The Social Construction of the DSM.

In the magical birth year of classical television series “I Love Lucy”, the DSM-I materialized into existence with 145 pages and 106 disorders.

Based off the Medical 203 (The Armed Forces Nomenclature), this 1951 piece of psychological literature featured short paragraphs describing disorders so psychologists and psychiatrists could look up at their patients dancing across the floor, look down at their trusty Bible, compare their patient’s behavior to their book’s description, and experience that “light-bulb” feeling.

In the medical 203, experiences later labeled as disorders were considered reactions to life, to combat, to habits learned in life from friends, family, social status and environment. The medical 203, you see, included LIFE as a source of altered mental state. What a radical view, right? LIFE and VARIETY being the cause of people’s experiences. So fucking radical I almost spit my juice across my computer screen.

The DSM-I followed those footsteps closely, with the guidance of APA president and first psychiatrist-In-Chief at John Hopkins University, Adolf Meyer. He believed, at first, chemistry and physiology could explain these mental experiences, but after findings in his own research and a glance into reality, he termed what we know as disorders today, as “Reactions”. He saw that emotional states were responses to experiences in life, and life in itself.

The DSM two, in the year of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, contained only 136 pages stuffed full of 182 disorders. There’s a rumor in the mental health community that the DSM evolved from “reaction” to “disorder” because of science–everything is always because of advancements in science, right? They found biological proof of mental disorders, right? They were mapping neurotransmitters and the dopamine hypothesis and the amygdala and the frontal cortex and inserted fancy terms and publicized research papers and they were experts after all . . . right?

The reason the terminology and the view associated with mental “reactions” was transformed stems not from science but from a really, really weak attempt at neutrality: Robert Spitzer and Paul Wilson stated they wished the DSM to stray from adhering to any “specific theories” when labeling disorders. Neurosis entered the scene, the term “disorder” reigned prevalent, and in the year 2017 we have the DSM-5, with over 300 disorders and a creative budget of 25 million dollars.

25 million dollars to write a book that’s been re-written four other times to basically say the same shit.

Why is ANY of this important? So I can ramble and make people read my rambles? That’s part of it.

The rest of my reasoning is far more valid. When Spitzer and Wilson reasoned the term “reaction” unworthy against “disorder” and descriptions of “neurosis”, what did they think they weren’t adhering to? The idea that people were struggling in life and therefore reacted to it? The idea that life itself might actually be a bit traumatic? The idea that there is a variety of human brains and human perceptions that could at any time differ from theirs? How is that a significant and scientific reason to dismember a mental health system that intertwined social, environmental, and biological factors? How is exiting the social and environmental portion of this not favoring AND adhering to a biological theory? 

So much for neutrality. 

Gender is a spectrum. This is 2017: Gender and Sex are not the same, Transvestite is not an appropriate term, and non-binary is a thing. We won’t go into the slander of the DSM-2 on sexuality, but we will talk about the transformation of how homosexuality and gender dysphoria was seen in those days versus today.

Because really the only thing that changed was the words. The natural variation of human sexuality and the development of sexuality in fetal stages has never changed: there have always been people who favored intimacy with the same sex over the opposite sex, and fetuses always went through the development process of splitting up hormones and growing certain organs.

Over time, the words changed and in the world of sociology, this classifies things like Gender, masculinity, and femininity as social constructions: no one is born a girl who likes barbies and no one is born a boy who likes toy trucks. At one point in history little boys wore dresses and blue was the color for girls: the ideas and standards we create and burden people with change as society transforms and time passes.

Over the last fifty years or so, How many names have changed in the DSM? How many descriptors have changed in the DSM? See where I’m going with this?

Who’s a good little social construction? Hmm? Who’s a good itty, bitty social construction! You, DSM! That’s right! Good boy!

A bold claim I don’t feel I need to defend, the reasoning defends itself. Abnormal and normal are social constructions: we deem what is “acceptable” behavior, what isn’t, and both categories change as time passes, as new generations gain empowerment, as older generations adapt. If the definition of eccentric behaviors, odd behaviors, bizarre behaviors are based on what is acceptable and not, they too change over time, and they too become social constructions.

Take paranoia around the government for example: all the people who were sent to a psychiatrist and called crazy because they felt some agency was reading their emails–well, in 2017 with the NSA in full-force, who’s crazy now?

This is not to invalidate our experiences or our mental states, only the way they’re being described.

What does it mean for these disorders to be social constructions? Am I saying they don’t exist and should therefore be dragged to the gallows and hanged for my mental health blasphemy?

Short answer: No.

Blunt answer: I could give two shits what someone’s disorder label is, just as I could give two shits if someone is gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, and all the other PC names I don’t know. I don’t even give a shit about my own disorder labels. I only care for someone’s experience, because that’s the only reliable thing in all of this. The APA isn’t reliable, the DSM isn’t reliable, medicine isn’t reliable; Medicine is susceptible to human error (and greed), the APA consists of elite, mostly white, cis-gender, non-crazy males, (meaning no representation for the majority of the world) and the DSM is a product of both of those.

But someone’s experience? That’s raw, that’s real, however unreal it may seem. I’ve never seen someone tell more of a truth about themselves and life than when their mental state is so vulnerable they have no choice in the matter–it becomes too much pressure to NOT share. And as morbid as that sounds, it’s also rather beautiful as these states allow us access to a portion of ourselves the hustle and bustle of modern life steals from us. We think deeper and we feel deeper. Sometimes we’re stuck so far inside ourselves we have no other option than to learn to love ourselves. Not many people have that opportunity.

Disorder (as of today) implies something is wrong, defective, shoddy. In another 100 years, it may mean something different. And when that time comes in 3017, when disorder holds a positive connotation, people’s experiences will still be raw, and real, and it still won’t matter how the term is perceived. Crazy, right?

 

 

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To All Followers, Readers, and Newbies

Hello all.

I type this message with a bit of melancholy, almost. It’s been a good twenty-three months on this website and I’ve made some invaluable connections. When I first created Mental Truths, my first piece ranted on the industry. My second piece ranted on anxiety in social situations and the breath of fresh air nighttime brought. It snowballed from there.

