In The Jungle . . .

Picture this:

It’s ten p.m. The stars glitter across the sky like lost souls searching for a purpose and the moon watches over them like a gatekeeper. The leaves of trees sway, invisible in the darkness but not to the ear, and as you glance left and right in the darkness a chill spills down your spine. In the distance you hear a muffled sound coming from a speaker of some sort.

Your car is on the street. You grip your bag tighter to your side and take a few steps farther into the blackness, towards the noise. Where’s it coming from? To your left. You spin to face the sound and a couple yards away sits a woman with frizzy hair and a blurred face. She sits hunched over on a rock with her cell phone in her lap and you strain your ears to hear the song:

“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight” . . .

You quicken the pace to your car, the Disney song haunting the silence in your head. When you get in your car you slow your breathing and shudder at the music suddenly echoing, louder and louder and louder until . . .

It stops.

Your breath stains the air white and your hand seems paralyzed on the door handle; you can’t seem to close it. Perspiration drips cold down the side of your neck and a silver glint catches the corner of your eye. Slowly you turn. Before your jaw can drop she rips the knife through your trachea, singing:

“Hush my darling, don’t fear my darling,

The Lion Sleeps tonight”.

END.

What you just read was based on a true story.

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I did in fact walk outside of my apartment, there was in fact some creepy old hunched woman with white hair on a rock listening to a lion king song on her phone and it was ten at night, dark, and silent. I was sure someone was going to murder me.

Fear not, dear readers, I am indeed alive!

I am alive and at work on an over night shift the night before classes start. I plan on getting a little sleep tonight, so I’m getting my chores done.

I have faced a struggle tonight though, as there is a large, black spider above the back door. He is spinning a web and keeps dangling by his one back leg doing acrobatics and falling a good foot from the ceiling.

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He Don’t Look Big, But He Is.

My problem with spiders is their legs. I hate seeing their legs extended, I hate feeling them on my body, I hate their little fangs, their fucking eyes, their stupid mouths; I hate their sticky webs and the way they suck the juices out of their victims (actually that’s pretty cool). But in general, it’s the legs. The fucking legs. I end up feeling like they’re crawling all over me and I end up seeing them places where they aren’t.

So I did some chores around the house that didn’t involve going out the back door and kept staring at it waiting for it to at least go in the corner so I could go outside and get the mop. It never happened.

Instead, I grabbed the flashlight my co-worker let me borrow for the night and went out the front door, around the back of the house, past the motion-censor light, and to the mop by the backdoor. I went back around the house and came back through the front door and preceded to mop.

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It started to get cold, so eventually I had to take a baking tray from the counter, put it over my head, and quickly close the door so if the spider fell it fell on the tray and not me.

Insects make me very anxious. Even the moth that came through the door and was flying around me really stressed me out. Their wings flap much too quickly. Flies fly too quickly, bees are really loud, and spiders have creepy legs. It all just stresses me the fuck out.

But I figured out a way to overcome it. And the wonderful thing about where I work is they completely understand. There are people paranoid about people putting chips in them, there are people stomping around crying “it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault, shut up, let me go, it’s not my fault!” to the voices in their head.There are people in the middle of a manic episode calling or in the house talking a mile a minute or spewing a bunch of ideas and following me around as I do chores. Me being so terrified of spiders on the ceiling that I walk around with a tray on my head isn’t really out of the ordinary. 

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Some more good news is something told me to go online to look at my finances and my financial aid has kicked in. I don’t have to pay for my classes and I will be getting over two thousand in cash. I almost started crying. That’s such a huge burden lifted.

They’re also offering for people who identify with “mental illness” a class on how to manage transferring into college or to a university. I learned through my job. I am ecstatic to try and get into the class and now that I know my college will be paying, I’m thinking of signing up for it. I could use some support because I’m nowhere near ready to transfer, and it’s coming up quickly.

Tomorrow classes start. I have two English courses: easy. As of now it is 2 a.m and everyone is peaceful here. I think I’ll try and get some sleep.

Small Positives

Instead of burning under the fires of negativity, I’ll mention one of the small positives of this week:

I managed to get down to the Accessibility Support Center at my college to ask how to register. My boyfriend had to come with me of course, but I made it. I asked the woman what I would need to do in order to register for services from the center. She seemed nice and very receptive. She said the first step would be to attend one of the orientations that gives us a small overview of the services and a tour of the HUB station (that’s where the support/tutor services are).

The second step, the one I dreaded the most, was to then bring in documentation. She said it could be an IEP, a 504, family doctor records, anything like that. I knew it was coming and the anxiety still took over.

She set me up for an orientation on the 31st at 9:30 in the morning. That day I also have to be at my psych appointment at 11 am. She said it would be finished before then certainly. Then I have to drive back to the school for class at 12:40. That’s a busy day.

I walked from the center rather disappointed. An IEP? A 504? Two things you usually get when you get diagnosed with something as a child? You know, like ADHD?

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Unfortunately for me, when I wasn’t talking, when I refused to interact with children, they send me to a counselor who concluded I was “shy” and would “grow out of it”. I couldn’t even get an ADHD diagnosis for fucks sake.

If I would have known the system, I would have opened my mouth and expressed everything I felt. Instead I sat there, said not a word to the counselor woman, and still somehow got a certificate of completion for it. How does that even work?

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At this point this blog has become one large contradiction. I speak so often about how diagnosis doesn’t matter, how it doesn’t define you, how I feel it’s much less damaging to consider “symptoms” as “experiences”, and yet I’m here kicking myself over the fact that I’ve never gotten a sincere diagnosis past “social anxiety”. If you ask me, it makes me look like one of those preachers who reiterate the Bible, then go out and murder people.

