What I’ve learned through this peer support position is that there’s a difference between “accepting” your “illness” and recognizing the way you think. I would even be daring enough to say that it’s simpler to accept your “sick” than it is to recognize how you think and constantly challenge it.
I do not mean fight it. I do not mean the day to day fight we all endure with anxiety or depression or voices or mood swings. What I mean by constantly challenging it is learning to live with some discomfort.
That’s the line that was in the description of the job position listed online. They didn’t call out for “mentally ill” people. They didn’t request “sick” people. They didn’t request “people who have accepted they are crazy”. They requested for people who have learned to live with some discomfort.
While exercising my right as a student against the financial aid department today, I felt the anger bubbling and the paranoia joining in: I was sure the woman at the counter, the one who I’d had trouble with in the past, was a racist woman who had messed up my account on purpose . I was sure she had entered the wrong information into the system on purpose a month and a half ago when I turned in all my paper work. She wanted to see me squirm. She didn’t like that I wasn’t someone like her, so she didn’t care whether or not I got my money. She wanted to keep me poor like the rest of the non-white, non-hispanic students at my college–all 26 of us.
I stormed out of the office shouting about their B.S. I slammed my car into the wrong gear and sped off down the street. I sent a very discontented email to the heads of the financial aid department and, as I suspected, I was in the right: they’ve fixed all the trouble and I will be getting my money soon.
But while all of this was going down, the woman was in the back of my mind. So was all of the other people in the recent past who I’ve felt were purposefully conspiring against me, whether it be whole organizations, peers and guests at work, students, professors, e.t.c.
It’s one thing to be aware of the paranoia. It’s another thing to sit in a seat, breathe, and realize even if the woman did plot against me, everything worked out in the end. It’s another thing to sit in a seat, breathe, and be okay with the reality my brain created because in the end whether it was real or not, neither truth really mattered. What mattered was the outcome.
I don’t have all the answers. All I can possibly know is what I experience. Perhaps that woman has been conspiring against me this entire semester. Perhaps she does have some hagish vendetta against me: what does that matter? She hasn’t prevented me from doing anything. She hasn’t physically attacked me or telepathically attacked me.
And as my kitten stretches out on my lap and gives me quick little kisses with her tongue on my cheek, her simplicity makes me see how meaningless trivial experiences like this are. The bond we’ve created this last week will outlast any conspiracy against me. It will outlast any anxiety, any depression, and any physical part of life. There’s so much more in the world that we can’t see, that we can’t manipulate with our hands, that we can’t tear down with our words–things in the air, things in the soul, things in the heart, that should be the focus of our lives.
So what if you experience something better or worse than your neighbor. It doesn’t make you better or worse or sick or sane or ill or healthy or wrong or right. All of it just makes you human. Let the bad days exist. You couldn’t possibly know what’s coming tomorrow.
You all know how I feel about . . .the holiday which shall not be named.
The holiday which is Voldemort to Harry Potter.
I refuse to make a post even remotely mentioning Thanksgiving (besides this brief moment) when Native American burial grounds are being tarnished and pipelines are being strewn across their land against their permission.
Anyhoo, I have had the absolute pleasure, thanks to my psychologist, my boyfriend, and an animal shelter to finally, finally, welcome this little joy into my life:
She’s a three month old domestic shorthair Tortie. I’ve named her Andromeda.
I got her from an animal shelter. She’s been shuffled between foster homes and shelters three or four times, just within this last month, and was in medical care in the shelter clinic for a week before I got her. They said she was struggling with a UTI. She doesn’t cry when she uses the litter box, nor does she lick herself in the genitals, and she doesn’t seem to be in pain. She does urinate frequently, in small, strained bits. There was apparently blood in her urine so they gave her antibiotics and they said her urine was clear, which was why she was allowed to be up for adoption. As soon as she was stressed out again, it flared back up.
I’ve ordered Uromax, set to be here on Saturday, to help her urinary health until I can get her free vet visit done next week. I can tell she’s frustrated with straining to urinate, because she’s starting to do it in different areas of the house, with blood in it. That’s a problem.
The good thing is, since I’ve taken the incentive to research all I can about this urinary issue, what it could be, what it could not be, the risks, and the treatments, I’ve been trying different methods to help ease her struggle. I have urinary tract food that promotes urinary tract health, I’ve put a little dry food in her water (it makes her drink a lot more of it) and the frequency in which she urinates has decreased, the amount she urinates has increased slightly, just enough to make me feel better, and the blood which was worrying me has faded to a super light red tint just within this day.
I’m very familiar with UTI’s of any sort: I must admit I’ve been a victim of it way too frequently. I can also tell, from the things I’ve been reading from vets, that this can be caused by excessive stress and can go away within a week, which is often why it seems antibiotics work when in reality they’ve done nothing.
I will see what her wellness check up at the vet turns up. Since the shelter clinic said her tests showed the rest of her is fine, I’m kind of summing this up to maybe an inflammation of her bladder caused by stress, or by unfortunate conditions of living in a shelter with a bajillion other cats.