Most people don’t know this, but I started gaining followers and readers and viewers rapidly after I made a post regarding Alex Gorsky. That original post is here if you’d like to take a look. I go back and read it sometimes and laugh at the type of mental health language I used: I thought I needed to fit in with everyone, keep to disorders and clinical terminology. That was cute.

If I ever meet Alex in real-time, I’ll have to thank him and direct him to the above link.

At any rate, I have to say goodbye. It’s time.

It’s time to say goodbye to the old, and hello to the new.

I’m sure you’ve noticed a change in the structure of my website. If you haven’t and you’re not new, then I’m a little offended: how long has it been since you’ve read my webpage?

I won’t be the only person posting here anymore. There are going to be many other stories, other perspectives, other work of self-expression, and that’s where you all come in because I’ll need you all now more than ever. This webpage can’t run without all of you.

Right now, this is still in the stages of reorganization and development. There are webpage specifications I need to fix, and design orientation I need to customize. But all the while I’m searching the web for people willing to share their mental health journey with the internet (and therefore the world). If you’ve been with me these past 23 months (Thank you so much), you know my focus is on alternative mental health care, the hiccups in the industry, and the benefits of being one with our experiences. If you have a story like that, if you have an experience like that (good or bad), this website needs you.

If you don’t, this website still needs your voice. I’m not one to forbade “clinical language”. I’m not one to chew out people for identifying with a diagnosis. I only care what’s comfortable for you to share–and how you share that is up to you.

The majority of the stories and articles will be about alternative, holistic, humanistic care. Not everyone has the opportunity to experience that kind of care, though. If you feel you’ve been mistreated by the industry, if you feel something can change, if you want to call to action, we welcome your thoughts. If you feel you haven’t been mistreated, if you feel it’s helped you tremendously, we welcome your thoughts. If you’re on the fence about both styles, we welcome you.

If you are in college or are a professional in the psychology industry and you come across a research paper/study/article (preferably empirical) that you’d either like to provide an analysis or criticism of, or have me create an analysis or criticism of (we all know how much I love tearing shoddy researchers a new one) we welcome that as well. Many of those will be posted on here.

If you are a family member/friend of someone who has struggled mentally, we also welcome you. We wish you keep into consideration that everyone experiences things differently, and that sometimes it is hard to really understand someone’s pain from the outside: meaning we don’t welcome degrading comments on the concept of “mental illness”. I think you understand what I’m saying. If not, email me, we can talk about it.

If you have an idea of a topic you’d like to write about, or present artwork on (we welcome flash fiction, artwork, poetry, e.t.c) please email me as well. We can discuss what works.

This webpage is a team effort now, a community effort, and whether you’re just skimming past, a dedicated reader, a follower from the beginning (it’s been a long road, eh?) or a contributor, we welcome you and I personally thank you. Deeply.

To summarize: things have changed, I welcome your submissions if you’re interested, I thank you for reading, and let’s get your voice heard.

Contact me here!

Story Time: When I Learned What Was REALLY In My Food.

Wild Imagination.

Some kids, when you show them a cardboard box with squares cut into it and miniature cardboard furniture inside, will look at you while they rip the box apart and call you a moron.

Some kids love homemade toys.

Some kids skin animals in the forest because they’re “curious”.

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Don’t Get Your Brains Scanned Kids, You Might Be A PsYchOPaTH

Some kids are robbed by (or gifted with) an imagination that sucks them away from Earth and into a different consciousness, like Jani Schofield.  But that’s a whole other opinion waiting to happen, so let’s move on.

Then there are kids who were like me, a lot probably, who teeter somewhere between what you would expect in an imagination and what you wouldn’t expect. Or maybe you should expect everything, and that fact that people don’t is why some kids are “normal” and others aren’t.

This thought came to me today, a few minutes ago, a memory that had been long hidden that for some reason was brought out by watching eleven minute YouTube videos of people scarfing down Carolina Reaper peppers.

When I was still in elementary school, we only had one car and it was a truck my mother used to get to work in. My father would walk with me to school and from school. On the corner about two blocks away from my school, there was a little orange market that sold cold drinks, ice cream, and these weird little pastry balls filled with meat. I don’t remember what they were, and I haven’t seen anything like them sense. The market was owned by a family with some kind of Asian descent, so I believe it was a home recipe of theirs. This market is now Front Street Offices. Kind of weird to think about.

I was sad when that little market went away. I was in there almost every day, and across the street from them I found a really heavy, large, expensive-looking watch hanging in a tree. I still have it.

I didn’t like the pastry things. I didn’t know what kind of meat it was, and it smelled like someone boiled the dough, stuffed it with meat, and sprayed some more tap water on it to keep it moist. I don’t know.

I used to get Push Pops. I think those still exist. These things:

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Push Ups, Pop ups, Push Pop, Pop Push, Pop Ups Push down. Whatever.

I liked them until one day I got a red one. I got a red one and ate it happily until there was some weird, slimy mass in my mouth. In fact, there were two of them. I stopped eating and spit it out. I looked at the chunky globs: the Push Pop had frozen off my tonsils. That’s what they were, they were my tonsils and I was standing there terrified, trying to halfway swallow my tongue so I could see if my tonsils were there or not (I couldn’t feel them), and almost crying because was I bleeding? I was!!! Was I going to die? I was going to die. Why was the Push Pop Company trying to murder me? Can I not even trust ice cream in this godforsaken world? 

I didn’t tell my father why I had spit out the chunks. There were no more in the ice cream, so I licked it, paralyzed mentally, until the rest of the murdersicle was gone.

When I didn’t die, I started getting scientific. I knew I couldn’t come to a conclusion about my tonsils because a true theory needs to be tested with multiple experiments. My finishing hypothesis was that the Push Pop hadn’t taken out my tonsils, but that they were putting meat or organs in the ice cream. In order to test that, I would need some more red Push Pops.

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You Fucking See It?? OHEC

I was about seven or eight.

