Life Goals

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We all have our signs.

We all know when we’re slipping a little bit into that dark hole, whether it be a slight change in mood or sparks of panic at the slightest noise or a whisper in our head and there or something scurry int he corner of our eyes. Although we can’t predict the intensity, we can sense the way it falls into a predator stance, stealth it’s way through the overgrowth of weeds, and keeps its eye on our fragile frame drinking innocently at the water hole.

Sometimes it feels like we’re at the mercy of fate. 

Speaking from personal experience, and now that I think about it, my depression has never been much of a touch and go kind of thing. Some people have periods where they go through year long depressive episodes and then come out of it and live their life for a while before it hits them again.

I’ve noticed I’m either horribly depressed and on the verge of suicide, or mildly depressed–not enough to fully impair my functioning but enough to make functioning difficult, enough to make me aware of it, enough to where if some trigger came pouncing along I’d fall helpless back into the pit.

Come to me

I often say positive things. It’s how I keep myself out of that hole and even though it’s something I have to work on everyday, it keeps me in school (barely) and it keeps me alive. But being positive all the time is creepy. It’s fucking weird. You know those people who walk around with The Joker smiles on their face and laugh at every joke you tell and always dress nice and drive nice cars or ride nice bikes and wear nice shoes and always know the latest style Kim K rocked . . . or, most recently, her nude line she seems to be rockin’.

Those people scare me. What are they hiding from? I’d rather be sobbing in the corner fighting against the beast in my head than acting like he isn’t there.

Everyone is tormented by something. Perhaps not to the same extent, but something is always going to go wrong. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t realize when things are going right.

quote-you-may-proclaim-good-sirs-your-fine-philosophy-but-till-you-feed-us-right-and-wrong-can-wait-bertolt-brecht-213084Then, you know, there’s the whole philosophical argument asking what right and wrong even mean, but we won’t go there. And whatever you do, please do not comment below that right and wrong are entirely subjective and only an individual can decide what is right and wrong for them. Because then you make it alright for someone who thinks it’s right to torture babies to torture babies and I don’t think you want that guilt on your shoulders.

We all have out way of handling things too. Some people read, some people exercise, some people do homework (which I should have done), and some people immerse themselves in things that usually make them happy but really only lift their mood for a brief period. I have a tendency to do that. So today, since my morning class was cancelled, I spent a totally of eleven hours on the computer dicking around on the internet. As you can see, it’s eleven hours and counting.

Because that’s my new drug.

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I remember one Heroin addict explaining that all the problems that were the cause of his issues never went away when he used, they were still in the back of his head, he just didn’t care. It was easier to ignore them, easier to not give two shits that his life was falling apart. I use the internet to the same extent: everything that I should be doing is in the back of my head but I just can’t bring myself to tackle them. So instead I watch countless hours of comedy videos hoping the laughter will stimulate a natural dose of dopamine.

Sometimes I have the arrogance level of an early Kanye West. Sometimes that’s what keeps me afloat: the more I act like I’m the shit, the less likely I am to call myself a piece of shit. I try not to let that arrogance influence how I speak to people but I’m pretty sure it has before.

I’m a work in progress.

anchorman-ron-burgundySometimes you need that faux confidence to take you where you need to be. Kanye West is as famous as he is today because of it. You can be the judge of whether that’s good or bad, but the point is he made it because he refused not to make it. And whether or not he actually believed in himself as much as he made it seem like he did is up for questioning. When Dave Chappelle first met him in the studio of The Chappelle Show and Kanye received a phone call, Chappelle recalls him saying something along the lines of “No, I can’t go, I’m at the Chappelle show watching clips no one has seen before.” There was a pause and Kanye said blatantly “cause my life is dope and I do dope shit”. And then hung up.

It’s one thing to let that mindset carry you to “success”, it’s another to let it go unmanageable to the point where you start tweeting things like “Ima fix wolves”.

