Quick Fixes. Let’s Talk About It.

For some weird reason, we think the mental health system today is more logical, humane, and helpful than the days of Lobotomy, Ice Baths, and Cold Blankets.

For some weird reason, we think giving someone muscle relaxers before hooking up electrodes to someone’s temples is more humane than just zapping them and watching their body convulse. For some reason, we repeatedly confirm that we have no idea if E.C.T does anything useful, and yet it gets recommended–and very often.

Let’s look at what came out of the Lobotomy era: Thorazine, that’s a pretty big one. The notable “Chemical Lobotomy” put the ice pick rearing mad scientist out of business. In fact, it put all that nastiness into the hands of the pharmacy companies. The only difference is you don’t get a black eye after you swallow a pill. Your organs do, but whatever, no one sees that so it’s okay.

So what went wrong? We go from believing mental health issues come from spiritual unrest (which I’m not going to argue against) to believing it’s hardwired into our system before our birth (which I’m also not going to argue against). That’s a pretty big leap.

I’m not going to argue against or for either option because arguing gets us nowhere. What I’ve noticed in the progression of how mental health is viewed in society (western society, mostly), is that it’s a social construction, much like Gender is considered. It changes with time. Homosexuality used to be a mental disorder. Now it’s not. There you go, simple as that. It’s taking terms and calling it one thing or another. That’s all “mental illness” is. It’s a social construction. What we call depression now might not be called that in fifty years, either due to science or enlightenment or whatever. And the funny thing will be that how people experience depression will change with it’s name–not because we’re changing it, but because we believe we’re changing it.

campaign_for_lgbtequalityFrom what I’ve heard from some LGBT communities, is that things aren’t as bad as they used to be. They’re still pretty horrendous, especially for people who identify as Transgender, but . . . the more acceptance there is online, in communities, and in families, the less of a surprise it is nowadays to hear someone is bisexual or lesbian or gay. Chances go up a good half a percent that someone you interact with won’t hate you for your sexual orientation. What kids in our future, provided acceptance continues, experience underneath any gender spectrum label will be ten times different than what kids today do. Not because the facts of the gender spectrum change, but because we see it differently. We treat people differently, so they treat themselves differently.

Now, if you’re experiencing psychosis for the first time and you get locked in a facility where people are grabbing you and forcing you onto cots and injecting you with things you don’t understand–you’re getting a very clear vision of what people think of psychosis. You might not know it at that moment because creatures are crawling out of the floor and nibbling on your toes, but the aftermath, the lack of support for many, the way you’re treated, what you’re told (you’re sick for life, no way around it, sorry): it says it all. It increases a sense of being trapped, controlled, which doesn’t help anyone if they struggle with paranoia or voices. It increases fear and psychosis feeds off of fear.

So what if how we view these experiences we like to call “mental illness” more like a brain’s distress call–kind of like someone giving you all their belongings, and a sealed envelope you’re not allowed to open until they’re “far away from here”. Would you tackle them to the ground and scream “you’re sick, you’re fucking sick! You need help, you psycho!” in their ear?

If we treat these experiences like a distress call, if we see it as an experience that deserves unique attention because each person’s experience is unique, it doesn’t matter whether the person has a “weird brain chemistry” or if they’ve been through trauma or if they’ve damaged something with drugs–whatever. It won’t matter because we’re not looking at what we think their problem is, we’re paying attention to what they experience, and respecting that. Respecting their despair or fear or anxiety or compulsions. We’re respecting their past, if they have gone through trauma, and we’re respecting their shock if their life has been generally good and they suddenly woke up with God talking to them through a walkie-talkie.

For those of us with these struggles, this goes for us to: we have to respect our experiences. I don’t think it’s healthy to fight ourselves. I don’t think it’s healthy to limit ourselves to that kind of existence. I think it hinders our ability to grow and our ability to function.

What do I think went wrong? I think we got too obsessed with wanting answers to everything. I think, as humans, we get so caught up with believing everything must have a reason and that everything in life that isn’t a pleasant experience needs to be made into one. If negativity didn’t have a place in life then it wouldn’t exist. Then positivity wouldn’t exist. Then we’d all just be zombies wandering around the streets aimlessly, taking bites out of each other’s bodies every now and then because what the fuck else are we going to do? We’re propelled by our biological instincts and that’s it, right? Hunger will be our main experience. Looking forward to it.

When I say “mental illness” is a social construction, I am not saying these experiences don’t exist. If I said that, I’d get pounded into a bloody pulp by the comments and I’d be a lying liar. Instead what I’m saying is these experiences that are very real are being described and made into something they might not be.

I’m 21 years old. I could wake up tomorrow with ten times worse hallucinations than I currently have. I could wake up 24 years old at the mercy of delusions that last longer than a few weeks or a month–they could last six months or a year. I could wake up so far gone in my head that I forget my head even exists. But I’ll never call myself sick or ill. Never have, never will.

