Controversial Concept Monday

I should make that a thing.

Here’s a common misconception about my “mental illness”. It’s a disease.

#ControversialConcept coming up. Everyone, grab your mouth guards, put on your boxing gloves, run a lap around the track until your huffing and puffing results in a calf cramp because you didn’t stretch before hand, fall on the ground, and let me put my foot on your back and explain something real quick.

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And before I go any further, I’ll start with my usual (usually unofficial) disclaimer: I do not in any way deny what we feel. The mood swings are real. The hallucinations are real. The pain is real. The anxiety is real. The panic attacks are real. The obsessive, compulsive behaviors are real. The struggle, of all things, is very, very real. They are not something we can turn off and on like a switch. They don’t just “get better” because we want them to get better. We can’t just “push through” like what we experience doesn’t exist.

What we experience does exist and it is very, very real.

What I will always, until the end of my days, fucking put on blast is how we describe what we experience. What I will always put on blast is how we act like everyone else needs to change how they view us (which they do) without addressing how we need to change how we view ourselves with the same urgency.

Just like your average child with mental health issues, I knew I was different from the other children, and I knew how, but I didn’t have a name for any of it. I knew people who were shy, but they didn’t seem to isolate themselves like I did. I knew people who were “weird”, but they didn’t seem to think of things the way I did. I knew people who did things alone but they didn’t seem to adore it in the way I did.

I knew people who didn’t trust people, but they didn’t seem to create theories around it and ruin relationships over it.

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I knew people who were sad, but it didn’t seem to drive them to write suicide letters and self harm.

I knew people who were confident sometimes, but they didn’t seem to think they could cure a major disease by reading a textbook and scrambling down random theories like I did.

It was high school I decided to do research on myself. I started reading. I read about dopamine decreases and increases. I read about serotonin (back before the study came out that reaffirms serotonin is so complicated neither an increase or a decrease can be solely blamed for anything)  and medications for all types of disorders. I liked to ignore the symptoms of “more severe” disorders because, although I met the “Criteria”, I knew I, as a 14 year old, wasn’t qualified to diagnose myself. I could never know about me what the professional would know about me.

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Right?

I was 17 when I realized something major: it was rare someone with one of these apparent mental disorders was in the field of psychology. It was rare they were psychiatrists. It was rare they were clinical psychologists.

That left a large margin of people (bipolar, schizophrenia, and otherwise) at the hands of people with little to no experience but their trusty little textbook case studies. I died a little inside.

Then I pulled a Kenny McCormick and I kept dying. I died when I found out the companies researching funded their own research. I died when I learned many old medications are restructured and then sold as new medication with little or no difference for a hundred times higher of a price. I died when I learned, from experience, we don’t have a lot of say when we’re up against this system. I died when my therapist was required to recommend me for medication or else my insurance wouldn’t cover my fucking visit. I died when I heard stories of toddlers being force fed anti-psychotics for fussy behavior.

I died when I realized this was a business.

But most of all I died when I heard people referring to themselves as sick. Because when I was growing up, in my own world, absent from my peers, I understood I was different. I hated myself often for it, but I loved myself as well. And I only started seeing it all as a problem until I was told it was. And even then, at 17, I was beyond a point where I would believe their point of view.

I died when people who didn’t know one thing about biochemicals, about epigenetics, about environment, about neurotransmitters or how no one, I don’t give a fuck if they are SUPERMAN, can EVER trace ONE neurotransmitter and act like that’s the problem, agreed that a “chemical imbalance” is causing their “disease”.

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I died when the studies coming out of Stanford and other such institutions disputing the evidence supposedly “found” for a chemical imbalance got shoved to the back burner.

I’m sure NAMI has told you more about your imbalance than it has about how much of a very poor theory it is.

My inspiration for this post came from this article on The Mighty: Click Here.

I respect this contributor. I respect The Mighty fully. I simply disagree with her statement here:

The brain is a physical organ, with physical components, one that resides within a physical body, and when things go awry, one that needs very physical solutions. So many people make the mistake of treating this physical problem with spiritual or emotional solutions, as I did, for decades and with little success. There may be periods of relief, yes. But the problems return.

I don’t disagree with her because she is “Wrong”, because she’s not. The brain is a physical organ, just like the heart.

Ask anyone with a member of their family diagnosed with a heart disease (my father has congestive heart failure) and you will know they are often told take this medication and reduce stress.

There’s a physical component, and an environmental component. Your heart reacts to life just as your brain does.

To act as if there is only one component to your physical health or your mental health?

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It’s true, we can’t control everything we experience. I’m not disputing that. I’m disputing calling that a problem. I’m disputing the idea of that being caused by solely a physical malfunction in every human being.

Your brain is not like other organs. It harbors consciousness. It harbors personality. It integrates every ounce of information you receive, even subconsciously. It can’t be treated like the other organs. Even THEY respond positively to environmental changes. And as much as I would love to agree with all of you who say we need to start treating mental illness like physical illness . . .I can’t. Because we already have been.

We call it an illness, a sickness, a “disease” and we make you believe it because, fuck it, scientists signed that shit.

We show you the scans of the brain and tell you what it means. We don’t tell you our study was only of 30 people and only for four weeks. That’s certainly enough time to make a generalization for the whole of the mental health biological basis, am I right?

We won’t tell you the studies fell through when people tried to replicate it.

We get rid of the psychological component and any interpretations based on human common sense, and focus on the biology we don’t even understand. 

We make money off you. 

That’s treating mental health like physical health.

At 15, I thought studying psychiatry would help me reach those people who didn’t have peers in the system. I then learned I would be required to pay attention to their symptoms, not them. I would be required to do what the book said, what the insurance companies said, and that’s what I was going to 10-12 years of fucking school for, to be a zombie, when I have more experience with mental health issues than the fuckers on the DSM-V board.

If they think I’m someone known for playing by the rules, they should read my previous post. 

Psychopathy and The Mental Health System

Hi all.

How’s it going? Are you all doing well?

Let’s talk about psychopaths.

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I have an interesting book here that I’m reading entitled “The Psychopath Whisperer” by Kent Kiehl Ph.D.

If you know anything about this blog site or me, you know I have a fascination with all things considered actually”insane” and/or “untreatable”. Sociopathy and Psychopathy fall undoubtedly in those categories in the psychological world.

If you anything about my career goals, I also have plans of having experience as a prison psychologist or working with the most “troubled” and “ill-mannered” children in a juvenile system.

At 21 years old, I didn’t think I would ever have offers like the above like I have just because I have both a mental health background and a psychological education background. I was telling my psychologist today, everyone always thinks I’m a pretty straight and narrow kind of person, shy, quiet, kind, good in school with a plan for my life . . . when what they really don’t understand is that I’ve just never been caught doing anything and my charm is quite magnificent when I want it to be.