At any rate, she is a happy, crazy, healthy little kitty. She leaps crazy high in the air. She chases after toys faster than I expected, and she’s had a lot of excitement and nervous tension stirring her up with this fifth big change in her small little life.
But, at least she can rest assured that this is her forever home. Regardless of vet visits.
My parents love her. I love her. As we speak, she’s actually calmed down enough to sleep on me as I type. The first night she got here she refused to sleep; she stayed up all night a little scared and running around all over the place. Once her stress level decreases, I’m sure the bathroom part will get a little easier too. She’s still going to a vet (I’m not trusting my mediocre internet skills over someone who has studied animal bodies for a living) but I do know she’s going to be okay even with this little hiccup.
She is an Emotional Support Animal, certified. Her anxiety has made me anxious, and the more I calm myself down, the more she calms down. Now we’re riding each other’s wave lengths finally. She knows I have her best interests at heart, even if all she wants to do is play with that damn fluffy wand on top of that toy.
Animals are healing. So since she’s healing me, I want her to be the healthiest, happiest kitty she could possibly be, and I’m willing to pay off vet bills for four years at ten dollars a month because I’m poor as shit if I have to, just to make sure she’s okay.
Animals are way better than humans in my opinion.
As I typed that, she lifted her head, meowed, and started purring. Yep. She agrees.
Learn from the bad days, relish in the good days, and be mindful: that’s pretty much what life sums up to. Today was a bad day. I’m going to choose, however, not to go into detail this time. I’m not going to rant about my exceptionally bad social skills, or the fact that I connect better with inanimate objects than I do people. I’m not going to whine about the anxiety generated from this realization that keeps me mostly silent in social gatherings in fear of 1)interpreting something wrong, or 2) saying something inappropriate or 3) sounding like an idiot. I’m not going to pity myself over my sensory issues that keep me distracted during conversation and every other moment of my life.
What I will do is say that everything takes time. I will say that where I am and where I want to be are so distant from each other, separated by such a spontaneous, long, winding pathway, you’re going to need Parametric equations to understand the reality. You’re going to need x, y, and t. You’re going to need to identify the curve and graph it and tell me what direction it’s heading.
What I will say is that life is like a Taylor Polynomial:
Everything is an approximation, a copy, a trace step by step, or in a graph’s case point by point, of someone else’s ideas and behaviors and discoveries. The older you get, the more you understand, the more terms are in your Polynomial expression and the better your approximation will be; your educated guess gets better and better and better.
You can’t rush the polynomial. It builds how it builds given the equation it has to work with. If it’s something fairly simple like e^x, well hell, all the derivatives are of e^x are e^x so you won’t have much of a difference in terms of the numerators. There won’t be risk or reward or output, just like in life. If you don’t embrace change, if you can’t, if you don’t allow yourself to, much of what you experience will stay the same. And it will continue on and on until you match perfectly the original approximation. How exciting.
But plug in the third root of x and suddenly you have different derivatives in your numerator. Suddenly things are changing. Things are shifting and although a number like 5/248832 is a little . . . well, unsettling for most people, so are changes in life. They’re unsettling. They get a little creepy. Sometimes they look so outrageous that you just wonder “what’s the point?”.
But . . . at least you’re questioning.
At least you’re experiencing. At least when your approximation reaches it’s end goal, you can wipe your forehead clear, sigh a breath of relief, and look back at all the work you’ve just completed with pride.
Don’t be an e^x. However fascinating the term may or may not be to you, don’t be like it.
From today I take away many things. Many of them are negative and that’s okay. But I also take away the realization that I can continue to grow, even though it will be hard. Even though the people I’m trying to approximate are at a level I may not reach for three, four, five, maybe even ten years. Even though I feel the social calculations I’ll have to make to complete this approximation will be more complex than any math equation I’ve encountered in my young math life.
My struggle with connection may have something to do with looking at people like math equations . . .
I also need to stop procrastinating on this math homework. I have a test on Tuesday at 8 in the morning. Wish me luck.
At least, that’s what they say. And let’s be honest: how much of what “they” say should we really hold on to?
I think a lot of people struggle with confidence because of the standards set upon them. You should be good at this because you studied this. You should this, you should that. I think a lot of people struggle with confidence because there’s this misconception that being confident means you’ll succeed.
As someone who is thoroughly confident, I know this is not the truth. To be confident does not mean you will succeed, it means you have the ability to accept where you fall short. It means you don’t avoid the hole by risking your life and leaping over it, it means you fall into the hole and manage to climb your way out.
Some people call that resilience, but you can be resilient and stand strong while continuously getting beat into the ground without a chance to get back up. And without the chance to get back up, you start believing you won’t ever get back up. And that doesn’t sound like confidence to me.
To be confident means you know it’s okay to feel bad. To be confident means you know that the struggle is not the end, but a process to birth an outcome. To be confident means you know that outcome, whatever it may be, is just that: an outcome. And once that outcome passes, there will be another chance, in whatever way it presents itself, for you to create a new outcome.