Food for thought, everyone.

 

 

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

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

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

“StopWhitePeople2k16”.

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter is now creating college level courses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s open to every race.

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

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

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

Ten Quadrillion Ways To Be Fucked Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Shocker!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links to both articles can be found here and here.

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, the irony.

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

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

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

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

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

Incongruity Killed The Cat . . . And I Laughed.

You guys.

Incongruent fucking affect. 

A visual representation of my response:

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

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

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

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

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Precisely

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well fuck me, right?

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

 

How Connected Are You?

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How important has connection been to you?

Have you ever had a connection with someone (not necessarily an ‘intimate one’) where you felt you could be open with them and they with you?

Has that ever worried you? Has it ever come back to bite you on the ass?

I personally have dealt with mostly one-sided connections in my life. The type where they call you or text you because, guess what, Johnny just broke up with them again and they don’t understand why they can’t be loved. Or they come to your house because their parents are fighting and they can’t handle it anymore. Or they say “hey, what’s up” and halfway through your response they say “yeah, I’ve just been feeling a little down lately”.

ray-liotta-goodfellas-laughingI’ve had connections based purely on humor. That is, when I’m with them all we do is crack jokes and if anyone’s life is going to be talked about, it’s theirs.

I’ve had connections that I keep solely for the hopes of relinquishing the bouts of loneliness I’m plagued with. Perhaps this contributes to my mistrust of people, to my repulsion at the idea of having “friends”. After all, aren’t we both just associated with each other so neither of us has to feel alone?

Yes, through IPS I’ve learned much about the benefits of connection and understanding and I have my chance to share my stories (however much less ‘exciting’ they were from others) and relate to someone. For the first time in my life I had someone say “yeah, I’ve felt like that too” rather than try and relate to me through “oh, yeah, I kind of get like that when . . . –enter experience completely irrelevant to what I described– . . .”.

To me, that doesn’t show understanding, that shows me that you’re tying to convince me that everything I experience is normal and I’m exaggerating things.

Now, I’m someone who doesn’t care much for normality either way. But the thing is, nothing I say is exaggerated, those feelings are real and they can be painful, so to try and counter them with an experience you’ve had that you consider to be “normal” or, in my eyes, “not a big deal”, tells me you haven’t understood a word I’ve said. If you can’t understand that it’s a “big deal” to me, than you haven’t understood it at all.

That’s what I would tell someone who was struggling to understand mental health struggles.

I get told two phrases most commonly:

  1. When I express how hard it is for me to do certain things, I get “well I just push through it”.
  2. When I’m exhausted from anxiety, from depression, or from coming down from three weeks of running around on 3 hours of sleep and I say ” I’m so tired” I get ” from what?”

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And so the question for those of us who struggle on a daily with our brains remains: when is it safe to be open about our mental health and to whom?

An old psychology professor of mine told us never to mention our mental health in college applications or personal essays as a reason for the field you want to study. In fact, they’re more likely to see you as a liability than anything.

I read an article (source)today on a medical student who decided to be open about her struggle with mental health (anxiety and depression) and got interrogated by a panel group on whether or not she could “handle” being a doctor. They revoked their statements and worries after her grades improved.

She recalls people told her exactly what my psychology professor told us: “Do not mention you have any kind of weakness”.

And this is where my uncommon principals and views on the concept of “mental illness” play a part. If you keep telling people we’re “disordered” or that we’re “sick” or “damaged” . . . doesn’t that imply weakness?

It’s what drives me away from calling anything an illness or a sickness. I never could think of a good term to replace it, but I like what IPS called them: Reactions.

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If someone can call me weak for having a mental reaction, than I can call them weak for jumping when I scare them at the corner. The point is to find terms that bring the “average” people back down to earth, off their pedestal, and level with the rest of us.

Regardless of my views, or their unconventional ridiculousness that people probably don’t like, I think what truly matters here is how we see ourselves. How we communicate with each other.

Balance is what’s missing in my opinion. It’s not a matter of finding “scientific reason” for these “disorders”, it’s not a matter of finding cures or magical drugs, it’s about reminding people we’re all human. We all experience life differently. And to place a label upon someone and use it as an excuse to “classify” doesn’t fly with me.

More than 200 billion dollars Americans spent on Mental health last year I believe. On multiple doctor visits around multiple medications and multiple attempts to “Get better” that never really worked for many.

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I’ve attempted to “Get better” too. Problem is I don’t have anything to “Get better” from because I was never sick.

I get better from the flu and from the cold. I don’t get better from how I experience life. There is no standard to try and reach.

Some people think I am invalidating their struggle when I say things like this. As if revoking the label “disorder” takes away the substance and the pain of what they experience. 

But I’m doing the exact opposite. I’m putting the authenticity back into what we all experience. What we experience is very real, it can be painful and terrifying and absolutely horrendous.