So I got another Push Pop. I got another. And another. They ALL had chunks.

I never ate another Push Pop after that, not the orange ones, not the multi-colored ones. I stopped eating Popsicles in general for many years. Because Push Pop was lying to the masses and putting OTHER people’s tonsils, their organs, KIDS ORGANS into their ice cream, the sadistic bastards.

It wasn’t until I started high school did that fear subside and did I realize, after finally eating a Push Pop styled ice cream, that the red chunks were strawberries.

That was a lot of years of fearing popsicles. Six years to be exact.

Things have never really been what they’ve seemed to me, and I’ve been open to all possibilities, bizarre or not. Why did I revert to this non-common-common-sense tactic of mine as a child, I don’t really know. I think at that point I was so used to weird shit happening—all the nightmares, the demons in the woods, time travel, learning about the weird world of quantum physics (although I didn’t understand much of it until Junior High)—that corporations shoving children’s tonsils and organs into ice cream didn’t seem that far off. 

I guess these memories are popping up more frequently because 1) my birthday is coming up and everything in my childhood seems so separate at this point, so separate from me and my life and 2) because of drones and the puppet Trump and whichever world organization is his puppet master, and police and that boiling Culture Of Fear that’s brewing on the stove top of this world.

Maybe the red chunks in our ice cream ARE tonsils. Maybe every single thought I’ve ever had is true and real and if so then I guess I don’t have any reason to fear them.

Tonsil ice cream tastes great.

FTW. 

*Note* I actually fucking HATE strawberry ice cream. It might have something to do with the truama of all the aforementioned.

The MMJ Journey Pt. 3

 

Is this self-medicating?

I couldn’t give you a straight answer to that.

Because I find myself slipping into that mindset of “magic fix”, although there are no such thing. I find myself wanting to be “medicated” 100% of the time, and that’s my fault because I did buy an Indica strain with THC, mostly to help me sleep. Which it does. It also reminds me how nice being high can be. It’s like an ex-heroin addict taking Narco.

But what’s the difference, really, between this and the other psych meds I were on? Psych meds last 12 hours or so, hence the repeated use in the morning and the night, and no strain of CBD or THC can last that long–as far as I’m aware. It would make “sense” to use it more often throughout the day.

And then, at that point, isn’t the point to self-medicate? Isn’t the point of anti-depressants to medicate your depression away? Isn’t that the point?

41x3yditbxl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Of all the psych meds I’ve tried, they’ve all pretty much done the same thing: made me more numb than usual. A little more numb means, by default, less anxiety, less paranoia, less dissociation, less everything. That’s how you know it’s “working” . . . when you can’t feel anything, really. That doesn’t sound any different than someone in an alley shooting heroin to forget whatever they’re trying to forget.

But once you come out of it, you’re going to remember again. Same goes for anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, and anti-psychotics. For the overarching majority of us, “symptoms” are still there regardless of whether or not medication is down our throats. For some reason that possibility of “no medication will ever help” is meant to make us feel hopeless or, at the very least, disappointed.

With every medication I’ve tried, I’ve been disappointed, and MMJ is no different, because I have this surreal expectation that one day I will take something, do something, think a certain thought a certain way, and everything will disappear. But life doesn’t work that way.

That’s not an expectation I created myself, it was an expectation a lot of society advocates: you’re having problems with what? Go to the doctor, there’s a pill for that.

So, just like I would your average psych med, let me list the top five pros and cons of this route so far.

Pros:

  1. Sleep comes easy. Raspberry Kush has, by far, been my favorite for this, probably because of the familiarity of it. The strains I used as a teenager were also medical and one of them was that same Kush, due to ties we had with a grower.
  2. More focus. I am able to get some things done with less fatigue and a little more motivation. There are times I feel like my old self again, with a bunch of ideas (good ones, too, ones that are realistic, that I know I can accomplish).
  3. Less thoughts. Thoughts are what keep me up at night, and although nothing can “stop” the thoughts, their effect on me is severely diminished. On nights when insomnia is horrible, that helps a lot.
  4. Less fog. You would think “getting high” would put you in a fog, and it will if you’re a legit stoner. But for me, it lifts away that fog and lets me see things a little clearer. I don’t have thoughts crashing into each other, I have a few organized ones that I can take the time to enjoy.
  5. The present. With Sativa, I’m in the present and not the future or the past or whatever other parallel universe I get transported to.

Cons:

  1. Dependence. I do depend on certain strains to sleep or make it through the day. This is conflicting: people depend on other meds to do the same thing, but I hate dependence regardless of where or why. I’m working on this.
  2. Paranoia. Mmm, I . . . hmm. This could cause trouble. If you experience this yourself, you know you can feel it coming. At least, I can. I can feel the interjection of some thoughts here and there or that ethereal sense of being watched, tracked, listened to. I feel there’s someone who has been tracking my computer, or my profiles, maybe my IP address, because weird shit keeps happening on a few of them by people with different usernames, but they all do/say the same thing. That doesn’t keep me awake at night, but the spiritual things are, the demons–maybe I’ll explain this later. Also because I’m pretty sure a spirit just went into my poster. Which is probably why I had such a strong feeling to buy it when I did. Cool. Glad I’m not sleeping HERE tonight.
  3. I know absolutely that Indica makes me hear shit, more often than I usually would. It’s annoying, but since I don’t use much of it and only for sleep, I’m not too bothered. I only deal with whatever I deal with for a few minutes and then I’m passed out. I wake up very refreshed.
  4. It’s not very discrete. If you’re someone who smokes it, the smell will linger in your clothes and such if you’re not one to air out your room. I’m not one of those people who will go to work or class baked out of my mind just because it’s medical and “I can”. That’s just being an asshole. If I’m going to work, I will use CBD because I will be alert, focused, and calm but not high. “10/10 best medicine ever”–IGN.
  5. Can easily get expensive. Medi-Cal ain’t covering this, I spent $93 on my last haul, which is nothing really.