To be confident means you don’t always smile. It means you accept what emotions come when they may, whether they be “appropriate” or not. To be confident means the words placed on your social media meant to provoke you into a rage doesn’t dent your pride, but elicits a laugh because words on a computer screen are like salt tablets thrown into the ocean.
To be confident doesn’t mean you’re strong, and it doesn’t mean you can turn your weaknesses into strengths. Being confident is the act of allowing weakness to simply exist.
To be confident isn’t to be smarter than the person beside you; confidence and arrogance are not synonymous, I’m sorry to say.
All of the above is the reason they say confidence is the key to success. When a wall is presented, those of us who are confident don’t slink in defeat and we don’t majestically leap over the wall with no effort. We stare at the wall and acknowledge it. We say, “okay, this wall is new; let’s see where this takes me”. Then we walk along the wall and feel the wall and see the wall and never ignore it. We let the wall think it controls our fate and we understand that by giving up the power of perfection and standards and the illusion that we can simply climb up the wall without understanding why the wall exists in the first place, we gain even greater power of our outcome.
You don’t need multiple successes for confidence: take it from someone who, in many people’s eyes, including my own, has failed over and over and over and over and over again. And those failures are what keep me going. If I didn’t have those, I wouldn’t be nearly as confident. I would be terrified that one day, at some point in time, my successes or my achievements or my standards would be ripped away in an instant. I would smile all the time so people couldn’t see my terror.
With that, I shall leave you with another excerpt entitled “Prayer For Keeping On”.
Let us find a way to keep it moving, to keep it alive and free, where it wants to be. Let us walk all the way through doubt consistently, to believe in what we have found in our beginnings. Let us know what is real, and let us pass it back and forth between our hands until we are gone from this earth, and even then, let us remain in this spirit, please.
It’s a journey to learn how to love. It’s a journey to learn how to listen, how to interact, how to develop. It’s a journey to learn how to accept and hold on. For some of the older, less technologically savvy folks, it’s a journey to learn how to use Internet Explorer, then an even harder journey to learn why Google Chrome is better. For some of the younger, less open and honest folks, it’s a journey to learn where their place in the world is.
Living is a journey and I’m a firm believer that death isn’t the destination, but just a simple continuation. I’m a firm believer that our physical bodies encase a spirit more free and universal than the limited capacity of our physical brain could fathom.
Religion is not the only way to be spiritual, and science isn’t the only way to understand facts. Given the recent research and mysterious observations in quantum physics these days, it’s evident to me that stories of cultures from the past are ringing more and more true: we don’t just live in the universe, we are the universe.
So, is what you see really what you get? Or are you getting what you see because you believe you saw it? In other words, are coincidences really coincidences, or are they happening because a portion of you is calling out for them to happen?
I don’t have these answers. I may be completely off my rocker; I’m sure many have thought that. I’m sure many thought the first person to claim mental health struggles were perhaps something woven in experience or genetics or brain matter rather than demonic possession were off their rocker. I’m sure many thought the first few to come forward and proclaim those struggling with hearing voices and mood swings could actually live medication/treatment free were off their rocker.
We could go back hundreds of years, in whichever culture you like, and find one person deemed insane for a thought perpendicular to the others.
There aren’t many answers in life and sometimes I feel this is because we create questions the universe never intended to have answers for. I think it never intended to have answers for these man-made questions because, to the universe, neither question nor answer matters. One day we will all be lying in a bed or on the floor or in the arms of another struggling against our nature for one more breath, just one more, to be conscious around our loved ones for another five seconds.
So next time someone gives you a dirty eye, before you get angry, think about how much that glance really doesn’t mean. Next time someone laughs at you or calls you crazy or says your ridiculous or cyber-attacks you, think about how much they’re missing in life; to focus so much negative energy on one person must take a lot of positive energy they could have been putting into themselves and the community around them.
I don’t have much more to say tonight. I sat around a dinner table with guests of house and coworkers and ate a meal all of us cooked together. We all laughed and complimented each other and shared a moment of relief from whatever hell we all experience in our mind. We took the energy we use to beat ourselves up, the energy we use to fight the anger, the depression, the anxiety, the voices, loneliness, the hopelessness and put it into something we could all share and come together over. And that one moment of coming together I glanced around the table at the woman now volunteering who, not only a month before I’d met in the psych hospital where she barely spoke above a whisper, and I glanced at the other guests, each with their own story on their shoulders, and I smiled genuinely for the first time in a long time.
This is what I was missing. This is what she, the volunteer, was missing. This is what each of us was missing until we all found each other.
We’re all one in the same. We’re not “republicans” vs “democrats”, we’re not “mentally ill” vs “sane”, we’re not “smart” vs “stupid”. We all come from the stars, and we each have a story worth sharing.