I feel those things don’t need to be “sick” to be significant.

I feel taking medication to help doesn’t mean you are disordered or sick either. I’ve considered getting back on them a million times over and that doesn’t sway how I see myself. I don’t see medication as a way to try and “fix” myself. I see it as a tool to help me transform and grow. And once I grow, I throw the tool away. I don’t need a wrench once the screw is tightened. 

And there are some who don’t have the luxury of getting off medication, either because withdrawal results in even worse symptoms, or because of the fear around falling back into a hole by coming off them. And you know what? That’s okay too.

We’re all the same. We all struggle. It hurts and it sucks and we have to push harder than most people some days.

But let’s not do a disservice to ourselves by reinforcing stereotypes placed on us by a panel of doctors who haven’t had an ounce of lived experience. 

Yes, APA, that’s a shot at you. Sue me.

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Acceptance Of The Self

Is morality like etiquette?

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I’m not going to answer it, I just wanted to give you a question to think about for the day.

I had an interview at a nursing home this morning for a housekeeper position. These past few months have been rough: I’m fatigued, I’m tired, I’m forgetting more than usual and of course I’m skating through most of the day wondering if I’ve stuck in a dream or not. Today, luckily, has been relatively chill.

But my mentality has taken a toll on me, so when the secretary asked me what position I was applying for, I couldn’t remember the word “housekeeper”. I said “the person who sweeps and mops”.

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I laughed at myself harder than I probably should have.

The manager who interviewed me was high as fuck. He could hardly keep his eyes open and when he spoke he slurred his words. He moved fairly quickly however and seemed to keep up well with his staff, so from all the drugs and addiction I’ve grown up around I can safely assume he’s on some kind of pills. His cognition was there, so were the majority of his reflexes, but his speech and eyes and general demeanor were not that of the average sober person.

I had to sign a “we have a right to drug test you” clause in the application.

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I suspected Xanax or perhaps a benzo; his position seemed to be high stress as he was constantly running around the facility trying to make sure his staff members weren’t fucking something up.  His desk was a tragedy. Paper all over the place. I didn’t even have room to fill out the paperwork.

It’s odd that much of my social anxiety has sort of taken a back seat for the time being. I still wouldn’t give a speech or go to parties or anything like that comfortably, but in terms of going into stores, doing interviews, working with other people, it’s gotten much easier. I see that as progress. An odd sort of progress because I haven’t really been practicing anything. 

What I struggle with now more than anything is the tendency towards Alexithymia-I can’t distinguish my emotions from each other. They’re all a whirlwind inside of my head and as a result I lash out. These are the days I usually take something or smoke something to level me out, but because I have no more prescriptions available and because I’m still applying to jobs which may drug test me upon hire, I can’t risk it.

So instead I’m standing waist deep in my own personal hell.

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I thought today would be okay because I woke up feeling alright. The last week has been a haze. I can’t describe an ounce of how I feel in words. I tried last night, I’ve tried many nights, and being a writer it’s more than frustrating when you can’t put something as simple as emotion into words. So instead I write about how I can’t write about it. That makes sense, right?

So I use music to distract myself from my own thoughts. It’s louder than my brain so it makes it easier for me to focus. As long as there is noise, I can focus. If there isn’t background noise and all I’m alone with is me and my thoughts then I get confused, overwhelmed, and only more tired.

I just spend my day wondering if the tree outside of the library is real or what would happen if it wasn’t. I wonder if I’m real, if you’re real, if the table I’m sitting at is real, and if the hands I see typing on the keyboard belong to me and what if they didn’t? I feel unreal, my actions feel unreal, my words sometimes don’t sound like they’re coming from me, I don’t feel connected to the world, blah, blah, etcetera, etcetera.

I’m not bothered by it, it just takes up a lot of time during the day.

depersonalization_by_danger99-d2lfkldOver the years I’ve learned to accept the derealization, the constant pondering, and my tendency to wonder if an event happened or if I’m still dreaming. I write off the feeling that I’m still dreaming. I wrote off the feeling that the incident in the vault never happened and I imagined it-I’ve already concluded it didn’t happen so there’s no need to continue thinking about it.

I write it all off because of the simple fact that it hasn’t disrupted my life like anxiety and depression has. Sure people think I don’t care about things (I.e, my room is a mess, I mean you can barely walk through it, I rarely do laundry and just salvage old clothes or hand wash in the sink if I absolutely need something) and sometimes they get annoyed because I won’t talk because I’m so deep in my head, I won’t laugh because I honestly don’t know, sometimes I just don’t feel like I can, or if they just meet me they don’t understand why I won’t share facts about myself with them or why I don’t feel like making eye contact or why I barely respond to them at all in some cases.

But in reality (ha, in your definition of reality I should say) none of those things bother me. Depression that makes me suicidal bothers me. Anxiety that prevents me from speaking up in class or asking a question when I need it bothers me. The fact that I can’t be comfortable at any moment outside bothers me.

