In The Name Of Remembrance

Often I don’t speak about serious topics on here that are unrelated to mental health, but this topic, this topic is a disgusting exception.

As every good story starts, I was browsing Facebook this morning and came across an NPR article on the current Pope visiting Auschwitz concentration camp memorial museum. The article is here if you would also like to read it: click.

I have always been aware that the former concentration camps like Dachau and Auschwitz were open to tours. I went on Google Earth to creepily ride past in my virtual google car to see buses upon buses upon buses of school children and regular people walking into the Auschwitz entrance. It looked as if the whole of the Polish education system was there.

Across the street were some Restaurants and a Hotel. Cool bro.

After reading about the way both former concentration camps choose to educate those who come to mourn, to remember, and to learn, I came to the understanding that “tour” wasn’t really an appropriate word. It’s a memorial experience. It’s a “path of remembrance” (that’s the name of a specific route you can walk through at Dachau).

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They Have Historical Information Signs Along The Path, Hence The Name.

I respect these people for that. They take what has happened in their past and to make sure it will never happen again, they teach people about it. They have survivors share their story, and it’s part of their children’s education–extensively. A lot of Germany and Poland has healed as a result, they have been for the last 50 years. Say what you will about Germans, they’re not so ashamed of their own history that they hide it under the rug or play it down.

Reading all of this got me thinking about the United States. I wondered how many of the old slavery plantations are still resurrected today, and if we have any similar programs. There was a portion of my heart that hoped, with naivete, that America would have the scant amount of decency needed to partake in something as healing as the aforementioned. The other portion of my heart knew better.

The other portion of my heart knew with the amount of race-related turmoil going on in the United States today, there was no way in hell any amount of healing from the trauma of the south has happened.

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August 12, 1959

VS

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February 19, 2016 Source

The first plantation that popped up in my search was Pebble Hill. I’ve heard of it, but don’t know much about the history of the slaves. According to research, the land for Pebble hill was bought from the Creek Indians. Fraud and scandal was used later to steal the rest of the land and leave many Creek homeless.

I read this information on a Southern University website, particularly this one: click here. I admire them for adding the Indians into their history, many people do not. However, I critique their title of “African-American’s at pebble hill”. I critique their explanation that “African American’s helped build pebble hill”.

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Pebble Hill As It Stands Today

Those were slaves. Not “African-Americans”. Say what it is. Not what you wish it was.

That website also contains a list of families who lived there and took over the plantation, if you’re interested.

Continuing my search, I came across a website with an article where you could “Tour the South’s Best Historic Homes”. Pebble Hill was listed.

In fact, under the “Inspiring Ideas” category, it described the house as: “This classic plantation [with] breezy, colorful interiors with chic chinoiserie elements that feel au courant.”

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Now.

Let’s think about this for a moment.

Plantations did not kill as many as Hitler’s and Stalin’s concentration camps. Unless you include the generations to come after that. Particularly if you include the Native Americans . . . in which case, we’re at about the same level of indecency and murder as both Hitler and Stalin. So I suppose the only difference is ours was systematic and generational, and their was all at once.

To describe an area where people’s lives were shattered, where people served and got whipped and hanged and had to pick cotton and run your fucking house for you because you were too lazy of a piece of shit to do your own house work and take care of your own kids or pick your own cotton, as “breezy, [with] colorful interiors . . . that feel au courant” is a disgrace. Whoever has done this needs to feel the shame they deserve.

My anger fueled me to go onto their website. That’s where I learned weddings are held there.

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“I’d love to get married in a concentration camp one day” said no one ever. Why? Because that would be fucking DISRESPECTFUL, that’s why.

“I’d love to get married on your mother’s grave” said no one ever.

Would you do this shit at a concentration camp?

(#ConcentrationCampSelfie)

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No, Because You’re Not An Insensitive Prick.

Than don’t do it at a plantation.

Their “history” section on their plantation webpage talks only about the owners, and never the slaves.

Google reviews reiterated that the house was beautiful. A few commented on how they never mention any history of the slaves or give any types of remembrance for them. One individual who wished to at least see the grave sites had to ASK DIRECTIONS to find them, because it’s not included in the tour.

Texan textbooks described the slave trade as people bringing “millions of workers”.

