To Everyone Anti-Psychiatry . . .

Life is an experience. 

That’s all it is.

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You can hate it, you can love it, you can take it for granted, but at the end of it we’re all reduced to the same fate. For anyone to take anything so serious that it completely thwarts their vision to the fact that it’s okay to wake up and not know what you’re going to do that day, or that it’s okay to wake up and hate everything, or that it’s okay to be a little different, is only fooling themselves.

Remember, a winner is not someone who never fails, but someone who never quits. 

Experiences are good and bad and life is a conglomeration of them all. Expect horrible things to happen now and then. Expect good things to happen now and then. But, don’t ever expect that you’re privileged enough to not experience one of the two.

 

I work at a peer run mental health respite house called Second Story. I’d link you to something but . . . we don’t have a website and the last time I linked something, the entire organization of Intentional Peer Support found my article and that was honestly a little embarrassing. Granted, they loved the article and published it on their Facebook/website or whatever. Still. I said, as a joke in the article, that my first impression of the trainer dude was that he was a hippie and described his exact clothing. And he read that shit.

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Anyway, I’ve read articles about Second Story in a magazine called Mad In America. There are videos on YouTube about Second Story. In the state of California, they were the first mental health respite house. In the United States, they were the seventh. They’ve been open almost six years now. Apparently, there are about thirty respite houses in the U.S now.

I found them by typing “psychology” into a job search engine and applied.

At the same time, I was offered a position at a behavioral therapy center for eighteen dollars an hour. Eighteen dollars a fucking hour. That’s a lot for someone like me who has no degree and hardly any experience in anything. I held off confirming anything with them until I heard back from Second Story.

Technically, the respite is almost like an alternative to a psychiatric hospital. If you’re struggling and you are connected with county coordinators or psych doctors through the county and you have housing and you’re not conserved or on a sex offender list and you’re over 18, you can come stay with us.

We have a “WarmLine” phone number you can call and talk to someone 24/7. It’s not like a suicide hotline where the people just ask “do you have a plan?” “will you be safe tonight?”. No, this is a line to call when you’re looking for someone who understands what you’re going through. It’s a line to have a conversation.

How glorious it would be to have enough money and be big enough to open the doors to people who are not connected to the county. But I’m willing to bet fifty dollars before you read this post, a “mental health respite house” was foreign language to you.

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We’re completely voluntary. Come and go as you like, just let us know if you’re going to be back late because we do require you stay in the house overnight. We can be flexible depending on the circumstances. You can stay for two weeks, and if you seem to be working on your goals and participating in the house we are always open to granting an extension. Once again, it’s also flexible depending on the circumstances.

We’re all peers. We know how depression feels or anxiety or the experience of hearing voices or feeling manic and whatever else you can think of: PTSD, trauma, addictions, general mood issues, confusion, e.t.c; I’m not going to list every human emotion for Christ’s sake.

Because that’s basically what it is. Anything a human can or has experienced: we’ve hopefully got at least one person who has experienced something similar.

So we don’t go prodding around your “diagnosis”. Because we don’t really talk about diagnosis; it’s not the point. I’ve very, very rarely heard words like “schizophrenia” or “bipolar” used in this house to explain an experience or a person.

ih_140611_dsm_v_5_book_800x600I’ve heard the experiences of what a professional would probably use to categorize one of those disorders talked about in the house. I’m on both sides: the textbook and the experience side. For fucks sake, I own both the DSM 4 and DSM 5. Sure, I could have gone into this house and talked to a guest and immediately categorized their speech as “loose association” or their thoughts as “delusional”. But if I went in and did that, I’m saying it’s okay that 1) someone do that to me and 2) that this person is only saying these things because of this disorder and 3) it’s not worth my time to listen to “rambles” because it’s the “disorder” speaking.

And that’s how the mental health system handles people, that’s how I learned to talk and see things. It’s not what I believed, but it was what I learned.

I remember I used the word “delusional” in my interview with them, now I feel like a fucking tool for it. Seriously, that memory haunts me every time I walk in there.

And to act like some egotistical, medical prick wasn’t why I decided to send in a cover letter to Second Story. I applied to be able to connect not just for others, but for myself as well.

scientology_psychiatry_killsOne thing I love about Second Story is that it’s not “anti-psychiatry”. It’s not “fuck you, medicine” or “fuck you, psych docs”. It’s completely distant from all of that extremist stuff, where people rant all day but really do nothing to impact anyone, which was where I was heading very, very quickly. Instead, it’s focused on the real people, it’s focused on working together. We’re in the bottom of the industry’s mixing pot, but from being with these people I see none of that bullshit matters. None of it fucking matters you guys. NONE of it. 

Fuck the money. Fuck trying to shove Alex Gorsky/Johnson and Johnson’s ego down their throats. Fuck all that negativity. It’s not about your disorder. It’s not about your doctor. It’s not about telling psychiatry that it kills. It’s not about any of this monopoly fucking industrial fake bullshit. 

It’s about getting through the experience of life together. It’s about being able to share your story and have it be heard and feel that relief when someone else says “I know what you feel like because I’ve been there”. That makes way more of a difference to that person than your rant on Psych Forums about how all anti-psychotic medications are poison.

Not saying they’re not. Just saying your rant really serves no other purpose than to get out some anger for you. Which is great for you.

Watching these people come in and out and face their demons head on, whether they want to or not, has given me the strength to try and do the same myself. Because now that I see it in them, now that I see they’re struggling right beside me and still moving forward, I know it’s possible.

And that’s the power of peer support.

P.S Fuck Alex Gorsky.

Sorry. That’s the last of my negativity towards the industry. I had to get it out.

Life Status: Updated

Yes, I will always allude life to the way technology works. Since I last posted, a few updates have been downloaded. Some have been tried out, others uninstalled, and then reinstalled because of the urgent need of them.

Firstly, I said my first “no” to a shift offer. I had a lot of things to do that day and just couldn’t make it, and saying “no” is one of the hardest things to do because I hate making other people feel disappointed. But it had to be done. And I did it. Fantastic. Still feel like an asshole.

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I was one point away from a B on my math test. Considering I didn’t get a chance to study at all with the crazy weekend I had last week, I’m impressed. The class average was 49 points out of 70. I’ll also throw this in for perspective: In the history of my math classes, my first test has always been an F. I’m talking 50% and below. That’s after I studied. So it’s obvious having my tests proctored in a separate room, where its quiet, has really made a huge difference. Why did I get points knocked off? I forgot a ()^2 in a formula, fucked up on the first problem because it was a problem review from a class I haven’t taken in a year and a half, and I forgot a 1/2. So note to self: proctoring in a different room doesn’t help the attention span.