Or

“You build up one school in Africa and think you fixin’ the country; if you’re going to help anyone . . . help me . . . “

Or

“Mark Zuckerberg, invest in Kanye West Ideas”. 

tumblr_n0y460ugyg1rwcfrqo3_500First, what the fuck is wrong with wolves? Are they broken? How does he intend to fix them? Do they want to be fixed? What kind of dope is Kanye on these days?

I used to envy his ego because it pulled him to the top so quickly. I’m not looking to be a power-hungry, attention-whore superstar, I just want to be successful at I want to do with my life and I can see there are several ways to go about this. I also see that I think more than I do and I believe this contributes a lot to my depression.

But if I didn’t have as much anxiety as I do, I’d be doing a lot more than I’d be thinking.

There’s got to be some way to balance this all out. I have my eyes set on my goals and while Kanye is busy fixing all the broken wolves of the world, I’m going to build up a true confidence and a healthy level of arrogance (I believe there is such a thing). I know I’m determined to share my story with the world and create a legacy for myself that, if I’m lucky, can influence at least one person on this earth.

If I could stop one person from pulling the trigger or help one person reestablish the life they want, than I’ll have done my job.

If you were a close friend of mine, you would know one of my most infamous come-backs to people who get taken back by the words I say is “I wasn’t put on this earth to be nice”.

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Sometimes they misconstrue the meaning of that. I certainly wasn’t put on this earth to be nice, I believe that whole-heartedly. Because being a “yes man”, being someone who just says “well that’s how it is I guess” isn’t my personality. It’s part of my anxiety, but never my personality.

To me being supportive to someone isn’t being nice, it’s being humane. It’s being normal, if I were ever to define normal.

I’d much rather be the reason they say “I love life” than be stuck asking myself “what if” as I watch them get lowered into the ground.

Because it’s never really been done for me, I want to do it for others. That’s my reward for having made it through as much as I have. 

How Intelligent Are You?

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I need to speak about this.

This may not be as whimsical or joking as my other posts, because I’m disturbed. I’m deeply disturbed and actually a little hurt. Not for myself, but for the people who have been reaching out to me specifically and confiding in me. I see a disturbing trend in a subject that’s only ever touched on briefly in the media.

I’m on a website to help people dealing with depression or crisis or other mental health issues. (Yes, they train you, but what better training is there than having been in such situations yourself?) I spent a few hours today talking with a deeply saddened individual who was cutting themselves as we spoke and I stayed on the inter-web line with them until I could confirm they were safe to the best of my abilities. I also gave them resources links. I’m used to speaking with the deeply depressed and hopeless.

What I was not prepared for today was the influx of high school students applying to college, and undergraduates.

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Obviously that’s a stressful time in many people’s lives: it was stressful in mine because I realized spending the last two years of my high school career smoking weed in the back of the school wouldn’t help me get into Stanford and that I was stuck in my home down for another three years. Who would have known? Life is a mystery.

I’m sure you’ve all heard recently that this generation of college applicants and high schoolers are under the most amount of stress yet. I’m sure you’ve all heard that because that’s all you hear–that one line. Maybe they mention the price of tuition (which, by the way, I was seriously considering sawing off my left leg and sending it in with one of my applications just to see if they’d willingly accept the payment) or the average required G.P.A (U.S.A standards here).

We don’t talk much anymore about how we force kids to intertwine their identity with their grades or about how we constantly compare their grades to their level of intelligence and therefore knowingly pressure them into perfection? Something we tell them from birth doesn’t exist

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I went through college prep; the class was small and I felt generally comfortable around them. We knew each other all four years. They stressed a 3.5 G.P.A and above, labeling 3.5 as the absolutely worst you could do.

Because I had nothing else, and because it was the only thing the school and I felt I could excel at, I turned to academia as my savior. So when I went to college and pushed a 3.9 G.P.A, I had self confidence. I could do something right, and people respected me for it, particularly for my writing. Each essay I wrote had to be better than the last. Each paragraph I wrote needed to be ingenious, particularly since I wasn’t so great of a talker.

