ve known someone for seven years, I find it difficult to assert my feelings and thoughts into particular conversations.

As a result, I’ve met with enough people and studied enough people through observation (and some experimentation of my own–shhhh don’t tell anyone) to know that my silence is viewed as ignorance, stupidity, weakness. When you have those labels slapped upon you before you even have a chance to prove them wrong, you get a little nervous in making an attempt to prove them wrong at all.

hwyf7I’ve never doubted my intelligence, I think I have a decent enough level of it to get me through my life. I’m by no means a sparkling, haughty-taughty genius, as much as I wish I could be, and I won’t lie, there are some things I learn much, much slower than others. There are other things I learn quicker than other and retain better than others. That’s pretty normal functioning as a human in a human society.

If I were human. I’m not, I swear. I came from halfway across the Galaxy from a little ice planet. Our beings are strictly in a form of consciousness, so the concept of physical bodies took a little getting used to.

My social anxiety and general ignorance of proper social customs makes it difficult to learn in groups and/or ask professors for help. What I learn I learn on my own accord, and for that I am proud.  But it brings in a lot of self doubt about how far I can go. Today in class, as I always do, I observed others raising their hands and blurting words freely from their tongue I couldn’t have. I try to think of something to say to contribute, but verbal, academic words are hard to come by. I can manage easier in casual conversation because no one expects a standard from you, not an academic standard at least. I can say “what the fuck: that stupid fucking piece of shit car just sprayed fucking mud all over my door!” without someone saying (to my face) that I’m stupid.

I cannot, however, contribute to a philosophical conversation with a bunch of “um, well, I think that that concept is fucking stupid.”

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*Cough* Utilitarianism *Cough*

Because then I’d have to explain why. And in explaining why, I’d sound like “well, it’s just . . . it’s stupid because of all the reasons everyone else already said”.

Because the only words that will come to my mind will be unoriginal. I’ve lived long enough with this self to know the first words that will come to my mind to speak verbally will be a rip off of someone else’s.

There’s some kind of eloquence gene for verbal speech I missed out on. If I’m aware I need to speak in class, I always write down my blurb before speaking a word of anything. It’s the only way I can manage.

42441-26750It’s impossible to ever be 100% original, you’re always standing on the shoulders of someone else in the world of academia, but there’s a level of originality you’re expected to achieve, one I know I can in my writing that I know I struggle immensely with in my speech. It gets worse the more nervous I am, but even when my anxiety is low I struggle in forming words.

I say low because there’s never a moment I’m not anxious.

So, my thoughts for this week.

Will I be able to handle this new job which requires my communication to be pristine, which requires I report to authority in a professional way, one that doesn’t reveal how intimidated I am mentally? I was the only new employee who needed to get a “back exam” so they could see if i could carry 45 pounds. I was the only new employee to be called into the director’s office for the third time and asked how I was doing, how I was liking the job, if I had any questions, and what my thoughts were.

When someone constantly pesters you to inform them on your thoughts, you know one of two things:

1). You haven’t been speaking up.

2). Because you haven’t been talking, they’re nervous about you.

There’s not yet a moment in time I feel comfortable telling the director, manager, leads, or my trainer about my mental health issues. There’s a possibility they’d understand, but there’s also a possibility I’ll be seen as even weaker. I’m already only one of three women in a department of all men.

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All of the information I received this weekend was really overwhelming. I’m hoping I can keep up to the level they expect. It only serves further to remind me that I’m not mentally at the level of a 20 year old. I’m stuck in the mind of a nervous thirteen year old, unsure of how to take on responsibility or how to approach people in the real world.

This will be my second job and I was psychotic enough to take a leap from regular line employee at a retail toy store to a cash worker balancing big vaults and mini vaults, processing money, fixing machines, making runs, answering phone calls . . . it’s so intense they have you carry around a note book to take notes on all of the processes like a class. Training lasts for weeks. Months, in some cases.

My problem is I always tell myself I’m not prepared. When logically, how could I ever be prepared? All jobs are different, there are always going to be challenges you have to face and new skills you have to learn.

My second problem is, when I convince myself I’m not prepared, I drop out and say “I’ll work on myself first”.

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And then I never do.

Because you can’t work on yourself by staying in your room and bathing in comfort.

If I drop out of this, I’ll fall into that endless cycle again, and I can’t spend another year of my life feeling like a thirteen year old. I want to gain the skills I should have developed years ago when I wasn’t aware of them.

Will I ever be comfortable around people? Mostly likely not. It’s not in my nature; I prefer being by myself and feel like I’m invading people’s privacy when I’m near them. Will I ever perfect my speech in the same way I’ve been improving my writing?

Hell no.

As long as I can gather enough skill to pass as a human being, I will be satisfied. But that’s a long journey from now.

Shots Fired: Your Move.

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Is this what my generation has to offer the world?

Is it?

It this all we’ve got?

hashtag_selfie_drooling_on_blue_led_car_decal-r3643991aad4c4f86818bba2839e7dc61_zwcsn_324An army of vehicles with hashtag decals on the back window and girls in minishorts posing sexually against a wall on the street and asking a strange man to take a picture of them?

Is this all we’ve got?

I’m disappointed. I was expecting a little more. Get a tattoo of the first hashtag you see on your Twitter feed in the morning: now that will impress me.

Or, better yet, if you’re in high school, get a tattoo on your chest of the name of your boyfriend who you’ve been with for two weeks. That will really show me how smart you are.

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You know, these people weren’t born like this. At least, in my totally expert (not) opinion. I believe they were conditioned and influenced by their surroundings to develop a lack of control of themselves and therefore delay their development of critical analysis.

It’s hard to measure someone’s intelligence though, and I certainly don’t base it off of something as simple as that. They may be very good at lacking control and being completely gullible. Better them than me.

They might be able to take a test easier than I can. I study until I can do every problem in the book (or the majority of them) and still come out with a D or F on a test because of my inattention. I skip simple steps and misread questions constantly.

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Not exactly a detail I told my new bosses: in the department I work in, precision and detail is everything. If you’re a penny off in your count, the entire day’s balance is off and they have to sit around and read through every receipt until they find out where the error was.