It was harder to come up with cons than pros, probably because I’m tripping on this poster. You don’t understand. I was pulled towards this poster when I bought it, and then all this weird shit is happening, my phone call was interrupted with static and what sounded like a bunch of voices or demonic something. My boyfriend on the phone heard it too. I’m thinking maybe a radio interruption? I don’t know, we couldn’t hear each other through the phone. He had to hang up and I called back. At any rate, I’m feeling right now there are a lot of secrets in this poster, I . . .

. . . need to stop talking and get ready for work. I also need to pull my mind away from all that before I drive myself crazy some more.

Conclusion? Be careful with Sativa, CBD or THC, and know your limits. Be careful with high content THC Indica as well. Be careful with high content THC anything. 

*NOTE: I’ve had waaay worse psychological experiences on psych meds. This is NOTHING compared to how Effexor fucked me up Effexor was pure shit. It had me feeling focused with some energy until I wanted to come off it and got sucked into some demonic hell. It was worse than an anti-psychotic withdrawal, I swear to God, and that was only after . . . three months? Three months. That’s it. Fuck Effexor. How is that shit legal?

The MMJ Journey Pt 2.

 

There is one thing that worries me about legalized Marijuana, and it has absolutely nothing to do with stoned drivers.

It has nothing to do with smoked out streets or “bud and breakfast” hotels or that it’s a “drug”. And I use the term drug loosely, just as I’d use it loosely for every other plant on earth that’s been used by indigenous tribes for ten times more years than the country of America has existed.

The thing that worries me about legalized Marijuana is . . . Lithium.

Yes, Lithium.

Let me connect the loose dots on this one for you.

Lithium is a mineral. It’s a mineral that isn’t necessary for life. It’s soft. It’s a silver-white color. As a metal, it gets an attitude around water and oxygen. There’s Lithium Carbonate, Lithium Hydroxide, Lithium Sterate, Lithium Chloride, Lithium Metal, e.t.c. It’s used in battery cathodes, as High-temp lubricant, in glassware, in ceramics, and in your air conditioner.

Along came the 1800’s and the discovery that Lithium Carbonate dissolved stones of urate (i.e, uric acid build ups which cause The Kings Disease, i.e, Gout and Kidney Stones). Urate imbalances were thought to be in cahoots with Mania and Depression. And there the loose dots were connected.

People were drinking traces of it in their water, because it’s a mineral, it’s good for you. It was like the opposite of today’s gluten craze. When a tablet form came along as a salt-substitute for people, that’s when the deaths started.

John Cade treated people with Lithium in the 1940’s only after injecting it into guinea pigs to find they became so sedated he could poke them onto their sides. His first patient was not himself, I don’t know where that rumor comes from, but it was a man who was in and out of what they called psychosis back then. On Lithium, the man went from the asylum, back to work, and back to life. It was a miracle.

So when he ended up back in the asylum, they pushed more lithium, more lithium, more lithium, until Cade’s first patient died from toxicity.

Now it’s a wide-spread medication for the treatment of this human bipolarity and despite the knowledge of its toxicity, people are kept on it continuously until, well, their liver needs monitoring and their kidneys need replacing.

lots-of-bud-to-trimMarijuana is a plant. It grows in the dirt and high heat. It’s a plant that isn’t necessary for life. It’s different shades of green most commonly, in the absence of additives. After bud is plucked, at different heats there are different medical benefits, both mental and physical, including (but not limited to), lower blood pressure, lowered stress/cortisol, anti-inflammatory properties, and an anxiolytic. It’s used as/in wax concentrate, oils, shatter, crumble, flower, lotion, lip balm, chocolates, hair products, other skin products, gummy candy, lollipops, and supplement tablets.

Along came the radicals pushing for the medicinal properties of marijuana to be recognized, and so they were–in a few places, at least. Cancer patients, people going through Chemo, people with severe pain, people with children struggling with severe Autism, found marijuana more helpful than prescription drugs.

Marijuana is a drug, Lithium Carbonate is a medication. Doesn’t seem right, eh?

I mean, what’s the difference between the stupor of high levels of lithium and the stupor of a little bit of heroin? The Opiate debate, there’s a whole other story.

So now Marijuana is a medication, and lithium Carbonate is a medication. Is this right yet?

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I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about this because if Marijuana is a medication than someone has the rights to that medication–or, at least, the will soon enough. Having a recreational store and a medical store means something very obvious: the marijuana will be different.

What the hell does that mean? Will people be synthesizing it? Will people be stuffing additives? Messing with the genes? Will corporations like AstraZenaca, Merck, Or God Forbid Alex Gorsky of Johnson and Johnson, get their hands on a legal “right” to “produce” and distribute Marijuana?

The future of this is uncertain. I don’t want my Marijuana mass produced. I don’t want it labeled for anything. I don’t want yet another natural thing turned into something unnatural and toxic.

Support your local dispensaries, if you support MMJ. Start now because things will get out of control. Just like I called Trump becoming President if Carson dropped out (they needed to be able to cancel out each other’s stupidity, and I was counting on that to be the downfall for both candidates) I’m going to call this MMJ another poppy-seed to heroin to Suboxone story. Another mineral to carbonate to liver failure story.

Take advantage of the fresh stuff while you can.

The MMJ Journal, Pt. 1

 

Part one of this experiment. What experiment? The experiment of Medical Marijuana, CBD, and how they pertain to mental health per my experience.

Remember, I was a general street pot head since I was 13 until around 18. I stopped because I got busy with college and went into a period of being still crazy, but very positive and hopeful. I forgot what depression was, I felt I could handle the anxiety. Until the real paranoia or brief hallucinations started well into my second year of college.

Since those experiences have heightened, I noticed I keep bouncing in and out of psychiatrist offices again, buying into (briefly) the idea of a magic pill. Until I’m faced with the prescription in my hand and remember my own personal beliefs. That’s usually when I tear up the prescription. And then cry on my knees a week later for having done so. Then pick myself up and remind myself of why I tore it up. Then I’m on my knees again and . . . well, you get the point.