I have to read a book that I hate. It’s collected short stories and fuck me, it makes no sense. None of the short stories make any fucking sense. I want to take this book and shove it up the publishers ass. And all the reviews that say this writer makes others gibber, or that she’s the quintessential fiction writer were obviously written by people bribed. Because fuck this book.

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Some peers told me I pay way more attention to detail than other people and therefore think I should tone down some things in my writing. I respectfully agreed and disagreed. I believe there are times I take too long to describe something because in my eyes I see every little thing about it. Someone seeing five things happen in twenty seconds in my eyes is seeing fifty things happen in twenty seconds. I’ve always been that way. Catch me on a bad day and I’ll tell you it’s because I have the ability to manipulate and slow down time. Catch me on a day like today and I’ll tell you it’s just a product of how my brain perceives things.

At the same time: Criticism.

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Need I say more?

Criticism can be hard to take, particularly on my writing because of how much of myself I put into it. I took an AP english course in high school. My attitude was this upon entering the classroom:

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This was my attitude after two weeks:

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Because my teacher was not like a high school teacher, she was like a private university professor. She pushed me harder than any teacher had ever pushed me. She picked on me in class, she embarrassed me in class, she laughed at how quiet I was and poked and prodded at me like I was the village idiot. She scribbled across the bottom of one of my papers that it was horrible and what the hell was I thinking? She didn’t say “hell”, but that was the emotion through her words.

I learned how to take criticism from her: No one tells me my writing is fucking horrible and gets away without me showing them otherwise.

At the end of the year she found me grading papers in the English office. I was a teachers aid. The papers I were reading were fucking horrible by the way.

Anyway, she comes in and leans by me and I stare up at her slowly because I’m already expecting a verbal beat down and whenever I see her I’m always ambiguous about how I should react. She asks me if I’ve decided to apply to the honor society at the college I was going to. I told her no. She said I needed to, that I had the grades for it. She told me I was really smart. She said a few others things too, but I can’t remember. I walked away that day very, very confused.

Another life update: I’m now apart of the honor society.

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When I entered another English class at my college, the professor I took was an older woman who really liked to talk. I was always first in her class because I wanted to get the shit over with. The college made me take the class and all the books we were reading and the essays we were writing I’d already done in high school. Anyway, one day she came in and said the name of my old high school teacher. She told me she’d been told I was a great student and writer and that I would be a good addition to the class.

Once again, I left really fucking confused.

Until I realized what that high school teacher did for me.Until I realized she was pushing me my senior year of high school because she knew I wasn’t deaf or mute or stupid. She knew I was smarter than I thought I was. Sometimes you don’t know how much someone affects your life until you start living a little more.

The opportunities I’ve been given are astounding. Working at Second Story (which, by the way, was the first peer respite house in the state of California, seventh in the United States) is by far the crowing jewel. It opened when I was 16 years old. I’m only 21 for fucks sake. How many 21 year old’s have this kind of opportunity? How many 21 year old’s with mental health issues get a chance to be around their own people and learn and grow like I do? How many 21 year old’s get a chance to be in their field before they’d even got a piece of paper saying they’re allowed to? Sometimes I feel like I’ve learned more from guests and coworkers in the short time I’ve been here than I’ve learned from my own parents over 21 years. I don’t know how to feel about that.

And to think a month ago I was ready to quit everything: school, working, life in general.

I have to remember whatever stress I feel has the potential to make me stronger.

What Is Writing?

Good morning.

That reminds me of how I start my emails at work. Two words and a period. Is it strange that my monotony comes through even through written word to other humans? You should have read the email I sent to the psychiatrist. I read it back to myself a couple days later and confirmed that I did indeed sound like a confused sociopath.

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Which gets me thinking: how much of your true self shines through in your writing? How much of a veil do you place over your face when you’re in public versus when you’re blogging? When you’re writing fiction? When you’re sending emails? How much does your interaction with other people contort your personality?

I’m under the overwhelming perception that we all adopt a separate personality of some sorts to help us navigate through the social aspects of life. People smile when they’re depressed, they compliment you when they hate you; they present one person and behave as another, sometimes on purpose, sometimes inadvertently.

reset_brain1In some ways I’m sure this mechanism is kind of like a reboot system for our brain. We’re constantly updating, constantly uninstalling, installing, and reinstalling programs, and sometimes we need to run in the background behind other systems to stay sane. When all else fails, we grab our trusty paperclip and needle the hell out of the restart/reset button. Sometimes we wake up with a major update like “no more bitch-face”, sometimes we wake up with subtle changes that protect us from outside predators that we don’t really notice.

I think our personalities run in the background. I think they learn things as we learn things and they’re the subtle changes that protect us. Life in itself is traumatic; who’s to say we don’t all have a little taste of DID?

Obviously not as severe as others. Don’t take that out of context like “oh Golly Gosh Alucard, that’s like saying everyone experiences anxiety or depression”.

Well, don’t take this the wrong way politically correct individuals, but everyone does experience anxiety and even depression. Some people have different levels of severity, for different lengths of time, for different reasons. We’re all human. I hate when people get overly sensitive about that kind of stuff.

If I were saying it to invalidate your feelings of anxiety and depression, then I could see you getting angry.

 

That being said, yes, I did compare humans to computers. They’re all different systems and I have to learn their algorithms in order to interact with them. Unfortunately, they short circuit often and I have no idea how to fix computers on that level. Go figure.

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So I find it interesting that when people in my creative writing class read my work, widen their eyes, and stare at me like I’ve just snapped someone’s back in half with my mind. Then they say “you can convey and amazing amount of emotion through your writing”, “your descriptions are amazing”, “your characters are amazing”. And I stare back like they’ve just given birth to fifteen children with all the same hair and eye colors.

I honestly despise the majority of my writing. The curse of a writer, am I right, am I right? No? No one?

I only write what I see in people because I all ever do is watch. That has it’s advantages and disadvantages. And I write from a place not of compassion or love or anything positive; the majority of the time I write from a place of turmoil and struggle. That’s not to say I couldn’t write a soppy love story like The Notebook, or something motivational, and that’s not to say I couldn’t write something based on positivity rather than actual life.

But News flash: since when was a life without struggle interesting to read about? Even Luke Skywalker’s damn aunt and uncle were crispy bodies by the door.

I took that from a song. It’s on YouTube. “Bushes of love” or something. It’s hilarious.