Do I really need to tell the different between reality, dreams, and fantasy to live my life? Depending on the severity, not necessarily.

Think about it.

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If I feel I’m living in a dream or I can’t tell if I’m awake or if what I experience was a dream or not, but I still go on about my day, I still study, I still work, I still function then what difference does it make?

If I’m not sure if my hands are mine but I’m still typing with them, what does it matter?

If I don’t feel like talking with people and still live life content with limited human contact, what does it matter?

I think that’s where people get stuck in the process of overthinking their “problems”. I’ve been comfortable questioning what was real and what wasn’t since I was 6 or 7 years old, I’ve been comfortable with bouncing back and forth between reality and fantasy too. In fact, I’ve never really separated the two. I’ve always seen the world differently. Am I aware that such a thing could snowball into something more “serious”? Sure. Am I going to sit there and act like I have a problem right now? Fuck no. And I think the fact that I’m as comfortable with such things as I am has helped my functionality.

Anyone else who stepped unprepared inside of my brain wouldn’t survive.

To me, what’s in my brain is normality. People who go through life without analyzing the reality of every little thing or people who have never sat at a table, stared at the floor, and had to ask themselves “am I dreaming?” scare me. That’s not normal.

So there’s a reason this blog focuses particularly on depression and anxiety because those are the aspects of myself that I find most troublesome. Not being able to talk to a classmate frustrates me more than the fact that i can’t tell whether or not the incident in the vault at work ever happened. Waking from a dead sleep into a panic attack, slicing or burning myself frustrates me more than my belief that I’m destined to change the world per some otherworldly intervention, or my introverted tendencies.

What do I think of the boss who is obviously abusing his prescription medication? Well, he’s accepted reality is reality and he doesn’t like it. So he medicates. I accept reality isn’t reality, that as a result reality is a fantasy and therefore one in the same. I don’t medicate. 

Curious, eh?

A Little Reminder

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When I get tired in class, there are two things I do.

  1. Burrow my head in my sweater or jacket and nod off.
  2. Start cussing like a sailor in my notes.

For example, this morning in math I was not excited to spend three hours talking about shit I’ve already done before. As you probably already know, I’m in Calculus. So I’m not a genius here; still stuck in the lower mathematics and honestly, with all the other types of classes I have to take, I’m okay with that.

In my defense, my social anxiety has kept me back from a lot of things and one of those things has been excelling in math. But we won’t talk about why. We’ll, instead, give an excerpt from my notes from this morning:

“For fuck sake, I’m tired! 

Ex:/ Find the fucking surface area generated when this bullshit: x=1 + 2y^2, limits from 1-2, is fucking flipped around like a ballerina on crack about the x-axis. Fuck me. Shit. 

General fucking formula: 2piydS

Fucking Arc shit: sqrt 1+[F'(x)]^2 dx, sqrt 1+[F'(x)]^2 dy” 

Don’t believe that’s what I write? Well, here you go:

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That’s what happens when you work all weekend, get four hours of sleep, and don’t feel like dealing with this shit.

If I had never seen calc 2 in my life before like some of the students in my class who often walk out of the class with this expression:

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than I probably would have taken much more serious notes. But let’s be honest here folks, this shit isn’t rocket science. If you get the theory of it, if you understand the steps, if you can picture graphs in your head, if you can see past the non-existent existence of infinity, and you can plug into the formulas with a little creativity, than you should be good.

I still remember the second week of class when we started tackling real integration, not the pussy shit they cover in first semester calculus. The faces of the newer students, the arrogance they had coming into the class, the whole “I’m smarter than my friends” attitude, washed down the drain real quick. As soon as you shove integration by parts and partial fractions in their face, they all crumble. They should have read ahead in the book like I had before I took my first calc 2 class.

I would have been finished with the calc series by now, and at least onto . . . whatever the hell comes next. But I kept having to drop the classes. The first time I took calc 1, I missed too many classes (family issues, depression, anxiety e.t.c). The second time I passed. The first time I took calc 2 I had to drop because of family issues, depression, anxiety, e.t.c. See a pattern yet? So here I am, taking this bullshit for the second time again.

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If only my mental health affected me at home, in the closed doors and shut windows of my room. If only they didn’t interfere with my physics classes, with my math classes, with what professors I take and which ones I avoid, with who I talk to and who I don’t, with how to get a reference letters, with my job, with communication in general.

If only I could control which symptoms shown themselves when. Oh how sweet life would be.

But I’m thankful for many things.

I’m thankful I have the opportunity to go to school at all, whether it be university or junior.

I’m thankful I’m physically pretty healthy, healthy enough to push my way through my mental blocks and try to live my life as well as possible.

I’m thankful for my boyfriend. He can put up with all my issues and non-verbalness and that he’s been able to become more understanding as time as passed; we’ll hit our two year anniversary this July. I consider myself pretty lucky to have someone like him, he’s a rarity these days.