The publishing company offered to send stickers to cover up the word “workers” in the printed books while they worked on more accurately depicting the slave trade.

The author of the article I read said it perfectly: “It will take more than that to fix the way slavery is taught in Texas textbooks”. You can read more about that here: click. It’s worth the read, I promise.

raf220x200075ffafafaca443f4786It’s not about political correctness. I’m not being PC principal here. It’s not even about bashing the South. I just want the truth. Don’t cover up the truth with a slightly, less severe way of telling it because then it becomes a lie. And if you want your country to be built on lies, than don’t act surprised or disgusted when citizens start rising up against you.

We need to give these people remembrance so their spirits can rest and ours can be healed. Stop beating around the bush, stopping putting stickers over the things you don’t want to read: we all know what happened, we might as well talk about it.

The goal isn’t to forget. It’s to remember. 

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Let’s Talk About It

Afternoon, all. It’s afternoon for me.

I just finished an article over at MyTrendingStories about Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter and whether any of it matters. Check it out here. Feel free to bash a comment over my head about it.

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In other news, this just in:

An article that must have gotten lost in the 1920’s just released new, striking information about recent research into psychoactive medication: it’s not good for long term treatment.

Another article that must have been living under a rock for the last two hundred years has just made headlines with: Locking doors in hospital doesn’t lower suicide rates.

Can we all just give these people a huge round of applause, please. I mean, think about all the brain power it took to come to these realizations, to find this research, and to use common sense to rationalize that people who feel suicidal really just need someone to talk with them.

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Thanks to those people for catching up with the rest of the world. There may be hope for us after all.

Especially if we speak out more like the woman who wrote this article “My Depression Is Part of My Slave Ancestry”. 

It’s a sad fact that Historical Trauma exists. It’s passed down from generation to generation, and can only be healed from generation to generation. It’s not just about brain chemistry. It’s not just about genes. It’s not just about environment. It’s not just about being “ill”. It’s about realizing life is a generational experience, it’s a continuum. That things happen and they effect you, your children, and your children’s children.

Call it paranoia if you like. Call it delusional, call it what you will, that won’t excuse its existence in one form or another.

routesI think about the ancestors I have which were most likely forced along the Trail of Tears. I think about the ancestors I have who were brought over on boats from their homeland in Africa, given different names, bought and sold like property, whipped and hanged, and forced to fight constantly for survival. I constantly wonder how far I could go back into my ancestry until names just stop because 1) they refused to put their name on a census or 2) they were given a different name.

Some people can go on Ancestry.com and trace their history all the way back to England. Or France. Mine will inevitably stop in America. The last name I hold now isn’t even the name of my paternal grandfather.

And I’ve wondered all my life why I felt I had an identity crisis. Some people could call that a “Borderline Personality” symptom: the consistent lack and shifting of identity. I call it a result of my history.

I always feel I’m being watched. Some people call that paranoia. I call that a result of my history: there are many cultures that believe their ancestors watch over them during the after life, and I feel I’m specially, spiritually inclined, I’ve felt that way since I was a child, and I believe I will continue to feel that way.

Sometimes my brain can take all of that too far. I won’t be able to sleep or feel comfortable or get up to step outside of my room because I feel like something on the other side of the door will attack me.

My entire ancestry has been attacked in the most brutal mental and physical ways. Is it any wonder I feel that way often? Is it any wonder my social anxiety has been with me since before I learned how to spell either word?

The other side of my family is Polish. Do we really need to go into their fight? I think we’re all very aware of it.

There are many sides to Mental Health besides the characteristics of disorders. It’s something we forget all too often, I feel.

 

The Point Of A Respite House

The majority of what you all have heard about this new job I have is the training we went through.

Tonight I figured I’d let you in on the alternative to a mental hospital. The alternative that is severely underfunded, understaffed, and few and far between.

I took you all through each day of that. In fact, the last post I published on the subject matter of IPS, which you can read here, was noticed by the organization and they published it on their Facebook page.

Somehow they found my identity. I’ll worry about that later. 

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What I think I did not mention, was that it wasn’t so much of a training as it was a chance to experience a different way of connecting with people, a way of personalizing your time with someone, a way to establish mutuality where both people involved learn and grow with each other.