But I can see the differences in myself when I write. Emails I feel are an inaccurate source because I will change my wording depending on who I’m talking to and therefore put up a pretty thick veil over their eyes and my eyes.

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Take A Moment To Notice Which Traits the ONLY FEMALE has . . . I suppose prestige could be female, but they don’t give her hair and she has more of a male profile. Wtf kind of stupid ass picture is this. 

But in blogs I notice the difference dramatically. Particularly this one. My ideas aren’t usually as concise or organized as they are this morning, and usually I’m stuck in a perpetual state of suffocation. But today I am neither. In fact, I’m nothing. And that’s a sign to me that 1) I’m more stressed than I believe and that 2) my brain has come to the rescue the best way it knows how.

I base my characters off my observations, my experiences, but most of all these separate personalities. I consider them separate regardless of the “idea” that having “personalities” means you’re “crazy”.

I reject that hypothesis like I reject that picture above. I think it means I’ve been through a lot, I think it means my brain actually gives a damn and is trying to sort things out because I’ve failed majorly at doing so. I think it means it’s giving me a break so I can study and make it through work tonight and tomorrow morning. I think it means I actually got good sleep last night. I think it means, much to my dismay, that I am indeed human. I think that’s what having different personalities means.

This current me can be very prudent and conceited at times. It makes me laugh. I come across as arrogant but absent; at this point I’d walk into a store, avoid eye contact with everyone, grab my things, go up to the counter without responding to their “hi, how are you?” comment, and get the fuck out. Anxiety wouldn’t play as large of a factor. That’s why I consider this personality “the break”.

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It’s also the personality where I’d fuck with you. Oh I’d fuck with you so majorly, just for some amusement. That’s kind of how I wrote that psychiatric note I think. It’s how I wrote the note to the guest speaker when I had detention in high school for skipping class. It was all a joke: being put into groups to discuss our “feelings” because we were all troubled kids heading down the highway to hell. At the end we were required to write a reflection about the whole process and the poor speaker wrote me back a frantic note worried I was a mental case about to slash my wrists vertically, spray a gun through the school, or murder a teacher. I never said any of those things blatantly (for obvious reasons) but the darkness and thoughts I described were indicative of a disturbed mind, disturbed enough to scare the shit out of him and the school.

Little did they know I was rolling on the floor crying from laughter while I wrote it and while I read the guy’s response. Poor guy.

If I find something to be stupid, this is the part of me that will put a sarcastic twist on every little ounce of your feelings. Who knows why I/we do that.

Writing, any creative outlet really, is a way for our brain to bring together all the different parts of our humankind selves so that they all have a say. It’s a form of checks and balances for our sanity. So when people ask me why I enjoy writing, I simply smile; that’s a question that would take eons to fully explain.

“So what I’ve come to realize is, I will NEVER fit in, so it’s my duty to make sure, that I stand. The fuck. Out.” -Tech N9ne 2016 baby. 

Surviving Anxiety And College

Anxiety and depression go hand in hand with college.

Hatred of all mankind, your life, and everything that exists in the known universe goes hand in hand with school in general, am I right, am I right?

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But seriously, whether you have an anxiety “disorder” or not, college somehow manages to evoke the worst out of you. Smart kids, dumb kids, average kids: we all experience it. You could do like the guy passed out in the public library in front of me who obviously shot heroin and decided to come sleep in the library because fuck it, no one cares in this town, or you can find some strategies to remedy the situation. Here are some things, as an avid anxiety sufferer for the entirety of my short life, I think can be helpful.

  1. For the love of whatever God you do (or don’t) believe in, DO NOT overwhelm yourself.What I mean by that is don’t take 18 units because you want to get your degree and get the hell out if you can’t handle it. If all you can handle is two classes per semester, take two classes per semester. It’s not a race. Even when it feels people are flying past you at lightening speed and getting perfect grades and starting their life as a theoretical physicist with a Ph.D at the age of twenty two, resist the urge to trip balls. Resist it. After all, you’re in college. You’re there to do things at your pace, how you want; how you perform relative to your neighbor has absolutely no reflection on your intelligence (Newtons 632nd law). The more you focus on others the worse your anxiety will get. physic
  2. Go easy on yourself. If your anxiety keeps you from a lecture one day, do all you can to remind yourself you’re taking this brief hiatus for yourself, so you can come back to the next class stronger and a little more mentally aware. That does not mean do what my (not) smart ass does, and take an anxiety day every other day. It means your health is important. It means keep in communication with your professors. If your anxiety isn’t entirely “social anxiety”, keep in communication with people you’ve befriended in class. You don’t need to tell them about your struggles, but they can be good resources if you need notes or homework for a day you’ve missed. I personally have no friends to depend on, so consider yourself at an advantage if you do.

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    The Thought Makes Me Gag
  3. Get your fucking ass to the student health/accommodations/”disability” center. Now. If you haven’t done that and instead you’re reading this post, I give you permission to mentally mark this number, save it for later, and run to your campus. The only thing about this is you will need some form of “proof” from a doctor, a psychologist, whoever, who has known you for a while. Most people provide documentation from a physician or psychiatrist. I convinced the one at my school to just go off a brief letter from my psychologist. They give you a separate study area, they give you a silent place where your tests are proctored, they give you longer times on your tests, and it literally forces you to communicate with your professors. If that idea makes you nervous, I know how you feel. I couldn’t even go into the financial aid office this week because they fucking moved the building and I’ve been going to same place for the past three years; I can’t just suddenly change my fucking routine damnit! So if new things like that scare you, don’t worry. The deadline, the thought of failure that may make you even more anxious, will eventually force you to do it. tumblr_m2wgjeiege1qa0uujo1_500
  4. Make yourself comfortable. If you don’t like small classrooms or crowded classrooms, sit at the end of the aisle near the door. I should learn to take my own advice. For example, yesterday at an Alpha Gamma Sigma meeting (oh yeah, join your honor society, looks good if you’re applying to other universities or grad school) my boyfriend and I had to sit in the middle of a row because there weren’t many seats left that fit us next to each other, and I’m anal like that; I need my support force with me at all times. My heart thumped like I was running a marathon. The tingling in my fingers came and my brain was screaming “get out, get out, get out.” I couldn’t leave though, not at the first meeting of the semester. So I sat there in pain shaking my leg and trying to keep from crying in front of fifty or so people. I took deep breaths silently and made myself focus on tiny details of each speaker: lines under their eyes, strands of hair sticking up, belly button rings, jean colors, ethnicity, names, and repeated each word they said over again in my head. It took my focus off my body and into the present. So, don’t do what I did. Do the opposite of what I did. Do the opposite of everything I do. 405739_510972168945453_857736176_n
  5. They woke up the heroin addict. I’m waiting for him to pass out again. His eye lids are fluttering. . . . . now they shut. Waiting for his body to topple over again. There’s a difference between being really tired and being on a downer, trust. Try not to do heroin, if you fall asleep during your math test you will definitely not pass. No students, the integral of e^-4x times sin(2x) is NOT your face print.