I never blame the professors for marking me off big time on little details: it’s my fault, I should have seen them. I’m thinking about getting tests proctored elsewhere so I can have all the time I need to go over every little detail and recheck my inattentive mistakes.

9458372_origIt’s hard, in this society, not to base your intelligence off of a test score. I’m a perfectionist, so if I see anything less than a B, I’m immediately disheartened, particularly when I see the tiny, tiny details I missed that cost me so many points.

In a lot of cases that may be true. But in many, it’s not. My anxiety and attention issues often take over my ability to get things done correctly. But that’s not ever taken into account.

When I was doing runs with my trainer (runs = delivering items to particular stations) and we had to pass through the arcade and lazer tag area, the noise level was already loud, but for me and my sensory overload it was especially loud. So loud, my brain didn’t quite know what to think or where to think and my trainer had to repeat herself four times before I realized what she said. She’s very nice and patient, which I love. But I get frustrated with myself more than anything: we were only up there for two minutes, how could I get so discombobulated so quickly?

Unfortunately, part of social anxiety and anxiety in general is, when in large, noisy crowds, your brain is so busy trying to pay attention to every thing, every person, every voice, every noise, to scan for threat or a perceived threat, that you lose yourself. You’re no longer in the “now”, you’re in the black abyss I call “the possible”. I consider it “the possible” because your brain is focusing on what could, or might, or (to you) probably is happening. Like thinking someone who stared at you automatically hates you or sees something wrong with how you look or the way you dress or how your voice sounds. All from a glance.

If one glance can cause so much damage and panic in our minds, think about how ten or twenty or thirty glances affect us.

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It makes us over-critical and over-judgmental of the people around us and of ourselves.

Sometimes that works to our advantages. For example, in my position when we walk through the park, we have to go very specific routes and must always maintain a certain length away from guests. If someone asks you to take a picture for them, you have to politely inform them “I’m sorry, it’s against my department’s policy to do so; if you ask anyone in tickets or games, they’d be happy to assist you”. If someone asks you a question, answer it while you’re walking: never stop on a run. 

If there’s someone suspicious wandering around, you better believe I’ll be the first to spot it. Although I give everyone the benefit of the doubt, I’m suspicious of everyone. I can see the shifty eyes or stance from a mile away. I can sense someone who has been watching me or following me. It’s in my anxious nature.

It also has it’s disadvantages: I like routine, which is why I hate answering phones. You never know what kind of problem the other end is going to have.

robo_phonophobia_webBut does failing a test or having anxiety or purposefully avoiding the desks in the office with the phones, or being overly-cautious about people make me any less intelligent? 

School taught me it did, so I used to believe it did. Until I realized many (certainly not all) of those people who often aced tests and went off to huge universities or had many friends and brand new cars have never dealt with what I have. Their mind is clear. They might be stressed and they have had problems like everyone else, but they’ve never experienced what I have. Which means, but default, they could never have the same exact issues to the extent I do. That makes us different, not unequal.

A lot of times these days you’re taught what to think and made to believe they’re teaching you how to think.

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For example, my boyfriend is a business major. He’s getting way better at critical thinking (that’s what he told me) and therefore was able to point some interesting things out to me in one of his business human resources something (I don’t fucking know) class book. They wanted you to believe C.E.O’s have an “aesthetic” quality about them (meaning they value harmony and artistic life episodes–anyone know what an “artistic life episode” is? Because we couldn’t figure it out.) and they wanted you to believe salespeople have a power hungry quality about them.

Then they defined something as having value when it’s “important to you”.

That’s a personal value, not an intrinsic or true value like they make it sound, because what’s important to you may not be important to your neighbor. What’s important to you isn’t important to the whole of the world.

If you’re going to give a definition, make sure you point what you’re really defining. A personal value, in this day and age, is what’s important to you.

I see why they don’t make business undergraduates take philosophy. They want you properly brainwashed before you attempt to open your mind some more.

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But, you know, by that logic, if money is important to you, than it must be valuable or have value, right? Forget lying and murdering millions of people or being a douche, just pay attention to what’s important to you and only you. Whoever wrote that textbook was either a sheep or a very smart business person.

My boyfriend decided he wanted to agree (just to mess with me) that “what’s important to you” is the definition of “value”, and he wanted to agree that money is important to him and that therefore it’s valuable. I decided to give him a little run for his money.

Ha, no pun intended.

I asked why it was valuable, besides the basic definition.

He said money can run his business, take care of his family, and take care of his employees, and he threw the environmental issues in there for some brownie points.

I said okay. We’ll call that, depending on the size of his business and family, about 100 people or so, excluding the environment as people. Not to mention there was no discussion between us on the definition of what it meant to “help the environment with money.”

All those things he mentioned are true, and they’re nice of course. But could he hold those 100 people more valuable because they were simply “important to him” than the millions enslaved by his company to create his products? Can one person have more value than another? To the business definition of value, yes.

He said he’d have things made in America.

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I told him the parts he’d get wouldn’t be made in America, they’d only be assembled by Americans.

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He said he’d check in on the outsourced workers to make sure they’re being treated fairly and paid correctly.

I said he could never know; their bosses would lie to him. “Yeah, they’re getting paid 12 dollars an hour!” when really they’re getting a penny every three hours.

 

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He said he’d fly out there to make sure.

I said he’d spend an awful lot of money very frequently doing that and questioned his stance again: “so then are the people more important or the money?”

He just started laughing. So did I, but the truth of the matter is they’re teaching many selfish, individualistic views in this school system. It’s what we base ourselves on these days. It’s why we obsess with selfies and beat ourselves up when our reputation isn’t what we want it to be. It’s why some fall into the abyss of a crowd and lose themselves for the sake of likability.

yin-yang-right-wrong-450More over, if what is important to you is what you value above all else, that gives you the freedom to disregard anyone’s definition of right or wrong. In fact, you skip over right and wrong. You go straight from importance to value. It becomes regardless of consequences or intention or any of that. 

Money is important. But does importance have anything to do with value?  I believe they’re separate. Money is important in that it’s now the foundation of our lives. It gives us food and shelter and keeps our kids alive. It’s now a necessity to live. But are all necessities valuable or just simply . . . needed?