That being said, I’ll leave you a quote from a healing book my Native American Lit. professor gave me a gift a couple semesters ago, entitled: Prayer To Find It Everywhere:
There’s so much missing, so many places the magic goes awry, but let me find it everywhere, in cross-country restaurants, waitresses with an easy smile, in people at crosswalks and crossroads, everywhere, each day at least in little ways. Let me not focus on what can’t be done, but on what’s here, who’s here trying, doing it, offering it freely, for their own desires. Let me find these people and spread their tale too, of how this came to be, of why it is, of what we must see and do. Let it fall easily, anyway it can, before my open eyes. Let the simple reach me, and let me answer from the heart. Let me return each greeting in respect, always knowing how far we’ve come and how much it takes to bring it all together, every time. Let me find it in the midday train whistle, and the distant barking dog. It’s good from here, and it keeps on going everywhere it needs to. Let this be.
–An excerpt from the book “Sam Woods, American Healing”.
Life goes on and the unreality of the eighth falls prey to the angry, hungry lion that is daily reality. And in daily reality inquires are made and solutions are dished out and some people work a 9 to 5.
Then there are those of us who don’t. Then there are some of us who have to awkwardly explain to their non-peer professor that she feels the entire class has conspired against her since her return from the hospital but that she’s been keeping up with the work at home and will be back the following week. Then there are some of us who disappear from math class without warning and have to, once again, awkwardly email the non-peer professor and hope he will be understanding.
That’s what’s been keeping me from going to my creative writing class by the way: the same thing that kept me from going to my Native American Literature class those years back.
Let me say I love this professor. She is hilarious and open and an eloquent writer. Although she is more interested in poetry rather than fiction, she and I understand each other as writers. Her class is very open. Everyone talks among each other, and I was once in a little group. Then I shipped away.
Returning back to class felt wrong. And once I told my professor why I’d been gone, I got this nagging feeling she’s told the entire class who I am, what happened, and why I was gone. Then when I return I’m noticing someone who used to sit next to me, sat a seat away, and while another person used to ask me questions she now asks the guy next to me. I’m sure she told them all to ignore me and hate me. I’ve tried to reason myself into believing it’s because they have all had time to get to know each other better, but that other voice in my head has invalidated and battered reason to the floor.
Driving home one night I realized something significant. First, I realized that this level of paranoia can go fuck itself.
Secondly, I asked myself what someone would say to me at Second Story if I were to explain my thoughts. I asked myself what I would say to someone were I to explain the thoughts to myself. And while I can’t remember the full conversation I had with myself in my head, I do remember the conclusion.
Feeling violated by my professors purported confidentiality disrespect, feeling like an outcast among people with stigma as rampant as it is, is the root of this paranoia. My own insecurity of being seen as “crazy” or “sick” on the outside is the root of this paranoia. And while that doesn’t make me feel any less paranoid, it made me sigh in relief. It made me sigh because it makes me remember all the people I’ve spoken to who struggle in the same way. I sighed because it only confirms there are reasons for thoughts, no matter how “deluded” they could be considered. My interpretation of my environments may be different from yours, but if you’re insecure about the way you look, and I’m insecure about how my mentality is perceived, aren’t we both sharing in the same struggle but seeing it differently?
And that got me thinking about the future, about transferring, about digging deep into my career. And all that bone crushing anxiety got me thinking about questions I hear and have been asked often:
What kind of jobs are there for the “mentally ill”?
You all know I refrain from using terms like “mental illness” or “mental disorder” and instead call them experiences or struggles or interpretations. But that is how the question is often phrased.
And one obvious thing comes to mind and it isn’t office job, it isn’t an online position, it isn’t reclusive writer, and it isn’t backroom stocking associate, all of which I’ve tried.
Well, I’m still a reclusive writer, but . . .
I smacked myself on the forehead at the realization: peers.
And with the rise in peer support sweeping, literally, the nation, there’s a huge need for it.
I will be transferring over the hill next year. I refuse to live on campus unless it will be paid for by financial aid and I can have a dorm to myself: those are rather harsh and specific requirements, so I’m not counting on it. Therefore I will need income. I smacked myself again on the forehead before searching for peer support in the county I will be moving too.
Yes, it exists there as well. In fact, it exists in many, many more places and cities and towns than I thought. Second Story may be peer run, but even within health centers there are peer programs. A lot of them. This gave me the hope for humanity Trump tried stealing away.
If connecting with people who also struggle is something of interest to you, I encourage you to search programs, I really do. It may sound like a huge step, and it is, but let me tell you, you’ll be way better off being nervous around people who understand how that effects you personally, than being in an office where a boss snorts at you and says “tough shit”.
My point is, there are jobs out there for people who struggle in the way we do. I’m not talking people with just Anxiety or depression. I’m talking those who hear voices or bounce up and down with their moods. Self Harm. OCD. WhatEVER it is, we need you.
You don’t need a degree, all you need is your experience with mental health.
The transformation I saw in the woman I met from the hospital who happened to show up a week after I told her about Second Story . . .the difference I saw in her from the time we were in the hospital together to the first week she was with us . . .tremendous. She used to not speak above a whisper. She didn’t make much eye contact and was really stuck in her struggle. The last time I saw her she spoke confidently, she made eye contact, she saw all of the problems she had to go through in terms of housing and such as things she could accomplish: she told me that many times. She said it would be hard, but that they are do-able.