We tried making gelatin soda the other night, while baking a cake. The cake came out good. The gelatin soda . . .

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This Isn’t Ours. We Couldn’t Hope For Anything Even Close To This

I was almost on the floor rolling in laughter. We followed a video off of YouTube but there was a disconnect in the video between what you’re supposed to do with the gelatin and how it should react. We ended up with stank ass non-flavored gelatin melted hard onto the microwave plate, on the counter top, in the sink, and clumped on our hands. Be wary of YouTube instructional videos, you guys, seriously. 

I’m thankful for my brain, as “crazy” as that sounds. I don’t know what I’d do without it. It torments me and cradles me and entertains me and if I was anyone other than who I am I’d probably be disgusted with myself.

I’m thankful for a lot of things, in fact. I complain a lot and sometimes I get knocked down but I’ve never once laid on the floor and accepted my fate. I’ve learned not to fight my depression when it overtakes me, I’ve learned to work with it and around it and if that means taking a few steps backwards than by all means I go with the flow.

acceptanceI’ve learned not to completely hate my anxiety, I’ve learned there are advantages and I accept them and when they give me trouble and I beat myself up over it, I go through the motions so I can look back on it and analyze it and tell myself: wow, there, there, and there you were exaggerating, do you see that?

When I struggle with jealousy over watching non-mentally-conflicted people get on with their lives and be happy and maybe stressed out occasionally I remind myself that me and that person are not the same people. I remind myself that I can be just as successful as them as long as I’m happy with who I am and what I’m doing. I remind myself there’s no point in focusing on someone else’s life. It’s their life. How do their successes and failures concern me?

As much as physicists and biologists would like it to be true, it is not true that we’ll ever learn everything there is to learn about life and our existence. For that reason, I’d say don’t take anything for granted, not even your worst moments. Because once it’s over, you don’t know what’s next. Maybe nothing.

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Think about how weird it would be to never see the clouds or feel the sun or hear the birds chirp? What about seeing the face of your significant other or hearing your child’s laughter? How weird would it be to never wake up again? Don’t think about how it would feel to not have any problems, think about how weird it would feel to not have anything at all. 

Those of us who have tendency towards suicidal thoughts . . . we often get lost in them. And it can be hard to remember the little things. The things that don’t necessarily bring us out of our depression or bring us unlimited happiness, but the little things that make up daily life, the things we don’t always pay so much attention to.

Sometimes they’re worth more than anything. 

What does this have to do with math? Absolutely nothing.

 

A Better Way To Spend Your Day

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This edit page seems foreign.

That’s how long I’ve been gone.

I’m sporadically posting now and I hate that. I apologize to people who read me who also hate that. With all the stress this new job has caused, I’ve fallen behind on homework and sequentially feel a little depression coming on. Alas, I have strayed from my normal, consistent postings.

But rest assured, I have returned.

And hilarity will ensue.

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That being said, if you enjoy writing, if writing is your love, your life, and if you had to choose between custody of your children and the livelihood of your several novel scrap piles in the back of your closet and you hesitate to choose, chances are you’ve googled “jobs for writers” or “online writing positions” at some point.

If you haven’t, you’re lying.

What I’ve noticed is, if you want to make a quick buck, technical writing is the way to roll. You know, describe this product in the most extraordinary way without being extraordinary (speaking from my brief experience with technical writing, of course). Websites also like those  cheesy “hook, line and sinker” posts that pop up on your news feed telling you “Ten Tips on Loosing Weight Without Diet Or Exercise!” or “15 Reasons Why Kim Kardashian Wouldn’t Like You And Why You Should Even Give A Shit”.

In celebration of those news feed posts everyone hates, I’d like to take a moment, say a blessing for the ignorance of this era, and, of course, do my own version. My own relevant version.

I present to you:

*double bass drum roll please; let’s make this metal as fuck*

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Ten Totally Rad Reasons Your Mental Health Struggle Can Make You A Better Person. 

1)You Have Tangible Experience In A Subject Not Many Do. 

  • You know when you’re sitting in a math group and that one smart ass with his little tea cup thermos cap and his pinkie in the air corrects your work and constantly points out your mistakes and you just want to pour that hot tea on his crotch but you refrain because 1) he’s helping you out and 2) he’s more knowledgeable than you in this subject and you just need to suck it up? Well, now you can get that feeling too for three payments of $65.99. I don’t accept money orders, so have a check ready. If you suffer from a mental health issue you can now be that annoying friend who interjects in conversations correcting people’s language, explaining to them what anxiety or depression or psychosis really means rather than the warped connotations they assign them. That’s a priceless gift.

2) You See The World Differently.