It’s something not prevalent within the mental health system (I.e, Hospitals), I’m sure we can all agree on.

If you’ve read my past blogs, you’re familiar with the fact that I’ve spoken often of, and started this blog on the concept of STIGMA. Particularly the concept of SELF-STIGMA.

The concept of “I’m so sick, I’m broken”.

The concept of “I’m so broken, I can’t be fixed”. 

The concept of “being fixed”. 

Whatever any of that means.

But most importantly, the concept of self-advocacy. The idea that you are both your worst enemy and best friend, and that no one understands you better than you. That if you don’t put the work in, if you don’t take a step back and see what part YOU play in your behavior, your actions, and your thoughts, than nothing is ever going to change, regardless of your diagnosis.

As you know, we often stigmatize ourselves and each other within the mental health community, sometimes more often than those on the outside do. I read a great post on this issue by a fellow blogger over at A Schizoaffective Story, and if you’d like to read his post on this issue, click here. I think he does a wonderful job of being concise but illuminating some of the main struggles of this stigma within the mental health community. I hope he doesn’t mind me linking this post.

This is where a respite house comes in.

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Let me explain how this respite house works.

  1. We do not restrict you. In doing so, we are giving you a lot of freedom and are being vulnerable to manipulation. In that openness, we invite you, tacitly, silently, to also be open. Usually it works. I notice how trained some people are coming from hospitals and the county where they have to ask to do everything: “can I use this dish? Can I color before I go to bed? Can I sit outside to eat?” And being bombarded by these questions saddens me. “Can I color before I go to bed?” 
  2. We are 18+
  3. We are free, via government funding. Small government funding.
  4. We have 6 available beds. 
  5. You can go for a walk whenever you want. You can come and go as you please, as long as you are home at night so you can stay overnight.
  6. We take field trips.
  7. We do not take care of your medication, we do not handle your food, we do not answer the guest phone, we do not treat you like a child. We do not lock you up, medicate you, or shout at you.
  8. Most importantly, for God’s sake, We are your peers. We have been suicidal, we have attempted suicidal, we have been depressed. We have heard voices, we’ve seen hallucinations, we’ve road the roller-coaster of Bipolar, and the sudden terror of PTSD. We’ve had panic attacks, we’ve had anxiety, we’ve struggled with Ritualistic OCD, intrusive thoughts, and serious mental pain. We are NOT clinical. We are not doctors, we are not psychologists, we are not therapists or social workers or counselors. When you tell us you want to kill yourself, we don’t shove a needle in your arm. We don’t pound a diagnosis on your head. We take you out back under the tree where the birds are chirping and we say: “That’s heavy. I’ve been there. What’s been going on?”
  9. We are support. We’re not your parents. We’re not your doctor.
  10. When you ask “what should I do?” We don’t act like we have the answer if we don’t. In fact, we say “I’m still struggling with that. To be honest, I have no clue. But . . .let’s try and do this together”.

What we do is create a community of people. We’ve all struggled, we are all still struggling.

When I interviewed for a job at this place, I was a little off put by the manager. When he read my cover letter (I believe I included the anxiety, depression, and schizotypy), he said we had things in common. He speaks very softly, but packs so much authenticity and meaning into one word I was momentarily dazed. He told me I wasn’t alone and that we were all in this together (something along those lines) and I didn’t know how to respond.

In all honesty, my first thought was “what the fuck is this? You gunna fatten me up and cook me or some shit?”. 

In response to true kindness and understanding, I went on the defense.

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Because that’s not the treatment a lot of us are used to. We’re not used to support. We’re not used to people relating. We’re not used to connection on that level.

We’ve gotten used to the idea of “help” being someone trying to fix us, someone trying to give us the answers to our never ending questions, someone we speak to in order to up our medication dosage and spend 10 minutes asking us how the medication has been acting lately.

And then we wonder why we keep ending up in the same places over and over again.

This concept of a respite house is the future of mental health. This is the direction we need to go. This is what funding needs to go towards. Community, mutuality, support.

Not a traumatizing moment of being smacked onto a bed and strapped at the ankles and wrists.

Not a person of authority to tell you you’re broken, or to reinforce the sense of helplessness you already feel.

We’re here to tell you you’re not alone. We’re here to be vulnerable too: to cry with you and tell you how frightening and uncertain things are. We’re here to be human towards you.