I still believe in experiences over symptoms. I still believe in “this is how I am” over “this is what I have”.

I also know the world is a business and a label maker. And I’m going to milk every last drop of it, because if there are ways to get help out there for school, for housing, for finances, for whatever the case may be at any point in my life, than I think I deserve that.

When she said “family doctor” I cringed. Because I have no doctor any longer. Because I have no health insurance. My doctors never had any part of my mental health record anyway. Fucks sake.

The anxiety part of all of this is that I will be walking into that orientation at 9:30 without a complete record confirming what I experience and be surrounded by people who do. People with perhaps more severe mental/physical struggles than my own. It’s like I’m sitting myself down in a wheel chair with full knowledge that both my legs work, and signing up for a wheel chair basketball team with people who actually have lost function of their legs.

It’s another way for my brain to invalidate my own experiences.

shutterstock_106645070I think my main issue is that I’m very confused. Ever since I started this job it’s made me take a different look at behavior and experiences in different people and in myself. It’s made me realize I have so much more to work on than I thought. It makes doing janitor work ten times more appealing than it had before, and even then it had looked appealing.

Depending on what happens with full evaluations and a complete diagnosis, I may or may not continue working here. I love their concept, I love the “fight the system . . . but it’s really about the people” vibe that they give off. I want to always stay in contact with them and maybe even attend the groups. But working is something I’m not sure I’m ready for yet. I should have learned this lesson after my third job in four months.

Functioning and adulting isn’t easy for anyone, I’m aware of that as well.

Today I went into a hardware supply store and a Rite Aid, in the company of my mother. Both stores are pretty quiet and large and don’t have many crowds.

Three more days until the orientation.

 

 

#StopAllHumans2k16, UU 203, across from #StopWhitePeople2k16 UU 202

There comes a point in every blogger’s career that she must step back for a moment and remind herself of the beginning. Granted, my first three posts on this website were rather sickening in my eyes, so I would like to get back to the dry humor, sarcastic banter, and industry bashing cynicism. With all of the recent stress I haven’t had a chance to have a good laugh.

So I would like to give a shout out to Binghamton University in New York for making it a possibility for the spark in the ten facial muscles specified to stretch my mouth into a small smile.

“StopWhitePeople2k16”.

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

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Let’s stop and think. How big are their balls to name a course that?

Obviously they’re coming under a lot of fire; I hope they’re located near a fire station.

I wonder if this course is available through Distance Learning online courses?

Anyway, the point of the class besides bragging rights of having one of their classes listed in the news is apparently to provide students with a deeper understanding of prejudice, privileged, and diversity. It’s for Resident Advisers–you know, the people who help squash issues in the dorm halls.

The administrators are defending the three RA’s that are instructing the course. They said they verified the class is not Anti-White and that the name was taken from a common, ironic hashtag on Twitter.

Twitter is now creating college level courses.

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How many signs does the Bible say we will see before the Apocalypse? This is probably one of them.

Critics say it’s creating more of a divide, more segregation, that it’s simply “counterproductive at best”.

To that I say, well, welcome to the world. Everything we seem to do is counterproductive at best, when you get down to the bottom of the barrel. Someone, somewhere is always going to take something either up the ass or opposite of how you intended him/her to take it. For example, my boyfriend and I were discussing this on drive last week. He is of Mexican descent, and by now you all know my ethnicity is mixed.

If we were to have children, they would have a bit of the entire world in them.

We went to different high schools. His high school had, for the first time, a Latino Graduation separate from the regular high school graduation to recognize all of the Latino/Latina students who managed to get a diploma. Obviously the intention of the school was to honor those students who may have had it harder than other students due to economic status, due to language barriers, or due to working/supporting the household with their family.

The intention was good. Through the eyes of those who are Hispanic, it was great to feel honored. And I think that is okay.

Through the eyes of someone like me, through the eyes of a mixed student who was completely ignored, who was placed into college prep only because they assumed I was hispanic, who was only one of two ethnic students in all the advanced placement courses, I see it as another form of racial segregation.

If you want to do a race specific graduation, do it for all races that attend your school.

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.

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Hey, wait, . . . wouldn’t that just be a regular graduation?

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If your focus is instead on low income students, on students who have troubling family lives or language barriers, don’t just do it for those who are low income, troubled, hispanic students. Don’t just do it for those who are low income, troubled, black students. Don’t just do it for those who are low income, troubled, white students. And yes, those exist.

I learned in my college prep course that students from all walks of life have family troubles, mental health issues, and low income families, and it wasn’t from a diversity textbook. My senior year of high school my college prep course got its first two white students. One girl I know had a bit of a rocky home life, the other shared with me her mental health struggles with anxiety and depression as well. Both were very talented; one was a wonderful people person and great at theater. The other was academically gifted I felt, with her AP calculus and physics and English and history and everything.

They weren’t ethnic, but both have their story of struggling. It made me wonder how many fucking kids in this race-obsessed system get left behind, thrown under the rug, disregarded, because some administrators want to pay attention to the statistics related to race rather than taking a true, unbiased look at the real students in front of them.

So to Binghamton University I will say yes, the course name is another way of segregating people. But races are segregated within each other. We have a lab at my college with a name in Spanish, I don’t know what it means, but it’s really encouraged towards Hispanic high school students to join. They get field trips, help with classes, and accommodations.

It’s open to every race.

It’s encouraged towards Hispanics at every possible chance, including high school.

I’m not calling my college racist because they aren’t. Their intentions are good. But there are many more people, not just ethnic people, who could use the help that they  encourage towards specific races.

So before we start pointing fingers at Binghamton University, let’s first take a moment to understand what they’re doing isn’t very different from what everyone else is doing. The only difference is “white people” is in the title. 