That was the first positive thing I’d heard from her.
She and I cooked a feast that night. I asked her if she was any good at cooking chicken and we were off. We made stuffing and baked chicken and mashed potatoes and a salad and some green beans and sliced some bread. Some of us sat down and ate at the dinner table and joked about Mariah Carey and the 7 million dollar engagement ring her (ex??) fiance gave her.
I remember when I left the hospital she whispered good luck to me. Before I left my shift for that night I told her good luck. The last I heard, she’s signed up to Volunteer with us.
You make a difference in people’s lives, and they make a difference in yours. That’s what peer support is about. These are real positions in this life and real places have implemented these types of programs.
There are people out there that understand. And there are people out there you can use your experience to connect with. If you’re curious, I implore you, please,research it. If you have questions about what I do as a peer support counselor, email me or leave a comment, I’ll be happy to explain in more detail.
You might go in hoping to change someone else’s life and come out the one who is changed. That’s when you know you made a good choice.
That’s the steady line that has been coursing through my veins for the last 24 hours. Yesterday’s election marked a stain on the history of the United States. But look at it this way: this one itty, bitty amount of blood splatter that was the 2016 election will be indubitably buried beneath the hundreds of thousands of other unresolved bloodstains in the history of this country.
A lot is being said right now. A lot of people are blaming those who voted third party for giving Trump the extra chance to close in. A lot of people are blaming the rampant stupidity and uneducated nature of the Trump voters. A lot of people are saying Rest In Peace, America and didn’t vote. Some are holding tight to their “I’m moving to Canada” motto.
Everyone today has expected me to be furious, probably because I have a reputation of being furious over stupid things. However, I am not furious. I’m not hurt. I’m not even disturbed. My psychologist today asked, with caution, how I felt about the election and I just laughed. Then she laughed.
The majority of people are screaming at Trump for being an “idiot”. Clinton had the popular vote in the bag, but we all know that doesn’t matter. The last I heard from NPR, some anti-Trump riots have broken out. So here’s what I have to say about Trump.
Firstly, I will never acknowledge him as a President. Although I don’t have an ounce of respect for the majority of the American government, I do hold a belief that someone who is supposed to sit in a seat of a politician should have some political background.
Secondly, people keep calling him stupid and I feel they’re missing the mark a bit. Granted, the things Trump says to the majority of us, our eyes pop out of our heads, we grow weary, infuriated, and we blast him on a social media platform and breathe because we’ve apparently done our part. Then we gossip about him on the streets. Then we make jokes and say we’re going to move to Canada.
Trump says some ignorant things. He’s a liar, he’s a manipulator, and he quickly came up with his “Make America Great Again” slogan to draw in the whitest, least educated, most die-hard Republicans he could. He did this because he’s highly aware that the whitest, least educated, most die-hard Republicans are not that smart. Or, at least, someone on his team is aware of that.
I believe there are smart republicans. I believe there are smart white people. I believe there are smart people without education. I also believe there is a large portion of the United States stuck on this ideal that America was created for “American’s” with a strong independent will, absolute freedom, no socialist-like programs, and light skinned individuals. I also believe Trump and his team were highly aware of that.
His family is wealthy, yes. And with money comes an arrogance. The arrogance soon grows into this feeling of invincibility and invincibility quickly grows into the ability to manipulate. You have to have a certain level of intelligence to manipulate. This is coming from a seasoned manipulator. The more he believes he’s invincible and projects that belief onto easily manipulated people, the more invincible he comes. That’s why he can say what he wants and people don’t seem to see through it.
For those followers I have who are new, who weren’t with me in September, October, and November of 2015, you won’t remember the post I made comparing Ben Carson and Donald Trump. Carson was a special kind of idiot. He attempted what Trump’s succeeded at. The problem with Carson is that he didn’t plan it out enough. His lies held no foundation because he had no support force. He lied before he manipulated enough people: rookie mistake.
I also said in that post that if Carson dropped out of the race, his stupidity would no longer be there to cancel out Trump’s, and Trump would pull ahead. And that’s exactly what happened.
I feel strongly for this country at this moment. I feel strongly that we’ve reverted back to the truth: we have no closure from our history. We have no unity as a people. We have nothing. If Native Americans were underrepresented before, well . . . they might as well not exist as of now. That’s one message I feel with someone like Trump elected.
In fact, other ethnicities in general might as well not exist.
He’s not going to build a wall. He’s not going to deport anyone.There are a lot of things people are getting hyped up about that he said he would do, that he’s never going to be able to do. So all that needs to quit.
What we can all do right now in the face of this adversity is build stronger communities. We are a country of 324,118,787. It’s unrealistic to think all of us could stick together, but it’s not unrealistic to think all us within each community, each county, could help support each other. Unification is the best defense against a manipulator; if he can separate us, he can toy with us as he pleases. And we’re already extremely separated.