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    You Do This.
  6. Take classes you enjoy or always, always save time for something you enjoy. Music, art, creative writing, whatever. It will allow you an outlet during the day. creative-mind
  7. Don’t keep it a secret. If your anxiety gets so out of control that it’s affecting your school work and your daily life, tell someone. Get a free counselor on campus. Find a good friend. Join an “anxiety” club. Tell someone online. Just get it out of you before it cracks you in half. Because it has no reservations in making you miserable, it feeds off the fact that it knows you won’t do shit.
  8. Sleep! If you’re like me and you can’t sleep . . . well . . . try! Try sleepy-time tea. Try exercising or moving around a lot during the day, even if it’s just doing things around your house or dorm or room or whatever.
  9. He toppled over again.
  10. Last but not least. . . if you feel like you’re shutting down, don’t panic. You’ve been here before and you’ve made it out alive. You’re not alone in this struggle. It’s something I often fail to convince myself. So I end up listening to songs like this:

. . . and end up convincing myself I’m the demon spawn destined to murder everyone and bleed their bodies in a field.

Don’t be like me, remember?

A Curb Full Of Fucks . . . once again.

Days turn into night, nights turn into days, and my fucks are on the curb once again.

I’m usually up during the house night becomes day and day becomes night, and that’s the best time to dig up some fucks and shovel them over onto the curb. If you’ve been looking for some fucks because your fucks have run out, come on over and pick from my pile, I have thousands of them I’ve discarded.

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I honestly love where I work and I love the night shift. However, with the major shut down I had this last week, I could never gain the courage to return anyone’s calls when they called me for a shift, fearing 1) I’d have to work a day shift right after classes (that’s much too much social interaction when I’m stressed and 2) because I just couldn’t talk to anyone.

Classes makes it impossible for me to attend the team meetings or even cover shifts for it.

That’s a lot of guilt I carry. These people are nice. The last thing I want is for them to think I’m disinterested in something I care deeply about. How do I express that kind of dedication when I have trouble holding and following even the simplest conversation? I guess I should just be blunt and say it.

I think the combined strength of guilt, sleeplessness, and stress puts my guard up around them. I’m convinced all they do is gossip about how unreliable I am or how they shouldn’t have hired me. Did I tell you all I feel like they set up cameras in the office to watch me at night? I’m pretty sure they set up cameras in the office to watch me at night. I’m pretty sure they review the tapes and talk about how much of an ass I am and that they’d wish I quit. At one point I went in expecting to be fired.

Some people call this paranoia, and I used to as well. Until I sat down and thought about it the way someone at my work would see it.

Paranoia doesn’t always result from “irrational thinking”. This is stemming from my own insecurities with people in general. It’s stemming from the fact that people are not routine, you can never guess what they’re going to do, and that already bothers me. I worry people would exploit a weakness in me if they saw it because it’s a dog eat dog world, right?

591277485Paranoia is a term for categorization. But the deeper you dig, the more you see it’s not always irrational underneath, not as much as it seems on the surface.

It doesn’t feel like that every night and it didn’t last night, probably because I was in the common area and kept out of the office to give some company to someone struggling with panic and anxiety. If there’s one thing I wish I had every time I panicked, it was company. Even if it’s just someone to sit there and talk nonsense with. I’m a horrible conversationalist, but I hope it helped at least a bit.

I hate people misreading my intentions because of my behavior, and I never can know the thoughts in their head without bluntly asking “hey, you think I’m a dickhead or . . .?” and that doesn’t seem like a very appropriate thing to do.

I would like to be reliable, I would like to make a call without it taking every ounce of my energy, I would like to be able to feel I can handle all the administrative stuff during the day shifts, but I’m not at that point in myself where I feel I can. Not without it taking every moment of my time in my head and outside of it. And if that happens, there will be nothing left for school.

kemeter-slackline_2362783bThe state of my mind balances on a fine thread across a deadly canyon. It takes an extreme amount of precision to keep it balanced

This new insight gets more interesting the more I type. It pays to think about things in a different way. For those of us with mental health struggles, be careful not to get stuck on categorization and labels; those just tell you surface behavior. It doesn’t provide insight on a deep level. You really think everyone’s brain that disassociates, or hears voices, or sees things, or things like the feeling of being monitored or watched is solely because their brain is sick? Give me a break. The brain doesn’t do anything that isn’t for a reason. If it operated without reason, it would take up such a tremendous amount of energy and space you’d have no room to even be alive, let alone conscious. 

You know yourself better than anyone. It just takes a little bit of introspection. You know those “crazy” theories that say psychosis actually has meaning in the end? Well, the theories aren’t so crazy.

That being said, my fucks are still on the curb. Regardless of insight, the fucks will always pile up until they start leaking out of orifices that don’t need to be leaking, and I have to shovel them all off onto the curb.

The night after I made that post about my uncomfortable obsession with my car (a.k.a my child), I was driving down a street at 40 mph with my boyfriend and we hear a deafening “THUNK!”

The sound of metal cracking against metal continued with each rotation of the tire over a small dip or rock in the road.

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Panic, panic, panic. But I kept cool; I’ve been driving around in cars that suddenly fall apart all my life. A little thunk is hardly something to start crying and calling the tow truck. In fact, if you do that, you’re going to feel like more of an idiot when you learn you probably could have driven it home and saved the hundred dollars.

I do not have free roadside service, so . . . that’s a fuck that can go out the window as well.

We pulled over and looked under. Nothing was caught, like I hoped. So the rest of the way I drove 15-20 mph, not giving two shits if someone behind me was in a hurry. I don’t compromise my car for anyone.

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That night I was so stressed my head could have exploded. Why, out of all the things, does this have to happen right in this moment?

We took it to the mechanic (where I drove 10mph the entire way this time, with my mother tailing behind me). The front right control arm had essentially fallen apart.

If you don’t know what that is, picture your skeleton. Picture your pelvis and how it holds the lower frame of your body to the upper frame of your body. Now, picture that broken.