  • Not in a “I’m so special, everyone look at me” kind of way. Let’s not get a bad case of Influyeezy here, we have to be better than the majority of society, remember? I’ll give you an example I’m most familiar with. Being one of anxious tendency, I notice when a moment presents itself in which I should panic, (on coming car, someone jumping out of bushes with a knife, e.t.c,) I don’t. In fact, I can handle myself quite well. Whereas my counter part is gripping onto the car door and hyperventilating or busy getting stabbed.  My body is always in fight or flight mode; it’s the most disadvantaging advantage I’ve ever experienced.10906709116_85d506df91_b

3) You’re More Likely To Empathize With Other’s Mental Health. 

  • If someone walks up to you and says ” I slit my wrists and I think I’m depressed”, your first instinct isn’t going to be “it’s stupid to cut yourself”, your first instinct will probably be something along the lines of “let’s talk for a minute”. You’d probably comment on their bravery for telling you. You’d probably let them know you’re proud they managed to reach out for some help. Because, you see, struggling with your own mental health reduces your level of assholery. It’s a proven scientific study. “10/10 best study by the American Psychiatry Association”–IGN.

4) You Don’t Take For Granted The Good Days.

  • Even when you’re struggling, you try and make an effort to enjoy what you can. You know what it’s like to be consumed by your own personal hell and you know there’s going to come a time when you’re going to struggle again. And you’re able to recognize that’s okay. When something precious comes along, like a naturally good day, you relish in it and perhaps get more enjoyment out of it than the average person. You recognize there will be good days and bad days and horrible days; some people can’t handle that fact. good-days-last

5) You Have A Large Sense Of Yourself Even When You Think You Don’t.

  • After spending such a large amount of time looking inward, and as crazy as it might drive you, it’s more inner experience than most people get in their lifetime. Sure, you might analyze yourself over a mental cliff, but when you finally experience that “ah-ha!” moment about who you are, how you want to live, and you regain your appreciation for life, you’re going to experience it on a much deeper level than your average nine to fiver.

6) Things Touch You On A Heavy Emotional Level.

  • You might see this as a bad thing. But it can be good as well. That one song with the heavy symphony that reminds you of some convoluted, undisclosed sadness on the part of the composer? A tormented life of which no one ever knew the likes of? Yeah, you’re going to choke up a bit. Maybe a lot. Maybe a whole lot. 5946534747_220px_emotions_answer_1_xlarge

7) There’s Never A Dull Moment.

  • Up, down, zig-zag, you name it, you’ll experience it. And you know what? Sometimes I feel that’s better than wasting my life in a cubicle repeating the same old patterns of thought over and over again. As much as I love consistency, I was never fond of a stagnant mind.

8) You’ve Been To Hell And Back . . .  

  • And all you got was this lousy mental disorder. And a blank T-Shirt that’s two sizes too big. You know the definition of struggle and you’re stronger because of it. Even when you feel weak, you’re stronger than most.1

9) You’re Different. 

  • You’re not another Drake or Tyga or Minaj, no, you’re much more talented than that. You’re an Imagine Dragons or an Adele or a Nina Simone. And that’s something to be proud of.

10) You Can Give Back To The Mental Health Community What the Normies Can’t.

  • You can share your experience. You can help others out of their hole, you can relate to them, you can make them feel wanted and needed and understood, three things they may never feel otherwise. You can help change the connotation behind mental disorder, behind anxiety, behind depression or schizophrenia or OCD. Stigma can hurt you, but you rise above it because you know you’re more than a label.

*Normie*: The term a man with Bipolar Disorder shared on an old forum (it doesn’t exist anymore, so don’t ask) and defined as “what those of us with mental health issues call people without mental issues who call us ‘crazies'”. I’ll probably never forget him, his humor was otherworldly.

So there you are. Ten reasons to be proud of who you are, and one more reason to read this blog instead of wasting your life with“The Stunning Miss Universe Winners: Then And Now”. 

#Selfpromotion

Reality Hits You Hard, Bro

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Anxiety.

Synonymous with:

  1. Suckiness.
  2. Stupidness.
  3. Sucky-stupidness
  4. 1,2 & 3

Usually panic attacks release a lot of tension for me, but Tuesday’s did no such thing. I’m left with that tight feeling in my throat and my quick temper. I’m easily annoyed and easily saddened. I feel unappreciated and ignored, mostly by my family, and while I strive to keep my head above water, it’s difficult being unsupported and struggling. Every little tweak of my muscle I attribute to some disease; I start reading into things online that I come across coincidentally. If I see certain words or phrasings I’ll be certain they’re telling me I’m going to die tonight and therefore, even though I’m dead beat, I won’t be going to sleep any time soon.

I’m constantly searching across my skin for signs of my death. My right calf has been sore all day and I’ve been searching for signs of it swelling and convincing myself minute differences between it and my left one means it is swollen.

It’s not. What could a swollen calf mean? A lot of things. A lot of bad things. Of course.

