2016 Evaluated

I feel as though I haven’t done a random post in a while and as such have decided tonight shall be the night to put a bit of personal spice back into this internet journal someone coined a “blog”. Although it is not the last day of December, I’d like to reflect on this past year and tentatively avoid political ground for obvious reasons.

There have been a lot of changes this 2016 year. Marijuana was finally legalized in California (there’s goes my promise of political absence, I’m so sorry), in my town Porn producers are now required to provide and enforce their actors and actresses wear adequate protection, i.e condoms. Stores now advertise “Gluten Free” tomatoes.

yeah-sure

January of this year, I acquired a 9-5 that wasn’t 9-5, but all different scheduled hours. The first job I had since 2013. It required gigabytes upon gigabytes of organic brain memory to run monetary procedures for an amusement park. I got a chance to hold and carry a suitcase of twenty thousand dollars to the top floor and across the street with a security guard puffing behind me.

That job ended a few months later.

I experienced a psychiatric hospital for the first time. Curiously enough, that was the same time I experienced a boiling rage ravenous enough to turn all surrounding towns into imitations of Pompeii. Hmm. Odd.

Jack In The Box food poisoned me for ten days; my first experience with that sickness. A panic attack sent me to the E.R that swiftly prompted the doctors and nurses to interrogate me about suspected meth use. No evidence of meth use was found. Hmm. Also odd.

I learned that it’s best to let stupid people be stupid, and fight the urge to constantly reveal their stupidity to them, as stupid people are rarely capable of comprehending their own stupidity.

ips-logo-reduced1In May, I did a training in Intentional Peer Support. It taught me how to communicate in a way that focused on the other person’s thoughts and experiences rather than my own, particularly in confrontation. It taught me how to listen rather than blurt facts or potential solutions as I usually do. It taught me to listen to what people’s voices said rather than get blind sighted by a label like schizophrenia and ignore the person entirely.

In June, I started my peer counselor position at Second Story peer respite. I went in not expecting anything too grand and within a day saw many grand things. I saw healing in process: physical, mental, spiritual healing. I saw community. I saw hope. After growing up in a house with a warped definition of the word “respect”, I finally saw real respect. I saw trust and honesty. It startled me and I didn’t know how to respond. In fact, I got quite anxious and even laughed a few times in my head at the kindness.

I also saw the beginnings of a mental health revolution. I saw an opposition to the ideals of the Medical Model that weren’t extremist points of view.  I remain with that position to this date: the longest job I’ve ever held. I will be eternally grateful to them and it’s a shame my behavior and mannerisms aren’t as emotionally expressive as my writing.

in a few days, I’ll have an article published on Thought Catalog. Wondrous. 

I got a kitten. She’s hilarious. She grips onto things with her front paws and manically kicks at them with her back feet. When surprised or unsure, she emits a noise like a bird call. I got her from a shelter. When she saw me, she ran and slammed into the glass of her kennel, then proceeded to run around, jump, and slam into all of the walls. She wakes me with purrs, meows, and a tail under my nose. She also prefers to sleep like this:

img_20161126_124012.jpg

Everyone always says people change year by year and I didn’t believe it until 2016. I feel the changes and I see them.

I’ve always known I wasn’t alone. I’d just never been exposed to the reality of it, and the moment I was surrounded by people who had been through a manic experience and lived their life, by people who heard voices and lived their life, by people who did take and di not take anti-psychotics and still lived their life, by people who had been through horrible traumas in infancy and childhood to the point they developed different personalities and still lived their life, the moment I saw them with jobs and cars and families and a life, the moment we could all share a space and talk about something other than our mental health, I felt a switch.

There was no more anger. There was less sadness, less loneliness. My youth attracted a couple guys attempting to hit on me and that was a little overwhelming but we remained friends. I didn’t talk a lot, I still struggled with the conventions of interaction, but the fear of interaction was gone. And that I’d never felt before.

So I will say, regardless of the outcome of elections, this year has been revolutionary for me. In fact, this year has only birthed a greater fire within me. My career will never be based around psychiatry like I thought it would be.

My career will be based around people, as hard as it is for me to understand them sometimes. My career will be based around peers, around you all, and around me. Around our growth together, not our fight with pharmaceutical companies, not our fight against stigma, in fact, not our fight at all but rather our transformation. Our development into reminding ourselves that our recovery from what we experience in life can’t be done in the hands of others: we have to take control of it.

We have a saying where I work: Nothing About Us, Without Us. That to me speaks more volumes than anything I’ve heard from my psychiatrist.

P.S: then again, my psychiatrist isn’t the greatest. 

To You And To Me

an-insult-a-day-page-a-day-calendar-andrews-mcmeel-megacalendars-amp0135-front

It’s 2016.

How many New Year Resolution posts will there be? I’m predicting 38,298,438,247 of them. 

Yes, I just pressed random numbers. Sue me.

I rarely do resolutions because I’m always reinventing plans as the year goes on. If I made a goal right now, chances are tomorrow I’m going to tweak it into something more manageable until it gets to the point where the original goal has been obliterated.

I will say the best thing 2015 brought me was this blog. It’s shed a lot of light on myself for myself and I’ve made connections with people who experience similar things to me–that’s a first. I’ve never had anyone be able to say “I understand” and actually mean it. So thank you to all of those people. You’ve been good to me and even though I may never know you in person, or ever talk to you again in my life, I’ll be eternally grateful. In just these last six months you’ve all helped me learn to accept my weirdness as a strength, as part of me, rather than an external weakness in need of evisceration.