Urgent Update: Life Is Still Shit . . . But, At Least I’m Breathing

Update: My chicken meter is still very high; I have yet to contact the Accessibility Services Center.

But it’s okay.

It’s not okay, but I’ll pretend it’s okay.

As most of you know I’ve been working at a Peer Respite House since Mid June. It was my fourth job in a six month stretch of me realizing I cannot function in the working world. So far I have yet to prove this theory wrong. Work is stressful, and not in the way you’d think.

You’d think people hearing voices and feeling immediately suicidal and wanting to take all their pills or hurt themselves in other ways would be stressful. You’d think hearing stories of someone ending their life upstairs in one of the closets once and not being found for a few hours would stress me out even more. You’d think knowing things could go from perfectly fine to the ultimate pile of shit in less than a tenth of a second would stress me out.

But you want to know what really stresses me out?

The phone calls.

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You want to know what else?

Conducting Interviews.

Can you guess the next thing?

General conversation.

And last but not least?

Connection. Connection. Connection. Something that’s been absent all my life.

If someone is hearing voices, if someone is feeling anxious, those are topics we can talk about. If someone is upset about housing, that is something we can talk about. If someone says “hey” and then stares, I have no idea what they want from me. In fact, I’m more inclined to smile, say hello, and walk on past.

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It’s not me being absent . . . well it kind of is, but it’s also me not knowing what to do next. It wasn’t until I met my boyfriend’s family that I learned (yes, I had to LEARN, at 19 years old to do this) when someone says “hello, how are you?” it’s preferred that you also say “I’m doing good (bad, okay, e.t.c), how are you?”

Unfortunately, at the 2 year mark, that’s about as far as I can get in a conversation with them. It’s better than nothing though, right?

No, no it’s not.

Anyway, always ask “how are you” back. It keeps you looking like 1) you’re human and 2) you know how to have a conversation. Obviously for me it’s a complete ruse because I’m sure I poofed into existence out of blackhole stardust and I have no clue how to hold a conversation.

At 16 I learned how to make eye contact for the first time in my life. It took a year of observing correct technique from my peers, how they interacted with each other and how they interacted with the teachers, and I finally was able to sustain it for more than one second so I too could look normal.

“Normal”.

I picked up a job at this Respite house not to “get through school” like I feel the staff fucking thinks, but so I could find people like me and hopefully gain some social skills. Because my social ineptitude is solely related to my social anxiety and my social anxiety is solely related to low confidence. . .

Right?

That’s what I was told. I have trouble in conversations because my amygdala hijacks the rest of my brain.

R . . . right?

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I’m questioning this diagnosis as of now. Because my confidence is no longer an issue. I’ve worked hard on it for many years. Yet my anxiety seems to have sky rocketed. And it seems, even in situations where my anxiety is low, my social skills are, well, not there.

I was used to not feeling connected to people outside of the world of mental health. But now that I see I struggle even to communicate with people who are “like me”, I took a step back and did what I do best: find patterns. And for the last month and a half I’ve basically come up with the following theory:

What if my anxiety is a direct result of my brain not understanding the world around it? What if my social anxiety presents itself not because I’m scared of someone judging what I say, but I’m scared of them judging how I say it: that is, interrupting–which I do all the time accidentally because I’m not sure if I’m supposed to talk or not. Through observation, I’ve learned over the years that if there is a break in conversation, you should be free to speak . . . but if that break is too long, it becomes weird to speak because mentally everyone has already moved on. That being said, if you do decide to talk in the break, for the love of God stay on topic, don’t just jump to something no one was talking about. That makes you look fucking weird apparently.

'Jeffrey, you're going off-topic again.'

What if my anxiety is related to the fact that I know damn well when I try to speak, I can’t express myself properly. There are so many words rushing around my head that they crash into each other and I can’t say what I need to. So I either gather everything I’m supposed to say before hand and spew it out my mouth at the speed of light before it gets screwed up, or I speak very slowly and stutter over my words.

Of course the more comfortable I am around someone, the less this happens, which indicates anxiety plays a part. But it’s not the whole story because it happens regardless of where I am or who I am with.

What if there’s a reason I feel so lost and confused in conversations? What if there’s a reason I can’t understand things verbally and rather need them written or drawn besides me being a “visual learner”?

What if there’s a reason I was reading and writing in kindergarten, but not speaking?

What if there’s a reason I can’t leave the house without someone?

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I was a master at this for a long while.

What if there’s a reason I still cry at the slightest indication of criticism or being told to “stop”.

What if there’s a neurological reason for my social anxiety besides the idea of feeling “judged”?

What if there’s a reason I’m an observer, a mimicker, someone who knows how to smile and repeat phrases like a robot to people so that I appear that I know what I’m doing? 

How I can’t keep track of a conversation if it’s more than just me and one other person.

How, if I’m talking to someone, one little noise (a crack, a bang, a voice, laughter, several voices, e.t.c) will force me to fall silent until it passes because I can’t think with noise going on. Hence one of my reasons I hate talking on the phone besides also hating people listening to me.

How finger snapping, a mumble from a television in the living room or dim/bright light or snoring can get my blood boiling and possibly send me into a rage if I’m already on edge.

How I can’t say anyone’s name to their face. I don’t even say my own name. I would give some examples to prove my point, but honestly it’s one thing I’m extremely embarrassed about.

shoesWhat if there’s something from the time that therapist/counselor told my parents in elementary school that I was “shy” and “I’ll grow out of it”, to all the interest I rarely showed in my peers or their interests, to the days I spent riding around making lists of every brand of car I saw,  drawing their emblem symbol next to the name, and illustrating how their front, sides, and backs looked until, at 9, I could recite the make, model, and year of a car from looking at it. I still can.

I still have my toy car collection by the way, I treasure it.