This is the program, alongside IPS, that isn’t talked about. It’s not advertised. It’s not given as an option to many people.

And that needs to change.

 

 

Odd

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You know those days you go into therapy and you wonder if you will ever understand things, and then a couple words are exchanged and sudden realization pulses through your vein and hemorrhages in your frontal lobe?

Sometimes you can have moments in therapy that were slightly uncomfortable that you needed to have in order to breathe again.

I will try and rehash the experience. Unfortunately, dissociation took over and I can’t remember half of the conversation.

Firstly, you all know how I feel about diagnosis by now. It’s been a year. Which, congratulations on this blog and all of my followers who have been here from the beginning, and those who have been here recently, I appreciate every person who reads, likes, comments, or even just skims. Writing has been my only true connection to the human population I am apparently apart of (I still think I’m an alien), so when I say I’m grateful for you all, I mean it.

Anyway, if you’re new, I basically hold a middle finger to DSM and ICD-10 diagnosis.

bird-comeback-emoji-fangirling-favim-com-2590219And in particular, I hold ADHD on a special “fuck you” throne, simply because it’s handled so carelessly. They diagnose the children in elementary school because they won’t be quiet in class, and ignore the fact that schools are taking away recess and parents aren’t well versed in handling a child or well versed in what a nutritional diet is, and teachers aren’t fucking psychologists and don’t have the right to say “well, I”m going to recommend this child be checked for ADHD because she keeps interrupting me”.

Then comes the medication. Then comes behavioral issues, irritation, and the Zombie effect.

Then they say “ADHD is rising in America” and people believe it because they only see the surface. Because they don’t see that just because diagnosis is increasing, doesn’t necessarily mean true ADHD is.

So I don’t hold the idea of ADHD particularly high.

That does not mean I feel every diagnosis is fake. In fact, I’ve always noticed an abundance of the characteristics in myself, and that was confirmed yesterday in therapy. Yes, I do have some of the characteristics. It makes it very hard to focus or think. Is that part of a larger picture and not ADHD? Possibly. Who knows. The point is, for those with a true diagnosis of ADHD, I understand your pain, and it’s frustrating that the reality of the issue is hidden beneath a behemoth of misdiagnosis.

But when we began speaking about people and how difficult it is to express my ideas (even when I have them) . . .

and this is where it gets rocky. I don’t remember the conversation. 

I remember we spoke about perhaps not being positively reinforced as a child when it came to my ideas and therefore I developed a sense of “well, what does it matter what I say?” and it became a subconscious habit.

Then I remember we started talking about people and my connection–or rather, disconnection to them.

And that’s where it ends.

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A Clear Representation Of My Awareness

I remember staring at the bookcase in the back of the room and everything essentially melted away. I didn’t feel present any longer. I couldn’t pinpoint where my body was and the experience of sitting in that room didn’t feel real and whoever was speaking for me wasn’t me. It was like a light switch had been flicked . . .

Off.

I don’t remember what was discussed. I can remember the physical aspects of the room because I’ve been there so many times.

If you didn’t know already, if you’re a newcomer, I have a problem with dissociation. It creates breaks in reality for me when things get uncomfortable, when my anxiety is high, and although I am completely fascinated by the brains ability to find creative ways to protect itself, sometimes I wish it would fuck off.

I remember feeling like a few things were spilling out of me, things I didn’t normally say. Nothing too heavy, but just general things I keep pent up often. That was the feeling I got, but I wasn’t speaking.

I don’t believe I was tortured as a child. Put in bad situations, witnessed bad things, yes, but I was not tortured or horribly abused. I do not have Dissociative Identity Disorder, in case you were wondering.

Sometimes I am just absent.

And the rest of me handles whatever situation it feels I cannot.

That makes me feel like there are parts of me hiding things from me.

What makes talking about being disconnected from people and not really understanding why so traumatic that my brain feels the need to block me from the rest of the conversation?

I left feeling a little relieved, like I’d had some major realization.

I just wasn’t there for the realization.

That’s like getting invited to a party, arriving at the house, ringing the doorbell, and realizing they gave you the wrong address on purpose.

It’s a little odd.

 

Trip To Universal Studios Births Striking Revelation.