I have not nor will I ever murder someone, get your head out of the gutter people.

And although I’ve discussed many times here my anxiety and depression, there are times during my life where I am void of both. It’s like a switch, and I feel it, and I just go along with it. I’m a curious case, I think.

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Knowing I can fuck with people who are purposefully trying to catch me is an ego boost.

At fourteen I enjoyed taking the family car for a joyrides at two in the morning. I liked dealing drugs, I liked fucking with the staff at the school, I took a lot of pride and joy in them never knowing all of the things I did at their school. I took a lot of pride in the fact that I could lie so easily to their face and mess with their emotions and make them think I was a wonderful, albeit shy student. I took a lot of pride in knowing that was my best cover to never get caught doing anything, whether it be with the cops, my parents, strangers, or schools.

I was never wary of and am still not wary of “punishment”. I don’t commit many crimes, I don’t seek to harm people or hurt people in any way. But if a situation arose where I did want to, or I had to, I know I could do so rather easily and weasel away unscathed.

Which is what drives me interested into the realm of the “psychopath”.

There is an actual difference between a psychopath and a sociopath. A sociopath is labeled with Antisocial Personality disorder once they are caught committing a crime and their history is examined. A psychopath is labeled as such via the PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist Revised).

Convenient, right?

What is the list you ask?

 

  • Glib and superficial charm
  • grandiose estimation of self
  • need for stimulation
  • pathological lying
  • cunning and manipulativeness
  • lack of remorse or guilt
  • shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
  • callousness and lack of empathy
  • parasitic lifestyle
  • poor behavioral controls
  • sexual promiscuity
  • early behavior problems
  • lack of realistic long-term goals
  • impulsivity
  • irresponsibility
  • failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • many short-term marital relationships
  • juvenile delinquency
  • revocation of conditional release
  • criminal versatility

Read more: http://www.minddisorders.com/Flu-Inv/Hare-Psychopathy-Checklist.html#ixzz4CMgJUPC

Most assuredly we all have a bit of understanding towards these terms, I’m sure we all know what grandiosity is and pathological lying, irresponsibility and impulsiveness. We all have general definitions for these things.

judge-with-arms-crossedRevocation of conditional release is essentially the individual repeatedly failing to “redeem” themselves when given an opportunity. For example, you get arrested, you go to jail for 180 days and you never return back–you learned a “lesson”. Your friend gets arrested and goes right back to that life.

“Parasitic Lifestyle” can be summed up as a lifestyle which consistently interrupts relationships in an unfortunate way, like purposefully being a couch potato or constantly draining your parents and or friends of money without any compensation or intention of compensation.

Need for stimulation isn’t like a “poke me with a pin” or “brand my ass with a cow prod” kind of stimulation, it’s more of a “I need to get involved with something” kind of need. I need to feel that rush, I need to mess with these people, create a shockwave.

What is most interesting, in my eyes, about the idea of psychopathy, is the induction of philosophy and personal bias into the characteristics.

For example, in the book I mentioned above the author did a miniature case study comparison on John Wilkes Booth (President Lincoln’s Assassin) and Charles Guiteau (President Garfield’s assassin). In the category of “Callousness/Lack Of empathy”, the author gave an excerpt of one of Booth’s letters where he claims himself a confederate doing duty upon his own responsibility and pledges his love for the Southern half of the united states.

The author goes on to say :

“Booth had adopted the racist ideology of the time. Personally, I find it very difficult not to score a racist who endorses slavery high on the Callous/Lack of Empathy. However, we have to review the rest of Booth’s life. In it we fine little evidence of any callousness or inability to empathize with others. Since we find evidence in only one domain of his life, we must score him in the low to moderate range”.

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I despise slavery as well. I have slaves and cotton pickers in my ancestry after all. It’s ruined generations of my family  and only served to add more fuel to the historical trauma fire that colonialism started.

But it would be biased of me to score someone’s level of empathy based on a belief system they acquired through the systematic brainwashing of their childhood. If I was raised under a strict conservative household to believe blacks are ignorant, ill-mannered animals not worth the dirt under my shoes, how I treat them is a result of what I was told as a one year old, a two year old, a three year old, e.t.c.

Some people grow out of that. Some people see the damage they cause by such belief and they choose to believe something else. They make a choice. Some do not. Do either of those paths effect how callous of an individual you are? If I were taught one specific thing and never experienced a reason not to (such as leaving the family, the state, the environment, e.t.c) why would I feel the need to be empathetic towards that one specific thing?

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I’m not giving an excuse to these people. I understand the majority of people believe that because slavery is horrid, endorsing it and racism in any fashion represents callousness towards humans and/or ignorance. I don’t disagree.  I’m simply asking how much of what you are taught results in the level of emotion you feel towards others and whether or not that can be critically and unbiased-ly judged abnormal, normal, wrong, or right by beings who are inherently biased.

Morality and Ethics is a tough subject in philosophy because one realm takes the side of “majority rules” as what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”. The other realm takes the side of “You’re taught what is right and wrong by a select few who decided what was right and wrong and you have to decide for yourself”. Some realms sum it up to feeling and personal opinion. It’s not something I claim to be an expert in, nor is it something I claim has a right or wrong answer: that would defeat the purpose of discussing this.

80917c90c6d36e170c70f5f15c054d0eThe problem I see here more so than anything is that we judge character, particularly in regards to mental health, on how we believe someone should act. Even when we try not to, we are human, and therefore we will make that mistake indubitably.

In the psychology/psychiatry field, what happens is what becomes normal is what we’re told is normal and what becomes abnormal is what we’re told is abnormal. And what we miss is the entire story of both individuals. We fish for symptoms and characteristics to match them to a chart and they become just another person with a problem. 

(Psychopathy is an exception here, they obviously could care less what you call them, fisherman like to fish so they fish; killers like to kill so they kill. That’s the world).

But that’s just my opinion, as flawed and biased via experience as anyone else’s. I’m sure you see the conundrum now. 

 

Cheating Death

Is it sad (as in pathetic, as in petty) if I consider my Chromebook’s ability to function at half capacity an analogy to myself and my life?

moronYou see, I am an idiot. People say I’m smart, they tell me I have all these wonderful qualities and characteristics, that I’m hilarious, that I have common sense and a gift for connecting with people who also hurt internally. But in the grand scheme of things, I must be an utter moron.

What do I expect to happen when I leave juice next to an electronic device, and then decide to flop down on the bed like a whale?