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It wasn’t until the big Medical Marijuana legalization and controversy sprang up here again did I wonder about the benefits. So I researched, came across CBD, hybrids, and a load of strains of cannabis I never knew existed.

So I got the card, got the stuff, and have some interesting things to say.

First things first. What have I decided to use it for, mental health wise? A few things.

  1. The PTSD: Flashbacks and thoughts always swirl uncontrollably. I don’t know if anyone else experiences this, but flashbacks aren’t always just images. Emotions can be a flashback as well. CBD calms the body and therefore calms the mind.
  2. The anxiety: The shakes, the avoidance, the rumination, the aches, the physical upset, all of it. As I said, CBD calms the body and therefore the mind.
  3. The depression and mixed emotions: There are times I can’t get out of bed and am devastated and valueless. There are times I can’t figure out what emotion I am and that usually results in self harm or broken doors and cracked walls. I get violent.
  4. Other things: I am technically on that spectrum of schizophrenia disorders, although it keeps being bounced back and forth between severe dissociation and some “lesser” form of schizophrenia. Whatever. There are times where I don’t feel much at all, or I feel a lot at once, and either way it’s not going to show up in my face. You’ll find me laughing and smiling a lot, not because I’m happy but because it’s my reaction to my own emotions and others emotions, bad ones, good ones, unsure ones. Rarely, you’ll see me monotone entirely, and that’s when It’s gotten into danger levels. That’s how I was in the hospital and that’s why they thought I was depressed. Anyway, i’ll lose my motivation but I’ll also lose my ability to really care much about it. So when I hear I’ve failed three classes or haven’t kept up to my responsibilities–self-care wise, work wise, people wise, myself wise–the thought just goes through my brain, chills for a minute, but evokes no real panic or anxiety or sadness or anything really. Sativa helps with this.

I’ll explain how each has been transformed a little bit, more so than I’ve ever experienced with psychotropic medication.

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Knowing about the types of strains are important. The main two, Indica and Sativa, have different properties. The Hybrid type does as well, said to be more balanced between the two. Being grown indoor versus outdoor–all these little things matter. Having been your average teenage drug dealer at one point (not a very high status, but in high school it meant you were the SHIT) and your average teenage stoner at one point, I can confidentially say getting dealt with things from the street versus in a dispensary are drastically different. At least around here.

CBD has no THC, but can still be Sativa or Indica. You won’t get high. You can Dab it (i.e, burning concentrate (wax, crumble, shatter on a glass rig) and still not feel anything “mentally”. For all you who have dabbed, you know how crazy that sounds.

Your body will feel it, though. Your pain will dissipate, you might feel a little clearer, or notice your stomach isn’t churning anymore, or that your cheeks aren’t burning anymore. It’s a very physical high, less of a mental head rush.

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So, that being said, CBD sounds like a godsend for Anxiety. For me, it calms my heart rate. Listening to that thing pump like crazy sends my head into a tizzy and makes my anxiety worse. Having that thing sound steady took away 40% of my anxiety immediately.

The stomach stops churning and hurting and nothing is very urgent anymore, that’s the signal your brain gets from your body at least.

The thoughts can still swirl and be a tornado and be overwhelming. But that’s what’s so great about CBD. You’re not disconnected from your brain, you’re being forced to deal with your mindstate clearly, absent of any bodily interference or mind fogging “high”. That’s something not even psychotropics can do. 

Sativa is the upper, Indica is the downer, that’s how I see it. Sativa will kick motivation into gear, focus, energy, and I’ve noticed for me the more focus I have, the less my anxious thoughts hold me back, and that’s where the anxiety relief comes from. Not everyone’s anxiety is helped with Sativa, though, so be warned. Sativa is the strain I was least confident about, giving my issues with anxiety and fast heart rates, so I go about that strain with caution.

So far, Sativa has kicked me out of bed and giving me some focus time. No weighted depression, no avolition issues–yet. It took me a while to balance the Sativa with the THC to a level I could mentally withstand, but the CBD Sativa works fine.

Indica will relax you and put you to sleep. I guess people say it helps with depression because it might influence dopamine? I have no idea, it’s always worsened depression for me. It will wind down that heart and that brain and your body will melt if you do enough of it. Struggling with dissociation I have to be careful of that, because I will slip off an edge if I “melt” too much. I’ve noticed in the past, since I was heavy into Indica and the body melting, that the morning after my depression will be full blast for the next few days, just as getting off any anti-depressant would do–but without the bodily side-effects.

So far, I’ve only used it to put me to sleep and I’m sure that will be its main purpose. It doesn’t take much, with the strength of strain I’ve got, and it’s helped me stay on a consistent sleep schedule. I’ve noticed it increased paranoia as well, and hallucinations, but that’s how it’s always been with Indica and me for whatever reason. Seems backwards, right?

I have only tried a Sativa CBD. I use Indica with THC because it does more than just relax, it physically puts me to sleep.

"You've been eating that 'special' grass again, haven't you?"If I were my teenage self, I’d see this as an opportunity to spend all my money getting high. But because I’ve noticed my limitations I understand this is no different than Prozac or Haldol or any of that: and if I had those medications I wouldn’t buy more than I needed and take extra. I won’t do that with MMJ either. Because I’ve noticed the huge difference between being high and being, as they say, “medicated”.

I guess I will say this last week and a half, I’ve briefly felt what I assume normal people feel. Mentally balanced. The anxiety can be taken down so far I get confused: turns out I was experiencing close to zero anxiety. Never experienced that in my life, not even from the street things, supplements or psychotropics I’ve tried.

The important thing to know, if deciding to try this, is your mind and body’s limitations. CBD you can feel secure with knowing there is next to no THC and the probability your mental state will be “chemically” affected is also next to none. With THC, just test it. It’s no different than jumping between medications, albeit being safer, albeit having no side-effects, and albeit not being man-made.

If you’ve tried everything else, don’t be afraid to open your mind to this. You never know what could happen.

That’s the Sativa talking.