My brain doesn’t think to attribute it to the fact that I’ve been in bed for the majority of the last 72 hours because of the food poisoning, or the fact that my bed is two 10+ year old mattresses on the floor and therefore sinks in the middle and causes some serious pain to my hips and back and shoulders often. So why wouldn’t it cause issues with my right calf, the side I sleep on and lay on most often, as well?

Whatever.

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Most of the time I can get in touch with my rationality and argue against these thoughts but there are other times where I’m stuck in the paranoia of the moment and spend my night on full alert, fidgeting, waiting for death or whatever bad thing the omens I’ve seen throughout the day will bring. It’s like anxieties’ more mild, not entirely delusional version of Ideas of Reference. You’re completely engulfed by the sensations, by the thoughts, and even if you get a small second thought telling you “no, this isn’t right”, you’re more likely to submit to the churning feeling in your gut and the racing thoughts in your head.

Sometimes, in those moments, if you’re in the outside world and you talk to me, I’ll respond blankly and uninterested. That’s when people find me the most strange. It’s only because they don’t see the chaos in my head.

I’ve always received sympathy for my depression. Not that I want it, but it’s how people think they should react. Some try to comfort me. I’ve never had anyone completely ignore me when I was depressed. When I’m anxious–that’s a whole different story.

I used to spend days proctoring thought experiments about this. What would be different if I suffered psychotic symptoms instead? If people could visibly see or hear the symptoms? Obviously they’d end up being terrified of me, and they’d stigmatize the shit out of me, but they would know something isn’t right.

When you’re depressed, you might move slower or talk slower. Your eyes may droop (mine do, at least) or you might be easily set off into tears. You might not get out of bed.

If you suffer from OCD, you have your rituals and your repetitive behaviors and even though your loved ones can’t see the horrible pressure you feel in your head, they can see the result of it. How they choose to interpret seeing those results is up to them; but the bottom line is they see it.

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Anxiety is different. The only time anyone ever sees the severity of my anxiety is through my panic attacks. And only my mother and father have witnessed my severe attacks. No one has ever seen any physical or tangible representations of the circular reasoning, of the way I get trapped within a whirlwind of extraneous thoughts my loose grip can no longer control. They become a life of their own and knock me to their knees until I am submissive and silent and bending at their will. Thoughts are the most powerful force on Earth.

Because people have trouble understanding experiences which they’ve never, well  . . . experienced, they have trouble acknowledging how hard it is to experience those experiences. They have nothing to use as a reference besides themselves. And anxiety in the average person is pretty damn mild.

I am uncomfortable expressing myself verbally because of a few reasons:

  1. I know how ridiculous it sounds to their ears.
  2. I was never taught how to express myself verbally. I was taught to suck it up.mjaxmy1hyti5yjdlyzrjnwy2nwnk
  3. I’ll sound like a broken fucking record after a few times.
  4. I don’t like criticism and most people I’ve spoken with react badly to explanations of mental health related issues.
  5. Writing is easier. But it’s not like anyone gives a shit.

So I spend a lot of my days feeling disrespected. I use humor as a shield, because a lot of people think it’s easier to make a joke out of things when I tell them what I experience rather than take it seriously. And as a result, people don’t take anything I say seriously.

I start to develop a selfish mentality after a while: it’s all about me!

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Because it’s never been about me. At home I’m a caretaker and I have been since I was a pre-teen. With acquaintances I’m a comedian and a shoulder to lean on. At school I’m the silent girl who manages to skate through classes without an ounce of willing verbal participation.

I don’t truly want the entire world to revolve around me and my wants and my needs, I just want to feel respected and for someone in the tiny circle of people who know about my issues with self-harm, with suicidal thoughts, with anxiety, with depression, with breakdowns, with Post Traumatic Stress, with anger, with moodiness, to admit I deal with a lot more than they might have first thought. I want them to acknowledge that I’ve been stronger than they might have first thought.

I know I’m strong. I’ll always be strong. I want to be around people who will help me stay strong, not beat me down.

 

 

 

 

 

Revelations

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Anyone who knows me knows I have a very strong sensitivity to sounds. Light too. But mostly sound.

Or maybe they don’t, because I hide it pretty well.

Right now there are men on the roof of my apartment complex fixing things. They’ve been pounding up there for two hours now and It’s really getting under my skin. To top it all off, my dad has been hammering nails with a spoon in the kitchen because some nails are sticking up out of the floor, and then he keeps turning on the vacuum which just adds to my ear pain.

I’m tired.

I don’t want to move today. I don’t want to be outside. I want to curl in my blankets and watch videos like I usually do.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my anxiety lately.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I interact with people lately.

 

121socialaI’m pretty sure I’ve become an expert at faking how to have a conversation. Which is pretty amazing, when you think about it.

I started learning how to fake it in high school. I noticed one of my issues was eye contact. I could not for the life of me understand when you’re supposed to look at someone, for how long, or in what way.