What’s the true definition of value? Well, there are many, depending on who you follow. There’s intrinsic value: value something has in itself; happiness, for example. Happiness is good because it’s just good to be happy, not because you’re getting anything else out of being happy, and extrinsic value: basically the opposite of intrinsic; google it. It all depends.

Value, to me, is regardless of importance because importance can be really subjective. To me, if something is irreplaceable or hard to clone, it has a certain level of value.

Can there be both? Perhaps. I value thought. Thinking is also important; if you don’t think at some point in your life, you’re probably going to die.

To me, money is important. But I don’t value it. I can get replacements of it all sorts of ways.

Maybe that’s just me.

Read your textbooks carefully, students.

 

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Stars, Social Security Numbers, And Independence

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In 1995 a star was born.

Not just any ordinary twinkling star, but one that lit the vacuum of space so spectacularly, space itself couldn’t handle it and launched the star onto a little rock floating in the outer arm of a solar system called the Milky Way.

It was aiming for Andromeda, but space doesn’t have good hand-eye coordination. You wouldn’t either if you didn’t have hands. Or eyes.

It was me. I was the star.

Not really, but I was born in 1995. In 1997, I made 8,187 dollars. 

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The social security office is a little perturbed by this fact to. I must have been one hardworking two year old. Or a star from outer-space with special powers.

Someone in Tacoma, Washington used my social security number 18 years ago and this is the reason the credit union will not open my account without a summary of benefits. I’ve signed the paper work necessary to get the earnings off of my record so I can open a bank account, but the social security man suggested I also get a credit report to make sure I they didn’t take out a loan on a house or buy a car under my Social Security number. If they did, I’ll have to file a police report for an 18 year old theft in order for the government to expunge it all from my record.

I’ll call out the Bank Wells Fargo right now; it took Bay Federal Credit Union five minutes to find this fraud. Wells Fargo never even saw it. No wonder they couldn’t set up my account correctly. They called all the way to India and still couldn’t find the problem. Why would I trust them to hold my money when they can’t even read a computer screen correctly?

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My mother thinks perhaps the person made a mistake in writing down their social security for a new job, which could absolutely be the case, but I’m thinking there was some crazy conspiracy going on where people got a hold of infant and toddler social security numbers, then took loans out and made money. Think about it, it’s perfect: what two year old is going to have the cognitive ability to get a credit report or apply for a bank account? They’ve got at least fourteen to eighteen years before they’re found out.

Those people in Tacoma, Washington messed with the wrong two year old. If you’re reading this, I know you know who you are. I don’t know who you are, but I will look for you. I will find you. And I will . . .

Smack the fuck out of you.

Then take back my 8,187 dollars. Where the fuck did you work, in a cafe? Minimum Wage? Sucking off the manager for some extra tips?

I hope you bought a car, because I want that shit too. It better not be a Ford, I swear to God I’ll smack you again. If you bought a house I expect a vacation room for me and my boyfriend whenever we want to visit. Apparently this is Tacoma, Washington:

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I’d vacation the hell out of that place.

I want those nasty tips you made too.

Mistakes happen, I understand. But it’s very simple to pay attention. You have a card with your number on it. Copy it from your card. It’s not rocket science. It’s not calculus. It doesn’t even take algebra, it just takes you to have some common sense to look at your card and copy the numbers.

At any rate, tomorrow I start my new job. One of my friends also starts at the same time, so we’re meeting up and enduring hell together. It won’t be hell for him, he’s excited, but for me the first of anything is hell. The first day of class is hell, the first time talking to someone is hell, the first time stepping into the lobby of my apartment complex was hell. It’s all just one big hell.

I’m great friends with Satan though. Did you know he loves Plush stuffed animals? Particularly the monkeys. Don’t tell him I told you that.

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He’s always loved monkeys more than humans. Makes sense.

I prefer routine to anything. Satan calls me crazy but what does he know?

It’s a way to keep my anxiety from sky-rocketing, it’s a coping mechanism. I don’t like taking my own breaks, I like my breaks and lunches to be scheduled. I like to be constantly reassured that what I’m doing is right. I need an outside source to boost my confidence.

So I consider myself very dependent.

I am independent physically; I get up in the morning, I dress myself, I drive myself places, I go to my own interviews, I talk to the Social Security people by myself, I make phone calls by myself if it’s an absolute necessity; there are many things I do by myself. But emotionally, I’m not a full person. I can’t trust my emotions, I can’t trust what my brain interprets from my body and it makes it difficult to trust anything my body feels.

take-the-plunge-quit-work-or-your-jobThis is partly why I’m shoving myself back out into the job world. I can’t be emotionally stunted for the remainder of my life, it’s not feasibly. It doesn’t fit my personality. It doesn’t fit how I want to live my life. And because I can’t depend on anyone else to pull me out of the woods for this one, it looks like I’ll have to do it on my own.

I have traces of an obsessive personality, I have some issues with post traumatic stress (like when our clock dings every hour and it sounds like a hospital heart monitor and every time I hear it, it throws some serious panic through my system so I try not to be around it on the hour), and I have some attention deficit problems. That’s all intertwined with my depression and other anxiety disorders. It’s all a result of how my brain thinks and what I’ve experienced through my life and the only way to tame it (without succumbing to feeling sorry for myself) is to throw myself into the fire.

Satan said he’d give me a fireproof suit to help quell the flames’ scorch but really, who trusts Satan? He’ll probably just throw some oil on me.

We’ll laugh about it later. Then I’ll hit him on the back of the head with a 2 by 4.

My humor is dark. It’s what keeps life so bright.

 

Run, Hide, Fight

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Settle down, settle down, I have arrived!

Thank you! Yes, take a seat and endure my dry ass speech. I know how much you all love dry ass speeches.

Hear ye, Hear ye!

Alright I’m done.

I haven’t written in what feels like forever. I read a whole bunch of articles I wanted to write about and now that it’s been forever, I forgot. I also forgot, for about an hour today during my test, how to do a derivative. It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve done that as well.

I’m so ashamed of the other thing I argued with myself about on the test that I don’t even want to say it.

Okay I’ll say it.

3d_svgIf you know anything about life, you know there is a y-axis and an x-axis. And a z-axis, but that’s not relevant here. Well, there was a question that asked me to do a little special revolution with the y=0 line.