NOTE: I have suspicions Sativa influences serotonin. If you are sensitive to serotonin as I am, be cautious. I notice a headache (just as every other SSRI has been for me) and I notice the teeth grinding and twitching (which has also accompanied things that increase serotonin or serotonin-like receptors in me). I have ONLY noticed with this the THC Sativa strain, NOT the CBD. It’s also sent my thoughts in weird directions, as SNRI’s have, but that’s because I did more than I should have. My mistake. The more I leveled out my amount, the better the results were. Complete focus, Complete ability to stay in the present.

CBD, Psychedelics, and Alternatives

Since we’re on the subject of alternatives, let’s talk about CBD.

CBD, if you’re not aware, is an acronym for the Central Business District and Common Bile Duct and the Convention on Biodiversity.

It’s also is a shortcut way of saying CannaBiDiol, a compound within Marijuana plants. It accounts for about 40% of the overall extract from the plant, it’s highly known for being non-psychoactive, and is one of 113 cannabinoids within Cannabis.

You all know I have a long history with Marijuana, Mary Jane, that sticky-icky-icky, just as long as I’ve had a history with psychotropics, the psych meds, the poison, the Rx’s, whatever. Medication made it impossible to wake up in the morning, impossible to last throughout the day, impossible to not gain weight, impossible to feel like a human. Marijuana made it possible to tolerate the day, and not be present for it, which kind of sounds like a win-win to a 14 year-old who hated school, hated living, hated going home, hated waking up, hated everything. That’s why I poured vodka into the Gatorade and water bottles and chilled in class pretty fucked up.

I enjoyed that. I enjoyed all that because I wasn’t really present and I could skate through life without caring too much about the next day or even the present moment. Marijuana was helpful for my anxiety until I got deeper into mood altering and I’d sit with it until the world presented itself through a fish eye lens and I had to ask people if reality was real. People were changing shape and colors and I couldn’t really hear anything but myself; other people needed to shout in order for me to really understand through all my laughter and confusion. It felt like a very, very mild LSD hit. The last time I smoked a large hit of marijuana was about two years ago and the paranoia hit me bad. I kept hearing radios and cops in the bushes.

dmtaRegardless, I am a huge advocate for Marijuana and psychedelics like DMT and Ayahuasca. What I did with Marijuana was no different than what people do with heroin: abuse it. Were someone to use it for a purpose other than to escape reality . . . well, that’s a different story. These plants, psychedelic and otherwise (coke leaves, e.t.c.) have been used by indigenous tribes across the globe for centuries as spiritual healers, as pain relievers, as body stabilizers. Psychedelics aren’t for “trippin’ balls, dude”, they’re for reaching a different level of consciousness, they’re for getting in touch with the spirit world.

Westerners who try psychedelics with the mindset of “hallucinations aren’t real and they’re scary” get a terrifying experience. Others who have grown up around the understanding that this reality may not be the only reality, who have been at peace with the world around them and themselves go into psychedelics with a completely different mindset. It’s not very surprising that when confronted with something like psychosis or what we would consider “schizophrenia” over here–well, they often have a better prognosis and more positive experiences than those of us in the western “developed” world. Check out the striking difference between the U.S diagnosis of “Schizophrenia” and the experiences of those in India with the same diagnosis.

That being said, I’m going to document my adventure with CBD oil. I hear it’s fantastic for anxiety, and my anxiety has been terrible, I can’t wake up without shaking, I can’t go to work without shaking, I can’t go to meetings without shaking, I can’t do anything without shaking right now. Even eating makes me anxious.  There are CBD edible chews, oral gels, oils, wax (#dab), and you can vape it if you so choose. Personally, I’m more of a wax/oil type person (#DAB) only because it makes the former stoner in me nostalgic. But, edibles are nice too.

I’m not squiring oral gel into my mouth with a giant kiddie syringe. Looks fucking dumb.

I hear CBD is also wonderful for epilepsy and hard-to-treat seizures.

I hear CBD has the potential to be helpful with psychosis.

I hear both Marijuana and CBD can help depression, PTSD, and dissociation.

That being said: work with your problems within yourself, outward, whether that problem is psychosis or anxiety. Don’t expect a pill or a supplement or an oil or a wax or a leaf or DMT or aliens to get you where you want to be. 98% of it is up to you. 

For me, 2% will be up to this CBD oil.

If I die, you’ll all know why: the dispensary sold me heroin instead of CBD obviously.

 

 

What’s Wrong With Dr. Phil’s Wife’s Face? Seriously. Someone Tell Me.

So, I should probably be working towards my final for this online class and my other articles, but you all know me and my spontaneous writing sessions. It’s like my gaming sessions: I’ll game for a week or two or three, every day for hours until both of my hands shrivel and turn black and my finger tips fall off, then I won’t game for a few months.

May is “mental health awareness” month or whatever, yada yada. If you all want my opinion on this, you can refer to this post particularly, because I’m sick of reiterating the same thing every year.

But, this post will probably seem fitting for that cult-mindset (Ooh, bringin’ out the big guns now), because it’s about another person who claims to be a mental health advocate herself. Well, it’s not really about her, but more so about what was said to her, that I don’t necessarily agree with. And you know when I don’t agree with something, I have to put it out there on the internet for a bunch of people to not agree with me. That’s the way of the world, right?

I am not a Dr. Phil fan. I think the show is highly dramatized, and although subjects are approached with caution, I feel we’re pressured to believe that this Phil dude (who isn’t really a psychologist, did you know that?) helps people in a way no other person could. His wife’s face scares the fuck out of me (Sorry), and these people’s lives are almost exploited on television. I don’t really know how that makes mental health issues look, particularly if he advocates things like “bipolar disease“.

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Is This Meme Still Relevant?

You all remember the girl who was on there who believed she was pregnant with Jesus or whatever and claimed she’d been diagnosed with “paranoid schizophrenia” and her parents argued and said she “hadn’t been” . . . what was that episode even? Jesus Christ. Personally, I liked the man who said he wrote one of Taylor Swifts’ songs. I think Taylor should just give him the rights, because she’s only embarrassing herself by admitting she writes that shit she sings.