How, when I became obsessed with psychology, I listed every psychoactive medication, their generic and chemical names, the class of drug they were, and what they were typically and atypically administered for, until I was 15 and reciting it to my high school teachers and doctors in the hospital.

You know when you get a gut feeling about something and you just know something doesn’t add up?

That’s my gut feeling. And if this is a result of what I think, I’m going to be very furious at some very important people in my past.

FYI: it’s not my parents.

P.S, feel free to leave an opinion. I’m opening to hearing interpretations. In fact, please, leave an interpretation I’m desperate here. 

To Be Or Not To Be “Disabled”. . . That Is The Question.

How do you respond to failure?

How do you respond to not “doing your best”?

I think these are two questions we have to ask ourselves constantly when dealing with our mental health. How do you respond to feeling “unwell”? How do you respond when you feel your “symptoms” or as I like to say, your mental health experiences, start interfering with your daily, hourly, tasks?

As I am only 21, I feel I am striving to improve on this daily. My current response is “curl in a ball and ignore the world”.

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I’m not sure how far that will take me.

What are your healthy and not so healthy ways of dealing with your struggles?

I’m sure you can guess by reading my “This Is Me” portion of my blog, that my diagnoses have always hopped across the spectrum of “mental disorders” as the DSM calls them, and I’ve never been through enough services or in enough crisis situations to warrant a decent one or two. This creates many problems.

This creates many problems because when you are not labeled, you do not get extra services. You don’t get your tests proctored in other rooms. You don’t get social security (you just hop around from job to job every couple of months hoping something will stick, knowing full well you’re not prepared for anything just yet), and no one believes what you say because a doctor hasn’t signed a little piece of paper.

It’s frustrating. Not to make psychosis seem like a walk in the park, because I know it’s not, but Christ sake, if I was running down the street without any clothes and covering myself in mud so the CIA satellites couldn’t track me anymore, or if I went to the ER and said “the FBI put a chip in my head, they’re recording my conversation, you need to surgically remove this right now” or I went into therapy and said “Every time I read a book Satan removes the words from my head and laughs at me, he follows me everywhere”, I would get some attention. I would get a very strong, and adamant label. Life would be very confusing and it would be hell to be stuck bouncing in and out of that. But I would have a label. 

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The small pile of “magical beliefs” or whatever the hell part of my personality that got me the “possibly, maybe, who-knows” “semi-partial, not really official” diagnosis of Schizotypal PD is not enough to count for anything. They probably messed up on that too: I’m more paranoid about demons following me and people conspiring against me than I am “magical”. Or is that magical too?

Whatever.

And this is where I’ve ended up: arguing back and forth with people over characteristics of myself.

Today I wanted to go to the Accessibility Support Center at my college to hopefully register with them, meet with a DSS (disabled students services) coordinator and be able to get accomodations like tutors and my tests proctored in a different, sound proof room with no people so I could concentrate for once.

Unfortunately, two things stopped me from getting out of my car.

  1. I can’t go places by myself. I drove all the way to campus, stared at the sign and drove off. I’ve never been able to shop for myself or go anywhere by myself. There is one market I can withstand about fifteen minutes from my house by car because it is large and it’s rarely ever packed, at least not during the hours I go. I don’t get my hair cut. I don’t shop for clothes, shoes, or anything I can’t get at that one market. I don’t go into the financial aid office the enrollment office or any office on campus without a friend with me. I can’t even print a piece of paper without someone with me. How the fuck am I going to walk into a place, say hey, I have mental problems, I’m fucking crazy, let me take my tests in a sound proof room please? 
  2. I don’t have a label. I’m walking into a place where quadriplegics, people with learning disabilities, Down Syndrome, severe Autism, e.t.c all go to say “hey, I need this help” and I’m sitting there looking normal, acting normal, without papers or documentation asking for something the person across the counter is going to assume I don’t need. This part is my anxiety of being judged.

You ever have anxiety of being judged as not having a mental struggle? That’s a new one. That’s when you know you’re fucked up. 

dependentFrom where I stand, I am extremely dependent. People go to the store for me. They do laundry for me most of the time (it’s hard for me because the laundry room for the apartment complex is very loud, the washing machines are loud, and if a cricket breaks its leg on the window sill the crack echos off all four walls. It’s just sensory overloading. Not to mention running into other people in there. That’s my nightmare.), they make appointments for me, phone calls for me, e.t.c. Sometimes the depression fatigues me so I can barely put something in the microwave.

You might be thinking what any social security officer or doctor might think: well, you have a job. You went to the interview on your own. You went to the office and did the paperwork on your own. You’ve done your laundry before. You drive.

And I have done all those things. But nothing is ever maintained. Every time I think I’m doing well, I backslide and everything overwhelms my mind. I only work three times a week and I’m already feeling like I can’t handle it. I’m ready to quit again.

I know people say “you can do it, don’t give up!”

Listen. You can’t see the floor on my room. There are crickets crawling around on my computer desk as we speak and I have no idea where they came from. It’s a wonder I haven’t made more attempts on my life with the amount of time I spend thinking about it. My cumulative G.P.A has fallen from a 4.0 to a 3.5, that literally makes me cringe to write. I can’t sleep at night because my heart rate decides to pull a NASCAR and race, I wake up thinking “well, shit” and go to sleep thinking “well, shit”, and today, realizing that I can’t do a simple task to make things easier for me, something for myself, at college has only beaten down my morale once again.

I have to go into work in about twenty minutes. If I make it through this week without banging my head against the wall until I’m unconscious or slitting my wrists vertically, it will be a miracle.

That’s not a joke, I”m a self-harmer.

People need to stop making jokes like that. “Ha, ha, Imma slit my wrist”. How is that funny. I don’t get it.