I argued with myself for twenty minutes in my head whether that was the x-axis or y-axis. I feel like I study so hard for the convoluted stuff that I end up forgetting the most basics of basics.

Obviously it’s the x-axis, but it took a lot of convincing myself. That’s what I hate about studying; I remember all the important things and forget about the things that are even more important.

The night before my test I had an orientation for my new job. It was four hours.

Four hours of sitting in “Training Room 1” learning about customer service I won’t have to provide. In fact, the woman running the session kept me out of all of the customer service exercises because I’m discouraged from talking.

I’m DISCOURAGED from talking.

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I was also in a room full of high schoolers but it’s alright. It makes me feel superior. 

The leader was hilarious, as she always is (she interviewed me too) and she talks very quickly. She told us titillating stories and made us laugh with each other and with her. Then she showed us the active shooter video and shit got real.

Dramatizations can be over dramatic, hence their name, but this video was realistic and disturbed the hell out of the teenagers around me. They showed a man in sunglasses with a backpack walking around an office. He didn’t look too suspicious, but he looked suspicious enough. Then he pulled out a shot gun and blasted the fuck out of a woman and a man against the wall. He killed three more people before they explained what to do in the situation.

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This Fucker

If anything it makes me paranoid. Luckily I’m good at sniffing out suspicious people. Everyone is suspicious to me.

This amusement park isn’t located in the best area. In fact, it’s smack in the middle of drug and gang areas. There have been men standing outside of the park with twelve inch knives concealed and just a few months ago there was a threat about a man wandering around with a gun. It’s not a joke and I didn’t take it as a joke. I hope the teenagers took it as seriously as it was and didn’t just pay attention to the gore.

If they can’t handle it on a T.V screen, they can’t handle seeing someone’s chest blown out in real life.

500-365776-847__1The fact that I’m working with cash is also very serious. I’ll have protection in the basement and it’s very secure, but being on the floor is worrisome, caring hundreds or thousands of dollars out in the open.

I’m sure we’ll talk more about security in training on Saturday.

If a shooter were to ever get in the basement . . . well, I don’t want to think about it.

It’s kind of impossible, given the fact that you can’t open the door without a special card and the floor employees don’t even know where the entrance is, is a little comforting. But it’s also not comforting that there’s only one door. That I’ve seen. There better be emergency exits I don’t know about, because I’m not getting my head blown off for a couple thousand dollars.

That being said, there are hardly ever incidents that threaten the park. People who aren’t under the influence of something and struggle with their cognitive abilities tend to have a tacit agreement with the neighborhood not to go messing around with a family place.

In light of the Boston Marathon incident and several other incidents since, they’ve added more security cameras, educated the workers more, and the security officers are all either in the police academy or trained from the police academy.

You see what I’m doing here? I’m justifying reasons why I shouldn’t be completely paranoid. It’s not working.

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But the reality is that’s a danger for anyone, anywhere. Any place can get shot up or bombed and not just by people who pledge to ISIS or other terrorist groups. The more people there are who can recognize the signs, the better our chances of survival as a team are.

But like the video said, if bitches be slowing you down when you runnin’, leave they stank ass behind and save yourself.

That’s not exactly how the video said it, but it’s how they should have said it.

I’m sure I’ll feel better after my first day.

Provided my head doesn’t get blown off.

They gave me a nice little orange water bottle. You know, consolidation for getting my head blown off.

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Ignore The Messy Ass Desk In The Background, Please

I got my head exploded and all I got was this lousy water bottle. That I can’t even drink out of because I don’t have a mouth.

I also need a watch. I’m not big into wrist watches lest they be smart watches, but because they act like cell phones now, because they work with Sim Cards and are specialized to specific phones, they’re a little too expensive and the batteries probably run low fast, I’ve opted against getting a new one. I’ll just get a a regular one. Much to my dismay.

I deicede to see how expensive bling watches could get, and found things like this:

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Some of them were about 200 dollars.

You want me to pay two hundred dollars for a watch without numbers? Without markers of the hours? I’m confused.

I’m also scatter brained tonight. My Boyfriend got me these flowers. They’ve made my room smell delicious. And they’re pretty as fuck.

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He also got me a necklace which is also pretty as fuck (and shiny; I love shiny) and baked me a cake. Which I’ve eaten. It was all chocolate. With chocolate frosting. And M&M’s. If you didn’t know, I’m a chocolate freak.

His job kept him all day on Valentine’s Day, but it’s fine, we’ll get days in the future. Plus, I mean, I got a chocolate cake. That thing was delicious. He said it was the first time he’s ever baked a cake by himself. It turned out amazing.

Although these last two weeks have been busy and full of panic and food poisoning, I’m feeling good about these coming weeks. Provided my head doesn’t get blown off on Saturday.

 

A Day In The Life Of A Not-So-Normal Alien

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I have never spent longer looking for a bag in my life.

Never.

Today I stalled. I stalled because the anxiety is still there sitting its skinny ass near my nerves and having a nice nibble on them. I knew I needed to get a medium sized gift bag and I knew in order to do that I must step into the human’s world.

Humans are weird. They’re frantic and very inconsiderate of personal space. I’m sure glad I’m not one.

Their arms are flimsy too. And their faces are stupid. But all of that is beside the point.

My cover to go into Rite Aid and look for one is that I’m really going to look for facial products. There are a lot of people in line, I peeked through the doors before I entered, so I ignored the entire front of the room to avoid their eerie human stares (I heard they can turn our brains into mush if we make direct eye contact) and headed straight for the face 41mzhy5jz5l-_sl500_aa280_-jpgproducts. Of course, everything on the shelves of chain drug stores have millions of human chemicals in them, so I had no real interest in them. I got some Tea Tree oil.

You see, rather than spend forty five dollars on a “mostly natural” moisturizer for my alien facial skin that reacts very badly to man-made chemicals, I harvest Aloe Vera Leaves with a special alien utensil humans would call a “knife”, squeeze the inner goop out, drop a bit of Tea Tree oil in it, mix it all together, and refrigerate it into a gel. Scar treatment/Moisturizer for under ten human dollars. I’m a clever little alien.