Anyway, A few weeks ago I guess this woman, Emily, who says she is a mental health advocate and posts pictures of herself online with her multitudes of self-harm scars, was also on Dr. Phil. She says that she shouldn’t have to be ashamed of her scars and she should be free to wear the shorts and short-sleeves that she does without feeling shameful for it.

As a self-harmer (although, I haven’t struggled with it in a while, since October 2016) I agree with her. Would I go around posting every scar and cut, old and new, online: no. That’s my personal preference not to do that. Whether she does or not, whatever. People who say she’s influencing people to cut themselves–I don’t understand that. If those people who see her are choosing to self harm, they are dealing with far deeper issues than just watching her on social media. Trust.

She said she continued to struggle with the self-harm, PTSD, and the accompanying anxiety and depression that comes with PTSD, and Phil asked why she thought she could call herself an advocate if she struggled so much.

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Well, that was the first thing he said that made zero sense and proves he has very little personal experience with mental health struggles. You can easily be an advocate and have moments of struggle within yourself. You don’t have to be “perfect” or “cured” to be an advocate, to be understanding and compassionate for others. In fact, if you think you’re “perfect” or “cured”, you must be one strange advocate, because no one is perfect and you can’t cure or rid yourself of your humanity so . . . that’s some fake bullshit. If you think you have to have never struggled at all to be an advocate, than you’re really fucking stupid.

In the same clip, they were speaking about the influence she may or may not have on people. The woman says she gets many people who message her and tell her that her confidence with her online persona has helped them see a counselor, talk more about their struggles, e.t.c, you know the deal. Phil responds with this exact quote:

“But you understand, my point of view is, mental illness of any form is nothing to be ashamed of, but neither is it something to celebrate”.

Well fuck me, let me sit in a hole of pity over my “illness” and be afraid to be proud of who I am, how I am, how I act, and my quirks. Fucking God FORBID we embrace this portion of our HUMANITY. Oh, the HORROR.

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In my very experienced opinion, it is something to celebrate.

In his very professional opinion, these “illnesses” are proven biochemical and neurological, well, defects. You wouldn’t celebrate someone’s terminal illness, right? Than let’s certainly not celebrate the diversity of the human mind and the human condition. That would be horrific.

It’s something to celebrate to me because it shows there are multitudes of ways to experience this reality. It shows people deal with pain and life in different ways. It shows that the human mind is much more complex and real and human than we will ever know. That, to me, is fascinating, and worthy of celebration.

And just because we can celebrate it, doesn’t mean that’s invalidating the struggle. If anything, it helps prove that struggles can make you stronger.

Does that mean I agree with this woman, this Emily? No. I don’t disagree with her either. If she feels free and content with herself by posting these things, fine. I wouldn’t do it, but I’m not her.

If you want something to talk about for #MayMentalHealthCultMindsetMonth, why not talk about the diversity of how our brains react to this life we live? Because that’s essentially what’s happening: life is a traumatic experience in itself and we all have different ways of dealing with that. If you want to believe that makes you defective, be my guest. Seems kind of self-defeating if you ask me.

I think I’ll go put on a party hat and grab some Whiskey Sours for Thoth and I.

Why I Let Go Of Labels

Has a label ever really done anything but sit as ink on a piece of paper?

Another good reason: “Scientists SURPRISED to find no two neurons are genetically a like”. 

Really? That was a surprise to you? Dude. IQ of 35 in these researchers.

It’s funny how research that contradicts the current belief that the same type of treatment for the same type of “psychiatric disorders” makes sense doesn’t ever hold weight against the industry. And it’s kind of funny that the researchers for the pharmaceutical companies with shitty, half-assed studies that literally reveal nothing and yet have more weight than the study above.

half-assed

Source: Google Images

I’m kidding, this shit isn’t funny, it’s just sad.

In high school I was obsessed with labels. I wanted one. I wanted one so people would believe me when I said I was having trouble–otherwise, no one seemed to care.

I wasn’t good with people, I couldn’t stand in front of the class without fainting, I was super sensitive (a teacher once told me not to put a pencil tip close to my eye and I started bawling because I felt so degraded and stupid), I couldn’t go to school unless I got up at 4 a.m to prepare for the day. I needed three hours, not for hair and make up or whatever, but because I knew the anxiety would hit. Then I’d meet up with a friend, smoke some weed, head to class, and bullshit my way through the day. I’d smoke again at break, then lunch, then after school.

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Source: Google Images

I found something called social anxiety disorder and resonated with it like I’ve never resonated with something in my life. I thought having that would solve my life. I’d see more therapists, correctly this time, things would be better.

Did that. Didn’t work. I was 14 and started thinking maybe this wasn’t the problem. Something else had to be wrong with me.

GAD? I was always anxious, after all. PTSD? I’d been through some shit. Dissociative disorders? I was blacking out, you know, and I couldn’t really remember my childhood. Avoidant Personality? I did skip classes to avoid the mind-splitting anxiety. Anti-social personality disorder? Well, I did have vicious thoughts and I didn’t really give a fuck. Selective Mutism? I never did grow out of my shyness and I always froze up when people talked to me. Higher on the Autism spectrum? Well, I did love routine, I struggled understanding social customs, I stayed in my own world . . .  Agoraphobia? Well, I never went outside of my room, I was too nervous. Paranoia? People were always talking about me and working against me, they all hated me. Or was that just low self esteem? No, it wasn’t, it couldn’t be something that simple. Bipolar? My moods were fucking whacked. Schizoid personality? I rarely showed real emotion and, again, I didn’t give a fuck. But wait, wouldn’t that contradict the bipolar? Hmm, well I did have very active fantasy worlds, I remembered a few hallucinations as a kid and I was totally paranoid . . . oh no: I was totally schizophrenic. Totally.

db9

Or, I was all of that, and one fucked up teenager.

I was terrified. I was going to go crazy. I had always been a weird kid, I was always being sent into conferences and therapists and teachers were always worried and I brought alcohol to school in middle school and someone snitched on me and I threatened to kill them and they were scared of me until senior year of high school and I knew a lot of bangers and people brought tazers to school and . . . and . . .