Anyway.

Ten Quadrillion Ways To Be Fucked Up

Sometimes you just want to wake up, go online, and not get bombarded with stupidity. All the time you should realize this as an improbable feat.

You try to read a serious article about someone in a car accident and all you see is the ad for “Precious lost weight, now she’s a hottie!” or some fatsist, sexist bull.

Then you make the mistake of clicking on the “I hear voices mumbling, am I going crazy?” question on Yahoo Answers and find an extended, wanna-be-intellectual answer of “that sounds like schizophrenia and here are my dumb reasons to why I think I have the right to make that comment”.

Now some fifteen year old female is running around thinking she has schizophrenia because some loon on the internet told her so.

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A reminder for us all: We’ve got to be careful what words we release into the ether of the internet. I shall repeat something I feel I repeat much too often to people: hearing voices is not indicative of schizophrenia. There are many different types of auditory and visual hallucinations, and only a very small fraction of them can be categorized and attributed to a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Did you know you can hallucinate merely from being stressed out?

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Shocker!

There is this overwhelming belief in our society that something “abnormal” must be disordered or a sign of a “broken brain”. I don’t know where it’s coming from. Seriously, someone find the answer for me and link it to my blog in the comments below.

But for God’s sake, don’t get the answer off Yahoo. If you link me to yahoo, I will personally hack your Facebook and post graphic Hentai gifs to all your family members.

It really all comes down to this idea that we’ve got it all figured out, that how the majority of the population perceives things in the world is the only way to perceive the world, and if your perceptions are different, if your brain integrates information with a twist to it, than you and your wacko brain are in the wrong and we will make sure you’re aware of how wrong you are. And we’ll drill it into your head until you know you’re wrong and we’ll make sure you know how not acceptable you are. So along with your weird perceptions of what we label as reality, you also have to deal with being disrespected.

And we’ll make sure none of us get on your level to try and relate because, well, fuck you, you’re below us.

That attitude isn’t everywhere, but it is in many places, and I’m sure those of us who struggle with our mental health could pinpoint it somewhere at least once in in our lives, whether it be from family, doctors, psychologists, neurologists, whoever.

6ddI gave up on the internet today. I closed all the tabs, put my computer to sleep, and sat wondering how people with such strong beliefs of “mental disorders make you insane” aren’t also labeled as delusional. 1) it’s an irrational thought 2) you can’t talk them out of it and 3) when asked, they have no real evidence to support their claim other than the media and their unintelligible link of mental illness to violent crime and since when is the media a credible source?

Then I got bored of trying to catch all the thoughts whizzing past my eyes, so I turned the computer back on. The internet Gods have been merciful on me and presented me with two wonderful articles from Scientific American and a website called “Medium.com” that kind of rips off flipboard but I’ll ignore that.

Links to both articles can be found here and here.

Both are in relation to the idea of consciousness and theoretical physics and I promise I will quickly link all of these ideas back to the reason why I say there is no one true reality or one true/right way of perceiving said reality. One article believes the concept and action of our consciousness may never be solved, but perhaps it could be merged with computers and bionics–as soon as neuroscientists can crack the “neural code”.

Now, I’m no neuroscientist, nor am I a particle/theoretical physicist, but the idea that a neural code (meaning a comprehensive pattern the brain/mind follows that results in an algorithm describing the function of consciousness and every single neural network in the brain) would be reduced to something as simple as a couple action potential spikes with specific milivolts as they’re suggesting sounds kind of . . . well, dumb.

That’s like saying  “specific sounds have specific frequencies, and those frequencies are are the reason for the pitch of the sound” . . . without taking into account the particles that allow all of that to happen.

If you’re studying sound and how it syncs to the entirety of the universe, wouldn’t you need to dig a little deeper than that? Kind of how, you know, consciousness is everything to us?

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But a good point they made is the amount of neural synaptic connections in the brain: A quadrillion. If it averages ten action potentials per second, that’s ten quadrillion operations a second. Can you fathom that without making your brain hurt?

Oh, the irony.

At ten quadrillion action potentials per second, don’t you think there’s going to be some several million of us who perceive things different than the other several million? If each brain is like a finger print, don’t you think we’re all going to see things through our own eyes and we have no right to think that our vision is the only kind of vision?

Does it seem a little silly yet to think that ONE “imbalance” of serotonin is what has ruined your life without other factors playing into it all? Does it make sense why they find some people with the same differences in serotonin as you that are not depressed or not anxious? Does it make sense that everything you’ve read about imbalances are basically just loosely educated guesses?

Does it make sense that hearing voices isn’t indicative of schizophrenia yet?

There’s no such thing as a perfect brain. There’s no such thing as a broken brain. There are just brains. Love your brain. It does so much for you.

Next time you and your brain quarrel, just remember there’s a little mass of squishy tissue with billions of neurons scrunched together just above your brain stem that gives you the freedom to never have to remind yourself to breathe. It lets you enjoy the portions of your life that you’ve enjoyed. Don’t piss it off. 

Incongruity Killed The Cat . . . And I Laughed.

You guys.

Incongruent fucking affect. 

A visual representation of my response:

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Because now it all makes sense. It makes sense why people give me the responses they do.

If your outward appearance doesn’t match your inner expression you might as well slap a mask on your face, pin the tail on a donkey and fire your mistress, am I right?

What does any of that mean? I have no idea.

That’s probably the feeling people get when they’re speaking with me and I’m laughing/smiling at something that, outwardly, I probably shouldn’t be. That’s probably the confusion I see on their face when I’m sitting there talking about something horrible that’s happened and I’m not getting the response from them I was hoping. You know, the consolation/it’ll be okay/come here let me take away the pain responses that many people get. Instead I get the “I’m not sure how to respond to this fucking wacko” expression.