Rite Aid had no gift bags. So at risk of looking like a not-so-clever little alien, or a thieving alien (I have not-so-light alien skin so you know what that means), I also bought some Honest tea.

The humans walk around with their physical head on their shoulders, but their mental head up their ass. Deep, deep up their ass. So deep, they very well may break their neck in the process of lodging it up there. They take a flashlight with them and lose it on the way because the flashlight comes to its senses and gets the hell out of there. They enjoy being up their ass too, because they never willingly come out.

A side effect is blindness. Total blindness. They stand centimeters from your body and think it’s okay to breathe in your ear . . . which honestly is an achievement given the fact their head is lodged in their small intestine now that I think about it.

I went into a store called Palace Arts. Their gift bags were about as attractive as the inside of someone’s ass.

I went to good old trusty Walgreens and avoided the acid stares of humans in line yet again. Their gift bags were nice. I grabbed one and some decorative tissue paper. And an ice cream cone.

Humans may have their heads up their asses but somehow they still manage to make some decent icy treats.

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It’s making me think twice about getting the chocolate flavor, though.

I sat in my car hoping for a moment of peace. It had been an hour already. An hour of bobbing and weaving between frantic husbands and boyfriends shopping last minute for the perfect decorations and bags of candy. Everyone seemed like they wanted to touch me today, like they wanted to be close and personal and loud, like they wanted to see me drop everything and rush from the store or crouch to the tile and cover my hands over my ears like an overwhelmed Autistic child.

Honestly, those children have the right idea. What else are you going to do? Sit there and let the noise bother you? I’d rather cover my ears too.

Everything was loud. The mothers screaming at their children were loud. The children screaming at their mothers were loud. The employees were loud, the customers were loud, the floor was loud, the packages on the shelves were loud, the hair products were loud (and sassy girlfriend), the candy was loud, even the gift bag I was holding was red and loud and I felt like it attracted more acid stares.

Anyway, I always park my car beside the green Hybrid car charging station reserved spot no one ever uses because  it’s right by the door and who the fuck wants to charge their hybrid at Walgreens?

Some motherfucker, that’s who. 

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No, he didn’t even charge his huge ass Toyota 4Runner-looking partial Hybrid S.U.V. He just parked there for the privilege.

The worst part is I didn’t even hear him park next to me.

I just glanced over and flinched in my seat at the gray wall with windows that had appeared beside me.

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News flash, ass-hat; there are seven other parking spots right by the door. You have no damn privilege. Fuck your hybrid.

Love you, Tesla. 

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I Wouldn’t Mind THIS Parked Next To Me. Tesla Is Love; Tesla Is Life

Then another wall appeared beside me. This one I heard. It was twice the size of the ass-hat hybrid and they could spear their acid stares through my passenger window and into my private (messy) den without my permission. The man’s wife stayed in the car and kept staring at me. She should have put her head back in her ass.

So I left. I left with my red gift bag shouting at me all the way home.

I was very overstimulated today. But I survived.

I’d like to switch lives with someone without anxiety, just to see what they say life is supposed to feel like. The funny thing is, I’m 110% sure I’d ask for my anxiety back after a couple hours.

I’m very easily bored. 

 

 

Reality Hits You Hard, Bro

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Anxiety.

Synonymous with:

  1. Suckiness.
  2. Stupidness.
  3. Sucky-stupidness
  4. 1,2 & 3

Usually panic attacks release a lot of tension for me, but Tuesday’s did no such thing. I’m left with that tight feeling in my throat and my quick temper. I’m easily annoyed and easily saddened. I feel unappreciated and ignored, mostly by my family, and while I strive to keep my head above water, it’s difficult being unsupported and struggling. Every little tweak of my muscle I attribute to some disease; I start reading into things online that I come across coincidentally. If I see certain words or phrasings I’ll be certain they’re telling me I’m going to die tonight and therefore, even though I’m dead beat, I won’t be going to sleep any time soon.

I’m constantly searching across my skin for signs of my death. My right calf has been sore all day and I’ve been searching for signs of it swelling and convincing myself minute differences between it and my left one means it is swollen.

It’s not. What could a swollen calf mean? A lot of things. A lot of bad things. Of course.

My brain doesn’t think to attribute it to the fact that I’ve been in bed for the majority of the last 72 hours because of the food poisoning, or the fact that my bed is two 10+ year old mattresses on the floor and therefore sinks in the middle and causes some serious pain to my hips and back and shoulders often. So why wouldn’t it cause issues with my right calf, the side I sleep on and lay on most often, as well?

Whatever.

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Most of the time I can get in touch with my rationality and argue against these thoughts but there are other times where I’m stuck in the paranoia of the moment and spend my night on full alert, fidgeting, waiting for death or whatever bad thing the omens I’ve seen throughout the day will bring. It’s like anxieties’ more mild, not entirely delusional version of Ideas of Reference. You’re completely engulfed by the sensations, by the thoughts, and even if you get a small second thought telling you “no, this isn’t right”, you’re more likely to submit to the churning feeling in your gut and the racing thoughts in your head.

Sometimes, in those moments, if you’re in the outside world and you talk to me, I’ll respond blankly and uninterested. That’s when people find me the most strange. It’s only because they don’t see the chaos in my head.

I’ve always received sympathy for my depression. Not that I want it, but it’s how people think they should react. Some try to comfort me. I’ve never had anyone completely ignore me when I was depressed. When I’m anxious–that’s a whole different story.

I used to spend days proctoring thought experiments about this. What would be different if I suffered psychotic symptoms instead? If people could visibly see or hear the symptoms? Obviously they’d end up being terrified of me, and they’d stigmatize the shit out of me, but they would know something isn’t right.

When you’re depressed, you might move slower or talk slower. Your eyes may droop (mine do, at least) or you might be easily set off into tears. You might not get out of bed.

If you suffer from OCD, you have your rituals and your repetitive behaviors and even though your loved ones can’t see the horrible pressure you feel in your head, they can see the result of it. How they choose to interpret seeing those results is up to them; but the bottom line is they see it.