My point? Involve yourself. Know what goes on around you. If that’s hard for you, find a way. You have more power than you believe, and I think that’s what a lot of us forget.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I could have given two shits about this election. I don’t care that Trump won and that Hillary lost. I don’t care because it’s all a joke, and it’s always been a joke: the government, the position of president, and the idea of America as a country in general. This country was founded on manipulation: why do people expect anything different these days?
I’m not cynical, I’m realistic. It’s really not all that surprising Trump was elected. This is a country of unhealed wounds, wounds first opened the moment other countries stepped foot on this land’s soil and committed acts of genocide that still aren’t discussed in our school’s history textbooks.
Yes, acts like that were committed everywhere to all kinds of people. It’s still going on in places in South America. But “America” is a very “new” “country”. It hasn’t learned how to heal or give even an ounce respect yet.
I know many people were probably expecting me to rant. I know people were probably expecting me to make jokes about Trump or slam the people who voted for him, but I can’t do either. I can’t do either because this isn’t a time for jokes, it’s a time to get real. Wake up. Create support around yourself, don’t wait for it to come to you.
People are struggling on welfare and with homelessness, with mental health, with physical health, with domestic issues, with immigration, with gangs, with unimaginable pain. And keeping the “American” individualistic attitude of “well, we’re not socialists, get a job” or “well, get over it and man up”, are the reasons Trump got elected.
Respect the people around you, and you’ll get respect back. We haven’t been respecting the people around us, not when Native Americans have to fight to stop construction on a land their ancestors have tread on for centuries, not when we shout at people to go back to their home country just because they’re sharing their customs and trying to make a better life for themselves, not when we hide behind the belief that we can own a piece of land, not when we think all homeless people are drug addicts worth nothing, not when we care so much about ourselves that we overlook our neighbor.
Disrespect the people around you and the people elect Trump.
If anything, this election has fueled a fire within me. Not one of anger or hatred, but of a stronger love for the people around me. I’ve been waving to my neighbors and asking them how their day has been. I’ve been smiling. I’ve been paranoid as hell, and tired as hell, but I’m sick of focusing so much on myself that I forget about others. That’s also how people elect Trump.
Nothing is stronger than Community. Not even a president.
The following will be an account of an appointment I had today, from my perspective, which is the perspective of a student of psychiatry in the hands of, and at the mercy of, a psychiatrist of 15+ years.
Disclaimer/ThingsYouShouldn’tBitchAtMeAbout: 1) If you feel any of the following medications actually help you, wonderful; what I say in regards to them has no reflection on you, so don’t act like I should take them just because you do. 2) If you feel any of the following diagnoses actually revolutionized your life, I am genuinely happy for you; what I say in regards to them has no reflection on you, so don’t act like I should accept them just because you do. And last but not least, 3) Do not waste your typing breath telling me “all psychiatrists aren’t like that” because I’m very, very aware of this. This will be an account of one who is not so keen on her own arrogance.
Disclaimer Part 2: If you feel offended by anything I said above, for God’s sake, you probably will have trouble getting through my blog.
*Brushes off hands* Alright. We’re all on the same page? Deep breath. Let’s take a mindfulness observation moment together: pick a natural object around you. That could be a flower, an insect, the clouds, e.t.c and focus only on that object. Watch it for a minute or two, noticing only the object and not the environment around it, as if you’re watching it for the first time. Let yourself be fully immersed in the visual stimulus of that object, connect with its energy, and breathe.
Now that you’re calm, I’m calm, and everything is alright, let’s together explore the very question I find myself plagued with on a daily basis: why do some people exist at all? Why? To fuck with you? To feed their ego? To sit back in their chair, roll in the dough, and not give two shits who they affect? Is that it? Is that what it is?
I’m going to need a lot of mindfulness moments today.
This new psychiatrist I see gave me weird vibes from the moment she placed a diagnostic PTSD code (among two others) on my invoice sheet within ten minutes of meeting me. This was my second visit with her today, and I’m done. Yep, you heard me. I’m done.
Her ears have bricks in them. They’re filled with cement. She hears her own thoughts very, very clearly, and values her opinion like any confident person does. Unlike what other confident people do, she does not seem to value other’s opinions very well.
First of all, let’s talk about the service codes.
Let’s talk about the fact that, one, I got charged with the 99213: basically, a level three office visit. For those of you with insurance in the U.S, you probably don’t see these things. I don’t have insurance and pay out of pocket, so I do. I’m okay with getting charged as an outpatient office visit; that was 125 dollars in itself.
She charged 25 dollars under a 90836. It’s an add on code under the 90834 code. Essentially, the 90836 is for is individual “psychotherapy” that occurred during the visit that was “insight orientated, behavior modifying, and/or supportive” if the visit is 38-45 minutes.
I paid a doctor 25 dollars to be supportive towards me for 30 minutes. The kicker? She wasn’t even that supportive. In fact, half the time she didn’t know what to say. In fact, half the time she just spewed useless information at me. Rather than taking a moment to relate or acknowledge some difficulties in my house hold, she told me my father could easily be put in a nursing home if he has insurance.