The keyboard is shot and I’m hoping I tipped it upside down, stuck it in rice, and hair-drier-ed it quick enough that the motherboard won’t be affected by some sugary, monstrous after-effect.

It’s a touch screen, luckily, and that still works. But it’s not the same.

Its short life flashed behind my eyes the moment the liquid slid over the flat keys and seemed into all the little crevices. I remember the first day I got it and the freedom it provided me from this over-sized desktop.

But essentially me and it are connected in another intimate way. It looks like a 700 dollar laptop (it wasn’t anywhere near that price) but it functions at the capacity of a 40 dollar laptop now that half of it is disabled.

Generally, when I try hard enough, I can look like a million dollars. But I function at a capacity worth less than a penny.

I realize I am generally a disappointment to the people around me–whether or not they are willing to say it to my face. I realize I am a bit of a burden to people. I can’t handle much noise or people and I often shut down if I’m put in that situation–or I just embarrass myself trying to blend in to the crowd. I say odd things, make odd jokes, and have trouble relating or connecting to people on an emotional level. I’m not exactly the kind of person you bring home to your parents, either, because chances are I won’t talk to them.

I’m essentially the human version of y=sinx:

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And regardless of whether or not I enjoy that, I’m aware it creates a kind of pressure upon people I’m around.

You can say “well, those are the people you shouldn’t be around”.

But that’s every person. Whether they are willing to say it or not, whether they let it bother them or not, they are taking on extra baggage by simply being involved with me.

I weep randomly like an abused toddler.

But if you asked someone who knows me in a general sense, they would tell you I’m always laughing and cracking jokes and the majority of them have probably never seen me shed a tear, even if I hurt myself. And they may call themselves my friend, and I may call them my friend as well, but the connection they have with me will always be undoubtedly more shallow than others they may have.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because for them, they have many kinds of connections with many people.

'Why must you keep building barriers between us, darling?'Through my eyes, I see myself distanced from everyone, consistently cut off from humanity. I agree I may contribute to that consciously a bit, but I believe a lot of it is unconscious behavior that I know nothing about.

So naturally I’ve contemplated suicide many times in my life, and I still do.

I think it’s a normal behavior for many people. Some people want to end it because of a job, because of an issue at school, because of an issue with their family . . . none of them are ill, or disordered for God’s sake, they just want a way out; they’re feeling trapped.

I’ve always felt trapped and I believe to some extent I always will be. Humans are not exactly a species I understand on an emotional level. I try to relate but I can’t. I think the act of trying so much as made me even more distant.

So when I’m feeling claustrophobic within my own mind and my own space, and when I’m planning the best way to leave earth without much pain or gruesome clean up, and when I’m contemplating what day and time I should go, who my belongings should be inherited by, I try and think about the things I will miss.

I ignore the thoughts of all the people who would supposedly miss me, not because I’m insensitive and not because I don’t care for those people, but because I want to find a reason to live for myself. I’m sick of having to endure things for the sake of others, and life is one thing I’ve been enduring for others.

I live for everyone else, constantly. I do what they wish me to do not because I’m comfortable but because I know it makes them happy and I would like to make as many people happy as I can.

Don’t confuse this with being a push-over. Ask anyone I know and they will tell  you if I don’t agree with something I will give a full hour lecture on the stupidity of it all. 

But when it comes to actions, things that I know other normal people do, I try and agree to them because I want to lessen the burden of my “oddness” upon others and instead place everything on my own shoulders. I suck at giving gifts, but if you want me to go to a movie with you on premier night, I probably will.

e08701a15e288ec622a52e51ef4f5ad2I try and think about the birds and how weird it would be to never hear them chirp again. I try to think about the clouds and the sky and how weird it would be to never feel rain on my skin again, how weird it would be to never feel a headache again (of which I have right now), how weird it would be to never heard another laugh or to laugh, to never hear or feel wind, or thunder, to never pet another cat or get licked by another dog.

Do I want to give up an opportunity to experience all of that?

This doesn’t stop me from feeling trapped or like a burden or useless or any other negative thing I associate with myself, but it does stop me from doing anything rash.

And isn’t that what life is about anyway? Aren’t we always trying to find new ways to cheat death?

My brain has been living in emotional survival mode the moment I spotted another human being outside of my immediate family. That’s 21 years of constantly fighting, and it’s tired.

I might not remember anything about my childhood, but I do remember feelings. And there isn’t a moment from my childhood I remember feeling comfortable with the world around me or the people around me. I was aware I wasn’t like them and no one told me that was alright. That’s a lot to deal with as a 4, 5, 6, year old.

They told me I’d grow out of it all.

I’m still trying to figure out what they meant.

All Shit

It is 4:19 in the morning.

You guys, do I really have to say anything other than that?

I’m tired as shit. 

This post is going to be shit. 

Because I’m tired as shit. 

And sick of shit.

It’s just all shit. 

You see, I have 8 dollars left in one of my accounts because someone was a little too excited these last few weeks and went shopping, went out to eat, bought useless items online while she was up thinking about all the ways she was going to become a millionaire on YouTube and all the ways she was going to build her own PC and get a studio and how she was destined to do this for the world and . . . and . . .

Obviously, those ideas and that confidence and that euphoria was short lived. Last week was my transition week back down to earth. My emotions were spinning out of control as they usually do, I was sleeping 11-14 hours a day, and now that it’s all over with, now that I’m generally stable, I see the damage that was done. I’m broke as fuck, ya’ll.

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But it’s okay. I can make it through this.

I’ve been lonely and frustrated with reoccurring thoughts of failure pressuring behind my eyes. I’m really good at fucking things up and not so good at repairing them.

But it’s okay. I can make it through this.

I’m a self-harming addict. Were you all aware of that? I don’t think I’ve spoken much on it. My scars on my wrists are really visible in the day light; I’ve had friends stare at them and say “what is that?” and I say “what are you talking about?” and they say “I can obviously see it” and I’m like “awesome. Let’s focus on something that isn’t my life, please”.

Remember, I’m the clown of the group. I’m not supposed to have problems, I’m too funny for that.

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One just gave me a hug instead of opening her mouth any further, and I appreciated that.

But I’m not someone who falls to temptation easily. My brain battles with me to harm myself–yes, you read that right. It spends more time and energy trying to convince me to harm myself than I do telling it no. I’ve been doing this since I was eleven years old. About ten years. I’ve gotten used to ignoring and scolding that little voice in my head that tells me I need to feel the pain.

Then there are times when I let them take control.

I used to harm myself (burn, cut, e.t.c) when I felt depressed, when I was lonely, when I was homeless and essentially forced into public education every day.