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Anxiety is different. The only time anyone ever sees the severity of my anxiety is through my panic attacks. And only my mother and father have witnessed my severe attacks. No one has ever seen any physical or tangible representations of the circular reasoning, of the way I get trapped within a whirlwind of extraneous thoughts my loose grip can no longer control. They become a life of their own and knock me to their knees until I am submissive and silent and bending at their will. Thoughts are the most powerful force on Earth.

Because people have trouble understanding experiences which they’ve never, well  . . . experienced, they have trouble acknowledging how hard it is to experience those experiences. They have nothing to use as a reference besides themselves. And anxiety in the average person is pretty damn mild.

I am uncomfortable expressing myself verbally because of a few reasons:

  1. I know how ridiculous it sounds to their ears.
  2. I was never taught how to express myself verbally. I was taught to suck it up.mjaxmy1hyti5yjdlyzrjnwy2nwnk
  3. I’ll sound like a broken fucking record after a few times.
  4. I don’t like criticism and most people I’ve spoken with react badly to explanations of mental health related issues.
  5. Writing is easier. But it’s not like anyone gives a shit.

So I spend a lot of my days feeling disrespected. I use humor as a shield, because a lot of people think it’s easier to make a joke out of things when I tell them what I experience rather than take it seriously. And as a result, people don’t take anything I say seriously.

I start to develop a selfish mentality after a while: it’s all about me!

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Because it’s never been about me. At home I’m a caretaker and I have been since I was a pre-teen. With acquaintances I’m a comedian and a shoulder to lean on. At school I’m the silent girl who manages to skate through classes without an ounce of willing verbal participation.

I don’t truly want the entire world to revolve around me and my wants and my needs, I just want to feel respected and for someone in the tiny circle of people who know about my issues with self-harm, with suicidal thoughts, with anxiety, with depression, with breakdowns, with Post Traumatic Stress, with anger, with moodiness, to admit I deal with a lot more than they might have first thought. I want them to acknowledge that I’ve been stronger than they might have first thought.

I know I’m strong. I’ll always be strong. I want to be around people who will help me stay strong, not beat me down.

 

 

 

 

 

It Goes On And On

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Day three and the war has yet to be won. But progress has been made.

Is there truly ever such thing as a war that is won?

The foot soldiers have been marching their ankles to the bone and firing their defenses until gunpowder covers their thin faces like a mud mask. They’re beaten and tired and cramped; they’re famished and their sanity is slipping.

We’ve called in for reinforcements.

his-usa-care-37The care packages sent last night were too early and landed on enemy territory; they abolished them.

In other words, I ate a tuna sandwich last night and at 12:00 a.m felt a sharp stabbing all around my gut. I could hardly lean over before it all blew out of me like a pressure washer.

I’m not a fan of fish, it always has an interesting (not appetizing) flavor to it but I don’t mind tuna. However, it coming back up was a whole new level of disgusting.

I’m still food poisoned, evidently. I thought I could keep food down last night, but I very fucking obviously couldn’t. I think I deserve a medal for being drop dead sick, still high on 20mg of Ativan and still dragging my ass to math yesterday.

I’m willing to compromise: give me an A in the class and I’ll be fine.

This morning I awoke from another slew of odd, realistic dreams (often a side effect of Ativan for me, even after a few days of not having it) very hungry. A primeval kind of hungry. The kind of hungry you’d be willing to smack a baby across the face to quell. The kind of hunger that would make you kick a stranger in the balls to snatch the half eaten burrito out of his hands. The kind of hunger where, if you have the choice between lasting another ten minutes for a full course meal and a well-cooked human face right now, you’d slurp up that face without hesitation.

I’ve maybe consumed 100 calories within the last two and a half days.

natural_apple_sauce_4_oz6349eaaf-1415-4f56-9428-b7ac80d340e4My breakfast this morning was planned very carefully, according to Google’s medically certified (NOT) recommendations of what to eat when suffering through Food Poisoning or the Flu or any gut related illness. I had noticed the other day that only tuna came up, but not the half of can of fruit cocktail I ate; my brain had been craving it all day, as if it instinctively knew soft foods will digest quicker and therefore cause less of a commotion. So I wasn’t surprised Google said Apple Sauce and Bananas are a great way to get some calories and nutrition in your body.

White rice, as well. Wasn’t expecting that.

So my breakfast consisted of an Apple Sauce cup and about a handful of plain white rice.

I feel like one of those people who have become “morbidly super obese” for whatever reason (eating disorder, thyroid issues, family tradition) and are now stuck on a bland diet after their gastric bypass surgery. Although I’m not sure if you’re allowed to eat rice after that type of surgery. Does anyone know? If you do, tell me. I know you’re not supposed to drink carbonated fluids.

I have never had this type of sickness before. I’ve only had the flu once, when I was 10, and it scarred me for life; I’ve had a grave fear (but not phobia) of vomiting ever since. But because I didn’t understand the source of my sudden fever, nausea, and inability to eat food, it triggered my health anxiety.

I consider myself a strong willed person. I don’t take shit. I won’t take your shit, my parent’s shit, my friend’s shit–I won’t even take my own shit. So I’m also stubborn. But it’s the reason I’ve learned a lot of techniques to calm myself down from a panic attack, including breathing and walking and talking myself through the process so as to reassure my brain on a very real level that I’m okay.

But when it comes to my health . . . well, I’ve yet to crack that rotten fucking egg. In 2014 I contracted some kind of weird (probably relatively normal) sickness and my brain created physical symptoms to exacerbate the sickness. I had a panic attack and yada, yada, same old story.

dont-use-pdfsI’m trying to gain control over my thoughts. When I feel myself disconnecting from the world and worrying about my health. Today has been better physically, but worse mentally. Being stuck in my room for three days without any human contact besides a few moments with my father, I get lost in the anxiety and paranoia of my own mind and find myself on the verge of more panic.

Comforting myself is difficult when my mind is lost in itself. I’ve been too scarred this week to force myself to eat, so every time I take a bite I get nauseous. My father doesn’t remember I was in the hospital, or food poisoned, and my mother only references how it’s been stressful for her to have to be in and out of hospital and doctors appointments this week. Which I acknowledged wholly; I bet it is. But . . . at least you’re not on the hospital side of things.