Why “psychotherapy” or “insight” or “support” isn’t included in the fucking OFFICE VISIT of a PSYCHIATRIST, I will never know. I understand they are technically “doctors”. I understand their main gig is (but shouldn’t be) medication. However, I’ve gotten better support/empathy talks from a general practitioner and they didn’t charge me shit.
Seems like a good money grabbing scheme to me. No wonder she kept me fucking talk. She needed to hit that time limit. I see the game, bitch.
Which, technically, she didn’t even hit the time limit. My appointment was at three. I was at my car door at three-thirty-seven. That’s 37 minutes bitch, not 38, I want my fucking 25 dollars back.
Like I don’t know diagnostic codes. Like I don’t know service codes. Give me a break. The more diagnoses you get and the more service codes listed on your invoice, the higher your price is going to be (if you pay out of pocket), and the better your insurance company loves you (if you have insurance), and the more regular your visits will be with your psychiatrist. I received three diagnoses in about ten or fifteen minutes in my first visit with her a few weeks ago, none of which she told me about. She just kind of wrote the diagnostic codes and said nothing on them.
Clinical arrogance is a disease.
Alright. Still breathing? Take a mindfulness moment if you need one, I won’t mind. Go ahead. Go right ahead.
. . .
Oh good, you’re back, I was getting worried.
As you remember, last time she tried placing me under the restraint of five different medications within about twenty to thirty minutes: Seroquel, Effexor, Praoxin, Propranolol, and Ativan. I took the Effexor which helps greatly with my energy and apathy issues. I told her no on everything else.
She has it stuck in her head I have performance anxiety. I kept saying I didn’t. None of what I describe is ever related to that. I reiterated myself today. I, once again, rejected all the medications and yet as I look down on my prescription list, I see very evidently the Propranolol prescription underneath the Effexor dosage raise.
She said she was going to give it to me anyway. And she put it on the list.
At this point, I was done.
There were some things I wanted to ask her opinion on but the moment the medication pushing came, and the moment she completely invalidated every word I said, I knew I would either get five more diagnoses and six more medications, or I wouldn’t be heard, so I decided to keep my mouth shut.
I will say this once more: Clinical arrogance is a disease.
I spoke a bit about my sensory issues. I couldn’t explain what I really experienced with them (how overwhelmingly strong they are, and how they keep me from functioning sometimes) before she interrupted me and asked if I ever thought I had ADHD. I said very flatly, NO. She asked me if I had trouble focusing and concentrating. I said yes–when I’m being overstimulated, yes, when I live in a hostile environment at home, yes, when I’m fatigued and exhausted all the time, YES. I gave her environmental reasons for two things she tried pinning on biology.
She said nothing after that. She said nothing until she got on her computer, went through my files, noticed that I have a lot of fatigue issues, and said “well, stimulants also help with energy sometimes. People also sometimes feel more relaxed with them. Would you like to try Ritalin?”
NO BITCH, would you like to try my FIST in your MOUTH? Because it’s fucking HEADING THERE.
I said, once again, NO.
And that was the end of that.
Don’t ever let a health professional run you. You run yourself. You know what bothers you and what doesn’t. You know how your environment contributes to your mental health and how it doesn’t. If you let someone ELSE start giving you reasons for your behavior, without you first reflecting on yourself, THAT’S when you’re no longer in control of your own treatment.
The funny thing is, the two major things that have really been bothering me, my anxiety/thoughts and my paranoia, are the very two things I didn’t get one moment to speak about in between her ramblings.
Hello wonderful people of the blogs sphere. I’d like to start off by saying welcome to the stream of new people I’ve had follow me recently. You will find out this blog is a clusterfuck of things, so I hope you enjoy clusterfucks.
It gets tedious sometimes speaking about how difficult life gets or how annoying health struggles can be, or how the world (or at least the United States) will most certainly end tomorrow, 11/8/16, and cease to exist for eternity. So today I figured I’d share some photos out of the last few months of my life.
What inspired this? Well, after going through all of my photos on both of my phones I realize I take pictures of random things sometimes. I also realize I take pictures I never look at ever again or even think of again. So, without further ado, here are some:
This is where I am located at the moment. The parking lot of my college campus:
The wonderful thing about this campus, beside the utter darkness in the picture above, is being located at the top of a mountain. I drove past a group of six deer on the way from one parking lot to the other tonight. They were huddled underneath a bush, not bothered a bit by the passing cars.
This is my boyfriend’s dog. I take way too many pictures of her. She’s a PitBull mixed with something–six months old. They named her Salsa. She’s one of the sweetest puppies I’ve met. She loves treats, licking my entire forearm, jumping, playing tug of war with the rope I bought her (far right picture), and she loves getting her belly and head scratched. They first got her some small stuffed fox, but she tore that apart. I told my boyfriend since she was a PitBull of sorts, she was going to need something a little stronger than a stuffed fox. I once stayed with a family who owned a six month old full bred male PitBull and he loved tug of war ropes. So I bought her one of those and some bones she could chew on instead of their furniture.