Then there were a few good years I didn’t self harm. And those were the years I learned to accept the depression and the anxiety, those were the years I learned I wasn’t alone and that there were other people in the world who felt the same. Those were the years I was generally stable, when medication kinda-sorta helped, when I found a passion in life I wanted to pursue.

Then one day I woke up with slits across the old scars and a wrap around my arm my tired self must have used to control the bleeding. And I thought . . . hmm. This again, eh?

Because a new dilemma has stepped into my life and that dilemma is unidentified emotions. When I’m angry, happy, depressed, disgruntled, elated, confused, fiery, agitated, irritated, generally okay, and lonely all at once, I get frightened. I try and distract myself but I end up crying and planning my suicide . . .until a moment later I’m convinced I was put here on this earth to complete a specific task and influence people’s lives like a messiah . . . until a moment later I want to tackle the next person I see and pummel their face into a bloody pulp . . . until I’m suddenly okay. Until I’m not again, a few moments later.

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It continues for hours and hours until I feel I’ve lost control of myself. Every sentence someone speaks to me ignites another bomb behind my eyes. These are the days I prefer to not be around anymore, not my boyfriend, not my parents, not a friend, no one.

So I find a way to physically hurt myself. It’s the only moment of control I have. And it’s often made me calmer, it’s made me present and in the moment.

There are a lot of misconceptions around self harm. That needy teenagers do it for attention. That only idiots do it. That it’s something stupid, it’s something that has no deeper meaning behind it besides how ignorant the human race can be.

First of all, what’s so wrong with wanting attention? Are you telling me the assholes in false advertising, the business moguls of this century, e.t.c aren’t attention seeking little whores? Give me a break.

Second of all, if a teenager is harming themselves it doesn’t become a matter of them being attention seeking or dramatic or stupid. It becomes a matter of you needing to give them attention. Because regardless of whether they are wanting it or not, it’s something they need. Something is not right, and something is hurting them deeply. Think of it this way: the scars on the outside represent the fight on the inside.

That being said, tonight I didn’t listen to the little voice. Tonight was successful because I’m in control of myself tonight.

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Quick announcement before I flop my head on this fucking pillow and pass out. I’m a contributor for a fairly new little website called “My Trending Stories” and I want to split the mental health topic I have started here with that site. I figured I’d keep that one a little more informational and critique-y and this one a little less formal and more personal.

If you’d like to check out my profile, click here.

If you’d like to browse through My Trending Stories, click here.

After careful consideration I agreed to write for them because I see potential in this website. It reminds me of a young Thought Catalog. There’s a large variety of articles and writing styles, kind of like WordPress but more Thought Catalog-y. My vocabulary at 4:57 in the morning is fucking amazing.

Anyway, there are tons of categories to read under and stories that can keep you entertained for days.

No, I’m not paid to promote them, I figured I’d just put out a good word about them because they’re pretty cool.

Check it out.

I’m going to sleep because fuck everything.

Dear Reader,

Let’s take a walk shall we?

Oh don’t worry your, um, . . . exceptionally average little face, I won’t take you into the woods and leave your brain splattered on any trees. Hm? The gun? Oh, I keep it on me at all times.

Why do I need a shot gun you ask? For . . . reasons.

Walk with me.

You see reader, through my eyes the world is a little bit different. Colors are too bright and burn a hole in my retina. People’s stares ravage my self esteem and their voices snatch my attention: what did they say about me? Like that guy, that guy that just walked past, what did he say about me? Why was he staring? Does he know something? hm? He wasn’t talking about me, you say? Than who was he talking about? His niece, you say? Hmm.

Reader, shh, do you see the car up there? Yes, the one parked by the curb. People are in it waiting for us to walk past, they could snatch us or spray us with sleeping gas or, even worse, stare at us: we should cross the street.

The world I see is full of people with a hidden motive, with a malicious intent, and I was sent here from wherever I belong to debunk those motives, dodge those intents, and creative a life worth living. Demons (my best friends) sit on my shoulder to whisper random thoughts into my ear and mood swings twist my head until I’m dizzy enough to fall off a cliff with a purpose to gain a steady vision of things in the afterlife . . . this couldn’t possibly follow me there, could it?

The cars-except the Tesla Models-burn rubber against my ear drum. All the noise, it rips through my nerves and squeezes the life from my heart until the muscle itself, not to mention my confidence and dignity (those have been smothered for years anyway, I’m sure they’ve suffocated by now) is withered and torn. It makes me feel, well . . . unsafe.

Hm? My gun makes you feel unsafe? Oh my dear, dear reader, you’re so silly. Keep up, will you?

Don’t be offended by both earphones in my ear, it’s not that I don’t want to listen to  your silly little inquires, it’s that I can’t handle this noise any longer. Music is the ultimate soother of all shattered souls, did you know?

The world is a frightening place.

Let’s watch the ducks for a moment, they’re not frightening. In fact, they’re rather cute. I don’t say cute very often, not in front of strangers, at least.

I would like to jump over this fence and get a picture of them in the water. Why don’t I, you ask? Is that what you said?  I can’t hear you. I’ll assume you did.

Listen to all the cars pass on the street beside us. What if they think I’m jumping into the bushes to do drugs? What if they call the police and I’m jailed or shot all over my aching need for duck pictures? Do you know how embarrassing it will be telling people in Hell how I died?

I don’t want people staring at me, reader. We’ll wait for a break in the cars.

. . .

. .

.

Now!

You didn’t do it fast enough, they saw you, that car right there. You don’t care? Well, it must be nice to live a care-free life like that, huh?

Just remember, someone is always watching you. You may not see them, you may not even feel them as I do, but their eyes are upon you. I feel them over my shoulder sometimes. Sometimes they’re sitting next to me, sometimes they’re simply all around. Hm? What? Speak up!

Oh, how do I know, you ask? I just know. I can feel them. It’s why I can’t sleep, it’s why I hesitate telling you these things because I know they are watching and listening. Who is listening, you wonder? Well . . . even I don’t have an answer for that dear reader. I only know they exist in one form or another, whether that be physical, spiritual, angelic, demonic, a royal stream of consciousness perhaps  . . . when you’re as connected as I am, you will understand.

It’s all in my head, you say? Perhaps so.

The ducks are gone. Your considerably late leap must have frightened them off. If the world is as twisted and frightening for them as it is for me, I understand why they took flight.

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Do you like my photo, reader? Yes?

Just know it would have been ten times better with a duck if you wouldn’t have fucked it up. Let’s continue this walk, shall we?

My brain plays tricks on me often reader, does yours ever play tricks on you? No?

You’re a liar. You can’t leap for shit and you’re a liar, are you proud of yourself?