It’s never been acknowledged how hard it is to deal with everything that I do. I never paid mind to it because no one else did. But now that I think about it, I realize how much support I haven’t received. How much more attention I get for my physical problems than I ever do for my mental issues. Once again, I had to fight to get to the hospital. This time over money.

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I said I didn’t care how much a visit would cost. It would be my debt, not my mothers. And she’s stressing like she’s the one who can’t breathe with a heart rate of 140 and a blood pressure level of 160/92.

By the way, the social worker got me emergency insurance and the visit and prescription was paid for.

I still haven’t been asked if I am okay. It hasn’t been acknowledged how terrifying those incidents are. It’s never been acknowledged and it never will be.  I’m still in the process of accepting that.

I think there’s a reason my stomach is still upset, and it isn’t entirely physical.

Whatever the reason, I’m going into this weekend and next week with as positive of an attitude as I can. I’ve always promised myself no matter how many obstacles my mentality throws at me, no matter what limitations I may or may not develop, I would never let either one or both of them result in my downfall. It’s not because I give a shit about my “duty to society” or my “duty to myself” or honor or whatever people think they need to be strong for, it’s because I choose not to let them be my downfall.

I have no reason to have a downfall. I’ve made it this far, haven’t I?

That’s the thought I’ll be sleeping on tonight. Hopefully it resonates in my dreams.

 

 

 

 

My Best Friend, Anxiety

Something otherworldy has bombarded my system.

Something sinister and evil, disguised as a saint with golden tipped wings and the voice of a thousand Adele’s. When he flares, I shudder, and when I smother him with blankets he burns red hot. When I move he shakes the earth beneath my intestines and a bubble of bile reaches the tip of my esophagus before flowing back down into hell, taking all the moisture in my mouth with it.

In other words, I’m never eating Jack In The Box again.

My boyfriend and I decided to . . .

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This is the next day. At the end of that ellipse I had paused. I paused and I slammed the chromebook down and I announced I was having a panic attack: one of the big ones. It came out of no where. I did what I always do: I start breathing slowly and wandering outside in my white and pink pajama pants, an exercise shirt, and a silver Raiders jacket. I try to talk myself through the reasons why I would be panicking.

  1. I’ve been stressed for the past two and a half weeks, non-stop, and haven’t done anything as a way of lowering that stress.
  2. I got food poisoning or something from the deep fried tacos the other night and awoke nauseated and with a slight fever. Knowing my heath anxiety, I made it out to be more than it was.
  3. I’m extremely dehydrated.

No matter how much I walked or breathed my heart rate would not fall and I felt the tingling in the tips of my fingers and the world distancing itself from me. I’ve been here too many times before and I know my limits.

1ef6c5e253aef0d264de3c803f213d35So I went to the hospital. They gave me two ativan and waited for my heart rate to go down. It decreased a little. My blood pressure went back down to normal.

But I’m still stressed. My heart rate is still high this afternoon, I can feel it and I can catch senses of small palpitations; drugs can only do so much. I got a prescription for 6 more ativan and I may take one or two later today.

I haven’t eaten in over 24 hours, which also probably contributes.

My fever seems to have gone away. I never got to finish telling you all: my boyfriend and I went to jack in the box and after eating one of their munchie meals I woke up with nausea and fever and chills.

When I got home from the hospital, I passed out. I woke up at 10 p.m still in an ativan haze and drank some water and puked it up. I’ve been drinking water for the last hour and a half and it’s staying down. I’m also going to try and eat some fruit and some crackers and somehow make it through math this morning.

I know there’s still too much built up cortisol in my system. So I’m trying not to sleep. I’m trying to move throughout the day as much as I can; it’s the only way this rate is going to decrease.

I went into math a half an hour late and basically let my hand record all of the notes and I disconnected from the world and slept.

emergencyThe thing I don’t like about going into an emergency room for something like a panic attack is the lack of service. Last time I went in I said I was having trouble breathing, and instantly they took me in the back and set me up in a bed and did an EKG. Then intravenously gave me ativan.

This time the nurse took forever to even see me, even though I was walking around the hospital floor slapping my hands on my thighs and talking to myself and struggling to breathe through the constriction of my throat, my blood rushing, and my finger tips tingling. We went into a different waiting room where a doctor came in and asked me what was going on. I said I was pretty sure I was having a panic attack. He asked me, in the most condescending voice possible, “who usually takes care of these panic attacks?”

I glared and said I do.

He said “Well it doesn’t look like that’s working, does it?”

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He asked if I had anyone to help me with this. I told him I have a psychologist. He asked “well hmm are you going to tell them about this”

I said yes.

He said “smart choice.”

I said no shit.

He got me an ativan. We waited thirty minutes and they took my heart rate and blood pressure, both of which were a little high, but not horrible, not like the last time.

They gave me a second Ativan and continuously asked me if I was doing Meth. No, I’m not doing meth, I”m a very stressed out college student with a slew of mental health issues and a build up of cortisol. Give me a break.

The second ativan lowered my blood pressure but my heart rate was a little high. They released me upon the belief it was just the anxiety. And I agree. It’s always my anxiety. I run, I work out, and I’ve never had a heart palpitation or a speeding heart rate beside when I’m anxious.

That condescending doctor was an asshole. He spoke to me like I was a baby. It wasn’t so much of his words, but more of his tone of voice, as if I were wasting his time because I can’t take care of myself.

That’s why I wish they handled panic attacks at the behavioral health place down the street, where all the 5150’s are sent to now. At least they’d have a little bit better understanding of what it means when you’re having a panic attack.

I’m thankful I do not get pain when I have a panic attack. My throat constricts and I start hyperventilating and I get the tingling in my finger tips, but I’ve never got Chest pain and that I am extremely thankful for. Or else I’d really, truly believe I’m dying.

Regardless, when this new insurance kicks in, I’m going to get a full physical. The fact that this anxiety makes me feel like I’m sick and dying when I’m not makes me want to confirm with real tests that I’m not. I want them to tell me my heart is health and my lungs are healthy and my entire body is healthy, so when I start freaking out I can repeat that mantra in my head : I’m healthy, I’m healthy, I’m healthy.

Anxiety is a bitch.

 

A Sense Of Yourself

jimmy-mcmillan

The rate at which my hands turn to ice even on a day blessed with sunlight is too damn high.