I feel so bad for neglecting this blog as I have for the last week or two, I’m sure you’ve all been wondering:

“Did she do it? Did she finally blow her brains out?”

Or

“Hey, I wonder where that one chick went, the one I hardly read but sometimes caught of glimpse of her hilarity and found it a nice pick-me-up for my day/night.”

Or

“Thank God, she’s gone”. 

Well I’m back. No I did not blow my brains out, but I did have some stressful overnight shifts at work and I also went here:

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After I snapped this photo, I narrowed my eyes and hissed “Fuck the industry”. Then I took another photo from a different angle.

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I have other pictures on my camera I have yet to upload.

But while It was officially a year since I’ve been on WordPress with this blog (cue gothic poetry snaps) it was also the two year anniversary of me and my boyfriend. So off to Los Angeles we headed, to Universal Studios where we got to see part of the set of War Of The Worlds:

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We saw the Jurassic Park set, a bunch of practical (fully built houses/stores) and facade (only the face of the house/building) sets, we saw how they create flash floods and weather, and was apart of both, and while you’re riding around in the tour bus wondering why you’re holding 3D glasses in your hands, you suddenly become part of a ride, part of a disaster movie where a fuel tank falls inches from the bus, where the entire sound stage floods with water and a train crashes up ahead. Then KingKong is rocking the top of your bus and leaping in your face and attacking a T-Rex that spits water all over you. We saw the Fast and Furious cars and were part of a race.

We also ate one of the world famous doughnuts from Springfield (The Simpsons):

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It’s a Very Large Doughnut. We split it in half, and I’m pretty sure we each gained 5 pounds from it.

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Went to Hogwarts and all the little shopping centers like Hogsmede, e.t.c:

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Which by the way, the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” that they advertise so much definitely attracts people’s attention. It’s the most crowded area of the whole studios.

Directly ahead is “The Walking Dead” themed attraction where you walk and Zombies snatch at you. And yes, they can touch you. It’s horrifyingly dark inside there and they come out of nowhere.

Then past that is little England and through that is the Despicable Me part of the park where all the little kids and their families can go. We also went. It was fun.

To the right of that, out of the frame, is little France and a 1950’s themed area of the park.

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In the lower lot, next to the Jurassic Park ride is the area where you can meet a functional, walking, growling, raptor.

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And right outside of the studios, in the City Walk shopping Plaza, we walked into the middle of a concert:

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It wasn’t our style of music, so we left and watched a movie.

All in all, the trip was amazingly fun. We stayed at this hotel:

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Which I highly recommend. It’s within walking distance of Universal Studios, within walking distance of all the stores and Restaurants you could possibly need on Ventura Boulevard, and it’s only a five or ten minute drive down the hills to Hollywood and the Walk of Fame. The people are very professional and the rooms are pretty nice. Great air conditioner. Which you will appreciate. A lot.

I believe I addressed this question earlier, before I left to the studios, about why I would go someplace as crowded and loud as Los Angeles and Universal studios knowing the sensory overload and social anxiety I have.

And I would like to say there is a way to travel and have fun even when you suffer from mental health issues. It’s not impossible. It might feel like a horrible idea at first, but once you immerse yourself in it, once you allow yourself to feel the feelings of being comfortable and being uncomfortable, you can learn how to manage them and shift them.

We ate at a Japanese Ramen bar and my first thought was shit . . .there’s no silverware, only chopsticks. I am an African-American/White chick from a coastal town in central California no one has ever heard of except maybe in the pages of a Steinbeck Novel or in the paragraph of an article about serial murders, therefore I use chopsticks like a squirrel eats pizza: with great difficulty.

I saw a squirrel dragging a piece of pizza around the street once: the pizza was winning.

I didn’t want to look like an idiot in front of all these people. I didn’t want to look like an idiot walking down the street, or in the stores, or on the Hollywood strip where there is thousands upon thousands of tourists walking with their camera pointed upwards and their eyes as well, or walking through the mounds of people at Universal. It’s always a worry on my mind. I hate how people stare at me (whether they mean to or not) and I hate being around a crowd.

But through this trip I realized a lot of my anxiety is built around culture and diversity. I wasn’t anywhere NEAR as anxious as I am in my hometown. Everywhere you turn there is a different style of restaurant, different style of food run by an authentic family. In my town we have burgers, Pizza, and mexican food.