It essentially attaches your suspension that holds your wheel to the frame of your car. Had I pushed it any longer, I’m assuming the front end of my car probably would have nose dived into the pavement and I’d have to go to a body shop as well. At the very least, my wheel would have inverted or flared outward, and then I really would have to call a tow truck.

Essentially, my car is a metaphor of life. Things happen suddenly, often bad things which require a good amount of repair, and then you keep rolling until the next thing. And the next. And the next. It never stops.

You can choose whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

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Clear The Mind

Everyone, once in a while, needs a way to take a break and clear their mind. Some people use art, some people use drugs, some people use math (nerds), and some people like me take their car for a good old fashion wash.

dvg8yjnI’ve never been good at drawing.With my bad luck, the first time I try a substance like methamphetamine or heroin, I’ll probably die, and math only makes me rip my own leg off, swallow it, and shit out a prosthetic of my own leg. That’s a very painful process, as you can imagine.

Therefore, I take two days out of every month to thoroughly give my baby, my car, a good old scrubbing.

Let me explain this process so you can understand why having mindless activities is absolutely pertinent to mental health.

Firstly, I arrive. That’s a big deal because I scope out everyone at the do-it-yourself wash to see if there are any other badasses like me. More often than not, there aren’t.

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Then I get some coins from the shitty coin machine while praying to a God I’m not entirely sure I believe in that the coin machine doesn’t fuck me over.

I sigh with relief when it does not.

I avoid eye contact with the one drunk/high homeless man who always tries to talk to me in Spanish. The bad thing about being as obsessive with routine as I am, is that other people start to recognize my habits as well.

Then I spray the chrome cleaner on my wheels and let it set for a few minutes before rinsing off my car, scrubbing it with the foam brush, then rinsing it again to make sure every bit of caked on dirt is annihilated.

I have an emotional connection to my computers, to my phones, to my vehicle. When I saw the ad on Craigslist for it all cleaned nicely, parked beside the cliffs against the sunset, I knew it was mine. I bought it two hours later. I care about my car as much as I care about my boyfriend.

When some woman passed my car this evening and touched the hood to keep her balance it felt like some chick had just walked up to my boyfriend and groped his junk. That’s how personal I get.

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Back to the story.

After everything is rinsed, I hurry and start the car and drive it to the drying station where I run around frantically with a five foot microfiber towel wiping away as much water as I can before the towel is drenched. Yes, I run. This is when most people start staring at the red haired chick with the red and blue eyebrows and black and blue eyeliner with blue eyelashes jogging in a circle around her vehicle until the entirety of the car is finished.

Did I mention I’ve dyed my hair and my eyebrows weeks ago? The blue eyelashes are not fake, I tint them with a gel eye shadow because I don’t like the colored mascaras in the stores, they don’t work very well.

I use specialized towels for the windows. I use one towel per two windows. When it comes to the windshield and back window, half of the windshield uses one towel, the other half uses a new one; the same goes for the back window.

screenshot_2015-10-13_at_11-50-38_amAt this point, everyone is staring. (Will she pull a house full of towels from her car? Is she hiding bodies in there? Why is she bumping that music and smoking pot in public? Oh Gosh, oh golly gosh, we gotta get out of here!)

Then I pull out the wax. Yes, my friends, I do not use that stupid “spray on wax” bullshit. What is that even? What. Is. That. It’s shit is what it is. I use the wax that comes in the round container with the sponge and karate kid the fuck out of my car.

My favorite wax is mothers:

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I currently use this brand that I can’t pronounce:

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I will be switching back to mother’s after I run out. Meg-whatever-the-fuck doesn’t coat for as long and the coat isn’t as protective as mothers’.

While the waxed sections air dry, I start cleaning out all the trash and thanking the million men who come up and say “wow, you keep your car clean, I like it”. I’ve had drug dealers (I saw him deal) in nice new Mercedes compliment me, I’ve had homeless men compliment me, I’ve had old country-style men compliment me, and I’ve had some guys feel so enamored by my presence that they offer to buy me stuff from the store. No, I do not accept; like I trust a guy I don’t know to hand me a drink, dude, get real. I don’t even trust waiters in restaurants half the time.

After I wipe away the wax and dust all the crevices I spray the tires. While that sets, I vacuum the inside and clean the inner windows and my mirrors.

I do everything in this order every two weeks. I’ve become a regular; all the regular men know me now. It takes anywhere from one and a half to three hours, depending on how dirty everything is, inside and out.

200380683-001I care enormously for my car. It hurts my heart that I don’t have the money to fix the oil leak or the entire suspension. I hate it. It hurts like I’m letting down my best friend.

That being said, I’ve had half of my suspension done; that was 500. I’m hoping to put in another five hundred to fix the back half this month or next. I’m hoping to find the oil leak and fix it myself when I have the time and a manual.

But he’s a power hungry little beast. He keeps up with all the new Hybrids and fancy sporty cars. I drag raced my friend’s 2014 Chrysler a week after her grandparents bought it for her, and won, not that that means anything.

The love someone feels for a child is what I feel for inanimate objects. They are things I can watch grow, they are things that make me happy when I’m sad. And everyone needs something like that in their life.

The best thing about owning your own car is customization. At this point I will announce my latest cheap changes that will be happening before October (that in no way effect my fund to fix the suspension, in case you’re the kind of person who sits here and says ‘uugghh stop spending money on the outside of your car when the inside is shitty’).

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The two emblems on the back are this:

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Around my license plate is this:

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Where my car is labeled “Stratus”, I will be replacing the chrome letters with “Strange”.

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Yes, those are chrome wheels and not plastic rims. BALLIN’.

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Where it says “Dodge” on the left hand corner of the drivers door (and passenger door), I will be putting “Music”.

Yes, this is all legal.

 

This is my way of balancing my sanity: giving my entire day to taking care of something I care tremendously about. Everyone should have a car to wash, a painting to paint, a song to write, something that gives your brain time to relax and remember itself for a moment. It’s amazing how calmed you are afterwards.

Hell Is A Whirlpool

Warning: Partially Nonsensical rant coming. I should make a partially nonsensical page on my blog to separate it from the sensical things. Hmm.

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It’s five in the morning and I just arrived home. Stress is by far my greatest nemesis.

I am someone who thinks very quickly, constantly, naturally. Contrary to what some people believe, that does not make me smart. I don’t know where the notion comes from: oh she’s a quick thinker, she must be Einstein.