Part of my drive to become an M.D came from the fact that people expect me to do something they consider great.

I’ve since found my own reasons to strive for it.

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The Stamp On My Forehead I Wore Not So Proudly

It all fueled my self-esteem and I wrapped my identity around it all. So when my mental health decided to tear me down and my G.P.A fell from 3.9 to 3.5 I almost killed myself. I was self-harming like crazy, sitting in my room, the stress and depression getting worse the more I focused on it, figuring out ways to kill myself with style.

I wished I could have a gun, that would have been the ultimate way to go out, like the man who took his life right down the street from my house in his car. Quick and painless if you do it right. They say those who use violent weapons are generally self-loathing and I certainly loathed myself at that point in my life.

Slitting the wrists vertical was an option, but I couldn’t leave the mess. I considered jumping off that one cliff again but could never find the energy to drive out there. Perhaps I didn’t want it enough.

If I wasn’t perfect, I didn’t want to be alive. I hadn’t even turned 19 yet.

These are values instilled in some of us in this education system. If you don’t live up to these expectations, if you don’t become this, if you don’t get into this school than what’s the point of your life? You can’t get a job without college, you can’t be happy without college, you’re NOTHING without college.

I beg to differ. Greatly.

I spoke to so many students today who scored spectacularly on the SAT (perfect score I believe), maintained amazing G.p.A’s and did everything right. Most of them got rejected from the schools they wanted.

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Now let’s think about that for a moment. What does it take to get into an Ivy League school? Often money or Fame or family history or ethnic background help tremendously because let’s not forget that all too important quota to fill.

So the system they make us strive for perfection in, the system they say will guarantee us a good reputation (as if that defines our character), is one of the most imperfect piece of shit machines man has corrupted in the last few hundred years.

That’s how desperate we are as a society for perfection. It’s not what you do with yourself, it’s not how you handle or acquire the knowledge you do, it’s all about how it looks on paper. 

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This is why I loathe the reality of resumes and professional interviews; it’s all just a way to make yourself sound like some perfect, well oiled machine when you’re really just a ratty old human.

We’re obsessed with the idea and theory of intelligence, not so much the actuality of it. Everyone wants to be “smart”, but most people are conflicted on what that means. And for good reason.

I talked down another medical student ready to give up on life because he felt like his fellow students were more successful and perfect than him.

I saw an influx of people my age who could think about nothing more than their reputation, than who will be proud of them when they get finished slaving over a pot of grades on the stove of college, as if any of that determines a happy life. I took the time (a couple hours each person) to pull them from that warped mind set and got them into the present, talking about the good things about themselves, their personality, the other things in their life besides the pressures placed on them. I helped them see, for a brief moment, perfection doesn’t exist and I’m living proof.

gifted_childI don’t see this as much in people who were not pushed as children to be better than everyone, in people who were exposed to other things besides academic education, in people who were allowed to develop their own interests instead of their worthiness as humans being placed upon their unusual level of intelligence.

So, more than anything, this is a message to the future college students and current college students who feel that stress of living up to a certain reputation that has somehow been placed upon you. A G.P.A is about as relevant to your life as your I.Q. Your I.Q is about as indicative of your intelligence as the bottom of my shoe, the one that stepped in the dog shit.

I mean, think about it. IQ tests mainly measure processing speed and vague understanding, (as well as learned knowledge they don’t tell you about). But who said that was the definition of intelligence? If the validity of science is determined by what it can measure and what it can detect, and the measurement is horribly inaccurate because of that fact that what you’re measuring can’t actually be measured unless you yourself create the parameters and definition of said thing being measured (and therefore end up with a biased definition), than how in the world can you logically conclude you can pinpoint the level of someone’s intelligence?

My point? Live by your own terms. It saves a lot of heartache on your part.