There, there was Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, American, Mexican, Brazilian; there was Wolfgang Puck’s L.A Bistro, there was the HardRock Cafe, there was Sushi, German . . . anything you could think of.

I live in a tourist town. And it pales in comparison, heavily. We don’t cater to many different ethnicity around here because we only get tourists. And anyone else who lives here is either Caucasian or Hispanic.

There, everyone lives together. Tourists come from other countries, and some people have stayed and built a life and I love the diversity. I was happy sifting my way through the crowds and trying the Ramen house and doing something different for a change.

Fucking MetroPCS bumps Gangster Rap down there. Our MetroPCS plays the Univision hispanic television channel.

If you don’t know what MetroPCS is, it’s a cell phone company.

Sometimes anxiety and depression need a kick in the ass by something new. Sometimes you need to so something spontaneous. like 1) Leave town. 2) Do a bike race through the mountains. 3) Dye your hair magenta and get an eyebrow piercing.

So far I’ve done number one and number three. I might do number 2 too, God knows I need to shed off that fucking doughnut.

This is my way of taking control over my life again. And I’m going to be nervous and depressed and paranoid the whole way through it. And that’s okay.

And yes, I hate people staring at me, so I decided to dye my hair a bright reddish pink magenta. Fuck it.

P.S I will say, I love how they drive in Los Angeles. If anyone reading this is from there, I salute you. You guys don’t fuck around in Studio City or Hollywood. I saw a guy driving down a hill and there were three cars stopped at a red light in front of him. He was about 70 yards away from them when their light turned green. He laid on the horn the instant the light turned green, before he’d even had to put on his brakes, before he was even near the bumper of the car in front of him.

35 miles per hour speed limit transfers to 50 miles per hour to you guys.

Ya’ll don’t fuck around. I like it.

 

Learn To Love It

Good evening, all.

Evening for me, probably morning for you, afternoon maybe. I know I get a lot of views from people across the world (which, holly hell, thank you so much for reading, even if all you get to is this sentence and you think *fuck, she’s boring me already* and click out. You’re still awesome to me. -cue thumbs up and winky face-)

Good -enter time of day here-, all.

I just thought I’d take a moment out of my night time to discuss something interesting with you all.

The idea of positive and negative in this world.

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We’ve seemed to really . . . well, blatantly, fuck it up.

We’ve got this misconception that “negative” means “bad” and “positive” means “good”and that one is desirable and the other should be exonerated.

At this point all you word nerds out there who are frantically googling the word “negative” for the origins just ready to blast me in the comments saying “negative is literally the definition of bad, idiot”.

But what you will find is word nerds who care much more about semantics than your whining and will kindly, but perhaps aggressively and arrogantly correct you: negative is simply the denial of something, the absence or something. Positive can be seen as the affirmation of something.

Rather than continue the tradition of the original meanings of the word, we’ve transformed them into tools to use against and/or shame people into thinking or behaving how we think they should.

People tell you to “think positively”.

They tell you to “not think so negatively”.

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Let’s break these phrases down a little, shall we?

When you say “ugh, this really sucks, I’m so depressed, I just can’t stop all these negative thoughts” and you get that horrendous reply of “try and think more positively about things”, do you realize what that person is actually suggesting?

Before you punch them in the face, think about this, think about how we’re all misunderstanding the terms we use on a daily basis.

By them suggesting you think more “positive”, they’re essentially saying “don’t think negatively”.

Hmm. So how do you do that?

You don’t.

You don’t ever think negative without having thought positive at some point in your life. Humans are like magnets: we have a positive pole and a negative pole. We don’t have one without the other, because their very definitions imply there is an opposite.

hiding-negative-people-longThe goal isn’t to ignore negativity. The goal isn’t to pretend it’s not there and just think more positively. Do you know what that’s called? Do you know what ignoring the “negative” or more properly, the “bad” and focusing only on the bright side of everything? That’s called repression. And if you struggle with your mental health, repression will only escalate both.

When you have thoughts in your head that feel like they are overwhelming, that feel like they are horrible and “negative” and they’re pressuring you to end your existence because, fuck it, nothing goes right, everything is bad . . .