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Precisely

I think it’s relatively common for people to hide how they really feel inside. We all have a “nervous laughter”, we all smile thinly and say “I’m fine” when we really want to take a knife to our throat. And I believe sometimes I do that, just like everyone else.

Then there are the times I don’t know I’m doing it and I walk away frustrated because these people were sitting here laughing at my pain–and I never thought to pay attention to the fact that I was also laughing.

On here I probably expressed how frustrated I am that I’m now out ten thousand dollars because of my mistake of not filing for financial aid. It’s something that causes me nightly anxiety and every time I think about it I want to kick myself in the metaphorical ball sack.

It’s something I expressed to someone at my job and after my bi-weekly therapy session today, and the concept of my affect and incongruity surfaced for the first time, I came to the sudden realization why people at my job and people in general get confused on how I really feel about things. Not only do I give cliche answers, some of which I steal verbatim from conversations I eavesdrop on because I don’t really know how to hold a normal conversation, but I’m always smiling. I smile about everything.

Literally. Even the guests at the house have noticed; they come up to me and say “I notice you’re always smiling, that’s really cool”.

“Yeah, someone stabbed my thigh and blew up my car then sent more death threats to my house” *cue smile*.

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At any rate, I understand why they give me confused looks when I say things like “yeah I have to pay my entire way, it really sucks, I’m extremely frustrated” nonchalantly and rather monotonous and then I smile and giggle.

I bring horrible things up and how I feel inside isn’t transferred to my outside. Sometimes on purpose as a protection measure like an average person, the majority of the time not.

Maybe this is the reason people don’t believe my anxiety or depression. Often I don’t show it, even at it’s worst. I don’t talk about it in depth because I don’t know how to verbally describe it, and then I get nervous about judgement and hide it. I have three forces working against me here.

Don’t even get me started on how fucking paranoid I’ve been at the house lately. We all know I have a “thing” about being watched by unseen forces (possibly demonic) all the time, so I relate to the people I’ve talked to who feel like Satan has been stealing their thoughts and won’t let them read a book because he jacks the words from the page or whatever. But after hearing a rather sad and chilling story from a coworker, just in the midst of casual conversation right before I started my overnight shift, things got weird.

Night time is the worst for me at home, at other people’s homes, at work, everywhere.

It got to the point where the chores I needed to handle were impacted by the fact that I couldn’t turn my back towards any entrances. So I had to stand along the wall as I did things–I felt eyes on me at every turn, and it wasn’t my usual “they probably installed cameras in the office to make sure I’m doing my job and then they gossip about it and conspire against me” feeling.

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I couldn’t get the mop from the back because I knew something was waiting outside for me, so I used a sponge and my damn socked foot to mop the floor. Thank God no one was awake, they probably would have been “well fuck, even the workers are loosing it now”.

I closed all the blinds but there were some windows that had no blinds and I was forced to glance in the pitch black expecting something to fly at me. It didn’t help that someone upstairs was pacing all night and laughing. In fact, it worsened my creep factor.

I kept hearing someone knock from the inside of the bathroom door–I was on the outside, it was closed (as it’s also an entrance to a room) and I heard knocks from the inside. So I stayed away from that area of the house.

I got maybe thirty minutes of sleep that night, simply because I passed out from exhaustion.

Last night I hoped the feeling would leave, but it never has who the hell am I kidding. The backyard light kept coming on and off and I kept staring out the window, sweating profusely, wondering who the hell was outside and why this was happening to me. By the time I lay down to get some sleep, there was a knock at the door: one of the guests happens to pace around the house during the night and got locked out.

Well fuck me, right?

This shitty rambling post, I need to get my shit together you guys, fuck me. 

 

Rambles oh Rambles

Apologies for the absence.

I thought I would drop by for a moment and reassure all of you adoring people that yes, I am indeed still alive. Fascinating, am I right?

As of now, I’ve been awake well over 24 hours. I’ve been doing night shifts and when I came home this morning, I realized I could not sleep. My head is buzzing and my anxiety levels have been a little high.

I’ve got no financial aid this semester.

I’ve come to a lot of social realizations from working so much lately, and I’ve learned so much more about my sensory issues and my sensitivity towards “stress”. I’ve learned what one person might not find overwhelming, I ultimately fall in a heap and cry over. I’ve had to suck it up many, many times already. Over simple things. And I’ll sit there like, “well, fuck” waiting for the tearing sensation to pass.

At this point in my life, I don’t feel I’m able to transfer right now. I don’t feel I could handle working very often during the week because I become neglectful and stressed and as a result dissociate and fall dead silent. Not on purpose, but for a list of reasons I don’t always have control over.

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At this point in time I have a very generalized understanding of what could be going on. So I’ve decided to take the path of getting a complete diagnosis. At this point I have a bunch scattered around and never really “confirmed” I’ll be spending some well earned money on this, so it better not be a waste of my fucking time. If it is, I’ll kick the psychiatrist in her non-existent balls.

Can I say that to her without getting deemed “anti-social personality”?

There are only two psychiatrists who do full evaluations in my town and one charges 400 dollars per session because she went to “Stanford”.

Bitch please, I went to Stanford in high school for a college prep program, that doesn’t make my advice better than anyone else’s.

Remember all you college-aged, determined, young, bright souls. It doesn’t matter the degree or where you receive it, it’s how you use it.

So anyhow, things have been up and down and at this point I prefer insufferable insomnia over a midnight trip to the ER to some condescending doctors who seem to think Panic Attacks are something to get a good chuckle about. If I was screaming “stop taking my ribs, they’re taking my fucking ribs!!!!” like one man was one night across from my room while nurses were scrambling to find their miracle Haldol, I bet they’d take me seriously.