And my terror was justified. Because social anxiety was brought up. PTSD.Autistic traits” (Jesus Christ), Agoraphobia. Depression. GAD. Schizotypal. Prodromal Schizophrenia. Schizo this, schizo that, how many words can you put schizo in front of before it loses its luster?

And now, dissociation.

I gave up labels when I was 16 because they all overlap vaguely and the words never gave me the justification I was seeking. I wasn’t really seeking justification anyway. I was seeking help. Hopefulness and understanding. I didn’t really get any of that.

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Hanratty’s asylum

Dissociation isn’t really a label, but it has been brought up again because of what I’ve noticed in myself. The whole, you know, not remembering anything in my childhood. The whole, you know, blacking out and walking into intersections. The whole, you know, going in and out of these states, these states that were thought for a long while to be a precursor to psychosis, where I’m met with a challenge, a thought, stress, flashbacks, e.t.c and suddenly I’m interacting with Thoth, the Egyptian God, which is who I’ve actually spent this last two weeks with, he gave me a message to decode, or battling the impostor in my classmates who has left her body and entered mine, or I’d quit a job at an amusement park because the bosses are also impostors, planning to get me locked up in prison . . .

And what confused everyone was that you wouldn’t know it if you looked at me. And what confused people in the past was that the voices I did hear weren’t causing me impairment and I didn’t hear them every day. I didn’t see things everyday. Was it just stress? Well, I wouldn’t be eating or showering, but I’d look okay too. I’ve babbled before, but I could be focused too. You could have a general conversation with me; I might seem spacey but you’d just blow it off for tiredness or general strangeness. I’m a good trickster, huh?

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hahahahah kill me

There’s been a general back and forth about all this in the world of past psychological services that I don’t talk about because it’s all bullshit.

And my psychologist asks me why I didn’t tell the hospital last October what was really going on. Well . . . I really don’t want to get smacked on a cot and forced drugs, that’s why.  Had I been truthful, I would have lost control and anger would have replaced rationale. They already offered me drugs three times and I was only there for a little over 36 hours.

And when I’m back out of that fog, which could last a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, a month, two, three, whatever, I find I can’t remember what it was that happened before it all. I won’t be able to remember the thought, the stress, the pain, that pushed me to that point.

It’s a protection method, I know this now. After 21 years of bullshit, I get it. What exactly my brain has protected me from the past . . . well, only my brain knows. It must be in a hell of a lot of pain, and have a hell of a lot of empathy to protect me this viciously.

Does that mean I should be labeled with a dissociative disorder now? After all that in the above paragraph? I don’t think so. Keep that shit away from me. Next thing you know there will be a Schizociative Affective Generalized Attenuated Psychosis Post-Traumatic Bipolar Syndrome type IIX and I’ll be the first one labeled it.

I need to know all I needed to know now. It’s all about discovery and healing at this point.

Maybe

I like talking to therapists, psychologists, and LCSW’s for non-therapeutic services. Only if they have a certified degree. I’ve mostly spoken to a few online, through initial emails or messaging.

I like talking to them without telling them what I really believe about mental health, and instead seeing what they believe, evident in the responses I get from them.

I told one about a lot of things. I told her about some hallucinations, about what I’ve heard from voices, about being controlled, about . . . basically, everything I’ve ever talked about at one point on this blog. I told her much of this isn’t daily, but frequent enough for me to notice, and that all of these things have been with me for many, many years. I said I never went after diagnosis because I never felt entirely incapacitated by it all. (Not the whole truth, but close enough). I told her, in regards to anything I’ve seen, heard, or thought, that after I calm down–be that hours, weeks, whatever–I can tend to rationalize those things were a little out of this world or not real. I never said I don’t believe a lot of what happens, but I never said I do believe it either. There’s a limbo here.

There were some other things I can’t remember about checks and balances or something. I asked, in her opinion, if she felt the system I had developed–good or bad–could keep me grounded.

I love her response, because to me it encompasses the polite, therapeutic approach of this era. (sarcasm)

Among other polite things, she said, I’ve probably become accustomed to these things and therefore can’t realize how incapacitating they really are. 

She said things may never worsen, but that I shouldn’t take that chance. Therapy and medication would be a good safety net for me, she said.

She said seeking mental health treatment would be good, because THEY would determine what’s wrong with me and develop a plan for treatment.

Yes, let more people control my life, please God. I’m helpless.

helpless

Source: Google Images

I know a lot of people get suddenly hit with these things people like to call mental disorders, and I know a lot of people don’t. I’m sure there are people like me who have been like this since before they could remember. And Thank God for that prolonged experience.

Thank God for that because had I not been this well-versed in myself, hearing that I’m blind to how incapacitated I am would make me think I was actually losing my mind.

If I’ve become accustomed to things and they haven’t rendered me helpless . . . why exactly do I need to be told something is wrong with me and get treatment for it? What is there to treat? I’m so confused.

That’s not to say things don’t suck. Things suck. My mental health is not at all where I would like it to be. I’ve got really shitty coping mechanisms that have been whittled down to nothing from stress and anxiety. I lose myself pretty bad sometimes, but not all the time, and I’m not thrilled about waking up every morning.

So the fuck what? I am waking up every morning. I do manage to have a job. I have no idea how I’ve managed that, but I have. Things suck, but I’m accustomed to that, right?

Is it bad to be accustomed to these things? I don’t know?

Would it be better NOT to be accustomed to these things? Seems like that would have more severe consequences.

Perhaps accustomed is the problem and I’m missing the point. Maybe being accustomed to things isn’t the same thing as being okay with or good at managing them? Is that maybe what was trying to be said to me? If so, that also makes a lot of sense and is something I should consider.

Maybe we should always read between the lines of what’s being said to us by professionals. Maybe some of these professionals are actually saying something profound, but by taking their words at face value (As I did above) we’re rendering them unhelpful to us.

Or maybe it’s better to turn their words into something that makes more sense?

Or maybe fuck them all?

I don’t know.