That’s fine. That’s fine and you will make it through that. It’s okay to feel fucking worthless and stupid and horrible and dumb and it’s okay to be self-loathing. It’s okay to HURT. 

You’re human. You’re going to. And if you try and avoid it, it will only hit you ten times harder.

What those people are suggestion when they ask you to think more positively is to essentially ignore the negative and focus on only one side, the bright side.

This isn’t to say succumb to those feelings. It’s only an encouragement to talk those things out. The place I’m working now just avoided a horrible incident of suicide because of auditory hallucinations with the same tactic. It took four days of a lot of talking, a lot of human connection, but to see the smile on someone’s face once more when they realize the people around them have helped them through the negativity, to realize that they themselves can survive when things are horribly rough, is priceless.

They don’t tell people “don’t think so negative”; they don’t tell people “It will help if you think more positively”. They don’t say “oh, sorry, you’re sick, this is your reality from now on”. They tell people “We’re here for you, you can make it through this, and let’s talk it out”.

No hospital intervention. No cops. No forced medication. Just human connection. 

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That one incident to me is greater than anything psychiatry or psychology has shown me thus far in my studies. 

It’s not about being negative or positive, it’s about acknowledging both and working through both.

Now all of you who didn’t believe me when I said mental “disorders” aren’t a disease, to those who didn’t believe me when I said it’s not only a “chemical imbalance”, to those of who you still believe you are doomed to live life stuck behind the idea of “mental illness”, I’ll be giving you various, very general (i.e, no names, or any information about people for confidentiality reasons) real life examples proving you wrong throughout the months, just like the one above.

The reason I say we’ve essentially fucked up by thinking negativity is something bad is we end up wanting to avoid it. We end up wanting it to leave us and trying to force it to leave us. We want it out and we want it gone. We just want to be happy.

But in all that muck we are unable to see by trying to force a part of humanity away from ourselves can easily get in the way of our own happiness. If you want to cry, then cry. If you want to scream, then scream. If you want to talk to someone, talk. Get it out. Don’t ignore it, don’t leave it there to fester, don’t put yourself through more pain.

Negativity isn’t bad. It’s not something you should avoid or hate. It’s something you should embrace. It’s something you need to be comfortable with experiencing, or else life is going to be straight hell.

When it is present in your life, it is there for a reason. It’s your choice whether or not you want to ignore it and hope it will go away, or if you want to say “Well, here we go again” and work through it.

It won’t ever go away. You’re a human, not an inanimate object.

By today’s psychological standard, we practically need to be a robot with little feeling both negative or positive to be considered “normal”.

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This is Pepper, the “emotional” robot. With all the right emotions, at the appropriate times, with the appropriate intensity to their standards. This is what they want you to be. Here’s your role model kids, soak it up. 

So don’t be so negative about your negativity. It loves you. You need to learn to love it back.

Taoists will understand what I’m saying. It’s all about interconnectedness, am I right? No good without evil, no positive without negative. You need the definition of the other to know about its counterpart.

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Isolation Damnation

I was requested to write a post about isolation and how it makes my mind change and feel. So here, my friends, is my probably less than mediocre attempt (the fault of my insufferable writing skills) at fulfilling said request.

I’ve been an introvert since before therapists started calling me one.

I’ve been an introvert since before I knew how to spell my name (and I learned a lot of words before I could finish memorizing a french last name that I later learned doesn’t belong to my bloodline).

I’ve been an introvert since before I knew that I had legs and when I discovered them, I’m sure I was more than pleased–yet, still introverted, so they didn’t get used outside much. I wonder how they feel about that.

I digress.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThere are days I feel it is my calling to be as such, that Locke’s idea of being born with a “Tabula Rasa” (blank slate) in terms of personality, in terms of possibilities, emotions, and other advantages (or disadvantages depending on how full your cup is) is just a load of horse shit. I was an introvert in the womb. I was an introvert when half of me was in an egg and the other half in a sperm.

My point (finally)?

Isolation is my closest friend. It came at me from both sides: it forced itself upon me as a result of my severe social anxiety that eventually resulted in agoraphobia, and it gently caressed my skin as a result of my complete and utter personal choice to be alone with myself.