Or possibly tackle me and break my arm then when I’m lucid say “oops, you fell”.

I don’t know. I just don’t like being laughed at and accused of doing Meth three times in a row.

dysfunctionI believe I am one of the “dysfunctional functionals”, only because I try so hard, only because I dissociate so well. But dissociation can’t happen at this job, when someone is struggling on the phone or in the house, you need to be aware of what’s going on.

Peer Respite in itself is genius. I plan on always staying in contact with this house, I’ll always come back for a visit, and the principals I’ve learned from these people are something I will integrate completely in my practice. If I won the lottery…damn, they would be one of my first charity stops.

I know I appear rude and disconnected to people, or fake even, and I don’t necessarily know why. But I do know that my passion and feelings are not fake or rude or aloof. They just aren’t expressed to the extent I suppose people would like to see.

Right now I need a break. I need to stop moving so quickly. University will come. My Medical degree will come. And one day maybe I will be able to work steadily like other people. But right now, I’m only 21. I’m barely coming into my adult brain, it’s barely putting on the finishing touches.

Right now, I need to lower my stress before it drives me off an edge somewhere. I refuse to quit this position, but I need to have a serious discussion about possible accommodations.

Day shifts are much too hectic for me. People coming in and out, phone calls, interviews…some of it is my anxiety making something into nothing. The other part of it is my sensory issues, my hypersensitivity…it prevents me from doing a lot. I can’t keep a conversation if even I hear the rustle of papers around me.

It feels like my brain gets stretched in the direction of every noise it hears.

I feel my coworkers are many years older than me…on medication perhaps as well…and have been through the majority of their storm while I’ve just made the left turn into the beginning of mine.

I don’t want to feel like I’m avoiding things. But I have to remind myself taking on everything at once without any way of coping or managing things is just setting myself up for disaster.

Sometimes “pushing through” isn’t the right thing to do. Sometimes slow steps are better. And that’s okay.

 

 

 

A Testament Towards Feeling

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We are all fighters.

Survivors.

Warriors.

And I will never deny that fact.

To deal with whatever pain you experience day after day, minute after minute, hour after hour (physical, mental, terminal) means you have some kind of strength within you to keep going. It means you’re not willing to give your life up to something that wants to take you hostage. The people who have been through your pain, who can share in your pain, know the exhaustion you put yourself though and they smile and they say you’re strong. They say you’re resilient. They say you can make it because you’ve been making it. And all of their words are beautiful and heart felt and you trust them.

A connection makes all the difference.

disconnect-old-phoneSo what of those of us where connection has never been felt? What of those of us who use humor to interject ourselves because we have no other way of communicating? Those of us who get confused on when to say something, what to say, and how to say it? Those of us who consistently misinterpret someones tone of voice or facial expression to be malicious or crippled with ill intent? Those of us who have suddenly come to realization that this issue has caused a pattern of problems throughout their life?

What of those of us who have the crushing feeling that they’ve been copy-catting their way through life?

What does that mean? It probably means different things to different people. To some extent, we all copy someone else. We adopt each others mannerisms and ways of speech when we’re in a group. We see an outfit on someone and want the same. Some people call it being unoriginal, but I call that type of copying admiration–you like the outfit, it’s cute, so you buy it to also look cute.

To me, copying is a way of protecting myself. It’s not done for fun. In fact, I loathe myself for it deeply. In a conversation I copy the answers and mannerisms of the people around me not so they will like me, but so I don’t reveal how completely clueless I am in the rules of the flow of conversation. I don’t care if they like me. But I care if I look like the socially inept fool I am.

In the midst of two other people, I will not speak. Not because I don’t have something to say but because I’m not sure if it’s right to say. I’m particularly not sure when it’s appropriate to interject.

This makes the conversations I do manage to have very artificial. They’re sticking their maxresdefault2feelers out and I’m slapping them down by accident because I’m blind to them. I speak few words because of this issue. I’m brief and speak very quickly and often quietly.

I’m an observer. I watch how people converse, how they joke with each other, and I’ve pretty much analyzed all I can. I’ve got all these stray pieces strewn across the floor and I’m trying to come up with a formula that fits them together nicely. For example, in high school I noticed one big thing in conversation is eye contact. Not making it is weird, making it too much is also weird.

So I come up with an approximate time to stare at someone and an approximate, and appropriate time to look away. A good two or three seconds is alright, more if you’re still thinking of a response. It’s good to keep eye contact with someone while they’re talking because it shows your attention level, but it’s generally average to glance away once or twice while you’re speaking so it doesn’t become this creepy staring contest.

I still stare too long because I’m not sure if looking away makes me look more awkward or not. So it’s something I’ve been trying to understand since I was 16.

The missing link is in the flow. I don’t know how to keep a flow or stay on topic. Someone asks a question, you answer, what comes next? Why does anything have to come next?

I feel people think I’m not interested in them because I don’t ask about them. But I never knew I was supposed to . . .if someone wants me to know something about them, why don’t they just say it?

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I go silent often and people find that rude.

These are things I’ve thought about for the last year or so, things I’ve been recognizing in myself that I feel are the root cause of my social anxiety (next to my mistrust of people’s intentions, which probably stems from the fact that I can’t see anything but malice in their expressions or their words).

It came up today during supervisions. My supervisor asked me what could happen in the house that would integrate me into the team (I could take that one of two ways: 1) she wants to know how to improve communication throughout the team or 2)I’ve been recognized as the outcast I always am). She also asked if I even wanted to be part of the team (but she didn’t say it in a mean way, I don’t think).