I apologize. Let’s take a stroll through the trees, perhaps they will calm me. I need to get away from all these people, it’s a madhouse out here. Yes, I’m talking about the two people we passed walking here, that’s a madhouse. Did you see their stares? They were either trying to scratch my soul or get inside of my head and were they to reach either it would mean ten thousand years of darkness. Now you know why I walk with my eyes down.

That and I don’t like being stared at.

This is the quiet I’ve been looking for:

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I think I can take an earphone out. There are times when the silence of nature is the best medicine. And by silence, of course, I mean the breeze through the treetops above, the steady hum of the vocalist in my left ear, your whiny ass comments, and the voices in my head.

Do I hear voices? Why does everyone ask me that? I need to stop talking to myself in public. My answer is: not in the way you’re thinking.

We all have voices in our head, my friend. Some are our conscience, some are our friends, our enemies, some are internal, some are external, but we should be able to agree they are all, to a great extent, an extension of ourselves, of our emotions, of our repression, of our society, and of our humanity.

Do you ever wonder about what you can’t always see, dear reader?

What do I mean? Why, you don’t think this reality is reality, do you? Haha!

Ha!

Oh, you’re serious.

People are too caught up in narrowing themselves into a standard, and consequentially narrow reality into the standard with them. And if you don’t fit that standard, well, prepare to live a life riddled with doctors and diagnoses, instability, doubt, confusion, anger, shame, self-loathing, disbelief, and loss of hope.

No one took the time to understand my beliefs, they instead forced their beliefs of my beliefs upon me. Silly humans.

What kind of beliefs, you ask? What another silly question. Why would I tell anyone any longer? What did that get me before besides laughs and overbearing psychiatric “concern”?

Let’s take the focus off of me. Let’s put the focus back on life.

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I think we’re out of the woods. There’s a wall of cloud over the ocean up ahead, can you see it? That’s alright, it comes and goes. Some how we always make it out in the end.

See. I told you I wouldn’t shoot you. 

Feel The Burn (No, This Isn’t About Politics!!!)

As we speak . . .

Err, let me try that again.

As I type, a disgruntled, mostly mediocre writer hidden in the confines of her room corner accompanied only by the L.E.D blaring of at 28 inch computer screen and the voices in her head, and as you read, I am steadily fighting the urge to buy the most useless crap I can find on Amazon.

I don’t need it.

I don’t need it.

I don’t need it.

I DON’T need it.

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But . . .

I do.

Wants and needs are practically synonymous, right?

I have these obsessions occasionally. I think I spoke of one regarding pocket and chain watches. They come and go like the moon–so in that sense, they’re always there, I just don’t always see them.

In my teenage years I was obsessed with metal. I wore black every day, I had chains hanging from both sides of my pants, I had wrist bands, chokers, a collection of belts, and the shirts I wore were all band T-shirts. I didn’t like anything unless it was black, silver, or a dark blue. I liked to blend into the shadows.

It died off suddenly, replaced with science.

Now I’ve recently been fascinated with Gothic architecture, antique furniture, colored contact lenses, and Gothic decor.

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If you weren’t already aware, and if I have not shared this publicly, I am a miniature hoarder.

I say that because I’m not as active as some hoarders. Some go out to stores and buy the small little trinkets several times a week and surround themselves with those trinkets until they’re buried to their neck in them. Some collect junk off the street. Most see potential use in all of their items.

I do not have the means to buy trinkets everyday because I don’t have money and I am not comfortable outdoors. I lucked out. I think?

I do, however, pick up things from the street. For years I had them hanging on my room door until I had to take them down because they wouldn’t stick anymore. I don’t know where they are in this room anymore. I might have managed to throw them away.

I have cleaned my room a few times in the six years I’ve lived here, all massive cleanings due to family members from out of town coming in or a giant spider scaring me into them having egg sacks hidden around in corners of my room. Usually these cleanings were successful for a day or two, maybe even a week, and then my mind crumbles and I throw things where I can see them, otherwise I lose them.

This most recent cleaning was not near as successful as the others. My anxiety forced me to my knees on the ground, the hot flashes forced me into the hall every few moments and when I returned to the state of my room, the one place in the world where I am confined, alone, and myself as it was stripped down to its very core (meaning, you could actually see my floor), I shut down.

5075834918_e6d7e7b48e_bIf you spoke to me at that moment, I would only stare. Your words would have been muffled as my mind protected me from myself and the outside world. I was essentially a hollowed shell for a good thirty minutes. If I did respond to you, I would screech or throw something, which are the responses my mother elicited from me. Finally she realized how the panic was affecting me and said we’d done enough for the day. I felt an immediate wave of relief and went back to smiling and laughing a good ten minutes later.

I believe this mess I’ve accrued is partially a result of my scattered mind, of my need to have things accessible and within reach at all time, not tucked away in a drawer or hung up in a closet–what’s the point of all that? I have better things to do than worry about things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

I also believe it is attributed to a specific time in my childhood. When we were evicted those years back, the eviction that made us homeless, we kept what we could in a storage unit but many things we had to take to the dump. There was no ” we might be able to keep this”, it was simply discarded and forgotten and I had no control over it. I can’t remember much, it might have been a time where I was more anxious than I thought I was, but I can remember some trips to the dump, all the furniture we had to break down and throw away, including my bed. Although the furniture was just that, furniture, I didn’t get a lot of things as a child as it was, and now the majority of my stuff was either locked away and inaccessible or broken at the dump forever lost.

I started bringing things home from the dump with me. Toys and such, other things that weren’t damaged and just covered with a little soil, things I could wash off and potentially get some use from. At some point.

There are many things in my life I haven’t had control over, and one thing I can control in my room is how it looks.

Seems contradictory in a sense, seems like if my room is the only thing I can control, I would want it neat and tidy. But that’s not how my brain works.

My brain is not neat and tidy.

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If you have not seen Tidy Monster animation on YouTube, go watch it, I command thee.

My room is clean when I am on top of the world (or when I’m panicking about a spider egg sack). I’ve had moments where nothing mattered to me anymore, I was full of energy and I threw away all the things I didn’t need anymore, hundreds upon hundreds of papers (I’m not exaggerating) and I took every item out of my room–mattresses, dresser, large black television I have no use for anymore, three layer desk of which I’m sitting at right now, exercise bike of which I have no energy or space to actually put to use . . .everything,and got my hands and knees and scrubbed the walls, the corners, vacuumed, danced to music .  . .

I started at eight in the morning (after being up all night) and cleaned until 9 p.m.

That was the last deep clean my room had. The last ones have been small efforts until I get distracted and suddenly want to ride my bike to start training to become the next American Ninja Warrior or I get distracted by an article or philosophy or a million things.

I love my brain. But I’ll be damned if it’s not a workout to keep up with it sometimes.