Honestly, I still don’t know.

But I tackled it like I do everything else in life: as if it were a logic puzzle.

I started by doing what I do best: observing people. I saw how when they spoke they often kept eye contact and when it was their turn to think, they often glanced away–but only for a few seconds. When something happened in the background they might glance at it and it wasn’t perceived as rude by the other person unless their friend spent more than a few seconds staring at whatever was behind their conversation. I thought I had it all mapped out. So I tried it.

The result?

Me staring creepily at people for a very long time during conversation.

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On top of that, in casual conversation I’m generally lost. Someone says something and I just smile politely (after years of observation, I’ve learned people enjoy smiles much more than monotony) because I have no idea if I’m supposed to talk or not. If someone asks me a question, I understand they’re looking for an answer. Otherwise I don’t see any point in talking.

Particularly with strangers. With people I know well it’s easier for me to at least comment on what they say or even initiate a conversation. But it takes years for me to make friends like that.

Even though I’m an emotional person, when people start expressing their feelings verbally I’m at another loss. Even if I empathize with them internally, externally I approach it with logic and some people are disturbed by it. I prefer to offer solutions than to just mull in the problem. They’re looking for support, but they don’t understand that my version of support is through logical conclusion.

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And that’s where a lot of my social anxiety comes in. I know they’re probably expecting me to say something (maybe?) but I’m not entirely sure, and I’m no where near to knowing what to say.

I also get confused to why, when I say I prefer being by myself, people take it as an insult to themselves, as if I don’t want to be around them. I don’t mind being around people, I just prefer being by myself. Why is that offensive?

It makes me wonder about my childhood. I spoke to adults rather easily when I was four, to close family friends. When I entered “pre-school” I made a friend but didn’t really enjoy being there. I liked being on the playground by myself, being solitary while swinging or sliding or whatever.

Kindergarten I withdrew completely, until I would not speak even when called upon. Obviously something was amiss, but no one knew how to handle the situation. Putting me in their crappy  public school version of speech therapy did nothing because I still didn’t talk.

I wanted to interact with the other children but I didn’t know how.

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I had friends where I lived. Two of them. They were very unique friends. They didn’t fit in well with others either, and one liked skinning rabbits and eating salt tablets because her mother was very into living off the land and being “healthy”.

She liked skinning rabbits to eat. It wasn’t a Conduct Disorder type of skinning rabbits.

We did a lot of make-believe. They were into fiction and fantasy stories as much as I was and that was the main reason we all got along so well.

My entire childhood was make-believe. I didn’t like reality. I preferred to be in my head, in a book, or running around make-believing shit.

I used to think my social anxiety based itself on how others perceived me–which it does to an extent–but I’ve also come to realize it’s very much based in me. I don’t understand people.

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Everyone doesn’t understand people, but I don’t understand how to interact with them and I don’t really have the drive to do so. I hate having to embody another persona just to go outside and fake it. It takes way too much energy; no wonder I’m tired all the time.

I laugh at myself about this: I’ve barely learned to ask “how are you?” to people.

I’m not joking. I’m 20.

Being with my boyfriend has taught me a lot. His family is very involved and they embrace each other when they meet and ask how each other is doing and I’m not really into being that intimate with a bunch of people, but I try and not seem like a freak–not that it’s worked to any extent–and it’s now an automatic response that when someone asks me how I’m doing, I also ask how their doing.

But like I said, it’s an automatic response. It comes out quickly and sometimes unemotional. It’s not something I do because I understand the impact of it, I just do it because I think it’s expected. It’s polite or something, right?

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That doesn’t mean I don’t care about how they feel, it’s just I didn’t understand you were supposed to ask. I figured if they wanted me to know how they were feeling they’d just tell me. That’s . . . that’s logical.

I forget sometimes  and I don’t say it–that’s usually if I’m expected to ask first.

A lot of my social anxiety is built around the fact that I know people are expecting a particular response from me and I have lists upon lists of responses in my head, I just don’t know when to use which response. Social interaction is more like a puzzle to me.

Who am I kidding, everything is a puzzle to me. Everything has a pattern. And fuck Vacuums. That’s my life story.

The only reason I’m good with humor is it’s the one thing I know people won’t mind. If a joke is weird, they might write it off as a weird joke but they might also laugh. If I say something weird or do something weird, the reaction is much more violent–at least in terms of the expression on their face. People forgive weird jokes much quicker than they forgive weird conversation.

It’s odd thinking about all this now. I’ve always known it, I’ve just never sat down and thought about it, not to this extent.

It makes me wonder if the more I discover myself and the more I accept myself for how I truly am, how much of my social anxiety will remain. A lot of time was spent trapped behind the anxiety and beating myself up for feeling anxious because I thought there was something seriously wrong with me.

Now . . . now I’m just different. I’ve always been different, but now I know I’m just different. That takes a lot of pressure off me.

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