I can’t even feel the keys on this Chromebook. I’m just stabbing the buttons in hopes my procedural memory will pick up the slack. In the midst of my stabbing I came across an intriguing article on the absence of spirituality in the modern mental health system. You can read the original here.

In case your attention span isn’t up for the challenge and you left your trusty prescription stimulant at home, I’ll provide a quick summary.

'I see the problem, Gibson- you forgot to borrow from your neighbor there in step 3.'You see, it all started when I forgot how to do a derivative. That’s usually how it starts, isn’t it? Then all of a sudden you’re combining some integration-derivative hybrid and you’re subtracting what you’re supposed to be adding and your by-parts turns into a gruesome monster spanning your entire page and you’re scanning your work in hysterics wondering where in the world you could have gone wrong when you’re a damned genius.

On four hours of sleep, I can barely add 2 + 2.

At any rate, I tossed the math aside and the first article I found to waste my time on was “The difference Between My Psychiatrist and My Shaman” by Dylan Charles.

Now, before you roll your eyes at me and say “for fucks sake not this again” and un-follow me, I’m going to say right off the bat this is not a post to diss the modern medical industry, it’s just a post to present to you a different side.

shaman_bA shaman, as I’m sure the majority of you know, is a spiritual healer. A lot of the times those of us assimilated into Western culture consider Shamans as practicing a primitive medicine, healing techniques which follow myths and legends of ancient cultures.

Many indigenous cultures, according to Charles, believe the symptoms of mental disorders are not the result of a defective person or brain, but are rather psychic energies within the person that are incompatible with said person and those energies must be either forced from the body or integrated into the body.

Films exaggerate this. We’re not talking about demonic possession. People infected by these energies aren’t doing the crab walk across the kitchen tile with their tongue flicking a mile a minute at your ankles (haven’t read the exorcist? You should).

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Shamans, then, have a healing purpose, to help restore balance among the energies. Their purpose is “not to correct or remedy anything, but is instead to facilitate change and integration within the patient “. 

Charles goes on to emphasize two plants which have been known for promoting healing and restoration of energy balance: Iboga and Ayahuasca. If you haven’t heard of them, than you probably don’t know about the recent craze of using these psychoactive substances to help treat symptoms of disorders like Schizophrenia and Depression. Don’t know the efficacy levels of those studies yet. It’s probably subjective like every other portion of psychology.

I won’t summarize Charles’ entire experience with a western psychiatrist and an indigenous shaman, I feel those words are better left explained by him in his article. But I believe he brings up a very deep conflict circulating through our culture today: where is our spirituality? Our connectedness with others? With nature? How much of our life, of our interconnection, do we jeopardize when business hijacks medicine?

Financial health check

You don’t have to believe that mental disorders are a a hoax and that the symptoms are incoming energies throwing off your internal balance. You just have to have a mind capable of considering other possibilities. You need a mind capable of understanding that a scientific study created and ran by man (a terribly flawed creature) for a science which is subjective in its majority does not have all the answers. Just because they tell you the reward pathway in the substantia nigra is responsible for relaying addiction doesn’t mean the substantia nigra is responsible for addiction by itself. If it were, you could remove it and cure the very nature of substance abuse.

At the same time, you can’t consider these indigenous and/or ancient traditions “primitive” or “illogical” or “stupid”; what’s the point in doing so? They’re about as accurate as anything else man has thought up. Even physics has spent tireless hours proving our consciousness and our observation of the universe influences our surroundings and what happens to us, and no one seems to give a damn. To put the body and particularly the mind on a purely physical pedestal is, in my opinion, primitive.

funny-anesthesiologist-cartoon

I’m sure people who have grown up with traditional, indigenous treatments out in jungles the “civilized” world has yet to have impact on would find our customs of modernized medicine really . . . odd. Just as I’m sure people in this part of the world find their customs . . . strange.

Westerners tried having a similar, spiritual take on things when they considered “Hysteria” the “Wandering Uterus”. Didn’t really have the same effect.

It seems western minds weren’t too keen when to thinking outside of a physical box.

Could this be true?

Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world. In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated. When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening. [Source]

 

Could this be true?

The causes of depression are not fully understood, but scientists believe that an imbalance in the brain’s signaling chemicals may be responsible for the condition in many of the patients. However, there are several theories about what this imbalance actually is and which signaling chemicals are involved. [Source]

Could they both be true? Could everything be true? Could nothing be true?

You have to consider all the possibilities. If you don’t, you’re lying to yourself. And the fact that we as a culture have simply, and uncritically, accepted simple explanations for complex human experiences disheartens me.

To make attempts at telling our body how to act is essentially vain. Disrespectful, as well. You are a human being apart of an entire universe, not just your job, not just your house, not just your family, not just your neighborhood–an entire universe which at times caters to your observation and which, at times, require you cater to its requirements. It’s a give and take. Don’t believe me? Go argue with a physicist, because I don’t have time for it.

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People (like me) complain about how corrupt businesses and industries and organizations have gotten. We’re human: every part of the Earth we touch will eventually be corrupted because we’ve lost that connection. We’re not in touch with ourselves or where we live. We’re so focused on ourselves we forgot who we are. 

So do mental disorders exist? We’ve created them: of course they do.

Careful: I’m not saying we’ve made up the behavior or the struggle we all face (that’s definitely real) or the “chemical imbalances” if you so choose to believe, I’m saying we’ve defined them as they are. We don’t see them as instances of humans suffering some great spiritual and physical and mental issue combined, we only see them as problems. Sicknesses. Illnesses. A part of our humanity need to be cured.

I believe all of our interpretations of mental health, mental disorders, mental illnesses, whichever you choose to call them are valid to some degree. The fact that we separate them into categories when they all very obviously overlap, the fact that we cater and fund more willingly specific treatments, biological only treatments, only further validates the disconnect in the industry.

You don’t need to go to a Shaman to learn your mind and your body and your surroundings are connected in more than just a physical way. You don’t need to go to medical school to learn that helping the mind, body, and spirit all together, whether that means medication, therapy, sweat lodges, whatever, can help any person regain a sense of themselves, no matter their ailment.