 

WWYB: Where Would You Be?

assassins-creed-syndicate_bugWhen I’m not screeching at my computer for suddenly restarting and updating without my permission, and when I’m not attempting to break my Playstation controller in half because AC Syndicate has more glitches than my skin has fucking pores, I’m calmly and collectively scrolling through dozens of articles pretending like my opinion on anything I read actually matters.

Sometimes I talk about these articles on here, you all are aware of that. I tend not to avoid any topics: religion, spiritual things, politics, and how those things relate to mental health. Sometimes I come across articles so infuriating I have to forget about them for a few days lest I want my brain to explode. Sometimes I come across stories so stupid I have to get up from my seat and take a quick jog around the apartment to rid myself of the stupid that got spilled all in my eyes.

tears-glassSometimes I read things about Nick Cannon challenging anyone to a rap battle for 100,000 dollars and tears of pity stream down my cheeks for that poor soul who thinks he can actually spit a bar worth anything more than the water in my toilet. Which, granted, can be valuable in areas of the world that don’t have fresh water.

Then I see a story of an Orca beaching herself at Seaworld after performing a show and I read the reports of her having repeatedly been caught banging her head into the metal railings and I’m reminded of how real feeling captive and trapped is to all life in some form. To those people who say self-injury is for “attention-seeking teenagers”, is that whale an attention seeking little shit too?

I can’t say for sure whether she was beaching herself on purpose; as the Seaworld people said, they’re trained to do it, but they don’t have an argument for her slamming her head into metal repeatedly. They train her to do that as well?

I see articles about what’s “TMI” (too much information) in mental illness and my reply is immediate and unwavering: nothing. Stop sheltering people from the truth about mental health struggles and stereotypes get debunked. It’s very simple.

Then I come across articles where my opinion is swayed in neither direction, where the author describes a position I’m sure we’ve all been in at some point in our lives: How do you transition into adulthood with Mental Illness?

The author speaks about Autism, depression, and struggling with life changes, routine changes, and transitions in terms of graduating college and moving out of the sheltered, very redundant scheduled life that is public education and into a world that provides no manual and no hopes of accurate predictability.

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She speaks about fantasy and reality: what you want to do with your life and what you can do with your life. This quote stuck out to me

“You might look at your goals and realize that you may never actually run a business or be a fashion designer. It’s too much. I’m always wondering what I would have been capable of if I were neurotypical. But we have to let that go.”

for a very particular reason.

I do not have Autism, apart from the few months I did when they thought I did back in Kindergarten, but from what I understand from the people I’ve met, one thing that can be particularly difficult is establishing connections and relationships with people. I might not have Autism, but I empathize with that completely. People don’t like to talk about consciousness and philosophy for hours, they get disturbed by the things I say, they get offended by things I say and even more offended if I say “I’m speaking generally, don’t take it up the ass” (I wonder why), and I’m not comfortable around them in any way, shape, or form. I don’t like people too close to me, I don’t like staring in their eyes, I don’t like how I can’t tell if their tone of voice and facial expression is meant to mock me like I’m convinced it is, or whether I’m just over-analyzing them.

Simple things overwhelm me. Noise, light, loud voices, large crowds, a Jury Summons letter, a conversation, grocery shopping, phone calls, people near me during phone calls, my own thoughts, my moods, walking through my own house when someone I’ve only seen but never spoken to other than a tentative and slightly reluctant”hello” is in the living room speaking with my father.

109789lost_in_my_own_mindThere are times I feel so overwhelmed and busy that I have to sit and think for a moment, because the strange thing is I haven’t done anything. I haven’t done anything other than listen to the inside of my head. And in there I get lost, sometimes purposefully, for hours or days or weeks or months. I lose focus on school work, on regular work, and I start doubting myself again.

I tell myself the same thing: it’s too much. If I can barely handle college here, what will Medical school be like for me? If I can barely handle working 20 hours a week, what will residency be like for me?

Being alone at night drives me crazy: I’ve been pretty open with my issues of feeling like there’s some kind of demonic watch over me (no, I am not religious), and it’s most prevalent at night; I always hear footsteps in the hall that don’t seem to exist when I open the door (although sometimes it is my mother) and it only fuels my paranoia. I go through periods of spending my money on the stupidest little things, lots of them, until the point where at least a hundred dollars is gone within a matter of minutes. How, with those two things working against me, will I be able to live on my own?

Roommates make me nervous. I’ve lived in that situation before. They would conclude me a freak for isolating myself, and they won’t understand why I have to have lights on and fans on to block out noise, they won’t understand how little things like the mumbling of the T.V or voices through a wall prevents me from sleeping or how I have to have a generally quite environment to keep my sanity.  How would I survive a dorm?

The list could go on for ages.

But it all results in one thought pattern that hurts more than anything: “I’m always wondering what I would have been capable of if I were neurotypical”. 

I wouldn’t be living here with my parents. I would have already finished the majority of my degrees–I know I’m very intelligent, it’s the whole having to go outside and be around people thing that’s preventing me from moving at a steadier pace. I would be pretty average. I would still have problems in my life, everyone does, but why do I feel like those problems would be easier?

I think this is also something many of us can struggle with, especially those of us trying to work or establish an educational title for ourselves. Some people get over this hump easier than others. I am not one of those people.

While I cherish who I am and how I am, while I will always be grateful I think the way I do and see the world through my own eyes, it can be difficult to get out of that doubting mindset. 

Cats

You guys.

YOU GUYS.

How come no one told me there are such things as “emotional support” animals? Why is this not a thing I was immediately aware of at the moment of my birth? Why have I been living my life absent of the cuddly preciousness that is a kitten?

dwarf-kitten-01You see, I’m a huge sucker for cats. I lived twelve years of my life with one until she passed and ever since I’ve been trapped within the confines of an apartment which requires a hefty 250 dollar deposit if you have the slightest inclination of bringing a feline or canine into your house that you pay over-priced rent for.

BUT.

You Guys.

If you register an animal as an “emotional support” animal, your apartment complex (as long as it’s larger than four units) can’t deny your animal, nor can they legally charge you a fee to have it.

I would like one order of a nice, fluffy, indoor little buddy who can keep me entertained enough not to stab myself in the throat. Is that too much to ask? IS IT?

I know they have trained service dogs that, in terms of mental health, can help comfort you when it senses you’re having a panic attack, which would be awesome. But a dog would not be happy in this tiny complex and I couldn’t force it to live a claustrophobic lifestyle just so its fluffiness can ease my pain.