And of course, thank you to all the people who just read and/or press the like button. I can’t forget about all of you, either. It’s nice knowing someone somewhere gains something from what I write, whether it’s “wow, I never thought of it that way” or  “that shit was hilarious” or “what the fuck is she on?” or “that was a waste of time” or “hey, I can relate to her!“. Haters are welcome, lovers are welcome, and everyone who may have trouble processing emotions are welcome.

Haters are especially welcome. In fact, there’s a V.I.P section for you right over here. Right by the edge of that cliff, right there.

546194450_cliff_hanging_xlarge

I’m just playin’. Ya’ll know I play.

Ya’ll know.

This blog grew pretty rapidly, much more rapidly than I predicted, but honestly I don’t care about numbers. I think this era has ushered in an incredible way to communicate and reach out to others. Our computer screens and phone screens may be taxing our eyes, and the internet might be ruining our attention span but it’s almost worth it. I . . . I think?

Anyway, I have another Thank You. Screw talking about myself, I just did that in a different post. Thanks to everyone who comes on here and shares their experiences with me and the rest of the web. It takes courage to put out a part of you that you might not let others see very often, even when it’s just through a webpage. But it connects us all, it heals us all, and if you come from a place where negativity has always been a ruling factor in your life like I have, it shows us there are people who have come from that same place and made a positive out of it. It requires you have an open mind and are willing to listen to others opinions. That’s a great trait to develop if you haven’t already. I’m still working on mine. This blog has helped with that tremendously.

One of the thoughts that ran through my mind when I created this blog was if I want to work in the psychology industry later on down the line, I better understand people’s opinions of it from the outside. Real opinions, not textbook opinions. I better see people have had better experiences than me in the industry, and worst experiences than me in the industry. I wanted other’s opinions on what they have to live with, how they do it, and how they interpret their lives. I wanted to know if the term “mental illness” bogged people down, cut into their self-esteem.

I quickly learned with some people it does. It really, really does. 

'You're not alone...most worthless losers like you have low self-esteem.'

I learned some people prefer the term “disorder.”

Some people take “chemical imbalance” really seriously. Others see it from a psychological perspective rather than a biological one.

I also learned some people don’t give two shits about labels. I learned both of those opinions and feelings are valid and that in order to really understand the thoughts of others I have to place my opinion on the back-burner and just listen.

I learned some people feel they need medication. Some people feel they don’t. Some people were mistreated in hospitals, others are thankful that it saved their lives.

b16a7e86-142c-401a-abf3-d80126d082c1I learned some people feel intimidated by their doctors and their psychiatrists. I learned some people fall prey to believing because they’re doctors they have some inhuman ability to know exactly what’s right for you.

I learned some people can’t stand their doctors and argue with them all the time.

I learned these blogs are something I wished psychology professionals–particularly psychiatrists–skimmed through occasionally, especially if they’d never dealt with psychological problems within themselves. I wish they took the time to see how much suffering is actually there. It might make them more empathetic and understanding towards their own clients.

I learned there’s a lot of humanity empty from the industry compared to what I see people pour out of their hearts into these websites. 

Anyone ever download the NAMI AIR app? It was a prototype and a clusterfuck. If you weren’t aware, “anti-psych” people talk a lot of shit about NAMI because of their affiliation with pharmaceutical companies. But the app was for chatting and getting immediate advice from your peers. It might still be in the app stores, I don’t know. I just thought I’d mention it because it’s another way to connect with people who go through the same things we do.

So I learned a lot these last six months and that’s the best thing about collaboration, right? You learn things. You develop a new understanding for your life and others lives and that’s invaluable.

'I have no idea what you are saying.'That being said, I’ll probably make a few changes to this website. I feel like I’ve been drifting lately from my original goal of creating a place to both vent and provide information. It’s been a clusterfuck of rambles, rants, and weird shit.

I like the word clusterfuck, can you tell? That’s a good song by Tech N9ne, in case anyone was wondering. You probably weren’t. But whatever.

*MentalTruths: Giving You Unnecessary Factoids Since 2015*

You see what I’m talking about? My attention span man, it’s fucking terrible.

Anyway, changes . . . changes . . .

I read a lot of psychology articles and books and personal accounts and I love bringing them to people who may not follow them. I’ll probably have a separate page for the more informative-type posts. Because I want to bring them back, they’re important. I’ll always provide original sources in case you don’t want my sarcastic touch on the summaries. But these types of things are important for me and for you; how do you expect to be in charge of your recovery if you’re not educated at least a tiny bit about it? About the industry? About the types of therapy there are? About the different types of services you can receive? Sure you can google it yourself, but why not just skim past my blog and get a laugh at it while you do it?

tumblr_inline_nynt1qivqm1slrtzn_500I can’t market myself.

 

I . . .

 

I’m . . .

I’m horrible at that. Just read the shit.

Shit.

I’ll probably add some photography, too. Because why have only one subject? That’s boring. I have to spice it up a bit. Pictures are nice to look at and maybe they’ll make one gloomy person crack a bit of a smile.

I don’t know. Half of this blog is for me, half of it is for you, and that’s just how I run my life.

I try to live for others as much as I live for myself. I’m part of the world, after all.

Happy New Year to you all. I hope through the struggles you encounter this year that you learn from them as much as you suffer from them. That’s the only way the pain will be worthwhile. There’s a lesson in everything. You just have to find it.

Life isn’t a fucking college classroom, okay? There ain’t no professor, there ain’t no “look at the board, students, this is why I’m making you solve those hard ass problems” kind of teacher with a lesson plan waiting to show you the step-by-step ropes to life in a three month long course.

How boring would that be, anyway?