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If I were Einstein, I wouldn’t struggle with math as much. And oh boy do I struggle with math. Although I’m one to pay attention to detail, because my head is constantly full to the brim with things to think about (things to do, things I could do, questions about reality, questions about non-reality, things I could make, build, extort, things I could become famous from but probably never will but that doesn’t stop me from obsessing over it, e.t.c), the small parts of math like the addition of a fraction in the middle of an integral for a work function gets thrown out the window.

It’s plagued me since I was in elementary school. It takes me longer to process math than any other subject, and I’ve noticed as I take tests and do homework, my mind gets lost in the sea of other brilliant/not so brilliant/ mildly psychotic thoughts and when I look at my answer and the back of the book and yank my hair out because the answer is wrong, it takes me another half an hour to notice I wrote “1/2” instead of “1/12” or I subtracted where I should have added.

It sounds minor, but it costs me a lot of points on tests constantly. In high school my teacher always shook his head at my tests and said “it’s always the tiny stuff with you.”

And it is. It is the tiny stuff with me. Thanks for pointing it out and never helping me come to a solution for it.

I won’t talk bad about him, he was one of the best teachers I had and the last I heard he fell into a really, really, dark depression after his wife left him.

When stress hits, my thoughts that already go 300 mph hit the speed of sound and all around my brain I have these little sound barrier breaks like this:

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If you know anything about physics or sound, or if you’ve seen one of these guys live or on YouTube, you’ll know you see the plane whizz past and hear the boom just a second or so later.

Imagine one thousand of those things passing over your house in different directions, consistently.

In this metaphor, in case you’re wondering, the physical plane represents one thought, and the boom represents my consciousness of it. I feel I’m always a split second behind my brain. It’s got so many things I want to do, so many things I need to do, so many things I probably should do but aren’t, so many things I probably shouldn’t do and still aren’t, so many real things, so many imaginary things, so many imaginary things that could be real and visa-versa.

I got a brain scan and through some improved technology, they managed to take a picture of the physical thoughts in my head. They were partying:

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As you can imagine, my memory is both shit and brilliant at the same time. To hold all these thoughts and ideas takes an incredibly amount of attention and as a result, my attention suffers. It’s a cruel world.

As you can imagine with my natural state being full of thoughts, with anxiety making my thoughts more obsessive, and stress making them quicker, I can’t sleep for shit.

As you can imagine, with all the above, I can’t relax.

And as a result, I shut down. Physically and mentally.I am currently in the middle of a shut down. Even the smallest thing, like handing a paper to my professor, becomes a monumental task I sit in my room and obsess over and somehow my brain convinces us it’s worse than climbing out of a trench in the middle of a war.

I also talk to myself a lot more often during this period with a tendency to twitch and/or smack myself. It’s not something I can really control, it all just happens, and I look crazy in the store: another reason I hate going places.

I. Am. Tired.

I don’t know why I’m still writing.

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I get a little break from it all with marijuana. I think I’ve said this before, but I don’t smoke often anymore, only when I feel I need to, and often it helps me sit down and realize I need to do one thing at a time and not beat myself up over tiny fucking shit.

It’s funny the progression of everything though. Smoking, I can sense a difference in the way my thoughts are formed; they’re a little more linear, they don’t slam into each other, and often I can go a full stretch of time without feeling overwhelmed by thoughts or suspicions or paranoia or even anxiety.

The anxiety deficit requires more than a few bowls though, which usually results in that very obvious “high” look and sound. If I’m not careful, I fall over the rim of normal marijuana high into the “people are in the bushes, keep watch” marijuana high, and that kind of high is some straight bullshit. That’s not fun, that’s the exact opposite of what I want when I’m high.

That didn’t start happening until two or three years ago. It’s a reason I cut down drastically.

And I can feel the high wear off when the first thought slams into the next. Then I’m thrust back into a whirlpool of hell in my head.

That’s where I sit right now.

My playlist tonight you ask?

That’s not my whole playlist.

But those were the last four songs I listened to.

Going to another Tech Concert in eighteen days, anticipating the new album 12/9/16. What a wonderful way to say farewell to 2016.

In case you were wondering, I’ve been a Tech N9ne fan since I was ten years old; so eleven years ago.

I’ve also been a Korn fan since I was 10 years old. They have a new album dropping October 21st if anyone was wondering.

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In case you’re thinking “Jesus, what kind of ten year old was she?” (the answer is an awesome one), I also listened to the fucking Cheetah Girls, so you know, go figure man.

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Moving Forward Together

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Let me outline this very clearly, because it seems people who are outsiders, people who don’t struggle with their mental health on a daily basis, still don’t get what we mean when we say we need your “help”.

By help, we mean “support”.

By “support” we don’t always mean “advice.”

In fact, very rarely do we mean advice.

If you feel like you can’t “help” us, that’s because you can’t and that’s because you don’t need to. It’s not your responsibility, as someone on the outside, to cure us of our depression, our anxiety, our voices, our paranoia, our thoughts about suicide, or our self harming tendencies. That’s not a burden for you to carry.

If someone in a wheelchair is pushing themselves down the sidewalk just fine, not asking for you to push for them, would you just walk up and start pushing them? No. The same applies here.

3740df239005007563e2530671cf1e58We’re looking for someone willing to walk with us through the fire of the moment, not someone to toss water on the fire with good intention, not caring to pay attention to the fact that the fire is a grease fire, and then storm off offended they couldn’t put the flame out.

Say you were working in construction and you measured a beam wrong so that when you tried to put together the side of a house, the boards toppled on you. Your right leg is being crushed, along with one of your hands and your chest. You’re struggling to breathe, the world is turning black, and off in the distance you see a possible savior. You use your last bit of energy to wave them over and they come running, chest puffed out. When you tell them what happened, they look at your measurements and say “well, you should be more careful when you measure next time so this won’t happen”.

And then they walk away like this . . .

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. . . feeling like they’ve completed their good deed for the day.

Then they get offended you didn’t say thank you to them when they come visit you in the hospital.

That’s what it feels like to us when the people we confide in get frustrated that we’re not responding to them the way they want us to when we’re already struggling to hold our head above water. It creates this feeling of isolation on both parties. You feel like you’ve failed someone you care about, we feel like we can’t ever express ourselves without getting turned away or bombarded with things we don’t need to hear.

This is a gap in a bridge that needs to be sealed.