There are times when it is tough. Where are times when I’m lying on the floor bleeding from a self-inflicted wound or banging my head against the wall, or ready to leap from a cliff because I just can’t handle the floods of thoughts in my head, and I have no one to lie on the floor with me.

reaching-outEven when I make an attempt to reach out, I struggle in describing my experience because I’ve never been fully open with anyone but myself. There’s a disadvantage: I’ve so utterly disconnected with the idea of “sharing emotionally” that I’m not even sure I could define it properly. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have the option of speaking with people who share my experiences and thoughts, or perhaps it’s because I am essentially socially inept and wouldn’t possibly know where to start to go about finding these kind of people.

School days were plagued with feeling inadequate matched up to my socially successful classmates, and being mixed race in a school of mostly Caucasian and Hispanic students didn’t go over well–I didn’t act or talk “white” and everyone I came in contact thought I was Hispanic, including the teachers who would give me papers in Spanish without asking. There we’rent enough African American students to even form a group, so that wasn’t an option either.

Race, social anxiety, and my own need to be in my head kept me isolated.

The students in the advanced classes I took were Caucasian and talked all the time about their trips to Greece and Spain over the summer. So socioeconomic status played a part as well.

I skipped a lot of high school. It’s a waste of time anyway, at least in America.

Oh uh, bold statement, I might have just lost a reader or two.

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But it’s not all bad. For some reason a transition from a sheltered “kid” of 17 who was still legally unable to do anything really significant to an 18 year old “adult” signaled a time in my life where I realized how valuable my isolation is to me.

It leaves me a spot in my head where I am absolutely and utterly safe. There is no noise, no distraction, just the ocean of my own thoughts crashing on shore. Sometimes they roar and move swift in a storm, other times they creep onto the sand and only slightly lick the tip of my toes. But no matter their temperament, isolation has allowed me to feel them completely and wholly, with myself, by myself.

I wasn’t subjected to peer pressure. I was on the inside of myself looking out, observing, patterns of typical teenaged behavior and I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t care to move with the crowd: did I need them to live? I didn’t care to go to the mall and get the latest fashion trend: who am I giving my money to when I buy this shirt? I didn’t care if I looked like a loner: I mind my business, they mind theirs. Simple.

The one friend I did have got sucked up into peer pressure; it became a need for her to do as they did; she absorbed anyone’s personality if she stood near them, and took on their attitude, mannerisms, and imitated their actions.

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She did it to me multiple times when we were alone together. In a group, if I wasn’t the dominant vocal member, she would find who was and suck up to them.

This has resulted in her forcing herself to lose her virginity before we turned 18 (we’re both 21 now) just to say she did it, it’s resulted in her hanging out with 15 year olds at the age of 21 because the majority of people we have gone to high school with have alright jobs, party only occasionally, and grew up a bit. It’s resulted in her crashing a 12 thousand dollar car her grandparents gifted her within a month of her receiving it, only to get in another car crash a month later, a 1000 dollar ticket, and now a warrant for her arrest as a result of the unpaid fine.

She lives her life for the approval of other people; she has yet to find herself.

I was lucky. I knew myself before I knew knowing myself was a thing to be had. Who did I have to impress but myself? Who did I have to look up to but myself? Who did I have to listen to but myself?

 

While it results in me feeling overwhelmingly alone at times, while it results in me feeling jealous of those who can socialize, those who have friends to leave the house with every Friday night, while it results in me feeling like a freak compared to the social normality of my boyfriend, while it results in my feeling inadequate on many levels, it also results in me having a connection with myself I don’t think many 21 year olds have.

Isolation has ruined my life.

And it’s given it so many gifts.

I wish I could say more on how it changes things, but I have no personal experience with going from “not isolated” to “isolated”. So perhaps that makes my view biased.

While there are times I need a friend or some human contact, I don’t fish for it. I don’t need it to live or breathe or eat or even enjoy myself.

I enjoy making people laugh. I even would go so far as saying I enjoy entertaining, whether it be writing, videos, or just general group humor. But after all that is said and done, after I let the anxiety settle in my system, there’s nothing greater I appreciate than a good solid week in my room with minimal contact, and the title of a vampire.

In many ways I feel isolation is just a bitter sweet result of my many mental health quirks that have freed me from the disadvantages of sanity.