I’m going to choose not to be offended, because experience tells me that wasn’t what she was aiming for, but it feels like I’m going through the same thing over and over again with the people back in grade school who constantly said “you’re too quiet, what can we do to make you more involved in the class?” or “can you participate more please?” or the people at one of my old jobs that said “we’re going to work on making you open up and have you work with [enter coworkers name] to make you a little louder on Thursday”.

It triggered me subconsciously I think and I put my guard up automatically.

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I said I did want to be part of the team. And I don’t think I lied. But I see how they operate, everyone is open with each other and it flows nicely and I don’t fit. I’m highly aware of that. I said I didn’t know what anyone could do. I wanted to say I have trouble making connections but I got lost in my speech as I often do, so I don’t really remember what I said.

It was something rehearsed, something I always say in response to these types of things because feelings are hard for me to distinguish when it comes to people. So I recite the feeling that is most common, that I hear most often, that makes the person the most happy, depending on the situation.

But personally, I go blank. The only feeling I’ve ever experienced from people is mistrust and anxiety from not understanding how they operate. So how could I answer a question like the above?

When she asked me whether or not I wanted to be apart of the team, I studied myself carefully. And felt a pull in neither direction. Blank. That was probably really awkward because she had no idea why I was silent.

book-1110648_960_720Anyone from any job could have asked me that, and my reaction would be the same. This is where I feel people misunderstand me: my feeling blank isn’t a testament to who they are as people, it’s a testament to my own feeling.

I don’t see why that is so hard to understand.

These people are not evil. Their not mean or horrible. In fact, they’re the best set of people I’ve met in my short life. But they are human, as most are, and that simple fact keeps me from relating. I’m distanced. Always have been.

So where do I go from here? I don’t know. This happens every job I go to, every class I’m in, every group I work with, every casual or focused conversation I have . . . it never changes, and it never has. Perhaps it will one day.

And I believe in order to change things, I need to understand this more clearly. I need another opinion. Even if that means spending 230 dollars on a 90 minute psychiatric opinion.

If you follow me, you know very well I’m not fond of “professionals” because of their lack of experience. But I have lack of experience being human and they have an abundance of it.

I have ideas from past psychologists and my current one. But perhaps it’s time to get a medical opinion as well, just something else in my arsenal of “tools I’m using to find myself”.

 

 

In The World Without The World.

I’m not an open person. I have been trying to be an open person for the majority of my short life.

missing_something___by_lillele-d31vg49I must be missing something. I’m not understanding the algorithm (I can’t tell a derivative from my ass with the amount of time I’ve been out of math) or I’m missing the software to conceptualize and understand the process.

The possibility of not being encouraged or praised for ideas as a child was thrown out in the air for a reason why I don’t speak up when I have something to say. That’s all fine and dandy, but I feel I lack a connection to the rest of the world. I feel distanced. Not dissociated, but distanced. As if there is a glass wall separating me from the remainder of the human race.

I have empathy. I can relate to people’s pain, I share in people’s pain, and it hurts me when others are in pain. But to connect with someone on a human level, on a personal level, without focusing only on their pain but to then also focus on mine . . .

I’m still struggling with that.

To have a simple conversation . . . that’s a whole other algorithm. How do you do it? When do you know what to say? When do you butt in? How do you not misinterpret their facial expressions or their tone of voice? All I hear are malicious things, mocking, deceit, half-truths, people saying things just to appease me.

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Even in an environment where I’ve been told I’m completely supported, I feel the most isolated. Over the years I’ve learned it’s not them, I’ve learned it’s me.

It’s me who sees their expressions twisted. It’s me who hears their voice tone wrong. It’s me who distances myself because I think they’re just there to play with me. I think they form a little tirade against me where they can gossip and set up tests around the office and the house and coach guests to be a certain way so I have to deal with it, so they have something else to gossip about.

Everything becomes a test. The dishes, the food, the garbage, everything. It happens at every job I go to, any group event I try to take part in. Everything feels like it’s pushing against me.

isolation-1So I isolate. I isolate so far I quit things. I skip classes, I drop classes, I quit jobs, I huddle in my room where it’s safe, and when I come out of it I’m left with just the static noise in my head. Then I get bored and frustrated with myself–why can’t I function like the average human being? Why I can’t I just “ignore it” all?

Then I get some more confidence. I apply for jobs I’m not qualified for because I know my writing takes me places my mouth never could, and when I get them I brag because somehow “getting” a job equates to “maintaining and functioning” at a job in my brain.

Then time passes and I’m the outcast. The anxiety hits and I’m going to work with an upset stomach and headache and returning with the same thing. Then comes the paranoia: camera’s are hidden in places specifically to watch me, and they’re watching as I type this, I feel it. They use it to gossip more. I had to close the blinds tonight so I could look for my paper check no one told me was sent here and I didn’t want whoever was probably watching me from across the street thinking I was digging through people’s files.

I’m aware that’s something people say is not happening. I’m always aware of how I feel.

It’s all too much. I’m isolating again, slowly but surely, ignoring calls to work or not taking specific shifts just to avoid too many people or too much turmoil.

I just don’t want to fail again. And I feel like that’s what’s going to happen. Then I’ll start the cycle all over again.

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It’s nice to get this out in blog form, but to speak it outloud to someone is my goal. I want to be able to freely speak and freely cry all I need without feeling like someone is going to use that information against me or is going to mock me or feel that I’m the definition of insanity. I don’t know how to feel that way about someone.

I can barely say “hello”, how the hell and I supposed to spill my guts to the world?

My supervisor will be here to take over my shift in 45 minutes. I’ve been here since 10:30 pm (I’m off at 8:30 a.m), got an hour or so of sleep, and one of the guests randomly took all of her belongings and left and when I tried addressing her, she wouldn’t speak or look at me. She didn’t help my situation tonight.

Nothing has been helping my situation.

Status Report Update: I feel like shit.