This is where understanding comes in. Giving people pamphlets about the “symptoms” of “mental disorders” is “education” I guess . . . although not very effective, and your #stopstigma tags on twitter are amazingly popular for about five internet seconds, but if people on the “outside” aren’t around us, if they can’t see that we’re just the same as them, if they can’t see us in our best and our worse, and if they can’t come to us and talk with us and dip their toe in the fire for just a split second, then they don’t truly understand what support is. And you can’t #stopstigma without people having a clear understanding about what’s being stigmatized.

dreamstime_xl_52335624And it’s not about us tossing all our problems on someone with no problem, because at that point we’re using them as a scale to measure how “fucked up” we are, we’re using them as a landfill to throw all our trash, rather than a human being to relate to. And that doesn’t make anyone feel good.

It’s about mutuality in the relationship. If they feel you are burdening them by constantly venting without ever letting them a chance to speak or a chance to attempt at making a connection or a chance to express their grievances as well, they should be allowed to tell you that (politely) and you shouldn’t be offended. You shouldn’t turn them away and say “I’m crazy, that’s probably why they don’t care about me”, because what you’re doing is invalidating how they feel, and how they feel is pertinent to the relationship. If they didn’t care about you, they wouldn’t have spoken up.

In the same way, if you feel you aren’t being heard, if you feel something isn’t right, you have the responsibility and right to speak up and tell them so (politely) and if they get offended and take it as “this person is just selfish” than they’re invalidating your feelings, and how you feel is pertinent to the relationship.

Do we all see how this works now?

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We don’t need to reform “mental health” necessarily. We need to reform how we interact with people who experience things differently. Categories, diagnosis, medication, none of that is the fucking issue. The issue is what we perceive as a result of categories, diagnosis, and medication. Let’s face it folks, that stuff makes money, it’s not going anywhere. So lets use it to our advantage rather than our disadvantage.

And that issue of perception doesn’t ONLY fall on the shoulders of people who DON’T struggle with their mental health. It’s our responsibility as the strugglees (not a word, don’t quote me) to be honest about the struggle and to be honest when we feel someone has stepped across a line. Don’t take it as a slap across the face because “you’re crazy” and therefore don’t have a right to speak up.

And if all else fails, if mutuality never develops–because, let’s face it, not everyone is meant to be in your life–if things can’t be worked through, separate from each other in the most respectful way possible so as to preserve their feelings and your feelings. Just because someone disagrees with you or you with them doesn’t mean you have to part ways by hurting each other.

That hurt only carries on into the next mutual friendship/relationship, and the last thing we need is a chain reaction.

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Inspiration from this post came from a struggle in my own personal life just recently and by being honest, without getting into an argument, without screaming, without cursing each other, we managed to come to a conclusion that we both care for each other and want to move forward together.

I only have Intentional Peer Support to thank for this. With my inability to understand how to interact with humans in general, being there for that week laid it out to me logically in a way I could attempt to understand and duplicate. I may be a little robotic about it still, but I’m learning.

I was wondering where all my anger went. . . and thinking back on it, it really calmed down after being surrounded by everyone that one week in may. It’s amazing what taking the time and thinking about how other people feel, and how you react to their feelings, can do.

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What is This.

Good Evening, all. 9/6/16

I read a very touching story for my creative writing class entitled “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan. There’s a PDF of it floating around the internet ether if you’d like to give it a read. It’s a short six pages.

For my American Literature class, I was supposed to read and skim through a section entitled “First Encounters: Early European Accounts of Native America”.

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You can guess I took one read of the bullshit and set it down.

My more recent followers may be a little confused by my discontent, and I’ll briefly explain: I’m mixed race, a portion includes Native American, and I’m no stranger to the mountain of hell historical truama has put that part of my family through. I come from a steady line of slaves and ancestors who were forced along the trail of tears. I therefore come from an open, unhealed wound, riddled with alcoholics, depressives, and oppressed people. The last thing I feel like reading is a piece of shit from some old “explorers” who felt entitled to do what they did.

I know there are natives and aborigines all across the world who still feel the repercussions of similar histories. And one day I’m sure it will happen again. And again. And again. If there is life on other planets, I’m almost certain it’s happened there as well. There always seems to be a power struggle between creatures somewhere, somehow. Plants fight for the beams of the sun and there are vines that suffocate other brothers and sisters of theirs for just that.

Perhaps the other planets have found a way to heal. There are some countries on our planet who have learned to heal from that kind of truama, but America isn’t one of them. And therefore I don’t take lightly people saying “that story doesn’t make sense” and then laughing at the world resting upon the back of a giant turtle in an Iroquois story. I don’t take lightly the fact that when some European described watching some tribe wail every morning at a certain time at the death of their son for an entire year as “ridiculous” or hearing them laugh at that.

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A Representative Picture of Me In class

Whether or not there was something lost in translation, have some fucking respect.

Sometimes it takes three generations to heal from truama. It’s not inconceivable that there were different forms of mourning in different tribes. Mourning too long isn’t always a sign of depression you spiritless idiots, it’s also a form of healing. You have to feel that pain, you have to let it out, and you have to reconnect with yourself and your surroundings. Grief is extremely powerful and it needs to be treated as such. Trauma is very powerful, and it needs to be handled as such. If you can’t understand that, they keep your mouth shut.

I should have spoken up in class. The way they were talking, I could feel my blood boiling. But something held me back. Remnants of oppression, perhaps? Habit? I’m used to people talking that way about cultures I’m apart of. They don’t ever seem to talk shit about that straight up Polish/Irish part of me though.

I fell silent that class period. I refused to speak or participate or listen to a word anyone had to say. Maybe it was my anger, maybe it was my way of rebellion: maybe it was my middle finger to the world. I don’t know. But if it happens again tomorrow, I won’t hold back.

My professor said the book does a good job of expressing native american views. Among the hundreds of settler stories, there is one native american creation story that was probably written down by a settler.

Yes, there are tons of documents by natives believe it or not, because I read many of them in high school when I took a college american history course.

How I see my professor at this point:

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9/7/16

I stopped that post last night. This morning the tides turned and I awoke how I always do: balanced on the edge of my mind willing to either fall and land steadily on the surface to my left or the abyss to my right. I ended up fighting a little harder than usual and the result went something like this:

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Man in pinned stripe suite falling off a cliff.

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And yes, I switched gender and race in the process.

Something took over my mind today and I ended up not going to that English class I specified above; I sent an email saying I had an appointment I couldn’t miss. I got a call from work for a shift, and for some reason it spiraled out of control after that. I had to spend a lot of courage attempting to call them back (to which the phone wasn’t answered) and it just reminded me of the fact that I have a letter to still give to the accessibility center, an appointment to reschedule because someone gave me the wrong room for it and I missed the appointment, and that I still have to dish out all of the accommodation letters to my professors  which means I have to approach them during office hours.