I would gladly claim myself “mentally disabled” if that means I can acquire a ball of happiness from an adoption center and not have to pay my apartment complex a cent.

fluffy-puppy-pictures-cuteimages-netI do think an animal companion can be really useful. I bet many of you have animals (lucky bastards) and I’m sure you are much happier when your–insert animal here–jumps on your lap or licks your face or whines at you or jumps on you when you enter the house. At least you know as long as you keep feeding them and you don’t abuse them, they will always love you.

You could feed your human friends all you want and they’ll still drop you faster than you drop a hot skillet.

It’s summer here, and you know what that means: isolation, isolation, and more isolation. I don’t want to be alone in this, I want a kitten to be isolated with me. I can play with it and give it food and watch it learn the world around it.

Summer here for me has and always will be hell. Tourists from the south and the north come and converge in the middle, where we are, along the coast, where we are, and they get their vacation rentals and plug up our hotels and clog our streets and I can’t step out of my apartment without getting engulfed by a group of preppy short-shorters who stare at my sweats and baggy sweater and hood over my head like I’m crazy.

So essentially I’m trapped.

I’m starting to feel it, it’s weighing in on me too. The only time I’m comfortable leaving the house is at night now and what the hell am I going to do at night besides drive around? Eat at Denny’s and pray I don’t get food poisoning?

I can’t even cycle without feeling completely overwhelmed by the amount of people, and that’s the only form of exercise I can happily do outside so no matter how much I don’t eat, I’m still putting on a few extra pounds. So you know damn well I’ve thrown the contemplation of taking medication again out the window: I’ll blow up like a balloon.

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I don’t think I could juggle a class and work this summer, so I’ll be dropping the class. I also think I registered for too many units this semester and will be splitting them over two semesters. Which means I’ll be here for another year.

At this point, I feel the all too familiar claws of failure gripping my neck. My nightly panic attacks are returning, so that means I’m repressing something. It’s probably all of the aforementioned things, the beginning of summer, the reminder that I can barely sustain a manageable amount of discomfort around two people let alone ten every two feet.

I try to believe that people aren’t automatically harboring some wicked agenda against me, but it’s not feasible 90% of the time.

I won’t go into a rant tonight.

I could really use a cat, though.

Step 2: Infiltration

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*For those of you who are wondering, there was never a step 1. It’s 1 a.m give me a break, coming up with titles is getting hard.*

Anyway, there comes a time in a bloggers life when she has to sit and think:

What do I really want my blog to cover?

I’m sure we all remember the string of days my wit was impeccable and my sarcasm impenetrable. We all remember the early days of my blog when I took such gracious pleasure in ripping a new one into Alex Gorsky, the C.E.O of the company Johnson and Johnson  for receiving his “man of integrity” award for being an outstanding “corporate leader with a sense of social responsibility”. Don’t know who Alex is? Don’t know what post I’m talking about? Well then I say hello to you and welcome to my blog, what took you so long to get here? There are cookies in on the table in the back. 

Here’s the post about Alex with the original article linked.

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Look At That Face: You Just Know He’s Up To No Good

There are two things I enjoy most in life: making people laugh and making people think. 

When I first started this blog I never believed I’d even reach fifty followers. I barely even understood what a follower was and wondered if I could make them do my bidding.

I just knew that I loved to write and I loved to have people read my writing. 

My first blog I was going to focus only on social anxiety. I wanted it to be planned, well thought-out and I wanted the posts to be articulate and informational.

Then I got bored. I mean fall-asleep-at-the-keyboard-and-drool-on-the-keys bored.

And I think we can all agree as bloggers and writers if you are bored by your writing, chances are other people will be too.

float-awaySo I aborted that blog. It’s still somewhere out in the internet ether, floating around unmanned and essentially doomed.

It wasn’t until I started ignoring how my words fell onto the screen that I realized how therapeutic of a process blogging could be. I’ve learned a lot about myself over this last year from this blog alone and from the people who took their time to comment and read my words. Many of you have stuck with me through all the ups and downs and zig-zags and I’m thankful for that. It’s always nice when you’re twenty feet in a hole with two broken legs and thorns in your head from the time you thought you could run naked through the forest of Cacti without ramifications to wake up in the morning and see that little notification on your phone or your computer with an encouraging comment from someone.

Blogging has blown up with the internet. I remember this was a thing I used to make fun of: blogging? Who the fuck sits there and rants about themselves for a thousand words?

I guess I only came across narcissistic posters.

I was amazed at the variety of people on here: the artists, the lawyers, the health coaches, the doctors, the psychiatrists, many of whom I was surprised they even took a glance at my site, let alone click the “like” button. Them following me was like I won the lottery for a little blogging/social media newbie.

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There are blogs on WordPress who are absolutely astounding, who I feel should get much more attention than that woman Amanda Lauren who claimed her friend’s suicide was a blessing.

What strikes me about many of you wonderful people is your ability to be real and open. You’re not trying to pull wool over anyone’s eyes, not even your own. You’re not trying to sound like anyone but yourself and I admire that.

Now I must admit, there are some of you who are unbelievably friendly. You have smiley faces all over the place, your photos are fucking unicorns flying around in rainbows, you address all of us as friends and such, I don’t know how you do it. I mean let’s face it, I’m one hilarious freak, but I can come off pretty cold and detached.

The great thing is no one seems to give a fuck, so thanks for that.

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If there’s one thing that gets lost in the mental health system is our voice. A lot of people don’t have a say in their diagnosis, they can’t view their records, and even something as “simple” as going to therapy can feel like a trap. I know I’ve had therapists who have basically coerced me into agreeing with them. That’s when I was a teenager.

Little did they know I had eyes and, shockingly, a brain that could process a lot of information very quickly in the form of medical, pro-psych and anti-psych books. So when a physician tried telling me a side effect I experienced of a medication I was taking didn’t exist, I argued until she shut up and took me off the medication. And she was one of the nicest ones I’d been to.

When the hospital staff in the critical care unit shot up my dad with Ativan to stop a seizure and he started hallucinating, having delusions, and being extremely confused, in and out of consciousness and they said “Ativan doesn’t cause that reaction” without even batting an eyelash at the situation, I looked them dead in the eye and stated clearly:

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Long story short, because of me and my threat to bring up research, after they knowingly let him wander out of the hospital after he’d spent thirty minutes rolling on the floor laughing and pointing at hallucinations obviously not in his right mind, he’s listed as “allergic” on their records

It’s not smart to assume everyone who walks through your hospital doors has no knowledge of your medications and practices. 

If you’re someone who can’t do those things, who doesn’t want to spend seven or eight hours a day reading medical research and books I did as a teenager just to argue with a couple doctors, the ability to have a blog and get your voice out into other’s eyes and hearts, is priceless I think.

Because your voice matters. What you experience matters. Doctors are humans too, they make mistakes and you’re the only one who is an expert on you.