This is a picture of the sky I took about an hour before the sheriff took me to the psychiatrist hospital.
This is a picture of my math homework from the beginning of this semester. Why did I take a picture of this? No clue. But if you were ever wondering how to do Integration By Parts, there you go.
The hair products I use for my color treated hair. Why did I take a picture of them? Because I’m an asshole. I have no idea why.
The customization I will, one day, do to some car I own. They have lambo doors for Dodge Stratus’–they have the kit for it, at least–for a very reasonable price. Sometime in the near future, I will be riding around in even more style than I already do. Those headlights though: to die for. Once again . . . I took a photo to be an idiot. I don’t have friends to send these things too, so I have no clue why I take them.
Pictures from the Tech N9ne Calm Before The Storm tour I went to a month ago. The crowd downstairs was okay. Because he had the concert on a weekday (very rare), there weren’t many teenagers under 18 attending (thank GOD).
This is my father making some kind of face after I marked make up concealer on him. Yes, that is a feather in his hair and a kitchen towel on his shoulder, and yes, the shirt he is wearing is cut off like a crop top, and yes he’s wearing a green shirt underneath it. Dude, don’t fucking ask.
People ask why I’m so weird. This is why. This. Is. Why.
This is my boyfriend. It looks like he’s holding the salt delicately because he is. And he’s taking it very seriously, as you can see on his face.This is why I love him. Now, if both of us put that amount of concentration and devotion into our school work, we’d be 4.0 students by now. If he sees this, the first thing he’s going to say is “you talkin’ shit about me on your blog again?”. Watch and see.
This is me taking stupid selfies. Yes, my eyebrows are red and blue. The blue I don’t always put on. The red/magenta is dyed onto my eyebrows so . . . it stays. At one point my hair was violet and magenta, another point just magenta, and right now it’s fading into Magenta-Gold. . . which isn’t as pretty as it sounds.
I am pointing a finger-gun at my temple because someone sent me something stupid, so I sent them that photo back as a response. Get off my back.
And yes, I’m cursed with resting bitch face. I do not smile in photos, unless I’m with people and even then if I hate those people I’ll probably be in the background pretending to hump them with a devilish look on my face or something.
I also don’t like selfies. I dug through way too many photos to find just those three.
I guess I’ve just broken my vow of anonymity and that’s fine. Besides, you still don’t know my name.
Muahahaha I’m evil.
Look at my evilness. Adore it. Envy it. Now get out.
You ever listen to Erykah Badu’s “Danger” and just find yourself rocking out like you’re a bad ass ready to “flush the Yayo” before the cops bust through your door and nip your gangsta’ ass in the bud?
On Tuesday I am seeing this psychiatrist for the second time. On Wednesday I am seeing my psychologist. On Friday I’m working a shift.
It’s amazing how different being at work can make me feel. Although my anxiety rises during check in’s and check out’s and interviews and I try to avoid them because of it, being among familiar faces really creates a safe space for me. The guests I’ve all got a great rapport with. My social struggles are there when speaking, but the anxiety is generally erased.
I’ve thought about confessing, not only to this new psychiatrist who I’m paying a pretty penny, but also to my coworkers, perhaps my supervisor during supervisions this week . . . or next week . . . or whenever we can get to it. Supervisions are basically a period in time where I meet with my supervisor and we talk about how I’m doing work wise and mental health wise.
What in the world could I possibly have to confess? Am I a malingerer? Am I a murderer? Did I #FuckTrumpInTheAss? Well, we all know the latter is out of the question, I don’t want an STD. I also couldn’t be within ten feet of the moron without the homicidal thoughts racing.
I would like to confess my deepest, darkest secret, of which I’ve probably revealed on here many times in terms of thought process. All the things I share on here are nothing about what I share to the others.
I think it’s gotten to the point where school is so effected, where my daily life is so affected, that I don’t have time to mess around anymore.
I also believe this is a problem for many. We wait until we’re at a breaking point, or until we break, to reach out. Not necessarily to a professional, but to anyone. It’s like we deny ourselves the right to struggle and not feel lesser for it. Obviously there are a lot of environmental factors that play into that mindset, and perhaps even some personal beliefs or mindsets and, understandably, some anxiety.
Being around people so willing to be open, and not so willing to be open, has held a large mirror in front of my eyes.
I’ll speak more on this later. Or I’ll speak more later, in general. To be honest, I just can’t fucking think. I really can’t.It’s like pushing words the size of a horse’s cock through a sieve the size of an ant’s urethra. It’s like shoving a kid against a brick wall and continually pushing their face into the bricks, shouting at them go forward and stop being a nutty little bastard. It’s like that itch on the middle of your back you can’t reach. It’s like someone cut one of your neurons so all the electrical signals that make up thoughts fall off the axon like a derailed train.
I’m sorry to the sensitive viewers. I’m really dissatisfied with my brain at this moment. Good-fucking-night.