I got extremely overwhelmed. And when I get overwhelmed I have no tools to stop my mind from freaking out. I try explaining the process but I’m assuming people think “why are you freaking out about nothing” and then decide there’s no point in talking to me about it. That frustrates me even more as I don’t tell the inner workings of my mind to just anyone. In fact, I rarely tell them to anyone. So to be blatantly rejected when I do manage to share some of my stress only pushes me further downward.

It’s like climbing up from a hole and getting your knuckles stomped on and your face kicked back down.

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In my creative writing class I couldn’t focus. My mind does not have the capability to shut up. I think there were a few times I whispered something to myself or I started rocking, I’m not sure, I wasn’t really present for the class.

Then comes the suspicions: is that person next to me asking the other person next to her a question to spite me? She knows it pisses me off. She’s doing it on purpose. She was nice to me earlier but now that she knows I’m insane, she’s refusing to speak to me.

I figure both people at my table can hear what’s going on in my head and that’s why they were quieter this class. Maybe I was whispering too loud, I don’t know.

Maybe I didn’t whisper at all and it only felt that way because my mind was so loud today.

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To be quite honest, I don’t know what the fuck went on in class.

It’s been very stressful lately, and I know what happens to me when stress hits me: my moods jump around like a ten year old on a trampoline for the first time, I’m suspicious of everyone around me (have I told you at this point I only trust my manager at work?), I shut down . . . and during that shut down I force everything in the back of my mind, putting pressure on my subconscious. Then she erupts with fury and vengeance and that, my friends, is what I call a panic attack. Then I get sent to the hospital, miss classes because the Ativan IV puts me to sleep for a good day and a half, and then I wake feeling like a complete fuck up of a person.

I would know as this has been happening systematically for the last two years. It’s the reason I am not yet out of this mind fuck of a junior fucking college.

So I try to let my stress out. I try to talk to people. But what happens when that fails as well? Where do I turn? This blog? And bore all of your eyes to death?

I don’t know.

What is this blog anymore, even?

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What’s Your Story?

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That’s essentially my take on life at this point.

As I write this, I sit with a scratchy throat of which I will throw miniature tantrums over until it is gone.

Thank you all for the 400 followers, that’s more than I could have hoped for in the beginning of this blog. For the new comers, welcome, you don’t know what you signed up for but thanks for signing up.

Anyway, this semester I’m taking a creative writing course. We cover fiction, drama, and poetry  and it’s been an interesting experience thus far.

I know the blog-sphere is full of published writers, non-published writers, want-to-be published writers, want-to-not-be-published writers, writers who are a million times better than I could hope to be, and beginners. So periodically I’d like to share some of the different outlines we use to spark creativity, and I’ll probably share excerpts of my own until people get annoyed with my shitty . . . shit.

My vocabulary is astounding.

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This week, the first week of classes, she had us describe our life in six words. Then, as a twist after we came up with the stupidest things we could have thought of, she decided to let us go home with an assignment of “develop a 250 word ‘Story of your life’, all centered around the six sloppily thrown together words you came up with”.

Everyone else came up with things like “Born and raised in California, Baby” or used words to describe their life like “shy girl, no friends, something, something” (I can’t remember what everyone fucking said).

Me? No, my brain is a magnet for the abstract, so my phrase was “Fire, water, and some more fire”.

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Here is the 250 rough draft I slapped together over these last few minutes:

In the beginning, there was fire.

Fire foretold more fire, but in a foreign language and therefore was incomprehensible. I came into the world with little fight and a naïve sense of security that the fire would soon target, lock, and destroy.  The flame first licked my skin in infancy when my cries of confusion were met only with a discontented “girl, you better shut up!”. The flame encased the house at the discovery of alcohol and narcotics, and scorched my skin with the disadvantages of poverty and eviction. Although the number one antagonist, the flame and I danced our way through life side by side, lost without each other and lonely without the misery of one another.All that flew from my mouth was fire, all that perspired from my pores was lava, and all that my emotions could emulate was the reaction of cesium in water.

Education enticed the flame larger. Written word was my only true form of communication, spoken word a mystery but required nonetheless. Barked phrases of “speak up!” Or “you’re too quiet” haunted my nightmares and I, verbally inept, silenced myself to avoid the struggle of fighting for words in my own mind.

Water doused the edge of the flames at 18 when I saw through the smoke screen that the fire and I were never friends,but parasitic leeches upon one another. Water brought the gentle and fierce understanding fire would always exist, but that the heat could always be lessened.

Now.

First of all, excuse any mistakes, this is a rough draft. A very rough draft.

That is also a very accurate description of my life, however abstract. I wanted to have people read it first before I give my theory on where all of that came from.

From it I gather I’ve described the “fire” part of my life, the unpredictable yet somehow almost predestined drama and anger and pain and stupidity that accompanied me from infancy, the part which I regarded as my best friend, my loyal friend, as a parasite.

I didn’t learn how parasitic until the water came. I represent maturity and growth and selfflowing_over_dam3 realization with water because water knows when it needs to rage downstream or across mountain ridges. It knows when it needs to make itself known. It knows when to remain calm and still and let life carry on around it. It allows us to drink from it and suffer the consequences when we get too greedy. There’s an ancient wisdom about water, I think. It doesn’t flow against any force, not unless that’s what life requires, but it does flow with force, just enough to get it from point A to B.

ca-wild-fire-2-9-15A fire scorches everything it touches, whether the intention to do so is there or not. A small fire is still a fire; the only difference between a small one and a large one is that a large one covers more ground. There’s always an element of loss of control around a fire. It’s not about whether a fire will soak into the carpet or just dry on the wall and evaporate: it will spread wherever it pleases, swallowing everything in its path and leaves only charred remnants behind. That, I attribute, to my volatile attitude of my child-self, of the attitudes around me, of the unfortunate events that always seemed to surround me, and, at one confused point in time, to my mental health status.

I didn’t learn any of those metaphors until I finished writing. That’s the amazing thing about writing: one minute you have nothing and the next minute you have something.

I think this exercise is good for someone struggling to really put the pieces of their life together. I’m really anal about following instructions (you can count if you want, that excerpt is exactly 250 words), but it’s not necessary. I’m personally someone who needs to work on condensing my ideas.

At any rate, like I said, it’s good for anyone who would like to learn more about themselves, or bring together past events that were otherwise difficult to think about. Representing them abstractly seems to have helped me process some things, to show me that what I experienced is also something nature experiences, something we all experience, even animals. For whatever reason, that brings a bit of peace to my mind.