I love websites like The Mighty that empower people like us to get our voice out there and connect with others and share with others. I think that’s beautiful.

It would be more beautiful if we could reach the medical community in that way. 

It would be more beautiful if we had people like us in the system

I fully admire and endorse that one medical student who was very open and honest about her mental health struggles despite the panel that degraded her for her “weakness” and almost cost her medical school.

154088-you-give-me-that-warm-feeling-insideI was amazed when a mental health magazine based in San Francisco read my blog and loved it and asked me to feature one of their info-graphs in a post of mine. I was amazed by the overwhelming support I’ve received from you all, from magazines and websites, from organizations and everything in between. All of it just serves to remind me that I’ve always wanted this blog to not just be a voice for me, but for all of us in a way.

It serves to remind me that I can never forget where I’ve come from. No matter my degree title, no matter the day when I finally get to write M.D behind my last name, I’ll never just be a representation of the medical community, I’ll be a representation of those of us who never got or get the chance to have a voice within the medical/mental health community. I’ll be a representative of those of us stuck on the streets without food or a roof (been there, done that), those of us who struggle day after day, night after night lost in our heads without hope (been there, done that), those of us who harm ourselves and those around us (been there, done that),  those of us barely aware of reality (been there, done that), those of us too aware of reality (been there, done that), and everything in between.

We all have so much to say, so much we’ve experienced. I love the level it’s at now, I love the blogging, the websites, the social media . . . but I want to take it farther. I’m sure many people do. And we can if we do it together. 

 

How Connected Are You?

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How important has connection been to you?

Have you ever had a connection with someone (not necessarily an ‘intimate one’) where you felt you could be open with them and they with you?

Has that ever worried you? Has it ever come back to bite you on the ass?

I personally have dealt with mostly one-sided connections in my life. The type where they call you or text you because, guess what, Johnny just broke up with them again and they don’t understand why they can’t be loved. Or they come to your house because their parents are fighting and they can’t handle it anymore. Or they say “hey, what’s up” and halfway through your response they say “yeah, I’ve just been feeling a little down lately”.

ray-liotta-goodfellas-laughingI’ve had connections based purely on humor. That is, when I’m with them all we do is crack jokes and if anyone’s life is going to be talked about, it’s theirs.

I’ve had connections that I keep solely for the hopes of relinquishing the bouts of loneliness I’m plagued with. Perhaps this contributes to my mistrust of people, to my repulsion at the idea of having “friends”. After all, aren’t we both just associated with each other so neither of us has to feel alone?

Yes, through IPS I’ve learned much about the benefits of connection and understanding and I have my chance to share my stories (however much less ‘exciting’ they were from others) and relate to someone. For the first time in my life I had someone say “yeah, I’ve felt like that too” rather than try and relate to me through “oh, yeah, I kind of get like that when . . . –enter experience completely irrelevant to what I described– . . .”.

To me, that doesn’t show understanding, that shows me that you’re tying to convince me that everything I experience is normal and I’m exaggerating things.

Now, I’m someone who doesn’t care much for normality either way. But the thing is, nothing I say is exaggerated, those feelings are real and they can be painful, so to try and counter them with an experience you’ve had that you consider to be “normal” or, in my eyes, “not a big deal”, tells me you haven’t understood a word I’ve said. If you can’t understand that it’s a “big deal” to me, than you haven’t understood it at all.

That’s what I would tell someone who was struggling to understand mental health struggles.

I get told two phrases most commonly:

  1. When I express how hard it is for me to do certain things, I get “well I just push through it”.
  2. When I’m exhausted from anxiety, from depression, or from coming down from three weeks of running around on 3 hours of sleep and I say ” I’m so tired” I get ” from what?”

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And so the question for those of us who struggle on a daily with our brains remains: when is it safe to be open about our mental health and to whom?

An old psychology professor of mine told us never to mention our mental health in college applications or personal essays as a reason for the field you want to study. In fact, they’re more likely to see you as a liability than anything.

I read an article (source)today on a medical student who decided to be open about her struggle with mental health (anxiety and depression) and got interrogated by a panel group on whether or not she could “handle” being a doctor. They revoked their statements and worries after her grades improved.

She recalls people told her exactly what my psychology professor told us: “Do not mention you have any kind of weakness”.

And this is where my uncommon principals and views on the concept of “mental illness” play a part. If you keep telling people we’re “disordered” or that we’re “sick” or “damaged” . . . doesn’t that imply weakness?

It’s what drives me away from calling anything an illness or a sickness. I never could think of a good term to replace it, but I like what IPS called them: Reactions.

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If someone can call me weak for having a mental reaction, than I can call them weak for jumping when I scare them at the corner. The point is to find terms that bring the “average” people back down to earth, off their pedestal, and level with the rest of us.

Regardless of my views, or their unconventional ridiculousness that people probably don’t like, I think what truly matters here is how we see ourselves. How we communicate with each other.

Balance is what’s missing in my opinion. It’s not a matter of finding “scientific reason” for these “disorders”, it’s not a matter of finding cures or magical drugs, it’s about reminding people we’re all human. We all experience life differently. And to place a label upon someone and use it as an excuse to “classify” doesn’t fly with me.

More than 200 billion dollars Americans spent on Mental health last year I believe. On multiple doctor visits around multiple medications and multiple attempts to “Get better” that never really worked for many.

7bf

I’ve attempted to “Get better” too. Problem is I don’t have anything to “Get better” from because I was never sick.

I get better from the flu and from the cold. I don’t get better from how I experience life. There is no standard to try and reach.

Some people think I am invalidating their struggle when I say things like this. As if revoking the label “disorder” takes away the substance and the pain of what they experience. 

But I’m doing the exact opposite. I’m putting the authenticity back into what we all experience. What we experience is very real, it can be painful and terrifying and absolutely horrendous.

I feel those things don’t need to be “sick” to be significant.

I feel taking medication to help doesn’t mean you are disordered or sick either. I’ve considered getting back on them a million times over and that doesn’t sway how I see myself. I don’t see medication as a way to try and “fix” myself. I see it as a tool to help me transform and grow. And once I grow, I throw the tool away. I don’t need a wrench once the screw is tightened. 

And there are some who don’t have the luxury of getting off medication, either because withdrawal results in even worse symptoms, or because of the fear around falling back into a hole by coming off them. And you know what? That’s okay too.

We’re all the same. We all struggle. It hurts and it sucks and we have to push harder than most people some days.

But let’s not do a disservice to ourselves by reinforcing stereotypes placed on us by a panel of doctors who haven’t had an ounce of lived experience. 

Yes, APA, that’s a shot at you. Sue me.

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